chapter one

the sky was clear, and the sun was burning bright in the azure sky, shining its light down into the city below. The sand was hot, and the stone structures that formed the city architecture were absorbing the heat making the city like a massive oven. Baking the already sun-bleached and well-worn skeletons that decorated the city like macabre ornaments. Their final monuments where forever immortalized for all to see. What where the looks on their faces as they took their last breath? Did they have a look of tranquillity, a look of fear, a look of belligerence. It was a question that wasn’t going to get answered. However now joining them were the fresh corpses of the treasure hunters that the young man slew, their bodies stripped of everything including the dignity of a proper burial. Their rough bodies and grimaced features. Now covered by their own slowly rotting blood and guts that where slowly roasting in the desert heat. The only thing to shield the world from this horrific sight was a thin layer of sand, covering their bodies like a blanket. It was as if the city itself was a mother tucking in her child for the night. Reflected on them, were the virtues and vices of those forged in the fires of war, every hardship they faced carved upon their skin, as symbols of their resilience. Badges of great pride or great shame. In this, they were very much alike to the young man who killed them, who in the days of yore would soar across the ancient battlefields in wars lost to time.
The sounds of carrion birds and other assorted vermin stripping the flesh off the bone.

the smell of fresh corpses baking in the hot afternoon sun was something he couldn’t get used to no matter how many times he experienced it. It was a sickly-sweet smell that offended the noise. The smell of death. Tharos himself spent this time hiding from the sun’s rays deep inside the temple. Sitting down in an area in the main hall where the light of the sun could not reach him. the interior of the temple was relatively tidy and clean, as it was one of the few places that Tharos held some small amount of sentimentally towards, it was a place that went beyond mere feelings of nostalgia for Tharos. There was something about this temple he wanted to preserve, however paradox idly he forgot the source or reason for these feelings long ago. In the room before him, there was several shelves, filled with various ornaments & trinkets, a massive stone table along with several small stone chairs. On the table was a massive earthen jug that was filled to the brim with a dark red liquid. Poring himself a drink from the jug, into a humble silver chalice until the chalice was full. He would drink deeply from the silver chalice with a dark red liquid barely touching his lips as he drank the contents of the chalice down. Sorting through the gear of the people he slew with his free hand. He would swill the chalice in his hand, with some stray red droplets staining the lightly sand-covered stone floors. If there was one thing about the treasure hunters that he truly enjoyed. was that without fail, they would bring such great drinks with them. That alone would have been due cause to drop his arms and welcome them with open arms. The scour taste of the wine on his tongue reminded him of simpler times in his youth, Times that he could scarcely remember at this point. Sadly, these people were of a different people from him, they looked rather alien to him, though Tharos was sure if there any learned people amongst them they would sure think the same. their language and customs were so alien and unknown to him that forming any kinship with them would prove a rather impossible task, there was no middle ground between him and them. If only there was a way to bridge the gap, then maybe there would be no need to spill blood. However, without common ground, there was no way people from two different worlds could come to a mutual understanding. “They probably think I am rather strange as well.” he lets out a small sombre chuckle at that thought. Even when it came to the inhuman races such as elves and dwarfs, who were more alien in both body and mind comparatively speaking When compared to humans. However, even then there were some commonalities that existed between his people and them that helped ease the tension. For an example, for the elves there was a shared love of the finer things in life, such as Art, poetry, music or even the simple appreciation of nature. The true beauty of the world displayed before us. Of course, Beauty did come in many forms, like a well-crafted sword. One could appreciate in how the blade would sing through the air as it cut into flesh & bone, or how it could pierce though the thickest of Armor with ease with his finely sharped edge. How it shimmered and shined when the light hit the blade or how the faintest droplets of blood would slowly drip unto the ground after you made the kill. In contrast to the elves rather idealistic and spiritual view of the world. The dwarfs held a more of a pragmatic and materialistic view about the world. “There is not a man alive in the world, whose heart, and mind couldn’t be swayed by gold.” An old dwarven saying one that did contain a colonel of truth to it. Wealth and material possessions was a great motivator for many a people, in fact it was one of the few universal truths of humanity, the desire for wealth, for power, for control. They were feelings that surely everyone had or felt one time in their lives, however, such a quote couldn’t truly encompass the totality of man. It was that one thing that his people and the dwarfs truly held in common, however the dwarfs held this love, this avarice with a far greater Vigor than any human alive.

