Cythera Chronicles: Tales of the Macilnar I



  • I was born in the village of Nuatha during the reign of Lencus IV, the second tyrant. My mother was kind and loving. My father was dead. We were a few miles south of the great city that would later come to be known as ‘Odemia’ then called Sheal. Life was good. My mother did not work, but her gold came from somewhere, and for all my little mind cared, we ate well, we slept well, I learned things, with her as my teacher. Reading, writing, arithmetic and rhetoric were the obvious things that every young boy of the time should know. She taught me other things, such as tracking in the woods, money spending techniques, and how to hunt. She sent me to the village guard, there was only one, to learn basic swordsmanship. When I was older, around seven, my mother began to teach me stranger things. Very strange things, mind you, for a woman of her age, social status and habit to know. She taught me how to make a mental trajectory, to anything. It was amazing. I saw things in new ways. She would make me practice daily. She would walk from one end of the village to the other, while I would be at our hut. I would have to make a quick trajectory mentally and set my angle and speed to reach her exactly right, just before she hit the gate. She taught me to hide, both myself and my possessions. She taught me archery. She taught me to lock pick, to detect for traps. It was a strange life, but I thought nothing of the sort. I liked it, and life was good.

    She went mad when I was ten. She started raving about a plague. I had to tie her to the bed to keep her from hurting herself. I force fed her twice a day. We got poorer and poorer. I didn’t know where the gold was kept. I sold everything but the house and our clothes to buy us food each day. When she died, I sold the bed too. Then the house itself. We were still in debt. The landlord took drastic measures. There were no laws against slavery, if the slave was a criminal. He used the fact that I had illegally imprisoned her to make me a criminal. To finish off our debts, he sold me, a young boy of eleven into slavery in Sheal.

    I cranked the gate up and down in Sheal. At first, I was slow and weak. The first time, they reprimanded me. The second time they warned me. They couldn’t beat slaves. Even if they could, they wouldn’t have beat children. Yet, I was a criminal, on correctional slave duty. They made me practice night and day until I could raise and lower the portcullis in proper time. This made me very strong. However, I was still a slave. Poorly fed, sleepless nights, and backbreaking work all day long made me long for my old life. I started to get angry at mother. It was her fault, wasn’t it? If she had not gotten ill, we would have been happy forever! Sooner or later, I realized that she had not wanted to get sick. Then I blamed myself. It was my fault. I should have known better. I knew the law! That too was struck down. If I had not imprisoned her, she would have killed herself. At last, I settled on the one who was truly to blame. Kornar, the landlord. I began to to plan my revenge. I was a smart boy for thirteen. I soon noticed that the guard outside had a small knife along with his sword. They never cut my hair. There were three small windows on the small room where I lived and worked. One led into the city. One led out of the city. One led onto the six inch wall of stone holding the gate. Beyond this wall was another identical guard house. I would let my hair become rope length. It would not take much longer. I would ask the guard for his knife. I would cut off my hair, and braid it into a rope. I would climb out the window of the wall. I would crawl to the other side, and into the other gatehouse. I would take a sword from it and with it and my hair rope, climb out the window to freedom. I would do it by a count of one thousand from when they locked the door.

    It worked. I was out and gone away from the city in the dead of night. They would not start looking for me for another twelve hours at least, they never came in at all. They wouldn’t know that I didn’t eat the bread and drink flask of water they shoved through for the day until that evening, so they would not learn of my leave until late the next morning, when the first person came to the gate.

    I missed my own village. This is not the missed where I want to return due to homesickness. This is the missed where I tried to go there and I walked straight past it. I walked through the country for hours. When it became dark, I realized that I had been walking east for a day. I crossed a river and stumbled into a dimly lit cave. Within it, there were two doors to the right. There was a pedestal in front of it, with a strange pattern of black and white tiles. An old mage sat in the corner, poring over some black tome. He turned around swiftly.

    "Eh?" He squinted through the wrinkles of... it seemed both age, and... power. "Boy!" It was a sharp tone. "You, you couldn’t get in here with my protection spells in place, unless you are a Necromancer! You are not a Necromancer, not in the slightest. No...wait. You do have a mark, but it is undeveloped. Let’s see now..." He walked over, rather, shuffled over to me. He examined my forearm. "There!" He yelled, jamming his finger down on the underside of my left wrist. "Boy, I can teach you powerful magic, but you must let me cut out the insignia on your arm." I was either tough, or stupid, but I agreed to the old man’s request. He took a rough knife out and scratched a strange design on my wrist. It hurt like all hell was beating at me. I grimaced, but I didn’t cry. Slaves don’t cry. Boys without parents don’t cry. I don’t cry. He poured a blue solution on it. I screamed. I didn’t cry. It became a series of black scars. I joined the him for five years. He taught me much in the ways of darkness. That was how I became a necromancer.

