Chapter 1: LYKANDIR: The Measured World

Motionless seas. A two-faces clock. Lykan sees all.

The Dark Ages reigns on a world separated from Time, where men prefer war and women are lesser. Writing is outlawed and city gates close against the night, for the legend of the Wer is frighteningly real.

 King Androdin sends his son Cadmus north to meet with his northern rival, Drakan of Caladin, and with him is Aris Delmann, leader of the army. Their journey takes an unexpected turn when they discover not only an enclave of women, but also powerful men from another world, among them Torrullin Valla and Elianas Danae.

Meanwhile, in the south, traitors have summoned an army from a distant land, and soon the first city falls to their might.

When the mages begin their own game of manipulation, using the two-faces clock, Lykandir becomes explosive. It needs but a spark and all hope will be lost.

How dare they? Now is the time to stand together, is it not? Lykandir is about to suffer an overdue shake around and no one will escape it.

Lykan sees all.



Do not be deluded by the beauty of nature surrounding you, soldier. Much lies in wait behind a shrub overrun in blooms.

~ Sergeant’s Speech ~

City of Globeni

Month of Harvenis – The Shifting Season

14th hour / 45th minute

HISTORIANS would tell that it – change in all its complications – began when a man entered the city of Globeni on his warhorse, and yet one must hark to the fact that his travel to a place of meeting was the culmination of factors, therefore of time passed. Thus, it began, if one was truly dispassionate, a long time before, but let the historians tell the tale their way …

The man on his warhorse approached the city of Globeni with some misgiving. It had been a while since Aris had set foot in the city nearest his home, and he wondered how much had changed in the interim.

Born to an unknown woman in the household of the forester clan Delmann, he spent his childhood fighting imaginary battles with trees, a wooden sword his weapon. His father swiftly understood this son would not follow in his footsteps – he had six others to do so – and alerted the local guardsmen. At age twelve Aris left the forest for the local city – Globeni – and the sands of a training ground. That was the last time he saw his father and his brothers.

At age sixteen he fought in his first war, a son defending his father’s rights to the forest from the rival Cormsin clan, although he did not meet his family on the battlefield that day or any other. His father was a forester, not a soldier, but Aris knew two of his brothers had fought. One did not survive.

This war was enacted more than once, honing raw talent into a formidable warrior. Aris discovered he loved the blood of battle, the sound of metal ringing, the power of a warhorse between his thighs, and the freedom of travel. He had seen much of Lykandir south of the Wall that divided the northern kingdom from its larger neighbour.

This day, this journey, his king had commanded, and it had naught to do with impending battle. Aris was to meet with a forester from the Cormsin, for apparently the man possessed first-hand knowledge of events moving to the north. Of course, one had to admit that battles were not always fought with iron and steel.

It did not sit right. Firstly, any dealings with a Cormsin felt akin to betrayal, even though a soldier was regarded as neutral, going where the king decided his troops were most needed. The wars between Cormsin and Delmann of yesteryear, when he as a younger soldier fought on the side of what he believed was right, had been for territory the king required, land the Cormsin owned. It could well have been the other way and he might have been commanded to dispossess his own family, while having to remain ‘neutral’. Secondly, anything that carried the stench of the north was to be avoided. No good had ever come from the land of savages beyond the Wall.

Why now? Aris thought as he nudged his mount under the arch of entry into Globeni proper. King Androdin considered Drakan of the north his mortal enemy; what was that imperative to result in this coming meet?

He would soon discover the why of it.

His horse’s hoofs clattered on the stone underfoot as they ambled together to the stables maintained next to the training sands and the barracks. He glanced around in some curiosity, seeing the same stone frontage and fading signs as in days passed. Globeni had not changed, other than to appear a little timeworn. Despite being near the ocean, dense forest lay between the city and the cliffs overlooking the Dungaler Islands, and few thus regarded it as a coastal settlement, although a tang to the air said otherwise. Aris sniffed and, yes, there it was, the faint smell of salt overlaying the decay from the old trees.

The city folk, he noticed as he ambled onward, seemed far surlier than he remembered, and less well-fed. Androdin’s taxes, he knew, were steep. An army had to eat, and needed to be outfitted frequently. No wonder the looks cast his way were not friendly. It paid to be a soldier, but the common man laboured to feed that soldier.

Soon the stables were in sight, and Aris swung from his horse, handing him over to a lad sporting a mop of brown hair.

“Take good care of Vulcan, hear? There’s extra in it for you.”

The lad grinned and nodded vigorously. “Aye!”

“Go with the boy, Vulcan,” Aris murmured after rubbing between his charger’s ears. “Take some rest now.”

Obediently the warhorse acceded to the gentle tug from the lad, and vanished into the gloom of the yard.

Aris headed in the opposite direction, eschewing making his presence known at the barracks. As ever, those would be filled with both new cadets and old hands, and he had no desire to view either. Removing his understated boiled leather helmet, he scrubbed at his cropped fair hair, grimacing at the sweat he encountered. He sought the tavern where he was to meet the Cormsin, hoping for a meal and a drink before the appointed time arrived. He hoped also, once that duty was done with, for the opportunity to bathe.

City of Rodair – Capital City

14th hour / 47th minute

THE INTERMITTENT sunshine created sparks of light upon the water, arcs of glitter as wavelets rippled. This day the breeze drove the usual tranquillity into forerunners to frenzy; it needed but a degree or three more, and ripples would become waves to send fishermen to harbour.

