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A Dead God's Tear

By:Leighmon Eisenhardt

A Dead God's Tear
Author:Leighmon Eisenhardt

     
Book 1 of the Nether Walker Trilogy


Prologue

In the beginning when Faelon was created, the Goddess of Rebirth, Avalene, stared at her creation and was overjoyed. With the help of the other Gods she populated the world. Every living thing on Faelon can trace their lineage back to a God, and for a time peace reigned upon the newly formed land.

Dryken, God of Death and the consort to Avalene, soon grew jealous of her attentions to the flourishing world. He decided to link the world to the nether, a chaotic dimension of energy that existed between the planes; it was an area out of control of even the Gods. The linking had the intended dramatic effect on Faelon, introducing ideas and thoughts that Avalene had not intended. War, pestilence, among other vices sprang into fruition as the energy warped the minds and thoughts of the mortals, but the joining of the two planar entities also had an effect the jealous God could not foresee.

The twisting energies were accessible by those with the talent to do so; these energies could then be shaped into a power unlike no other, or in other words, magic. The Gods are very protective of their abilities; the idea that mere mortals could simulate the very powers they wielded caused uproar among the Pantheon.

As one, the envious Gods fell upon the world, intent on nothing less than the utter destruction of humanity.

Avalene, in her sorrow at the ensuing bloodshed, made a desperate bid to both protect her creation and to teach the other Gods to not interfere. With the aid of the very mortals the other Gods detested, she waged a war against the Pantheon. After much sacrifice, the wounded Goddess managed to almost totally seal the other Gods from her world, barring the few that switched to her side, and limit the influence of the nether upon the fledgling world, though even she could not totally remove it.

With the threat of the Gods limited, the Goddess then went into hiding to recover from the war, but not before setting up a system to guide the wayward magic users. According to the canon of the church, she continues to sleep somewhere on Faelon to this very day. Meanwhile, the magic using mortals continued their practice, turning it into almost a science.

They eventually became known as wizards.





"People are not born equal. This is the cold, harsh fact of reality, and a truth that we try so hard to ignore. There will always be those that rise above the rest. These people are special for their ability, either through fate, circumstance, or just sheer will, to affect the world around them.

History remembers them. They attract rumors like moths to a flame. They ensnare people's imaginations, taking the facts and rumors associated with their deeds and spiral them out of control to heights unimaginable.

Eventually the truth behind these people, the reality that makes them who they are, is obscured by legends, myth, and hearsay. It is perhaps the greatest irony of all that these people lose their essence in the eyes of everyone else; becoming an icon instead. Their struggles, so like our own, remain untold or twisted.

We never learn what made them who they are.

This is such a story. Of a group of unique people that changed the world. It matters not what side they were on. Good and evil has no bearing on this story. These are men and women with their own ideals and desires, and are we not all the main character in our own eyes?

What does matter is that this story breaks free of the shackles of rumors and lies. That their struggles come to light so that we learn from them. That the countless lives affected be given a face, so that we never forget.

Is it worse, I wonder, to die in obscurity, or to be forever immortalized in a lie? Whatever the answer, I tell this tale now as a dedication to those brave men and women that fought against the flow of fate, and instead followed the beat of their heart's desire.

But most of all, I dedicate it to those who believe they have no choice. Opportunity may only knock once, but the door swings both ways.

This is for you, my heart, wherever you may be."



-Seleniale Destane Liarne, author of the Walker Chronicles





Chapter 01

The sun rose over the coastal city of Rhensford, casting an otherworldly glow onto the cobblestones and statues that littered the town square. Moored ships and schooners drifted peacefully in the cold Gaellec Ocean, the water slapping their wooden sides. There was an expectant tension in the air, the uneasy truce of a town preparing for another day.

The first rays crept their way deep within the city, into a single open window of an estate house. The tapestries and curtains offered no tangible resistance to the invader.

Having conquered the first defenses, the beam continued over the worn dresser, past the table littered with scrolls and half-used quills until coming to rest on its destination: a bed, or more specifically, the occupant who took refuge within the soft white covers.

