Rise to infamy (fantasy short story)

This fantasy short story shows how one man became evil – apparently by being a victim of a series of events. In reality he made a sequence of choices that led him to commit transgressions against his fellow man as well as against himself.

from Amar...

The story of amar

Deep within the island world of the gods, lies the island of Amar. Prior to the visit by the goddess of creation and fertility, Elesi, and the god of strength, Man Peggon, this was an insignificant island. After their romance on the lush island, it became the island of creation. The island world in general then became known as Amar, named after this island. One god however did not approve of the romantic interlude of the two love birds. Here is how the story went:

Elesi and Man Peggon were engaged to be married. Man Peggon’s father, the king of gods, MacGillan, had approved of the marriage. But he was a very lawful god and believed in the pure, untouched and sacrosanct skin of a virgin. He realized however that the two youngsters were deeply in love with each other. So, he imposed a rule on them: they were not to engage in any sexual activities before marriage. If they did, their children would become cursed and deformed.

The would-be marriage was heralded as the perfect bond. The goddess of creation and the god of strength. What could be more perfect? Elesi and Man Peggon were to spend a whole year engaged before marriage. Every day they were seen together, in each others arms. They were constantly flirting like two butterflies in early summer.

from Amar...

On a trip to the island of Amar, the inevitable happened. The two gods made love in the sunset ­ in a meadow. The act was the most beautiful ever to occur in the history of love. But that did not stop the curse. Elesi became pregnant. MacGillan stopped the marriage. Man Peggon and Elesi were heartbroken. Their eternal love would come to an abrupt end. At least officially.

Man Peggon has forever after loved Elesi, and she has ever since stood by his side. The child was born ­ on the island of Amar. As the king of gods had ordered ­ it was cursed. The newborn child was Magoor, the crippled. Magoor is the protector of the cursed and crippled. He is the very contrast to his mother ­ he is sterile and impotent. He is the very opposite of his father ­ he is weak, limp, small and crippled. Even so, he is quite smart and has come up with quite some inventions to ease the life of cripples. Elesi has been protecting her child. Man Peggon on the other hand, is more cool towards Magoor. They realize that a second child could be cursed even worse, as such a curse is strengthened every time it is effected. It so happened that the curse also affects any worshippers of Elesi or Man Peggon who rank initiate or higher who has sex before marriage.

All of this happened a long time ago. Even before the first human walked the earth.

The curse aside, Amar was the island were Elesi’s first child was conceived and born. And because of this, the island became the center of creation of the island world. This is why the islands in general were named Amar. The curse has never affected the island itself. It is still a magick island, and the people first settling there were to some degree magick.

The prince

When humans were created, some settled on the island of Amar. The lush and prosperous island gave rise to much creativity as well as many healthy children.

A long time ago by human standards, a story evolved on another island, many, many miles away ­ on the island of Chalahr. We enter the story about 700 years ago:

Chalahr is an old kingdom. It has been fairly peaceful for a century or so. The main gods are Walmaer (the god of water), Elesi, Man Peggon and MacGillan. King Amaran worships Man Peggon, and is himself a lord of Man Peggon. The queen, Reeuna, is the high priestess of Elesi.

Amaran’s father, Kalaris the Wise, died when Amaran was only 18 years old ­ the son became the king ­ but without a queen. Amaran met Reeuna four years later and they were engaged for marriage.

At the age of 22, Amaran was already a high ranking Man Peggon lord and Reeuna a priestess of Elesi. They fell madly in love with each other, and while the whole kingdom planned for the greatest marriage ever, the two committed the crime of love. After their not-so-innocent act, they realized what they had done. Their only hope was that Reeuna wouldn’t become pregnant. And sometime in the future, they could perhaps find a way to break the curse and allow the queen to give birth to a healthy young prince. But Reeuna became pregnant that day. And they couldn’t tell. Not only because they were the principals of the kingdom, but also since they were high officials of Elesi and Man Peggon. If anyone found out, they would be discredited.

