The Chronicles of Valana Volume 3: Open Doom

by AB

Epilogue

An Ending is a Begining

Enthronos saw the shores of Varaghia vanish into the horizon behind the ship's stern, and the morning's mist rising in the distance near the rocky mouth of the River Enne.

"You will see them again, your friends of Varaghia." Enthronos turned his head to his father's voice.

"Not just my friends…" Enthronos mumbled, eyeing the vanishing continent.

Aer'andil hid a smile. "You have grown, since I last saw you, my son. You are my child…but you are no longer a child…" He placed a hand on Enthronos' hair sitting next to him, his hand moving to the boy's shoulders.

It was a pleasant autumn's day with a light breeze and the sun caressing their cheeks under the shade of the ship's sails.

"It's been almost…four months since I last saw mum and Gel'anr…is she angry at me?" Enthronos settled back on his seat.

"As mad as any parent would be if their kid had run away from home." Aer'andil felt many things holding his youngest near him, anger was not one of them. "But she has not seen you for all this time, anger will come later for now she will hug you and kiss you, when we arrive in Gel'anr in a month." Enthronos smiled looking at his father for the first time since Aer'andil sat next to him.

"I…do you think the peace treaty between Elves and Humans in Varaghia will hold?"

"There is no reason not to anymore. The fiend behind it all has gone, the humans of Varaghia seem to worship the spirits, more than their counterparts in Valana or Elaria, and now they've learned that Elves not only carry spirits in them as hosts but also can become spirits…yes, the peace will hold."

"How did you kill it? The Aeternae? Did you not have to open doom for it? To break the pact?"

"I will tell you, because you are my son, because you are my heir." Aer'andil gave a deep sigh, he had had everything in his mind, trusting nothing and no one else with it all for ten thousand years, now for the first time ever, he had to tell someone. "Some of it you will hear again in your crowning ceremony, some of it the humans will never know, some of it Humans and Elves will not, and some you will be the only one to know, for only the High-King must or can. Do you understand, Enthronos?"

Enthronos nodded.

"My father heard a prophesy, I will recount it to you…"

"I remember it." Enthronos cut him off, eager to prove his knowledge to his father.

" Evil's will ancient beyond aeons, first of all, it wills after aeons.
An offspring twiceborn of the Fairfolk, of high descend amongst the Fairfolk.
An offspring of the Speakers, highest and first amongst the speakers.
Together they shall be born, under a pale moon on the last of summer's days they shall be born.

Elf and speaker from death they must leave, from Valana they must leave.
To Earth they must go, to rise and train they must go.
To return when ready, to face the evil when ready .

Two shall guard the prophecy, two shall remember of what was before prophesy.
One of the Fairfolk, one of the Speakers. Two shall remember of offspring of Speaker and Fairfolk.
All shall forget of what was, all shall remember when offspring is told of what was.

Two offspring many a hardship will face, first of all evil they will face.
Many a league they will traverse in a quest, across Valana in a quest.
But cruel is not fate, there are unknowing mentors and guardians by fate.

War will come to Valana, it will spread from the Shadowlands to Valana.
Blood and destruction, no one can avoid the destruction.
War's wrath will spread, where will loyalties lie when it spread.

Elves fair and immortal will stand, Speakers loyal and stubborn will stand.
Human hearts are easily deceived, magic, sword or spirit will be deceived.
Orkhavoc stand for evil, unpossesing of requirement to resist the evil.
Wyrms of fire stand divided, for evil, for survival, they stand divided.

To face what is neither there or here, they must go both there and here.
Primordial magic does not lie, but those that use it lie.
Wyrms inside them have fire, and their temper is of fire.

The speaker will be whole, with innate ability and fire will be made whole.
The Fairfolk will be whole, with Elven Grace and primordial fire will be whole.
Father of one must sacrifice to make offspring whole. Father of one must guide offspring whole.

To open the Gathlail Aeternae is to open doom, to use yesterday magic speak intent and will doom.
Death and creation, death can bring creation.
Creation and death, creation can bring death.

To kill what is neither here or there, one must understand what is here and there.
Neither here or there, only celestial essence can bring there.
Neither there or here, only fire can bring it here.
Neither here or there, it cannot exist in here and there.

