Cythera Chronicles: The Century Cycle: Book I



  • Book I: Talan

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    "What’s in a name?"

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    Prologue- 588 Cytherian Time, The Rule of Alaric

    "Good work, Talan. You have done a service to me and this country."

    "Thank you, Landking. I tried my hardest."

    "You succeeded, Talan. In a ceremony tomorrow, I will name you Chief of all Forces in Cythera, Magical and Mechanical."

    "Thank you, again, Landking, but I do not deserve that honor."

    "Then what will you do?"

    "If I may, Landking, I will go into the high mountains and replace the sword from the Abyss. Then I shall seek my fate in the wild."

    "If that is what you wish, then it shall be done, but your name will be remembered forever- Talan."

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    925 Cytherian Time, The Rule of Phenos

    "That should teach ye to stand in the way of a ruffian tribe!" So the whole caravan was thrust onto the ground. That hard.... hard dirt. The caravan had been tipped, looted and was now burning, and the poor travelers were being executed by the brutal Keorg tribe of ruffians. They had made a futile effort to stop the robbery. Now the ruffians were going to make them pay. The axe was raised, and the first head went off. Four more to go. Time goes slowly when your friends are being killed. The same friends that, just an hour ago, were sharing drinks with you at a late night tavern. Three more to go. There they fall and lie for eternity. Two more to go. They raised the axe, and number five stood. They swooped it, and he began to run. One more to go. They moved to stop him, but he kept running. "Safety in the mountains, safety in the mountains, safety in the mountains." He silently chanted with the movements of his breath. With nothing but the clothes on his back, the destination of Cademia and the home of Catamarca grew farther away every second. So did the ruffians. They didn’t bother to run, they were pulling out deadly longbows. Notching arrows, drawing strings...

    The ruffians spun to the right, and then to the left. Some twenty cloaked people were swooping out of nowhere to engage the ruffians. Those people, covered in black, they fought well. The ruffians were being driven back, but the leader drew his sword and kept his bow out. Two of the dark people were thrown away like they were flowers, thrown by a dizzy little child. They landed in a heap, not moving. But the survivor kept running. The ruffian chief drew his arrow, notched it and pulled it back. Now three people were attacking, trying to stop the chief. But he still fired the shot. The survivor heard the twang of a bowstring, and without stopping, he turned his head, just slightly to the right. The arrow stuck high in the back of his right arm. He thudded to a stop and face planted himself. It obviously caused a concussion, if not worse. The survivor was down. He didn’t move. Behind him, the battle raged on, the remaining seven black clothed against the ruffian chief, who didn’t seem to want to die. It really seemed like he couldn’t die, the way their blows simply glanced off his hide. His blow threw one of his enigmatic enemies against a tree trunk in three pieces. He began to swipe at the apparent leader of them and his accomplice. A man, tall and squarely built, but svelte, and a woman, dodging every blow like she had no care in the world. The ruffian made a back swipe, which, by using a double flip forward, the woman easily dodged. The man thrust his scimitar into the ruffian’s gut, deep, deep and deeper still until the blade was clearly showing out the other side. The ruffian collapsed, and the man removed his sword. The woman sheathed her two daggers, and walked with the man in the direction the survivor had run.

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    By the time the survivor awoke, it was morning. He couldn’t remember a single thing. There were only two thoughts in his brain. The first was how sore he was. The second was that he knew he had to reach the mountain, though he didn’t know why. His brain began to address the first thought. Well, no wonder he was sore, there was an arrow deeply embedded in his arm. With some success, he managed to remove the arrow. It hurt even more, but the blood moved clearly, and in time would heal. It was then that the brain addressed the second thought. The survivor began to run as fast as he could towards the tallest mountain before him.

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    After addressing the second thought for several hours, the peak was still high above the survivor. Then a third thought grew to maturity in the survivor’s brain. This simple thought was: food. So the survivor stopped, and began examining the ground for edible plants. Soon enough, a few seed pods were happily being munched in the survivor’s mouth. Once again, the brain began to process the second thought, and the survivor began to climb.

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    The top was fairly near, but the survivor needed a rest. He sat down in a small, grassy dip in the mountain. Lying against a rock, he breathed heavily. Climbing mountains was not easy work. He slowly gazed at the world around him. Off to his right there was a flat rock, and on that rock was a... sword. The survivor made his way over to the beautiful blade just lying there on the rock. Its blade was straighter than anything he had ever seen, and was a strong, dark metal. It was shiny and plain, with not even a bloodline on it. The hilt was dark too, and had a simple crossbar, and an onyx stone rather than a gem at the end of it. The hilt had runes or some ancient language written all over it in black. He picked it up and carefully held it in his hand. "What does it say?" He quietly asked himself.

    "It’s written in the language of the elements," said the woman in black behind him.

    The survivor whipped around. He hadn’t known that he was being followed, especially by this woman and her commander. "Talan," she said slowly, and you could tell she was smiling, even though her face was hidden. "We knew you’d come back for it someday."

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    So here he was, sitting at the table in the hideaway of these strange, unknown people covered in black, these people who called him Talan. "Allow me to introduce myself," the man who lead the group had said. "My name is Path. This," he gestured to the woman sitting next to him, "is Galae. She is my second in command here."

