This is the prologue of book one as of what I internally call version 0.6.0 and the to-be first beta draft. Anything below can change.
Lifetimes at war
Two elves stood silently at the Memorial Glade, deep within the sacred forest where few could stand. One of them was Kraasian Darkwood, muscular male in his primes, barely over twenty-one centuries old. Kraasian was one of the best warriors ever, fighting with the sheer strength of his large body, being the second tallest elf in history, slightly over two meters tall. His green hair was cut short to spare him trouble when sweat could make it sticky in a helmet. He stood before a large stone on which several names were listed, but he was here to remember three of them.
First were Jandiel Darkwood and his wife Ivaria, a pair of exception warriors who fought when the demons invaded their world. They were the first to fight the demons and what they learned during the skirmishes significantly helped them in the first large battle. With their friends, they persuaded the Eternals, beings of myth and power, to bless their descendants so they could walk in their footsteps and defend their lands until the demons would be defeated, thus founding the Order of Eternal Defenders. Their story was several generations old.
Among the many elves listed on the stone was one more name of interest, a warrior who lived half-way between Jandiel and Kraasian, named Maalos Darkwood. Just like Jandiel, he was Kraasian’s ancestor, though his way to fame was different. While he was a great warrior like most of the Darkwood bloodline, his most known feat happened some distance from the battlefield when he was escorting King Emerian Crystelan and saved his life from ambush prepared by a group of thieves.
Since then, Darkwood and Crystelan families became friends like no other, one being nobles and the other warriors. The Darkwoods gained more respect through this, offering their experience as advice to the King and those leading the army.
“I would expect you to come anywhere else but here,” the other elf said. His figure lacked any hint of muscle and, compared to Kraasian, he was significantly shorter, despite being of average height. His skills were different; he was one of the best magi alive. The two were good friends for a few centuries, their different skills working well together on the battlefields.
“Sometimes I think that too much happened in the last two centuries, Ereanel,” Kraasian told the mage. Two hundred years ago, Kraasian’s parents rushed ahead to fight a group of larger demons when Captain Jaimos, in that time tasked with leading defense of the fourth gate, was too slow to react. Kraasian and Ereanel went to help them and while they saved the battle, they could not save Kraasian’s father. It took some time for Kraasian to make peace with the loss, he learned much from him in terms of fighting, strategy, and diplomacy. Some bitterness towards Jaimos remained even to this day.
Another century later, strange disease swept through the land and eventually claimed Kraasian’s mother, leaving him only with his friends and his wife Ellisia. He was not the only one who experience tragedy in these years, as the same disease killed the Queen and Prince Venelaos’ wife survived just barely. The King eventually gave the crown to Venelaos, too struck by the tragedy, and vanished from public life ever since.
Illeana, Venelaos’ wife and now Queen, needed decades to recover at least somewhat and, five years ago, she gave birth to a daughter, Princess Nadyenne. Weakened, she barely survived again and so Venelaos, having enough death in his family, decided that he’d not push for a male heir. Now, Kraasian became a father as well. There would be at least one more generation that would keep the friendship between Crystelan and Darkwood families alive.
“Sometimes I feel like there’s a curse to pay off the strength of my bloodline,” Kraasian said. “Five generations a Darkwood did not live long enough to know his grandchild.”
“It might be sad, but as long as they live long enough to know their son and raise him, your legacy will live on,” Ereanel said, nodding towards the name of Jandiel inscribed on the stone.
“You’re welcome to visit us any time and feel free to take Ralisha with you.”
“She’ll see your son and then I can imagine she’ll ask when I’ll be willing to become a father,” Ereanel commented. “I can’t imagine how the battlefield would look like with both of us needing to divide our time between our duty and our family so she’ll need to wait a bit more, a decade or two at least.”
“Ralisha is not a soldier, you’d have it easier because someone could always take care of your children,” Kraasian said. “I guess Ellisia will not fight for at least two seasons. After five centuries fighting side by side, it’ll be very strange to be there without her.”
“So, who else knows about the good news?” Ereanel asked.
“Ellisia sent a letter to her parents a few days before giving birth, they’ll come to visit us soon,” he said. “I’ll wait a bit telling the King and General Vigellus, probably long enough for us to make the trip to the palace with him.”
“If he grows up to be just as half a talented warrior as you and Ellisia are, I can’t wait to see him in our ranks,” Ereanel said after a while of silence and absent-minded look at the memorial stone. “With my friends developing their talents well, you two and possibly your child, we could do some serious damage to the demons.”
Kraasian once again looked at the stone. “Tens of generations since Jandiel founded the Order have known nothing but this. We’re no closer to ending this struggle than he was.”
“Humans lost eighty percent of their population,” Ereanel said. “We lost thirty percent, but only because we avoided civilian casualties. All of that was in a few months. We’re replenishing far too slowly with the demons attacking our gates and taking more lives each year.”
“At least the Order is getting stronger with each generation,” Kraasian said. “I don’t want our children to know nothing else but this, Ereanel. Together, we will find a way to finally end this war.”
To be continued in (presumably) summer 2019.