In a warlike hostile world like Abarglen the mind is always looking for something that will hold it back. Thus, in this universe the belief in the following goddesses and gods formed:
| Caligon | god of the night and the dark, godfather
| Medelya | goddess of peace, wife of Caligon, goddess of priests
| Fulgyr | god of the weather and mountains, patron deity of fishermen
| Vilia | goddess of pleasure and physical love, goddess of whores
| Yra | goddess of battles, goddess of warriors
| Ruis | god of fields and agriculture, patron god of peasants
| Avonia | goddess of protection of women
| Javar | god of protection of men
| Derun | god of death, patron of assassins
| Voy | god of cold and winter
The ten months of a year were named after the ten associated deities.
Which God prevails at the moment and thus controls the respective month can be determined by the constellations of the night sky.
The first two months of a year are reserved for winter where there is still snow in the northern climes. In the rest of Abarglen it is only cold at the current time of the year.
Fulgyr and Vilia are spring, Yra and Ruis are summer, and Avonia and Javar mark autumn. Derun and Voy represent the end of the year then the winter breaks in most of the central and northern lands.
One month in Abarglen takes four weeks of which one week lasts ten days also named after the gods. Thus, a year has a whole four hundred days, and the people are already older despite their smaller age numbers.
With the alliance between the human kingdoms a new era began the years of which have been measured in the past time since the peace treaties were signed.
Copyright: Larissa Doe
Burnstone Keep, Kingdom of Destrothos, Yra
King Hoëltar Rakuven of Destrothos lamented on his throne watching the staff impassively as they rushed through the hall each holding something else in their hands that would serve to decorate the royal hall. After about ten minutes Rakuven finally got up tired of waiting, and marched past the long table that had already been set. He was just about to step out into the yard when a child hit his legs and fell down on his its behind.
Rakuven looked down with an icy expression and asked, "Godwin, where is your mother?"
The boy ran his fingers through his muddy brunet hair before standing up. "I do not know, father." Then he tapped the dirt from his fine clothes.
"Then go, look for her, and wait for me in the throne room." But before he left, he leaned down to his son, put a hand on his shoulder, and whispered, "This is an important day, Godwin. Make sure you wear clean clothes when the guests arrive."
Godwin nodded aware of how important the meeting was despite his age of just ten. After all, there was something about the war and the war was important as his father had once said. "I will not disappoint you, father."
"And what are you not to do today, Godwin?" King Hoëltar asked.
"Run around," the boy replied sheepishly and looked at his feet.
The king put two fingers under his son's chin and forced his head back up. "You should not bow, Godwin. In front of nobody. You're a Rakuven, remember that."
"Will you not bow, too, father?" Godwin wanted to know; his large dark eyes fixed on Hoëltar's face.
He sighed and looked down before taking his hand away from his child and head bowed muttering, "I'll have to. But only this once. May this covenant endure the time so that my son never kneels."
Godwin shrugged his shoulders and stood almost as tight as a soldier when he announced, "I'll never kneel, father. That's how you taught me."
"That's my son," the king said laughing and ruffling Godwin's pale brown hair then stood up. "And now go find your mother. Do not forget the clothes!" He had to call because the boy had already run halfway through the courtyard and was just pushing through the door to the tower.
After Godwin disappeared Hoëltar straightened up, arranged his crown, and headed for the heavily guarded gate.
"Riders approach, Your Majesty! From the south! They carry the banner of Jevarish!" one of the men shouted on the castle wall.
King Rakuven shrugged his shoulders, this pose his son had just tried to imitate, but Hoëltar mastered it in perfection. Like his heir to the throne, he also had brunet hair which he wore shoulder-length and open under the crown which was made of gold and decorated with numerous gems between the spikes. His jerkin was no less splendid golden threads eased through the red fabric; the edges were also lined with golden borders. He did not even turn his head when his wife and son came down from the tower and lined up beside him.
"Jevarish will be here in a minute," Hoëltar muttered to his wife.
"Ah, wonderful. Hopefully, the North will come soon, too, otherwise the monkeys are already drunk before it can come to the negotiations," she answered ironically.
Hoëltar chuckled. "Did you call them monkeys, Aena?"
Aena grinned back. "They live much closer to the jungle than we do. If they are not the monkeys, who is it?"
Shaking his head King Rakuven kissed his wife on the lips then turned to the arriving carriage which was pouring like a barrage of steel and horses into the courtyard of the castle. Before he could even approach the carriage, numerous lackeys ran up, spread a rug on the roughhewn stone floor, and opened the shed.
A no less nobly dressed man got out of the vehicle and walked purposefully toward the waiting people. The king of Jevarish wore even more gold than his host Rakuven but for Jevarish blue was associated with gold. Destrothos had chosen red-gold, and the north one waited for within the walls of Destrothos' Burnstone Keep had no colour at all.
