Inside story: “The Tale of Mayatha and Alasande”

The Inside Story

The “Inside story” is series of narratives describing the back story of the comic.  This week’s story is the tale of Mayatha and her brother, Alasande.

In the declining days of the Kingdom of Welsley there was a small estate in its northern reaches called Hilome.  There lived a baron, declining in years, with his young wife and two children.  The baron governed a small fiefdom, populated mostly by poor farmers and peasant workers.  As the baron advanced in age, his mind grew weak and he succumbed to insanity.  In this state he treated his people cruelly, demanding unreasonable taxes and punishing them without justice.

Eventually the day came when his people revolted.  They stormed the poorly guarded castle, intent on killing their hated ruler.  Before they could reach her chambers, the baron’s wife let her children, a boy and a girl, out a window–imploring them to seek safety.  The children escaped with their lives, though they never saw their parents again.

Alasande, was the boy.  He was only thirteen when his mother entrusted his infant sister, Mayatha, into his care.  He fled into the wilderness, huddling the child close, unsure of their fate.  As they struggled through the first cold night, alone in the dark woods, Alasande had a vision of their salvation.  He saw a bright tower, shining in the distance.  Although he had never seen it before, he knew the way, and that very night he carried his young sister to the Tower of Magi–and the Incarnum.

The mages of the tower welcomed in the destitute strangers.  When they learned of Alasande’s vision, they quickly tested him to see if he had the second sight.  To their amazement, the untrained boy possessed a foresight beyond their most seasoned seers.  He was immediately inducted into their Guild.  By age twenty he ascended to the rank of High Seer and was given a seat on the Council.

Mayatha’s involvement in the Incarnum was less than storied.  At the age of six–as was the custom–she was tested for the second sight.  Tragically (in the minds of the Guild) she did not possess the keen vision of her brother.  Reluctantly, they admitted her into their school, but her advancement was slow.  Mayatha however found inspiration in her brother and mastered the many schools of magic, despite the apparent discrimination by the Guild towards non-seers.

Alasande grew in influence over the Incarnum, donning the moniker of “Malethicar” to inspire awe and fear in the minds of his rivals.  His ties to his sister, however, never weakened; her survival and comfort in the Guild was his highest priority and he used what authority he possessed to ensure her needs.

The Inside Story: “The Guild of Seers”

The Inside Story The “Inside story” is series of narratives describing the back story of the comic. Today we learn more about the Incarnum, the Guild of Seers

Long after the First Born departed from the world, great kingdoms of Men arose.  They first dwelt in scattered tribes across the continent of Maora, surviving as husbandmen or nomadic hunters.  But the threat of war from their brothers forced these colonies to find refuge beyond the open plains.  The vast, empty cities left behind by the First Born proved ready bulwarks.  There humanity forged the first governments, and discovered Magic.

Scattered across these abandoned cities was the remnant of the First Born’s knowledge.  The wisest among Men unlocked the secrets of this lore and they gained access to the hidden channels of the spirit realm.  They made contact with the Elves, the spirits of nature who could walk between both worlds.  Elves taught those who were able of their ways.  Such was the beginning of the Wizards.

These wizards became highly sought after for their knowledge of the mystical arts.  They became healers, councilors, teachers, and even military strategists.  Those kingdoms which employed wizard grew to preeminence.  Six great kings established bastions across Maora and fortified their realms.  These realms grew even greater as more people moved into them for protection, enriching them with their trades.

In the kingdom of Welsley there dwelt the most renowned wizard of his day, Lambast the Seer.  In his youth he had traveled to the lost city Qadorien and uncovered many secrets few others knew.  He spent many long days studying with the Elves and gained a second sight greater than any of his peers.  He returned to his homeland and quickly gained the trust of the king.

Through the guidance of Lambast, Welsley became the most prosperous of the Six Kingdoms.  On his advice a grand alliance was forged between the proud kings.  The dark forces which plagued humanity were for a time held at bay.  And many aspiring wizards traveled to learn from Lambast.

The wizard was willing to shoulder his many burdens and teach those who sought him out.  He discovered that, though most were able to achieve some level of ability with the Arts, very few could gain the second sight.  Such a rare and valuable gift, to peer into the hidden spirit realm, he believed should be nurtured and protected by those who possessed it.  He called to Welsley the greatest seers of Maora and they formed the Incarnum, the Guild of Seers.

The Guild’s first goal was to seek out and train those who could possess the second sight.  Their seers would traverse Maora to find potential candidates, encouraging them to join.  Of the other branches of the mystical arts, there were many teachers.  The Incarnum grew to become a grand university and an early center of power in the early days of Men.

How it fell from its eminence and retreated to the far North is another tale entirely…

Inside Story: “Qadorien and the First Days of the World”

The Inside Story

The “Inside story” is series of narratives describing the back story of the comic. This week’s story is about the First Days.

The Continent is the oldest part of the World.  Therein lies the six kingdoms of Humans–which continuously vie for control, the stalwart bastions of the Dwarves hewed in stone, and the shifting tribes of Elves–who silently plan their return to power.  Before it was split into such factions, the Continent was a whole–a land of peace and knowledge.