The rays lingered on his thin face, poking and nagging until with a muffled groan a single gray eye was forced open. The pupil gradually focused, and as he realized his surroundings the other eye opened.

With a flurry of action the boy was sitting on his bed, wiping the remnants of sleep from his face with a balled up fist. Still rubbing, he stood and padded his way across the rough wooden floorboards to the wash basin that sat in the corner.

Marcius Realure had spent the better part of his night finishing up some homework for his Master, though this didn't stop him from mentally reviewing it as he used a damp washrag to wash away the remaining sleep from his eyes.

He pulled out his traveling pack from the dresser and stuffed several articles of clothing into it before rolling up a few choice scrolls from his desk into a wooden tube, reverently placing it securely within the pack.

Listening for a moment, he took in the sounds of his family house preparing itself for the day. A floor board creaked, a wall groaned with unseen stress, and downstairs, a pot clanged. He wasn't the only one up this early in the morning.

He shrugged into a shirt of fine make and sturdy leather pants. Picking up his brown traveling cloak, he slung the now heavy pack on his shoulder. It was always the same during days like this. He was looking forward to his journey.

He hadn't eaten since he had sat down to write out the scrolls last night and visions of breakfast were dancing about his head. Humming a bar tune he picked up a few weeks ago and dreaming about what surprise Clarissa, the family cook, would have in the stove, Marcius made his way downstairs into the family kitchen. A rich aroma permeated the air.

"Clarissa!" he exclaimed, "What've you got cooking?"

Over one of the fireplaces the source of the delicious smell was boiling, the lid of the pot clanging noisily from the escaping steam, and judging by the pervasive heat that hung about in air, there were fresh rolls in the oven as well.

"You will wake the entire household!" scolded a muffled voice from beneath the counter of stacked pots and pans.

Clarissa appeared holding a bowl filled with the contents of the pot. She scurried over, black hair whipping back and forth, and managed to pull out two rolls without being singed. Putting them on a napkin, she presented the ensemble with an exaggerated flourish to Marcius.

He accepted it gratefully, but she didn't loosen her grip. "Young Master, it's today for your training?"

His focus on the food, he gestured to his backpack and nodded. She grinned, releasing the bowl, and got out four more rolls along with some cheese from the cellar. Wrapping them in a towel she placed them in his pack.

Marcius was soon licking his fingertips, the napkin empty of even crumbs. Seeing that he was done, Clarissa ushered him out of the kitchen in good humor. If he didn't know better, he'd say he got kicked out by his own servant. The thought brought a snort of amusement.

Lars, the family butler and master of being at the right place at the right time, handed Marcius his cloak before the surprised youth could open his mouth to ask. He mulled over the peculiarities of such a gangly man moving so silently, even as he allowed the butler to assist him with his cloak.

The gray haired butler gave one final wink as he put on the finishing touches on the cloak, smoothing and straightening various wrinkles and such as he lead Marcius to the door in the same motion.

He roused the stable boy from his sleep and set him to preparing his horse, Ruby, for the minor journey ahead. The stallion was a birthday gift from his father, a thoroughbred imported from the distant landlocked city of Kaleenth.

With his magnificent chestnut mane, corded lean muscles, and graceful actions, Marcius had fallen in love with him at first sight. "Easy there, boy." He patted the restless horse after the stable boy was done, admiring the morning glow off Ruby's milky auburn coat. He threw the boy a silver coin, several times the worth of the service, and rode out into town.

It was time to delve further into the realm of magic.



The salty morning air was musky and encompassing, but nonetheless pleasant. Still, despite it all, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was forgetting something, and if he was, no doubt his Master would remind him with a nice thump on the head. Marcius gave an involuntary grimace at his Master's skills with the staff, and several old bruises began to throb out of habit.

Master Antaigne was a dwarf, and oddly, a wizard. Long ago, Marcius's father helped out Antaigne and, although the details were never disclosed to Marcius, apparently the wizard was grateful enough to attempt to teach the skills of magic to Marcius. One week out of every month was spent living with Antaigne. It had been so ever since Marcius was a boy.

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