King Forsyth of Jevarish and King Rakuven of Destrothos faced each other for a long silent moment then they nodded to each other – a testimony of respect – and Rakuven pointed to the passage to the throne room.
"Surely you want to freshen up after such a long journey, right?" Rakuven offered somewhat reserved.
Forsyth smiled and said, "Very much, Rakuven. Be sure of my thanks. But let me first greet your family." He shook hands with Aena Rakuven and indicated a kiss on her slender fingers. "It's a pleasure, gracious." Godwin was only intensely patterned and patted on the head. Then King Forsyth followed the servant who had bowed to him and now led him to his room.
Only after the king of Jevarish was out of earshot Aena did exhale noisily and remark, "What a monkey."
Hoëltar gave her an indignant look and barked, "Not in front of our son, wife!"
"Forgive me," Aena mumbled stroking Godwin's head.
Hoëltar could feel the tension that had come with Forsyth at Burnstone Keep and when the King of Destrothos was tense it would be better to bury one’s head. Especially when his mood changed arbitrarily from one to the next second.
"Equestrians! From the north!" shouted the man on the castle wall a little later and the royal family of Destrothos again set in line.
When the representatives of the third human empire Voynar entered one could almost feel the coldness of the north that emanated from the men. Foremost, Roarke Kavanagh sat on a sturdy snow-white stallion and looked at King Rakuven and his family for a moment before descending and walking steadily towards Hoëltar.
Kavanagh was still young compared to the other two human kings. While Rakuven and Forsyth had passed the fifty years of their life for a while he was not even thirty. His white-blond hair was shaved on the sides leaving only a broad strip on his head which he had just combed back. His beard and eyebrows were as blond as well and his eyes shone in an icy blue as one would expect from a magician from the north. In contrast to the Kings of Destrothos and Jevarish he also wore no elegant clothes, but coarse boots, shirt and pants made of black leather and a short just as black fur coat over it.
Another difference between the northern human kingdom of Voynar and his two sisters further south was that Kavanagh was spoken more of a Leader than of a King. He also did not have a crown on his head and looked almost like a savage who had been invited to a banquet.
"Rakuven," Kavanagh greeted and shook hands with his counterpart.
"Glad you came," Rakuven replied returning Kavanagh's somewhat unsubstantial salute to Destrothos, pushing his shoulder against the north’s and pointing to the passage to the throne room. "Everything is prepared."
Kavanagh nodded curtly raised two outstretched fingers over his shoulder and his men sat down. "Well, I would no’ like to spend the night here, if I can avoid it."
The guard from Voynar led the way into the throne room and took a position at the side of the entrance while Rakuven led Kavanagh to the huge table set up in the middle of the room. Servants raced around again bringing beer, wine, and other drinks which Kavanagh dismissed with a wave, but instead sat down and looked at the map of the continent that lay spread out before him.
Rakuven stopped beside him and waited silently for Forsyth to return who entered the room a little later. The two sat down next to Kavanagh.
"Well, gentlemen. We should agree on how we intend to protect our lands. If there are disturbing occurrences, we must be aware of it early on. Therefore, I suggest that we take some regiments of our armies to send them on patrols across the country," Rakuven opened the negotiations.
Forsyth nodded. "For Jevarish it seems the hardest thing to do after all I have numerous adjacent lands of which in case of cooperation only Destrothos is my ally," he replied pointing to the map. "But I would be willing to give you, Rakuven, permission to send troops to my country to protect at least the eastern border. I myself will always keep my fleet of ships ready should there be an attack on our two empires from the sea."
Rakuven nodded thoughtfully. "Not a bad idea in principle, Forsyth. But what role will Voynar play? So well protected up there in the north you do not need any covenant with us, Kavanagh."
Kavanagh chuckled and turned his icy glare alternately at the other two. "Well, if an alliance with us were so unfavourable, the question arises as to why ya invited me at all, gentlemen.”
Rakuven shook his head violently. "I did not say that. But you still must be involved in military planning. And I'm sure you even want it. But first, tell me something... Why did you accept the invitation?"
Kavanagh leaned back with a low thoughtful hum then replied, "’Cause a United Kingdom is stronger than three individuals. I want peace for my people in the lon’ run. The Voynarians are tired of the constant wars and the showdown on the border with Destrothos. If it were up to me, Voynar would only stand for itself and nobody else. But I let my people decide and most of them are in favour of a peace covenant with Jevarish and Destrothos."
"You have let your people decide?" Rakuven repeated with a frown. "That is amazing. I have never heard that a King gives something to the opinion of farmers and blacksmiths."