The marriage ceremony went through. The people were ecstatic over their beautiful new queen. Everyone were happy, almost. The faces of Amaran and Reeuna did not show their deep frustration. They bore the secret with dignity.

It is an early spring morning. The birds are singing, feathery clouds are rushing by and the sun is shining to greet all early risers in the marketplace. The capital is just waking up to a new busy day. From the inner chambers of the grand white castle comes the sounds of a woman giving birth. Only a handful of trusted servants are allowed to help. The king is walking endlessly back and forth in the corridor. Waiting. Baby screams are heard as the prince sees his first light.

from Amar...

The child of a King and Queen, but the body of a cripple. A prince in name, but not in stature. His name was given to him before his birth. Rauhian was not only crippled. He was ugly, short, weak, lacking the right index finger and limp. His right foot being almost an inch shorter than his left. The servants are shocked. Looking at each other. One believes it must be a demon, another thinks its an illusion, and one remembers the curse of Elesi’s only child, Magoor, the crippled.

The servants are quickly ordered to never, ever speak of what they know. A swift curse is placed upon them. Should they ever speak of the crippled prince, they will instantly become mute. They swear not to tell. Rauhian grows up knowing only a dozen people or so. Only those who are cursed if they tell.

His world becomes the inside of the castle. He never sees any commoners, never any dirty streets, never any street fights and never any slum, poverty or pain. The King and Queen love their child even though he is deformed. Despite his physical limitations, the boy is quite bright and apt at learning. The king devotes one of his wise men to teach the young prince a great many subjects: religions, law, history, plant and animal lore, music and the arts, architecture, warfare and even magick lore. The young prince is especially interested in the subject of magick. He spends as much time as possible asking his old sage about the mystery of other worlds and of magick. He develops an almost intense need to see what is “outside.” Outside the walls or even outside the world. He gains knowledge of other worlds and of summonings.

Rauhian is continually told how dangerous the world outside is. How the family must keep the monsters and barbarians out with the castle walls. He is told he should never worry about it. After all, his life is so complete. He’s got everything ­ the best food, eager servants, a mother and father who love him and as much wisdom as he can wish for.

In the capital and elsewhere in the kingdom, tales are spun around the mysterious prince that no-one has seen. The common opinion is that he is so handsome that anyone who looks upon him is instantly hypnotized or even turned into marble. Much is being said about the wonder prince of the kingdom. Every holy day, the people will swarm to the castle hoping to get just a little glimpse, or perhaps only the latest rumors about the prince. But, no ­ nothing is ever officially said about the child. And no-one dares to ask.

from Amar...

One day, when Rauhian is fourteen, limping around in the garden he sees an open gate. As quickly as possible, he limps through it. He enters another garden where he has never been before. Seeing a guard, he hides in a bush. He limps on, beyond another gate. And another. Until finally, disguised in a monk’s cloak, he limps out the front gate.

Here Rauhian sees the world that has been barred from him for so long. In a sort of trance, he walks down the main road. Looking, and looking. He cannot believe his own eyes. There are houses, not monsters. And people where he expected barbarians. There is a whole world out here. He limps past some prostitutes. He feels his teenage urges creeping up on him. Why would his mother and father hide all this from him?

He limps past a couple of crippled beggars. They look as if they are in pain. He limps over to them and asks how he could help. They ask for his gold ring. Upon giving them the ring, he sees their delight and looks of hopefulness. A wonderful feeling. It is the first time the prince ever gave help to anyone. He had always been on the receiving end. Why would his mother and father hide this from him?

Down the main street, left into some alleys, more streets and alleys. Until the crippled prince is lost. He can no longer see the castle. He can only see the dirty streets. And it is getting dark. Tired after a whole days limping, he sits down, closes his eyes and enters dreamland.

