Tales From The Renge: The Prophecy, Chapter Thirteen

Zarange stood silent in her chambers. The Master of each Order had been handed a scroll containing the Master’s edict. Her face had gone white as she had read the contents. The Orders were under attack from within. Olgath had sanctioned a culling, against the wishes of the council.

So this was how it was to end. She felt lucky that she had decided not to open to the doors to her sacred city to those beyond. Sure, she would open to accept refugees. Just not for converts.

She would keep her Order’s blood pure for as long as she could before she would look for new blood. That was why she smuggled in members of her kindred. But, then most of those in Nordia and Austryn did. Those in Estryn or Sudia weren’t so lucky. The Estryn Orders were too far away from the borders to the barbarian lands to benefit from the help of the Rievers who smuggled kindred across the Big Muddy and those in Sudia were too far away from the cover of the Lands of Mist to secret them across the northern borderlands.

Those in Sudia were able to receive kindred some of the time, depending on their exact location in comparison to the Big Muddy. But Estryn was just out of luck. Unless their kindred wanted to go through the lands of Mist and cross on into the eastern lands of the Horse Lords, they would never get the infusion from their tribes they needed to keep alive.

Sure, granting membership to those not born of the barbarian lineages was dangerous, even deadly, but necessity made it so that they had little to no choice. And now, that necessity had caused retaliation from the Master. Law forbade the marshalling and training of troops for any purpose. Yet, this new edict from the Master had left all no choice. They had to train for self-defense if for no other reason.

It angered her to know that Olgath had been so flippant as to decide to attack his subjects. He had truly lost his way. But they couldn’t do much to stop him. rebellion had been outlawed a century ago. Creating one who could stand against him alone was also forbidden.

She crumpled the parchment, enraged. Her anger turned it to instant ash. She had to call a secret meeting of the council. They had to come to an agreement on how to handle this new threat.

She reached out mentally for the Master of the Tyresians, blocking the Master of the Ring from her thoughts.

~We need to meet about the new edict.~

~How do you propose this meeting without the Master?~ Came the response.

~Astrally. But with wards to keep him out. It has to be agreed to unanimously. One dissenter and we cannot do this.~

~Agreed and understood, Sister Zarange.~ He replied.

So that was it. She had begun the first secret revolt against the Master’s decision. But then, the Tyresians had barely agreed to the installment of the Master’s grandfather. They were always open to any form of rebellion. Vengeance was going to be sweet.

She smiled mischievously. It felt good to be bad. She turned and walked away from the window where she had been standing after leaving the mind-mirror she used to initiate psychic contact. She had a meeting to get ready for.

She knew that at least half of her fellow Masters would be reluctant. They would fear punishment. They would fear retribution. But two would be her greatest allies.

The Cyrtians had no love for Olgath. Neither did the Veryddians. Both had voted against having a non-ring mage as their Master. It had been unnatural.

The Sisterhood would stand with her, both the peaceful and the warrior Orders. The sisters always stuck together. But most of the male Orders looked down upon the Sisterhood. To the men, they were weak and incapable of being a serious threat to anyone.

***

Emperor Kyrzhad I sat upon his throne. He cared not for the Dark Ring or any other confederation of mages and wizards. They posed a threat to him and his dynasty of usurpers. Long had the prophets spoken against the House Mouadizh, royal house of the Renge. Long had they prophesied an end. But now they were no more.

He assumed that Olgath, in his jealousy, had exterminated them all. No matter. He hoped that the mages would destroy each other. It would serve them right.

What worried him was the upstart, Golmagug. The demi-mage was a threat to the very soul of the lands. His unholy desire to find the lost tomes of the Black Ring would be the very undoing of all that had been done. If he ever found them, the demi-mage would destroy the lands and all that they stood for.

Kyrzhad’s fear was that Gol would call the necromancers back to life, setting loose a time of darkness that the lands could not survive. He shuddered to think of it. But such a time had not been prophesied. Had the prophets been destroyed too soon?

He grimaced. It was time to call the nobilis together. They had much to discuss. Perhaps he would wage war on some of the unattached mage-knights that ruled cities. Perhaps he would simply award governorships to his most loyal or the most ambitious.