Kavanagh pointed his finger at him before dropping his hand and said, "And that's why I don’ like bein’ called a King. I am the Leader, no’ the oppressor."
Forsyth raised his hand and waved impertinently. "Yet, as united as your people may be we do not negotiate with the population when it comes to a possible war. Should you declare yourselves an alliance, Kavanagh, it is up to you to decide. Only you. If you have not been a King before then you have to become one now."
Kavanagh's head jerked to the black-haired man beside him. "Ya goin’ to fight, Forsyth?"
"No, for the gods’ sake!" Forsyth gasped in surprise almost looking as if he was afraid of Kavanagh.
"Stop it, both," Rakuven told his guests then looked earnestly at the north. "He's right, Kavanagh. If it comes to any attacks, we have no time for any citizen decisions. You can leave the decision-making power of the Ice Lands to your people, but as far as the alliance is concerned you must do what you have to do. And keep in mind that your people want this alliance."
Rakuven's words were followed by silence, the three men sat silently around the map pondering and considering the whole thing from different angles.
Then Kavanagh admitted, "A’ight. I play the King, if there is no other way. If there is a war, I decide what role Voynar will take in it. ‘Bout defence I can offer that I will always have a regiment of my cavalry ready to patrol the Ice Lands as far as Destrothos. In addition to these hundred and fifty men I have ‘bout fifteen thousand other warriors who would be ready to fight within a day. That would be the support of yer troops."
"That sounds a lot better than before," Forsyth remarked with a big smile.
"My speech, Forsyth. But I think it would be more appropriate for you to have two regiments, Kavanagh. Three hundred men, half of whom keep an eye on the Riverlands. In addition, scouts that cover the coast to Hyrunar," Rakuven replied.
He did not want to let Voynar get away as easily as Kavanagh would have liked but Kavanagh nodded in agreement. "Three hundred mounted soldiers and scouts on the coast. A’ight," Kavanagh summed up.
"Excellent," Forsyth said still smiling in his tanned face.
"That's it, in fact. My men will protect the eastern border including in the Jevarish area as you have already offered, Forsyth," Rakuven said and looked expectantly at the ruler of the southernmost kingdom.
"Certainly. I’ll have my officers immediately notified that the Destrothos soldiers are allowed to pass," Forsyth agreed. "My ships are anchored in the Deep Bay which ensures a hedge to Umenksar in the south, the Slumberwood in the east, and La'zhij in the west. In addition, we would be in Destrothos in a timely manner should we be needed there. Add to this a fleet that flanks Jevarish day and night from the east and could dock in an emergency in Northaven should an attack be made up there or further assistance needed."
Jevarish was the most powerful of the three human kingdoms in this regard – at least that was what Forsyth believed. The fleets were fast and flexible, which was of great advantage in warfare, but Kavanagh knew that one of his Voynarian soldiers could replace two men from the south if it had to be. In the north the tone was rougher and the training of the fighters harder than in the south, also were the men from Voynar hardened in terms of cold and food shortages because in the higher mountains of the empire was over the entire year snow.
The temporary agreement was followed by long discussions on details that only Kings or high-ranking officers could do before the negotiations were concluded and Rakuven waved impatiently.
By the time Hoëltar Rakuven of Destrothos, Jemar Forsyth of Jevarish, and Roarke Kavanagh of Voynar finally signed the peace treaty night had fallen.
"For our empires to have everlasting peace," Rakuven muttered wearily laying aside the quill pen.
Forsyth nodded solemnly, and Kavanagh said nothing.
The leader of the north was the only one of the three rulers present who wondered at this moment if he had done the right thing.
58 Years Later
After nearly sixty years the alliance of Destrothos allegedly broke up with King Godwin Rakuven and the Great War of Humans broke out.
Why Rakuven gave so little importance to peace was never known, but a terrible fever began to rage in Destrothos which after a few weeks had nearly killed the entire population. But the people of Destrothos should never find the peace they deserved, for they returned damned to an undead existence. The reason for this is a mystery beyond the vanished empire.
Jemar Forsyth's eponymous son and heir thrust the few fallen returnees effortlessly back across the border into Destrothos, destroying the bridge to the Riverlands, and securing his territory just east of the river to prevent more undead from invading Jevarish.
The last known act of King Roarke Kavanagh was the order to build the wall of Voynar which extends just north of the pass in the Ice Lands from west to east. The thirty-meter high, heavily guarded bastion is used for defence although after the establishment of this not even an undead could be seen there.
There would never be any talks or negotiations between Voynar and Jevarish because with the construction of the wall Kavanagh has cut off any contact with the rest of Abarglen and is now hiding in his magnificent estate in the Ice Lands.
Copyright: Larissa Doe