The sun illuminated the vineyard around Irving this spring afternoon. The wind gently moving its way across the slope. He particularly enjoyed these daily walks around the property. After a life of toil, study, and shadows, the calm life of a landlord was a nice one. He had a handful of workers and a squad of guards to his name. The acres around his manor produce a variety of grapes. The rest of the land produces enough other crops to feed the manor for the year.
Irving lets out a sigh as he looks over the river that makes its way through his valley. The spring thaw was just beginning, soon it would be a torrent of water rushing its way towards the ocean. He bends over and examines a few of the vines, looking for any sign of disease. His wine was renowned all over the country of Beavi. This reputation has even spread beyond into a few of the other nations that make up the Nikloran continent. He was determined to keep that reputation, even beyond his death.
Farther down the hill, his eyes fall upon a young boy with yellow and purple hair. It was still an odd sight to Irving. Where he came from, most people only had one color in their hair. Yet on the continent of Niklora, it wasn't uncommon to have two or even three shades of hair to a head. It was the eyes that unnerved him the most. Almost everyone that lives on this continent has dual colored pupils.
It was clear that the young boy had an urgent message for Irving. Irving wasn't in a hurry. It was probably some lord, duke, or other such noble seeking a meeting with him. As the popularity of his wine increased, so did those seeking to earn Irving's grace. He looks away from the boy and back down to the leaf in his hand. The color was good, the structure and feel were excellent. This year's harvest was looking to be another great one.
"Master Irving!" The young boy yells at the bottom of the steep hill. The boy's arms were waving desperately to get Irving's attention. Irving turns and continues to walk through his vines. The boy obviously didn't want to have to trek up the quarter of a mile that lay between him and his master. Out of the corner of his eye, Irving sees the boy sigh and continue his run towards him.
It wasn't that Irving didn't care about what was going on. It was just that, most of the time it didn't matter if he heard the message in five minutes or a half hour. He was too far out into the wilderness for anything important to reach him that quickly. Even bandits weren't that likely to attack him since his valuables are kept in a bank in the city. The handful of guards he did have were enough to cause even the most ambitious group to think twice about attacking a minor landlord's manor.
Irving's mind drifted to the bandit attack two or so years back. When the fame of his wine finally enticed a group into attacking. After dealing with them, Irving determined he would need more guards, and doubled his number to their current levels. It was his shipments, though, that needed the real guarding. That was left in the armies hands though thanks to the generosity of his king. Irving's wine has become a pride of Beavi.
"Master Irving!" a young voice says from behind him. The boy's breathing almost louder than his words. Irving stands up tall and turns around. The young boy before him doing his best to show proper respect to the man. Irving tries to remember what it was like to be able to run like that. The boy's age was near that which everyone envies.
"At ease," Irving says holding up his hand. The boy slouches, doing his best to take slow shallow breaths. "Now when you can speak you can let me know what they need." It is definitely the age when men are most reckless. Before wisdom seeps into them.
The boy opens his mouth to speak, then closes it, deciding against it. Instead, he reaches into his pack and pulls out a few pages of folded paper. Irving sighs as his hand reaches out and retrieves the papers. Opening them up, Irving begins to try to read them.
'G3rth fro5s35ti ma634thi7n t43alki' the words read. His first reaction was to get on the boy for wasting his time with such a message. Then another look at the boy told him it was unlikely to be a prank or anything of the sort. If it was a prank, this boy certainly wasn't a part of it. Even at his age, this kind of run was not one someone did for fun. Another look at the papers and he finally begins to understand it is a message.
The code was something unfamiliar to Irving. It would definitely take some time to decode these papers. He was unsure why the kid ran all this way to deliver something that would obviously take him all day to decode. With a heavy sigh, he looks at the papers again. Finally, the first paragraph of one page stood out to him. His name was inside the code. This realization causes the code to become very clear to Irving.
'Lord Master Irving, I hope retirement is serving you well. I don't know if you have heard of the chaos that is rampant across the Hoguran continent. If you have, then these letters will probably not surprise you and some of the following will be redundant to you. If you haven't then it is of great import that I fill you in at least a fraction.'
After a few minutes deciphering the first paragraph, Irving looks back up towards the youth. He is standing, now in proper posture, his breathing fairly regular. Irving lets out a sigh again and begins to speak. "Corey, when did these letters arrive?"