He shook his head. They were all decadent. They loved their drugs. They loved their gluttony.

But there was a new face among his nobilis. Hadrax, the son of the bard, had joined the lords of the land. How Kyrzhad had waited for one of the bard’s sons to take up the noble calling of their blood and now one had. Sadly, it had taken centuries.

Now, he could see how well the youth could fight. Would he be a good general? Or would he be as the others, worthless as tits on Amalu? He would send the boy-man against Korlabdis, against the twin mages who governed there.

It would be interesting to witness. He knew that he would receive plenty of reports. If the youth proved to be a good warrior, he would hand him governorship of Yndarr. It was only fitting that he was given the city of his birth.

NaNoWriMo

I am thinking about entering NaNoWriMo this year. I have plenty of old projects to choose from, two of which I think needs to be finished. Though I have missed a couple years, I really think I can get it done.

I loved it when I participated the last time. Pushing my limits is always something I like to do. I think I love challenge.

Tales From the Renge: The Prophecy, Chapter Twelve

Olgath stood in his chambers, fuming. He had been outwitted yet again. both targets had vanished. The only difference was that the cities once housed the forbidden still stood where they had been built. The White ring, on the other hand, had vanished along with their cities. The city of the prophets still remained, from all accounts. He would send the Inquisition there. After all, it was the prophets who’d started it all with their prophecy. They would have to be the ones to pay for their arrogance.

Otherwise, should that city also vanish, he would be left with no other recourse but to loose the Inquisition upon the Dark Ring. And he would. Someone had to pay for the affront. He would make sure of it.

He grinned a wrathful grin. Damned prophets. Their prophecies had been the bane of the Renge. They had foretold the fall of the gods. They had foretold of the numerous raids. And now, they had foretold of his death and replacement.

Their allies were now gone, having fled to avoid death at the hands of the Inquisition. They were alone. Without help. Beyond saving.

He liked the sound. Yes, he would send the Inquisition after the prophets. Their time had come. It was time for them to pass into the annals of history.

He strode to his divining fountain. It was time to call Golmagug. A deal had to be struck. He sat upon the bench next to it and gazed in, uttering the contact spell. Golmagug’s visage appeared upon the water, staring at him.

~Yes, Father?~  The demi-mage’s disembodied voice asked, slightly annoyed.

“I have a task for you,” Olgath began.

~I’m Listening.~

“I need you to destroy the city of Prophets,” Olgath stated, “as retribution for the prophecy that has been made.”

~Consider it done.~

His son’s image vanished from the surface of the fountain’s surface. He felt his rage abating. He had begun calming. He was to be avenged.

***

Toulor had foreseen the Master’s plans. He had called together his fellow prophets and they had held council. It had been decided that they would disappear from the face of the Renge. No more would they make prophecies for the four lands.

At the appointed time, all the prophets chanted the same spell. The intonation built to a crescendo as the power began coursing through them and the city began to lift into the air, surrounded by and invisible bubble. At its height, the floating city simply vanished before the eyes of the approaching army sent by Golmagug to destroy it. In disbelief, they stood and watched.

They would have to find a way to tell it to their master. But, for the moment, they would say nothing. They feared risking death to relate these events. None of them wanted death, at least not for something like this. Execution within the Inquisition was horrible and filled with pain. Prolonged to enhance the oblivion that followed.

***

Hadrax stood at the window of his pleasure palace, waiting for his lover. Of his three wives, she was his favorite. His concubines, though pleasurable, meant little to him. they were simply toys in his eyes, much as his two other wives. As the bard’s son, he would have been next in line to be the bard but he had rejected that life. He wanted more. Power. Prestige. Notoriety.

He wanted to live the life that his nobilis blood offered. Opulence. Decadence. Beautiful oblivion.

Unlike his father, he didn’t want to tell tales of former glories. He wanted to taste that glory. He wanted to be that hero. He wanted to fight wars, win medals, and show valiance.

He wanted to overthrow the emperor and take the throne of power. Yes, he wanted it all. Even the drug that the nobilis now lost themselves in. Oh, the sweet herb, that golden lotus. How he longed to lose himself.