Standing at the very edge of the royal pier where it jutted into Lake Rushin, the sails of the royal barge snapping somewhat to his left, Prince Cadmus watched the dancing on the crests. In the distance, two boats gradually tacked towards the wharves that reposed slightly northwest of the city. The wind would thus strengthen, he understood; one could ever tell the temperament of the lake merely by tracking the movements of men well-accustomed to conditions. They were definitely scurrying to harbour; a tempest might be in the offing. Neither here nor there at this moment – the magical skittering of light had captured his attention.

One did not navigate the seas of Lykandir, but the lakes were suited to sailing, fishing, swimming and more. Here the waters moved. The great bodies of water surrounding Lykandir remained ever motionless, no matter the wind, no matter the rain, a state to frighten even the bravest of souls, for it was without doubt unnatural, a scientific impossibility. Given the moon in the heavens and the rotation of their world – measurable by noting the stars revolve in the night sky – tides, at the very least, had to be the logical result one relied upon. There were no tides, however, at least not in the accepted sense. Many whispered of fell sorcery, although none were able to give a reason for such necessity. The inland ‘seas’ possessed no tidal action either, but at least the waters moved. And thus created glitter for an enchanted prince to lose himself in.

A pair of colourful geese swimming unhurriedly between the currently gentle troughs created by the breeze, with a row of goslings in rapid pursuit, the sun highlighting their iridescent plumage, caught his attention next. Father and mother, together, caring for their young.

A tear tracked over Cadmus’ cheek. How he wished to be one of those goslings, to know true care. Women had no place on Lykandir, and yet nature belied that notion. The mother cared for the young while the father brought food, and then the day came for an outing such as the one he now viewed, and both mother and father undertook the task of teaching their offspring.

Something, he knew in his soul, was truly awry with the social system all men accepted as norm in the place of his birth. He suspected, if boys grew up under the care of a mother and had girls growing alongside them, under the same care, the men of their patriarchal society would not be as warlike as they were now. Perhaps men would not be as angry about … everything.

Cadmus watched the small family vanish into distance, and inhaled a breath. I shall change it, he swore in silence. All women will have the status they deserve.

He suspected, although the thought was unformed, that women were more powerful than men in many ways, and men knew it and thus denied them a long time ago. A different kind of sorcery, but as impactful as motionless seas.


Halvetin’s Tavern

15th hour

THE SMELL from the smoky hearth revealed ash, elm, hard pine, and aged orange tree logs burning away to nothing. Aris was a soldier, true, but a forester never forgot.

Being not long after mid-morning, the tavern had not yet filled. Excellent. The food would still be fresh, and there would be enough to settle the gnawing in his belly.

Two men sat a far table – griffers, by their apparel. They did enjoy prancing about in bright garb and starred cloaks. Aris ignored them; he did not wish to think of griffers on an empty stomach.

Lykandir was a hilly kingdom with some larger peaks, surrounded by ocean, a beautiful land with great trees, inland seas and plains of wildflowers and colourful heather. Majestic birds gave mournful cries in grey skies. Numerous small islands hugged the coastline, generally tribal, or clan, lands.

This is the world, the king proclaimed, both present day Androdin, and his fathers before him, but there were a host of tales about other lands, most notably rumours of a civilisation to the south. According to the rumour mongers – the subversives of society – a valiant crew and a sturdy vessel needed sail due south for ten days to attain a harbour overflowing with outlandish and exotic people, strange craft and peculiar things (nobody explained what those ‘things’ were). There was not a word for ‘exotic’ in the Kandrian tongue and thus it evolved as a slang term created for the purpose of nuance. Griffers – scribes with the kind of magic that retarded indefinitely the decay of scrolls – called the rumours a lie. One had to believe them, for they were the mouthpiece of the king.

Aris snorted to himself, thinking about griffers despite his intentions. Ever had their presence led to such speculation, however, and thus he did not flay his inner self over it. His snort was for ‘the mouthpiece of the king’. He knew well how often Androdin cursed their very existence.

Few men became griffers, for few possessed the gift of magic and writing. Magical talent was extremely rare, and not so many possessed the skill of writing either. If a boy was seen by an elder scratching a shape in the sand, he was immediately marked and subsequently removed from his family for training; one had to believe the griffers – they knew. Did they not?



A girl seen scratching a shape in the sand, by any man or boy, was put to death instantly. Women had therefore learned to hide such talents and in the present few were found with such abilities. It was said there was a chain of women and girls possessing both writing and magic, but one would have to be a woman to verify that rumour. Aris had no idea whether such was true. He had not spoken to a woman in years.

Ignoring the griffers and shifting his thoughts from the intrigue of lands to the south – he was here about a certain kingdom to the north – Aris beckoned a server closer.

The nondescript man shuffled nearer, his expression baleful, and then waited insolently, offering no greeting. Aris ignored his attitude; it was for his uniform, therefore his rank – Chevalye – and he did not need to explain himself to anyone. “Stew and a fresh loaf. A tankard of whatever’s on tap,” he ordered.

The man went away without responding.

Men, he mused, preferred the wild spaces and the clash of weapons – no doubt why the server felt inadequate – and left it to others to track the truth, and that was why griffers and clerics had so much leeway.

Forcing his thoughts to the present, ignoring the occasional flash of bright garb in his periphery, Aris waited for his meal. He had around an hour at his disposal before his mysterious contact showed up, and he would use it to eat well.

Twenty minutes later

15th hour / 19th minute

FOUR patrons had entered the smoky tavern in the last few minutes, and thus he ignored the door when it again creaked open to allow a newcomer within. When silence descended, however, Aris looked up.

By Lykan, Lord Cormsin himself had arrived for this meeting. Aris shoved his meal aside with regret, and inclined his head to the man, his hazel eyes revealing no expression.

Grinning ferally, Caleb Cormsin approached.



Author: theloreseries

Reader and writer of the extraordinary.

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