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Thread: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter XI.1

  1. #1

    Default Words of the Forgotten | Chapter XI.1


    by Admiral Van Tromp


    A struggling old exile clings to his past.
    A desperate young writer searches for his future.
    Will they find answers in each other?



    Foreword

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    This is the second story I write for TWC that is set in the fictional world I've been working on for seven years now. In the still unfinished The Tale of the White Leopard , I tried to write about a region far from those I had developed the most at that time. The chronology, however, was quite close to that of the main storylines I have planned (the main character, Silander, even appears in some of them).

    Words of the Forgotten is set in the regions of the world I have spent the most time on but it takes place almost 250 years before the main timeline. For those who have read the The Tale of the White Leopard, that means that you may find some references to places and cultures you already know, but the setting will be mostly foreign.

    It is important to state that, both in the realm of the development of this world and my free time, this project is quite secondary. It serves mainly as a motivation to deepen the lore behind some factions and locations and was put togheter as a mix of some ideas and themes I've been wanting to explore in a fiction work. As such, the upload schedule will be even more erratic than that of Tale of the White Leopard. Also, English is not my first languange, so I apologise for the mistakes you will most certainly find.

    The story is quite close to my heart and I hope you will find it enjoyable.


    Index

    Prologue
    Part I
    Part II

    Book I
    Helerion's Choice

    Chapter I
    Chapter II
    Chapter III
    Chapter IV
    Chapter V
    Interlude I
    Chapter VI
    Chapter VII
    Chapter VIII
    Chapter IX
    Chapter X
    Chapter XI.1


  2. #2

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten



    Introduction

    Words of the Forgotten is set in the world of Bitenis, as it is called in Western Auracia, the region where most of the action takes place. When the story begins, the global geopolitical landscape is suffering momentous changes, as crippled giants struggle against new realities and old enemies.

    When Radalar starts his journey, the world's greatest power is the Efarid Empire. Despite its size and might, it is being devoured by inefficient government, religious turmoil and economic chaos, all dragging it into a deep, unrelenting crisis. Inside the empire’s central dominions, the corruption of the officers, idleness of the elite and misery of the poor leave the Imperial Government with its hands tied as taxation revenues, military recruitment and local authority dwindle. The breaches opened are quickly taken advantage of by bandits, smugglers, pirates, rebels and, most dangerously, heretics. The roads, rivers and shorelines are unsafe, the tariffs and tolls are left unpaid, remote regions virtually secede from imperial authority and, even in the central cities, irate preachers (frequently paid their weight in gold by those interested in causing chaos) spread subversive messages.

    In the peripheries, the internal problems grow to new, worrying proportions. In the North, the Haturite and Darsan nobilities grow restless with each new generation less willing to pay tribute. In the East, the old status-quo that the alliance with the Seng Dominions guaranteed is faltering as lavish city-states and upstart regional powers wrestle the two empires for supremacy. In the south, the Boese kingdoms grow tired of contempt and abuse, threatening to close their slave markets and gold mines to Efarid trade. In the West, the long overdue completion of the conquest of the Palatian Empire seems more difficult than ever as its successor states and their allies gain momentum. The loss of Imerria to the Aspian kings, combined with the ambitions of Lassaralia and other kingdoms, threaten to roll back the lighting advance that had nearly finished off the Palatians four hundred years before.


    More coming soon...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    Prologue

    Part I
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “Your excellency” stuffed in a monk’s black habit[1], the pale remains of a man called him from the doorway. “Your guest has arrived. He is being shown to his room.”

    “Thank you, brother Cassidas.” Radalar muttered hoarsely, barely taking his eyes from the window. “Have him brought to me when he’s ready.”

    “As you wish, excellency.”

    Cassidas didn´t move and Radalar looked at him. His mouth was trembling. The monk failed to muster the courage needed to speak his mind. After all, it was almost sinful to worry his mind and that of others with trifles. But, like most sins, it seemed to be proving itself irresistible. The uncertainty on his eyes and his hunched fragile body gave him a rather pathetic look. The look of an old fool.

    “What is it, brother?” Radalar asked, immovable on his warm wooden armchair.

    “Well,” Cassidas started, shaking his head and shrugging his twisted shoulders. “He is quite a character, that guest of yours. He speaks too much. And he does it loudly and always to complain about useless worldly matters! He walked into this monastery – a house of God and his servants – like he is the emperor himself… And dressed like an Efarid[2] concubine!”

    “And how would you know how an Efarid concubine dresses like, brother?”

    The monk froze, trying to mumble an answer. Radalar smirked.

    “Leave my guest to me.” he ordered. “Isn’t it almost time for your midday prayers?”

    Cassidas left with ire-filled eyes, rambling to himself something about blasphemers and apostates.

    Radalar sighed and turned his attention to the window. The first snows had fallen two days before, and the landscape was already covered in white. Just below him, the clay tiles of the monastery’s roofs were coated in frost. Beyond them, the silvery meadows ran as far as the eye could see. As a handful of monks lead mules packed with firewood through a slippery stone path, the leafless branches of half a dozen trees fought the cool wind.

    The cold was chewing Radalar to the bones. The hearth and thick stone walls weren’t enough to keep his joints from the bitter onslaught. These highland winters were letting his years catch up to him.

    Downstairs, the monks chanted about holy rejuvenation in the cloister.

    The fireplace could use another log. Radalar thought he should call Cassidas. He opened his mouth to do it but cursed himself instead. He couldn’t give way to such weakness.

    “Come on, can’t you even stoke a fire anymore?” he thought.

    Radalar looked at the cane leaning against his armchair. Just seeing it made shrug. What he hated the most about it was its frivolousness. It had been left to the monastery in the will of some heirless landlord who saw fit to use this ultimate symbol of his own body’s downfall to show off his wealth. It had an ivory handle sculpted into the shape of a monkey’s head. Just below it, four rubies were encrusted into a polished iron ring that united the ape’s head to its long, Oracaná wood[3] body.

    Of course, when Radalar’s hips and knees started to betray him, the monks saw fit to lend the damned thing to him, insisting that a mere sturdy twig wouldn’t suffice. Out of all enemies he had ever faced, his legs and that pompous stick were proving the most skilled at destroying him.

    Radalar grabbed the pearly monkey head and gathered his strength. Gripping the ivory hard enough to make his hand’s veins pop, he lifted himself.

    His legs shook desperately under a weight they couldn’t carry anymore. His back muscles couldn’t bare the tension, hurting excruciatingly. The entire body begged for the safety and warmth of the chair. “Hang on!”, he whispered. “Just one step!”

    He managed to drag the right foot forward. “That’s it. One at the time.”

    It was the left foot’s turn. Radalar’s face contorted, his teeth gridding in despair. It was as if the ankle and the knee were made of stone. He pushed himself, struggling so hard he could feel drool roll down his chin.

    His chest stopped him in his tracks. The unquenchable itch inside his decrepit lungs suffocated him and had him cough uncontrollably. He fell back, finding himself seated on the chair’s arm.

    Radalar muffled his coughing as best as he could, refusing to call someone’s attention and letting himself be seen in that state.

    When the bronchi gave him some respite, Radalar opened his teary eyes and saw his reflection in a tall old mirror that sat atop the chest where his clothes were stored.

    The little hair he had was whiter than snow. His beard still had black patches, around which soup stains dotted the grizzly bristles. Even his eyes, once brown and dark, were now greyer and void of any joy or life. The wrinkles on his face dug deep, marking an expression of continuous sorrow.

    He saw the pale remains of a man stuffed in a woollen black garment. His mouth trembled, drooling, as he failed to muster the courage to face his reality. It was delusional. But, like most delusions, it seemed to be proving itself vital. The fear on his eyes and his useless feeble body gave him a rather pathetic look. The look of an old fool.

    He wept like a boy.

    ***

    There were steps and voices closing in on the door. Radalar slid into the seat as fast as he could and dried his tears.

    “Be considerate of where you are…”

    “I fully understand where I am, thank you brother.”

    “My dear… erhm… hmm… fellow! You are walking through hallowed ground! You…wait! What are you doing? Wait!”

    The door opened wide and a storm of color barged into the freezing grey room. A stench of perfume chased away the smell of dust and burned Radalar’s nostrils.

    “Your excellency!” The colourful figure took off a black hat with a white plum, revealing short blond curls and offering a flowery bow.

    He arose. A young man, not even twenty-five yet. His piercing silver-blue eyes met Radalar’s. They had the sleepy joy of a bohemian youth: baggy, but shining with satisfaction and rash wit. Below them, a wide courteous smile seemed to be half-flattering, half-chastising. His pale skin was slightly sunburnt and, below the high cheekbones and upturned nose, sparse light hairs tried to form a beard.

