An old man was lying broken on a shattered plain. Swirling lights danced around him as he lay still, tired and unmoving. His arms and legs refused to move. His fingers barely followed their master’s orders.
Where am I? Tired… so tired, he decided to close his eyes.
“Grenth, wake up…” A calming sweet female voice called to the old man. “Grenth…”
Who is that…? What’s going on…?
“Greeeeeenth, are you up yet?” The voice came again, but this time childish and whiny. “Grenth, you old vizier, wake up!”
“Ugh… Hara? What are you doing here?” Grenth groggily said, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. What was that dream… No… it wasn’t a dream, not a normal one. It was a vision. Grenth rubbed his eyes slowly trying to clear his head of his sleepiness. Opening his eyes after a short while, he saw the twelve-year-old girl standing near his shelves that were full of scrolls and tomes. As always, she was properly dressed in Orrian noble attire, though for some reason her curly brown hair was let down, something she hardly did.
“I’m bored,” Hara said as she looked on Grenth’s shelves, then, grabbing a scroll, said, “Oh, can I read this one?” She quickly sat down on a ledge near the window in Grenth’s study and began untying the string that kept the scroll closed.
“No.” Grenth quickly took the scroll out of her hands, moving at a speed very unusual for his old age. “That one holds very powerful magic that should never be read. Now why don’t you go play with some kids like young people should and leave me be.” He placed the scroll on the highest shelf, far out of Hara’s reach, and then began gently pushing her out of his room.
“But only Konig is around who’s my age… all the other people are boooring. Let me read something.”
Grenth sighed, rested his already clearly aged finger on an old dusty tome with no magic in it and took it from his shelf, handing it to Hara. “Fine, fine, here. Take this and go read it. I have work to do.” Specifically, I have that vision to figure out.
“Thanks, grumpy old geezer!” Hara shouted as she ran out to read the tome.
“Kids…” Grenth sighed once more and began thinking of the dream he just had.
Chapter 1 – Royal Pains
“While the gods walk the land, a Prince of flesh shall become a King among the corpses. He shall create the blighted race, shall bear fruit to the most devastating cataclysms, and shall witness the fall of those holding sway over judgment and secrets. Servant of the fair one, he shall uncover the greatest hope of mortals in their darkest time. Until then, he shall become a void that walks the world and will bring about the death of thousands, and open the gateway for the doom of millions more.
While a Prince, he shall cause mayhem among those who know him, but once he becomes a King, he will bring the greatest threats into the void that he himself acts like.
And under the noses of the gods, man will conspire against man. In this time, the self-outcast Prince will meet the Maiden of Death who will have him make his move. His choice will be caused by forces upon him, and it will cause forces to move.” – Excerpt from the Tome of Time
169 AA (After Arrival of humans)
As usual that time of day, the grounds of the estate were quiet. Not many people, guards included, expected someone to sneak around during the bright of day. Konig Doric, the son of the estate's owner, had always taken this time to sneak off to train under Afzal, the Sacred Guard of Balthazar. But that day, he headed the other direction.
Once more leaving his duties as the son of Herzog, he decided to head to the vizier’s room instead of training with Afzal. Grenth, the current vizier of the human kingdoms, had been living with the king’s brother the past few years and had been tutoring Konig personally. No one questioned his motives, but it had been unheard of in the past. Konig never had an issue with getting past guards, and had always enjoyed getting past them as if he were an infiltrator – testing how easily and quickly he could get past his so-called “protectors.”
After hopping over a low stone fence, he saw that the coast was clear. Just as easily as he got to the room, Konig hopped through the low window just as he did when he was a kid and began searching the tomes and scrolls spread throughout the room.
“Hmmm, it seems the spells in this scroll are in Kurzick. This will be enjoyable to translate. I always did love Old Kurzick spells, after all.” For years, Konig had been taught multiple languages, but the only one that truly interested him was the Kurzick language, the spells of which were never simply chanted, but sung. But Konig didn’t enjoy the Kurzick language for the singing, he was interested in it because, for an unknown reason, singing the spells allowed them to be stronger – a fireball that was formed from a chant or prayer was always overpowered by a fireball created from a Kurzick song. Or so the claims went. “Let’s see, so this spell is called Cyclone Aura? Well, let’s see how this works…”
Magic is said to only be usable by those blessed or chosen by the gods, and the gods themselves. Even though he knew this, Konig still read the spell multiple times. Each time nothing had happened.