Tonight would be special. The moon was waxing full, the stars showed brightly, and the mood was right. Even more, Thranicia was ready and willing. He was going to enjoy this night.

He smiled. He was finally rising above his calling. He had married into the nobilis so that he could rise from obscurity. His blood was calling to him. all he needed to do was to deaden the bard’s blood.

***

The riever ferried the Cyrtians across the Big Muddy under the cover of darkness. All had paid fare and the deal had been struck. It was a lucrative business, smuggling. Gems, gold, silver—it all would sit until he could exchange it for something worth more to him…food and clothing. Perhaps he would get his sword sharpened the next time he went into Yndarr. Right now, he ferried a small clan of Cyrtians across the river.

From there, they would disappear into the darkness. Silent as shades, they would make their way to their new home.  This far north, they would never be noticed. Once at their destination, they would still go unnoticed until it was too late. He smiled. He loved angering Olgath.

The old mage was losing his grip. His line was nearing an end. Soon, the Dark Ring would face dangers as they had never seen before, but that mattered not to the riever. As long as he was never caught by the nobilis, the Inquisition, or the Master of the Ring he would be fine. As long as he remained free, he would be happy.

He took a deep breath. Silence, at this point, was golden. One sound would alert guards on the other bank, up on the ramparts of the walls of  Chrydis. As long as they could slip by unnoticed, they would all be home free. If they were caught, they were all good as dead—unless the mages had a few tricks up their sleeves.

He smiled. The mages were keeping their mounts quieter than usual. Had they used a muzzling spell? Or had they cast a spell so that the barge was not seen?

Tales From The Renge: The Prophecy, Chapter Eleven

Draagonlore sat upon his topaz throne in the mountains of the eastern kingdom of Theylorn. The Eastern mountain kingdoms were known for their dragon riders. In the wars against the gods, they had ridden in the alliance of the gods and had struck fear in the hearts of the Rengelanders. Their counterparts to the west, the Orc riders, had ridden for the alliance of races.

The dragon riders had once been allies of the Renge. It had been their duty to see that no threat made it past the eastern mountains, and they had. And they had been richly rewarded by the gods. But they were gnomes. They lived in their mountain tops and took care of their dragon mounts, training for invasions from across the Expanse.

The sea kings saw to trade with kingdoms beyond the Expanse and defense of the coasts. They relied upon the dragon riders for help, at times, but only asked when the threat was too large. In return, they traded with the dragon riders at a preferred rate. This meant that the dragon lords received all trade at a lower cost for their part in defending the coasts whereas the rest of the mountain folk did not.

Trolls and goblins also shared the mountains with the gnome dragon lords, while the dwarf lords sought solace in the roots of the mountains mining for precious metals and stones. The gnelven and gelven peoples lived in the foothills between the mountain kingdoms and the lowland elves. Centaurs and other halfling races wandered throughout the wilds to the south.

Muspel was a hot swampland between the wilds and the southern coast. It straddled the Great Muddy’s southern half, below where the Big Muddy joined it.  At least, that was what Draagonlore had heard. He had never been that far south and all lands looked alike from the air. He didn’t really care to find out what the truth was. Many rumors and legends told what the men of Muspel were. Demons. Wild men. Dark elves. Giants hated by the gods.

They rarely wandered too far north. Few people ever saw them when they did come north and often, they went unnoticed. Perhaps that was a good thing. Most thought it unlucky to meet up with a man from Muspel.

Draagonlore sat back on his throne. The mountains were his. At least the mountains around Theylorn were. To his north, the mountains of El Thrune were under the watch of another, as were the mountains around Thryngaard, Dracias, and Thracius. The kingdoms on the coast were Ophir, with its capital Dark Haven, and Morridia with its capital Dark soul. There were a couple smaller Kingdoms, but they were sparsely populated and either too swampy to be of any importance or too cold to warrant raiders much of a profit.

To the south, the kingdoms were larger, but less of a target. The heat and humidity tended to keep many raiders from going there, but those who did usually found the cities impregnable and blocking their way up the Great Muddy. Some pirates, though, found the challenge irresistible. They couldn’t help wanting to sneak up the river.

