Posts from the ‘Book’ Category

The Prologue of Book

I know what you’re thinking. Prologue? You just posted chapter 1… shouldn’t it be going to chapter 2? Well yes, it should be, but for some odd reason I worked a little bit backwards – so bear with me.

The Prologue

Another day, another chance, Carl thought to himself as he rolled out of his lofty straw bed.  His wife still lay sleeping peacefully as he dressed himself in the same peasant rags he wore every day.  Probably thinking of better times. The morning air was still chilly as he stepped outside, bare feet clapping down on the cold, hard earth.  The sun was just starting to peek its head over the horizon as the roosters heralded the arrival of a new day.  In the far distance, he could see the gray of Castle Alburich’s massive walls and some of the roofs from the buildings popping up from inside the castle’s protection.  Alburich City was known as the heart and soul of the Kingdom of Rygard, which attracted many traders to its streets and neighboring villages.

Many years ago, the human race had once lived united under one banner; that of Reignhart Family.  For the human race, it was a time of peace and prosperity.  Cities flourished, and small hamlets grew into nicely sized villages.  However, all that has a beginning must eventually have an end.  Manfred Reignhart’s rule as Emperor had been cut short by an assassin.  Though Manfred had an heir to the throne, he was not of age to control its power properly.  At the young age of sixteen, not long after taking the crown, young Emil Reignhart’s convoy was attacked on its way to visit Castle Alburich, home of Lord Rygard.

No bodies, however, had ever been found.  This attack sparked chaos across the Empire, and the once united nation went to war.  Three leaders rose from the war torn lands, each claiming themselves kings, which, in turn, split the empire into three kingdoms.  After a time, the war reached a stalemate, and a truce was made.  The Kingdom of Rygard rose up to be the most powerful of the human kingdoms.

Carl had lived in Alburich City once, many years ago, when he was a small boy.  His family had lived in poverty, like most of the population.  He didn’t get much of an education; as a guard for the city watch, his father simply couldn’t afford to send him to the city’s academy.  Carl was big for his age, and grew up to be an even bigger man.  Though he might’ve looked intimidating on the outside, he was a gentle, caring person on the inside.  He had a square, plump looking face, with baby blue eyes.  His hair was cropped and brown.  Though Carl might’ve had a boyish looking face, he could be tough when he wanted to.

When Carl was in his late teens and through his early twenties, he worked at a local tavern close to where he lived as a Bruiser.  He would stop people before they could fight within the tavern, or break the fights up.  Sometimes he’d have to throw people out on the cold wet cobblestone outside of the tavern if they wouldn’t take the hint the first time.

While working at the tavern, Carl fell in love with one of the waitresses, Alina, and after many months of dating, they decided to become husband and wife.  Soon after that, they had a baby girl.  At this time, King Nickolas Rygard had issued a royal decree, stating that Alburich City needed many more farmers to support their growing population, and that the kingdom would grant enough material for those interested to start their own farmstead in one of the many hamlets close to Alburich.  Carl and Alina jumped at this chance to start a new life.  They didn’t want to try to raise a baby girl in the crowded, dirty streets of Alburich.  They soon applied for a property a few miles away from the city, and before they knew it, they had begun their new life.

The first few years working as a farmer had worked out nicely.  Every year they grew a crop of corn and tended to a couple dozen chickens.  They’d collect the eggs from the chickens, harvest the corn from their fields, and make their way to the city to sell what they had, keeping some for themselves.  With the money they had gained, they’d buy supplies that would keep them warm and alive for the upcoming winter, and then they’d go back to their farmstead and would get ready for what they always prepared to be a long, hard winter.  They weren’t rich, by any means, but they had each other.  They were a good family.  A happy family. Carl smiled to himself.

Things were different now.  They were still a close-knit family, but something troubled Carl.  It was the crops, and the chickens.  The chickens were still alive and well, but they weren’t laying as many eggs this year.  The corn was growing, but it wasn’t as healthy looking as it should be.  Today was harvesting day, and that made him a bit nervous.  He knew he wouldn’t make much money this year, not from the way his crop was looking now.  Sighing, Carl lumbered over to his beloved work shed for the baskets he used every year to collect the corn.

