The following is an excerpt from the Book of Orden, taken from the Tome of Rya-Llan, Visions from the Dream Mother, volume 16, verses 15-33.
The tower that stands has always been.
It stood in a time before time was dreamt of. It has known other names, slept beneath different stars. It has served other masters.
In this most recent age, the tower has hosted man, a place of governance and power. But not from the beginning. For in the dawn of this age, man inhabited a different land, a land whose name has been driven from memory.
Man no longer remembers that he was once a slave.
Nor does he remember his ancient masters. A race that, while not alien, were too dissimilar to be considered human.
And upon that forgotten land, in that ancient time, man did not remember that he had once been free.
He laboured and toiled, his existence merciless and cruel. Man was born. Man suffered. Man died. He knew his lot was the will of the gods, for that was what his masters told him.
Until one day a slave was born who was named Syrentus. Syrentus remembered. It came to him from the deepest of places, known only to the heart by a whisper’s echo. He remembered freedom. He remembered dignity. He remembered rage.
In the dark of night, when the masters disappeared to their secret places, Syrentus spoke, and his peoples’ hearts were filled with promise.
The gods heard Syrentus’ words and they too were pleased. The god Aryamen appeared to Syrentus and told of a night that would soon come, a night when the sky would rain fire. Syrentus listened, and he believed.
So, on the appointed night, after their masters retired, Syrentus fled that pitiless city. Yet his heart was heavy; of all his people, only three dozen had joined him.
Just before dawn the heavens exploded. Fiery rocks plummeted from the sky, crashing to the world like broken suns. The land was scorched and crippled. Forests burned. Rivers boiled. The cities of their masters’ perished and, by sunset, the men that walked that ancient land numbered three dozen.
That night, a new star appeared in the heavens, a golden orb that burned in the western sky. Syrentus saw, and he knew that they should follow.
For many days, Syrentus and his people walked, until they came to the coast of that ancient land. There, they were awed by the dance of that seemingly endless lake, for man had never before beheld the sea.
They made boats, constructed from vine and timber as the gods instructed. And Syrentus’ people sailed, though they had never done so before, guided across the waves by Osepian, God of the Seas. The land of their masters was abandoned, and man pledged never again to speak its name.
Still in the west, the golden star hovered.
Syrentus and his people sailed, and the family of man grew. Along the way, some chose to remain, building their lives on the isles they visited, but Syrentus’ gaze, and that of his faithful, never left the golden star on the horizon.
Ever westward they sailed, until Syrentus and his followers came upon a new world, a land that would become known as Calambria. They discovered a country filled with wonder, a virgin land untouched by civilisation. In those first few years many a word was created to describe place, plant and creature.
They worked the land as they went, with skills they had learned in their masters’ fields. Children were born and the family of man continued to grow. They crossed barren plains of heat and dust, climbed high and jagged mountains. They forded charging rivers that snatched the weak, and trekked through knotted forest.
It was many a year before they reached the place where the river met the ocean. By the end of their journey Syrentus’ bones were old and rasping. But as he gazed upon that sharp grey shore, Syrentus knew that this was the place the gods had promised.
For upon that land a tower waited, a structure of purest white that seemed to touch the sky.
Syrentus laid himself down on that shore and smiled and closed his eyes. After all the long years, man had found his home.
As his followers watched the old man sleep they knew he would not awaken. And as the sun set that night over the place that man would name Syrentium, at last the golden star faded.