Chronicles of a Heretic
by, 02-02-2012 at 04:49 PM (196 Views)
I think I'll start doing this blogging thing propely. Ignore the past two posts. I'm getting serious now.
A few years ago, I wrote 250-ish pages of an epic sci-fi/fantasy. It's unfinished, since I dropped it for another adventure, but it still stands as one of my favourite stories that I have ever written. So, I want to share it here, bit by bit, in episodic form. Perhaps going over it will make me want to write it to the end.
I hope you enjoy it.Galis slumped onto the highest chair – too tired to sit upright – in the grand hall. He was an old man; an decaying fossil of what he once was. And those he was with had also grown like him; old… forgotten.
Chronicles of a Heretic
Galis Tarell brushed illusionary specks of dirt from his robe. The gown was made perfectly for his needs; delicate strips of near-impenetrable armour woven with jewels from a thousand realms. It grew as he grew, and shrunk as he withered away. It was a robe that the denizens of his city would die for.
But it meant hardly anything to him. Not anymore.
The doors at the other end of the hall flew open. His two children came rushing towards him, their arms wide open.
‘It is late, my children.’ Galis said in a low, gruff voice as they hugged him, even though his body offered no warmth or comfort anymore. He was dying; it was shown by his crinkled skin, withered away by the centuries it had lived. ‘What are you doing up at this hour?’
‘We cannot sleep, father.’ One replied.
‘Tell us a story!’ the other said.
It has always been the same with children, Galis thought, they always wish for a tale. Yet, my children are growing. Soon their childhood will be behind them, and they will enter training in the temples. They deserve one more story.
‘Very well, my children.’ Galis said. ‘Let me share with you a great story, of battle and bravery. It is a very important piece of our culture. Remember it forever.’
Galis cleared his throat as they sat.
‘The setting for our story is still hidden, for this is a tale of our almighty creators. In the unknown areas of what we call ‘space’, past the galactic rim and beyond all understandable boundaries, the High dwell.
It was, of course, their decision to hide in the unknown reaches of our universe, watching us like deities for all time. Mysteries of great wonder dwelt behind the walls of their holy city, but none could see it. Nor could any enter. For if they could see, and if they could enter, life would never be the same again.
They would see the golden walls; as high as monuments, and as beautiful as precious jewels – a hundred feet thick, with spirits whispering over the battlements. The luminous gates would blind the mortal, and the guardians would destroy any who walked past the boundaries. But to those who belonged inside, the gates would fly open, and welcome them to paradise.
It has always been unknown who the High have been. Gods? Rulers? Who can decide?
Some species make their observations – they believe they are seeing into their world. But the High wish none to know. It is all an illusion.
But the High have their part in the universe; they are by no means separate to our realm. They give their gifts to those worthy of them. The greater species gain their brilliant powers through obedience of rules hidden from most. How can you earn if you do not know the path you are taking? We discovered them though; we have received great reward. The powers of the High – unnatural abilities not understandable by normal thought and interpreted in a diversity of opinion – were gifted to us. Other species also learnt of these arts, but they had no mastery of them.
Then there were the legends. The stories passed down through ancestry to all who would listen. There was the great construction of the city, and the forming of the two halves; Aes’geth the Dreamer and Ath’Dar the Ruler; a traditional tale of light and darkness.
But then, there was the Legend of the Heretic.
The High thought they had eternal peace. With the Light of Aexis, their most precious guide, leading its children along the true path, there was no room for chaos. Yes, there were two interpretations of this light, but neither would combat the other. The High lived in serenity and harmony, their kind prospering and their mysteries remaining hidden. The dew of their grass shone in the radiance of their five suns, and their descendants – the younger races – were flourishing under the guidance of the observers they had sent.
But then, in the process of birth, there was one child who was different. He did not see the light. He looked to a different path. It whispered in his ear like a silent storm, its words like raging fire. But it was a soothing fire. It sounded sweet and inviting. The child listened to it, letting it in to his mind. For none of the High knew this child’s mind. It was masked in deceit – it looked as if he was another of the simple minded that would follow the light until it gave him free will. But this child had already chosen his path. He had already chosen what he wanted.
He wanted power.
In secret, he searched outside the walls of the great city. His eyes peered into the dark reaches of space, to find others who would serve him. He needed others to earn his power. Many saw this child’s vision, and they sided with him in secret. They would be his armies. Thousands of loyal servants, trained with blade and bow, with shield and spear, flocked to his cause, wanting a share in the power he promised. More came as time went on. The conversion was beginning.
Now, the Heretic wanted a way to use the strength he had gathered over many years. Armies were good, but he needed something to display his newfound power to the universe. He tricked his masters, by asking them to make gifts for the lower realms; great weapons, which they could use to guide and rule the galaxy beneath. And so, they set to work forging eight tools of power, under his guidance. Each would have a bearer, and each bearer would flourish with the power they would gain. And without any unnatural intervention, the weapons could only be used by the bearers.
There was the sword; an image of strength and courage,
The dagger; a weightless and silent blade which never blunted.
The whip; an icon of control and manipulation,
The bow; a tool of watchfulness and skill.
The mace; a true picture of rage and anger.
The pistol; the perfection of technology,
The axe; a fitting weapon for the most brutish of all creatures.
Finally, there was the staff; a symbol of leadership and power, only fit for a true king.
Once the eight glorious artifacts were finished, the child wasted no time. He took the weapons by force, killing both of his masters with his unquenchable power. He escaped outside to the far away wastelands of the High’s territory, which had never been touched by their glory. There he enchanted the weapons, binding them to his body so that he could use them against the High and all who opposed him. He made it so that only with these eight weapons, would he be invincible. That was not an overstatement.
He hid there for fifty years, plotting his next move with his armies. When the High discovered what he had done, his name was lost to them. They would only call him one thing.
The power the Heretic was gathering began to make him insane. He ate his own servants to survive as he gathered his forces in the cold, darkness of the forgotten mountains. His teeth were like rust, his once beautiful hair like a bush of thorns. And his tongue was like a snake’s.
Yet, more and more went to his cause. The power drove them all mad, until the cities began to empty. The knights and monarchs tried to beckon them back, but their voices were like lost echoes.
Many remained after the great conversion. But the Heretic had amassed incredible numbers for his unholy army. They all became twisted like him – lost in the power they slowly received, begging for more. Their spines grew twisted and spiked, their eyes red with fury. They were under the Heretic’s full control now; they would do anything for him, just so they could simply taste the power that corrupted them all over and over again.
The Dreamer watched as his peaceful civilization slowly departed from him, until half the city had fled to the Heretic and his doctrine of evil. Their armies were in the millions, outnumbering his men that had stayed loyal. He prepared himself for the inevitable.
The day after, the march of the Heretic began. With his forces, he began his return to the city. He began his crusade to destroy the High; to destroy their pathetic teachings, and rule the galaxy with the power he now had. It was constantly whispering to him as he marched – a great unknown factor, which had twisted the High and turned its own against itself.
The march soon became a charge, and a charge soon became a siege. The battle for the immaculate city had begun. Never before had the High been forced to defend their gates. But never before had they faced an evil so great.