A sign of life

Animals in the Lore series: I have mentioned Jess, but this time it’s a lone dog and his appearance is a sign of that maybe, just maybe, someone still lives …

Breathless, she stopped. She wanted to scream at him, but he was right again. She needed to find someone, anyone. Please, let there be someone.

They moved forward, creeping up the steps that linked the terraces, stopping often to listen. They neared the hut, crept around to the rear to peer through a window and fell back in fright, but it was only the dog inside that put up frantic barking at faces peering through the window.

Unless the dog was not frightened of whatever may yet be in the area, they could probably assume it was safe. They peered again and this time the animal watched them with wagging tail. There was no one inside. Flies buzzed around half-made dough on the kitchen table.

They crept from hut to hut, the dog trailing them, and grew bolder as they went. They found nothing, no one, except evidence of hasty departure everywhere. They began talking loudly, making a noise, preferring it to the unnatural silence, and hoped the sound of their voices would lure out of hiding any frightened person. Dogs started barking and that, too, they found good, but no one came to them; nobody was left to come out.

On the fourth terrace, near the gate into the second enclosure, Kisha stopped. “I can’t take any more.” The Kinfire Tree

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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