The mission is underway and you now understand there is a king (the Vallorin Vannis) about to arise. This was the dara-witch Infinity's plan from the beginning, to unleash Vannis on the people of Valaris. But who is he? Who are the Valleur? Why should Valarians (the humans of Valaris) fear his return? What will the sacred sites' renewed engender?
Find out in Part II! For a few brief chapters we now go back in time to get to know Vannis, Vallorin of the Valleur.
The Valleur are nomadic; it is time to set down enduring roots.
~ Ancient Oracles
In the beginning, if there is a beginning, Mother Universe was empty and lonely; thus, children were born for her enjoyment, and her grief.
This is the nature of sentience.
One day, in the forgotten mists of pre-ancient time, before time was understood and measured in the manner of the present, a being was born of the Mother.
He was not alone, for the Mother, the Goddess as she would be known, created siblings of both sexes, and cousins for each, and more, and life began in the universe. Golden of skin and hair, their eyes a wondrous yellow, colours of light; they were the lumin kindred.
They were first, and they were alone in vast spaces for an extraordinarily long time. The golden ones developed their minds and abilities and exploited every talent, thus becoming the first sorcerers.
Naturally, Mother Universe did not begin and end with them. Other sentients evolved elsewhere, but were still in infancy, learning to walk upright, talk and light fires, when the Golden were already ancient. In striding unchallenged across time and space arrogance was born. Thus it is written for every race, and thus it will ever be.
They were the Valleur.
The Valleur were great builders and academics, and natural sorcerers.
Employing these three passions, they erected buildings of great beauty, unparalleled grace and unequalled artistry. On many worlds these edifices stand in testimony to a vanished race, impervious to time.
Humankind, the Valleur’s eventual nemesis, was not the only evolving species at the time of Valleur mastery. Humans arrived last, if in far greater numbers.
The green giants, the Sagorin, were growing up, but were fledglings when the Siric took to the skies. The Siric were both good and evil, and fought numerous battles. It might not be that far-fetched to conclude their space spectacles drew the Valleur, and from them they learned to distinguish between what is good and what is evil.
Perhaps, in witnessing real war and death, thoughts went to their own long-term survival. The first steps to protection were engendered by what they witnessed.
Other creatures also evolved. Sentient, fierce and bloodthirsty, devouring all in their path. It does not require super intelligence to realise one must, with all one’s will and power, protect from these.
The Valleur’s universe was slowly eroded and they fought back.
The Siric were too engaged in civil battles to pay attention to the Valleur; they, in turn, were left to their own devices. It was hoped the winged ones would annihilate each other, which nearly did come to pass.
The darklings of all persuasions, however, felt the Valleur sting.
All this could have been dealt with and accepted in the fullness of time, but they were truly no longer alone. The Sagorin settled a far-flung planet where the Valleur mined the rare amber quartz that graced many buildings.
Perceived darak forces everywhere, in many guises.
They turned their eyes on the Sagorin, but found them accommodating and friendly and left them in peace. When they required the quartz, they were welcome to it. After the Sagorin were nearly destroyed, unbeknownst to them, the Valleur assisted in the destruction of the evil beings that brought doom upon a gentle race. The real essence of the Golden was not subverted.
Humans invaded their choicest worlds. While countering darkling threats, the Valleur focused to the humans, the plague of countless worlds. They could not co-habit. Humans are arrogant, were then and will ever be. It could only end in disaster.
The Valleur deeds were terrible and merciless, all in a cause they fanatically believed in. War was brought to humankind everywhere.
On two fronts they fought, ideologically. Humans and darklings. On many fronts, practically. If only Valleur and human could have stood together to rid Mother Universe of the latter evil. It was not to be, two arrogant races were on a collision course, and neither would back down.
The darklings thrived.
Despite their magical powers, incredible abilities and gifts, the Valleur lost ground. It was as simple as numbers. They lived long and bred less. The old was making way for the new by dint of numbers alone, and it was unacceptable. War intensified.
Then came the time new sanity prevailed. Those among the Valleur weary of constant war put forth an alternative. They spoke of a Rift between two dimensions. If they succeeded, they could go where they again would be masters, unchallenged. It found favour among the majority.
They did their homework, experimented, and chose, successfully, an empty realm. Using their combined sorcery - for it was an awesome feat depleting individual power in minutes - they opened the Rift. The Valleur left.
The war ended with no one left to fight it. Humanity everywhere was amazed.
Was that the end?
The last Vallorin of the known universe refused to leave. This was his realm, his birthright, and he desired one final opportunity to re-take it.
He discovered a blue planet with no resident sentient life, and desired to settle there, far removed from populous centres. It was a Siric creation, but as envisioned, the Siric ceased being a threat.
A backwater, those who left argued, but he did not care. In a sense it was, but it was also paradise, unspoilt, a home to erect the final buildings the Valleur would conceive of, sites that would become sacred in a variety of ways.
They could grow anew, learn different talents, plan for the future and become strong enough to make the universe theirs … one day.
Four thousand came to their new world; the Vallorin, his entourage, his followers. Not enough to war with, but they had time. The sane ones warned the circle would close again, humans would find the world, desire it, and four thousand would be too few to stop them.
He was their Vallorin, however, and it was death to deny him in those times.
The Arcana legend was born to protect the Rift.
The blue planet was named Valaris.
