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Ios: The Jade Heart

By Kahiwordings All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Adventure

Blurb

The Jade Heart follows the lives of a few through the enduring years of war and peril. A young man growing up as he tries to find purpose, and his friends which he meets along the way. The long peace between the lands of Thesarion, the dune-lords of Dulland, and the noble bards of Lician - have all grown fragile, and beneath the cracks of their alliances something beyond the ken of mortals stirr in its bed.

Prologue

Alcian shifted his green and blue gaze upwards in attempt to breathe through the thick and ashen dust which stuck his features and broken plate. He stood leaned with his back against a rock whilst the Dragon’s thunderous fire battered the stone, surrounding him with fire.

They were the last living from a two day long battle; thousands of men and women had perished, yet through their sacrifice the beast stood crippled by wounds and pierced wings as its thick, blackened blood trickled down by its sides.

Somehow it still lived.

“Crude little man,” it taunted through a growl and curled its massive, serpentine frame around the ruined fields.

“Thesarion, stop this madness!” Alcian bellowed, as hard as he could muster, and raised his tower shield in furious desperation.

The Dragon’s size could only be compared to that of a large hill with its silvery scales sending the sun’s light into a shimmer. A golden tint trailed across its jagged spine, and its yellow eyes gleamed, set upon the steaming rock.

“I bow to no one!” It spoke with spiteful tone.

“We can live as equals!” Alcian shouted, moving from his cover to peer into the eyes of the animal.

Thesarion shifted past the siege weapons which had been battered into pieces, the bodies of soldiers and Magi alike, crushed beneath his tortuous weight as the mountain rock bathed in their blood, forming falls of red as it dripped alongside the cliffs and into the lakebed beneath, “Petty man… you and I will never be equal.” Thesarion roared.

“Then I will end you!” Alcian howled, his long brown locks shifting to the motion of his draw; the Redweave long sword now in hand and pointed at the beast.

The Dragon drew breath as Alcian kneeled, and took cover behind his shield, arm blistering against the heat as the flames embraced his sides. He knew the Dragon was just as tired as he.

With his eyes now open to a deep breath, the thick smell and taste of sulphur forced a cough out, and throwing the heated shield aside he noticed the scorched and melted rock around him. Alcian gave glance at the black skies above, “Why did you do this?” He asked, tone wavering.

“Unworthy… cretin… - you cannot win this fight,” Thesarion replied, stretching out its wings in a noble and graceful manner.

“Why not form a new beginning?” He said, and stood.

“Your ignorance: unforgivable!” Thesarion’s roar shook the mountains, offended by the mere thought of the mortal’s words.

However, despite his hopes of talking sense into the being, Alcian felt death creeping closer.

The Dragon slowly lowered its head, and opening its jaws once more - another roar followed and shook the ground.

The man leapt to the side, and thrust his sword into its eye, launching himself above its head as the Dragon screamed in agony, feeling for a brief moment the semblance of a broken resolve as his horn was seized by the human’s grip, sword then quickly dug its way just beneath the beast’s ear.

Thesarion parted its jagged lips,”Alcian, you cannot win this war which you’ve started….” It grunted with its last breath, body giving way to a mighty quake.

The King grabbed his sword and fell, knowing he would soon join his enemy in the embrace of darkness he shifted his gaze towards a nearing scribe.

The robed man spoke, ”My King, what do you wish of me?” He asked, disheartened by the view of the now weak and battered man.

“I wish a city to be built here….” He gasped, “Unify the clans to the land of Thesarion,” he added to a whimper.

“Why such a name?” The scribe asked to a wavering tone.

“Remind the people, remind them,” He said and rested his eyes, hoping the people would not let his brothers’ sacrifices be in vain. “The clans need a voice to lead, a city of their own….” He added, and then set a final and lingering gaze upon the round features of his servant.

“Yes, my King.” The scribe replied obediently and bowed his head; kneeling by the passing King he rested a hand over the man’s eyes.

Alcian’s final wish was granted as the tribesmen of Caldarus unified under the single banner of Thesarion, a name which became the constant reminder of what had transpired during those two days of hellish peril. The great city was built up by the tribes and was named after Thesarion’s bane: The City of Alcian, a stronghold without precedence with the surrounding mountain lake and a great wall of memories which stood testament to the soldiers who had perished.