    “Who do you think you are?” Cassidas was livid. “His excellency can’t be disturbed without notice! You should have waited outside for me to announce you!”

    “Leave him be, brother!” Radalar scoffed. “This isn’t the damned throne room.”

    The monk’s jaw dropped and the young man looked at him mockingly.

    “Please,” said Radalar. “Leave us.”

    The monk left him alone with the boy. He took a while examining the newcomer’s striking wardrobe. He had a rich gold-red doublet with sleeves to match. Above them, he wore a flowery black and blue coat stuffed with ermine fur. The doublet ended long before the knees and a tight white padded hose covered the rest of his legs. Made of black fur and decorated with white tufts, the shoes matched the hat.

    The most striking of features was, however, the quite prominent codpiece.

    “So,” Radalar started. “You must be Temerior Ianas.”

    “Yes, excellency, that’s me.” said the young man. “Nice cane you have there.”

    Radalar clenched his fist in an effort to ignore the compliment.

    Bedarikor[4] Lomasas tells me you are quite a capable writer.” he said. “But I haven’t had the opportunity of reading any of your work.”

    “Well, I don’t have anything published.” said Temerior.

    “Have you brought any manuscripts I can read?”

    “Alas, I haven’t. It was a long journey and I already had a lot of luggage.”

    Radalar put his palm on his face.

    “It’s quite cold.” Temerior was shaking. “Do you mind if I call the monk and tell him to stoke the fire?”

    “Can´t you do it yourself?” asked Radalar.

    Temerior looked at him clueless. He started towards the fire and struggled to bend over the log pile. Radalar could hear the tight doublet creaking. The boy took one of the logs and threw it into the fire. Then, he grabbed the poker and the tongs and fooled around with them clumsily.

    Radalar enjoyed watching the inept soft youngster struggling at what he failed to do himself earlier.

    “Who are you, exactly?” he ended up asking. “The bedarikor didn’t even mention what you study and which degree you are in.”

    “I’m the son of Faradas Ianas. He’s one of the few merchants that is allowed to sail pepper in from Kirdania[5]. He has a mansion near the Hill of the Oath[6]. As for the studying, well… at the moment I don’t study anything.”

    “How so? Have you finished?”

    “Not exactly.” Temerior looked at the fire, avoiding Radalar’s stare. “I’ve abandoned the University of Liontas[7] while I was on my second degree of Letters. I haven’t studied since.”

    Radalar’s head sunk into his palm once more.

    “You have a great library here.” the boy changed the subject, looking at the bookcases that covered most of the walls. “I see a lot of chronicles, memoirs, treatises. It’s all ancient, though, nothing from the last few hundred years. You even have some of the old philosophers, very good…”

    Radalar wondered how he could sound so confident, even arrogant, after essentially telling him that he was wasting his time. Why was it his business that he didn't read contemporary trash?

    “No poetry at all.” Temerior shrugged his shoulders. “But I could have guessed that.”

    “Listen, boy!” he lost his patience. “Tell me right now why on good’s good creation you were sent here! To mock me?”

    The young man trembled, looking at Radalar with wide eyes. An uneasy silence invaded the room. The monks were still singing.

    “I was sent here as a last chance.” he mumbled nervously.

    “Excuse me?”

    “Look” Temerior sat on a big chest next to Radalar’s chair. “I was expelled from Liontas for bad behaviour, alright? I had a some tough nights, problems with women, you know how it is…”

    “No, no. I don’t know. Bedarikor Lomasas is an old friend of mine! How could he do this to me? I write him the most courteous of letters explaining my situation. I tell him I need to get my memories written before I die but I’m too weak to do it myself and he sends you? I tell him to search for a decent student or lector because I won’t have a monk scribble away some monotonous waste of paper and ink. He figures I’m asking for a drunk child? Is that it?”

    “Your excellency, I don’t know-”

    “Ah! Now, it’s your excellency!” Radalar was furious. “You barge in here, laugh at my expense and then…”

    He stopped and the boy looked at him, confused. Then, he started laughing hoarsely and coughing.

    “I know it.” he said between cackles. “Who would have guessed it? I never thought I’d live to see the day… So much for the great incorruptible Lomasas! Your father bribed him, didn’t he?”

    “How dare you?” Temerior got up on his feet with his lips pressed like a toddler about to throw a tantrum.

    “How dare I?” Radalar pointed his finger at Temerior. “How come you were sent here, then, hum?”

    “Like I said. The bedarikor told me this was my last chance.” he threw his hands down. “Look, I don’t really know who you are, excellency but-”

    “Wait, what?” Radalar stopped him.

    Cassidas appeared at the door. “What’s going on in here? Is this man disrespecting you, excellency?”

    “Cassidas, did anyone call for you?” Radalar shooed him with his hand. “Leave us alone, at once!”

    “Yes, you heard him!” Temerior added as the monk closed the door behind himself, rambling as usual.

    There was a moment of silence before Radalar broke it.

    “Did you just say you don’t know who I am?”

    “It wasn’t my intention to offend you.” the boy sat back down. “The bedarikor told me your memoirs were a test. If I made something decent out of them and promised to behave myself, he’d get me back into Liontas.”

    Radalar was intrigued.

    “I’m going to be honest.” Temerior continued. “I do need this last chance. And the bedarikor knows it, alright? What does he do? He sends me to write the memoirs of some obscure chancellor who retired to a monastery on the Imerrian[8] highlands. Again, I don’t mean to offend you. But I’m not sure you’re the one being mocked here.”

    Silence, again. They both stared at the dusty stone floor, watching the orange glow from the hearth dancing with the shadows.

    “Do you have any idea of wha has been going on in the last century?” Radalar asked.

    “I beg your pardon?”

    “The War of the Holy Restoration? The rise of the Third Empire?”

    “Yes, of course, everyone knows about that.” Temerior nodded. “I studied all of it, in fact. I’ve read all the chronicles from the last decades.”

    “And you don’t know who Radalar Voladas is?”

    “Well, I know what’s in the chronicles.”

    “You do?” Radalar smirked. “Well, enlighten me.”

    “You were the chancellor for some time and fought in the holy war. But after the first couple of years of the Restorarion, you kind of disappeared. Not that there’s a lot about you before that.”

    Radalar didn’t know what to feel. He couldn’t deny he was surprised and hurt, but deep down he always had the feeling it was like this. Deep down, the knowledge of that was what kept him from being “interested” in reading recent books. After all, even in the classics, he could trace the footsteps of those forgotten in the shadows of the remembered.

    “Does your excellency want me to leave?” at last, a tenuous sliver of humility appeared to shine through Temerior’s eyes.

    “No, you won’t do such a thing.” Radalar searched his pockets and grabbed a small key. He pointed to a chest near the fireplace. “You will bring that to me and then you will get your writing materials. We will start at once.”

    “What? What made you change your mind?”

    “Lomasas isn’t mocking us. He’s saving us. Saving my past and your future!”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You will understand, don’t worry.” Radalar said, smiling in contentment. “You just have to promise me one thing.”

    “What?”

    “I’m about to entrust you with this task of utmost importance without having any idea of how well you actually write. That’s because I trust Lomasas. Do you trust him?”

    “Well, hum… I do, yes.”

    “Then you must believe he didn’t send you here on a fool’s errand: that what I am about to tell you is the truth. I don’t know what they are writing in their books and lecturing in their halls. Most likely, it’ll be quite different from what you’ll hear from me. But I need you to believe me. Can you do that?”

    Temerior was baffled.

    “Sure…”


    [1] The Order of the Holy Black Habit is one of the several monastic orders of the Aidemist Sada (Church). They are the oldest order, initially responsible for the settling and conversion of remote rural areas. Despite being one of the strictest orders, they are open to men and women. The monasteries themselves are divided by sex and encourage life in seclusion and prayer. However, the Order’s familiars, who live around the monks and work for them, take very open vows that allow them to marry and have children. It is also a custom for notable figures who fall into disgrace or simply want a serene end to their lives to spend their last years living in a Black Habit monastery.

    [2] Efa is the capital city of an Empire. Those who are born in both are known as Efarids.

    [3] Dark, sturdy, rich wood from the massive Oracaná rainforest overseas.

    [4] The clergyman in charge of an Univeristy.

    [5] A peninsula in the center of the continent of Lossa.

    [6] An important landmark in the city of Palas.

    [7] The oldest and most prestigious university in the continent of Auracia.

    [8] A wealthy region in the western side of the continent of Auracia.


  4. #4
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    Great start! I can see the benefit of the work which you have done in creating this world. I enjoyed Radalar's sharp replies to the critical and officious behaviour of Cassidas.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    Thank you for reading Alwyn! Glad that the world building behind this is noticeable. I hope you'll continue to enjoy Radalar's wit.

    I've added portraits of Radalar and Temerior to the first post. Part II of the Prologue is halfway done and I'll try to post it during the week.

