Part I: The Revival

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Game Fiction – The Age of Shadows
Introduction: The Dark Facet | Part I: The RevivalPart II: The Corruption
Part I: The Revival

“The brightest light can sometimes cast the darkest shadow.”
Gred Tathiraal of the House of Malas, The First Age of Malas

Through the Gatewater

The vast oceans of Britannia seemed to stretch out for eternity from where Greyn perched near the top of the ship’s mast. The seas around him seemed to be growing ever more turbulent with the coming storms. Dark clouds coated the sky as if the world was underneath an old, worn blanket. Although his grip on the mast was strong, the winds were becoming colder, and the ship was starting to tilt to and fro as the waters angered. Looking down at the deck he could see his brother, Mordin, standing near the bow of the ship, gazing over a map, seemingly impervious to the nearing danger.

“Mordin! We have to turn back!” Greyn called down. Mordin continued gazing at his map, motionless, save for the dark curls of his hair blowing in the breeze. Greyn wasn’t sure if the creaks and groans of the Highwater combined with the winds were drowning out his voice, or if Mordin had just become distracted again.

“Mordin!!” He bellowed. Still, Mordin did not move. “That fool wouldn’t hear an angry dragon coming for him…,” Greyn mumbled as he climbed down the mast and dropped to the deck of the ship. “Mordin, help me get the ship turned around. This storm doesn’t look like something we want to try and…Mordin?” He stomped his way across the deck and stood in front of his shorter brother, staring down at him. His long, dark hair swirled in the wind behind him like an angry cat’s tail, which suited his glare well.

“Greyn…I think we should go west. We haven’t checked west, we need to check west,” Mordin said without looking up from his map.

“I think you should check the sky. We need to head back.” Greyn pushed the map down and finally his brother met his gaze. “This storm will have us for supper if we don’t try to get out of it now.”

“We haven’t looked west yet. Greyn, he could be to the west.” Mordin’s gaze was strong and sad.

“We haven’t seen him in 2 years, Mordin.” Greyn clasped his brother’s shoulder. “And if we’re not careful we won’t ever see him.”

Greyn sighed and looked away. “Maybe we should take some time away from this.”

“What do you mean?” Mordin sounded hurt.

Greyn slowly paced the deck. “We have been searching for well over a year. I miss father as much as you do but… Mordin, we have to be honest with ourselves. He’s probably not going to come back. It wouldn’t have taken him so long to come back home.”

“He was an explorer, he could be anywhere.” Mordin stared out towards the west.

Greyn’s shoulders slumped. He felt as if he had lived through this conversation hundreds of times. “If we’re meant to find him and he’s alive….”

“He’s alive.”

“If we’re meant to find him, we will. We can’t find him if we lose the Highwater with us in it.” Mordin’s face remained blank. “Help me change course; that storm doesn’t look like it’s going to go away.” Mordin gazed back towards the west once more and then reluctantly began to help his brother.

For hours they sailed under the dark clouds, trying to escape the embrace of the storms, but more and more the seas tossed the Highwater back and forth with foaming waves that made the ship groan like an aggravated sea creature. The winds grew so fierce that the brothers were forced to close their sails. They clung desperately to the rails of the ship as the water forced their eyes nearly shut.

“Something is wrong!” Greyn yelled through the winds.

“Nothing gets past you, does it?!” Mordin roared back.

“No, the Highwater! Something is wrong with the ship!” Greyn replied, looking around as another wave made the mast creak under the strain. “The ship is moving faster! We closed the sails, but we’re moving faster–we’re being carried by a current!”
Through the shower of raindrops, Mordin’s eyes grew wide. “Greyn! I think I see where the current is coming from!”

Greyn looked across the bow of the ship and his face froze. In his shock, he pulled himself forward along the deck and looked across the waters. It was as if the ocean suddenly dropped out of the horizon into nothingness. Through the haze of the storm he could see a great chasm in the seas roaring like a dozen tidal waves. It wasn’t until the speeding currents drew the Highwater ever closer that he knew what awaited them.

He spun around and scrambled his way back to Mordin desperately. “Whirlpool! Hold on as tight as you can, it’s a whirlpool! Mordin! Grab onto anything you can and don’t let go!!”