The thread seen in the future began at this point, although the actual tool of magic would only come later. It, too, would reach back into time and make an eternal connection.
The last Vallorin retired to blissfully deserted and undiscovered Valaris. He built beautiful buildings, sacred sites in tribute to those abandoned to others over the ages, and in memory of those who left. He had with him the Oracles, the Valleur history of all, written and added to over countless aeons in their native tongue.
The tools of magic he would fashion later, for reasons more personal.
Something so long absent it was novel, came then - peace. Lumin times returned, and life was surpassingly good.
The Vallorin was content. A backwater was not so bad. Thoughts of war, invasion, and death to the plague, all these petered away. Peace found him, and he embraced it.
His name, Vannis.
In the language of the Valleur, Vannis translates as ‘exotic creation’. He was that. Six feet tall, athletic of build, smooth, golden skin, he was a sight to behold. He had that something to set him immediately apart.
Perhaps it was his strength, evident even as he walked, or the grace with which he moved, like a dancer, a predator, unheard until he made his presence known. His eyes were Valleur yellow, but he was also gifted changeability. It was not unheard of, but certainly rare, and to him came a greater range than to any other in the past.
When angry, his eyes would darken into deep violet or lightless black, depending on the degree of his anger. When happy, they would transform like magic into rich amber. All his subjects knew how to gauge his moods from those exotic orbs; he could not hide from them.
Vannis walked alone. He created his own fulfilment, his own recreation, and was happiest in his own company. He sated sexual needs with courtesans.
Emotionally uninvolved, his eyes in later years were generally yellow.
The Valleur lived long, and extended even that using their gifs of sorcery.
More correct, sorcery prolonged life, it being a facet of magic. When the war for Valleur supremacy began, Vannis’ grandfather was Vallorin, when renewed effort against humans commenced, his father Nishen was Vallorin and Vannis a young, untried warrior. In those three generations lay many generations of humans.
Nishen knew his son would make a great ruler after him, perhaps the greatest in their history. He was not wrong, but he was afraid of the evil corrupting existence, creeping into fanatical freedom fighters.
Sending his son off to war was a difficult decision. He preferred to keep Vannis away from negative influences, but knew his people would not accept Vannis as ruler if he had not endured the terror of battle at their sides.
When he sent for his son and granted his blessing to war, his heart grew heavy at the sight of blazing amber eyes. If he could have warned and been heard, he would have said war was a demoralising, soul-destroying nightmare, one that never released, not even long after the final battle was fought. The young do not hear, nor do they want to.
Hugging his son a last time, Nishen was gratified to see Vannis’ eyes glimmer a pale blue. Father and son were close and would miss each other.
Years later, upon hearing of the destruction of his father’s palace, his father asleep in his chambers, Vannis railed and raged against the cowards who came in the night.
Humans fought a technological war with weapons of mass destruction. Given that and their sheer numbers, Valleur sorcery could not ultimately succeed.
Vannis’ eyes went black the night his father was murdered, and stayed that way for millennia, and against all odds he continued the war. He became a cold-blooded killer, learned true hatred, anger and battle lust during that time; everything his father desired to protect him from.
When the majority of his subjects chose to exit this realm, he bowed to the inevitable. He loved them well. He knew what war did to him, and knew what it did to his people. They faced extinction in the worst way conceivable. Out of love, in a desire for a future, even if it meant elsewhere, something for him akin to death, he gave his blessing. He assisted in opening the Rift and was the last to turn away once it was sealed.
Valaris, the blue jewel, saved him from self-destruction. He had no heir; how would his people manage, leaderless? Upon laying eyes on the pristine planet, those black eyes shifted to violet for the first time in a long while. Here was a world to rebuild his race and renew his heritage. Here he could take a wife of good blood and watch his sons grow.
He put aside thoughts of war to create a home worthy of his heirs. He built a great palace, libraries, gathering places, temples and towers, pyramids, gardens and waterways, and slowly his eyes reverted to their natural yellow. His golden hair he allowed to grow long. It would be shaved again only for battle, as was tradition.
That auspicious morning when he awakened with clear, untroubled yellow eyes and went down to the Throne, his people rejoiced. All thought of war left. Temporary became permanent.
His chief councillor deemed his beloved ruler ready. He brought his granddaughter to the Palace for the first time. She was born after settlement and knew nothing of an ugly life. She was young and lovely, and her obvious delight at being at court, her sunny disposition, her boundless energy, her naivety, soon caused Vannis to laugh. On the day he laughed uproariously for the first time, he released the past to look only ahead.
He wed Mantra. She made him happy and made him laugh. Making love to her was a gentle affair that gave him pleasure, and her, although she knew it was more out of respect and liking than true love. In those early days it was enough for both of them.
For her he built a palace in the foothills of the Hills of Man, so named because of their diminutive size, and it was a beautiful, airy place in white quartz.
From afar, the sun by day, the moon by night, lit its walls like a beacon to weary travellers. Comprising many courtyards and fountains and magical alcoves, its main attraction lay in the central courtyard. Laid out in sixty-four squares of alternate black and white, it was a giant chessboard. Queen Mantra’s one consuming passion was chess, and she gathered friends, family, and courtiers to play at bishops, knights, rooks and pawns. Vannis seldom played. He already had a lifetime of strategy.
The man with the exotic eyes had come home, by choice.
The only blemish in an otherwise idyllic life was, sadly, Mantra did not conceive.