However, no such thing existed for the treasure hunters. “I wonder if they are still around.” It had been centuries since Tharos last saw an elf or a dwarf and in his current state he had more in common with elves than say, dwarfs or other humans. He gives out a rather sombre sigh as those thought sinks in. The gear and equipment he gathered from the treasure hunters would be suitable replacements for his ever-depleting sources. However, most of it was in a design that would take time to get used to and use effectively. The books and maps while helping him figure out possible intent, the tongue they used was alien to him. the only thing he could gather from the crude wittering’s of these people is what words they possibly use to describe or name things. However, without any Translation or even approximation to his native language or the several other languages he spoke, this was merely conjecture on his part. But the two things that did catch his attention was the symbol on the books & maps, along with a series of words that came up regularly. The symbol was white and in the shape of the bird, he was unfamiliar with. From the look of it. This bird was gentle, unlike the carron or birds of prey Tharos was used to. “Maybe a symbol of some new religion or the banner of some king” he thought to himself. The series of words that came up regularly was “From the desk of Lord Eilis. “ Tharos couldn’t understand what this phrase met aside from the fact that it must be important for it to come up so often. From what he could gather these treasure hunters were well organised, and whoever was sending was looking for something, something more important than simple riches. Tharos thought to himself if more treasure hunters would be coming in greater numbers and frequency. It might be more practical to set traps, and activate the city defences, rather than track and hunt down every group that entered the city. However, a hunter he was not, and the arcane rituals required to activate the city defences where not something he was privy to due to him not being a mage, regardless of the extensive knowledge he had on the subject or his close friendship with Vartark, who was high ranking official at court and a talented mage. The temple or palace archives might have the knowledge he sought. However, it had been several decades from his recollection since Tharos had been down to the temple archive and centuries since he last entered the palace. It was one of the few places that tharos didn’t bother to keep clean or maintain on a regular basis. as he walked down the stone stairs down the archives below the temple. The sight that greeted him was of thick cobwebs and dust covering the archives like a blanket, it had been a while since he had last cleaned this place, the only relief Tharos had at this at sight was that lucky no sand had mange to find its way in. as he walked in tracing his pale hand across the dust covered selves, the dust underneath his fingertips felt like he was patting a sheep who wool had been slicked though with grease. A slight look of disgust would appear on Tharos face as he finished tracing his hand on the self. Going through the various selves, was a mix of decaying scrolls and books. None of them were legible, some had several holes in them, others where moth eaten, or the ink was faded to the point of obscurity this is what Tharos hated about things made from paper, yes, they were rare & valuable, but the writings didn’t last, unlike the clay & stone tablets which contained the words and wisdom of eras past. he would have to try the palace then if there still legible writings. “They might be in the palace archives.” He thought to himself, as he started to exit the temple archives.

Once he was at the top of the stairs, he heard a noise behind him. he would turn his head quickly and direct his gaze down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs stood an old woman, she was short and was dressed in fine white robes, as Tharos focused his gaze on the woman he noticed that the temple around him started looking pristine & clean, he could hear chatter from the main hall, as the head priest was giving his sermon to his faithful flock. the sounds of scribes working away at their craft. Transcribing his sermon, so it may be so it may be preserved for future generations. “Tharos!” the woman called out to him in a stern voice, with a slightly tired expression on her face, as if this were a conversation she had had many times “You’re going to be late. His majesty is expecting you at the palace soon for consul, you cannot keep him waiting forever.” Tharos was about to say something, confused by the events unfolding before him. However, before he could say something, he heard a voice, this voice was his voice, but he was not speaking, as he turned around Tharos saw himself, it was staring into a mirror. But how was that possible, he was he wasn’t he? But if he is he then who is this person standing before him as a reflection of him. however, before Tharos could fully comprehend what he was witnessing. The pristine temple around him started to have sand blow in through the door until all he could see was sand and the sounds of people were being drowned out by the sounds of a howling wind. As he closed his eyes and opened them, he noticed he was outside the temple grounds, lying on his back as a thin layer of sand covered his face. As he got up and dusted himself off. he noticed in the distance the sun slowly setting over the horizon, along with the corpses now stripped to the bone. “Was that real? some kind of an illusion, some sort of spell.” Tharos ran back into the temple in a quicken pace like a man possessed and searched the temple from top to bottom. But There was no one there, no old women, not himself or the priests and scribes that once populated this temple’s halls. The scene that played out before him worried him, who was that old woman and why did he feel he knew her? Such questions played in Tharos’ mind as he made his way to the palace. As he walked down the empty streets, watching the sun as it slowly sets over the horizon and feeling a slight chill in the air. It only further emphasized the fact that he was alone, there was no one else in this city but him, the only true company he had left was his thoughts.

