The Face

When I first came upon the Face I was newly raised to the rank of Seer. My cora’stone still uncoloured, though as much a part of me as the air within my lungs.

As an initiate I had not known the depths within the Arleth’taur, nor the secrets we Starbinders kept. I had learnt of the outer world, the stars around Sobia and the history of the realms. As a Seer I was presented to the Probability Matrix and given access to the libraries.

But books are not the only thing the Ardes Libirantus are conservators of. The world within the Cradle of the Stars contains histories as well as prophecies, artworks as well as books, nightmares as well as dreams. And daemons.

And my daemon was trapped in the Face.

I did not know her nature when I met her. The quantstructs of the Shaluay often mimic life, intelligence. I found her in a room of water, alone, staring at a dark ceiling and crying red tears. I was not meant to be here, but I thought I knew better than my teachers.

The levels that were forbidden are the ones I sort out. It was only after I fell that I understood they were restricted for a reason.

Her voice was soft, gentle. She reminded me of the mother I had lost long ago. She enticed me, lowered my defences and dropped the tiniest hints of the knowledge I craved.

There is a reason that the Shaluay keep their initiates sheltered as the Ciralys do those who can see the Light of the Eye. But I was strong, the strongest my teachers had found in a thousand years. I knew better than they my own abilities.

Pride. It is ever the downfall of humanity. She drew her web to coerce me and flew into it willingly. I let her in, and she would not leave. I was trapped, a voice locked in a Face, shut in a dark room, crying red tears while see took my body and her freedom.

I remain here still, waiting for another Shaluay to find me at last. Weaving a web of my own…

The Circle of Swords

The women of my line remembered. We remembered living in peace on the Jade Stone Steppes before the Whisperers came. We remembered fleeing before the sounds that drove men mad and toppled empires.

But the Whisperers had made a mistake in chasing us away from our homelands, our cities of gold and silver and stone. They had forgotten – if they had ever known – that across the mountains lay the godlands, and at their heart rose three great swords that had been thrust into the flesh of the world.

Old beyond measure, pitted and rusted, these gigantic weapons were revered by the plains people as proof of the gods they so slavishly worshipped.

But these were not the swords of gods, though they might as well be. These were the swords of the Argonath. The Titans who had brought order from the chaos when the world was new.

Yes, the women in my line remember. And we remembered that these swords were left here as a promise, that if called, the Argonath would come again. We remembered the words, we knew the way of smoke and bone, of blood and spirit. We knew the sacrifice required to gain the Argonath’s attention. It was a price I had never thought I could pay.

Then the Whisperers took everything from me. They took my home, my husband and my son. And now they have taken my daughter. The future of my line, the inheritor of my legacy. They left me with nothing and I have found that now, now I can pay the price of the Argonath’s.

The knife burns as it enters my chest, positioned to slip between my ribs. The pain that explodes within me as it pierces my heart , but I hold on. My lungs strain to move and my throat tightens, my voice a whisper as vile as those who have destroyed us. But I have enough breath for the word. And as my hearts blood wells over the fist that holds the dagger pressed against me, dropping to the altar with the Circle of Swords, I voice it before the darkness claims me.

“Return.”⠀

Still waters run deep

From the #wip

The Merlai are a seafaring folk. Their ships are the fastest amongst all of the Nine Realms of the Broken Continent.

But the Nine Realms, whose mercantile interests they assist, only know a fraction of the true power of the Merlai.

Founded in the Age of Chaos, after the Sundering that ended the War of the Summoner, the Merlai Islands were formed when the land their forebears lived on became cut off from the rest of Ath’may by rising oceans.

But there are many races on Sobia, and not all of them breath the air of the surface. The ancestors of today’s Merlai found assistance from, and in some aces refuge with, the evay of the oceans. This enabled them to survive when they likely would have perished. These sea evay also taught them how to build the ships they still use today, making them the faster, human, riders of the waves in Ath’may.

A Plea for Help

“It was the want of immortality that corrupted the Ten and made them Devak’sahrin. And it was the last act of Varos Korin’ad to lock them away for Eternity. But in the Sundering the Atresian Plains have become lost to us. All that is left of our civilization is in ruins, poisonous to the touch and over which the fabric of reality is stretched so thin that tears between this realm and the Void are a constant threat. We beg of you; help us.”

  • Shaluay Starmaster Rylak to the Hyla’varic Congress of the Var Imperium, 473 A.S.
Art by Scott Richard

At the end of the War of the Summoners, the Sundering broke the continent of Ath’may in two and destroyed the civilization that humankind had built over ten millennia. The chaos that followed lasted nearly five hundred years before Starmaster Rylak, in an act of desperation, petitioned the Hyla’var to assist the remnants of humanity.

Like many of the races native to Sobia, the Var had turned their backs on the war that the human Sahrin had wrought. It was these Sahrin- the Summoners – who had almost destroyed the world. It was their greed and lust for power that had caused the countless deaths of the Var and other races. The Evay had retreated to their realms and closed the pathways to them, the Aerynai had taken to their sky cities, abandoning the surface world to its fate, and the Xious’bisan had disappeared into their mountain fortresses. Only the Var remained, and it was to them that the leader of the Shaluay Starbinders turned.

For ten days and nights the Hyla’var – the artists and mystics, the elder caste of the Var – debated before finally agreeing to give succor to humanity.

This act was the first of what became the Hyla’varic Congress, and gave birth to the Var Imperium. The Hyla’var directed the Sola’var – laborers, farmers and sometime soldier caste – to assist humankind. The directed their considerable might to cleansing the remnants of the Daemon Horde from the war torn lands, and worked with humanity to build new cities in the changed world.