To Undo become Yesterday's magic."

"Explanations many have been made for it." Aer'andil continued. "But it all…none of it until the last line matters."

"How not? Is it not with this prophesy that you managed to defeat Olan?"

"Was it? It wasn't the materials in the arrow or the prophesy, it was seer dumb luck, that the arrow imbued with yesterday's magic pierced the black pearl at the head of Olan's figure, containing its essence. It wasn't any prophesy that killed Olan, it was luck, yesterday's magic and shattering the pearl behind his mask, like with any other Dark General."

"He was not a Dark General though, was he?" Enthronos tried to understand.

"He was…nothing. He was a miserable, sad little boy who loved his mother too much, blamed himself for her death even more and guilted everyone in the face of his father to an unhealthy degree. The Darkness took all that guilt and twisted inside him, promised him ascension into the ranks of the Aeternae and made him an ally against both his kin."

"Why would that help him? Becoming an Aeternae?"

"In all the creatures that were created first only one had the ability to bring back the long deceased, the Aeternae in their Palace of shadows and light majestic. Then the Nial came to be breaking the Aeternae's monopoly of death and life. In the end magic arcane holds all." Aer'andil recited a paragraph from the "Evi Talathin ial Riathnol" or the chronicles of Darkness describing the creation and elder days of the world.

"So…he wanted to bring his mother back from the dead, and the Darkness took advantage of it…" Enthronos whispered.

"You know how I had been sent to another world for twelve years?" Enthronos nodded.

"They had an expression, the people there." Aer'andil told him. "The way to hell is paved with the best of intentions. What my cousin had wanted to do was not evil, he was not evil until he gave in to the Darkness."

"But the fallen Aeternae didn't ascend him did it? Like he didn't ascend anyone from Oghelle?" News of everything that had transpired had reached them only a few days ago, Ha'varil had given them the envelope.

"Indeed, why share power when you can just not? Do you understand yet, what its goal had been all along, since the days of the Nial?"

Enthronos shook his head.

"What you need is time to grow…grandpa knew didn't he?"

"When the time comes to battle nothing, you will need time, time to learn time to grow…yes, your grandpa was the first one who finally understood, he knew he could not survive so he did his best to convey the knowledge as best he could. None of this was for Olan's death's sake. That's what I understood back then. Olan was not a Dark General, he was the first of the Bishops, higher than a Dark General, beneath the Aeternae and directly connected to it. I needed time to learn yesterday's magic, to learn of what and who I am, to understand the Aeternae and what needed to be done."

"Couldn't the High-Kings and Queens before you do it?"

"They could have…but they lacked the information Glothoin's wife, first of the Seers, tricked by the Darkness gave out in her last to final prophesy, because out of all that only the final verse contains anything of real value and importance. She gave it to my father. I don't know her reasons for choosing my father instead of anyone else before, maybe she kept hoping someone would figure it out on their own, maybe she got tired of waiting or finally understood she had been deceived, I do not know but she did, and my father understood. He understood he did not have the time required to learn what was required, and that I would have to. He also understood that he had to play the part, had to act as if he believed the prophesy, send me and Lucas away, everything. Finally, he had to have faith, faith that in time I would understand things as he did. So, since he could not tell me everything in fear that the Darkness would overhear us even in Gel'anr, he told me what he could as best he could in a way that even if were spied on they would not be able to understand."

"You have played the part as well, father, haven't you? The whole "battle" with Lucas and Dara's exile from the Alliance?" Enthronos asked.

"Yes, and no." Aer'andil's face could only show a fragment of the sadness he felt. "It is true I had to play the part, I had to buy time for me to understand. At first, I thought I needed time for me alone but after the events of Elaria forty years after the war of Zah Dah it became obvious that time was also needed for the Elves to learn. Feldon's encounter with the Dark General known as "Elaria's Bane" was one of the first and biggest gambles I had to take in this war. If Elves and men outside Glothoin's direct lineage could not understand or cast yesterday's magic, then Feldon would have died then and there, his former wife would have killed him, and she would have then gone on to killing everyone else in Udala, Udala would have fallen for the second time, and my plans would have gone awry. There were a lot of risks involved in that war, some of it paid off, some of it I'm still paying the price. I played the part, indeed. After I fell Olan and the battle was over it is said I took Lucas and chatted privately with him, but we could not have said much of import as it only lasted five minutes, yes?" Enthronos nodded, not taking his eyes from his father's face, not wanting to miss even the slightest detail.