Konig sighed deeply and cleared his mind. He focused all his attention to the spell in front of him and instead of speaking the spell, he sung it.
“Al eternum zu wasser”
An eerie silence surrounded Konig for seconds. The spell must not have occurred. Konig sighed once more and rolled up the scroll, and then he saw it.
The papers around him began flickering, and droplets of water began to form around him. Within seconds, a whirlpool formed around Konig giving him just a little room to maneuver. Amazed, Konig stood watching the water he summoned despite not being blessed by the gods with the gift of magic.
The spell didn’t last for a long time. Soon it began to settle down, and Konig saw his mistake. Grenth’s tomes, scrolls, and his furniture were all soaked. The water touched Konig’s leg, and he bolted for the door. Without thinking, he let all the water out into the corridors and ran to his room, avoiding everyone, with the scroll still in his hand.
Diana Doric, having just finished getting dressed and getting her hair done, walked through the corridor of the estate. The day was a special one which required a special outfit and hairstyle. She had her personal groomers redo her hair seven times before she settled on a style, and she went through possibly thirty-two dresses – she lost count after the thirteenth – and nearly fired five of her six servants. Her son was going to meet the woman he would marry, and she needed to look the best she could for her future daughter-in-law – perhaps future queen if Diana's brother-in-law didn’t find a wife soon. It was a very important event.
On her way to the library, where Konig should be this time of day, she was nearly run into by three different rushing servants – each apologizing quickly and saying there was an emergency before they ran off – and Diana became annoyed. When the fourth one came, she purposefully tripped the servant, a young boy as it happened. He quickly got up and bowed as he apologized – at least he had manners.
“Where are you going? Many servants passed by me saying there was an emergency. What is this emergency? Speak, and it better not be that you’re all still preparing for my son’s future wife and her father’s arrival!” Diana shouted at the boy, making a point to look down and show her superiority.
“No ma’am, those preparations are done. It’s just that there’s… there’s a flood coming from the east wing. It’s a mystery how it started. It happened in Grenth’s study, and that’s in the hi-”
“I know where it is! Do not treat me as an idiot! But how could a flood possibly happen there of all places?!” Diana demanded. This couldn’t possibly happen, not naturally, and she wanted answers. Konig better not be making trouble on this day of all days!
“We don’t know, ma’am. The others are still trying to figure that out,” the boy said, looking down at his worn out shoes as to not look at Diana’s cold stare. “Ma’am… I need to go get buckets, may I go?”
“Yes, yes go. I think I know how this flood started.” Diana marched off back in the direction she was heading, making a right and then a left and another right – straight to Konig’s room, the place he always went after pulling a stupid prank.
“Konig Hagan Doric!” Diana shouted as she shoved the doors open. “Honestly, I thought by now you’d be over your childish tricks. Why did you go and flood Vizier Grenth’s study? Do you know how hard it is to dry up all those scrolls? And for that matter, why are you not ready yet?” She saw that Konig was reading a scroll that he had on his desk. His pants and shoes were even still soaked from his "prank."
“I told you once, and I’ll tell you again, I’m not marrying her. I’m not interested in following dad’s footsteps. As for the flood, it was a failed spell. Or maybe it didn’t fail, and the flood was a side affect. It’s rather annoying that everything is in Old Kurzick. Now, mother, leave me be.”
“A spell? You… You worked magic? When did the gods bless you?” Diana's eyes widened at the thought. She even completely ignored the rudeness in Konig’s tone and words.
“As far as I know, never. Perhaps the gods are not as great as we think they are.” Konig shrugged, never moving his eyes from the scroll in front of him. “But maybe if you sent me to a temple where I could gain power instead of having me tutored by Grenth, I wouldn’t have done such a ‘childish prank.’”
Diana snapped out of her surprise when Konig mentioned his favorite word. It bugged her more than her incompetent servants. “Power, power, power. That’s all you go on about these days, and yet you fail to realize that if you succeed your father or your uncle, you’ll be the ruler of the people! What more power could you want?”
“I don’t want power that’s just hiding behind others, like that coward Herzog. Or my uncle, for that matter.” Diana saw Konig’s face as he looked up at her for the first time that day. The look in his face only made her angrier.
