World of Aaru Series

Meet Eliana and K'lownkey in the first of the "World of Aaru" Series to be released this July.


 An Excerpt is now available for preview.
 


----

Prologue

-          From the Records of the Lux Centrum Universitatis

            In the beginning there were the Celestials who lived for order and peace in their gilded towers and soared thru the clouds, the Daemons who caused chaos and destruction in their caves, swamps, and dark places, and the Drakones that were servants to them both.
For millennia the two waged war against each other, their drakones making up the bulk of their armies, and life stayed in a constant cycle of war with periodic times of peace when their numbers were too low to effectively wage battle. Then one day something new appeared.
A band of refugees arrived on Aaru in a last desperate attempt to escape their own war-ridden world. What neither knew was that these creatures called “Humans” were destined to change the course of Aaru forever.

            Finding themselves now trapped in a world nearly as war torn as the one they had left behind, the humans attempted to settle but they found this to be impossible when faced with the current circumstances.
Neither the Daemons nor Celestials would accept their attempts at neutrality in the face of their conflict but nor would either accept them as allies, both sides considering these powerless and fragile creatures to be next to useless against their enemies. With the war continuing on unabated, many were caught in the crossfire.

            From the start, the human’s main focus was on survival as they tried to learn about their new world and how to coexist with their violent and contemptuous neighbors. Haven been forced to leave behind much of the resources that they had had access to on their home world, they were forced to rebuild from scratch. Fortunately for them, two of the most brilliant minds were among their number.
Considered the first of our legendary figures of history, Habinar Umbra and Liana Lucidus were able recreate much of what they had lost and supplement those things that couldn’t be replicated. This provided defenses they wouldn’t have had otherwise, and weapons that came close to leveling the playing field. But the materials for such weapons were in short supply and would eventually fail. They would need to adapt and adapt quickly. But the ability to wield Ustrina, for all we take it for granted today, that was so prevalent among the inhabitants was an alien concept to them and the learning curve was steep to say the least.

Unable to stand the constant battle and slaughter of friends, Habinar and Liana decided privately to take action to try to stop the war, by whatever means were necessary.
            As they examined the problem they came to the conclusion that without their main weapons, the Drakones, the two sides would have no choice but to agree to a cease fire and come to the negotiating table.
In an attempt to avoid the destruction of an entire species, especially when the likely hood of success was so low, Habinar and Liana worked out a plan to make the Drakone’s too valuable to risk fighting with. They had no idea of the depth to which both sides would go to destroy one another.

Using an in-depth knowledge that is all but lost to us, they tied the collective life force of every drakone into the Texentes.
The idea was to turn them into a living support system that would make it too dangerous for them to be used as weapons. For should there population fall too low in number, the very stability of our world itself would begin to crumble as the Texentes weakened and began to unravel.
But all did not go as planned. During the process Habinar and Liana where pulled into the fusion and they became tied to the Texentes along with the Drakones. The consequences of which would be nothing anyone could have foreseen.

            However, even with the risk of total destruction should the Drakones die out the opposing sides fought on, mindlessly unrelenting in their mission to destroy each other.
            Despite this failure, Habinar and Liana refused to relent, for now more than ever their future and the future of their people were at stake. Without delay they set about concocting new plans to put an end to the Aeternus War, unaware of the changes the fusion had set in motion. What they would later discover would change the course of the war and the very existence of Aaru itself.

At first it was small changes: they could see things others couldn’t, objects that they wanted would fly across the room to them, and they could speak to others without talking. It made them strange but still human.
Over time such abilities increased in strength and others appeared: the sky would darken or lighten with their moods, rain would fall at their command, beasts would obey them without question, if they wanted to be somewhere they would materialize there in an instant.
The strength of these abilities made them outcasts even among their own people, but they weren’t about to put such a thing to waste.
Finally realizing what had truly happened, Habinar and Liana worked to figure out how to use it to their advantage.