  6. #6
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    I did like the portraits. Are they your own work or clips from the internet?

    I also like the idea of using the footnotes to give some depth to the story without bogging down the story itself. I may steal a bit of your technique when I start posting an AAR.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    Thanks for stopping by NorseThing.

    The portraits are my own work. Sketches like these are quite quick to draw and I'm considering doing more portraits to illustrate a character list I'm planning to add to the first post.

    Footnotes are great, but I only use them for adding side details. I try to make sure that the reader can fully understand references inside the main text without having to look through the notes. In due time, a glossary might be needed to centralize the whole thing. But yes, I bet they would work great with an AAR.

  8. #8
    NorseThing's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    If they are your own work, how about a bit of credit on the pic? Not that you would be bragging, but give the credit to yourself. You have earned it!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten

    Prologue

    Part II
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Temerior groaned when he lifted the heavy chest. When he got close to Radalar’s armchair, he placed it at his feet.

    The only thing rustier than the key were the hinges. As Radalar lifted the old lid, a cacophony of shrieks filled the room. When the inside was revealed, a cloud of dust emerged. Below it, dozens of old tomes laid in piles. Between the leather and wooden covers, stray parchments rotted. Some were bitten. “Damned bugs!”

    Temerior looked inside with apprehension. Radalar figured he was thinking he had his work cut out for him.

    “Few were the days of my adult life in which I didn’t sit down and write before falling asleep.”

    The boy scratched his chin.

    “It was a ritual.” Radalar added. “It kept the mind busy. Healthy! Useful thoughts survived the passing of the weeks. Impractical and harmful worries were destroyed by daily reflection.”

    “What in god’s good grace is this rattle?” Cassidas reappeared, staring wide-eyed at the bowels of the opened container.

    “Ah, brother!” said Radalar. “I was just about to call you.”

    “What is it, your excellency?” the monk asked, still eying the dusty books.

    “This isn’t enough.” announced Radarlar before taking a handful of additional keys from his pockets. “I need you to fetch the rest of my belongings.”

    “All of them?”

    “Well, there should be around ten more of these.” Radalar pointed at the open chest and gave Cassidas a most serious look. “I want them all here, now.”

    The monk nodded nervously. Temerior stood still, fixated on the terrifying density of sources for his work.

    “Why are you still here?” Radalar asked him. “You should be getting your writing materials. And you’re going to need a table and a proper seat. Find the slosabas[1] and take what you need. Have Cassidas go with you.”

    ***

    It took the monks a good while to haul everything up the narrow stairways and into Radalar’s quarters.

    “Leave that one on top of the bed.” ordered Radalar, as the last heavy chest crossed the door, held by three monks. “I’ll sleep on my chair.”

    “But, excellency” mumbled Cassidas. “Your back…”

    “Oh, cut it, brother.” he looked around, making sure all he asked for had been brought up. “Good work. Now, leave me alone with the boy.”

    The small room was absolutely overflowing. Temerior’s desk was in front of Radalar’s chair, leaving them sitting opposite of each other. Hunched over the wooden table, with his seat crammed against the wall, the boy could barely get up and sit down. Around them, the chests piled up on top of each other. Only the top half of the bookcases was visible among the chaos. The tide of dust could be smelled even through Temerior’s strong perfume.

    “Let us begin.” Radalar decided.

    Temerior wetted his quill in black ink and waited.

    “I was born in the Kingdom of Lassaralia in the 387th year of the Efarid Conquest.[2]”

    “Of the Aspian Interregnum, you mean.” Temerior raised his eyebrows.

    “What?”

    “The Age of the Efarid Conquest has been out of use for almost twenty years now, excellency. It’s not just a whim of the chancellery or the chroniclers. It’s an Imperial Decree and the fine for going against it is far from cheap.”

    Radalar chuckled.

    “Well then: I was born in the 387th year of the Aspian Interregnum in Lassaralia.[3] That’s a curious renaming. Do you have any idea of how the world in which I was born worked? Of the state in which the Aspian Kingdom was?”

    “I don’t get why you’re so surprised that the victors renamed the ages to what best suits them.”

    “Well, I had just never heard it before.”

    “Can we move on?”

    Radalar sighed and proceeded.



    “I have no recollection of my father. He was called Ivasad Voladas and I know he was a sergeant in the army of the County of Mamerron[4]. It was he who decided to name me Radalar, after a great uncle of his who’d been knighted for defeating some famous rider in a tourney.

    There’s little more I can say about him. He left Mamerron when I was two or three years old and never came back. I don’t even remember why he did it, neither did I see him leave myself – I always took my family’s word for it.

    My mother was the only daughter of a farmer that worked the count’s land and had a small parcel of his own. I was raised there, in a small wooden cottage. I can still see its falling culm roof and rotting old planks.”



    Temerior never lifted his eyes from the parchment but Radalar could feel his desperation. He was caught between boredom and awkwardness.



    “My first memory of my mother is also the last. She was dying on a hay mattress close to a window. That strong summer light of the West made everything white – her head and her hands… the grimy covers, the filthy floor… There were pink flowers on the parapet. That’s the only image I have of the whole thing. I don’t recall if I kissed her, hugged her or if I cried in her lap.”



    “I thought these were political memoirs.” The boy finally interrupted. “I mean no disrespect, excellency, but does that scene really have a place in them?”

    “They are political, yes.” Radalar answered, serenely. “Didn’t Peridas I[5] describe his mother’s death bed? Just because mine’s wasn’t covered in impeccable sheets, gold and piles of incense or surrounded by a regiment of physicians and an army of mourners, it doesn’t make it less relevant. I want the reader to know where I came from. To know that my mother died in the same sty in which she birthed and raised me. That should be stated clearly.”

    Radalar pressed on, as if the boy’s hand was his and didn’t belong to someone who would judge every word uttered. Lomasas must have known what he was doing when he sent him. It was a leap of faith.



    “I had an older brother, of whom I have little memory and whose name fails me. As the eldest, he inherited the ancient patch of land, the hens, the pigs: everything. Such was the law in the County of Mamerron. My father’s father, Hanrad, came to get me. He had a big nose and, although he had a lot of wrinkles, his hair was still almost completely black.

    Normally, he’d take me to a monastery just like this one, to live a long life of celibacy, chanting, prayer and love for our good lord. Turns out the good lord wasn’t interested in my steadfast and continuous love. Old Hanrad was one of the count’s most esteemed servants and had just received a most honourable task.

    The count had just betrothed his daughter, Sibil of Mamerron, to Redissas of Lilanor[6], a young Aspian noble. The kingdoms were in good terms and it was very common to Lassaralian noblewomen to marry across the border and vice versa. Even so, it was a great match, very prestigious. The dowry must have been enormous.

    In any case, my grandfather was tasked with accompanying Sibil’s retinue to Lilanor. The count’s youngest son would also accompany his sister, but he’d leave after the wedding. Hanrad would stay in Aspia and help the girl with whatever her maids couldn’t.

    Given my misfortune, my grandfather decided to take me with him as his page. He gave me a short dagger, a small donkey, a spiffing green jacket, and a hat with a pheasant feather. A pair of boots, too. Made of leather and very durable. I remember wearing them until my feet grew enough to make them hurt.

    We left on a clear morning, It’s like I’m seeing it now. The roof of the cottage disappearing over the hills as we rode through the muddy road to Mamerron. I was only seven.

    Sibil’s cortege left shortly after. It was decided that we should follow the ancient cobbled road that went Southeast through the coast to avoid submitting the women and children to the mountainous paths. For weeks, we led the girl’s carriage through sheep-filled meadows, always in sight of the sea. I had never seen it and was awed by it. I loved how blue it was, how it seemed infinite. For many nights, I fell asleep to the sound of the waves.

    One day, the princess asked to eat by the sea and we made camp in a small beach. Soon, I was diving beneath the waves with the other pages and some of the younger maids and soldiers.”



    Radalar reached for one of the lockers that had been fetched by the monks and opened it. Among the books and other memorabilia, there was a big white conch. He took it out and showed it to Temerior.

    “My grandfather gave this to me that day.” Radalar couldn’t avoid a big smile. “He said it would allow me to listen to the waves wherever I was. It’s amazing that I still have it after all this time. For many years I didn’t even remember it existed...”

    “Mhm.” Temerior forced a mild grin.



    “We crossed the border with Aspia at Kaiar Ilafas.[7] Remember that until my grandfather took me from home, I’d never traveled more than a day’s journey from it. Now I was leaving Lassaralia itself.

    Everything was different in Aspia. The language, the people, the clothes. But mainly the landscape.

    Lassaralia is green, covered in well-kept woods, flowery meadows, trimmed vines, colourful orchards, and orderly fields of wheat and barley. Many castles and cities, forgetful of the hardships of war, have opened themselves to light, luxury and comfort.

