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Prologue Chronicle I Chronicle II Chronicle III Chronicle IV
Imperial Chronivles - Prologue Imperial Chronicles I
 
Abandoned Once More

With the defeat of Cypher the green fog lifted and the jubilant Pianna Knights rode home to find the whole of El Morad in celebration awaiting their return. Tales of their adventures spread quickly among the people of El Morad and very soon shrines and temples dedicated to the god Logos were raised in his honor. Humanity began to prosper once again and for a time not one remembered that Cypher vowed revenge.

Now that peace reigned many began to venture out of the city, at first little farms sprang up just beyond the scarred walls and battlements that once protected them, soon plantations growing crops of every kind and villages to support the farming community mushroomed along side them. With the blessings of Logos all prospered.

But peace was not to last long in the land of El Morad.

Twenty years has now passed since the defeat of Cypher, and El Morad has become the capital of humanity. Gone are the makeshift houses and simple establishments that served the defenders during their bitter struggle. With the advent of peace and new found prosperity, beautiful boulevards and magnificent sculptures raised in remembrance of those who gave their lives during the "dark times" filled the newly constructed and expanded walls. Many new towns and villages graced the countryside. While the villagers pledged their loyalty to the crown those who roamed the highways did not. Wealth brought about greed and bands of brigands preyed on the trade routes and hijacked many a caravan foolish enough to travel unguarded. While King Manes still lived these incidents were few and far between and all in all his citizens were content.

~


Paul set on an empty wheelbarrow as he watched the commotion around him. The king had just passed, having died suddenly in his sleep. Many believed it was old age but some weren't too sure. It was a popular rumor that the council of lords were eager to take command seeing that King Manes had no heir. Either way the villagers were taking no chances and were preparing rations and packing up daily necessities in case the latter was true. Violent changes in establishment very often had equally violent consequences on lower society.

Being only nine years of age Paul did not understand most of what was happening but he reveled in the excitement of it all. There was sound of riders approaching and a woman, probably his mother scooped up the nine year old and taking him ran to the basement under their home to hide. The riders may be friendly as was usually the case but no one was taking any chances. Only the men, all armed stood in the village square to receive the riders. They turned out to be soldiers from the city, here to officially proclaim the king as dead and the council taking command. These riders were friendly but soon it would not be so.

The Council was in power not yet a year when taxes were raised and large portions of the army were retired. Without sufficient protection bandits grew braver and even caravans running under guard were often attacked. Those who could not afford guards or mercenaries were at the mercy of the goddess of luck, if there was such a god.

While peace was still largely kept it was obvious that it was deteriorating. Besides the rise in highwaymen the common populace also felt less inclined to be cooperative with one another and especially with ranking officials, whom made unreasonable demands while doing next to nothing to ease the troubles of the common folk. Petty in discrepancies became full blown squabbles and more than once a person of rank found himself dead and the perpetrator hauled off to the gallows.

Over the years Paul grew up just like any other boy, thin and of average height and just like all boys his age he had often listened to the soldier's talk of heroic battles and awesome adventures. Now that he was of an age to take up a profession, he hoped he would be accepted into the ranks of recruits and one day win glory for himself just like the soldiers in the stories. He imagined himself one day sitting under the village cherry tree telling children of his great tales and adventures in much the same way he used to listen.

Full of hope he wrote down his name on the log book used for such matters, it already contained countless names of those who had visions such as he. Signing his name he took one last look at the book and walked out of the army registrar's office. Now he only had to wait for the summons.

~


"All of you are called to serve your people, you will serve until you are no longer needed or until you die", the herald intoned the call traditionally used to call civilians to take up arms for the good of their country. "Do you accept this call"? he asked looking over those assembled before him.

A loud shout of agreement confirmed their acceptance and Paul, standing behind everyone else felt the surge of emotions as all gathered took the first step towards a life of daring and adventure.

That was so long ago.

