Three Realms - Prologue

Paul Yim Paul Yim: (paulyim-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-02-07 17:37:59

Three Realms - Prologue

Once upon a time, there was a land inhabited by knights and wizards and all manner of fantastical creatures, both beautiful and monstrous. The land was divided into The Three Realms: Corin in the West was ruled by the good, but overzealous King Uthmar. In the East, the evil and selfish Emperor Lo-Kang ruled Mal-dur with an iron heel. Corin and Mal-dur were constantly vying for power and dominance over each other. The world would surely have been consumed had it not been for the wisdom of Lord Maximillian, the ruler and supreme judge of the land of Illium. Because Illium stood between Corin and Mal-dur, and Maximillian gave his allegiance to neither king, the world was saved from a destructive conflict that would surely have destroyed it. The balance of power was kept for many years - until the birth of their heirs.

King Uthmar named his son Marius, which in the old Tinian tongue means 'my son'. Uthmar was a very simple-minded king. He was cunning in battle and a great naval tactician, but was rash and headstrong when dealing in the affairs of men. He had no patience for scholarly pursuits, but understood that in order for his son to have supremacy over Lo-Kang, he must be taught in the ways of words as well as the ways of war. One day he called his wisest wise-men to him and said, "My trusted learned men! Give me your words of wisdom that my son, Prince Marius, may be instructed most wisely!"

"What is it that the king wishes to know regarding the prince's instruction?" asked one of the advisors, for King Uthmar was well known for his blustering vagueness.

"I wish to know to whom I may entrust young Marius for his education!" exclaimed Uthmar.

"He should be sent to Adar the Holy Knight, for he is the best knight in the land and will instruct the prince well in the ways of warfare," said one advisor.

"No. Adar is mighty, but dull and much lacking in wisdom. The prince should be tutored by the old wizard who lives in the mountains of Corin. He is a powerful mage and knows many things," countered another.

"No, no. He is wise in the ways of sorcery, but he is too old and will die soon. There is no one suitable," said a third.

Then a young advisor suddenly spoke with much courage, "Hear me King Uthmar, for I have the answer that you seek!" A hush fell over the entire court as the young advisor slowly approached the grand throne of the king.

When he was close enough, King Uthmar asked, "Are you not the youngest of my advisors?"

"I am the youngest, my lord," replied the youngest advisor as he bowed low before the king.

"And do you not have the least experience?" asked the king.

"I have no experience, my king," answered he who was the least experienced of the king's advisors.

"And is it not true that this is your very first day in the court of your king?" inquired Uthmar.

"It is true, sire," bowed the young advisor.

"Then by what right do you approach me in such audacious fashion?!" shouted the king.

The young man replied, "By this right, oh King: I am the only one in all your realm who has the answer that you seek." The court murmured at the boldness of the young man. They all thought, surely he will be beheaded. "This is the answer that you seek, mighty Uthmar - king of all Corin: Send your son, Prince Marius, to The School of The Unseen. There he will be instructed by the mightiest swordsman and schooled by the wisest sage in all of The Three Realms," proclaimed the advisor.

"What is the name of this swordsman and who is this sage that you speak of?" inquired the king.

"The knight and the wizard are one and the same, my liege," answered the young man. "His name is Azmir, hero of the One Year War." The entire realm knew of this once mighty warrior. As a child, King Uthmar sang of Azmir's mighty deeds as did all boisterous boys of The Three Realms. Azmir was thought long dead, for the One Year War was well over a century ago. Even if he was alive, no one knew of his whereabouts.

"But he must be dead by now!" blustered the king.

"Nay, my lord, he is alive and well," replied the advisor, "and I know the location of The School of The Unseen."

The king was pleased and so permanently placed the young wise man into his court. His name was Doryan and he advised King Uthmar for many years.

So when Marius came of age, the king sent his son to the ancient School of The Unseen. There, Marius would learn the ways of chivalry and knighthood as well as the mysterious, ancient art of magic. King Uthmar was confident that his son would return one day and rule in his stead. This thought greatly comforted Uthmar for he knew that one day Corin would be called upon to save the world from the cunning machinations of his arch-nemesis Lo-Kang.

Now, Lo-Kang was no fool. In fact he prided himself in being the most intelligent man in all the land. So when his son was born, Lo-Kang immediately called his wisest advisors to his throne room and said, "Now, my advisors, it is my wish that you consult your star charts and divinations to find the most suitable name for my heir. You have three days."

"Yes, oh Exalted One of The East," said the advisors. "We will not fail you, oh Emperor of Everlasting Greatness!"

