Well all, I'm writing a book called Chronicles of Altasia: Spellsword. Once it's done, I'll write more, but I'm gonna add chapters here as I go. Feedback and constructive criticism are welcome. Don't worry, the action will pick up soon. This is just a taster.
So, here we go:
In the beautiful city of Guardiana, the sun shone brightly. Magically carved from marble, it was one of the most beautiful places in Altasia. In the centre of the city was a great castle, shining brightly, it's highest towers hitting the clouds. It's walls, enclosing the city, were near impregnable, and it's vast gate was made of silvery Elvenoak, a shining wood, twice as durable as the strongest tree, able to withstand any storm, impervious to rain. From anywhere afar, it looked perfect. And yet, it was not so. Sections of the walls were not marble, but simply white stone, filling in the scars of catapults and ballista arrows. Many parts of the city itself had been destroyed, beautiful marble dwellings shattered, to the point where residents were forced to set up tents and makeshift huts as homes. Guardiana had seen war, a terrible war, and now had a massive graveyard, the beautiful marble caskets that seemed to be merged with the ground full, with many wooden coffins lying near. Even the castle had been damaged, holes punched in the walls, many beautiful and mystical rooms shattered as windows by rocks. The towers had been damaged, and a few had fell, smiting sections of the city. And yet, the people thrived, determined to fix whatever could be fixed.
In the small temple, next to the graveyard, a very old man sat on a simple wooden chair, his beard passing his knees and his hair to his waist. He was dressed in elaborate white robes covered in golden runes, and bore a long, white staff, ending in a small black orb. Behind him, on a sort of stand, were things of his past, simple clothing, a grey tunic and pair of pants with a black belt, a gnarled old wooden staff, a travelling cloak, an old scroll covered in unreadable texts, and a sword, simple, with a black handle, the scabbard bearing runes in silver writing. Around this old man, a group of youngsters sat, listening to tales of old adventures and past crusades. The records of the kingdom had greatly suffered, and it was up to him and his disciples to see it rewritten. For he was the Grand Archmage, head of the Mage Guild, a society from a time before Altasia's birth. They alone could read, write, and speak Ancient Faldoan, a magical language as old as time.
Five youths sat around him, a young Nightelven boy called Bal' Kassar, a young halfelf named Yernam, a Rhudo she-cub whose name was Kyshur, a pale boy with green eyes called Raphael, and the princess of Guardiana herself, Dasalya. The man had just told an epic tale of the battle of an old dragon, who had been felled by a long dead knight, and was preparing to speak of the huge creatures in the deep seas when young Raphael spoke up. "Lord Archmage, I have not heard before the tale of the war. You know, the one that broke everything?" At this, the Archmage's eyes flashed. "Young Raphael, you hunger for tales of battle and bloodshed. Is it not enough to say that many, good and bad, died? That our noble home was nearly razed to the ground in the course of a single night?" Raphael looked away, a scowl on his face and anger in his eyes. "Please, master," said Desalya, whom had been a good friend to Raphael since he turned up without parents at the castle doors, "we simply wish to know of an old war. Raphael meant no harm, he did no evil," The Archmage sighed, saying to her, "I do believe that you are aware that I fought in that war, and lost many friends. It is a sore subject, but I suppose that telling it to all of you may enlighten you. But heed my words, this is not a tale to spread across the streets. It is one of sadness, desperation, and tragedy, and some of it may frighten you. I will not tell you of a battle, but of a war. It is a long tale, but to some of you it will show you the relevance of your heritage. Now, bear with me, for it is a long tale, and the night will be upon us by it's completion..."
Chapter 1: Coming of Age
Baron Village was but a small community, first established as a trading outpost. It was a comfortable place to live, one where violence was scarce and battles simply did not happen. The village was a place of rolling hills, green grass, orchards of fruit trees, horses in pastures, a place of happiness, where one could spend the day laying on the grass, or fishing in the lake, and spend the evening in the old tavern, where tall tales were like blood to the locals. It was in this peaceful village that a boy named Kirven lived. He was seventeen, a fine young man, and at midnight on that very day, he would come of age and be welcomed as an adult, able at last to end his dreary schooling and tedious chores and start his own life and destiny. There would be ale all around, a festival, with great music and dancing. Few children grew up in Baron, and the adulthood of one of them was a thing of joy. It was sort of like a birthday party, where family and friends gathered to celebrate. He could not wait, and thought of the thing which would make the night most memorable. Tonight was the night, he would do it at last.
