Chapter 1: Equinox

There are many worlds that have yet to be explored by the eye and foot of Earth's man. Many of these worlds have been born long before Earth, and still stand majestic. Vestalios: a world of lava, rock and ash, inhabited by elemental creatures and Dragon tribes. Okeanos: the world undersea, filled with communities of Merfolk, massive krakens, and leviathans. Gauriana: the land of vast plains, castles and meadows, populated by wizards and soldiers, fighting for a common cause. The Unspoken Realm: A place of decay that not many species dare to elaborate on, laying on the edge of the galaxy, far from the sight of The Eye. In the center of the four titanic planets lays the green, glowing world of Pan. Not much is known about Pan, except for the fact that it is the balance of the galaxy, and some believe, the universe. Not much is known, because no one dares to snap a twig, or bend a branch in the great forested world of Pan. Not much is known because the trees speak only to the elves.

The great elven tribes of Pan extend to the four corners of the planet, and in particular cases, the corners of other planets, implanted deeply into the soul, soil, sand, and swamp of their lands. Unknown, unheard, unseen. The elves built communities high above the ground, in grand trees that protected them from the spontaneous harrowing of the living, breathing soil. A great civil war known as The Dawning tore the planet into four distinct tribes of elves. The Nihani: an extremely traditional tribe that follows the Elder's scrolls to the letter and posses a very audacious air of superiority. The Ghan: a tribe of elves that have developed a direct line of communication to Phaunos, the spirit of the world, and are reluctant to make decisions before they consult the ancient spirit. The Khajai: a savage race of elves that have undergone various mutations as a result of taking refuge underground when the purging of their territory began as a result of The Dawning. They have resorted to thievery, intimidation, and some have reported incidents of cannibalism to achieve what they desire. Lastly, The Equinox is a tribe dedicated to protecting and restoring harmony to the world that the tribes once shared. Before The Dawning, the four Elders were the law of the land, who decided what was best for the planet by communicating with Phaunos. When the war began, the Elders thought it wise to take refuge within the camps of the tribes that were forming in fear that the tribes would attempt to raid The Garden of Grandeur — a wooded temple planted deep in the forests of Pan where the Elders resided. Faadla of the Bark took refuge within the Nihani, taking throne as their queen, and secretly rewriting the scrolls that she possessed. Torahm of the Branch and Saujh of the Leaf took residence in the Gahn's region, teaching them the spiritual bonding and transcendence rituals needed to communicate with Phaunos. Barduk the Rootbound was taken prisoner deep into the underground tunnels made by the Khajai. Due to the lack of an Elder's guidance, the Equinox swore their loyalty to their military general Aust of the Mossborn, known through the tribe as Aust Equinox. Aust was a humble elf, who never asked for the position that he occupied. Born with a gift for tactical maneuvering and a quick bow hand, his tribe insisted he led them after The Dawning cursed the land with segregation and brutal wars wherever the tribes encountered each other.

The Equinox is the smallest of the four tribes, with the Gahn and Nihani housing approximately 1,500 tribesmen each. The numbers of the Khajai are unknown, due to the fact that they were rarely seen above the soil. Not that anyone was looking for them. The Equinox had constantly changing numbers, usually not exceeding 400, always taking in refugees and wanderers, and anyone else who did not affiliate themselves with any of the tribes. The Equinox agreed to feed and shelter these stragglers in return for their military loyalty as it was needed. They were allowed to stay until they no longer wished to aid the Equinox in their war efforts. Aust established a sector of the tribe that he knew was more skilled than the others in the ways of combat. The others didn't know of the personal sector that Aust created. They were called Stormforce. The name was derived from the weapons the six warriors wielded. The Equinox possessed a phenomenal ability that allowed them to harness the energy of the thunderstorms that raged frequently in their region. They used the lightning to create great weapons that flowed through their veins when not in use. These Storm Bows produce their own ammunition when the thin bolt of lightning is drawn. The air around the bow is drawn into a lightning bolt, and shot at the target with blinding speeds. The Equinox had the ability to control the lightning arrow with their mastery of the storm. The Equinox was traveling through a veil of forest known as the Threshold, on the way to a temple that they believed was unoccupied. Here they could attempt to communicate with Phaunos to determine the state of the planet at this moment, and seek some sort of guidance as to the whereabouts of Elder Barduk. This was a very precise plot of land that neither of the tribes could claim due to thick fog that erased all borders between the regions. The Khajai thought this would be the perfect opportunity to ambush the small tribe. In less than one hour, the Khajai's hallowed ground traps known through the land as The Dead Step had claimed the lives of half of the Equinox, with the other half stranded on the other side of the large pit created by the caving of the land. Aust and his Stormforce were separated from their tribe, losing sight of the others in the dense and impossible fog. Aust heard screams that were quickly muffled by the soil under his feet. He recognized the voices of those he grew up with, and those he thought he would die with. His Stormforce was being buried. Taken underground by the relentless Khajai, and all he could do was listen do their deaths through the mists. Knowing it was too late to rescue them, he quickly scampered up a nearby tree, out of The Threshold, and used his hunting knife to open his skin and summon the power of lightning into the shape of the legendary Storm Bow. Through the confusion of the escape Aust had lost track of what side of The Threshold he had crossed over to, and was unsure which region he now occupied. With a wall of fog in front of him, he took aim at the ground twenty feet below. He drew back the thin string of lightning, and the air condensed into a shimmering bolt of magic and electricity. As he let go of the string, the bolt whizzed into the fog below, cutting a path through the thick haze. When the arrow reached the ground Aust stood on moments ago, it stopped and began furiously rotating, spreading its electrifying energy into the fog, dispersing what once shrouded the path below. The small plot of The Threshold which Aust had temporarily cleared of the fog revealed the savagery of the Khajai. He saw his people dismembered and their souls crying in the soil, begging to return to what remained of the bodies they once inhabited. Aust was alone. His people were brutalized in what he thought was the only area of peace in between the four regions that make up Pan. He felt something pulling on his ankle, and in a moment of blind confusion, he was struck in the face with a blunt object and rendered unconscious. In less than an hour, the population of Aust's tribe went from 328 to 1, with him being the only survivor. Aust was alone in a world at war.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Fiction / Paranormal /