“Hi Da’e!” a little girl shrieked as he opened up the shed door.  Carl feigned surprised.  His daughter always did this it seemed.  After spooking Carl successfully once before, his daughter, Juliane, had been trying very hard to startle him again.

“Hey sweet-pea!” he laughed, picking up his little girl and whirling her around in the air.  “Are you going to help your Da’ work in the field today?” he asked.  Juliane giggled in reply.  Smiling, he set her down.  “Be a good girl and go ask your mother if she’s got breakfast ready, hmm?”

“Yes Da’,” she said, skipping off towards the house.  She’s getting bigger. Carl laughed to himself, shaking his head.  She was already six years old.  Where did the time go? He worried about her so much.  He was frightful for her every day of her life.  The world was a dark, dangerous place.  Carl wished so much that he could just let her stay young in innocent, to let her always run between the corn fields and harass the chickens.  He wanted to always know that she’d be snug in her bed, waiting for her father to give her a kiss goodnight.  To know that she’ll be there in the morning.

“Mornin’ Carl,” said a familiar voice.  Carl looked up and saw his friend walking to him.  He crossed his arms and leaned back against his shed.

“Mornin’ Dirk,” he said back, waving him over.  Dirk was a skinny, short man.  He owned a farmstead next to theirs.  It made Carl a bit jealous that Dirk’s crops were doing so much better than his were.  He knew he shouldn’t be jealous, and that he should be happy for his friend, but he couldn’t help his instincts.  He wanted what was best for his family.  He wanted to provide the best, and somehow, looking at his shoddy crop, he didn’t think he was doing his job.

“You’ll have a better harvest next year, Carl,“ Dirk said, obviously seeing the disapproving look Carl was giving his corn.  “We all have had our bad harvests.”

“It doesn’t make any sense Dirk.  I’ve been doing the same thing I’ve always done.  It’s the same field, the same seed, I just don’t understand.  I’m worried I won’t make enough money this year to last the winter,” Carl said, taking his basket and walking towards the field, Dirk following close behind.  Dirk didn’t have a reply for Carl instead, he simply fiddled with a loose string on his rags.

“Listen,” Dirk started, “If you want, I can get me and my boys over here after breakfast and help you with your harvest.  We’ve already done it back at our place awhile back.  It won’t be any trouble, just let me go get my kids and I’ll get right back.  What do you say?”

Carl stood silent for a moment.  Yes, because I need help with this plentiful bounty I have before me… He stopped.  Dirk was his friend.  He had taught him a few cultivating tricks.  Dirk had even lent him some food during harsh times, and shared laughs during better.

“I’d really appreciate that, Dirk, thanks,” he said, patting his friend on the back.  Dirk nodded, turning back to where his own farmstead was.  The smell of eggs assailed his nostrils.  Breakfast.

“Da’, breakfast is ready!” he heard his little one shout from across the farm.

“Don’t eat it all before I get there, sweet-pea!” he laughed back.  He paused.  Where did we get eggs? He walked into his house to see his wife Alina setting down wooden plates and utensils down on their crude kitchen table.  The smell of eggs and firewood filled their tiny house.  He lumbered over to Alina, wrapping his arms around her, kissing her cheek.  They didn’t collect too many eggs from their coop yet, he was worried she might’ve used some of theirs to make breakfast.  “Where’d we get the eggs, love?” he asked, trying to sound unworried.  Alina turned to look at him and laughed playfully.

“Don’t you worry hun, Dirk’s wife brought them over this morning while you were out in the yard.  I wouldn’t use our eggs when we’re already so limited,” Alina said, putting some of the eggs on his plate.  Carl smiled.  Feeling relieved, he sat down, kissing his daughter on the forehead.

“I’m sorry for being so paranoid, love,” Carl said, giving his wife an apologetic smile.  He picked up the rough wooden fork, stabbed at the eggs, and stuffed some into his mouth.  “These are good, Alina.”

“Thank you, dear.  After breakfast, are you going to go out there and begin the harvest?”

“Yes.  Dirk and his boys are coming over later to help out, too.”

