Prologue: A brief history lesson
This story is set in an alternate universe. It is also fiction. That being said, everything you, the reader, was ever taught about Zoology, Botany, Entomology and the nature of Time, as well as the question of exactly what it is to be Human, is only half of the story to be told and understood. And you, lucky reader, are poised to begin a momentous journey of discovery. Great surprises lay in store for those brave enough to read on!
If you are ready for the other half of the story; if I haven’t scared you away with the disclaimer at the beginning, then read on, intrepid reader.
But, don’t say I didn’t warn you...!
Almost everything between these pages is different from the world as you, the reader know it to be, including the world itself. The planet these stories are set on is similar to Earth in almost every respect, except size; it is on the order of four times larger than the world we live on. Earth still exists; it is a satellite of the larger planet, as is the body we know as the Moon, known as Earyth and Luna respectively. Also, there is life on other planets and satellites in this solar system, but Humanity here has been very busy getting to know as much about this world as possible, as well as becoming acquainted with the other forms of life that share the planetary system they call home.
And they have made many great discoveries, but many of these will be explained over the course of the stories. In the course of the series, we will get to know the various forms of life on the other spatial bodies in the system, including the Moons that orbit this world, and that will be touched on in this book. But it is a theme that will be explored in greater depth in other books in this series.
Though almost everything you were taught in History did happen; it just happened much earlier in this world than you would think; the weather patterns, and even the flow of Time is different, though all will be explained as the story goes along.
In regards to the differences in the weather, rain and snow still fall on this world, but sometimes they aren’t quite what we think of as rain or snow, though it is still water vapor that falls. and when snow does happen, it falls much heavier than we are currently used to in some places, and very lightly in others, and like on Earth, at the equator, it doesn’t snow much at all, except very rarely and in small amounts.
The wind still blows, sometimes very hard in many places, and hurricanes, waterspouts, typhoons, monsoons, earthquakes and tornadoes still destroy many thousands of homes every year... or at least they did before the War. And the presence of the Moons still drive the tides, which powers the currents in the oceans, which is what drives the climate in the first place.
And the sun is still there, it simply is younger than our own sun, so it will be slightly stronger than the sunshine you or I are used to on a summer’s day.
In regards to the differences in the flow of Time, it is more a revival of an old concept than a completely new idea. The concept of a year being more than twelve months in length is not a new one; the Aztec and Mayan calendars both had fifteen months here on Earth, though there were less than 30 days to their months; they were more like 10 to 15 days in length, but they were present and distinct time divisions.
But at the same time, there were things that happened in our reality that never happened in the world these stories are set in.
And one thing that NEVER happened was the wars with the people who already lived on Agorica when the settlers from the other continent first arrived, mostly because there was plenty of space available. Nor did the government of Union have to resort to use of a “reservation system” to make places to put people.
The incoming settlers were willing to listen to those who had been here first, and share the land and available resources with them. There was no theory of “Manifest Destiny” to worry about, or if there was, it was more that Humanity as a whole was destined to share the world, and be able to get along peacefully with each of their neighbors, no matter what they looked like, at least on the whole.
One of the largest influences toward tolerance amongst the Tribes was a group of prophets of the Great Mystery, and the Risen Mystery in the early years of the seventh millennium BCE and the tale of the Prophecy, but more about that later.
Another detail in regards to the flow of Time, the differences in the calendar we observe in the “real world” had several similarities to the calendar in the story; the Romans also had a similar division of months, and theirs was even set up along similar lines to the Aztec ones. The Roman calendar originally was only ten months, but was later extended to twelve, by means of intercalary months.
In our history, in the year 46 BC., Julius Caesar declared the year to be 445 days long for that year only, and then in 45 BC, the calendars all went to a four year cycle where three of the years had 365 days and the fourth had 366; the current ‘leap year’ we would recognize today.
But these stories are not set on the Earth that you and I were born on; this is an ‘alternate earth’, which means that many things will look similar, but it doesn’t have to be the same. And the year in the series of stories is 450 days long, which makes each month 30 days long. That means that there are 15 months in the years in these stories, even though the days in the story are 30 hours long.
The name of the continent these stories are set on is Agorica; the name of the nation is Union, and the name of the world is Tellous, but I’m sure most of you will recognize many things about the place.
During the course of this set of stories, you will see dirigibles in the skies, floating islands, tea parties underground, sunshine in the middle of the night in a summer with not one moon, but nine of various sizes, colors and population densities, and sentient dinosaurs, along with many other wonders if you see the adventure through to the end; including most humans living to be three hundred years old or older, though there is a slight degree of variance between the ages of the various kinds of humanity on this world.
However, the biggest difference I think, beyond the flow of time, has to be that magick—yes, magick spelled with a ‘k’— magick is loose on the world, and that has changed how a lot of things took place over the course of the history of this world.
Because of the existence of the various kinds of magick, the evolution of humanity was affected in many different ways; ranging from the evolution of different species of humanity that came to be known by the names we would recognize from fantasy stories; Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Fae, Centaurs, Dryads, Changelings, Shifters, Changing Folk and Dragons, just to name a few, to members of most of the individual Tribes of Humanity being able to direct the flow of certain kinds of magick, what we would know as witches, wizards and sorcerers. Not all witches are bad, by the way, only a few of them are at any one given time, and those who can shape the magick to their wills, usually take care of getting rid of the bad ones on their own.
Oh and by the way, the Neanderthals on this world never completely died out, because of the flow of magick and the way it swirls over certain places on the continents.
There are other changes as well, specifically involving the existence of the Gifted; members of the various kinds of Humanity who have any one of several psychic gifts—telepathy (speaking from mind to mind), telekinesis (moving objects with only the person’s mind), healing the injuries of another being, as well as their own, communication with plants and animals, and many others; as well as the subtle acknowledgement of the sentience of all life on this planet.
Another shift is to the physiology of genetic humans; in that they frequently reach 350 years old before they die on this world, and in regards to the sensual abilities, some are better than others, and still others are more physically able than others.
And even most genetically human people on Tellous have evolved differently on this world; differently enough to need to have two hearts. But these aren’t the only things that the magick has affected.
It also affected the rest of life on this planet in ways that are still being discovered as the stories progress, because the people who live there are still learning and evolving. There will be plenty of familiar plants and animals, but at the same time, there will be much to challenge your imagination. Are you up to the challenges involved? If so, then... you are invited to read on and join us in...
Shadow Valley, in the Independent State of Monatya.
(This story is set after Wilderness Wanderings 3; only 1 year after Haunted Dreams, but 26 years after Rings At Sunrise, and after Shadow Realms and Royalty of the Midnight World)