|Warrior of the night,
All in gold.
Clear is thy sight,
Thy prowess, bold.
Book I: The Great Awakening
Chapter I: Being the start of my story and the first stirrings of unrest in the land.
I was born, I believe, in another time. Perhaps even another world, I know not. One thing I do know is that where I grew up to manhood was not Lith, nor anything similar. What I do remember of my life before I held a sword, is this, it was too short, too peaceful. For ignorance is indeed bliss, but this was not my destiny, alas. My life became a life of the blade and of battles and wars, which I have long since lost count of. I was once a leader of the Champions of the Blade which I helped found. I rode at the head of our army in the last battle, with the other Champions of the Blade about me. Many of them died in that battle, when our enemies of the Red Tower were destroyed at last. And indeed it was I who rallied our warriors, turning sure defeat into hard won victory. And in the end, it was I who slew the head of the Red Council, and then raised our standard in the Scarlet Tower, highest tower of the enemy. It was I who helped do my part and stop the wars that had ravaged the human family. Had turned man against man, into insane butchery.
And yet was I happy with myself and my life after the wars. Alas I wish that it was so, with all that I am, but it was not to be. The peace I helped bring back to the world had no place for a man of war, of which I had become. I tried, indeed I did. My melancolia grew, my depression sank low, my boredom drove me mad perhaps. I took to traveling by myself on long journeys, to other towns, other towers. Visiting statesmen and kings. Finding peace always. Life became tedious for me. Nothing helped. My friends shunned me. Those fellow Champions who survived the wars settled into life. They married, they had children. They even worried about me, but it seemed I was beyond their aid. I am sure many judged that the wars and bloodshed had driven me mad. Perhaps they were right in that assumption. I had given up all I was to save my people from death, and I paid the price of that change in me.
But I move ahead to quickly in my story. First I must tell of a time of peace before the wars. I was a lad of fifteen. My parents were both still alive then. My father one of the leaders of the tower, and a council member in good standing. Not the most influentual, but a member nontheless. He tried to teach me of politics, but I listened not to his lectures and had fun with friends. I was a growing youth. I delighted in my innocense as if I knew what was to come and wished not to waste a moment of it. My mother touched me little. I listened to her only when I needed to and then with only one ear. I never did know her, for I never tried.
I remember my friends, mostly boys, except Haistia, who perhaps I would eventually have married. Another dream of youth dashed in time. My closest friends were Taudo, Jarkor, and Kevel. We played together, did mischief together, drove our parents to find new ways to punish us when caught. A happy time indeed. But soon to change. Our first hint of change came one day when a stranger came to the city. He was gravely hurt and died soon after his story was told. He had journeyed across the deserted plains to warn us he said. The Red Tower had arisen in might and made war on townships and even other towers. His home, 'The Tower of Rolling Hills' had been conquered. Most of his people slaughtered. Even the Keeper in his city, that machine which provided for all its citizens needs, was destroyed. A ghastly thing indeed.
The keepers were machines with great intelligence. They ran all things in the Towers, provided for food and all material comforts and chores. Some say that they made us soft, and vulnerable. Whether this was true or not, it was commonly known that each tower held a keeper. That the world at one time was ruled by an alliance of all the Towers. That the land itself had at one time been furtile, and most people did not even live in the cities. It is said that the climate changed, the lands became harsh, and exacted a terrible price upon those who did not live within the walls of a Tower. It was to the Towers that men fled and found refuge. Population soon became a problem, for which the keepers found a solution. Birth was regulated, and only allowed when someone died. In this way the keeper could still provide for all of its citizens and none would have want for food or comforts. Indeed a humane system and one that lasted for many generations.
I speak of things I learned in rote and not experience, for my experience of these events changed later in life. I found many of them to be lies. I was once proud of my people and heritage, but that changed for me after the wars. When I learned the truth of these matters that I was taught in school.
My father volunteered to lead the scouting mission that would investigate the rumor of war. Five other men went with him, and they had only a crude map that had been given to him by the Keeper to find the Scarlet Tower. It was the last time I was to see him. They never did return, and I found only later that they died on that journey. My mother saddened as the months went by. She would seldom speak, and despair followed her movements and her actions. I wanted nothing of this, so I began at this time to talk with the Keeper of the City. I figured since no one else was doing anything about this threat, and most waited for my fathers return, I would try to do something at the least. And it began with knowledge.
The keepers mind was located in the central tower. The lights of machines flickered as I entered and followed my movements. The eyes of the keeper I surmised. I bowed humbly before the large screen and I asked it many things, about our people. What it knew about the Scarlet Tower. Its tales were many and varied. It said that it knew not the whole history of our people, only that it was created by another Keeper. Last it knew, that keeper had been in control of the Scarlet Tower. That indeed it was one of the first keepers ever created, and yet it did not pass on all it's knowlledge to its creations. It knew not the beginnings of humanity. And not much more of the world, for its interests included only its own tower. It did have, however, one thing that it could tell me that was useful. That when it was created, men still were not at peace with each other. That wars were still in the world. It showed me pictures of armor and weapons, of which I knew nothing, for none had existed for eons. It said that it also knew how to instruct others in their uses. That it would do this if it was asked. Humanity had not a need to defend itself for many ages, but perhaps it needed to learn to do so once again. This dialog went on for many days, until finally I decided that I would be instructed. The keeper agreed to do this. We spoke more until the sun was setting. I thanked it again as I departed. My step was light, my heart full of joy. I knew I would do something and it had begun.