Certovia: The Created
This is Mortalha. A continent in the world of Certovia, surrounded by waters lapping on the shores and massive waves crashing against rocky cliffs. It’s much like other water-based worlds, but the light here on this land mass is constant, welcoming and warm, causing it to be a perfect place for renewal! To the north, even the snow-covered mountains offered shelter. The runoff sent clear, crisp water down into the valley below.
The rivers, flowing thru the grasslands and forests, could present opportunities for farming, building up villages, hunting and learning skills and trades of all types! Ore, found around rocks and in the ground, are available to any who would work with it and learn how make needed implements. It was the perfect place… for renewal…
As Ver Statera looked upon this new world, he considered all the places and possibilities. Mortalha, in particular, was where he knew he must concentrate. Certovia would blossom, in it’s time, but that was not now.
He wandered for seasons on end and would add what he thought would benefit, but it would be a time before others would join him to bring life in its fullness.
There was no need for sleep. Why should gods need to sleep, after all? The solitude suited him well, after the chaos before. Peace. That was all he asked. A peace that would cause, even a god, to open his mind to the sound of the breezes which played about him. The feather-light touch on his skin reminded him of another place and time. It also reminded him of some little friends he once had. They, too, were as light as the wings that lifted them in the air and brought him joy with their antics! And, perhaps, they could again? Hmmmmm….
As ages passed, Mortalha took on its own shape, taking from what Ver Statera had began and molding it into a new dimension. The very soil and trees spoke to him, letting it be known that the time was at hand for more. New life would be welcomed to tend this world!
He went to a woodland area and listened. A tree, close to a brook, bid him to her. The leaves whispered and he took heed. Allowing himself to rest, he sat under the great tree and waited for what she had to offer him.
Sleep came to the man-god and as he slept, the magic of Certovia took his memory to another time and place. He dreamt of mighty towers and others he once knew. Of comrades who once stood shoulder to shoulder for the common good. And he remembered certain faces, but in this dream, these faces bagan to change until it seemed he was surrounded, once again, by those he somehow knew. Not one of them the same. Not one of them an enemy. All different in appearance but unified in purpose.
Here… just here…. And then he awoke!
A fluttering about him caused him to wave his hand before his face and his eyes to open wide. Just out of reach, a small figure hovered. “I know you!” he said.
The tiny being bowed and responded, “You do and you don’t. You know your memory of what I am. What… we… have become!” And turning, he called out. A group of others, like him, came forward. “The mother tree caused your dreams and from her, we were created. Your creations, all told, m’lord. To help in the land until the others can do your will.”
“Others??” Ver sat up straight. “What others?” And the group of winged folk left him.
The tree gave off a sigh and her branches waved in reply. “Soon, Ver Statera. Soon.”
Ver sat upon his seat, high above the world, and pondered the possibilities. Yes, he could achieve this all himself, and had done much, but was that the right thing to do? The winged folk had made themselves busy in the land even before he had woken. How long had he been asleep? He knew that was a question that would never be answered. And, what had been the message given him? Obviously, his dream was more than a vaper! Perhaps he should return to the tree.
Calling to his only companion, Ver and the jagthund vanished.
The warmth of the light welcomed them. The light winds played across the land and this time, he heard laughter as he walked toward the area of the tree. Winged-folk rushed out to greet him and he smiled. It felt good to smile at another. It had been so long that, to have others alongside him, caused joy in his heart. A winged-child flew up to him, barely bigger than his hand, and sat on his shoulder. There was no fear in these people. Ver laughed quietly as the child’s wings batted against his ear. He gently scooped the child up and handed her to another. Pulling his hood up over his head, he nodded, waved and continued his trek.
The closer to the tree they got, the closer to Ver his jagthund stayed. The hairs on his neck bristled and confused the god.
They arrived in moments and the tree seemed to call out to him. Ver narrowed his gaze, not understanding. In a few more paces, the breeze became quite cool and sharp, as if telling him to stop, and stop he did! Ven whimpered and sat close.
Ver Statera looked around them. Only the brook and trees were there, yet he felt a presence close by.
“Greetings to you, my Father!”
Ver wheeled around to face a young man. “Jauno!”
“Nay, Sir. I am Scois, your first summoned.” And he lowered his head in respect to the elder. “The others are close. They will reveal themselves to you soon!” And he sat on a log under the tree.
Standing there, the word “soon” rang in Ver’s head. Was this what the tree had meant?
A twig broke and he turned again, towards the river. What he saw caused his jaw to slack! Coming towards him slowly, from the sun-caught mist, were others. No two alike, yet somehow familiar, as his dream had shown him. Scois stood in greeting.
“Your created, m’lord. Those who will do your bidding to bring life to Certovia!”
And Ver stood…as in the dream, surrounded by those he somehow knew.
“Not one of them the same. Not one of them an enemy. All different in appearance but unified in purpose.”
There is no beginning. There is no end. There is only now and of that, we can’t be certain.
The hulking body sighs, turning slowly and stares out at the glistening landscape. His shoulders sag slightly under an unseen weight. Shoulders misshapen with a heaviness that almost glows in the icy cold.
