History of the Land from my fantasy trilogy ‘Windows on Our World’ www.lesbillgates.com
The Rivening of One
The History of the Land, as told by the Wizard Tobin to Squire.
In the beginning, the Creator fashioned everything without flaw. There was no evil in the world. Men, Luchorpans, Elves and Kobalos lived in harmony. There was no thought of enmity, or hint of war. Even the predators, such as the wolves and cougars, were friendly. They did not harm people, or hurt and kill defenceless animals. They ate plants and drank milk for sustenance, and the Creator provided all their needs. At that time, the Evil One had no power in the Land. All this happened many centuries ago.
Then, so the legend says, Danifforde was born. His home was somewhere near where the Butterfly Lake now stands. Danifforde was neither male nor female. He or she, for I know not which to call Danifforde, grew up like any child, enjoying playing games and learning with the others at school until, on reaching adolescence, the child was thrown into an inner conflict of who he or she was.
One night a violent shaking of the earth woke the inhabitants of the Land. The Evil One had begun his business in the world. Those who were not killed instantly, ran outside. However, thus exposed, another disaster confronted them as the heavens opened, forks of lightning reached down and the thunder struck. A bolt of lightning hit Danifforde, instantly transforming the youth into two beings – identical twins, one female and the other male. Thus were born, if that’s the right word, the two beings Dani and Fforde.
Dani, the female of the two, grew up to be a great and good person who slowly over time developed and learned to control magical powers. These she used for good. Fforde, the male, became wicked and greedy. He also developed magical powers, but used them for evil purposes. Thus, the two were in all respects opposites of each other; or complementary; since, if you could put the two back together again, the attributes of one would neutralise those of the other.
Dani and Fforde became the first wizards in the Land, the wizards from whom all others are descended.
Things did not change overnight, but slowly the peoples of the Land became divided. The Luchorpans, Elves and half the human population supported Dani in the West. The Kobalos and the rest of the humans gave allegiance to Fforde in the East. In time, the two factions began to squabble. Dani and her supporters built a strongly fortified castle in the foothills of the Air Mountains, which is this same castle where we are now gathered. Fforde built his castle, with the aid of his followers, in the shadow of the Central Kobold Mountain.
Eventually the two sides were at war. The war went on for many years since the two sides were evenly matched, and the powers of the two wizards were equal.
As the years went by, the peoples of the West united under a single leader, the Emperor, who based his empire at the city of Ar. All the peoples of the West swore allegiance to the Emperor, and his hold on power was unquestioned and unrivalled. As son succeeded father, an unbroken line of Emperors ruled for more than a thousand years. The greatest of these was the Emperor Telemann who lived two thousand years ago. The Telekai of today, the desert-dwellers, are direct descendents of Telemann. Telemann had the vision that, to protect the western lands from further attack by the enemy, it would be prudent to erect some kind of barrier. Thus, work began on the construction of the Wall of Telemann.
After his death, Telemann’s son, Patumann, continued his father’s work and his people completed the wall during his reign. Altogether, it took seventy years to build. The wall stretches for more than a thousand kilometres, from the Air Mountains near the Caves of Boggart in the west to the ocean near Ash Wood in the south-east. It is ten metres high and five metres wide.
Many perished in the construction of the wall, some at the hands of the enemy, and others due to exhaustion or accident. However, from the time of its completion, the wall has proved to be an effective barrier in keeping the enemy at bay.
Ar, as you know, was a grand city, constructed on the banks of the Bun River. Over the course of many years, the city’s wealth increased and as time progressed, the emperors indulged in lifestyles that became more lavish and extravagant. Evil and greed had begun to creep into the hearts of the emperors. The last of the emperors was Ben Tui. He was an avaricious and corrupt man who had no concern for the future prosperity of the people of Ar, let alone the people of the rest of the lands of the west. The empire was beginning to crumble. The time was ripe for a new order.