    "What am I doing here?" Talan asked. "I am not Talan. He was a hero, and I am a simple trader."

    "Talan left, as I am sure we were all taught. He vowed to his apprentices, our forefathers, that he would return to teach them. He never did. We have been waiting for his return, and here you are."

    "But Talan was a warrior! I do not know how to fight!"

    "That is why you are going to our oneiromancer."

    "What is that?"

    "She can give you the knowledge of how to fight, though a magical ritual we call the Eril-Galdor. Then you will be able to fight as well as any of us."

    They began to walk down a twisted series of halls and passages. "How does an Eril-Galdur work?"

    "It is an Eril-Galdor. First, you choose a specialty, and the oneiromancer will take that tome from the shelf. Then, she will read from the text, and touch the Eril stone on your head. You will become the Galdor, and that specialty will be transferred into your head. All you must do is practice afterwards."

    "So, I can choose my specialty now?"

    "No, Talan. Your specialty was chosen by fate, many, many years ago. You will be a Master of the Sword."

    They opened a small wooden door, and Talan walked in, alone. He emerged an hour later, looking surprised, yet satisfied. Galae and Path took him to a large square room, where Path drew his sword. Talan drew his, reluctantly. "Now, Talan, we see what you have learned." Talan raised his sword, and quickly spun towards Path. Path parried, and made to trip Talan, who leaped into the air, slicing downward towards Path, who ducked, and rolled left. When Talan landed, Path swung hard towards Talan’s ankle. Talan leapt up again, and flew forward, landing behind Path. Path turned, but was too slow. He lay on the ground, raising his sword as the only barrier between him and that strange, dark sword that always seemed to be in shadow. The metal clanged, and the door flew open.

    "Sir!" The messenger called, and saw Talan. "Talan," he bowed, and continued. "The front wall has been breached by the Kuserhi! You are needed at once!"

    Path rolled out of Talan’s way and quickly stood, checking his sword for marks. Galae had drawn her daggers and was nearly to the door. "Kuserhi? What are they?"

    "No one ever told you what Talan did, did they? Of course not. Alaric would have been too ashamed. The Kuserhi were a race of demons who at one time possessed Alaric. You stopped them with the sword you now bear, and they know when your hand has touched it again. Come, we must fight now. There is no time, or they will overrun this place."

    Path ran out the door, but Galae turned, and walked back to Talan. "They say that it was something about the victory that made Talan want to go into the wild. Be careful out there. If the tales are correct..." She kissed him quickly, and walked out the door. Talan stood there, thinking for a moment. Then, without a word, he too ran to the front.

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    It was madness out there. The demons were everywhere, rending flesh from bone, searching for one person. The person they were looking for ran out of the stronghold last, wielding the same sword that they so hated. All the demons froze, not moving, and began to stare at Talan. "TALAN!" They said as one, and burst into a full charge toward him. He began to charge right back, and the rest of the fortress began to do everything they could to hinder the demon’s progress. Arrows, daggers, swords, spears... everything that could was shoved into a demon nearby. Yet, all the demons kept moving towards Talan, who swung around with his sword, dark as a midnight sky, slicing into every demon that came in. The combined efforts made a few demons fall, but most kept going towards Talan. Not that their seeming invulnerability mattered, Talan’s strange weapon struck it’s mark mortally every time. Quickly, there were only three demons left, who began to cast a spell. It encircled them, and the demons had become a giant demon. This enormous fiend was known in dark cults as a Greater Tanar’ri. It leaped towards Talan, killing five that had been below it when it landed. Talan lunged with his sword, but missed for the first time. Talan spun around, hoping to catch the Tanar’ri off guard. It didn’t work, and the demon was still living. It swept it’s claws at Talan, who ducked and thrust upwards, hoping to catch the hand. It didn’t work. The Tanar’ri growled. "Why even try, little human? Only Talan could defeat us!"

    "They think I’m Talan!" Talan cried as he leaped into the air, plummeting like an arrow into the Tanar’ri. It looked up slowly and then dissolved into nothingness, just like the rest.

    Talan collapsed on the ground, lying back and looking at the sky. "Path..." He breathed slowly, "I think I’m ready to be called Talan now." He breathed out as he fell to sleep.

    (to be continued)

    (This message has been edited by moderator (edited 11-13-2003).)



  • Good work, Mr. Somebody. I'm glad we still have someone to write chronicles for us.

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    Slayer's guide to Cythera:
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  • Thanks.

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    "The Poles are still getting it on." -Mr. Dalldorf



  • well, people have been lamers and not commented...

    You have some neat concepts in here, like the oneiromancer- did you invent that? I've never heard of it before. The fight scenes are pretty well done, the prologue is effective, and Talan's a fairly well done character.

    Now for complaints... ;) There seem to be a few unexplained things- why was the ruffian leader so hard to kill? Who were the other people with Path and Galae and what happened to them after the battle? Why does Galae suddenly kiss Talan when she had no apparent interest in him before, or is she interested in him at all?

    Other than that, it looks pretty good- could be drawn out a bit more, but recently you seem to be writing longer than anyone else as it is. Nice work, Mr S you have the makings of a good story here.

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