In the middle of the night, he wakes up with a shock. A pack of robbers has spotted him and is now stripping him to the skin. He tries to resist. They answer by punching and kicking him. His first real experience of pain. He starts crying and begging them to stop. The robbers find joy in that and kicks him even more ­ and harder. He cries ­ for his mother, and his father. And for the first time in his life they do not show up on his command. He is truly alone.

Battered, beaten and naked, he lies in the gutter, shivering until the next morning. “Why isn’t my mother or father here to help me?”

Early in the morning, he manages to find some scraps of cloth to put around him. Dirty, ugly, crippled and weak, he limps down the street. Until he gets to the marketplace.

There are people everywhere, from nobles in fancy clothes to beggars in rags. And in the midst the crippled prince.

As he limps his way through the crowd, he spots something familiar ­ an Elesi symbol. Just above the entrance to a large, white building, it shines towards him with great warmth. Home…?

There are guards at the entrance. With two limps up two steps he stands before one of them, commanding him to help him home… to the castle. The guard takes a hard look at the battered boy. Then he lets out a good laugh. “Commanding ME? What a nerve you have got, boy! Now leave the steps to the temple of Elesi or find yourself sniffing the dirt!”

Rauhian looks at the guard in contempt and says “I am Rauhian. You will obey your prince, minion.”

That just made the guard laugh even more: “Hah, you take your prince’s name in vain, you dirty cripple of a beggar! Now sniff this!” He kicks Rauhian in the face with his boot. Rauhian falls backwards, bleeding, whining. Guard still laughing.

Others see the little fight, point at the cripple and laugh. “He claimed he was the prince! Hah, the prince, this cripple is nothing like our beloved prince. He’s a cripple, and an ugly one as such.” The words spread through the crowd. The two guards at the Man Peggon temple just across the street start laughing: “The prince, hah! He can not even stand straight. No crippled dwarf was ever born by a Man Peggon lord! Hah, hah, hah!”

A party of three walks past him. An Elesi priest and two initiates. Rauhian manages to get hold of the robes of the priest, looks into his eyes and says: “It is indeed the truth! I am Rauhian, my mother is Reeuna, your high priestess. You must help me. Please!”

The priest looks at the boy: “We have enough beggars and deformed people in this city. Should we help them all, it would leave no time for creation. And for you, ugly imposter, I give nothing but contempt. Remove your dirty hands from my clean robe, beggar. Guards, remove this ugly creature.” And Rauhian gets another boot in his face. He is left in the middle of a laughing crowd. After a couple of minutes, they go about their own business again. No one lifts a finger to help the bleeding cripple. There are just to many such beggars in the capital.

There is one, though. One who has taken an interest in this beaten boy. A tall, slim fellow in a dark grey cloak. After the commotion has settled down, he walks over to the boy, kneels down beside him, reaches out his hand. “Take my hand, son, you are not welcome here. I can show you where you are welcome.”

Rauhians view of the world changes completely. He realizes that all of his childhood has been a lie. Everything his mother and father has told him is based on a masking of the truth. His parents ­ liars! The world outside is the truth. Elesi has just turned her back to him, even kicking him in the face. And Man Peggon was just laughing. Liars. Lying gods, lying parents. There is no reality within the palace.

The man in the dark grey cloak lifts him up and helps him off into a back alley. Rauhian is numb all over, hardly sensing anything. His mental battering has been worse than the physical beating. They reach a back door, the man knocks, it opens and they go in.

This is the quarters of the Mestronorpha worshipers. They have a vested interest in removing the King and taking the power themselves. They are constantly plotting and scheming for influence in the kingdom. Some of their assassins have been inside the castle. Though they have not seen the prince, they know something is not as it should be.

The Mestronorpha cult use beggars and lost children as servants and apprentices. This day was another catch for the cult.

During the next days, Rauhian comes to his senses, and the man in grey keeps talking to him. He is now putting all his attention into turning the young beggar into a servant of Mestronorpha. As Rauhian starts telling his story of the last days and who he really is, some of the cult members get interested. “This young cripple seems to know a lot about the castle. Tell us more, lad.”

