Monday May 4, Seven Gates
The Fallen Lords are dead and the Dark has fled the land. Now we return to
the difficult task of rebuilding. It will take many years to restore our cities
and recover our farmlands and this time, we will remain vigilant.
I have chosen to follow the Emperor and his Heron Guard back to Muirthemne -
there is nothing left for me in Strand, the place of my birth.
I have become fast friends with Nine Skull Crocodile, the man who has healed
the many wounds I received during the assault on Tharsis. He is ancient, even by
Heron standards, and speaking with him has given me some insight into what has
happened to our world.
There are laws that govern the workings of the universe that have remained
immutable for countless aeons. According to these laws, the forces of light and
dark hold dominion over the world successively, the land belonging in turn to
men, or to monsters.
Each cycle would be presaged by the appearance of a great comet, foretelling
the rise of saviour or destroyer. Each golden age would give way to one of
darkness, when foul things would stir beneath the earth, and evil spirits would
plague the land. In turn, each dark age would fall to one of light; the evil
would pass from the land just as the comet from the sky.
The saviours of each golden age were men who had risen to face the Dark and
never turned away. They were men of unflinching heroism who would not rest until
they had loosened the bloodless grip of wicked things which had dominated their
lands. Many of these heroes were doomed to return in the following age as Fallen Lords, destroying all they had fought so hard to preserve.
Although the hero of every age of light is different, every dark age is
ushered in by the same beast - a transient divinity that seeks only conflict -
The Leveler. And so Tireces returned as Moagim to end the Age of Reason - and
Connacht, the great hero of the Wind Age, returned as Balor to lay waste to the
greatest empire the world had ever known.
The Leveler was never killed. He was immobilized by sorcery, beheaded and
burned at the stake in the Second Era. A thousand years later he was drawn and
quartered on the plains before Ileum, the tireless horses dragging the pieces of
his lifeless body to the four corners of the world. Again in the Fourth Era his
body was destroyed by fire, his ashes mixed with salt and buried under the
Mountains of Kor. Balor, Moagim and all those before them wore the Mantle of
When I stated that Balor was vanquished but sixty years ago, Nine Skull
Soulblighter was not The Leveler. He may have been if he had survived into
the next millennium - but, in his attempt to force the cycle, he perished and
almost certainly will suffer at the hands of those who set it in motion. It is
even conceivable that because of his actions the cycle has been broken, but we
cannot be sure - at least not for another nine hundred and forty years.
Nine Skull chuckled, saying that with a little luck, he may still be around
He told me about old Muirthemne, describing it with words that seemed out of
place coming from such a grizzled warrior. He spoke of its many spired palaces
and monuments and the grand bazaar during each year's harvest. When I told him
that I wished I could have seen the city at the height of its power, he said I
might see it in my lifetime.
Then he told me that next year the Heron Guard will be reinstating the
septannual tournament to fill out their ranks. Men of bravery and warriors of
renown from every corner of the empire will gather to compete for the honor of
I will be there.