Water is Life

Water IS life; we all know this and no one disputes it. Yet, for the purposes of our Lore insight, water being life is taken many steps further. The first sacred site raised on a new world is the one in homage of the life-giving waters of the planet, called the Lifesource.

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How, you ask? Why?

I had a reviewer declaim the fact that a band of trees is able to separate a people. Surely folk will have hiked through from north to south, and south to north? Someone will have been adventurous enough to do so. No forest, impenetrable or otherwise, will keep the spirit of facing the odds at bay.

He or she is correct. Humankind will go where it is dangerous and forbidden. This mind-set is about challenge, and it is also pure rebelliousness.

BUT.

Know this world Valaris from the inside out and you will understand why a band of trees separates them for three thousand years.

Firstly, we are talking a truly massive forest; not only does it stretch from the eastern seaboard all the way to the western, but it is wide and requires some serious fortitude to traverse.

Secondly, Valarians have been manipulated into fearing even their own shadows at times. The magic of a sunset is magic, and therefore forbidden.  Imagine, then, a forest of magical trees. This was forced upon them, and therefore, when faced with a mighty band of trees that serves to keep them safe from the poisons beyond, the spirit of adventure is unfortunately snuffed.

Thirdly, the time factor becomes a barrier all its own. Truth has become legend, and conversely legend has become truth twisted out of proportion. Fact is, the clans in the north believe the land they inhabit is all there is to Valaris, while the south regards the northern peninsulas as destroyed. Add to that complacency, and the Great Forest is ever given a wide berth.

Let it be said, however, that a few have crossed, never to return to spread the word of continuing deception. Speaking up and denying accepted beliefs is considered sedition, and, much as it is with magic in whatever form it is perceived, leads to the hangman’s noose. Also, fear creates monsters; a fair few of the intrepid convinced themselves ghosts and ghouls tracked them and succumbed to fear itself.

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So, yeah, it does seem a bit far-fetched that trees divide north and south, but this is Valaris and nothing is quite as black and white as that … or grey and every shade of green and blue in this case.

When even trees deceive

Terrible wastelands result after the battles between the Guardians and Infinity/Drasso, which serves to separate Valarians. Three thousand years later (the present) that mind-set is in place despite the recovery of the land. North of the Great Forest folk adhere to an ancient clan system and believe the south annihilated and poisoned. They call the Forest the Barrier. Southerners, having abandoned the clan system, believe the same of the north. They know the Forest as the Great Dividing Forest. Infinity’s ‘game’ summons individuals from north and south.

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From the north comes MORDAN of the Kinna clan, an old man who has memorised the entire Ancient Oracles – 10 hefty volumes containing much lore and magic, and which becomes pertinent to the story as it unfolds – and SAMSON of the Mye, a young man proficient with a sling, and CRISTI of the San, the shyest young girl you ever will meet. Kisha of the Tan (the largest clan) is already in the Great Forest, seeking distraction from grief after her father dies unexpectedly, when she feels summoned to a gathering within the forest she hikes as the tale opens; the four great northern clans are represented in these four.

Kylan, a southerner and the Herbmaster of Farinwood, camps in the Great Forest. He is assailed by Infinity, and Kisha, hearing his desperation in the night-time Forest, goes to his aid, and this is how the separation of north and south is bridged, via two young people prepared to talk and listen and hear.

It becomes clear to all players (northern, southern and Guardians) that there is much hidden under the surface of Valaris’ recorded history.

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Of Rainbows and Portals

I have collated all the LORE short stories into one volume! And it’s available in paperback too 🙂

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Every great story has hidden depths. Discover in this OMNIBUS EDITION the insights and the fantastical woven from the Lore of Arcana/Reaume/Sanctum Series. From natural rainbows to portals into other realms, from worlds off the track to giant planets swerving in space, these are the extras compiled into one volume:

The Rainbows of Pilan

The Life-Wheels of Pendulim

The History of Ardosia

The Wolves of Valaris

The Tower of Stairs

The Glittering Darkness

The Beyond for Vannis

Avior’s Doors

 

Rainbows & Portals

The Tower of Stairs

The fifth short Lore story is live! Once all are published, I’ll update the reading order to include the shorts, slotting them in where they are best read 🙂

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Waiting for a stolen spaceship to return to the Tower of Stairs, Caballa warns Cat about her burgeoning relationship with Torrullin Valla. Skye offers the same insight, but refuses to reveal her own feelings for one of Torrullin’s sons. The three women find themselves bound together by feelings dangerous to each of them.