And Rauhian keeps telling ­ about the castle and his life inside the walls, about the King and Queen and even about the security system at request. They are all impressed. As a matter of fact, they are stunned. “What this chap is telling us is exactly what the spies have given us over the last year. All this knowledge ­ this really has got to be the prince!” Now they start to understand why no-one has ever seen him before.

The grand master of the cult is called upon. Rauhian is given top priority and full attention. He is converted, by convincing him and by magick, to Mestronorpha. The young prince gets all the attention and knowledge he could ever wish for. The grand master teaches him about the darker powers in life, about Hell and about life outside the castle walls. Rauhian gets a taste of black magick ­ and he likes it. He even gets to expand upon his own knowledge of summoning into the shadows of Hell. He learns to summon demons, devils and other dark creatures. He even learns the true story of why he became a cripple ­ the story about Elesi and Man Peggon. The story of his father and mother’s crime. All during the next seven years.

In the meantime the crisis is throwing the castle into confusion. Where is the prince? Has he been kidnapped? Has someone turned him into something by magick? The King immediately orders a magick scanning of all the servants to see if any crime has been committed. A search party sets out to find the young prince. But Mestronorpha’s minions know how to hide in the shadows. Their cloaking powers are stronger than the King’s searching magick or the search party. They come up with nothing. After all, the search party is not allowed to ask for any cripple. Officially they are searching for the prince.

The fall of the cult

The King, and especially the Queen, have always wanted the cult of Mestronorpha eradicated from the capital. It is a well known fact that they exist. Getting rid of them is another matter.

During the seven years since the prince disappeared, the King and Queen slowly reconciles with the idea that their son is dead. The Queen devotes more of her attention to obliterating the Mestronorpha worshippers. Finally, after much magick has been employed and much intelligence has been used, she learns from where the cult of Mestronorpha is operating.

With warriors and wizards, soldiers and Elesi priests, she strikes right at the heart of the quarters of the cult of Mestronorpha ­ deep beneath the city. She manages to conquer their magick and squash the cult. In the final battle with the grand master, the Elesi priests combine their magick to deal him a fatal blow. Nothing is left.

Except a crippled man. He has been supporting his master’s magickal powers all through the battle. Now he sits there, looking, just looking. His friends are gone, his master killed. He’s got nothing.

He looks up. He sees the Queen. Pictures of the past start moving in on him. Suddenly he says: “Mother?”

It’s like lightning striking through Reeuna. She looks at the cripple and thinks to herself “It can’t be. No, it just isn’t possible, after all these years.”

Rauhian keeps his eyes fixed at her. He says: “Mother. It is me, your son, Rauhian.”

A confusion of opposing forces boils inside her. She cannot admit that this is her son. It would disgrace the King and herself. They would stand out as the greatest liars in the history of the kingdom. And worse still, it would disgrace herself as the Elesi high priestess ­ it would even disgrace Elesi herself. Elesi priests don’t have unhealthy children. And this ugly cripple of a Mestronorpha worshipper just cannot be her child. Never mind the truth. It just can not be.

She says: “Remove the cripple. Throw him in the dungeons.” And she walks away.

Rauhian gets his final blow. He is finally seeing the true nature of his mother. “She is a lying, deceiving witch. Elesi is a fake religion. Mestronorpha is my true lord and commander.” All the anger encysted in him is kept forever on. He silently looks down. He swears revenge. “The King and Queen will fall! All love between Elesi and Man Peggon will be abolished.” As Rauhian is very skilled in magick, it doesn’t take him long to escape the castle dungeons. He boards a ship heading for another island. Determined to overthrow his father and mother, he sets out for a quest to boost his own powers. He needs more magick to take on the principals of the kingdom.

The search for power

For almost ten years, Rauhian travels from island to island in search of magick powers to defeat his parents’ kingdom ­ the kingdom he was destined to never rule ­ they would never let a cripple rule the kingdom. But he is determined to show who is the strongest. And is sure to win.