    When I emerged after his death, the world had changed. The third tyrant was in power.

    I wandered far among the earth, but magic, even dark magic of the kind favored by the tyrant was outlawed.

    Beyond the sea, I sailed. Alone in the skiff for many days, I drifted, flying where the wind flew, drifting where the sea drifted. I never saw and probably never will see a mainland in my life, but I arrived on another isle, two weeks and three days drift from Cythera. Here on this island the sight that greeted my eyes was a column, standing hundreds of feet wide and tall. To the heavens, and beyond, this tower was immense and amazing. It was silver, or at least some silver-like metal, and shone in the morning light. The brilliance showed something from the heavens. I tied the skiff to a rock and approached its magnificence.

    Before it I stood, my hair in elven style, sword drawn and hanging loose at my side. My left arm also hung at my side, slightly bent as if in anticipation.

    The great gates bared before me, not bothering to open to their full, which would have been at least seventy feet wide. And from this cavern of glory, emerged a single figure, cowled and standing tall, its face hidden by the hood. In its arms, no weapon or device stood, and they were hidden in the folds of the robe. On its shoulder stood a young gryphon, perched lightly and ready to fly. It threw off its hood, and revealed the face of a beautiful young woman. The circlet of silver thread carried a certain luminescence, catching the light and throwing it about.

    I can only imagine what a rogue like myself must have appeared as I did before her, she so perfect in her mage’s shift, and I dirty, and ready for battle. On my face, I knew I wore a pained look. The voyage had taken its effect on me.

    "What business have you on this isle, stranger?" Her voice was sharp, but I could tell that she was not angry.

    "I have fled my own land." I was frank, though when I saw her reaction, I knew she was now upset, and I wished that I had not been so truthful.

    "Why have you done such a thing? Are you criminal, come to steal from us?"

    "No."

    "Well," she asked, "Then what reason have you to flee? You look competent. I should think that one such as you could defend yourself."

    I sighed. This mage had a very obvious attitude. "I fled for several reasons," I stated clearly, trying to keep my voice stable, "Some being that I escaped from slavery, use magic and am against the current ruler."

    "Magic? What kind of magic...what branch?" She scrutinized me carefully. I wondered if this was how they always treated visitors, or if she could see something different about me.

    "I studied Necromancy for five years."

    "We teach Necromancy here."

    "I need to learn no more."

    "Then why have you come?!?"

    "I drifted from my own land, not caring where the wind and sea took me."

    This appeared to startle her, and she staggered back. She began to murmur to herself. "If the elements have brought him forth here, then truly, he must."

    She approached me and walked behind me, and I felt the point of a dagger at my back. "March straight through those gates," She commanded, "And don’t stop until I say so."

    The inner atrium was quite a show. The light cast itself down in such a way, and with such an aura, that no shadows were to be found in this chamber.

    I was in complete awe. "What..is this place?"

    "The Tower Meonvan, ‘this place’, is the principal center for all learning of all kinds." She said it so simply, but it was a loaded sentence. Learning of all kinds...

    It was not long before I began studying. They taught me alchemy, to calm animals, to appraise, to balance, to lie, to climb, to concentrate, to build, sword smithy, to decipher code, diplomacy, to disguise, to escape, to forge, to gather information from hidden instincts long gone, to handle animals, to heal myself and others, to speak in code, to intimidate, to find my way regardless of my position, to jump extremely high and far, to listen for clues, to move silently, to play the lyre and panpipes, to steal, to read lips, to ride, to scry, to search and find, to sense motive, to speak all known languages, magic of all kinds, to swim, to spot things, to dive, roll, and to flip, to use magic devices, to climb ropes, and the lores of many things.

    I studied there for many years. By the time I left, I was now thirty-six. I had studied there for twenty years. I had married Alea, the woman who had come to greet and interrogate me the day of my arrival.