None had made it past the twin ports of Colchys and Phrygialis that sat at the mouth of the Great Muddy. Still, the lure was too great for the most seasoned. They continually worked at the defenses, hoping one day to break their power. What lay beyond was anyone’s guess.

No pirate had laid eyes upon the lands of Muspel that lay beyond the great twin cities. No pirate had laid eyes upon a man from those forbidden lands. Every pirate had the urge to bring that lack to an end. What could it hurt?

***

Muspelheim, capital of the lands of Muspel, was a dark wonder on the great continent that held all the lands. One of five black cities, its shadowy splendor was as legendary as Muspel’s history of dark magicks. But the dark magicks were only part of its reason for being. Muspel was a haven for outcasts. Sorcerers. Mages of all Orders.

Though not the fiery land that it was rumored to be, nor the swampy land, it was a land of mystery. Muspellians never left their homeland. There was no need. Their lives were a continuous pursuit of magicks. Here, Sorcerer Supremes were common and not outlaws.

Muspel was known for two things, other than magicks. One was their fire lancers and fire archers, the other were their dark lancers—better known as the demon killers. Their fire lancers were better known as god-killers. Legend had it that they had fought on both sides as mercenaries. The truth was that they had fought on the side of the gods, but had also served as hunters of rogue gods, gods gone bad.

Many of their most heroic had found their way to the hall of heroes, Vallal. There, they awaited, with the heroes of old and the gods, for that one final battle that would unite the lands from coast to coast, and from north to south—even beyond the great land bridge of Mexoltle and Mayatlan to the lands of the Amazons and the Moche Incaran.

Only the wandering mages who sought refuge in Muspel had ever been beyond Mexoltle and Mayatlan to see the Amazon or Moche. Only a few rarely told tales of their time among either. Many had tales of the sharp toothed natives of Mexoltle, the infamous Blood Packs who drank their victims’ blood as they carved their heart from their chests. Mages rarely entered the hellish cities, with their large stepped temples, out of fear of becoming their next victim—their next sacrifice to their dark and evil gods.

Mayatlan, though sharing the stepped temples, was a kingdom of light. Their gods were openly discussed and their customs talked about widely. The inhabitants of Mayatlan were loved by wandering mages because of their hospitality. Open and friendly, the Mayatlani people would take travelers and give them a meal and shelter for the duration of their stay.

But that was as far as the tales would go. Mages would tell no tales beyond what happened in Mayatlan. The Amazon empire and the rising Moche kingdoms remained a mystery.

***

To the west, Elesidel-Lord of the Dark Mountains-stood upon the second floor balcony of his palace. The Roc riders had always looked to the east with wary eyes. The Renge, which lay just beyond the barbarian wastes, had ever been a source of sorrow. Below his mountain home, the White Ring’s cities had materialized making him question what sort of evil had risen in those forsaken lands. Tyr-na-Nog, Elisidel’s grand city, had long been known as the city of eternal youth and its elves envied throughout the lands.

Yet they rarely left their mountains, since the gods no longer roamed the continent. His people were better known as the Aesiri after their second largest city, Aesgrarath. Mydthgarath, their third largest city, held many wonders. In truth, their kingdom was the great and legendary Lotharia and was bordered by Ambria, Caerium, and Dumnonia.

Vaenirium, the sea kingdom, stretched the entire length of the western coasts. Somewhere beyond the Great Western Expanse, that great endless ocean, lay the lands to where the demon hordes had been banished. Some said that the demon hordes had been banished to islands somewhere upon the Expanse, others said there was a great continent somewhere beyond even the islands where they had been banished. To most, it didn’t matter. The demon hordes had been banished and a spell held them bound to their prison.

TFR and why I am going to piss a lot of people off

First of all, these two topics have nothing to do with one another. Therefore, I will begin with the last first. With that said, I do have an announcement.

I have a new blog. No, I am not going to do away with this one. I am merely  going to begin pulling all the nonfiction off this blog and leaving this one for fiction only.

