On any given summer day, the expanse of blue skies between the kingdoms of Rhylia and Luenacdale were pristine. Clear and open, endless as the quiet peace between the neighbors. To the south and east the land began with ocean waters as clear as a lady's looking glass. So blue that ancient peoples argued it had been painted by the Goddess herself. It was from here that the cool ocean winds swept inland to the country folk. Often, quite often, the water nymphs could be seen picking seashells along the shoreline; no doubt to make beautiful gifts for the women who were their elven and faerie cousins.
The entire continent gave the illusion that the Goddess had hand carved every canyon, river, and blade of grass by her own divine hands. When the night was still enough, one could still feel the bounty of magick that thrummed through the core lines of the land. It was this very essence that made this world a suitable habitat for all of the ancient creatures. Pixies, nymphs, forest gods, and elves. Spell casters, an old order of templars, shape-shifters, and Shines also roamed the land and the hidden nooks of crannies of lands impregnated by old magick. But on the very edges of the lands, in the shadowed over plains forgotten by man and time alike, still lived the demons and shadows, orcs and draught dancers, were-wolves and those beings whom were exiled and cursed for crimes so vile, they no longer belonged to once species or the other.
Farther beyond the beachside getaways for royalty and commoner alike, the lushly colored landscape was dotted with gently rolling hills, the farmers fields, and grazing lands to countless herds. Rhylia's farms were world renowned for their wool and produce, and production of livestock meat so tender and juicy that even an infant could eat it. Quaint villages could be found in every direction and each one of these pieces of rural life could offer the poorest of travelers a splendidly gay visit.
The people were friendly, devoted to the Goddess, and hadn't a care in the world. The forests and rivers that cut through Rhylia were the cleanest one could find and offered a great many game and adventures. In large it was thanks to the woodland creatures that lived hidden in those forests and water bodies that kept up the appearance of Rhylia. But alas, all the breathtaking beauty of the countryside and forests failed to compare with the rich splendor that was Rhylia's heart, Cassleton.
The great stone wall that encircled the main city was built at least ten and five stories tall, compromised of limestone from the mountainsides and cemented with only the strongest of bondings. Most whisper that the wall itself was enchanted, and could never fall by man's hand. As old as it was, numbering in the thousands of years, the carvings in the stones and gate towers were still as clear as the day they had first been chiseled by masters of the craft. The stone still stood, uncracked and unchipped. And the vines that wrapped around it could be seen in full bloom each spring. Inside those walls, the houses and shops were fashioned with the same colored and intricate designs. There was no distinguishing the rich from the poor, and each business boomed. From the many pubs to the small corner bistros, and the tailors and bakers, and local doctors. Cassleton inhabitants were left wanting for nothing.
In the very center, a marvelous ivory toned castle stood tall and strong. Each torrent still beheld some scrape or blemish of the Great Wars gone past that knights and nobles of Rhylia gave their blood to ensure future generations would hear of it's glory. Every tower was capped with a spiraling roof, gargoyles and angelic statues decorated the highest peaks and walls. It had plenty of windows, some with glass, some without, for the long line of royal blood that resided inside were so very fond of the sunlight and warm weather. Banners were always flying high above the towers, an array of colors that made it seem like everyday the country was celebrating something or other. Yes, the people who resided in this fairytale setting were quite jubilant and carefree to say the least. The good King Damascus DeWolffe ensured the blanket of peace continued to cover his people by continuously courting his now ally, King Tobias of Luenacdale.
Their fathers before them had started the legendary feuds that the Great Wars had been fought in the name of. Back when man had first come to these lands and quarreled over it's bounties. Rhylia's ancestors had been happy enough to share and co-exist, but Luenacdale had not been as compliant as it was now. Perhaps it was the influence of the surplus of blotted creatures that lived within it's boundaries that made the Luenacdalians as aggressive as they once were. But when the old kings had perished and gave rule to their sons, Damascus was the first to seek out the old races and ask for their assistance in setting up a council. And those old leaders, always loyal to the Goddess and in favor of preserving her lands, sent their diplomats to both sides and divided up the lands between them. It was not easy, nor was satisfying the young Luenacdale king.
King Tobias, had been born a wile of a rascal, and now ruled over the still sometimes tumultuous kingdom. After the dividing of the lands, it sat ill with him. And after nearly a millennia of cohorting with the demons, he tried once more to bully the kingdom of Rhylia to succumb to his rule. But just once. He had enlisted the aid of the Earth and Shadow demons, races long cast from the fiery pits of the underworld and blood-thirsting war demons for their weakness, but still just wicked enough to be shunned from the realm of the Shines. These demons had boasted that they could overturn the will of the Goddess and fell Rhylia short of a fort night. A grave mistake on their part and the wit of a sorceress serving in the name of the deities would cause their human enslavement, but that is a legend for later in the tale.
For as much as Rhylia was lush and vibrant with green life, Luenacdale was a dry and speckled harsh land. But its people adapted well, becoming quite renowned for their hunting and building skills, and a hand at technology. The only refuge from brown shades that side of the continent was the semi-tropical jungle that acted as an immediate border between the two lands. Far past this line the terrain turned to dry plains for few wild herds before stretching into a vast desert, filled with canyons and dried up gorges. There were few rivers and they fed into fetid swamplands that lined the outer borders, where most of the outcast evils made their home. Lost travelers were the meal of choice.
Despite the murky foreground Luenacdale's most noticeable saving grace was its snow peaked mountains that rose majestically towards the center of the land and grew in security the farther north one went. It was here that King Tobias built his utopia, his castle built right into the side of a mountain. The city might have lacked the brightness of Cassleton, but it's endeavors to remain ahead of it's neighbors technologically made up for it. Here is where scholars and scientists had fled when they could not choose a side, or wanted to advance their studies and contributions to the world. If it was not for this group of pioneers, life in the mountain chain might not have been possible. There was a touch of help from the city's pet demon populace that kept the city warm and the savage winters at bay. And they were probably responsible for the stream of foreigners from the deep West that populated it's taverns and inns on a nightly basis.
The mountains that rose behind the city became a deathtrap with a horrid passage along any of it's icy paths. Here, the wind constantly blew, snow and ice in the wind year round that was known to freeze people solid in their last steps. Or assisted in feeding them to the deep gorges that parted the landscapes in haphazard directions.
But it wasn't within Tobias' castle walls that malicious eyes looked out over the horizons to the sanctuary of Rhylia. No these eyes, yellowed by age and lack of sunlight, emerged from the highest icy peak where the wind snapped and howled like a pack of feral wolves. It was the eyes of a race long forgotten, that even the King Tobias of old would refuse to acknowledge still resided within his country's borders. The yellowed eyes lingered on Rhylia a while longer before capturing Luenacdale in their coveting sight. And suddenly, a soft, perturbing laugh shook the mountain top as it exited from the mouth of its cave.
It was then, that for the first time in many a moon's age that Rhylian and Luenacdalian alike felt a small chill crawl up along the fine hairs of the back of their necks. It wasn't clouds that disrupted the clear blue skies that day, but the irrefutable shadows of an epic era that was coming. And it was coming quickly.
- Title: Kingdoms for a Goddess CH. 1
- Artist: Bunnochist
- Description: I got bored a few months ago and very slowly have started writing. Comments and critiques are very welcome and encouraged, but obnoxious comments are not and will be deleted immediately. I like setting a scene for my stories, so do forgive the backhistory and landscape of this first chapter. Besides, it made me feel better after being cooped up all day.
- Date: 08/15/2010
- Tags: kingdoms goddess fiction fantasy drows