As he came to the place’s front gates and looked up to the palace, he felt something he had not felt in a long time. Fear. Tharos did not understand why he felt this, he looked around to see if there were any signs of danger or a source that would have made him feel this fear, but he couldn’t see anything. So why did he feel fear? Tharos steeled himself and walked through the front gate, the courtyard and up the massive stone stairs that lead to the main chamber and then the throne room, from there he could reach the palace, as he walked up the stairs the feeling of fear grew stronger every step, he took this feeling grew stronger, he could feel his heartbeat faster & his blood race. He took the decisive step and made his way to the main hall. His feeling of fear disappeared, and the feeling of shame & regret soon replaced it. The main hall was full of dust, sand, and cobwebs, in the room stood several well-worn statues, each dedicated to the various gods and in the centre of the statue of the god of the city. As Tharos walked toward the throne room, he felt the eyes of the various statues, watching him and following his movements. As he entered the throne room, the sight that greeted him was a room that was is utter need of maintenance and repair, it looked like the centre for something tumultuous, the floors and walls that once had ornate stone carvings where cracked full of fissures and cracked, the roof that once had a wonderful mural of the star-lit night sky, made of various gems and precious metals was now, replaced by a massive hole in the roof with the dim rays of the twilight sun pouring in. on the floor itself was the faint traces of a rather complex looking magic circle, instead of a standard circle, it was made of several overlapping smaller circles, within a larger circle. the arcane formula (the parts where still legible) where barely readable, as tharos traced the magic circle with his eyes, he found that the centre of the circle was the throne.

The Thone had seen better days, the bronze casting that formed that throne took on a twisted looking shape, and where the king would be seated, was a massive scorch mark, along with a melted crown and golden sceptre, the crown that had that had several jewels and gemstones imbedded into it. signs of wealth, power prestige were cracked and shattered, as if to serve as reminders that no matter how pristine, no matter how prodigious. Nothing lasts for ever. As he stood here examining the throne, he noticed his vision started to blur and flicker. When his vision returned to normal, he heard a voice behind; this time it sounded like a young woman. “Tharos… you’re late my husband is waiting for you.” As Tharos turned around to face this voice. the women before him were a rather voluptuous women with long curly hair that was sandy brown and tied into a simple ponytail, wide hazel eyes that lit up at his approach. Who was dressed in a robe made of pure silk, that was white with a golden trim, interwoven with various forms of jewellery. She gave a warm smile with her rather luscious lips and replied as if she had acknowledged Tharos turning around to address her “I know your studies are important to you, but you must not forget your duties here.” As Tharos was about to respond, the woman disappeared and in the blink of an eye, Tharos noticed that the dim sunlight that illuminated the room was gone. The light in the room was now replaced by bluish dim light, as a full moon filled the night sky. It was dark out and Tharos felt a wave of exhaustion. He felt it was time to head home and rest. And to continue his research tomorrow when his mind was clearer.

Tharos The eternal: Volume 1 The fallen City.

Tharos The eternal: Volume 1 The fallen City.

Status: Ongoing Type: Author:
   

Comment

  1. Stefankeys says:

    For a moment there, I thought Tharos had leaped through time. Good chapter.

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