    Aspia, on the other hand, has an austere and untamed wild nature, noticeable as soon as you cross the border.

    Most of the terrain is rugged and arid. Even when it rains a lot, the earth doesn’t keep the water for long. The nobles, always suspicious of each other and ready for foreign invaders, leave the roads, bridges and forests unattended. Enormous boars, wolves and bears still prowl the dark woods and rugged hills, terrorizing the peasants and providing sport to their lords. The castles have impressive towers and high walls, closing themselves to the world.

    Only the big cities are different, but I’ll get to those soon enough.

    On the way to Lilanor, several Aspian aristocrats who had been invited to the wedding joined the bride’s entourage. I hadn’t seen a lot of nobles in my life at the time, but I could already notice the difference between Sibil’s cortege and their counterparts from this foreign land.

    The Lassarians wore vibrant clothes and talked in a calm, pondered manner, embellishing each sentence with fancy words and hiding their emotions. The Aspians used mostly black and red. When they weren’t yelling angrily at each other or crying with laughter, they were murmuring in circles and giving those they distrusted nervous but defiant stares.”



    Temerior was keeping up with the dictation. “Well, he writes fast, I’ll give him that”.

    Radalar told him that they’d take a break soon. The boy simply nodded, looking bored.



    “My grandfather told me there were rumors that Emilar III, the Aspian king himself, might come to Lilanor and bless the wedding. When we got to Bradara, the biggest city in northern Aspia, the news were confirmed.

    You see, Emilar wasn’t only king of Aspia. His father, Enrior II, had taken Imerria from the Efarid Empire, crowning himself its sovereign. Ruling both lands as a United Kingdom, Emilar travelled a lot between them. His eldest son, prince Filior, hadn’t yet be sworn as the heir to Imerria.

    So, at that time, Emilar’s court was riding north to solve the issue. Lilanor was a natural stop. Since there was a wedding, his Highness thought he’d honour the couple with his presence.

    You can imagine the chaos when we got to the castle. It was a slim, tall citadel on top of a rocky cliff. The king had already arrived. His court occupied what little space there was inside the towers. Crammed against each other, the guests’ camps swallowed the surrounding land and mingled with the humble tents of the common folk that flocked to the area, yearning for the free food and wine.

    A reception was prepared for Sibil. We were greeted with euphoric joy. There were wooden arches covered in flowers signalling the way inside the castle. Along the camps and atop the walls, drums and trumpets were played while rockets were launched into the sky.

    In the courtyard, the king awaited her at the groom’s family’s side. That’s the first time I saw Emilar. He was tall and well built, with the same long black hair and beard of his vassals. One could see a ferocious but subtle intelligence in his shining brown his eyes.

    The feasts were lavish, as was required by the royal presence. In each, there were one hundred toasts to the bride, the groom, the king, the faith, Aspia, Imerria and Lassaralia. On both sides of the wall, mimes, poets and theatre troupes entertained the host of guests, aided in their efforts by the free flowing wine.

    There were also constant bullfights, which I’d never seen before. I can’t say I’ve ever liked them very much, but nothing noteworthy happens in Aspia without one to commemorate it.

    During the day, I’d take advantage of my grandfather’s busyness to escape his ever watchful gaze. Together with the other Lassaralian pages and many Aspian boys, I’d run outside and play in the camps and surrounding countryside.

    One of those times, I was playing near the banks of the Midaro, just to the east of the walls. The river is quite calm downstream but, in those northern highlands, it has a strong current.

    I was chasing around goats with a bunch of other little ruffians when the shepherd’s dogs jumped out of some bushes. In that region, they have these ferocious hounds that are built like bulls, strong enough to chase away wolf packs.

    In panic, we split up and ran as fast as we could to whatever direction seemed best. I was lucky and soon found myself with no dogs chasing me. When I reached the river, I stopped to catch my breath.

    That’s when I heard someone screaming for help in Aspian upstream. It was a boy, stuck atop a mound next to the water, watching in terror as two of the monsters closed in on him. The fear had his legs betray him and he fell into the raging currents.

    There wasn’t a single adult in sight. Looking west, I saw some high rocks in the water. I don’t know why, but the hopelessness in the poor boy’s voice as he drowned swept away any fear I had.

    I ran as fast as I could and jumped to the rock that was closest to the bank, making my way through the others. I still don’t know how I didn’t meet my slippery end there. Clinging to a branch that was stuck between two of the boulders, I reached out to the water.

    “Here!” I yelled. “Hey! Here.” I was shouting in Lassaralian, for I could remember none of the little Aspian I knew.

    He could barely keep his head above the water, and I remember the horrified look on his eyes. All he could do was wave his arms around and hope that one of his hands would meet mine. It did.

    I tried to pull him up, but he was too heavy. Meanwhile, the branch’s rotting wood was slowly giving in to his weight.

    “You’re too heavy!” I cried, still in Lassaralian.

    He squirmed, moaning in despair and trying to achieve something with his free arm under the water.

    There was a sudden weight loss and I managed to pull him up. When his legs left the water, I saw the reason: he had taken off his boots.

    I carried him to dry land and laid him down. He curled sideways and coughed, gushes of water coming out of his mouth. Before long, he turned on his back and opened his black jacked and white shirt with my help. With each quick breath, his chest moved up and down like a pair of bellows.

    He was around my age. His hair was black and long, his eyes brown. Over his chest, a golden medallion with an engraved hawk shone in the afternoon sun.

    “What’s your name?” I asked in Aspian.

    “Filior.” he said between gasps. “Filior Astalis[8], the prince of Aspia.”



    Temerior chuckled.

    “What is it?” Radalar asked.

    “Well, if I’m following you, you just told me that you saved the life of Filior of Aspia. The great Filior… the future -”

    “Yes.” Radalar said. “I did. And it wasn’t the last time.”

    Temerior laughed

    “Well, your excellency,” he said “I came here supposing you’d tell me boring tales of how you managed to get the taxes high enough to keep the peasants so famished they wouldn’t even revolt. What I didn’t expect was you trying to sell me your fantasies.”

    “Look, son.” Radalar hunched over the desk, facing Temerior eye-to-eye. “If you trust bedarikor Lomasas’ judgement, you either believe me or write him a letter informing him that I am senile.”

    The boy opened his mouth but Radalar continued.

    “If you don’t trust Lomasas, you’ve wasted his time, as well as mine. Or, to put it in a way that you can appreciate– you’re wasting yours.”

    Temerior looked bitterly at the floor.

    “Come back tomorrow, I bet your hands can use a rest as much as my head does.”

    Radalar faced the window while the boy left. The dark clouds announced a blizzard. He could see monks rushing supplies across the slippery path for one last time. Soon, the cobblestones would be drowned in white.


    [1] The scriptorium.

    [2] An era that started with the Efarid Conquest of Palas, ending the age of the Second Palatian Empire.

    [3] A kingdom in Western Auracia.

    [4] A rural county in southwestern Lassaralia.

    [5] A notorious Palatian Emperor from the age of the First Palatian Empire.

    [6] A county in northern Aspia.

    [7] A monastery in northern Aspia.

    [8] The Royal House of Aspia.

    ---

    Here's Part II, sooner than expected.

    @NorseThing: When I get to work on the next portraits, I'll sign these.

  10. #10
    Axis Sunsoar's Avatar The Dead Pirate Roberts
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Prologue Part II

    I really love this narration style - learning some of the history of your world and Radalar's past, but also getting insights into Radalar's current situation makes for a nice contrast, and of course begs the question of how he eventually wound up where he is.

    You've also clearly spent a lot of time considering this world and it really shows, but because of the narrative style (and the helpful footnotes) I don't feel lost like I'm being thrown in the middle something that I'm unfamiliar with, but more like I'm getting the opportunity to learn as the story goes on.

    Excellent work! Looking forward to more

  11. #11

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Prologue Part II

    Finished Prologue Part 1-

    I feel as though I sit in the corner of the room watching the events transpire. Descriptive when necessary but mostly in regards to the atmosphere. Beautifully written narrative. I enjoy the read and I look forward to the history as it will unfold.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Prologue Part II

    Thank you both for reading and for your kind words!

    @Axis Sunsoar: My idea with the narrative style was to give the reader the exact feeling you describe, so I'm very glad that it's coming through as intended.

    @Zeus Almighty: The type of descriptions is somewhat different in the second part of the Prologue and in the upcoming chapters. If you get around to reading more, tell me what you think.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Prologue Part II

    Good tale.The two are a strange combination.The boy with his last chance at improvement,will he really improve the way,society expects him too.
    To anyone concerned. I am leaving twc. Bye and best of luck.
    And Pike thanks for supporting me always.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Prologue Part II

    Book I
    Helerion's Choice

    Chapter I
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    “You’re from Lassaralia, aren’t you?” the prince asked me in my tongue.

