Chapter 8- The Requisitions of an Ascetic
There were many disappointed in Elyren, but none more than himself. Elyren's arrival coincided with the worst of times since he came back the day after his father's death.
I was nowhere near Yoren during the famines, which had ravished the lands, soon followed by the annexure of Yoren by the overlords of the new royal family. The famines killed a great part of the citizens, and following this, there were loyalists of Lord Arell's just rule, who restored the land to beauty and flourish.
Elyren lamented for days, as to what I heard. He descended upon the Gardens of Night, I remember, with storytellers making his tale stranger with mystical beasts and mechanics, ranging from flying machines to Pallindren. Upon his arrival, the priests of the Lady identified him for who he was, and told him of his father's death, having scried the same just hours ago.
Lord Arell's death brought vicious men to Yoren. Yoren was soon taken, its women dying to preserve their traits as royal women. The vile men killed prisoners and those who surrendered, despite ancient laws forbidding them from either.
Elyren was thrown into the brink of madness. He mounted a horse, said to have been given by the Lady of the Night herself, on behest of Threla. The horse was dark as the night, with a tail sporting a few strands of grey, a blemish unconsiderable in the face of its beauty.
Elyren rode north, directly to the site where a city stood. Now, there are but ruins, a legacy to remind of cruel men and their fall, four hundred years later.
Soon after Lord Arell's death, Elyren's brother and Lorma's stepson was brutally killed by those at the city of traitors, before their remnants founded the city now known as Amres. The land was named Durmalenes, the pride of the Durme, a race of men consumed long ago by the grasps of time.
Durmalenes is now in ruins with the exception being a few villages scattered in its northern border, and to the West faces Amres. It was famed for two temples, one to Savera, and another to Avassea, much like the new city of Amres, though this is mere coincidence.
Glory be to the wisest one, Werva, who appeared in front of the now desolate Elyren. Werva told Elyren of three things on that fated day.
Humans do not appreciate the long years they have been given to live. Nor do Arqa, but it is not as if an Arqan princess were to read this manuscript. The wisest of men struggle their entire lives to find meaning in it, yet lose their wisdom when it is not what they expected.
Werva spoke his first postulation, of which much is known in the world. "Elyren Lormeya, know of this. You were the last in the lines of Arell, and with you, shall your father's line die. Eight hundred years since your ancestor Thewer Arell Ormeleya ascended on the throne of Yoren, you, Elyren Lormeya, shall be the undoing of your house."
Elyren bowed in front of the god.
"As be your command, o mighty Lord of Knowledge."
And so, Werva spoke his next words, of which little is known. "Destroy this city, Elyren. Destined are the people of this damned land to die, and do not hesitate to purify the temples. Contaminated by sin, Avassea and Savera would not count thee guilty for such an act, and thus their temples shall be pruned of the deeds of the men and women who enter it."
"As you wish," replied Elyren, his eyes determined.
And then Werva spoke his last words to Elyren, and Elyren was angered. His eyes blazed with fire, as his hands started shaking. Virtuous as he was, he succumbed then and there to the grasps of hate and wrath, as he fell, crying, at the feet of Werva.
"It can't be!" Elyren shouted at the god. The god told him another detail of the fated secret, which none except the od himself and Elyren knew. Elyren lunged at the god, when the divine being vanished, his face sad.
Elyren cried loud, as the men and women of Durmalenes watched him. The few who survived the fall of Durmalenes, they spoke of this great event until their lives ended of other causes.
Elyren shook his spear which was made in particular to suit cavaliers. The spear bore auspicious markings and was rimmed with Threla's marks. Of the weapons Elyren had from Threla, which were seen in the Battle of the Vale, nothing was known now. This has led historians to suspect that the weapons were lost somewhere in the Western continent and has been the goal of multiple quests of futile ends.
Elyren's spear then found itself in the torsos of the men who had killed his brother. It then killed many of the men who had been instrumental in destroying the city of Yoren, at the beginning of the Battle of the Vale. Thus with the destruction of Durmalenes, the War of Elyren ended, marking the end of a decade-long feud.
Elyren spared the men and women who fleed and then set alight the great palaces the royal family resided in. His eyes glinted with Werva's words, and every blow he delivered was as if he struck the god himself.
Durmalenes had soldiers, who all fell when they tried defending their city. Children were spared by Elyren, yet many died in the fires, and soon, the fires reached the great temples of Savera and Avassea.
Magic has long been forbidden within the confines of temples. Gods and goddesses dislike the usage of magic, for it is their gift to mankind. They perceive the pursuit futile, in light of the alternative methods of worship that they rather see man engage himself in.
The unmagical fire, the Goddesses accepted, and the temples burned. Durmalenes was a red star against the horizons, seen for days from Voyasis and the stormless forests.
I regret my role in Elyren's story, since I had not been able to be the person I should have, and I did apologize with my life again and again.
I rode a chariot as was the fashion in the days, and reached the central mountain range and the northern mountain pass, from where I observed the Arson of the city of the Durma. From there, I heard the voice, which spoke in hollow tones with me.
"He knows, Varta." Werva's voice was demented. "I'd suggest your usual method of escape."
I gulped, and turned to see the wise god see me with eyes that were sharper than the spear of ages. Though his tone was grim, there was no hate that radiated. He knew his faithful servant to still be the same.
I, Varta, died that day, falling off from the cliffs of the mountains which reached the skies. And as fated, I saw myself before the Ascetic, the Hermit.
The God of Death had graced me once before, years in the past. His gaunt face bore marks of age, which it had borne similarly six thousand years ago. The Ascetic god had his head tied in a heaping mount, much like a woman's headdress for marriage. His hand bore rosaries of pearls, and the other hand had a void, destined for his Spear of Ages.
"Your death is not fated now, Varta. Return." His voice harassed me like the worst of hailstorms, as I crumpled. "Your current death is after Elyren, not before. See your mistakes and die, Varta. And bring me the man who has added more to my ranks than any other."
I woke up in a temple and knew I was in Durmalenes within instants. Around me, I saw effigies of the great goddess Threla, and wondered again. Durmalenes had no temples to the goddess of magic, yet I was in one.
"She brought you here. For me to kill." The voice frightened me, for I knew it very well. Yet it seemed foreign, as it closed on me.
"Werva told me. Everything. What are you doing, Varta? Molding me into some kind of hero? While you provoke my father to death, and allow these inhuman rulers to kill my brother?" Elyren raged on me, as his voice echoed along the long corridor leading to the sacred sanctum of the Lady of Magic.
"My father," Elyren shouted. "Would your life bring him back, Varta?"
I stood silent. And then Elyren's spear touched my forehead, as I fell back, allowing it to pass through my head. At that moment, however, many things happened.
Time is a connotation that few men understand. The great axes of space and time have little effort to draw on the gods, as we know them. The gods are benevolent, good, and at the same time, they are driven towards fate. Benevolence to one is in fact violence against another.
As everything drove towards an end, death is probably the only thing that pervades life. They are intertwined, existence and the absence of existence, and so was The Hermit in his actions to prevent undesired actions.
There were no gaps in time when events of that day, that evening happened.
Yet that evening was Elyren's first exposure to the realms out of our own, and also his last, as he died at the end of the day.