Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/965026-Aphalias-Daughter----Prologue
by Miara
Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Fantasy · #965026
A bard recites the national history of the fantasy realm in which the book is set.
The bard straightened his new clothes. It was time for him to perform before the king during the Feast of Magaar. He took a deep breath and stepped out into the center of the feast hall.

“In the Days Before, men lived in fear of the Darkness that reigned over the land. The minions of Darkness harassed men. The most man-like and evil of the wraiths of Darkness were the Demons.

“In the village of the arts arose a great swordsman who called himself Magaar. To him came brave men and women who called themselves knights and pledged themselves to the leadership of Magaar.

“In council, they decided that Soraine and Fomeen, being thieves, would go to find the throne of the Lord of Darkness and steal from him the Seeing Crystal with which he controlled his legions.

“Meanwhile, Magaar and the other knights would begin their fight against the Demons. They learned that weapons made of silver could harm the Demons, and that certain spells of healers could kill the fell beasts. The healers’ spells, while powerful, were draining, and left the caster near death. Therefore, they learned that by working together in teams -- a sorcerer to keep the Demon occupied, a swordsman to slay the Demon, and a healer to cure the poison that Demons left in human bodies -- they fared better than by attempting to battle the Demons individually. The Demons, being single-minded in their service to their lord, never learned the art of fighting together. Teamwork was their weakness, and the strength of Men.

“When Soraine and Fomeen returned to Magaar with the Seeing Crystal, the battle was waging bitterly in the Lachian Mountains. Aphale, Magaar’s youngest brother and a swordsman, nearly died there. But for the love and strength of the young healer Alinda, he would have. When the battle was over, and the Demons had fled the Lachian Mountains, Magaar used the Crystal to set a barrier around the range which would prohibit the return of the Demons. After each successive region was conquered, Magaar set a similar barrier, until all the realm of Men was free of the foul creatures.

“Once the Realm of Men was free, Magaar was named King of Men. However, not all men agreed to be his subjects. The men of Darven to the north, where they mined for precious metal, did not believe Magaar and his knights when they brought the news of the demise of Darkness. The men of Darven preferred to stay in their mines where the Demons did not like to go. Lady Soraine, feeling protective of the unenlightened men of Darven (and love for one of the young miners) requested of King Magaar that he give her the plain to the south of the Darven Mountains where she would build a fortress. He gave her that region, and she proceeded to build her castle, the only one with two main gates -- one facing south towards the Kingdom of Men and the other facing north towards the Darven Mountains.

“The men of the sea, being an independent-minded lot, were wary of accepting the kingship of Magaar. It was not until the daughter of their bravest sailor fell in love with Prince Forona, brother of the king, that they agreed, on the grounds that Forona would live among them and accept that region as his domain of protection against Darkness. So it was that Forona’s was the only castle built in a village besides the one that Magaar built for himself in the village by the Haunted Wood.

“To Lord Avignon and Lady Caryn was granted the Parmay Mountains between Soraine and Forona where their first child was born.

“To Prince Aphale and Lady Alinda was granted the Lachian Mountains where he had nearly died.

“To Lord Quoray was granted the plains just north of the Coastal Mountains where he had rescued a young maiden from Demons. She became his wife.

“To Lady Alexa was granted the Plain of Jessay in the northwest where her husband, Lord Fomeen, was killed.

“To Lord Sophan and Princess Emily was granted the Carlayne Forest in the west where he professed his love for her.

“Each region bore the name of the lord or lady to whom it was granted, except for Fomeen which Lady Alexa named in honor of her husband. Each castle was established three days ride from the next, and all were only three days ride from Magaar, except for Forona, which had five days between him and his nearest neighbor. The Great Circuit Road was built, connecting the outlying manors in a great circle. Roads were built like spokes in a wheel from Magaar to each of the manors. Where the two roads intersected in each region, a village of farmers and peasants grew.

“The Seeing Crystal was set into the top of a gold scepter for King Magaar, and it became known as the Scepter of Sight.

“Over time the barriers set by the Crystal began to weaken. King Magaar, being a swordsman instead of a sorcerer, was not able to reestablish the barriers. Lord Sophan, being a sorcerer, also tried, but by then the magic of the Scepter of Sight had degenerated too much to be able to strengthen the barriers. Sophan was only able to save enough of the Scepter’s magic to make it possible for the wielder of the Scepter to determine the truth in anything told to him.

“King Magaar, although angry at the loss of the magical barriers, recognized the value of such magic as was left in the Scepter to a good ruler, so the Scepter remained in his hands. However, he still had to deal with the decay of the barriers against Darkness. The Knights of Men had aged, and although they still could fight, they had not the agility and stamina nor even all the skill of their youth. But their children were now coming into adulthood. They were trained in the arts of their parents.

“King Magaar decreed that before these children could come into the privileges of adulthood -- such as marriage or lordship of a manor -- they must spend some time patrolling the frontiers of the Kingdom to prevent the return of the Demons. Magaar’s own son was the first to take this Leave from home, and with the eldest son of Forona, the eldest daughter of Soraine, and the second son of Fomeen, he wandered the forests and mountains and plains in search of Demons.

“As the children of the other lords and ladies heard of the great deeds of their peers, they asked their fathers and mothers for permission to go on Leave. The children of merchants and farmers and others, seeing and hearing the great deeds of the children of the manors, and wishing to have more for their lives than their parents had, began training in the arts and started asking their parents for permission to go on Leave. As time went on, and King Magaar saw the phenomenon his decree had become, he recognized the need to reward the children of his lesser subjects for their great deeds. So he decreed that those who reached the highest levels possible in their training would be treated with the esteem of lords.

“As the eldest children began returning home, the lords of the manors realized that once they died, all their children could not live peacefully in the family castle with their own families. Some of the children found positions in other manors with friends they had made on Leave. But there were still those who were unable to secure such positions. So King Magaar, in his last major decree, gave permission to the lords of principle manors to establish minor estates for their younger children or other worthy people within their domains.

“And so it is, that on this day of the Feast of Magaar, we celebrate the beginning of the reign of Light, and Leave, and all traditions we hold dear.”

His tale finished, the bard left the room.
© Copyright 2005 Miara (codytrev at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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