Preview – Bloodletting: Part 1

Chapter Zero

Bloodletting: Part 1Deep beneath the cathedral in the city of Aldamere, a chamber was in use. This chamber, a secret hidden from most, was used once a decade. Fourteen forms, cloaked and hooded, circled the outer edges of the room. Occasional volamps, casting a steady but dim orange glow, barely illuminated the chamber.

One of the forms, around eight-feet tall and very bulky, stepped forward till it occupied the center of the chamber. It pulled a scroll from under its cloak, exposing a reptilian hand.

“We have found one of the lost tablets. It clarifies the creation myth, but … it is troubling. It is missing certain things the later scrolls contain.” the voice was deep, guttural. The speaker was unused to using the human tongue. “We have authenticated it, placing its origin during the second great expansion, year unknown. I will read our rubbing of the tablet.”

The form cleared its throat and unrolled the scroll.

In the beginning, there was the Heart of the World, a gem drifting amongst the stars. It shone in the Void, a light unto itself, sacred and complete.

The Heart was composed of twelve aspects, each a reflection of the aspects of the universe. Together they were the entirety of all that was. Material, Energy, Conscience, all bound together into the perfect reflection of all that was and all that would be.

The four aspects of Material were named Vox for Air, Trocus for Earth, Volterus for Fire, and Europina for Water. Material was the firmament that the universe was built upon.

The aspects of Energy were named Emascodeus for Density, Agleiopan for Raw Force, Magethia for the Love of Metal, and Tachondrus for the Passing of Ages. Energy was the set of rules that tied the building blocks of the universe together.

The final four aspects, those of Conscience, were named Mentak for Will, Empirious for Emotion, Opion for Perception, and Azaria for Spirit. Conscience was the guiding force that allowed the rules of Energy and the firmament of Material to create the abstract, such as love, hate, desire and loss.

And so in the beginning of all things, each aspect of the Heart reached out to the universe, pulling toward it those things mortal children would need to live. For millennia the aspects spun Material and Energy around the Heart Gem, creating their home. Sky and light, earth and trees, these creations became desires to the aspects as they worked.

Thus, when enough Material had been collected to build the world, and Energy applied to set it in motion around its sun, the aspects of the Heart stepped forward unto the new surface and saw the majesty of their creation. In pairs they created the children of mortality—each gifted with two affinities, a connection to those aspects that had created them.

Trocus, the aspect of Earth, and Azaria, the aspect of Spirit, formed the living plant Orocs to live in the forests. Volterus, the aspect of Fire, and Agleiopan, the aspect of Raw Force, formed the reptilian Ifrahn to wander the deserts. Emascodeus, the aspect of Density, and Empirious, the aspect of Emotion, formed the subterranean Velnites, who dwell in the mountains and caverns of the world.

Europina, the aspect of Water, and Mentak, the aspect of Will, formed the oceanic Lelwyn, who dwell upon islands and sail the waters of the world. Vox, the aspect of Air, and Opion, the aspect of Perception, formed the reptilian Dracus, to fly the skies of the world. Tachondrus, the aspect of Time passing through the ages, and Megathia, the aspect of the Love of Metal, formed the mysterious Shikara who hide in the dark corners of the world. And so the six races were created, each to their own aspects, whole and unique in all of the universe.

Once this great work was completed, the twelve aspects communed together and as one created a final race with no great connection to the heart of the world, but able to reflect in it all aspects. Each member of this race was able to reflect a single aspect, as a whole connecting to the pantheon of their parents. This race was named Humanity.

As children are wont to do, the youngest race coveted the greater powers of the older races. The older races, still children in their own right, coveted the reflections of power which the younger race manifested for all aspects of the Heart. War broke out as the races fought to control the Heart Gem at the center of the world, which could grant power on the scale of the aspects themselves.

In their struggles, these sibling races angered the Aspects—who stepped forward once more onto the world, proclaiming themselves Gods rather than parents, and rent asunder the Heart of the World, that the children races should no longer war. Taking the shattered remnants of the Heart of the World, the twelve aspects flung them across the face of the globe. When they were done, they looked down upon their creation and saw the wars cease.

In this act, the Aspects knew that their work was done, that they could allow the children of mortality to grow. There would be a time of peace. For to reassemble the Heart, one race would have to travel to all corners of the world to collect the scattered remnants of the shattered gem. And even in this time of peace, the borders of sea and land, of desert and forest, held strong.

For an age, the aspects watched, and at the end of that age, the Gods saw their work was complete, for though their mortal children still warred, the conflicts were but minor bouts of bickering compared to the near genocides which occurred during the infancy of the world. Without the temptation of the Heart, the children of mortality were protected to grow and so the Gods withdrew.

And so it was that the immortal aspects gave way to mortal races as the children inherited the lands. The forest dwelling orocs, the nomadic desert tribes of the ifrahn, the reptilian dracus, the subterranean velnites, the island dwelling lelwyn, the mysterious shikara, and the last race, the race of all aspects, humanity, dwelt in peace for eons.

Yet peace was a temporary measure. The aspects knew that one day, the children of mortality would once again war, this time to reunite the Heart and gain dominion … and it would be the war to end all wars.

The form looked up from the scroll. “We are troubled. As you can see, there is no mention of the Quantus.”

Quiet murmurs filled the chamber.