    “Yes, your highness.” I answered, surprised.

    Filior still struggled to breath, but his Lassaralian was as good as if he’d been born and raised in one of the principalities.[1]

    “And what is your name?” he asked while he got on his feet.

    “Radalar Voladas, your highness.” my voiced trembled as I pronounced these words. I was still shaken by the identity of the boy I saved.

    “Well, Radalar Voladas” he smiled awkwardly. “It seems I owe you my life…”

    I didn’t know what to say. Filior looked around nervously while buttoning his jacket and shirt.

    “Listen.” He shoved his wet hair aside and his eyes looked directly at mine. “My father, the king, he can’t know that I was here…”

    I shivered. Keeping secrets from a king is a terrifying prospect for a child.

    I must have tried to mumble something but Filior pushed me to the back of some bushes. Crouched next to me, he kept looking at the nearby trees and the distant castle walls. His father’s men were probably looking for him, and we could still hear the dogs barking.

    He took his gold medallion with the hawk and placed it in my hand.

    “Look:” he whispered. “This is the only thing I can do for you now.”

    “I can’t take this!” I told him.

    “Take it!” he insisted. “When I am king, I’ll make you a duke or something, I promise. But you can never speak of this to my father!”

    I nodded a “yes” in panic.

    “There you are!” it was a child’s voice, speaking in Aspian.

    We turned around and there were another two boys around our age. One was very tall with black hair and dark eyes. The other was a blue-eyed redhead with his cheeks covered in freckles.

    “Shush!” Filior ordered them to join us in our hideout.

    I understood little of the Aspian conversation that followed. However, those three repeated it between laughs for many years and I remember it quite well.

    “Who is this?” asked the tall one. “And why are you all wet?”

    “Yes!” the redhead looked at Filior’s legs. “And what’s become of your boots?”

    “He’s Lassaralian.” answered the prince. “And my boots… I had to take them off.”

    The redhead laughed.

    “Why, did you want to show your Lassaralian boyfriend what a prince’s socks look like?”

    “Shut up, Madual!” Filior punched his shoulder, leaving him squirming and giggling.

    “Why did you do it, then?” the tall one was as frightened as the prince and myself.

    “The dogs…” Filior answered. “They cornered me and I fell into the river. I’d have drowned if it wasn’t for Radalar here.”

    The others looked at me, confused.

    “Listen:” Filior continued. “I need to get back into the castle now, if my father even so much as dreams that any of this happened, we’ll never hear the end of it!”

    “And what will you say about your boots?” asked the redhead. “That brave Radalar of Lassaralia couldn’t fish them out of the river for you?”

    “And the wet clothes.” said the tall one. “What will you do about those?”

    “I don’t know…” said Filior. “The clothes are easy: I’ll tell my father that some stupid servant emptied a bucket from a window when I was passing below.”

    “That’s going to get someone flogged.” the redhead chuckled.

    “That’s not right…” the tall one didn’t like the idea.

    “If I get caught,” said the prince “it’s the shepherd who’s going to be in trouble. And the guards, and my servants… That’s a lot of people”

    The tall one wasn’t too convinced with the plan, but he did know how to solve the boot problem:

    “Don’t Madual’s boots look just like yours?” he said, pointing at the redhead’s legs.

    “They do!” Filior smiled in relief.

    “You want me to stroll into the castle barefooted?”

    “Nobody cares if you do.” said Filior. “If it’s me, we’ll all be in trouble!”

    “Fine, I’ll take them off.”

    “That won’t be necessary.” we heard behind us. It was a deep, calm voice.

    We turned around and saw six men on horseback. The one who talked was kor[2] Nadlas Altirada, whom I’d later know as being the great-imikor[3] of the Holy White Habit[4] and king Emilar’s most trusted friend and advisor.

    For now, he was just a terrifying figure. Tall, strong and completely bald with a tough black beard that reached his chest. His face was full of scars. One of his blue eyes had been taken by an Efarid scimitar in Imerria, the other was serene but frightening, like a dark night.

    “Brother Nadlas, please… I” Filior begged.

    “It’s not me that you owe an explanation to.” said the knight. “Now, get atop a horse, all of you.”

    The boys advanced and joined three of the men on their mounts. I didn’t understand what was being said, but figured it was a good idea to hide the medallion in a pocket.

    “Madual…” said Nadlas, facing the redhead. “I should have known you were involved in this, you little rascal.”

    The mocking disposition had vanished from his freckle-covered face.

    “But you, Ionad…” the knight looked at the tall one. “I expected better from you. This isn’t acceptable for an aspiring knight of the White Habit. You’re supposed to talk sense into these two.”

    The boy’s eyes became wet and his cheeks red. He held back tears of shame.

    “And who might you be?” Nadlas turned to me.

    “He’s Lassaralian, brother.” said Filior. “He doesn’t understand what you’re saying.”

    “What are you doing here?” the knight asked me in Lassaralian. “Do you know who this is?”

    “He does.” said the prince. “He saved my life.”



    Radalar measured Temerior’s expressions as he spoke. There was no hiding so much disbelief and contempt.

    “I see your distrust hasn’t subsided.”

    “I do have to give you credit, excellency.” said Temerior. “You do know how to make it all seem real. The details, the explanations of what you remember and what you could understand or not… Although, you did have a lot of time to come up with all of this…”

    Radalar took the hit with a smile and grabbed a wooden box with a keyhole.

    “Soon,” he announced “the contents of this box will prove the truth of my words and put you to shame.”

    Temerior grinned mockingly and shook his head.

    “Now,” Radalar continued. “I know how little you value your word, since you promised me you’d trust what I say and are failing remarkably at it. But I can see how much your pride matters to you. So, you have two choices: either you come to the conclusion that I’m not fooling you by the evidence provided or you’ll be proven wrong when it’s undeniable.”

    The boy raised one of his eyebrows at the challenge.

    “Look,” he said. “There are a lot of goldsmiths who can make you a medallion with an engraved hawk. If Filior’s supposed gift is the big revelation inside the box, don’t waste your breath.”

    “I’m afraid I don’t have the medallion anymore.”

    Temerior sighed and wetted the quill.

    “Let’s just keep going. With the damned blizzard there’s no leaving this place for a good while. This is marginally better than lying on my bed and looking at the ceiling.”



    I was taken back to Lilanor with them. The king awaited us in the quarters that had been prepared for him – normally they were the count’s own but, being the biggest in the castle, the usual resident had traded them for another room during Emilar’s stay.

    On our way there, Filior asked me for the medallion and took it from me, saying it was for my own good. He was right, if his father found me with it, my fate might have been quite different.

    We were alone with the king and kor Nadlas. Filior told his father the truth, facing the floor in guilt the whole time.

    Emilar had the servants and guards who were supposed to be watching his heir removed from court, throwing them out of the castle with only ragged shirts and socks, much to the amusement of the crowds still gathered in the vincinity.

    He also had the shepherd flogged and his dogs slain. Half of the man’s goats were confiscated and sent to Bradara, where they were auctioned on the next market day in benefit of the royal purse.

    “You two are supposed to be at my son’s side at all times.” he told to the two boys. “I was your age once, and know how mindless children can be. Sneaking out of the castle to run around and chase goats is one thing. But leaving your prince alone? It’s unforgivable!”

    They took the scolding in silence, sweating and trembling like tree branches in the wind.

    “Did the hounds eat your tong?”

    “No, your highness.” they answered in perfect, terrified unison.

    “Is your lesson learned?”

    “Yes, your highness.”

    “I doubt it.” said the king, sitting down on a big chair.

    “You.” he addressed me in Lassaralian. “Step forward.”

    I did as I was bid, and bowed.

    “Arise, for god’s sake.” he said. “If it wasn’t for you, my son would be floating down the Midaros. This calls for a reward… and it didn’t take me long to figure out what it should be.”

    He arose and pointed at the others.

    “You took upon yourself to do the duty of these two. It’s only right that you join them as my son’s companion. I’d sleep easier knowing that someone who risked drowning to save my son was with him.”

    I didn’t know what to say, keeping my eyes on the floor.

    Emilar laughed and looked at Nadlas. “Did the dogs eat this one’s tong as well?”

    “He’s just a scared commoner, your highness.” said the great-imikor. “And he doesn’t even speak Aspian.”

    “That’s true, your highness.” I managed to utter.

    “You’ll learn fast, don’t worry. And you’ll help Filior with his Lassaralian. The real Lassaralian, the one that men speak! Not that courtesan gibberish that his mother has been teaching him behind my back.

    I trembled in silence, still facing the floorboards. Emilar pushed my chin upwards with his hand, sending shivers all over me. His eyes met mine.