"It did not last five minutes. In truth we talked for hours. I told him much of what I've told you and what had to be done. How I had doubts we had slain the Master of Zah Dah and how we had to draw him out, how it would take time and how…how we both had a part to play and what it would require."

Aer'andil paused for a moment looking at the waves as the Elven frigate sliced through them. "You see my son to draw out the fallen Aeternae we had to give it a false sense of security and we had to kill off the Dark Generals and the three Seers although I did not know that bit until the events that led to me to visit Elaria. We had to gather information about them, every Dark General is tied to an element, and only Yesterday's magic can break those ties, try with any other element even in Yesterday's magic and the Dark General won't die, the dark pearl won't shatter."

"So much to do…and you've had to have it all in your head? What happened with Lucas?" Enthronos jumped back to his previous question.

"I told him everything, everything I knew at the time and everything that had to be done. I knew from back then that to get everything and everyone ready, would take…years. Then I did what had to be done. Lucas' reactions had to be genuine, even the slightest aberration or fakeness in his emotions, reactions, decisions could spell disaster. Do you know now what it had in mind? What's been trying to do for the past one million years since it came to being, my son?"

"No, but what happened with Lucas?"

Aer'andil sighed. "His reactions had to be true, so once I had told him everything…I made him forget. When he asked again what I wanted I just kissed his lips, telling him I wanted to for one last time. In the coming months and years some of the Hunters had to be sacrificed for the Darkness to believe it was really intercepting letters of correspondence between me and Lucas, ruining our friendship. His reactions were honest. Then forty years later when he challenged me in Elaria and I removed Dara from the Alliance the Darkness thought its victory complete. In truth I knew and during the battle I cast a spell concealing us from everything, and everyone, like I had done in Zah Dah and I broke his amnesia spell. He died angry at me, but his reactions had been honest, as had been his feelings. With the amnesia broken he knew what he had to do, pretend Dara the hurt party, pretend and spread anti-Elven rumours and once he died…he had time to learn Spiritum and transfer it to me, for I could have never learned it and my spirit could not teach it to me, as it'd break the pact."

Enthronos sat there, his head on his father's torso, Aer'andil's hand across his shoulders.

"It killed your father, then retreated when it could have won. It has had countless opportunities to end the line of Glothoin and just as many opportunities to kill you and it did not even try until…until…I declared myself your heir by turning to yesterwater…only the line of Glothoin can break the pact and breaking it itself would be not to its advantage…" Aer'andil closed his eyes, a tear flowing from them, his son's trail of thought would lead him to the inevitable conclusion. "He wanted you…us breaking the pact to defeat it, to kill it? Wh…" Enthronos jumped up in shock.

"Do you understand now, my son? Its desire?"

"Even spirits can die, but to an Elf's mind it is as immortal as an Elf is in a Human's mind." Aer'andil's spirit had once told Aer'andil a version of this, Aer'andil had passed it on to his son when the time was right. "It was dying…as is the Aeternae inside you as will all spirits. Elves can ascend and become spirits and one day they will also die?"

"Die…or move to the next step…whatever that may be. A mystery yet to be unmasked."

"One that you will never discover. Will you, father? The Darkness, it wanted to assimilate all spirits, and all the souls of Men and Elves, all life. Then it could possess enough…energy to become yesterday's magic and fashion the world anew."

Enthronos told his father.

"It killed or assimilated the other Aeternae, starting the Spirits' civil war that has waged since…the Aeternae inside you, it did not exile itself to stop the Darkness…it exiled itself out of fear, it knew it could not stop its brother and, so it hid in our plane of existence until it thought there was a glimmer of hope of someone defeating the Darkness?"

"You are partly correct, my son. He didn't choose me as its host because I had a glimmer of hope in defeating the Darkness…it did so because its dying and there was no choice anymore."