Though the records are unclear what prompted their actions or how they were even capable of it what we do know is…

Heavily motivated by the continuous deaths of those around them, when they finally believed themselves capable, they divided our world into three separate yet connected parts: Infernos where they would banish the Daemons, Caelum where they would banish the Celestials, and our home Centrum that would act as a barrier separating the two.
            In the battles that ensued many daemons and celestials were killed while resisting, refusing still to give up the fight. Unable to withstand the
ustrina Habinar and Liana now wielded, eventually both were forced into exile, their numbers greatly depleted..

Ignorant of the bond between a drakone and its counterpart; the human’s were to watch in horror as many killed themselves upon their masters deaths. In the end hundreds of the beasts lay dead across the landscape. Their corpses were later burned and the stench filled the air for miles, reminding everyone of what had been lost. With the war ended and both the Celestials and Daemons exiled, the humans took over what we now call Centrum.

            While dealing with the consequences of the war, there was an aftereffect that Habinar and Liana had foreseen as a possibility but hadn’t been ready to counter.

In dividing our world into three parts, the Texentes was shaped in a way it was never meant to be and became weak. The Drakones had been meant to augment the power needed for the excess, but with so many dead there was no longer enough power to make up for the difference.
With the lack of power, holes started to form, creating doorways that led into other places that border our world.
In order to isolate the damage and to keep the Celestials and Daemons contained, Habinar and Liana strengthened the walls around Infernos and Caelum by sacrificing strength around Centrum. Portals on Centrum tripled as a result, giving access to creature of all types: big, small, peaceful, dangerous, ugly, and of breath taking beauty.
 They attempted to manage the portals for a time in an effort to keep dangerous outsiders from entering. But despite their efforts many came through and remain to this day: monsters, tribes, and individuals alike. It was a losing battle from the beginning, and with the number of drakones so low the power available simply wasn’t enough for the Texentes to expand and close the portals for good.

            Though the records do not state the specifics; what we do know is that in the end, to keep their world from falling apart, Habinar and Liana sacrificed themselves.
Leaving their twin children in the care of others, they entered their chambers and locked the door, never to be seen again.
Shortly after their isolation, the Texentes stabilized and it wasn’t hard to figure out why.

Now free from the grind of constant battle, those left behind were able to pick up the pieces and try to form some kind of order out of the chaos Centrum had become.

            Weeks followed and there was still no sign of Habinar and Liana. Those who tried to enter their chamber were met by impenetrable defenses. Even though guards were posted, over time they were forgotten in the bustle that followed as the importance of growing food, building shelter, and negotiating with the new residents of their adopted world took precedence. It was during this time that the first Centrum Alliance was formed.

            The following years pasted in a whirl as the city of Lux was built around a magnificent citadel and small villages dotted the country side. The few remaining drakones flourished in those peaceful times, but those that now lived on Centrum were ignorant of the qualities of the creatures so most were wild, feral things.

            Those times also gave the Celestials and Daemons time to recover from their losses and prepare for war, something they were very good at. When spies reported the apparent disappearance of Habinar and Liana, they saw it as an opportunity.
With only a few drakones remaining to each side, they were less a commodity then they were before but that hardly stopped them as they armed themselves for battle. Smashing thru the garrisons that had been assigned to each gate, the war drums could be heard for miles.
Catching sight of the marching armies, sentinels ran to light the signals, warning the surrounding villages and city that danger approached.
Giving up their homes rather than face the wave of death headed in their direction, the villagers fall back. Taking refuge in the city citadel built for the eventuality that these events might take place.
            The Daemons struck first, burning the villages and fields behind them as they swarmed toward Lux. As they flooded the city, those with the ability to fly dived at the citadel only to be repelled by the defensive shield that covered it. Bringing their drakones forward, the sheer size and ustrina of the beasts shatter the shield.
Cheering in triumph, the first wave of daemons fly overtop the citadel in an unsuccessful attempt to land on the roof. Chopped in half by powerful beams of light and pierced by metal projectiles, the first wave falls to their death but it’s not enough.
Overwhelmed by sheer numbers, before long the doors were breached and as daemons penetrated the first ring of the citadel the battle became a slaughter.