    “I can’t force you to do this.” he said in an almost tender tone. “But I would be very thankful to you. And you’d be even more thankful to me in time, I can tell you that.”

    I nodded “yes”.

    That’s how I became a companion of Filior of Aspia at seven.

    See, when princes are growing up, it has been a custom for a long time to gather a few boys of the same age and educate them together. It’s the opinion of several authors that the competition between them is the best way to teach the many arts that a prince is required to know and to get rid of the soft, feminine influences of the mother and the nurses.

    Of course, this also creates bonds of loyalty that easily survive later trials. Specially because the companions must always be commoners, bastards or from the lowest nobility. Their loyalties lie only with their prince.

    As you must have guessed by now, Filior already had two companions.

    The tall one was called Ionad. He was the son of Filior’s milk maid, born on the same day as him. They were inseparable since they met on her lap. He had a sober character and dreamed of becoming a sworn knight of the White Habit since a very tender age. He read the most, rode the most and swung wooden swords the most. He was always right in arguments and his advice was always wise. Filior listened to him the most. I won’t deny that I was jealous…

    The redhead’s name was Madual. He was a bastard, born to the protégé of some Black Habit brother whose order Emilar owed a favour to. He was taken in as a companion when he was three, much to the joy of the monk (whom most suspect is his father). He was a joker and always rash. There was never much thinking going on below those red curls. But, even though he was always ready to mock everyone, his loyalty was fierce. I do miss the continuous smile between those freckles.

    Filior was the rising leader. Within the limits of the acceptable, we weren’t forced to obey or treat him in any specific manner. It was his job to get us to follow him. And he did. Of course, a good part of it was simply because he was the king’s son and our future lord. But he was always good at settling disputes and showing us that his way of doing things was the best.

    We had our ups and downs, of course, but it was he who helped me fit in since the first day.

    They gave me new, court appropriate clothing. A black coat, two doublets – one black, one red; some white linen shirts; blue, white and yellow hoses; and a feathered black hat. They also gave me a pair of black leather boots, which I wouldn’t wear. I insisted on using my grandfather’s.

    Catching up was a hard task. I had to learn everything they already knew: Aspian, a bit of ancient Iolterian and Palatian,[5] some history and theology, proper horse riding, and, of course, sword handling. We had a preceptor for the letters and another for the martial arts. The first was Giolima Hirosas, an Imerrion dekor[6] of the Purple Cloak.[7] The other was kor Fabiar of Tolesis, a knight of the royal guard.

    I would try to follow their lessons during the day and, for two hours at night, while the others already slept, they would keep working with me.

    To make my learning even more difficult, we hit the road a very short time after I saved Filior. Remember: Emilar was headed to Imerria in order to have the prince sworn as his heir in those parts.

    I said farewell to my grandfather, who cried with pride and told me to write to him as soon as I learned how to.

    Riding clumsily behind the prince and my peers, I left Linanor with Emilar’s court.


    [1] The Kingdom of Lassaralia is composed of three principalities: Narlac, Hassatriar and Ikraiar. Once separate kingdoms, when they were conquered by the Second Palatian Empire, the ruling dynasties saw their dignity downgraded to princely. Centuries later, the princes rebelled against the Palatians and it was decided that a Great Council of clergymen, nobles and citizens would measure their worthiness in the war against Palas and elect the most deserving of the three as their king. The Lassaralians won their independence and chose prince Clas of Narlac as their first king. The princes of Hassatriar and Ikraiar swore fealty and kept their titles. “Prince of Narlac” became the styling of the heir to the throne. (Note: the County of Mamerron, Radalar’s homeland, is located in the Principality of Hassatriar).

    [2] Can be translated to “sir”. It’s how knights are addressed.

    [3] An imikor is the monk or priest in charge of a minor order. A great-imikor is in charge of a whole major order. For example, the Order of the Quiet Sisters of Kaiarid Nesis is a minor order that is lead by an imikai (the feminine of imikor). She answers to the great-imikor of the Holy Black Habit, the major order.

    [4] One of the monastic orders of the Aidemist Sada (church). It is the second oldest order, founded when it became required for temple guards to take religious vows. It has since evolved into the Sada’s own army. They are based on fortified monasteries and accommodate many different vows. The familiars and familiar knights work and fight for the order but aren’t bound to monastic life and celibacy. The monks and sworn knights live by strict vows. Even so, and as is common with all orders, it’s easy to find the most notable brothers advising kings in their courts. In battle, they wear white cloaks over their armours, sporting eight red arrows – those used to kill the martyr Kaiar Meridar, bathed in his hallowed blood. (Note: a Kaiar or a Kaiarid (feminine) is a notably pious figure glorified in life or dead with a status akin to sainthood. More on them later.)

    [5] Ancient tongues still used in universities, monasteries, churches and courts.

    [6] An academic title for those who have completed the fourth and final degree of their studies.


    [7] The semi-monastic order of the Aidemist Sada that administrates universities. There are monastic and celibatary vows required for some positions – mostly copyists and archivists. The rest are bound to little and spread out of the academies to advise kings, noblemen, clergyman and merchants. They are also responsible for the compilation and interpretation of laws. It’s common to find them as judges, theologians, physicians, engineers, astronomers, treasurers, chroniclers, poets, etc.

    ---

    Here's Chapter I, the beggining of Book I: "Helerion's Choice". I've laid down some heavy lore on the footnotes this time, for those interested. Again, it's not necessary to read through them to understand what's going on, but it adds to it.

    @mad orc: Thank you! Temerior's future is s one the central questions, yes.

  15. #15
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter I

    Good chapter! As before, the richness of the world which you created adds depth and detail to the story. You have got me interested in Filior and his companions.

    While I like the footnotes - I wanted to know the significance of titles such as kor and imikor - I got mildly distracted by scrolling down and then up again. I can see why you would put this information in footnotes, to avoid the 'as you know, Bob' trope in which characters tell each other things which they already know (so that the reader understands.) Even so, I wonder if there could be ways to add a bit more of the explanation in the text itself. (Other readers might disagree, of course.)
    Last edited by Alwyn; December 03, 2017 at 07:43 AM.

  16. #16
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter I

    Seven years of worldbuilding? I'll definitely get to reading these tomorrow!

    But, do you have any insights/advice on worldbuilding?

    Kind regards,

    Tigellinus




    Proudly under the patronage of McScottish

  17. #17

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter I

    @Alwyn: Thank you! It's good to hear that the characters are getting your attention.

    About the footnotes: they were actually accidental. I use them as a way to define lore on the go when I write these. I forgot to take them out when I pasted the first part into TWC. I thought that they didn't look bad and NorseThing and Axis Sunsoar liked them, so I kept them. But I do agree with you - if one's reading this in TWC, it's annoying to keep scrolling up and down. The problems with getting their content into the text itself are: a) these chapters are already large and I don't want to scare away readers who aren't looking for more depth; b) Radalar and Temerior are cultured people who have no need to trade explanations about these matters (it would be an "as you know, Bob" situation). I hope to get rid of them almost completely as the reader gains a better understanding of the world. This will soon be aided with a big post about the history, politics and culture of the region where the action is set. I can guarantee the inclusion of maps (which I guess will be pretty handy haha) and perhaps the portraits I teased before. If I have time and my scarce talent doesn't fail me, some landscapes and clothing/armour. No promises.

    @Tigellinus: I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    As for advice and insights, I'm not sure I'm the best example haha. The genesis of this world occured in a small notebook during an highschool class. For a good while, it was in the same spirit of escapism that it was developed, without any ambitions of writing something set on it whatsoever. It bent and redrew itself with my tastes and personal struggles but it always existed for the sake of existing. I don't even have a lot of maps and written lore - I let most of it develop in my thoughts. The pile of word documents about it came after the turning point. That is, when I started to want to write a story taking place on it.

    It took me a while to understand the changes that had to be made, but I had to face the problem that "idle" and "literary" worldbuilding (terrible terms, perhaps, but you get the point) are quite different. To give practical examples: regions became smaller, politics became simpler and I started to devote more time to characters and their stories than to the setting around them (the exact opposite of what I had been doing). It can be fascinating to create complex composite empires with elective systems for everything under the sun, but most readers don't have the time and will to get that deep into your fantasy. You can have this kind of depth, of course, but it needs to have an easily readable surface. As for the narratives and characters, you can spend decades creating a world if you want - if the story doesn't have human drama and the characters aren't interesting, you've got nothing.

    In the end, it's a balance between what you should have ready before writing and what you should create while you develop the story. There's that metaphore about the architects and gardeners: Tolkien defined the whole lore with detail before writing - he's an architect. George R. R. Martin creates the world on the go as he needs - he's a gardener (this quote is his, I think). I'd say the middle ground is optimal - you must have structure, but you need enough space to bend it to your needs character and story wise. A heads up - I find that it helps to write stories to create structure. So, write secondary stuff to help define what you need for the main thing.