    We set sail in my skiff, bound for the shores of Cythera. I had drifted here, but I had been taught to find my way, regardless of where I was. We reached Cythera, but we did not think we did. We arrived on the west coast, placing dock at a city being built, and those building it were all in mage’s robes. I had explained to my wife about the problems with magic on the land, so we were quick to question the builders.

    "Have you no fear for the Tyrant, who if he learned of this would certainly destroy you?"

    "Another fanatic supporter, eh? Laddie, the tyrant is..." Then the mage saw my wife’s robes, which were also that of a mage. "Sorry, heh, thought you were supporters of the old rule."

    " Old rule? " We questioned curiously.

    "Yes, well, the third Tyrant died about seven months back, when the Landking Alaric took over."

    "Landking Alaric? Where might he be?"

    "Th’ Landking is easy enough to find. Just follow the coast up till ya reach the road. Then follow it all the way past the northernmost city, that would be Odemia, er, I mean Sheal, as it was known from your time, and then you’ll find a nice large gate in a mountain. Through that gate is Landking Hall."

    "Thank you kind mage." I was still curious, however. "Now, what is your name, kind sir, and what are you building?"

    The mage smiled proudly. "My name is Tavara, former Master of the Library at Pnyx, the mage city. You’ll find that on your journey too. This here city, I’m a building and leading is known as Abydos, the second mage colony."

    I smiled. "Thank you, sir. We’ll be sure to visit sometime."

    "That would honor me."

    We left, leaving our skiff in a sea cave. As we hiked up the coast with great ease, I began to tell my wife what my over-competent skills had noticed.

    "Tavara’s motive was a curious one. It said something about ‘Bargain Water’ and ‘Inner Cult’. What this means, I have no idea, but I am suspicious."

    "Yes, dear. Did you notice that they were building a secret workroom and tunnels passing under the city, without knowing it?"

    "It’s like they’re under some sort of mind control, to be oblivious. Mages are smarter than that."

    A few days later, we saw a great pyramid before us. So this was Pnyx. It was amazing. Hopefully someday, I will have the chance to see it, but I doubt it would be as competent as Castle Meonvan.

    Many days later, we passed the path that led to my village. We followed it northwest, and there lay only a clearing, with various debris lying around. Most of the village appeared to have been burnt.

    I later learned that my mother was the first victim of a plague that swept the island after I had left. Most thought that there would be no more outbreaks of it, but one day, at least thirty-seven years later, it did break out, in the sea town of Catamarca.

    We left and found the road in silence. The next day, we passed Sheal, now known as Odemia. The gate was always open now. It had probably been that way since I had escaped. My eyes felt like they had been made of stone, fire, water and wind. The power of the elements seemed to surge through them, right through the window. I pulled out my bow and shot a single arrow through the window. It landed right in the middle of the crank handle, deeply embedded. To the best of my knowledge, it has never been removed.

    We reached Landking Hall at a few hours past noon. No guards stood at this portal leading into the mountain. Once inside, Castle Meonvan was humbled by the sheer beauty and mystery enshrouded in the abyss beneath the bridge before them. With caution, and amazement, they stepped across the swirling matter, glowing and changing form like some primordial essence.

    Once inside, guards patrolled regularly. We saw a large pool, moving with a current in a circular motion. This amazing place was none other than Landking Hall. I approached a man who called himself Vianar. "Are you the chief of the guards?" I asked, fully aware that he was.

    "I am he."

    "I would like to meet the Landking."

    "He’s very busy. Not just anyone can see the Landking."

    "How do I see him?"

    "You don’t."

    My sword was in my hand before Vianar finished his sentence. He parried easily. I spun, swinging hard. He back slashed. I dropped backward and cast a levitation spell as I hit the ground. I spun easily through the air, a flurry of blows raining down upon him. When I landed, I was caught off guard by his lunge. I was disarmed, but not beaten. A simple spell was cast, and two of the battle axes from the wall flew into my hands, and I began to fight once more. He swung, and both axes threw him back. Two more guards arrived. A few more blows, and they were all on the floor. Alea and I walked on.

    We easily found Alaric’s throne. The young man at the throne seemed confident, but worn. His fool leaned over to him and began to whisper. "Ah." The Landking noted with a hint of worry in his voice. "I would appreciate it, if you, uh, did not incapacitate my guards every time you arrived, Sir Mage and Magess."

    Alea moved to argue, but then stopped herself. We both nodded obediently. "Where are you from, Sir Mage?"

    "Nuatha, a small village south of Sheal." The Landking looked quizzical and turned to his fool. They exchanged whispers, and the king nodded.