“Does that mean Eldrick is coming over?” Juliane asked, excitement showing in her eyes.  Carl nodded.  The smile on Juliane’s face grew bigger.  “I’m going to freshen up!” she laughed, getting up from the table.

“You’re going to have to work a bit first, little kernel, before you go running off!” Carl shouted after her.  He turned from watching Juliane and saw Alina with a serious expression on her face.  Carl frowned.  “What’s the matter?”

“Do you think we’ll make enough to last the winter?” she asked, worry spreading across her once calm face.  Carl put on a brave face.

“I think so, hun.  If we don’t make enough, and it is really dire, maybe we can ask Dirk’s family for some help, or move in with my folks.”

Alina shook her head.  “Your folks barely have enough room for themselves, let alone us, and I really don’t want to go back to that city, it is worse during the winter time.  Dirk did have enough harvest this year, maybe-“

“I think you are worrying too much, love.  We’ll be fine.  It’s not like we won’t make any money.  We’ll have something.  We’ll just use our friends for the support we need.  It’s not like they need to devote one hundred percent of their supplies to us,” Carl said, trailing off.

“Just eighty,” Alina added, frowning.  Carl got up out of his chair, walked over to her, and massaged her shoulders.

“It’ll be okay, hun, you’ll see,” he whispered to her.

“How do I look?” Juliane giggled, skipping into the room.  She always had a way with breaking tense moments.  Her hair was neatly combed and she put a small white flower between her ear.  She twirled around the room, arms outstretched, letting her small raggedy dress whip the air.  After a few twirls, she giggled, looking very dizzy.  She held onto her father’s knee to try and balance herself.

“You look lovely, sweetie,” Carl gasped.  He knew she had a small childish crush on Dirk’s youngest son, Eldrick.  They were the best of friends in the small hamlet.  He wondered if it would ever become anything more.  Carl brushed the thought aside; it would be a long time until he had to worry about such things.

“Hey Carl,” Dirk yelled from outside, “the crops aren’t going to harvest themselves!”

Carl sighed gave his wife a kiss on the cheek, and made his way outside.  Juliane rushed passed him and tackled Eldrick to the ground, giggling.  “Fight nice you two,“ Carl said, walking over to the corn field.  He picked up his trusty basket on the way there.  It was getting old and worn after years of hard use.  It was one of the many tools he was given before he headed out to start his new life.  In a odd way, it was sort of his old buddy.  He walked up to the first row of corn.  He tested the crop one last time, puncturing a kernel.  It’s watery, not milky like it should be, and the juice has an odd texture to it.  No going back now I suppose.  I need something to sell. He grabbed the ear of corn and snapped it with a sharp, downward twist, and dropped it in the basket.

With the help of Dirk and his children, harvesting the crop didn’t take long.  They were able to fill up several baskets worth, but that didn’t matter.  Carl picked up a ear of corn, inspecting it.  It didn’t look right at all.  The color of it wasn’t like it should’ve been.  To a person who didn’t spend years of his life messing around with corn, maybe the difference wasn’t that noticeable, but to him, it was.  The color of the kernels was off, but only slightly.  Instead of being a gold-yellow, they were a dull yellow.  He frowned deeply.  What would happen if somebody pointed him out for his bad crop? Would they take away my farm? A dull whimper rose up from the quietness of the evening.  He stood up, alerted.  Juliane!

Carl ran to the source of the noise.  Juliane sat on the ground, hunched up in a ball.  Eldrick stood over her, surprise on his face.  “What happened?” Carl asked, getting on his knees to comfort his daughter.

“We were running around, and she was chasing me, when she tripped on one of the corn stalks,” Eldrick explained, obviously a little scared as to whether or not he would be punished.  Carl relaxed, holding Juliane in his arms.

“Aww, there there honey, it’ll be alright, it’s just a scratch,” Carl said, kissing the scratch on his daughter’s knee.  Juliane only sniffled, looking a tad embarrassed for overreacting to such a small injury.  He scooped her up in his arms and smiled down at Eldrick.  “It’s alright boy, she’ll be fine.  You’re in no trouble.” Eldrick nodded and looked up at Juliane.