    As a final note, and this is from Brandon Sanderson's lectures (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbL-...CD81A6FE4280AC), get some auxiliary knowledge. If you do sci-fi, sneak into some college physics classes.

    Perhaps a post about this on the Lounge wouldn't be a bad idea. I've seen a lot of world building around here.

    @Everyone: I've been a bit busier and I've had to do two or three versions of the next chapter, but I think I can have it ready tomorrow or Thursday.
    Last edited by Admiral Van Tromp; November 07, 2018 at 05:25 PM. Reason: Called Sanderson Bryan, lol

  18. #18
    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter I

    I'm afraid your footnote links aren't working for me, Admiral. (Is that just me being weird? Do they work for everyone else?)

    I'm really enjoying this, though. The contrast between the two main characters is great, and the idea of Radalar having been written out of history, and wanting to write himself back in with his memoirs, is wonderful!

    Under the patronage of Shankbot de Bodemloze

  19. #19

    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter I

    Book I
    Helerion's Choice

    Chapter II
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    There was a knock on the door.

    “Come in.” ordered Radalar.

    It was Cassidas, holding a tray with two smoking wooden bowls and half a loaf of bread.

    “Here’s your soup.” he said, giving one to Radalar and placing the other next to Temerior’s ink well together with the bread.

    “How’s it going.?” the monk asked, raising one eyebrow.

    “Just fine, brother.” answered Radalar. “You can leave us now.”

    The monk shook his head and closed the door behind him.

    The soup’s steam reached Radalar’s nostrils. He could count by his fingers the times he’d been given something else to eat in the monastery. After turning from enticing to sickening, the taste was now just bland. Still, the scalding stock was a good remedy for the chilling winter.

    Temerior had put aside his notes and broken the bread. He was dipping a piece in the soup distractingly while looking outside.

    “Do you want something else for the cold?” asked Radalar, while he took a bottle of old brandy from one of his pockets.

    “No thanks.” the boy said.

    He searched his jacket for a small flask. “I have my own poison, if you don’t mind.”

    Radalar waved in approval.

    They drank and ate the soup in silence.

    “I’m surprised the monks allow you to keep that in here.” Temerior pointed at the brandy. “I’ve had to hide mine quite… creatively.”

    “They’re tired of bothering me, really.” said Radalar. “My blasphemies are so persistent that I think some of them are even scared of my presence.”

    Temerior chuckled.

    “Old Cassidas had the bad luck of being assigned as my priest. Well, he’s more of a servant than anything else, really.”

    “I think he enjoys it.” Temerior grinned. “He’s always shoving his nose in here.”

    “I’m pretty sure he made a promise to serve me. And it seems to be working. The man’s older than me and I’ve never heard him complaining about his bones.”

    “A troubled mind in exchange for a healthy body?”

    “Yes. The lord is good.”

    They both laughed and looked outside. The blizzard kept punishing the meadows.

    “Well,” Radalar placed his hand over the mysterious box. “are you convinced of the truth in my words, yet?”

    Temerior hid his smile and frowned, like a laughing child trying to pout.

    “I can tell you that I’m looking forward to whatever is inside that box.” he said. “After seeing that bottle, I’m sure we’re yet to reach the boundaries of your imagination.”

    Radalar sighed.

    “Let’s continue.”



    “The road took us across the duchy of Celtar, a harsh land that had been Aspia’s last defence against the Efarids until Enrior II conquered Imerria.

    Everywhere, the biggest apotheosis that could be arranged waited for us. In the small villages, little more than dirt roads and a few miserable stone houses, the peasants decorated their windows with flowers and their best blankets. They welcomed us with great joy: singing, dancing and performing modest entertainments.

    When we passed through towns, the artisans would build decorative arches with simple inscriptions and the king’s arms: the hawk of Astalis. The wealthiest offered wine and food to the population, showing off their wealth to the sovereign. There were small bullfights, games and tourneys. At night, the windows were filled with candles and there were parades with torches in the streets.

    Where there were priests, they blessed Emilar. Where there were mayors, captains or judges, they offered him banners and keys. Where there was no one more important, the eldest inhabitant offered him bread and wine at his table.

    We spent most nights in mansions, towers and monasteries. When we were far from those luxuries, we slept at inns or commoner’s houses.

    In Celtar, the duke, Barbadar Celtior, received us with a lavish banquet, dances and a melee. For days, we watched the best fighters of the duchy trade blows. The baron of Eloia won, if I my memory doesn’t betray me. I think I can remember him beating the last standing competitor with his mace. The man mustn’t have been able to stand up for weeks.

    As the plate amour-covered figures clashed, I remember Madual and Filior’s enthusiasm. They shouted and laughed, celebrating each blow as if their own.

    “Ring his head!” Madual yelled. “No mercy!”

    “He’s open on the left!” cried Filior. “The left! Look! End him!”

    Ionad sat next to me, in silence. His attention was no doubt greater than theirs. I could see he was studying every move. I tried to mimic his expression and demeanour, although my restraint was motivated by ineptitude and fear of similar future challenges.

    Every day, whenever and wherever we stopped, my training continued. As Madual laughed and Ionad rolled his eyes at my ineptness, Filior stayed silent. I’m sure he was afraid of losing his grip on them if he reached out to me.

    I perfectly recall one of my sword practices in the Celtar courtyards. It was late at night, and I was alone with kor Fabiar of Tolesis while the others slept.

    “Come, on Radalar!” he shouted. “I’ve seen you do better than that!”

    Like always, I had ended up on the ground. I could barely get on my feet with the shield’s weight. My sword arm ached and cramped from the endless swinging.

    “You must focus.” said kor Fabiar. “If you can’t get this right when you’re alone with me, how do you expect you will do when the others are watching?”

    I gathered whatever strength I had and charged him, raising my shield. Kor Fabiar simply stepped aside and let me run off until I tripped on myself and fell.

    “And those three are the least of your worries.” he kept going. “Soon enough, you’ll find yourself in a melee or tourney, fighting for fame and honour.”

    Once more, I arose.

    “The whole court will be there.” he said. “Every knight and every commoner. Every priest and every damsel.”

    I approached carefully, my head racing in search of a way to strike my preceptor. He attacked first, swinging his sword from above. It hit my raised shield, leaving me with one knee on the ground.

    “All of them laughing.”

    I jumped to attack him. He parried my sword and sent me tumbling to the floor again.

    “Because the famous Radalar can’t defend his own honour, let alone his prince’s.”

    “I’ve saved his life!” I managed to yell, almost out of breath.

    “And how will you save him when it’s an Efarid sword and not a river that’s threatening him? Hmm?”

    With a loud cry, I ran at Fabiar. He shoved my shield aside with his sword. Confused and out of balance, I opened my arms. That allowed him to strike my chest with one of his feet.

    My body collapsed and I fell. He kicked away my sword and pointed his own at my heavily breathing neck.

    “The king’s favour and luck won’t last you forever, boy.”

    “What’s going on here, kor Fabiar?” it was kor Nadlas Altirada, watching from an archway.

    At his sight, I jumped on my feet without even thinking. I was still terrified of him. His presence had an authority that seemed to affect even his friend, the king.

    “I’m training young Radalar, brother.” said kor Fabiar. “He needs additional time everyday to-”

    “Yes, yes. I’m aware.” kor Nadlas approached him. “I’m just wondering if this is what you call teaching.”

    “I’m sorry, brother?”

    “The boy has a terrible grip on the sword’s handle and manages his weight poorly. You are a knight of the royal guard and his tutor. Instead of taunting and scaring the child, teach him proper swordplay.”

    Kor Fabiar walked up to the great-imikor and looked up to his eye.

    “You don’t give orders to me, brother.”

    “But I do.” Emilar emerged from the archway.

    Kor Fabiar became red and bent his knee as fast as he could. Kor Nadlas simply curved his head before the sovereign.

    “I’m thinking the boy could learn from watching.” The king smiled and grabbed my shoulder, pulling me away from the centre of the courtyard. “The melee was exciting, but the technique dipslayed was mediocre. I think two of Aspia’s best knights can provide a better example.”

    “Your highness…” kor Nadlas wasn’t too happy. “My sword is to be lifted against the enemies of the faith alone.”

    “I beg you brother, just this once: indulge me.”

    Kor Nadlas shook his head and unsheathed his sword. Then, he stood still, his white habit with the eight arrows of the martyr Meridar shining in the moonlight.

    Kor Fabiar threw away the shield and dull sword he had been using with me, unsheathing his own.

    He circled the great-imikor, who remained immovable. Kor Nadlas knew he’d never strike him from the back in the king’s presence.