The new blog will be devoted to nonfiction only, no fiction. That means all my dangerous, seditious thoughts will be showcased on a blog all their own. and the link to that new blog?

https://thenonfictionandarticlesofjaytrueblood.wordpress.com

Now on to Tales From The Renge. As you have noticed, I have not posted a new chapter yet. I probably won’t do so until I have two or three chapters ahead. I have paused in order to go through the material that is going to be integrated into TFR. I have found it all, now, and have it sitting where I can easily get to it. This will give me a chance to go through and figure out how I want to implement each character, city, and story line of each tale being absorbed into TFR.

I already have a rough idea, I just want to hone and polish it down to a full blown plot. I may not be posting for a couple of days, but don’t fret. I will return with a finished chapter soon.

Tales From The Renge: The Prophecy, Chapter Ten

To the east, Darr of Pixxan stood on the banks of the Great Muddy. In a few days, he would be ushering the Forbidden Ring to the lands they had been promised by the Grey Wolf. The eastern Horse Lords had agreed to give the Forbidden sanctuary and Aiykarrea had become their new home. The least civilized of the Horse Lord kingdoms, Aiykarrea was ruled from the throne at Pixxan. Darr was the commander of the royal cavalry of Aiykarrea, which made him the natural pick to conduct this mission.

His orders had been simple. Remain on the eastern banks of the Great Muddy to prevent the risk of war with the Renge. It was risky enough for the Horse Lords to allow sanctuary to fugitives from the four lands that divided east from west, there could be no other action that could be interpreted as an outward show of hostility.

Behind him, a legion of horse-warriors stood at ready. Their encampment was not far from the river and all he had to do was call for them, his war horn at his right side. At his left hung his massive sword. His compound bow and quiver were slung from his saddle for easy access.

His Aiykarrean horse archers had a reputation still unmatched by any other. They were fearsome in battle. Alongside the mounted pikemen of the Emetian kingdom, they were formidable. Add the regular cavalry, the horse-swords, and they were unstoppable.

But, then, the elven Horse Lords were known for their prowess. The mountain gnomes and goblins were ever their allies, as were gelves, gnelves, and Faerie. Trolls, to a certain extent, also fought alongside the Horse Lords.

There were a few, though, who always fought against them. Red Cap. The Bendith Y Mamaou. The dark elves.

Not every being of the wastes between the kingdoms and the Renge were allies. Some hated both. But it hadn’t been that way in the beginning. Nor had there been a schism between the Horse Lords and the Renge. That had come later, after the gods left.

***

Banon had called Aramathos to Saradis, his Order’s capital city. The time had come to begin the flight of the Forbidden Ring. It was time for him to reveal to his friend and ally which direction the Ring was going and exactly who was waiting for their arrival. Everything had to begin this night.

He smiled as the Assassinidii entered his Room of Judgment. Aramathos was a tall man, standing well over six feet.  Still, Banon was his equal in height. The two had been friends since the founding of the Dark Ring. Banon had fought, unsuccessfully, for the installment of the Assassinidii as members of the Ring. It had been this failure that had shown Banon that his Order, and any that sided with him, would be the next to be expelled.

“How are things?” Banon’s inquiry was simple. “Any news from the west?”

“We will always remain, friend,” came the answer, “As we always have. What they do not see, they do not believe in. Valthrid grows more powerful every day. They are sure to make your deserted cities their own. You know that, don’t you?”

“Aye,” Banon nodded, “but I would rather retreat than to become casualties, fodder for the Inquisition. Our Orders are no longer as powerful as they once were. We have fewer of our own coming every year. Perhaps our peoples are dwindling beyond the borders.”

“I understand,” Aramathos replied, then turned, “what is your plan, brother?”

“The Forbidden will head east,” Banon stated dryly, “and move beyond the Great Muddy. The Horse Lords await us. They have offered us sanctuary in return for our services. Not a bad price to remain free.”

“Not bad at all,” the Assassinidii agreed, “When will we be guiding you?”

“We begin the retreat after dark fall,” Banon averred, “and move only at night.”