Not many years later, according to the legends, there was a great earthquake in the land that extended from Mount Yo on Atmos, through Merrow Island and the Forest of Kand in the west, and stretching to Butterfly Lake and Fire Mountain in the east. The earthquake was so massive that the land to the east of Kand, which is now known as Kand-e-Har, opened up to create a huge depression in the surface of the earth, resulting in the formation of the Lakes of Kand-e-Har and the Deep Canyon.
At the same time, the course of the Bun River changed. The river, which had formerly flowed through Bo’s Chasm and towards the north to the city of Ar, before turning back towards the south, now bowed towards the west rather than the north. The grand city of Ar had lost its lifeblood, and soon its wealth and power disappeared. People continued to live in Ar for several years but, as the desert encroached further towards the south, there was a gradual exodus and Ben Tui’s grip on the seat of power slowly diminished.
It was still in the dim and distant past, when neither the memories of men still alive today, nor those of their fathers, or their fathers’ fathers can stretch back that far, that The Squire was born in the countryside near the town of Hapi, which is now in the Kingdom of Manchor. The ancient stories tell of many things regarding The Squire. Some may be true, others exaggerated or even false; but one thing is certain, he was a good and great leader.
When he was eight years old, his parents sent him to the School of Martial Arts, situated in Kand-e-Har on the spot where the Thymas Monastery now stands. He spent five years there learning the skills of fleetness of limb and the intense mental training that is required to outwit an opponent.
When he was but sixteen years old, so the legends say, a group of five Kobalos set upon him, wielding their machetes. The boy was so adept in the use of the martial arts that he dealt with each of the Kobalos in turn using the swiftness and power of his forearms and legs. In the fray, he received but one injury, a small but deep cut above his top lip on the left hand side. He bore the scar of that encounter for the rest of his life.
The people of the West, which is now Manchor and Atmos, and the Luchorpans who inhabited the lands to the north – and whose descendents still do – rallied behind The Squire and hailed him as a great leader. They courted him as a King. However, throughout his life he refused to take the title of King. He was, he said, a servant of the people, not a dictator. Thus, he adopted the name of ‘The Squire’, for that was not his true name, which has been lost in the mists of time.
Word of the great leader reached the ears of the Elves of Alfar Wood. The Elves were, and still are, a secluded race. They rarely leave the safety of their wood. People say the wood is protected by a magic spell, a gift to the Elves from the Wizard Dani near the beginning of time. The Elves never forgot the gift and, on hearing about the new leader, determined that the time was right to repay Dani’s generosity. Thus, they decided to make a shield to aid the protection of The Squire. The Elves crafted the Shield of Squire from amber, which was extracted from the mines on the shores of the Luchtic Sea. This amber, which was of a pure kind, almost colourless and only a little tinged with gold, was strong and slightly flexible.The Elves cut a piece that was oval in shape, almost circular, and about thirty centimetres in diameter. On the front, they inscribed five silver stars in the shape of a cross. The back had the appearance of a mirror. The Elves made a leather strap with which to hold the shield.
The Elves sent the shield to the good wizard Festas, a descendant of Dani, who cast two spells. The first was to imbue the shield with power, an energy that when released would guard its user and ward off any attack of the enemy. The second spell was to direct the shield to obey only The Squire; although Festas realised that anyone tutored in the arts of wizardry could also learn how to use it.
When he handed the shield to Squire, Festas said, “This is a gift from the Elves of Alfar Wood. It will help to protect you in times of great danger. However, with the shield comes a warning. When you use it, as you look into the back of the shield, you will see an image as if looking through a window; and what you see may cause you great distress. So use the shield only when the need is great.”
The Squire reinforced the alliance with the Wizard Festas. Festas was the grandfather of Gordin, father of Gordeve and me. It has gone down in history that the people of the West, under the leadership of The Squire, aided by the magic of the good wizard Festas and his shield, scored a great victory at the Battle of Wichtlein.
