TKC 140 and 141
Horin proceeds to tell us the tale of times before. Lyra and I listen to every word and, by the time Horin finishes, the others are crowded into the cottage and listening also.
“Massin is an empty world, because it is a massive sphere. The population we think of as huge is pretty sparse given the landmass available. Long ago there were even fewer walking this earth and when others from the heavens saw how much space there was, this became a coveted world. Fortunately it was left alone for a long time - one cannot simply see a world and take it, not according to the laws out there - but it was marked and known.
“War came to the heavens and civilisation fought civilisation there, until one day the remnants of a particularly terrible battle fled to Massin. Their enemies followed, but they were too late, for the ring of mountains thrown up here were impenetrable. It was created of both stone and technology and therefore difficult to sunder. The mountains became a shield wall, and the protection extended as a rounded force field into the sky also. This is why we call it Arc. The shielding arcs from mountain top to mountain top.
“Those who fled here were and are beings able to manipulate light. They have true form, but few see them, for they employ light as a mask. They were called the Glonu, and we know this name from legends past, although few hear of that history in this present. Do not make the mistake of regarding the Glonu’s light as something benevolent.
“According to the ancient tales, the Glonu fought the Ilfin for territory until the Ilfin were driven into the uplands, into the plateau mountains, into the cold. Between lay the plains, regarded as neutral territory. This is true. There was a mighty war enacted between the two races on Massin, and the Glonu were victorious. Both sides agreed to maintain the neutral territory, for both sides required a period in which to renew strength. That war was the last in a string of battles that began elsewhere in space and continued here. There were other battles on Massin, between the raising of Arc and the creation of neutral territory, but history records only the last war that forced people to live either east or west.
“Yes, I see you realise what it means. The people of the plateau are the Ilfin, the enemy that tracked the light beings to this world. We are the Ilfin. Every breathing man, woman and child possessing one or more talents is able to track his or her lineage right back to ancient time … and is Ilfin, not Massin bred. We, however, are not the enemy. We came to end the Glonu, for they are made of darkness and not of light.
“Much time has passed and today one cannot tell an Ilfin from a Glonu or a Massinian. Today we look the same, and thus there has been a truce in place for millennia.”
Horin pauses there, before saying, “Maybe we would have continued living in peace, if divided as a civilisation, had not the asteroid changed the way of it. The moment its danger to this world was marked, was also the moment Ilfin talents began to rise again to the fore. To halt its path or alter its trajectory, we required the magical technology of the Glonu - the Spire inside their Arc. They needed Ifin to enter, for our talents were needed to connect with and employ their technology. Technology fails, understand, but inherent talent cannot be removed. Thus we needed each other, but we remain enemies.”
Silence descends when he ceases speaking.
No one is able to saw a word.