“I’m sorry,” he said.  He bent down and picked up the little white flower that had been in her hair, “Don’t forget your flower, Juli,” he said, giving a sheepish smile.  Juliane took the flower out of his hands, blushing slightly.  Eldrick did the same, but turned away after he noticed Carl was grinning at him.  Carl carried his daughter back inside and laid her down on her small bed.  He leaned down and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“Dinner should be ready soon, sweet-pea,” he said, tucking her in.  She smiled at him, snuggling into her pillow.  He kissed her brow and walked out of the room.

“Is she alright?” Alina asked, worried.

“She’ll be fine, she’s a big girl,” Carl said, looking outside.  The sun was just beginning to set now.  It had been a long day of working out in the corn field.  The crop he gathered wasn’t something to be proud of, and the eggs he collected from the chicken coop were less than two dozen.  “What’s for dinner?” he asked.  Hunger was beginning to assail his stomach, and he hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast.

“I thought we could try some of that corn you spent all day picking,” his wife said, smiling.  “If we can eat it, somebody else can.” Carl nodded absently.  He got up from the table and went outside, Alina following behind him.

Carl loved the night time.  The setting sun painted a pretty orange across the horizon, with the shining twinkle of distant stars just above it.  He looked over to where Dirk’s family lived.   A soft gray smoke was rising out of their chimney.  They, too, were probably now having their dinner.  They’re good people.  Lights from Alburich city started to emit a soft glow, creating a new world as an old one rested.

Carl took his wife’s hand as they crossed over to the shed.  The corn had been packed into barrels, ready for transport to the city.  Tomorrow they would go there and sell what they could.  Maybe I’ll buy Juliane a little gift, he decided to himself, something small. He and his wife picked out a few ears of the corn and headed back inside to prepare their meal.  Alina threw a pot of water over the fire and Carl whistled a tune that he remembered back when he used to work in the tavern while he peeled the husks off the ears of corn.

Out of the corner of Carl’s eye, he watched his wife go about her business cleaning and prepping the kitchen for their evening meal.  It seemed like such a short time ago that they had shared that first kiss in the alley just outside of the apartment her house was in.  Her long, curly, black hair mixed was matted from the downpour of the cold snow.  He had held her closely that night, never wanting to let her go.  He could remember how she smiled, the few freckles on her blushed cheeks standing out amongst her pale skin.  He remembered the slight smell of wine on her breath.  The way she clung to him that night made him feel whole for the first time in his life.

“Juliane, dinner is ready!” Alina called, interrupting Carl’s daydreaming.  Juliane limped into the kitchen, rubbing the sleepiness out of her eyes.  I love you. Carl thought to himself with a smile.  He lifted up his little girl and placed her on her chair.  Alina placed a few ears of corn on their plates and sat down across from him, smiling.  This is all I need.  This is all we need.  Each other. Carl took a few bites of his corn.  It tastes so odd… He looked to see if Alina and Juliane tasted it too.  Juliane was spitting it out on her plate, but Alina continued to pick at it.  Suddenly, Alina was grabbing at her stomach, crying out in pain.

“What’s wrong?” Carl asked, quickly getting up out of his chair.  His wife started shaking, she was on her hands and knees now.

“Mommy?” said Juliane, confused.

“Alina, hun, what’s wrong?” he asked again, growing frantic.  She vomited.  “Alina!” he called out to her.  Then it hit him, too.  A gut wrenching pain ripped about his insides, making him collapse on the floor.

“Da’e!” screamed Juliane, tears streaming down her cheeks.  She got on her knees and held her father’s hand.  Carl could feel it; the sudden upheaval of his stomach.  He lurched, spewing out vile liquids everywhere.  He grabbed Juliane’s hand tightly; tears were starting to form in his eyes.  Alina was lying motionless next to him.  Sweet-pea.

Chapter 1 of [Name Pending]

Hello folks. I’ve decided to finally do some more creative writing, and create my own story. Below is the first chapter of it so far. No doubt there will be edits and revisions of it, but so far, this is what I’ve come up with. I’m not sure if I’ll be posting every chapter up here, but only time will tell. I hope you enjoy it. Please offer any feedback you have for me.