Ver Statera winces, reaching around and pulling an offending scale from his back, tossing it over the side of the bridge where an ice-flow would consume and hide it from the world. The encounter with that dragon, all those seasons ago, would never be forgotten. The physical remnants remain and increase. Ver wonders if it might, in a further time, take over his whole body. His shoulder blades ache and he returns to his seat in the Keep. The weight is too great.
“Was it really so long ago that all was calm? Friend ner had a foe. The gods worked for the good of all creation and all was at peace!” He flicked an insect from his chair and looked up, continuing to speak to….no one. The daylight was fading and the snow and ice took on a silvery sheen. It was his favorite time, but it was only he and his jagthund who would see it.
“It was all so senseless! Why did Sol Sulod use his magic to deceive the others? What was the point? Scois fell under his spell and he, Ramus and Reloxo became crazed with envy and strife. The Jakka pervades and Scois became that which he vowed never to be… a user of dark magic. It crept into his fingers,” he put his hand up, surveying the outline and shadows of the blood coursing under the skin. “It reached his very heart! It took away and ate his kind and gentle soul!”
As his hand fell and hit the chair with a resounding THUD, his companion slunk away in fear.
“No, no… Ven. It wasn’t meant for you. Forgive me.”
The beast returned to his place next to his master, his tail covering his nose. Ver Statera stroked his thick fur. “It is unknown! What will befall? Certovia will certainly fall unless I remain true to my destiny! It’s not of my choosing, but it is mine to bare! Thus we find ourselves here, alone. Kald Luft will, forever, be our home. We will help those we can by counsel and ability. Some which I know not, to this day!” His finger reached back and traced the shape of the scales covering his shoulders. “Were it not for Rexvir’s bastard offspring, Frysen, I would not carry this burden, yet…I notice things. Strange things… Ever since our encounter. His father still believes him to be in the mountains of Ore Montis, but…it is not so. I carry his very essence, even now and always, as he fell before me and released his soul. The magic he dwelt with had it’s way and, I believe, it now resides within me.”
He stood quickly.
“Come, Ven… I cannot deal with this now. We have work to attend to!”
Draer, the child of Scois
The great oceans surround the lands, as one would expect, as Certovia is a world which lies secluded, a land set apart from the world. A land where the gods provided, the soil gave and peace was shattered by strife!
It was commonly known that Scois, the Keeper of Knowledge, had turned to the dark arts. Ramus Cura had, in the mind of Scois, betrayed him when she took to Reloxo, the God of Time. They had scorned and defied him! By her very entry into the forbidden gate which he kept. She had chosen eternity in Time over the companionship, wisdom and balance he offered.
The Dark Arts, was a magic to be feared in the wrong hands. A vicious weapon to those who would choose to harm the peace of Certovia. Oh, and it was an art! It was a deep, spiritual, devine, lust-worthy art, this magic. One could carve himself immortal with a wave, sulphur crystals and a burning fire! The Gods could be done away with. Only the proud and haughty believed themselves immortal but, the magic, now possessed by Scois could indeed prove your immortality! The Fallen, those practitioners of this darkness, were weak.
Upon a sandy beach, Scois sat near a fire as he fumed over the insult of recent event.
“Pazeme Noho, Sol Sulod, Av’sla Forfall… all weak and only dabblers, by comparison! They have no idea what they have taught me. I will be the Teacher… I will be the Creator! I will not be cast aside so quickly, once they taste my magic! Reloxo and Ramus, remember what you have done!”
The fire grew, fanning flames that melted the very sand beneath the embers. The smell of sulphur permeated the surrounding air and Scois bowed his head, his hands clenched with nails digging into flesh. “CURSE THEM! THEY. WILL. REMEMBER!” he roared as his head snapped back, the words echoing against the rocks of the cliff.
The black clouds parted as bright rays of sunlight slowly filled the sky above.
The crashing of waves on the shore and the tide rolling in came closer and closer to the robed figure on the beach. His fire had long ago burned out but a putrid smell lingered. His hands had bled and were now covered with dried blood and sand.
A slight figure sits before Scois and studies the scene with curiosity. Her feet covered with ashes and she is covered with soot. Her yellow eyes size up her surroundings. Her lungs fill with the smells of the fire, long since burnt out. Another smell catches her attention and she stands, turning, and sees sparkling blue water. Taking a few steps away, she breaths in again. This time, the air is sweet and fresh. She cocks her head and listens. Waves slap the shore, making a sound that she found quite soothing. A noise behind her causes her to turn quickly.
Scois has stood up and is dumbfounded at what he sees before him.
“Who… are… you, girl?”
Yellow eyes stare back at him, listening to his words carefully. She closes her eyes, turns her head, as if listening to unheard words, and then opens her lips. A slight screech scares birds from the nearby trees. She stops quickly and listens once again then, hesitating, she tries again…
“You…called me. I am…here for you. I am to learn and…obey.”