The earliest age of the World was known as the First Days.  Life was wild and untamed, free of the machinations that would subdue it in future times.  The realms of nature and the supernatural had no distinction; the spiritual walked uncloaked across the planes of the earth.  It was in this environment the first people dwelt.  Immersed in such knowledge and wisdom they grew strong.  Sickness and frailty were unknown to them, and so was warfare and greed.  These were the First Born, neither Humans nor Elves; unlike any other people who would come after.  They lived long lives and experienced a bliss that was lost to later ages.

But the World was not entirely pure.  Malevolent forces, from beyond time, sought to corrupt the purity of this infantile realm.  Fel beasts stalked the shadows of the woods.  Whispering spirits lured the unwise and childish into darkness and ruin.  Thus the First Born strove to quell such evil and spread their wisdom across the World.

They left the comfort of their native home and trekked across the Continent.  At various times certain members would settle into clans.  By their vast skill, these communities soon grew into cities–great beacons of light and justice.  From these cities the First Born spread their influence.

The greatest of these was Qadorien, “The City of Eternity.”  It was built in the Far North, where the cold of the Tundras crashed against the imposing Crown Mountains.  The city was foremost in education and craft.  Even the wise among the First Born traveled there to learn from Qadorien’s scholars.  This was due largely to the skill and wisdom of its founder, Eliasar, chief among the First Born.  He was heralded as the watchman and master of the city and would have been crowned king by his people, had he wished for such power.

Eliasar had a single son, Alastar.  In the days of his youth, Qadorien was besiege by a great evil.  Hordes of black wargs, imbued by the power of some evil spirit, ravaged the countryside about the city.  No one left Qadorien for fear of attack.  It was then that Alastar lead a troop of his companions in battle against the beasts.  They quickly prevailed, their power and might far greater than the groveling spirit that possessed the wolves.  Though they slew many of the creatures, they showed compassion when they repented–and the evil force was banished.

News of this victory spread to the other cities.  Alastar and his champions traveled across the Continent, ridding the land of the evil which plagued it.  At each city they trained new warriors, who vowed to defend their people.  In a year’s time they freed much of the Continent of its enemies and a period of unheralded peace swept over the World.  This halcyon time endured to the very end of the First Days, when impenetrable darkness corrupted the age and plunged all life into ruin.

The Inside Story: “The Dragon-Blood Clan”

The Inside Story

The “Inside story” is series of narratives describing the back story of the comic.  This week’s installment is all about the origins of the Dragon-Blood Clan.

It is said that those who rule the dragons, rule the world.  But to dominate the will of the indomitable is beyond the scope of mortal man.

In the First Days of the world the dragons were released from their hidden dwellings.  They brought great ruin upon early civilization, bringing an end to those halcyon times.  Death and destruction–on a scale never yet seen–drove the living to the brink of extinction.  It was only until the marshaled forces of good defeated the flying serpents that a semblance of peace could be restored.

On the day that Golgorath–the last dragon–was slain, its lair and breeding ground was sealed with a curse.  Any who dared to open the door and once again unleash the blight upon the earth would share in its destruction.  The surviving warriors swore an oath, to hide away its location and to prevent its door from ever opening.  The secret to returning the dragons to the world laid in their blood; only through their bloodshed would it be revealed.

Thus the Dragon-Blood Clan was formed.  The secret of the dragons was passed to each living member and when they toke their oath they received within themselves the means of protecting it.

In the ages to come, the Tale of the Dragons was passed from the old to the young, much like any other forgotten story.  And like those stories, few believed in the terror of those monsters.  The dragon became an oft-forgotten symbol of the past, used to adorn tavern signs and the crest of dusty shields.

The Dragon-Blood Clan was regarded to be like any other social club.  It’s members would meet often in the local pub, drinking and singing.  It was, in fact, for most people, a flimsy excuse to relax and unwind after a day’s labor.  Only the oldest members remembered its beginnings, and the significance of its symbolic initiation.

Inside story: “The Village of Quippley”

The Inside Story

The “Inside story” is series of narratives describing the back story of the comic.  This is the first story, all about the village of Quippley.

Quippley is a small town in the Northeast corner of the Old Continent, situated between the towns of Beans and Welshish-shire, just north of the Great Spear-Wood  and approx 15 miles west of the Sea.

The village was settled by Alabumbus Quippley, a curious and outspoken individual who departed (some say forced) from the city of Markton due to his radical views on pig care.  He found a small patch of unoccupied land some 40 miles west of the old city and set up shop.  He built a stand there, selling snouts–but discovered there was very little foot-traffic so far away from any majors road.  He tried several other ventures, all failing, until he implored his older brother for help.  Thomas Quippley begrudgingly relocated his family and turned the land into a barley farm.  The resulting community was named after him (Alabumbus was subsequently driven from the village after trying to wed his brother’s prized sow).

Because Quippley had the queer reputation for taking in outcasts, over the years more than just farmers settled there.  At first the original townsfolk did not welcome their unconventional neighbors, but when they saw the lucrative income brought in through their ways, many abandoned tilling the soil for card games, magic tricks and the occasional sword swallowing.  As the surrounding region developed, traffic increased, and the citizens of Quippley earned better wages through their unusual professions.

By the year 446, Quippley had grown to a staggering population of 43.  A small collection of traveling wizards settled in along its outskirts, content with living in relative quiet among the motley community.  Among this folk was a young wizard named Algerbane and his wife and daughter.  His experience in Quippley will be told in full in Year 2 of the Wizard of Quippley comic.