"But…the Aeternae were ten but one…so it says in the Chronicles of Darkness…you knew I was eavesdropping, didn't you? That day in the Royal gardens? You were meditating with your spirit…"

"When an Elf meditates it becomes acutely aware of its surroundings…when I meditate, with the Aeternae inside me and yesterday's magic in my lips…I am aware of all of creation. Yes, I knew."

"So, I'm a pawn in your plans? An excuse for you to venture into Varaghia without tipping off the Darkness?" Enthronos asked, bitter.

"No, my son. You are my continuation. You are the one and future High-King of all Elves, so I was training you from birth, but you knew not. I was giving you all the tools, knowledge, and weapons you would need to make it through this now, and to be the High-King our people deserve. Know this, Enthronos son of Aer'andil of the line of Glothoin, you rule not for benefit but for your people. You will be but a vessel through which governing is made possible, such is the duty of being High-King. The decisions you will have to make, the people you will have to sacrifice the lies you will have to tell those you love and care about, that and more is the High-King's burden. Seeing your people live in prosperity, peace, and joy. That is the High-King's reward. Your family will be your only refuge and source of joy."

"So…you cannot ascend, can you?" Aer'andil shook his head.

"If I ascend and become a spirit my Aeternae returns to the Spiritum Aeternae, to the spirit world and the cycle starts again for…"

"…the Aeternae are ten but one, all are in one and one is in all and all are connected, first of the Creation. So, the Darkness is in part in the Aeternae inside you?" Enthronos asked his father, his eyes watering up.

"It is not in part inside it. It is in part Spiritum, air, fire, ground, water, life, death, time, magic, and…Nothing. Our mortal minds cannot interpret nothing as nothing but…Darkness."

"They are in part Yestermagic? No…Yesterday's magic was once a spirit, this is a cycle that has been going back since the beginning of time and ours is not the first creation. It created Dark Generals not to conquer and enslave the mortals but to create Aeternae he could then assimilate and replenish the elements it had not, the ones it had killed. It wanted to become Yestermagic and when the time comes you must die for there is no place in this world of a white phoenix, its heat too strong even for the hottest of Volcanoes…"

Enthronos threw himself in his father's embrace, tears falling from his eyes.

"I will one-day sojourn beyond the veil and the mysteries it holds and with me the last of the Aeternae will as well, but it will not be for many millennia yet, my heir and son." Aer'andil hugged him tight smelling his hair, rubbing his back.

So, they remained for a time.

"How did you know? All that you do?"

"Some I learned from having far-sight like my father before me, some I learned after learning true time's name some…one hundred years ago. That's when my plans were finalized. Micraal had long since trapped the Darkness in the Seer's cave in Varaghia, and had completed the second part of his mission, all was set and all I needed was…you. When the heir is born you just know, you can't be sure, but you have a gut feeling when you first see your child's face after it is born. The feeling I had when I first held you…I did not have it even though I love all three of you equally."

"What was Micraal's full mission? He planted the white pearl under the Seer…?"

"The story of Micraal goes before his adulthood and his final mission for me. After the end of the War of Zah Dah he drunk the tears of Glidarathon, daughter of Vedaron. They purified his soul driving all Darkness from him. I did not know it at the time, but they did so much more…simply put all his descendants, all and every single one of them are immune to the Darkness, to its corruptive force and to it's seduction. Any creature of Darkness cannot inflict harm on them and black magic and Dark Spiritum bounce off them, they can still die from other forms of magic, from physical wounds, from illness and old age but Darkness has no hold on them. I learned of this just before my time in Elaria and so his final mission was to plant the white pearl under the Seer thus trapping the Aeternae in the cave and…to procreate as many offspring as he could in all three continents. That part took him a decade and a half, but he did create a lot of kids. His most notable being Torval, Ha'varil and Gundrun's mother. Kermenos and Zatola Uthi are descendants of Bava and Vashka. The men of Elisko are almost entirely immune of Darkness by now."

"So, one day from now Humans will no longer be affected by the Darkness?"

"The Darkness is no more but one day a long time from now…yes, darkness, black magic and the likes will no longer affect the Humans and they will be at least in part…Elves. There will always be war amongst the Humans, they are short lived, and their memories are shorter yet but at least the hold of the forces of darkness will increasingly diminish over time."