Chapter 1

The scream of a newborn echoed through his ears.  Suffocating darkness surrounded him.  A pulse vibrated slowly, seeming to fill his body with newfound life.  The sound of the newborn screaming seemed to die down to only a whisper.  He felt pain.  He felt a loss of a life.  Not his life – someone else’s.  Push through, his instincts seemed to whisper to him.  He moved his arms around only to find that he was constrained.  Try harder. Reaching his hands out, he felt the texture of bark, and wetness.  Where am I? Tiny, vein-like roots seemed to cover his entire body, piercing his skin.  He struggled.  As if in response to being acknowledged, the roots slowly untangled themselves from him.  One by one, it felt as if tiny pinpricks were being pulled out of him.  The life he felt being pulsed into him was no longer there.

A loud snapping noise echoed around him, followed by a slow, tired groan.  A crack formed in front of him, letting a bright light into the small alcove he was in.  Daylight.  His mind seemed to tell him.  Have I ever seen something like this before? He did not exactly remember, but it seemed familiar to him.  He reached his hand through the crack and gripped the rough edges and pulled, ripping away pieces of bark until there was enough space to walk through.  Uncertain of what to expect, he walked out into the daylight.  Dizziness struck him hard.  His vision began to blur, and the scream of the newborn ripped through him once again…

“Another one has died, Arthnarin,” a tall robed man said, scowling.  The one named Arthnarin looked up from his scrolls and gave a troubled sigh.  They are Ambrosai, like you. “The Blodwyn’s antidote has obviously failed us.  Alchemy was never the answer.  We should’ve let nature run its course, but you had to step in, it’s our turn now.”

The warm sun washed over his naked body.  What was that?  Who were those men? He stood warily, breathing in the fresh air for the first time.  Turning around, he eyed what he had been held up inside of.  Heul Tree, his mind seemed to tell him.  The tree was a pristine white, with leaves of the same color to match it.  The beauty of it took him aback.  The trunk of the tree was fairly wide, obviously wide enough to entomb a person such as himself.  The tree towered over him, but it was far from ominous.  The wind washed over it, making the swaying branches and the rustling leaves seem to say, “hello, and welcome back,” to him.

What is this place? Tall trees surrounded the glade.  They almost looked like the Heul tree, except for the fact that their bark was a light brown, their leaves a crisp green.  He would’ve almost felt alone if it weren’t for the chirping of a few birds.  Once in awhile, he would catch a glimpse of a small critter scurrying from tree to tree, but never once entering the glade.  He was in no danger here, he decided.  For the first time since coming out of the tree, he felt at ease in this newfound sanctuary of his.

Confusion still prodded his mind, however.  Grass tickled at his bare skin as he sat down.  Everything seemed so familiar, but he couldn’t put his finger on why.  He had no personal memories at all except for waking up inside of a tree.  He thought back to his vision and sighed.  He hadn’t moved far from the Heul.  The sun was just beginning to set now, casting a yellowish tint on everything around him.  Knowledge about the world was slowly coming to him, but the answers he sought were not coming quick enough.  Closing his eyes, he tried to think about what his purpose was, and the same feelings that had hit him before his vision last time hit him again, but this time he was prepared…

The Ambrosai named Arthnarin now stood over a female Ambrosai corpse.  Arthnarin loomed over the corpse, inspecting it.   He frowned deeply, furrowing his brow.  His hair was long, black and silky, matching his black fingernails.  He had long, almost lanky arms, and stood around six feet tall.  He was shorter compared to others in the room.  His eyes were a bright teal that seemed to dissect the corpse before him, as if an answer was hidden there – something that would give him the clues he needed.   A small newborn, also lifeless, lay next to its mother.

“This antidote was supposed to preserve life, not take it,” Arthnarin said solemnly.  He rubbed his tired eyes and cast a quick glance at the man standing next to him.

“The Gwlledig have asked the Conclave for the Blodwyn to hand over the operation.  You have made the matter worse.  Yes, not intentionally, but it is obvious that this has spiraled out of control.  The Gwlledig will find a way to preserve as much as they can,” the man whispered, frowning at the bodies that lay before them.