Generations passed as the land slowly grew in power and knowledge, and in time the great city became known for its vast libraries of long lost legends and myths. Its towers reaching beyond the clouds with buildings of white, grey and black alike as they lay riddled within its mountainous embrace.

The son of Alcian, Brannon Thesarion eventually faltered to age as King Revil, took his place upon the seat of his deceased father. With his heart burdened and fearful, he had witnessed the Magis power firsthand as they had fought alongside his forces in earlier wars, yet the acts of a maddened Magus, a leader of the Magi, had cemented his beliefs further still.

The Magus had lost his mind to the powers for which he had held, roaring along the dance of fires and lightning to the trails of dead, old servants and beloved alike as he had rampaged through the halls of his academy, and it was not until Revil’s two brothers had fallen by his rage that the man himself succumbed to his own madness, or perhaps more so a brief respite of sanity, as he ended his own life, leaving Revil standing in-between his fallen family and guards.

Stricken with grief through the passing of years, sorrow consumed Revil, and he ordered his heralds to spread their shrouds, sharing lies and truths of the Magi’s corruption and equal danger. They were the sons and daughters of Dragons with the power of gods at their fingertips with intent of acting against the people and their King.

Decades then passed and eventually Revil succumbed to old age, yet his traces remained as the Magi became all but forgotten and their hunters; the Thaugrim, a myth to scare the young.

“My lord, ’tis set in motion,” Dreshyen said, tone rasp.

He breathed in and enjoyed the moment as he looked at the feeble and grey haired man before him.

“I have my doubts,” Mefris stated, and gazed through the window. It was midnight and the two full moons shed its light throughout the white streets of Alcian.

The tavern room below theirs was full of drunkards celebrating the coming of spring.

The Golden Apple was one of the more delicate taverns among the upper district, yet it had the reputation of being flagitious, which on this night was perfect for melding into the background.

Dresh revealed his sharp teeth through a smirk, “I see… my Lord,” he spoke, carefully hiding his enduring hatred for Mefris through a neutral tone.

“We’re in a tavern, hide your face,” Mefris snarled through a whisper, failing to mask his distracted mind. He glanced at Dresh’s dark-red and near black features, disgusted by the scaly patterns, “Concerning the boy though, have the Thaugrim traced him?” He asked.

“They are close, yet I worry for they are… struck with a certain stubbornness,” Dresh looked aside, “remind me again… why do we need him?” He added as he pulled up his blood-red scarf around his neck.

“I’m not sure we do,” Mef answered, lowering his voice.

“As you say then,” Dresh replied, perking a brow with a subtle sigh.

“But we might,” Mefris replied.

“’Maybes’ alone will not keep the Thaugrim in check,” Dresh chuckled.

“You know the hunter?” Mef questioned.

“Telkar? The old fool?”

“Yes,”

“What of him?”

“I believe he has have seen to that, and I trust his pupil,” Mefris replied, sipping the wine from his golden chalice.

“Forgive my words, but it’s folly… placing trust in the ignorance of such a young one as she,”

“I’ll take your words into consideration, Dresh’yen,” Mef mused, ignoring the advice.

“I’ll see to the preperations then.” Dreshyen said, pulling his dark brown hood over his head. There were many things that needed his attention; knowledge to be gathered and events to be set in motion.

“It is imperative that you keep an eye on this boy, follow him and make sure he finds his way to me,”

Dresh stood by the door, “I will, but how goes the preparations?”

“The King is furious with Dulland, though I succeeded with stalling the war….” He hesitated.

Dresh perked a curious brow, “Hmm?”

“You should have time to travel back to Iron’s Peak and sabotage the northern gate, confusion is needed for this to play out properly.” Mef said.

“What of the military forces in the area?“ Dresh replied.

“I’m sure you can be creative,” he replied with a grave tone, “you will see to that, the war must be won.” He continued, and sat down in his black leather armchair.

“Does the King suspect anything?”

“The King is a fool, consumed by the history and fears of his family… our fears however, should be the north: Lician.” Mefris frowned.

There was a knock on the door.

He glanced towards the sound, “Who’s there?”

“You asked for more wine, me lordship,” the female voiced replied.

“Leave it by the door.” Mef shouted.

“As you wish, better hurry though before someone snags it,” the maid said as her footsteps grew distant.

Mef sighed, “One last thing….”

”Yes?”

“Odrim, the child‘s father… we need to know what he knows,” he gazed out the window towards the subtle flickering of stars.

“Very well.” Dresh chuckled, and left.

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