Post by mali on Mar 10, 2011 23:49:54 GMT -5
You awaken one night from a horrible dream that you can’t seem to remember. Sweat is pouring down your face, and your heartbeat is pounding hard and fast. Ba-thump. Ba-thump. Ba-thump. With shaky hands, you desperately search your night table for the quick-burning candles and light one. The shadows abate as the candle sputters to life, and the familiarity of your room and surroundings calms you down.
It is pouring rain outside. The droplets streak down the bald window above your bed like tears. An amazing flash of lightning brightens the sky for a fraction of a second before everything goes dark again. Expectantly, you wait for the deep rumble of thunder, and after a moment, it comes. Loud. Powerful. You recall, as you lie in bed, warm and safe, how you used to be scared of thunder.
It's late, but you can’t go back to sleep. Sighing, you reach under your pillow for a book. It is so thin that it barely qualifies as such, but you know better. The book is new but delicate, and when you lean down it sniff it, you can detect a faint hint of mildew and dust. You carefully open the book and leaf through its yellow, crumbling pages. Your heart is pounding again. There was a reason why you were hiding this book under your pillow.
You could be killed for even having it.
But you’re alone, and your curiosity has gotten the best of you. You open the book and begin to read:
One hundred years ago, in the land of Alagaësia, there lived three great rulers. Their names were Vänskä, king of the elves, Eragon, ancient grandmaster of the Riders, and Palancar, the young, untested king of the human nation of Broddring. Together, they fought a Darkness so great and terrible that it threatened all existence. What that Darkness was, where it came from, and how the three nations managed to defeat it is unknown. It is, perhaps, better this way. In this world, it is good advice never to call evil by name. Evil is too easily enticed.
When you read this last line, a chill races down your spine. You jump, as another flash of lightning streaks across the sky. It starts raining harder. The wind moans with all the fury of lost souls. You pull your covers tighter around your body, and continue reading.
After the Darkness was defeated, they separated. Alagaësia prospered. For sixty years, there was peace and goodwill between the three nations. Then, forty years ago, a war began between the humans and the elves that resulted in the death of thousands on both sides. Began by Palancar, his mysterious motives are often labelled as madness. Both Vänskä and Eragon lost their lives during this war. Anurin, a young Rider, and Dellanir, queen of the elves, killed Palancar in cold blood, ending the thirty years of chaos.
A corruption had spread across the land, overnight, it seemed. With the death of Palancar, Broddring, too, collapsed. Gone was the peace and prosperity. Strange, bloodthirsty creatures emerged from the wilderness. The new rulers of the elven nation and Broddring were little more than brutal tyrants, squabbling over territory and influence. The Riders, shamed, drew away from the infighting.
You slam the book shut. You knew all of this already. Such a book was illegal, because it defamed your nation’s leader. You had gone to great lengths to obtain it, but now, you wonder, was it really worth it?
Yes. It was worth it. You flip to the very last page of the book and read, with a smile on your face in spite of the raging storm outside.
... but beyond the suffering, a ray of hope remains, one for the Riders to reclaim their lost honour. For only they can stop the tide of evil, and close shut the jaws of destruction.
You close the book, and tuck it back under your pillow. The Riders. The Riders. The word echoes through your mind. They were right here, hidden in the shadow of war. All that remains is one simple question: will you help or hinder them?
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