The ship, nothing but a speck in the tempest, rushed towards the whirlpool faster and faster. The Highwater hit the edge of the massive vortex and was jarred hard to its starboard side by the deadly spinning waters, nearly throwing the brothers from the deck. The ship shot faster and faster around the edge of the swirling ocean chasm, building up speed and howling through the winds. Through the piercing rains, Mordin could see the edge of the whirlpool stretching further away as if the boat had fallen from a massive cliff. As the ship fell deeper, darkness folded in around it and covered the vessel, burying it in the black seas. The last thing Mordin heard was the mast snapping into splinters.

* * *

It seemed as if ages passed, while nothing existed but the rushing cold. No light or sound, no air or warmth, only a chilling darkness that felt as if it were rushing past. The world was still and quiet, yet in turmoil and twisting. In his mind, Mordin wasn’t sure if he was dead or somehow aware of being unconscious; the sensation numbed him, yet he could think through the chaos. Time felt as if it had slipped away, yet he wondered if he was trapped in eternity.

Shattering through his confusion, a light cracked through the darkness. All at once, he could faintly see that he still held onto the deck of the Highwater as it tumbled through the darkness of the ocean, end over end. The ship appeared to have broken in half and the mast was a jagged stump jutting forth from the remains of the deck. Briefly in the spinning light he caught a glimpse of Greyn, although he could not see if his brother was even alive or dead. The light grew ever brighter as if a crack was breaking open in the darkness and the ship was tumbling towards it. As the remains of the Highwater passed through the fracture of brightness, the light became as the darkness once was, enveloping everything around it and dulling the senses.

As quickly as it had broken, the light vanished, and Mordin finally succumbed to the blackness.

* * *

“I think this one’s coming around, Fallah.”

Mordin could feel warmth creeping back into his limbs and light dancing on the other side of his eyelids. He could feel the grit of sand on his face and in his hair. His robes were soaked. As he slowly broke his view of the world open again, he could see a huge barrel of a man leaning over him, smiling. A few paces away, Greyn was beginning to stand with help of a pretty young woman.

“What…where are we?” Mordin’s legs buckled as he tried to stand. The stranger standing over him caught him by the shoulders and helped him to his feet.

“Easy lad, you’re in no hurry,” the man said with a deep rumble. “You’re lucky to be in one piece after being on such a journey. We get just as many bodies as we do survivors on the shores of Gatewater Lake.”

Greyn stumbled over to Mordin with the help of the young woman and held his brother’s head in his hands. “Are you alright? Mordin?”

“Yes…yes, I think I am,” Mordin said dazed, but still smiling slightly at his brother. He turned and looked at the stranger who had awoken him. “Where did we land? Are we far from Trinsic?” Besides the waters, he could see nothing but desert all around them.

The man looked uneasily at the young woman and then back at Mordin. “Yes lad, I’m afraid Trinsic is very far from this place. My name is Grevel Brandsmen and this is my daughter, Fallah.” He gestured to the woman.

She smiled at the brothers and in a small voice said, “Welcome to Malas.”



Part I: The Revival


“Malas?” Greyn scanned the horizon. The sun made quick mirages flash and fade over the hot sands, but other than his brother, the two strangers and their horses, no sign of life could be seen. “I’ve never heard of such a place.”

Fallah avoided meeting eyes with Greyn. “You wouldn’t have.” She stared at her feet.

Grevel cleared his throat and looked at the boys with sadness in his eyes. “Lads, there’s something I must tell you of this place and it is not going to be easy to hear. You’re both very lucky to be alive after traveling through the whirlpool.”

“How did you know about the whirlpool?” Mordin asked. “We saw no other ships nearby and we were so far out at sea that…”

“Everyone in Malas knows of the whirlpool,” Grevel interrupted. “It sends people here. That’s why we call this lake the Gatewater, everyone caught in the whirlpool arrives on these shores.” Grevel paused. “For decades now people have searched for a way to return to Britannia but no one has found one. I’m afraid you boys are trapped here.”

Mordin’s eyes widened and he hopped backwards beside Greyn. “You mean we’re prisoners?!”

“No, son, no. You’re in no danger from the people here. You’re cast-a-ways, not prisoners.” Grevel held a jug of water out to Mordin who slowly took it from him and then slurped down the contents. “Fallah and I were brought here 10 years ago. Some have been here only a few years, others have been here for more than 20. We have a village a short ride from here.”