“No worry,” returned the Assassinidii, “We can make the distance in a single span of night. We Assassinidii know many secrets to bending time and cutting distances. And we will do so without being seen. Just  have your Orders assembled and ready to go. No delays.” He waved a hand to dismiss Banon’s unspoken utterance. “We already know of the habits of Elesvere and his Order. Make it clear that they need to be both on time and present. All duties need to be done during daylight. No exceptions. We have only one shot at this.”

Banon nodded. That was the terms, then. He had to make sure that the shapeshifters were on time and all their rituals, rites, and duties were done before nightfall. He sighed. No help for it, he had to call the Ring together.

He bowed to his guest, dismissing him. The Assassinidii bowed in return, then turned and walked from the chambers. The  meeting was over. He turned his attention to the task handed to him.

Walking to the gazing pool, he readied himself for the task. He closed his eyes and cleared his mind. He linked mentally to each of the Forbidden Masters. It was time to meet.

***

Bezreddyn had been warned by Zarange of  Olgath’s treachery. The Master’s attempts to secure an assassin that would kill a child had failed miserably and Olgath had begun to arrange for the Inquisition to make examples of those who’d refused his demands. Yet, everything seemed to be falling apart for the Master of the Dark Ring.

The days after Bez had left the city of the prophets, the city had vanished. The prophets, knowing that the newest prophecies would enrage Olgath, had already decided to remove themselves from the lands. Where they had gone, city and all, was anyone’s guess. Most of the denizens of the Renge could care less. They knew very little about the city of prophets and most of them feared the prophets themselves.

With the prophets gone, there was no one who would guide the people except the Rings. Rumors had it that the White and the Forbidden Rings were both leaving the Renge as well. But rumors were rarely true, except when it dealt with the Forbidden Ring. These outlawed Orders had been the first people Olgath had demanded destroy an unborn child. When they refused, he grew enraged with them. Now, they were targets of the Inquisition and their cities a reward for their deaths.

But the White Ring had never before left the Renge. They had been the ones who’d rescued the Renge in the past. But this was now. Would they really abandon the people?

Elesvere, Banon, and other names you will discover…

I am salvaging a very old story. Back when I was in eighth grade, I wrote the Chronicles of Caueli. like Tales, it was a fantasy series but it was inspired by the Shanarra  series by Terry Brooks. Rather than resurrect the old story, I have decided to reintegrate the characters, monsters, entities, and cities into the world of the Renge.

I may actually take a couple more old stories I started and integrate the characters and cities from them as well, combining the old stories with a newer one that actually will be continued as a series. As the story continues, you will find many cities and characters-both good and evil-that will add flavor to the rest of the saga.

Rest assured, I will be introducing some really strange creatures as we go. I have already revealed many secrets, where the Orders of the Rings are concerned, that I had not originally thought worth revealing.   Before I am done, I will probably reveal more.

Banon (or Bannon as it was originally spelled) Alcanon was originally a druid. Elisvere (originally Ellisvere) Wulfsbane was originally the ugly friend and sidekick that accompanied Bannon everywhere. Eventually, I will introduce my trolls, gnomes, and so on that inhabited the world of Caueli. I even had elves, gnelves, gelves, goblins, Red Cap, and a host of other creatures and beings.

At the same time, I will be introducing what was left of the Emetian kingdoms (Syntaxxis) as well as the kingdoms from my pseudo-Conan stories that star Darr of Pixxan. Both fit well with the barbarian side of the story, while Caueli fits well with the Renge. I figured I would weave them all together since I no longer have any of them in their complete forms. I have from chapter 5 to the end on The Emetian Chronicles, two of the Darr of Pixxan stories, and bits and pieces (and one or two books) out of The Caueli Chronicles.

There were originally three stories about Darr, seven books in the Caueli series, and a full book from The Emetian Chronicles. I also had one more story that was fantasy, but it has been lost to time. If I happen to find it, I may accidentally integrate it as well.

Back to Caueli. It has become the “capital” city of the Forbidden Ring. The cities I used in the Caueli series will appear as cities inhabited by the Forbidden. Cities from the Pixxan and Emetian stories will be added in for other cities…I am not sure where yet.