Emperor Lo-Kang knew that if the fates were properly consulted, his heir would certainly be blessed throughout his life and that many gifts would be bestowed upon him. Lo-Kang would leave little to chance if he was to finally best his most hated rival, Uthmar. And so the third day came and all his advisors, one by one, approached the great throne and gave their proposals. But none satisfied the whims of the emperor and he ordered that they all be beheaded - save one.

The youngest - and newest - advisor approached the throne and said, "Now, oh Mighty One, hear me and I shall tell you what the name of the boy will be!" Emperor Lo-Kang and his entire court listened intently to the young sage. "He will forever be known as Sol Fu-Kang!" said the advisor.

Now, anyone who knew the old Helic tongue knew that the name meant 'he who burns brightest'. Fortunately for the young advisor, Lo-Kang was well versed in several ancient tongues and Helic was one of them. Lo-Kang was pleased with the name. And as reward he spared the lives of the other advisors, and merely had them beaten. From that day forward the youngest advisor was also the most favored in the eyes of Lo-Kang and became his chief advisor. For this the other advisors, who were far more advanced in years, resented the young man and bitterly plotted his downfall. For the time being they could do nothing, however, because Lo-Kang esteemed him highly. The young man's name was Kell and he advised the emperor for many years.

Many seasons passed and it soon became time to instruct Prince Sol in worldly arts. Naturally, Lo-Kang consulted his advisors and Kell recommended that Prince Sol be sent to The School of The Unseen so that he may be instructed in the ways of war and magic. Lo-Kang delighted in the idea and had his other advisors beaten for not being as insightful and as wise as Kell. So, when Prince Sol was of age, he was sent to The School of The Unseen and told not to return until his eighteenth year. Sol did not shed a tear but simply looked up at his departing father and said, "Farewell Father. I will return and I shall one day conquer the world and present it to you as a gift."

"How will you do this?" asked the emperor. The little boy looked down at his boots, ashamed that he had not thought out the answer beforehand. "I will tell you how," continued the emperor. "You will have the strength and will to do that which is impossible for other men to even dream. And of utmost importance: you will trust no one. Do you understand?"

"Yes Father," replied Sol, even though his father's words confused him more than anything.

And so it came to pass that the two boys met at the ancient School Of The Unseen. Their teacher and mentor, Azmir, introduced them.

"Sol, this is Marius. Marius, this is Sol," said Azmir.

"Hello Sol. It's very nice to meet you," greeted Marius.

"The same to you Marius," he replied.

"From now on you will be my pupils and I shall be your master," said Azmir.

"Yes master," acknowledged the two boys.

Amazingly, the two boys became quite attached to each other and were soon best of friends. As it turned out, Sol was nothing like his evil father and Marius was nothing like his. While Lo-Kang was notoriously hateful of the outdoors, preferring the enclosure of his vast libraries, Sol loved nothing more than the feeling of grass between his toes and the wind in his hair. And there was nothing he hated more than being cooped up in his studies while the birds basked in the sunlight by his windowsill. The only books that Sol even considered reading were the War Chronicles - a collection of war stories collected from all three realms. It was a series of books solely devoted to telling the tales of the mighty heroes of days gone by.

On the other hand, Marius loved nothing more than looking up old dusty tomes and ancient names for such ordinary things as grass. He would spend most of his days hidden away in one of Azmir's high towers, pouring over book after book and scroll after scroll. He found ancient scrolls on mythical artifacts to be of particular interest.

One day, as the boys were resting from their studies, fishing on the nearby lake, they noticed their master standing on the lakeshore with a diminutive figure by his side. Curious, they rowed to shore as quickly as they could to find that the little person was a girl. Azmir introduced her as Sara, the daughter of lord Maximillian of Illium, his third pupil. They immediately fell in love with her and so made her a part of their little group. Eventually she would give her little heart to Marius because he was sweet and gentle. But as she grew older she found herself more and more intrigued by the rebellious and physically handsome Sol. The two boys fought constantly over her, but she would console the loser of the day and thus maintain their friendship for a while longer.

And so, it came to pass, Azmir died in his old age. His three pupils were very sad but before they could finish grieving, Kell, Lo-Kang's chief advisor, came that very day and whisked young Sol away. Marius and Sara, too, were eventually brought back to their respective homes, but the two kept close through letters and visitations. Sol was not heard from again.

A short time after, it was discovered that Azmir left behind a will. To young Marius he gave the Sword of Lions by which any king or general could command respect by merely wearing it. To Sara he left a golden key and silver pocket watch, but mysteriously, the watch was broken beyond repair, for it always showed the wrong time. Finally, to impetuous Sol, he left behind The Orb of Power to remind him not to neglect his intellect lest he forget how to use the Orb in his time of need. For only a most learned and focused man could unlock the Orb's full potential. Alas, the Orb was nowhere to be found and Sol never received his gift. Or so it was said.

Now, our story begins...

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