    It was all quite fast. Fabiar’s first blow was quickly deflected but he knew how to react and they crossed swords for a few moments. The young knight’s arrogance grew with each clash of steel. He eventually opened his arms in defiance, having to follow up with his own attack, for Nadlas didn’t go for it.

    It was then that the great-imikor parried Fabiar’s sword aside and pointed the tip of his cold blade at the young knight’s throat.

    Kor Fabiar.” said Emilar. “You are relieved of your duties as Radalar’s tutor. If it wasn’t for your satisfactory results with Filior and my respect for your cousin, the duke of Tolesis, I’d find the prince another teacher as well.”

    Fabiar looked sideways at his king, sweating and gasping for air while Nadlas’ steel still pressed against his neck.

    “You are dismissed.”

    The knight stormed out of the courtyard in shame, kicking the air. He was an excellent knight and a good preceptor, but arrogance and envy always seem to be his downfall.

    “Brother, it would please me if you would take up the task of teaching the arts of war to young Radalar.” the king announced.

    Kor Nadlas looked at me, evaluating the task.

    “Just until he figures out the basics.” said Emilar. “With your guidance, he’ll soon be able to catch up to the others.”

    “I’ll do it, your highness.”


    ***


    It didn’t take long to reach the Imerrian border after leaving Celtar.

    Once across, we took our time riding through the lush fields and meadows. The king wanted Filior to see and be seen. At the same time, the rumours of Efarid armies gathering in the east urged Emilar to show the infidels that he didn’t neglect his second kingdom.

    Despite being in the frontline between Aspia, Lassaralia and the Efarid Empire, the everlasting richness of Imerria was shown to us in all its splendour. Amid the still recovering countryside and war-ready castles, the cities were being fattened by lucrative trade. Inside their walls, I found the sophistication of Lassaralia mixed with the colours of Efa.

    During this time, Ionad started to approach me. When Filior and Madual were messing around, he’d come to me with his questions about the great-imikor, his idol.

    “Yesterday, he took me hunting.” I would say. “He can shoot deer from almost as far as he can see them.”

    His jaw would drop in amazement and his eyes shine in admiration.

    I’d take the chance to lie and make myself worthier of his attention.

    “I shot two myself. Kor Nadlas says I’m getting really good with the crossbow.”

    Ionad would dismiss these “feats” of mine and try to focus on the many perfections of his mighty hero. However, with time, he did start to enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed his.

    “One of these days, you have to come and shoot with us.” he began saying.

    Imerria’s Great Council was to convene in the city of Firre for Filior’s swearing. As we crossed the land, the cortege grew ever bigger as the lords gathered around the king, accompanying him on his way to the assembly.

    When we got to the city, we were saluted by bombards and rockets. The city’s council and mayor welcomed us at the gates, before leading us through streets covered in magnificences the likes of which I had never seen. There were complex recreations of the battles and sieges that had won Imerria from the infidels. Actors dressed as Aspian and Efarid warriors faked battles amid marvellously sculptured and painted set pieces.

    After a couple of days of festivities, the Great Council was opened. Wooden stands had been built in the great hall of the palace of Firre. We stood below the arches that surrounded the room, watching in silence with the rest of the court.

    As the torrent of speeches and complaints tormented Emilar, I saw in Filior the same apprehension that I must’ve had during the melee in Celtar.

    The prince and I would talk a lot when we were alone. The conversation that’s better engraved in my memory from those days is the one we had the night before his swearing, after my practice with kor Nadlas.

    I was getting into bed when he whispered my name. We sneaked past Madual and Ionad, who were already fast asleep, and got to a balcony from which we could see the whole city.

    Firre sprawls over a big slope that ends in a gulf to the east. During the almost four hundred years of Efarid rule, it had grown a lot, with chaotic eastern-style neighbourhoods surrounding the more stiff plazas and streets in the old seafront. Still, in true Efarid style, there was an impressive sewage and water distribution system that took drinkable water to every street corner. Besides the hundreds of fountains and tanks, a collection of narrow open canals sated the many small farms and orchards that grew among the red-tile roofs.

    Emilar was attending a feast offered by the merchants in a big mansion near the sea. The slender streets were filled with dances, acrobats and dogfights. Every window had a candle on it and there were small pyrotechnic devices going off all over the place.

    The palace was built high in the hill. From the balcony, the streets seemed ablaze with the lights and fires. Across the gulf, the inhabitants of the still Efarid-occupied city of Marmar must have looked on in envy.

    “I wish we were down there.” said Filior, leaning on the balcony’s parapet.

    “Well,” I said. “You have a big day tomorrow. Your father wants you to sleep well before it.”

    “I can’t.” he told me. “I’m too nervous. I keep getting the feeling that I will screw it up.”

    “Come on… You can’t get anything wrong. It’s just some walking and talking. The worst part will be listening to the dekors reading boring laws.”

    “The problem is the rest, you know.” he paused. “Everything.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Being king.” he sighed. “I want to rule, I’ve always wanted to. People keep telling me how great it will be: wearing my armour, mounting my horse and riding to battle against the evil infidel to find victory and glory before the feasts and the parties.”

    He smiled, his face and eyes lit by the orange glow from the lights below.

    “But I’m tired of the lessons. Every day, we have to listen to that old fool Giolima’s drivels about the lives of ancient emperors and the works of kaiars. I do like the swordplay and riding, but I’d much rather be running around and doing what I want like those kids we see on the fields and streets, you know?”

    “I come from the fields and I couldn’t do what I wanted, really. Instead of putting up with theology and swordplay, I had to work with my mother and my brother, ploughing and sowing the land…”

    “Yes, but if you didn’t do it, you would only be scolded by your mother. When my father shows me to the people, I feel that everyone is expecting me to be the best king ever. I don’t know if I can do it. Or even if I want to try...”

    After he said that, an enormous firework display started in the gulf. Rockets of many colours blasted the night sky, turning calm darkness into magnificent light. The streets were filled with shouts of joy and admiration.

    I had never seen anything like it.

    In the morning, the Great Council convened for the big ceremony. Madual, Ionad and I were honoured with carrying Filior’s long and heavy mantle behind him.

    Walking with studied grace, we followed the prince through the hall. The nobles and clergy sat on the king’s right side and the city’s representatives to his left. Everyone smiled at us, looking tenderly at our smallness in a room filled with the greatest of the kingdom.

    We were supposed to keep our eyes to the front, but I couldn’t avoid meeting kor Nadlas’ approving look and nod. Not too far, a few damsels reached for their hearts and sighed sweetly. Madual had smiled at them.

    We halted in front of Emilar. He sat on the dark wood throne, looking proudly at his eldest son. A monk of the Black Habit approached Filior with The Lord’s Word. After the prince placed his left hand on it and lifted the other with raised index and middle fingers, the herald approached.

    “Your highness,” he started. “This council rejoices in honouring the wishes of your father, Emilar, by the lord’s word the king of Imerria. His highness has seen fit to name you, prince Filior of Astalis, as heir to the throne that he righteously occupies. Do you claim the right he has conceded to you?”

    “With all my soul.” Filior said, timidly.

    “Do you swear to respect the will and rights of your father and king as sovereign until they are passed to you?”

    “With all my soul.” yet again, he sounded unsure.

    “Do you swear to uphold Imerria’s laws and be respectful of the rights and privileges of its peoples?”

    I pulled the mantle as discreetly as I could.

    “With all my soul.” he shouted, in surprise.

    Ionad and Madual looked at each other and at me. I pretended that I had done nothing.

    “Do you swear to defend the word of god and the faith against all those who seek to insult or undermine them?”

    “With all my soul!” he yelled.

    The room exploded in applause. Outside, the bells and bombards started their symphony. Amid the standing ovation, we started to turn around to march out of the room the same way we entered.

    When Filior faced us, he looked at Ionad and Madual, trying to figure out who pulled the mantle. They shook their heads.

    When he looked at me, I winked. He replied with a wide smile and a whispered “thank you.”

    ---

    Here's the second chapter. I didn't use footnotes on this one, as everything was either explained in the text, easy to deprehend or already mentioned.

    @Caillagh: Thank you very much! I'm glad that the premise is attractive!

    As for the footnote links, they are leftovers from MS Word. I'll get rid of them to avoid more confusion.

  20. #20
    Tigellinus's Avatar Citizen
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    Default Re: Words of the Forgotten | Chapter II

    Just read the Prologue!

    Very interesting stuff! I can tell it is a very rich and well developed storyworld! I'm enjoying it so far!

    Kind regards,

    Tigellinus

    EDIT: Just read Chapter One as well.
    Temerior sure is arrogant! I'm curious to find out what happens when he is proven wrong, or whether the proof provided won't be able to convince him. How would Radalar feel then?
    It's quite interesting so far! Great job!
    Last edited by Tigellinus; December 07, 2017 at 04:33 PM.




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