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PROLOGUE





The wind carried the scent of change. The leaves upon the trees gave a slight shake as the wind passed before stilling once more. Of all places upon this world no other place was more dark nor dangerous. The creatures there were of ancient races that survived by becoming more dangerous than the previous generations. It was a place of things with claws and fangs, of venom and poisons, and even the trees bore some thorn or other danger. Where death itself tread carefully, for fear of something worse. Only the bravest or bold dared enter, and few would ever leave. A place where the foolish could die countless ways and, in days long past, where the greatest heroes had gone to train.



The wind rose again, even stronger than before. Dark things stirred among the woods and gazes turned to deep within the heart of the forest. Though all things there lived to eat another dweller of the forest, the place itself seemed to contain a oneness. A sense that, if any dared to learn, could be heard to speak of happenings far across the forest. That oneness became even clearer now as all things turned together to face the direction the wind moved toward. Deep within the heart lay a ring of mountains that no climber, no matter how skilled or well equipped, could scale. The only way to go beyond the mountains was by way of caves and tunnels. Within the ground there lurked the true nightmares. But these mountains encircled a place far different than the forest. A place that had been sought by countless adventurers over many years. A place as much of heaven as the outer forest was of hell. A paradise. It was in the place that the wind blew strong. For a few brief moments all grew quite. The wind had died and the stars shone silently. All within the forest was still. Change was in the air.






High above the paradise the skies suddenly erupted. Where once had been a clear night a hole opened in the air. Lightnings and fires tore the sky asunder as the portal appeared. The maw was only ten feet wide, but such a torrent of a mix of fire and lightning burst forth that it seemed much larger. So bright it shone that people hundreds of miles away looked upon the horizon in fear of what they saw. In a castle far away a king and queen looked at that horizon in apprehension while an astrologer watched from high in a tower, not knowing what to think. In another land a group of forest dwellers looked upon it in astonishment. Their race was said to be of the oldest in both life and history, yet even they knew nothing of this event. Of all who beheld this event only four knew what to make of it. Those four sisters lived in a land so far away that the portal could not even be seen from where they stood side by side. Their race was the oldest of all, yet little more than a fragment of meaning from long ago remained. Though they could not see it, they felt it deep within themselves. The world would be changed forever.






The maw of fire and lightning existed for barely a minute. Just before it collapsed in upon itself their was a burst as a fireball was shot from the maw. It was a cocoon of fire and lightning that appeared high above the ground, and began to fall. It fell with great force and the fires around it carried something of the portal it fell from. The roar filled the air as it plunged out of the sky with the force and speed of a falling star.



When it finally struck the ground it bounced once before hitting with full force. When striking the fires seeped into the ground, lessening the force of the blow. Rock and soil were thrown aside as the fireball ground to a halt only fifty feet away. As it stopped the fires faded away, as though they had existed only long enough to see that whatever lay within would survive the impact. That thing now began to move.






It was a bloody heap of torn flesh, broken bones, and many parts that seemed charred and burnt. What clothes that had survived seemed little more than rags. Minutes passed before it moved again. Then the figures appeared around it.



They faded into sight all around. Specters who were ghosts, only more real. A soft glow followed them, but the glow did not illuminate the world around them.



Each was different and carried their own unique traits. Though men and women, tall and short, large and small, every one of them carried the same look in their eyes. A look that spoke of courage. Some were almost too fair to be human, and if one looked closer their ears ended in points. Others looked short yet incredibly strong, like miniature mountains. Still some were even odder. One was built thin and light, with insect wings jutting forth from the back like the wings of a dragonfly. Another had yellow cat-like eyes, with light coats of tiger stripped fur along the legs, arms, and even some on the face. Complete with tail this cat man seemed a mix of both strength and agility. Still another seemed a mix of so many different creatures one could not even guess what it was.



The specters all moved about, and each and every one carried a weapon. As they moved the weapons flowed with them, as much a part of them as arm, leg, or tail.



They moved about the figure lying on the ground, but never once touched. They only beckoned. With gestures, pleas, encouragements, and even anger they beckoned it toward a cave. It moved with obvious effort and pain, a slight trail of blood followed behind from the many wounds. Yet still it crawled on, each movement a fight for survival.



As the figure moved within the cave the others began to fade. Each individual dropped back and faded into the air, their image disintegrating like dust blowing into the wind. As it crawled on only one remained to watch over. This specter was an elderly man, whose face was old and worn. He watched the figure crawling on the ground with both sympathy and pity, yet remained silent. Finally the man stopped as the figure crawled on. When he spoke it was a respectful voice which conveyed the wisdom of the very secrets of the universe. “I pray that you can pass this judgment. I pray that you can survive the night. Least all my waiting, and suffering, will be for naught.” He sighed heavily, a tear trailing down his cheek. “Since the beginning of this world I have waited. My love, I shall see you again soon.” With that he faded into the air. The crawling figure was left alone.



Before the figure now spread a pool of water, yet the water was as still as glass and gave off a light from an unknown source. It drew up to the edge of a drop and looked down into the water. It stretched out a tired arm but was forced to draw farther over the edge to reach the strange pool. It was so far stretched over the edge and so tired from the ordeal that when the hand finally reached the water the rest of the body soon followed over the edge with a splash that echoed loudly along the cave walls. It struggled vainly to keep above water, but only a few seconds passed before the little strength it still possessed was spent, and the water closed ominously overhead. Only moments afterwards the water was still once more.






When the first rays of sunlight shone on the valley the next morning the water remained as smooth and unbroken as it had throughout the night. All around the cave was silence. Not even the wind blew . . .

20 YEARS LATER



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Comments

The following comments are for "Untitled"
by Mindseye42

what's next?
I like your story and the sounds of some of your characters, there very interesting. But what happens in the end??

( Posted by: moggy [Member] On: January 2, 2004 )

In the end . . ?
Hmmmm . . . the end?

My initial thought is that your asking about the end of the story, which I very well can't say right now. Even if I did say it wouldn't help. I remember hearing, but can't remember where, that "you can't express an entire storyline into only a few sentences. Doing so can never convey the depth of the story, the richness of the setting, or the attributes of the characters. The story looses all life, and becames nothing more than a flat series of events." At least that was the point, though not in those words.

If you're asking about the end of the Prologue, then all I can say is what happens in the end is exactly what you read about. Sorry, I'm probably not being very helpful, but I really don't know just how to answer the question.

Keep reading as I put more out. It should answer your questions, or narrow it down to something more specific. My apologies again for not being helpful.

( Posted by: Mindseye42 [Member] On: January 2, 2004 )





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