    "And you, Magess?"

    "Beyond the sea."

    "Interesting." The Landking commented. "So, why have you come? Surely not to simply bring pain to my guarding force."

    "I wish to ask you for knowledge. I know nothing of this land other than the road I walked and the town of Sheal. I want to know of this land and its people, and it’s past."

    "Of course." The Landking smiled kindly. "But you have marched long. Please take a room, and we will teach you in the morning."

    Alea and I bowed curtly, and were shown to a comfortable room in the southeast wing. During the night, a quiet knock came at the door. I moved silently across the room as not to wake my wife. I opened the door, and before me stood the fool, his eyes shining. "My son will teach you of the land, but Bahoudin will teach you of your hand." He whispered in a singsong voice, pointing to my scarred wrist. "This is the mark of your father, as this is the mark of my father." Bahoudin pointed to his wrist, which had a different strange mark. "Your father and my mother suffered the same fate, though neither my mother or father were of your father’s kind. It would do you well to seek out your father’s kind. Live in the Black Mountains, you should. Find a cave there, you could. And in the depths, find the last of that kind, you would. You will know when you see him. Show him your wrist, and he will help you." Bahoudin left.

    In the morning, Alaric taught us what we needed to know. He gave us a large map, and began pointing to places. "This is Cademia, the largest city in Cythera. Here is Odemia, which you know as Sheal. Here is Catamarca, and Kosha, and Pnyx. Here’s Abydos, and Land King Hall. Here’s Land’s End Volcano, and here’s the Black Mountains." He pointed to two rivers, and various paths, farms and mountains. I asked him the best way to get to the Black Mountains, and he told me. After thanks, and gifts, Alea and I left.

    We arrived in the Black Mountains and set up life in a very comfortable cave, as caves go. We stayed out of the main life in Cythera, only visiting Alaric every once in a while. Two years after we moved into the cave, our first child, a boy, was born there in the cave. It was three years after that, when I decided to go visit the cave Bahoudin told me about five years ago. Alea said she would be fine with our son, and so I set off and found Ignae the Fire Spirit. "Son of Lorsael. I was wondering if you would ever come. Yet I feel still unready for what I must tell you. Come back tomorrow." I nodded, now aware that my father had been a fire elemental. I returned home, and left again the next day. "Oh, dear," Alea commented before I left, "I found something interesting in the woods yesterday. When you get home, I would like to show it to you." This spiked my interest.

    "Do you want to show me now?"

    "Oh no, it can wait until you return." She smiled. Reluctantly, I left.

    "Son of Lorsael." Ignae greeted me again. "You became your mother’s son, rather than your father’s. But it is as well, for you would have been killed in the war too."

    "What war, Ignae?"

    "The war between the elements. Why else am I alone here?"

    "Why were you spared?"

    "I was the youngest adult. I was kept to preserve balance."

    "The balance between the elements?"

    "Correct, Son of Lorsael. Now, when you come of age as an elemental, you must be named as an elemental, and cast your human name aside."

    I nodded.

    "When you come of age, you will have certain powers. You can already make swords."

    "Yes, I can."

    "Well, Son of Lorsael, you will have the power to make these swords channel your element. You will also be able to sense other elements, and will have, in theory, immortality. However, as with all immortal elements, another element can, in fact, destroy you still." Ignae swiftly turned his head south. " Go home." Ignae commanded with urgency. "Come back tomorrow, and we will finish."

    I was confused, until I reached home. The cave was dirty, and overturned. Signs of burning and battle were definitely present. And in the center of it all, lay my wife’s dead body. A terrible, indescribable sadness filled my soul. She was dead. I cast Resurrect on the body, but it was useless. She was still warm, but whatever had killed her, had killed her for good. "Why?!?" I screamed in between sobs. Our son stepped out of the shadows. He could talk very well for his age, and he answered my rhetorical question. "Mommy asked that to the big man."
    The murderer.
    "Yes," I encouraged him, "What did the big man say?"

    "He said that Mommy finded something bad."

    "Oh, dear, I found something interesting in the woods yesterday. When you get home, I would like to show it to you."

    "Why didn’t the big man get you?"

    "He said that I didn’t know."

    So it was Alea’s knowledge that was dangerous. The next day, my son and I met Ignae in the cave.

    "I am sorry for what happened yesterday." Ignae said. "She was killed by the sixth element, the worst element."