Paul snapped out of his reverie as prisoner began clanging his metal cup against the bars which held him. The prisoner indicated he was thirsty, and though it was not allowed Paul took the cup and walked towards the back of the room which housed the many cells. He was only allowed to get them water, but walking up towards a keg he filled the cup with ale reserved for those who were to have their last meal. It was a small gesture but the prisoner took the cup, he did not speak but his eyes showed how thankful he was. "The prisoner" as Paul thought of the man he was keeping an eye on was nothing like the hardened criminals in the next room. He may look ragged and dirty but his features did not possess the mean streak common among the thieves and murderers. He was just a poor shepherd who was a few months back on his taxes. There was a time when the law was more lenient towards those such as he.

Inside the merchant's quarter a large crowd had gathered to protest against the taxes which increased significantly every year. The taxes could be tolerated if the leaders did something to curtail the rampant rise in bandit activity on what was called the traders "highway". Many had begun whispering that greedy officials were actually masterminding the bandit activity and that some of the bandits may even be soldiers in disguise. This however was unlikely since there would be more money to be made through taxation rather than the utter ruination of the livelihood of the merchants. But either way it was ready fuel for the already raging emotions and many were inclined to believe it just because they wanted to.

As the crowd grew, drawing in both supporters and those curious enough to stick around soldiers were dispatched to break up what was slowly turning into a violent mob.

The next morning there was no market. The entire space was taken up by what would be the first public execution in the history of El Morad. The executioners were masked men clad totally in black if not for their green tabards marking them as members of the council's newly formed secret police. It was their unit that had so efficiently caught and convicted the masterminds behind yesterday's demonstration. The secret police had the power to judge any man guilty on the grounds that he may be a threat to the peace.

Those gathered around the raised platform stood in silence as the "guilty" were brought forward and their crimes announced. A total of twenty men stood on the platform awaiting their fate. Some showed fear and not a few openly wept. But most of them stood silently standing proud and erect as their last act of defiance. Once their crimes were read they were unceremoniously beheaded, one by one. The crowd was shocked but many seethed with long pent up anger.

~


Flame engulfed the center most portion of the city. Citizens ran in all directions as armed men advanced towards the Center Precinct where many council members and those in support of the rulers resided. The center of the city also housed the wealthiest and the most influential men in the city. These were the ones the raiders were aiming for, those who had been not only unjust, but greedy and corrupt. The raiders numbering many times the number of city guards and soldiers stormed through the streets chasing down and butchering all those who had oppressed them. No one saved the soldiers stood in their path, for in truth there were no men left. All not sworn to defend El Morad were among the rebels.

Civil war had begun.

The wars did not last long, but many who found themselves on the wrong side died. Paul was among the casualties, the idealistic young man who was forced by circumstance to fight his countrymen. He was killed at the doors to the council chamber, the last barrier between the council and the revolutionists.

If that victory spelled long awaited peace Logos would have been pleased, but as hard as he tried to think otherwise he knew that his sons and daughters were forever changed by Cypher all those years ago. When the old council fell all rejoiced but many outlying towns took the opportunity to declare independence, never again did they want to bear the yoke of being ruled. But when the new council or "The Just" as they fashioned themselves to be called consolidated their power they to were unable to give in to human nature. They wanted control and had effectively convinced themselves that a united race, united by any means, was to the benefit of all. Thus conquest began.

~


A presence hovers over a small village. It surveys the surroundings; no more than a hundred live here. They have a mill to grind the wheat and an inn for the weary to have a drink or the have a game of dice, this was all they had. The presence pauses, and looks down at a crowd gathered.

The crowd were made up mostly of men, they were armed and many were veterans, the revolution being hardly a year ago. But when the newly formed cavalry charged through their ranks every lance found a target. These men some were old soldiers of the previous regime and many were highway bandits now in the employ of the city. They excelled at fighting from horseback as they would have done when they hijacked caravans. Facing men of such caliber the defenders did not stand a chance. As an example to the others, not one who stood their ground was spared.

The presence rose higher and higher until the blood soaked ground was nothing more than a pinprick below the clouds. This time the presence vowed never to return.

More destruction followed but fearing for their lives and families most re-pledged their loyalty with minimal resistance.

While the human race was once again united albeit through force of arms, life began to return to normal. But Logos had given up on humanity once and for all and without his presence and power of Cypher's long forgotten curse began its' strangle hold on humanity. But it would be a generation before the first noticeable signs of the curse took hold and before then a new race would come into being, the Elves.
 
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