Intro: Zaius Isembard
I awoke this morning with a queer feeling as if somebody was sitting at my bedside watching over me then vanished as soon as my eyes began to flicker open. I trace the room with hope to glimpse a shadow, nothing.
Sitting up I am reminded of why I rest, as pain throbs from under a faintly bloodied bandage. I am told I should be so lucky, to have pain as the only reminder. The priests and my lord say “I am touched by the gods.”
Though it is by my own foolishness that I got here, I am being reveled a hero, and my name is known to be whispered in line with “immortal.” Two years have passed since I stumbled into our tavern in a drunken stupor, and whether by chance or by fate, the lines of five lives crossed that day.
At that moment began a journey not one of us could have dreamed up. This is where our story begins.
Vallinex is a fictional story I am currently writing. Each chapter switches between a different character and/or time period.
I will be posting a chapter at a time as I finish them or until I get to the point of publication. I hope you enjoy.
Vallinex: Zaius Isembard
The sun had just begun to hide behind the peaks of the Faceless Mountains, whose slopes are so sheer that no life grows there and no man has found a path that leads to anywhere but death. It's behind this stone curtain, opposite the sea, the human kingdom Vallinex sits. In the fading twilight, the upper city streets are teeming with dancing townsfolk, sipping their golden ale, lost in their joyful music. Their only worries being who they might lay with at night.
Sitting in the shadows far below the laughter and soft amber glow, lies the lower city. With its streets of mud and thatch huts and foul air, it is hard to believe it's citizens came from the first settlers and royalty that built this "City in the Valley." It is from this angle that I gaze across the land. It is with these commoners and peasants that I find my peace though royal blood flows through my veins.
My mother was Itiireae Naieth daughter of Reluraun Naieth, King of Rhumton, the last true elven stronghold. My father was Derrick Isembard, son of Sef Isembard, Lord of the Vale and one of the “Conquerors of Vallinex.” A band of noble lords that first took these lands and brought a new era of peace for man. Not that anyone sings the songs of those days anymore. Man has grown arrogant and weak in this new found freedom and the lives of my parents are now only left in stories told to scare little children straight. For it has been several decades since anyone has had reason to truly be afraid. It is on nights like this, lying against the rocks, the sun dipping behind the stones, sipping simple ale, reading my father’s journal, I try and remember them and their story.
The Past: Derrick Isembard
The night was filled with our drums of war, echoing against every stone, a deafening beat we were all willing to die for. For the first time since the beginning of the dark times when the light of the gods left our world, Elves and Men were riding for a common goal. Though it took the union of two houses and the announcement of a birth to do so. I do not regret for a moment my marriage to Itiireae, just that it brought us to battle before I could see the face of my child.
Now that the shadows have moved farther into our world than ever before, all life on this plane is rushing to find a safe haven. We have heard rumours of an untouched land, so isolated that no one has found a way to set eyes on it in millennia. We know now that we must take the desolate port of Pelegaton. An ancient house who once used ships to tame the seas. If we can take the ships from the shadows, we may have a chance.
We have come to camp, the Faceless Mountains at our back, just outside of Pelegaton. The men wish to wait for day before we make a move, they don’t understand that none of the lights of the gods reach that city now, not even the sun. Even our Elven companions seem to be distressed, not aging is not the same as not dying, something they tend to forget while hiding in their stronghold. As day breaks we are shown the sea, sparkling like a tapestry of jewels that doesn’t seem to end. We can even spot a couple gulls in the distance, sights no man living has seen. A distant shriek interrupts our gaze and the moment is suddenly snapped back to the now. We ride.
The smell of rot and fresh blood is all that is left now. My other senses dulled by the darkness. There isn’t anymore movement. The loss is something we will have to account for later. Itiane, my brother-in-law is trying to pass out a long lost knowledge, fumbling with rope and linen and metal mechanisms. According to him, only three ships are of any use. Something we will have to make due with. It’s only a matter of time before our presence here is known to things far worse than what we just fought. With everything worth taking aboard the last ship, Itiane gives the call and with a “woosh” the ships start to move about the sea.
According to the texts of our people we must move north, past the Faceless Mountains, an area unknown to even the oldest of Elves. The darkness is now behind us and we can see the sun fading behind the stone peaks. Though moving across the waters is something in itself to take pride in, our numbers are less than half, a conversation I pray is worth it.
It has been a full day since we left the desolation of Pelegaton and as we come to the setting sun we pass by the lowest rocks of the Faceless Mountains who seem to have just slumped over and crumbled into the waters. Straining for any sight of land on the opposite side, Itiane calls out “We have made it!” With the ships anchored we rest, waiting for the mornings light to show us what we have discovered.
Breathtaking! A land untouched, fields of green and colorful flowers, trees stretching towards the heavens, this shall be our new home. We have scoured the area and have yet to find any means of entry other than the sea. The mountains, like a stone curtain, encloses this land from end to end. Vallinex, that is the name of this future stronghold, now to ferry the people home.