    "Sixth?"

    "Yes." Ignae said. "Everyone knows of the four main elements, Earth, Wind, Water, and Fire. Some know of the fifth element, Kronos of Time. Few know of the sixth element, Lathulen of Darkness."

    "So Lathulen killed her?"

    "No. He was killed in the war. It was probably his apprentice, Goshnak."

    "When my son is old enough, I will go out and destroy Goshnak!" I said with vigor, expecting a reprimand.

    "Yes, you must." This surprised me, but I kept listening. "But to do that, I must give you the powers of your element. You are coming of age. What is your son’s name?"

    "Eroldur, sir."

    A flaming finger extended to touch the boy on the forehead. "He has the blessings of Ignae of Fire."

    "Now, Son of Lorsael, you must be given a new weapon. Here are two swords that you can channel your element through."

    They were beautiful, long and slightly curved, with brilliant handles encrusted with rubies, and with insignias on each blade, of a skull coming through flames.

    "Now go, Therru Flame."

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 07-29-2003).)



  • This is a pretty interesting story. I can hardly wait for the next chapter. We really need some more chrons!

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    Slayer's guide to Cythera:
    (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/cythera.htm")http://www.macclassi...era/cythera.htm(/url)



  • I'm working on it.

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    Would you like fries with that?
    Ambrosia Beta Tester!



  • A little quick for my liking, but it definitely does well for a story that spans 40 years.

    (Q: Shouldn't it be "Macilnaru"?)

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    "The libertarian roots of the Internet run deep. It was the place where innovation trumped experience, where the little guy had as big a megaphone as the largest network, where the small business could reach a global market, where the public could regulate far better than any government.
    "No one imagined that the megaphone would become so loud or that it would speak so often of penis enlargement pills and opportunities for unusual financial transactions in Nigeria."
    -New York Times, "How to Unclog the Information Artery" Money & Business, 5-25-03



  • Like I said somewhere else, the amount your writing has improved since the begining is amazing.

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    "Programming is an art form that fights back."
    - Unknown

    "I do not fear your Powerful Racoon, for I have a Short Poker of Shooting!" - Random Story Creator IV



  • Quote

    Originally posted by Pallas Athene:
    A little quick for my liking, but it definitely does well for a story that spans 40 years.

    Well, yeah. This story was the hardest so far, being that I have to go through the entire beginning of Therru's life so that I can start the real conflicts in the next few.

    Quote

    (Q: Shouldn't it be "Macilnaru"?)

    What? Why? Macilnar is Tolkeinian Elvish for "Sword Fire", a good descriptive quality considering the end of the story.

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    Would you like fries with that?
    Ambrosia Beta Tester!



  • Quote

    What? Why? Macilnar is Tolkeinian Elvish for "Sword Fire", a good descriptive quality considering the end of the story.

    I'm quite aware - however, there are two swords, and -u is the appropriate dual declension. I happen to be a fan of the dual form, so I'd never miss a chance to use it, myself ;)

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    The authenticity of host 'localhost (127.0.0.1)' can't be established.
    RSA key fingerprint is 93:33:b4:fc:b8:03:b4:45:15:31:99:1a:a3:1f:a5:ac.
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?



  • Pretty nice, Mr. Somebody. I just have one comment about this paragraph:

    Quote

    They taught me alchemy, to calm animals, to appraise, to balance, to lie, to climb, to concentrate, to build, sword smithy, to decipher code, diplomacy, to disguise, to escape, to forge, to gather information from hidden instincts long gone, to handle animals, to heal myself and others, to speak in code, to intimidate, to find my way regardless of my position, to jump extremely high and far, to listen for clues, to move silently, to play the lyre and panpipes, to steal, to read lips, to ride, to scry, to search and find, to sense motive, to speak all known languages, magic of all kinds, to swim, to spot things, to dive, roll, and to flip, to use magic devices, to climb ropes, and the lores of many things.

    I'm going to be blunt here; this looks like you took the (url="http://"http://www.wizards.com/D20/article.asp?x=srd35")skill list from 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons(/url), changed some words, and put it in paragraph form. Didn't impress me much. :)

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    Sometimes it would stop raining long enough for the stars to come out. And then it was nice. - Forrest Gump
    Check out my (url="http://"http://www.livejournal.com/users/~celchu")blog.(/url)

    (This message has been edited by Celchu (edited 08-11-2003).)


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