During the course of the battle, The Squire did use the shield and, as Festas had predicted, he saw an image in the back of the shield. In the Book of Squire, he described the image as taking place in a land that was unfamiliar to him. He had seen a man, not unlike himself in appearance, who was trying to save a young girl from drowning in a river in full flood. I believe that man was you, the new Squire, and that the image he saw was from your world.
He also saw another older man, with dishevelled long grey hair and a tangle of grey facial hair that almost completely concealed his flat nose and large flaring nostrils. The man wore ragged clothes. This was, I believe, Jippers. All this is recorded in the Book of Squire.
Fforde, who had also died many years earlier, had been succeeded by his son, and he by his daughter who was called Eve. The result of the battle of Wichtlein was a total rout of the enemy. Those who survived hid with the evil Wizard Eve in the Kobold Mountains. It was to be many years before their numbers and strength increased sufficiently for them to once again become a threat to the West.
Thirty years ago, when my sister stole the shield, she sought to thwart the words of the prophecy by herself summoning the new Squire to the Land. However, when she looked into the shield she mistakenly thought that Jippers was the one. Thus, she summoned Jippers from your world to this. Transformed into the shape of the giant eagle, even as I transform myself, she rescued the man from the branches of a tall tree overlooking Ko Tarn on the West Kobold Mountain. Seeing this as fulfilment of the prophecy, Gordeve did not doubt that Jippers was the new Squire. She did not realise her mistake straight away but, having manipulated Jippers and used him for her own gratification, she began to realise that something was wrong. Although he bore a close resemblance to Squire, when she compelled him to shave off his beard, she saw that he did not bear the scar. You know the rest of this story – the birth of the twins, my rescue bid to bring them here to safety, the retrieval of the shield, and Jippers’ escape. At the right time, which was last year, I myself summoned you, the true new Squire, to come to our world.
I return now to the events surrounding the first Squire many years ago. He continued to rule in the West, but he realised that there could only be strength if the West were to be divided according to geography and race. When he was advanced in years, he held a huge rally at the city of Bunbury on the banks of the Bun River. There he made a speech that was to change the political thinking of the West and change the course of history.
These are his words, as recorded in The Book of Squire: “United we are strong, but will remain vulnerable to the whim of any authoritarian dictator who may chose to follow the wrong way rather than the right way, as did Ben Tui; divided we may appear to be weaker, but we are in fact stronger. Henceforward, each nation will have its own leader and they will form an alliance that will offer more strength than any mere confederation of states with but a single leader. I, therefore, intend to appoint individual leaders for each race. Their alliance shall be strong and they will remain loyal to each other. The uniting force that shall keep the alliance together will be the Wizard Festas and his successors. ”
Thus were formed the Kingdoms of Atmos, Manchor and West Thorland, and the States of Luchor and North Thorland, which later became the land of the Telekai. At a later date, the Earldom which consists of the islands of Terrapo and Tauto, also joined the alliance. The leaders of each of these kingdoms or states were the direct ancestors of those we see today. With the establishment of these kingdoms and states, the Squire relinquished his hold on power and retired to a life of seclusion in Hapi. He had completed his work and the enemy was for the time being no longer a threat to the safety of the lands of the West. The Squire married and fathered a daughter, whom he named Sohan. The Squire finally died and his body is buried in the grounds of Thymas Convent.
However, the memory of The Squire lives on in his skull, the golden skull that you see before you. After the death of Squire, Sohan resolved to keep her father’s memory alive and took the skull to Festas, who cast a spell to change it into gold. Realising the strategic importance of the skull, Festas decided that it would be too dangerous for him to keep it in one piece.
If the enemy should get hold of the skull and summon the new Squire to the Land, then they would hold the power and the fulfilment of the prophecy would be in their hands.
Therefore, Festas removed the golden teeth that belong to the golden skull and planned to hide them in places throughout the Land. He assigned the task of hiding the teeth to Trevin, High Lord of the Luchorpans. This is not the Trevin who is today High Lord, but his ancestor who bore the same name. With a group of faithful Luchorpan servants, Trevin hid the teeth, and prepared the instructions for finding them again when the time was ripe.