The day went quickly, Kirven and the other boys finishing with school and heading down to the lake, where many of the youths gathered in the afternoon. Upon arriving there, he saw many of his friends, most notably Tristan and Tara. Tristan was his best friend, and Tara was Tristan's younger sister. She and Kirven had always been close, and now Kirven felt the blaze of young love within his heart. Tristan walked over to him, talking in a quiet sort of voice. "So, tonights the night." Kirven looked at him, slightly startled by this. "What do you mean?" Tristan shook his head slightly, laughing softly. "It's alright, man, I think you have every right to. Just make sure my old man's good and drunk before you do. Shouldn't take more than a half-hour." Kirven felt a surge of relief, knowing that Tristan was backing his efforts. "I'm going to swing by home and say hi to my father. See you later." Kirven began the walk home, feeling his spirits soar. Tonight was going to be perfect.
Kirven's family history had been rather sad. He knew that his father had found his mother while on a hike in the woods. She was grievously wounded, wearing only a torn cloak around herself, covered in cuts, bruises, and scars, with many broken bones. His father, Kaden, had taken her to his home and treated her wounds, giving her clothing once she awoke. She thanked him, and wanted to continue travelling, but his father insisted that she stay, at least until healed. She had no choice, and took his help. Over time, as her wounds healed, they became closer and closer until Kaden finally proposed to her, and soon the two were married. His mother was pregnant, but every day she grew more nervous, saying that someone had found her again, and was hunting for her. She felt that they were all in danger, and that she did not want to risk her family. Kaden tried to tell her that all was well, and that there was no danger. But despite her husband's words, she never rested again. Some nights, she would claim that someone had been outside her window, looking in at her. Gradually, she began to have nightmares, dreaming of something going near the stable. She awoke screaming one night, saying that she had seen the ones who had left her in the woods to die. Kaden tried to calm her, but once Kirven was born, she soon fled, taking the family horse and fleeing into the night. Kaden had been left to raise Kirven, and never knew what became of his darling wife.
Kirven's home was a farm on the outskirts of Baron. It had a small barn, and some stables, a pasture, and of course the farm house. When Kirven went into the house, he found his father, sitting at the table, a troubled look on his face. "Tonight, son, you become a man. I respect this, but I ask that above all else, do not go looking for your mother." Kirven looked at his father, consoling him. It was the day of Kirven's birth that his mother had left, and every birthday brought back memories. "Father, wherever mother is, she is in a good place. I do not need to look for her, for I know it to be true." Kaden smiled at his son, feeling a surge of pride at his son's wisdom. "Son," he said, standing up and walking across the room, "There's something that your mother wanted you to have,when you came of age." He turned around, holding a sword, with a beautiful golden handle. It had no scabbard. "Father, how am I to carry it?" Kaden handed Kirven the sword, saying, "Put it flat against your back." Kirven did so, and a scabbard seemed to appear around the blade, holding it to his back. "Thought so," said Kaden, smiling, "it always did that for your mother, too."
The night was upon them. Kirven had changed from his simple clothing into something more fancy, although about as comfortable as a beartrap. When he arrived in the village square, he saw it brightly lit. Tables were set up at the sides of the square, and held wonderful foods, fresh breads baked with honey, steaks and roasts, fruits of many colors and sizes, steaming fish, several large turkeys, and at least ten barrels of ale. Some locals who had skill with instruments played a lively tune, and people were dancing, laughing, and drinking. It was a wonderful sight, with a roaring bonfire, several feet high, providing warmth and light. "Welcome!" Tristan shouted, Kirven turning to see the older boy. He had a grin on his face, saying to Kirven, "shouldn't be long now. The old geezer's already downed a good gallon." Kirven was smiling, and went to walk over to Tristan's father. As the old man was drinking, however, a whizzing sound was heard, ending abruptly. The old man spluttered and dropped, the shaft of an arrow sticking out of his neck.