“Druids,” Arthnarin mumbled, and then sighed, almost as if in defeat.  “Very well, Gyrnon, tell the Conclave that the druids are more than welcome to lend a helping hand.  Also, send the Conclave my apologies, this is my fault.”

“Nobody foresaw this, my friend.  You were only trying to do what was best for your people,” Gyrnon said, his tone soft and forgiving.  Then, in an instant, it changed, “Though, you have damned our race,” it was harsh now… darker, “that’s not something many of our people take lightly,” he paused.  “There is one way, however, that you will be able to repay the debt you owe.”

Arthnarin’s once calm, pale face now had a red complexion to it.  “And what would that be?” he asked, barely containing his composure.

The druid laughed.  “I will tell you all you need to know in due time, my friend.”

The dimly lit room faded away, reality replacing it.  It was night now.  The stars twinkled above, casting an eerie white light into the small glade.  The vision had left him with more questions than answers .  Sure, he had found out who the robed figure in the first vision’s name was, but that wasn’t of much importance to him at the moment.

He looked over toward the Heul tree.  It stood out at night, being the only tree of its kind, at least nearby.  The white tree seemed to drink in the twilight and act as a sort of beacon of hope in the pitch black of the night.  He stood up and walked over to the tree and put his hand on it.  He ran his fingers over the smooth, yet strong bark.  The crack that had allowed him freedom had somehow healed now.

“Who am I?” he desperately pleaded to the tree.  As if in response, the part of the tree where his hand rested became warmer.

“You are Caemgen, first of the Ysdeinol,” a voice said.  Surprise spread across Caemgen’s face.  Had the tree responded to his question?  The spot where his hand rested grew warmer.  He felt the slightest touch of life tickle his finger tips.  The feeling was similar to the one he had first felt when he was inside the tree, but it was not as powerful.  “You must have many questions, Caemgen.  Some of them you will learn for yourself soon enough,” the voice continued.  Caemgen waited for the voice to say more, but it did not.  He opened his mouth to ask a question, but before he could ask, the once comfortable warmth turned into a blazing hotness.  He screamed out in pain, unable to remove his hand.  “First, there is more that you must see.” Instead of his vision blurring and a newborn screaming, like he expected, his vision seemed to intensify, as if the sun was directly in front of him.  His sense of touch, smell, and hearing was enhanced dramatically.  He could smell the dew on the grass, feel each individual bead of sweat forming on his cold skin, and hear a leaf from a nearby tree be swept away in the night time breeze.  Just as quickly as it came, it had left him.  The shock of all the enhanced senses being stolen from him threw him to the ground trembling.  It was quiet now.  A slow darkness engulfed him…

Caemgen opened his eyes, standing in a large antechamber made of marble.  Everything was a pristine white.  Vines of ivy crept along the walls as if trying strangling them.  Large marble braziers marked the entrance of another room which he assumed, upon entering it, was a place of power.  Like the rest of his surroundings, it too was made of the white pristine marble.  The room was a shaped in a circle, and there were seats that went around the room.  In a part of the circle, the seats were raised and cushioned, perhaps for people of greater power than the others who would sit here.  There was a circular hole in the roof, letting the sun amplify the white marble.  Directly below the opening was something that he did not expect to find here.  A Heul tree. The whiteness of it blended it in with its surroundings perfectly.  It was smaller than the one he was familiar with – perhaps only a few years old.

The sound of footsteps echoed in the distance.  Caemgen stood there, frightened, not knowing what exactly to expect.  The footsteps grew louder, and the amount of them started to multiply.  White robed figures entered the room from the left side, black robed on the right, and five entered from an entrance oppose of where Caemgen stood, wearing robes of red with a green cloak wrapped around them.  Caemgen was ignored.  These were Ambrosai.  Like the ones he had seen in his previous visions, they were very tall, with long, lanky arms.  The silky hair on some of them went down to their waists.  The Ambrosai carried themselves with pride and dignity, and they had an air of wisdom about them that was indescribable.  A quiet murmur danced across the marble floors as they took their seats.  One of the red robed figures sitting in the high chairs cleared his throat, silencing any chatter that was left.