After her father’s death, Sohan was visiting the Silkie on Merrow Island in the Luchtic Sea, when an enormous subterranean volcano erupted nearby. The seismic waves from the eruption caused the island to be depressed below sea level and it became ‘The Land beneath the Waves’. As Sohan cried out to the Creator to save her, she received a vision in which the Creator bestowed upon her the name of Quexitoxeri, which means ‘Enlightened One’ in the ancient tongue. The Silkie rescued her and carried her safely to land near the mouth of the Hapi River. Since that time, Quexitoxeri has been our spiritual leader. We believe Quexitoxeri is the living prophet of the Creator and the words she speaks are His.
She dwells at the Thymas Convent in the northern part of Manchor called Kand-e-Har, and has continued to serve the Creator. After she had been there a few years, she received from the Creator the words of the prophecy concerning the return of The Squire. She wrote the words on a papyrus, which she passed to the wizard Festas for safekeeping. The papyrus remained sealed and forgotten for many decades, until my father, Gordin, discovered it by chance in this very room. As I told you once before, the papyrus was partly eaten by termites. Fortunately, most of the words of the prophecy were preserved, but the termites had consumed the part containing the last line.
Quexitoxeri has continued to dwell at the convent for hundreds of years through spiritual descent. When one Quexitoxeri dies, one who is born in the same hour of her death replaces her. The line has never been broken. In all the Land, she only has the power to heal and bring the dead back to life. No other woman or man possesses that power. Nor does a wizard – only by illusion, and illusion cannot be sustained. Among men and women, only Quexitoxeri has the power to heal.
There is one more event to record, and that is the story of the discovery of the piece of glass from which the Seeround Glass and the box Perkin found at Veil Falls were carved. The glass was, so it seems, an accident of nature, thrown out about thirty thousand years ago with other debris during an eruption of the volcano on Peak Island.
The glass, which is obsidian, was formed when the volcanic lava cooled rapidly as it came into contact with the lake water. Normally obsidian is dark in colour, but this piece was of a very rare type that was transparent and leaf-green in colour. The piece of obsidian was discovered by a fisherman from Lot’s Landing, a man by the name of Flitcher.
Flitcher noticed that, when he exposed the obsidian to light, it began to glow, dully at first, then quite brightly. Realising its uniqueness and potential importance, Flitcher took the obsidian to the Wizard Festas. Festas used magic to form the obsidian into the shape of a box, and then removed a small circular piece about six centimetres in diameter from its centre. This was to become the Seeround Glass. Festas noticed that, when he looked through the Glass, it produced an image just as if he were looking through a lens. However, unlike an ordinary lens, the Glass had the ability to bend the light in such a way that the viewer could see around corners. The Glass eventually passed to Gordin, my father.
For many years after The Squire’s death, there was once again peace in the Land, but eventually the people of the East and the Kobalos rallied under the rule of the wicked Wizard Eve. The people of the West were on high alert once again, and formed various armies to help protect the Land. Among those armies was the ‘Guards of Luchor’ that was formed to protect Luchor from any possible attack by the Kobalos from the passes over the Air Mountains to the north. Gordin gave the Glass to Perkin’s grandfather, the commander of the Guard, who used it to great effect to flush out the enemy from their hiding places. As a result, the ‘Guards of Luchor’ scored a great victory at Glen Alder. After he died, the glass passed to Perkin’s father, and in turn to Perkin himself.
This concludes the history of the Land. I hope this gives you an insight into the events that have led to your summoning to our world and how they relate to the words of the prophecy. The prophecy is incomplete, so it is unclear even to me exactly what will happen after I restore the teeth to the skull. However, be sure of this. You will have an important part to play in the fulfilment of the prophecy, as will also Quexitoxeri. The final result will be the defeat of the Evil One.