“Your father is not a coward, he…” Diana stopped and sighed mid-sentence, attempting to get rid of her anger. “This is pointless. Just hurry up and get ready to meet your future wife.” She turned around as she finished talking, walking out the door as angrily as she walked in. As she left, she heard Konig sigh and roll up the scroll, and not long after that, she heard him closing his room’s doors. He better be getting ready now.
The Regalia of the Gods glimmered in the sunlight as Konig walked outside of the estate. Dyed a dark red to fit his style and match his shoulder-length hair, the regalia bore the emblems of all six gods – Abaddon, Balthazar, Dhuum, Dwayna, Lyssa, and Melandru – and waved freely in the wind as Konig drew a deep breath before he would put up the ploy he had planned out after Diana’s visit.
Noticing a simple-looking carriage at the bottom, he began to walk down the many steps to meet the woman he was to wed in a few days.
“So this is the famed troublemaker Konig, eh? He looks better than I thought he would.” A short and stout man, almost as if he were a dwarf, stood at the doors of the carriage eyeing Konig as he stepped down. “Humph. He may do for my daughter after all. I’ve been uncertain about this, despite his political standings. But what’s done is done. Why don’t you come on out dear?” The dwarf-like man turned to the carriage door, apparently ending his little monologue to his daughter.
Great, I’ve been set up to marry a dwarf. I definitely have to leave.
The carriage door opened, and a thin and tall (compared to her father) woman in a bright white Regalia of Dwayna with raven black hair stepped out and greeted Konig timidly. Immediately after their introduction, those around them left the soon-to-be-wed alone.
They must be from the Temple of Dwayna to the east… Konig thought to himself as he inspected the woman, who, while seeming his own age from a distance, up close hardly looked fifteen.
“So, um, are you happy with what you see, mi’lord?” The woman timidly asked.
“I’m no lord,” Konig stated immediately then paused to give thought to what to say next. Shortly after pausing, he decided to continue on with the ploy. “But better than what I expected. What’s your name? They set us up to marry, and I was never even told that.”
“Desmina… My name is Desmina. It’s nice to finally meet you. I’m already less nervous… But I need to sit down…” Nearly collapsing, the woman managed to sit on a nearby stone ledge. As she went further from the group, Konig noticed that she seemed to age slowly.
“Let me ask you a question, Desmina. Do you at all want to marry?”
“Well… I… uhm… well you see…” Desmina sighed, giving up on acting as if she were the happy innocent girl others expect her to be. “No… Just like you, I’m forced into this, and I’d rather live in the Temple of Dwayna my whole life than be queen of our race, to be honest. And I hate that temple. By the way, if you were wondering about my looks, my father has been trained in illusionary magic and has been making me look younger than I am. He thinks everyone is like him and prefers girls not women.”
“That explains that. But at least you won’t miss me.” Konig said as he turned to look at Desmina’s father – who was talking to Diana and Herzog.
“Excuse me?” Desmina asked, peering up to Konig in curiosity.
“I intend to leave. Tonight.”
“What, alone?” Desmina asked while quickly standing.
“How else would I go?” Konig asked, looking at her quizzically. What could Desmina be thinking?
“Well, Konig, I want to get out of here as well, and I know outside this estate a little bit. Tell me, Konig, how many times have you left your home?”
“Not as often as I have wanted to...” Konig said, realizing what Desmina was getting at.
“Well, you let me know when you can survive in the real world, spoiled boy,” Desmina taunted Konig. He kept wondering what she was really like; she was unbelievably hard to figure out.
“I’m going on a wild whim here... you want to leave too.”
“You’re a smart boy. I’m sure night would be the best time to leave. Arah isn’t that bad in crime, thanks to the gods being here, but outside Arah, we may run into troubles. So I suggest leaving with darkness, but not far before dawn.”
“The east side of the estate is always the least guarded. We could leave out of there. You and your father will most likely be put into the north wing’s guest room, and my room is in the south wing. You’ll have a harder time getting around because the north wing is more guarded than the others – especially with guests. So I’ll come to get you at night. Be ready at any time.”
“Well now, you love to take charge I see. It must be the royal blood in you. Very well, I’ll see you tonight then.” Desmina smiled at Konig just before she turned and retained the feeble act she had when she first showed herself as she walked over to their folks.
“You know I don’t even need to take you.” Konig whispered in Desmina’s ear as he caught up to her and held her up to help solidify the act. “Just be glad I’m helping you out. I can survive on my own.”