“The Conclave is now in order,” said the Ambrosai who had cleared his throat.  He was standing now, gazing across at the attendants.  The figures robed in black would not meet his gaze.  One of them was Arthnarin.  On the opposite side of the circle, he assumed, was Gyrnon.  “Today we discuss the failure of the Blodwyn.  It has become clear that the alchemy order has lost control of the situation, and that the Gwlledig, the druidic order, will now step in to save and preserve what they can.”  The Blodwyn representatives bowed their hands in shame while the Gwlledig glared at them from the opposite side of the circle.

“The services and lives of the Blodwyn are in the hands of the Gwlledig, Iau Kai,” Arthnarin said, standing up.

“Does the Gwlledig accept the services and lives of the Blodwyn?” Iau Kai said, sitting back down in his high chair.  Gyrnon walked to where Arthnarin was standing and extended his hand, speaking loudly, “The Gwlledig do accept the lives of the Blodwyn, however, Iau Kai, you can rest assured knowing that we will not be using their services.  We have all seen what little good that has done for us.”  The white robed figures behind him nodded in agreement behind him.  Arthnarin bristled.

“There was no way we could have known this would happen!” He shouted, “We were only trying to increase the life expectancy of our loved ones.  Yes, it is us to blame, but do not damn us.  We have done many great things for our people, never forget that.”

“That is enough, Arthnarin,” Iau Kai shouted across the large marble court.  “This is not how we conduct ourselves in this Conclave.  Seal the offer.  Take Gyrnon’s hand, or your order will be banished from our society.  I am sorry to offer such black and white choices, but the circumstances are dire.”  The room stood eerily quiet.  All eyes were on Arthnarin, anxiously awaiting his decision.

“I am sorry, Iau Kai, for my outburst,” Arthnarin said slowly.  He took Gyrnon’s hand and embraced him.  “As long as you save our people, Gyrnon, I, as well as the rest of the Blodwyn, are at your command.”

The noise of the ceremony and the sight of the grand marble walls seemed to fade away around Caemgen.  He was lying beneath the Heul tree, head throbbing from the fall he had taken.  Everything in his body ached.  He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath of the fresh night air.  The grass beneath him tickled his back.  He wasn’t sure, but it felt as if they too were giving him their life, like the tree had.  He stared above at the Heul tree.  A gust of wind swept through the branches.  “Sleep now,” it seemed to say.  The grass beneath him offered a gentle warmth that wasn’t there before.  Slowly, listening to the gentle rustle of the leaves that were above him, he closed his eyes, letting sleep take him.

The warmth of the sun upon Caemgen’s face was the first thing that welcomed his new day.  Oddly for him, his sleep was a dreamless one.  With all of his intense visions the previous day, he had expected them to continue on and off throughout the night.  He tried to put together everything he knew so far.  He was born from a tree, or at least, that’s what he thought had happened.  He was also a fully grown man.  Something about that didn’t seem right, either, thinking back to the lifeless newborn in his visions.  The Ambrosai had run into some kind of dire problem caused by a group called the Blodwyn, an order of his race dedicated to the study of alchemy.  However, the Blodwyn were only trying to help solve another problem, but only ended up worsening it.  Another group of the Ambrosai society, called the Gwlledig, were pushing the blame on the Blodwyn in order to take control of the situation, having the Conclave give them the permission they needed.  Caemgen could only guess that the Conclave was a higher part of their government.

Somehow Caemgen was all tied to this, but he wasn’t exactly sure how.  He seemed tall, but he didn’t have anything to compare his height to.  His skin was pale, but perhaps that was something that was very common.  He reached up and ran his fingers through his hair.  It was smooth, silky, and long.  He pulled on a strand of it and looked at the color.  White. His fingernails matched the color of his hair.  So far, he seemed to be exactly like the Ambrosai from his visions.   But then why did the Heul tree call me a Ysdeinol?

Caemgen stood up and looked at the giant white tree.  It was so peaceful, but on the inside, it held some truly magnificent power.  Or maybe that is something else that is common? He didn’t know.  He had never ventured out of his sanctuary.  Part of him wanted to set forth out into the endless woods around him, but the other part of him was reluctant.  He had no idea what to expect, where to go, or what he should try to do.  He had a purpose; he just had to find out what it was.

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