"They came just thirty or so minutes ago. From the " The youth glances away slightly then continues. "Master Bai determined them to be of great import and sent me to bring them to you right away Master Irving."
"I figured as much," Irving says sighing. "Don't they know I have retired" His hand moves to his head and begins to rub his face. "Alright, run back and let Master Bai know that I will be needing my study in about an hour." With those words, Irving places the letters back into his coat and turns his attention back to his vines. Corey was already off, bolting down the hill.
Irving looks at his hand as he slowly makes it into a fist. The sight of Corey running brought a desire long since thought lost in Irving. The desire to run, to jump, and to feel power rushing through his body. Letting out a sigh, he moves his mind from that dangerous place back to his fields. If he let himself come out of retirement he wasn't sure he could ever return.
By the time Irving made it back to his manor, Skarr was beginning to eclipse the sun. The massive shadow slowly crawling across the ground. As he steps up to the walls around his manor, Master bai steps out. The two look at each other for a second, then a slight nod happens between them.
The two of them head inside, their destination is Irving's study. It was the one room in his manor that had runic lamps. The Draw stored deep within, hidden in the room underneath. The sapphires that stored and powered the circuits in this room were the only true thing of value within his manor. The room itself had no windows. Completely sealed for secrecy.
None of his staff aside from Bai knew of the lamps. For fear that the value of them alone would attract the lot one never wants to happen upon. Though the servants were under strict orders never to disturb Irving in his study, the lamps still had a few fail-safes. For one, the door was designed to cut the circuit should it ever open.
Irving takes his candle and lights a few of the candles around the room, placed so should anyone open the door, the room will not suddenly go dark. "Master Irving, these papers also came for you through the device." Irving nods to Bai as Bai places the papers on top of Irving's desk. "Is there anything else you need?"
"No, that is all. Thanks, Bai" Irving says as he sits down pulling out a few papers. The door behind him closes, and Irving places his hand on the wall. Once the circuit was on, the room lit up as bright as if there was a noonday sun. Pulling out the papers from his coat, he places the first one on the table. Pen in his hand he begins to decipher and read the letters.
As soon as he finishes the first sentence of the second paragraph he places his pen down and just stares at the line. 'It is my regret to inform you that the Darkpeace has awakened." A few minutes later he sighs and deciphers the line again just to make sure. He knew then that the world was changing. He knew that his retirement has ended. Strange what one little piece of paper can mean for a man.
'I am sure that I need not say more. The gravity of the situation should be clear. I will do the best I can to inform you of what events I know.'
'For one, Vortaria has declared war on Rustaria. The city of Toule has fallen. And the archives have been opened. I am sure that at least one of these events has reached your ears by now. Though you may not have known the cause.'
Irving pauses as he reads over what he has deciphered again. It seems the sons had failed. His legacy, his father's, and so on. It has come undone with one letter.
'Now for more pressing matters. Who I am and the reason I have sought you out. The latter I am sure you could probably guess. The former, unfortunately, must remain as secret as I can make it. So I must omit any information regarding that subject.'
Irving pauses as he looks back over the last paragraph. He knew there was something more hidden in it. Something that would point to the identity of the writer. Was this a person he knew, it had to be, didn't it. No, they could have found out about him from a select few individuals. Sighing, Irving moves from those thoughts back towards the deciphering at hand.
'Enclosed in letters to follow will be the stories as I find them. The tales, and the truth I am sure only you can figure out. That is what I need from you. We need to find the way to end the awakening, to return rest back to the Darkpeace, and let the dead sleep once more.'
It was now that Irving was wishing for a glass of his wine more than ever. Yet as to his conviction, he would never let himself get drunk again. He stares uneasily at the last paragraph from the first stack yet to be deciphered. What disheartening news did it contain?
"I wait anxiously for your reply. You can find me at 74686573746172. Please encode your letter with the code that follows. 6669727374 '
After looking at the next few pages, it was obvious that they were encoding them using that final seed. Holding out his hand, Irving concentrates. A few seconds later a small chest fades into view before him. Opening it up, he stares at the few keepsakes kept inside. One final sigh and he places his transcription of the first page inside. Next, he takes the original and holds it above the candle to his left. Slowly the paper goes up in flame.
The ashes fall to his desk as he brings the other small stack of paper and spreads it out before him. Dipping his pen, he begins to prepare for the daunting task of reading the words sent to him.
Here is the prologue, the start of a story of mine. I figured I might just see if there are any aside from myself who might enjoy this work.
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