Greyn walked back towards the edge of the water. “But it was just a storm at sea! A large one to be sure, but how could it have brought us so far that we could not sail home again…wait, did you say lake?”

“We have no seas here,” Fallah said softly.

Grevel clasped one of his hands on each of the boys’ shoulders. “We have a great deal to tell you and show you, and we can get you both some clean clothes and a hot meal. I know this is quite a bit to take in for you, but we should start heading back, the desert gets rather cold at night.”

Greyn nodded. “Your generosity honors us, Grevel.” He shook hands with his rescuer. “My name is Greyn Grimmswind, and this is my brother, Mordin.”

Both Fallah and Grevel froze and their faces went blank.

“Grimmswind, you say?” Grevel paused and sadly looked at Greyn. “As in, Brevinor Grimmswind?”

Mordin spun around. “You know father! He’s here!” Mordin grabbed Greyn by the shoulders. “I told you, Greyn! You wanted to give up, but I told you we would find him!”

“He was here, lad. I hate to bear terrible news twice in one day but…he’s gone now.”

“But you said there was no way to leave this place!” Mordin said.

“Son, your father, Brevinor, he was killed 4 months ago. I wish I could tell you otherwise. We think a crystal elemental got to him on his way back from one of his cartography outings. When we found him he was far beyond our help. Your father was very important to our village; he did a great deal for us in the time he was here. We would have done anything to bring him back, and we know he would have done anything to see you lads again. He never lost hope that he would find a way home again to see you both.”

Tears streaked down Mordin’s face as he buried his head in his hands and sunk to his knees.

* * *

The four rode slowly back to the village, with Mordin riding in front of Grevel on one horse and Greyn behind Fallah on the other. As they traveled further north, the desert gave way to fields of grass and flowers.

“It sounds like father has done his usual bragging for his sons,” Greyn smiled. “As much as he could go on about us I’m surprised he didn’t have paintings of us made up so everyone would know what we looked like before we arrived.”

“He couldn’t have been more proud of you both,” Grevel said. “You were going to be Britannia’s greatest Knight and Mordin here was going to turn the world on its ear with his magic–the man was sure of it! By the way, we have a decent blacksmith here; Greyn, you could probably get a good sword from him. There’s also a cache of magic supplies we found on shore a few years ago that I’m sure no one would mind Mordin having.”

Mordin’s face remained blank as his head loosely bobbed with the walking of the horse. “Perhaps.”

“One thing still confuses me,” Greyn said. “Fallah, you said there are no seas here? Is Malas surrounded by mountains?”

Fallah’s large brown eyes looked towards her father for help. He grinned and looked forward again. Fallah leaned back slightly and whispered to Greyn, “You’re about to find out.”

As the horses came over a slight hill, Greyn’s eyes grew to the size of plates. “By the light of the virtues!” He kicked the horse into a gallop as Fallah yelped with surprise and laughed. In the distance, he could see the small village Fallah and Grevel spoke of, resting on the edge of a cliff, but beyond the cliff he saw nothing. Leaning over Fallah, Greyn rode the horse harder and harder, right through the middle of the village, before pulling on the reins once they were near the edge of the cliff and leaping off. He ran the rest of the way and skidded to a halt on his hands and knees, looking over the edge. It looked as if all of Malas floated above the night sky. “By the virtues–by the virtues, it’s a sea of stars! Mordin come quickly, it’s a sea of stars!”

Greyn felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Fallah smiling at him. “Perhaps we do have a sea here, depending on how you look at it.” She blushed slightly and turned to watch her father and Mordin approaching.

“I’ll let the village know you lads are here,” Grevel said. “People will hardly believe me when I tell them Brevinor’s boys have arrived.”

Mordin walked slowly to Greyn’s side and stood beside him, gazing into the void of stars.


“Yes Mordin?”

“Grevel said father made many maps of this place, didn’t he?”

“Yes, he did. He said we could have them.”

Mordin stared for ages into the emptiness, contemplating what he had been through this day and thinking of his father.



“Let’s explore this place.”

* * *

In the blackest part of the darkness, the minds of shadows joined together to create one harmonious thought… Use them, and it all begins again!


Edited by Stupid Miner. August 2009.

Last modified: October 17, 2011

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