In the epicenter of the citadel, Habinar and Liana’s children are under the guard of their protector. With weapons in hand she can hear the gates of the fortress break open, as well as the screams of the dying that follow. Grabbing hold of the children she takes them to the doors of Habinar and Liana’s chamber, “Stay here.” she commands them before leaving to join in the battle. 
The citadel was about to be over run when the Celestial army finally arrived. Driven by their relentless hatred for their ages old enemy, the Daemons break off their attack and go after the opposing army.
Taking advantage of the break in the battle, the Centrum Alliance regroups inside the first ring of the citadel. Barricading the outer doors once again, they prepare for their last stand as they arm every man, woman, and child big enough to hold a weapon.

            Again the records are unclear, but as the two armies converged on each other it is known that the war leaders called a halt right before the two masses were to collided.
How it was managed I cannot say, but the two armies came to a temporary truce and turned their attention on the waiting fortress.
            This in itself may have been their biggest mistake however, because there’s a lot that can be done in the time it takes to make an uneasy alliance.

            Inside the citadel, the survivors stand ready. Crammed tightly together in the limited space, a few kept watch through windows and slits trying to see what was going on outside. Looking on in horror as the two armies change course towards them, “They’re coming!” the lookouts announce for all to hear. Panic almost brakes out as some begin to realize what that means.
            Tucked away at the door to their parent’s chamber the children stay close. Raised on the stories of their parent’s power and determination, they hopelessly pray that they will save them. If they had only known what form their salvation would take.

            From far off, Salmnet the Wild Drakoness - one of the oldest and largest of the drakones, is drawn to the siege. Leaving her lair in the Fumus Mountains, she spreads her wings and lets the wind carry her to the battle.

            In the citadel those of the Alliance prepare for the onslaught, enforcing the barricade on the main doors, and blocking as many holes as they could to keep out projectiles, though either would do little against ustrina.
            The two armies were prepared to descend on the almost defenseless fortress when a roar shakes the very bones of the combatants.
            Flying over the impending battle, a shadow shrouds the two armies before Salmnet lands in front of the fortress protectively, her wings spread to block the structure. None of the drakones present were willing to face her head on, so even as their riders are urging them to fight they backed away in retreat. Those so inclined whisking their riders away with them.
            Salmnet examines her opponents, with the retreat of the drakones there were only the two armies to worry about. Roaring loud enough to send those in the air backwards, she takes flight, the wind from her takeoff knocking over those on the ground.
In the fortress those of the Alliance cheered as the drakone sent the armies scattering.

            With her strength and power Salmnet reigned over the battlefield until several daemon legions were able to regroup. Going after her with spear, arrow, and ustrina; Salmnet was mortally injured in the battle that followed. As the daemons screamed in triumph over her dead corpse the celestials made their way back to the fortress, but the victory would be short lived.
Before the army could descend once more the wind picked up fiercely, nearly knocking warriors out of the sky. Noticing that something was wrong the daemons triumphant cries slowly faded.
Some jumped back when gray flames started spurting from Salmnet’s jaws. The flames spread quickly and soon the entire corpse was engulfed in them. As the body burned to ash, smoke rose from the flames. But instead of dissipating after reaching air, the smoke condenses and takes on the shape of a Drakone before erupting into flames that keep the original shape. A roar comes from the mouth of the fire beast as the wings spread and it soars over the field. Those hit by the flames were incinerated on contact.
Running and flying for their lives, few of either army managed to make it to safety before the relentless manifestation gave up on its pursuit. Satisfied with its work the creature returns to Lux.
Circling around the fortress once more the fire beast roars in triumph before it disappears in a puff of smoke.
            Having survived the battle, the children’s guardian returns to collect her charges only to find them gone, a search is organized, but they never find them. 

            Habinar and Liana’s children were never seen again, but the records tell that year’s later two figures appeared at Lux Castrum’s walls.
Effortlessly forcing their way inside, they head straight to Habinar and Liana’s Chamber, and for the first time in over half a century the doors are opened.
            Sealing the doors behind them before anyone can attempt to enter, the chamber will remain undisturbed once again until another pair arrives to repeat the events. It will be centuries more before a pair arrives that refuses to enter the chamber but instead picks up the mantle of leader.
            But that is a story for another day.



No comments:

Post a Comment