The Tower of Stairs

14 Sacred Sites

These are the words of Tristamil Valla:

“Fourteen is the universal number upon which magic is based. We build fourteen sacred sites per world in keeping with that philosophy, and that is the first tradition. The second is the order in which we erect them. First is the Lifesource, then the Throne-room, thereafter the rest. The third tradition is the passing of the Dragon from Vallorin to heir at the appointed time. The fourth is the safekeeping of the Oracles; the fifth, the scrying of a newborn’s name and the sixth is this ceremony of today. The seventh is the learning of sorcery beyond what we inherently know. The eighth is the absolute autonomy of the Vallorin; we are not, nor were we ever, a democracy. The ninth is Nemisin’s runes, known only to the House of Valla, and the tenth is our longevity both natural and enhanced. The eleventh is our total intolerance of darak …” He stumbled there, but recovered well. “The twelfth is a belief in prophecy and the thirteenth … we regard ourselves as master-builders, and build with heart, soul and magic. The fourteenth? For as long as one Valleur lives, we were first and will be last in all things.”

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The Kallanon Scales

Interview with Dantian

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(Blue could not interview Dantian, Vallorin of the Valleur beyond the Rift, for the time between rift tear and his capture was too fleeting. Blue subsequently spoke to Dantian via a visitation from the realms beyond. The Valleur, it is told, can do this. Whether or not you believe what is recorded below, these are the words as remembered upon waking.)

 

Blue:  My Lord Vallorin, thank you for appearing. We believe others need to know of your sacrifice.

Dantian: I do not regard what happened as a sacrifice. My destiny was written into my name at birth.

Blue: The Valleur scry a newborn’s future and apply a name to suit, right? Is that how you became aware of what you call your destiny?

Dantian: When one grows with a name that is a destiny, one accepts.

Blue: I cannot believe it is as simple as accepting.

Dantian: It was not easy.

Blue: Your brother Dante- what was his destiny?

Dantian: To be the father he was.

Blue: Ah, yes, he had a daughter. According to our records, she did not survive the burning of Ardosia.

Dantian: There are different kinds of death, Blue. Her survival may not be as you trust it to be. Mark the future for news of this daughter of the Valleur.

Blue: We do enjoy a challenge. We shall watch.

Dantian: My time in this form grows short.

Blue: And before you dissipate, my lord, could you tell us what lies beyond?

Dantian: Life. Salvation, if you desire it. Redemption, is you require it. Choice, where before choice was a relative factor.

Blue: I assume you speak now of a destiny voided.

Dantian: Destiny fulfilled. And beyond it new choice. Life.

Blue: We need not fear death?

Dantian: Fear it. What you do in flesh echoes in these realms …

 

(Dantian’s visitation ended then, although Blue claims the essence of his presence lingered for a time. From that lingering she claims to have absorbed more of the man’s personality.)

 

Blue: A footnote, reader: Dantian was a man who loved life despite knowing his destiny. He lived large and loved as much. We are the poorer for his passing. I wish I had known him.

The History of Ardosia

This short story was a ‘part’ in Lore of Arcana, which was completely removed, and yet it explains quite a bit about Millanu’s reason for returning to Valaris …

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Blurb

After ages of war, a Rift is opened between realms. The Valleur choose exile and peace over war and death. Choosing to rebuild and renew, they start over.

But, after millennia, the Rift opens and ancient loyalties are again put to the test.

This is what happened between their then and their now.

The History of Ardosia