"I will not be able to call forth the Spiritum army like you did, will I?" Enthronos asked.

"No, no one should ever have that kind of power. Power like this can corrupt even Elves. Once we get back to Valana I will seal the pact and make it whole and thus the Spirit World will be closed to us, mortals. Except for ascending Elves and us being their hosts."

"What about Beck and Drake?"

"With the Elthrondin pendants they have decided to stay in Valana. They will become mortals and they will grow old and one day they will have to decide if they want to die or ascend although I think I already know what they will elect."

The sun had begun to set bathing the sea in orange and red hues.

"I don't think I am ready to be High-King." Enthronos stated making his father chuckle.

"And that is as it should be, my son nor do you have to be. Your life will change but you can remain a kid for longer than I did and when the time comes to take up the mantle of the High-King of the Elves…then you will be ready."

And so, their conversation continued into the night and across their days Seabourn. Six months later everyone was present for Enthronos' coronation as Crown Prince of the Elves and for his betrothal to Nirasala daughter of Fornworth.

On their way back home Aer'andil had them make a detour, on the crater of what once was the ruins of Fedria Castle. With a yestermagic's word the area around the glass spires turned from barren wasteland to lush fields. Forests would eventually overtake them completely and nature would reclaim them.

Aer'andil remained High-King of the Elves for another twenty thousand years. With Enthronos as High-King he retired to his personal life with Tha'ala, Norion and his Grandkids. Sixty-two thousand years and some change later he passed beyond the veil, surrounded by his friends and family.

Beck and Drake remained in Elisko and Udala where they opened an orphanage which took in children orphaned by war, any war, in any of the three continents. The Royal House of Gel'anr would remain the Orphanage's main benefactor long after their deaths from old age some one hundred years later.

The Spear used by Feldon and Norion, given to Feldon by Liandras returned to its place in the building of memories after the end of the war as was Aer'andil's bow after his death.

Gundrun ruled Ygramor, with Ha'varil by his side as his wife and mother of his children. His rule saw many reforms that improved the life of its subjects. Legend speaks of the Warrior Hunter Grand Prince of Ygramor and his deeds against the forces of darkness.

Never again did was there a war between Elves and Humans in Varaghia and eventually, thousands of years later with all wounds healed and memories of the hundred thousand years war buried there even came an era of friendship and trade between the two species.

Kermenos married to Sigrilth, as Grand Prince of Iaor ruled by her side. His daughter would marry Gundrun's son. He would never return to Elaria and would be buried by Sigrilth in the family's mausoleum.

Thonril ruled as Dol'Adur's King with Es'ala by his side. He ascended some seventy thousand years later leaving behind a legacy of a military genius and a scholar who progressed the Elves' understanding of war, military tactics, and philosophy.

Stenoros would rule Udala as her King with the longest reign, before or after the Fall to Olan numbering two hundred thousand years before he would take his permanent animal form.

Vicanoth married to Ythela ruled Gel'Glidorn after his mother, Minaroth, ascended becoming a spirit. He would be remembered as one of the Elves' Speaker researchers and scholars broadening their knowledge of the Spirit World.

Thus, with Aer'andil's death, would end the Chronicles of Darkness and the age of Darkness. Enthronos would be the first of the High-Kings of Gel'anr to write in the Chronicles of Valana.

The starting years of this new age saw many wars between Humans, but none as deeply influenced by the forces of darkness as before and the Hunters would always be there to aid.

The new age saw the rise and fall of Kingdoms and lineages, but Dara and Lucas' lineage would stand the test of time having been included into the Alliance again in Enthronos' crowning ceremony as Crown Prince. Enthronos would become the first of the Elven Dragon Riders and he would father four children. Three daughters and a Son. Ma'roasala, his second daughter would become his heir.

Other than Enthronos, and the future High-Kings no one else ever found out the complete truth of the Darkness and its goal or how it was defeated. This created many legends, myths and tales amongst the Humans and Elves. Stories, myths, and Legends the High-Kings of Gel'anr would use for the benefit of the Elves and the Humans.

So ends this story. Thus ends my narration of a small portion of the Chronicles of Valana. May they continue to inspire your imagination. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it and that you felt what I felt while writing it.

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