Scois’ eyes become round with fear and excitement! “Mine? You are… MINE! YOU are mine to command! YOU are MY CREATION! My legacy! YOU will teach Certovia that my words have meaning! YOU will show the world all the magic I now obtain! I will be the master of the Gods! All will bow to ME!!! YOU are…. are….”
He stopped and took in deep breaths before he spoke again, looking thru slits of eyes.
“You are real? Where… ” She pointed to the embers as he walked to her and the smell of sulphur hit him. “The fire? You came from.. the FIRE?!” Excitement overwhelmed him. ” You are the curse I called for! It is you who will, who will…. YEEEES!”
“Come! Let me teach you of the things you need to know. There is work to do!” And stopping short, he turned and looked at her. “I will call you, Draer.” Nodding, he started walking away as she followed. “Draer, the name that will curse this land forever more!”
As they walked, he could hardly contain the excitement he was feeling. He even clicked his heels and let laughter pass thru his lips. “We have work to do!” he hissed.
“Let me tell you a story…”
“Once upon a time,” he grins, “ there were twenty Gods who oversaw their universe. Twenty in perfect harmony, working for the good of all! Twenty separate beings who completed each other in knowledge, truth, dimension and scope! Twenty, including myself, all my creation! And for centuries, all was calm and peaceful. They were masters of the Accord!
“But then, Jakka: The Divide!”
“Peace was shattered! Two groups appeared from the one: The Pius, those who chose to remain faithful and pure. And the Fallen. Those who fell into the practice of dark magic! And I, Ver Statera, as the God of Balance, I removed myself from them, ever to live here in the cold of Kald Luft amongst mankind. Only I stand between this world and the wars of the Gods being fought continually.
“The Gods of Pius are Veritas Lux, the god of Truth and Light – the bringer of the Sun. He is the bright one!” Ver chuckles.
“Then there is Morfia who oversees color and beauty. Shamol Rute is the God of Wind, that old blow hard! We try to keep him away from Orah Rele, the God of Fire! Like two brothers, they are always sparring and causing innocent trouble… so far! As long as Val Torm stays away, for he is the God of Storms!
“Vann Davol is of Water and Health while Ramus Cura is God of Fertility and Growth. Not to be outdone, mind you, by Cariad Cysgod, our projector of Love.
Ver holds up his hands with the remaining fingers wiggling in the air.
“Only four more in Pius, although one would believe there were more than enough already, is that not true? So, Syurga Vagg is the GateKeeper of the Afterworld; He determines fate. Domi Zver delivers sleep & dreams to the weary and Reloxo is the God of Time. One does not enter the gates of Time easily, nor without consequence, it seems. Scois knows this all too well. He is the Keeper of Knowledge. Or was…is….was…. you’ll have to be the judge.”
Ver shifts in his chair.
“And, the Fallen. I hold pity and sorrow for those who have taken up darkness, altho they be still part of me. But, all things in all time. They exist!
“Yahr, God of War. He devours the dark art! Sol Sulod is an Illusionist and deals in guile. Pazeme Noho is the God of the Underworld. He and Syurga do not see eye to eye, especially now! Tu’um Graddfa is the god of Serpent Scale. He and El’nok Plaz, the Reptilian Sheppard, keep company. Those snakes!”
“Lastly, Av’sla Forfall is God of Decay and confides in Owna often. Owna is the Insect Bringer. I think even a mortal such as you can put that together!
“And that is it! But, you’re wondering about the Jakka, as all the world does. Why did it happen? What divided the ones who were once so close?” Ver sighed deeply.
“The Keeper of Knowledge – Scois. Because of him, darkness fills the skies and,” he wrings his hands together, ” squeeeezes hearts. He knew there was evil in it. He vowed to never use it, but others became curious. They believed that, should they possess such power, they could dominate! Scois knew this to be true, but still, he left it alone. While the others argued with him, another unforeseen event took place.
“Dragonkind began to dominate Certovia. DRAGONS!! More and more of the beasts filled the oceans, the skies and anywhere they could! El’nok and Tu’um took delight in creating them and now there were more than any had imagined possible. So, now what? Destruction. Death. They are a bane to the very existence of the world! Hated by all – god and man alike.”
Ver Statera walked out to the entrance of his home in the ice and surveyed the skies. Dark wings could be seen beyond the glacial mountains. Villages dotted the valley.
“Yes – Mankind! The god’s answer to the problem, or so they believed. Create beings that could undertake the task of controlling these serpents! El’nok argued, but the others band together on this one thing! So, create they did. Did it help?” He shrugs. “Man found forms of magic, in its pure form, that did help some! And, it might have been good enough, had the Fallen left it alone, but…” shaking his head, Ver knitted his brow and his face began turning red… “NO! Would they listen to me? NO! Rather than work together, they fought and began using the dark arts. After all was said and done, I was cast away by my own doing, for trying to protect all from the dark magic and reign of dragons that found its way to them. I have given up my power to protect all. So, yes, now we have the Pius and Fallen, races with knowledge of good and evil magic, dragons who became lords. There was no control left. I still try. I will always try!
“I must try…”