During this decade, Rauhian became a very powerful wizard, specializing in the summoning of demons and devils. He could call upon powerful devils to assist him in the destruction of good. He grew stronger every year, every month.

The events take a sudden and unexpected turn at the end of the ten years. Almost when Rauhian felt ready to return and create havoc, a sad day was seen in the kingdom of Chalahr.

For many years, a band of assassins had controlled the slums of the capital. They had come into power after the demise of the cult of Mestronorpha. They are now starting to gain control of the judges and the lawmakers. And this stir up the King and Queen.

Just as the Queen and the Elesi priests are ready to once again prove their intentions, two assassins sneak into the castle and takes the life of the two principals.

A sad day for Chalahr

The kingdom is thrown into chaos. A civil war ensues. The castle is burned to the ground and the capital looks like a battleground.

Rauhian’s mission is in a way completed. But he is in no way content. It was not done by his own hand! Furious by the sequence of events, he decides to get to the root of all his trouble: The island were it all started. Where Elesi and Man Peggon committed their crime of love. The island of Amar.

Return to Amar

As Rauhian reaches the lush and prosperous island of Amar, he is determined to destroy it. Sink it or just eradicate all life on it.

from Amar...

He sets his feet on the island and travels to the capital Amaran. He is disgusted by the happiness he sees everywhere. He knows that real happiness doesn’t exist, so he sees the island as a total fake. A disgustingly deceiving place where forced smiles is the order of the day.

But still, even here there are some cripples. He sympathizes with the beggars and those who have fallen outside of this “perfect” society. He gets in communication with them. He understands their problems and he likes them. Enough to recruit them for his mission.

The next twenty years Rauhian spends building his Circle of Magick. He recruits the brightest of the cripples, beggars and outcasts and turns them into magicians. He reckons he will need the powers of a Magick Circle to break the creation-magick of the island. At the same time he earns a reputation as a wise wizard among the nobles and the King.

Rauhian gets stronger and more powerful. He communes with demons and strikes deals with devils. At the age of 52 he becomes a force to reckon with. And his seven wizards in the Circle of Magick display a full range of magick abilities.

Apart from building his power, Rauhian starts engaging in politics. He becomes an adviser to the King on political matters. There never was any problems with the dwarfs or the faeries on the island ­ until now. Slowly, disagreements start cropping up. Seemingly from nowhere, problems of all sorts start appearing. Rauhian is pleased with his works.

The humans get an urge to expand. They take over territories that used to belong to the dwarfs and some even old faerie holy grounds. The dwarfs, coordinated and acting in unison, get agitated over this. They protect their areas and several small fights ensue.

The faeries, consisting of a great diversity of creatures, small and large, never coordinate to stop the unusual human conquerings.

Rauhian knows he could never hope to control the dwarfs, they are to stubborn. And the faeries are too magick. His hope is to control the feeble human minds and make them obliterate the dwarfs and the faeries. And then it would be the humans’ turn.

The real trouble begins as Rauhian gates in some demons inside the mountains where the dwarfs live. The demons, after having slaughtered some dwarfs, smell the blood of humans. They cross the troubled border and start attacking the humans. They carve to pieces some sixty humans before they are stopped and killed.

from Amar...

The humans saw the demons coming from the dwarf mountains. They figure it must have been the work of the dwarfs. Their mining must have ended up all the way down in hell and stirred up the dark ones. The King declares war. But to declare war against dwarfs living in their mountains is brave indeed. The dwarfs are expert warriors. They have spent hundreds, if not thousands of years digging and mining. There are hundreds of mines, caverns, halls and subterranean castles. And they are all superbly fortified.

The act of gating in demons within the dwarf territories was not an easy task. Now the dwarfs are more prepared than ever. Gating in another pack of monsters would be impossible. And Rauhian can not very well gate in any on the human side of the border. Then the King would understand the dwarfs were never the source of the demons. It would break down the very fundament for the war.

No, Rauhian needs another way of defeating the dwarfs. The eternal enemies of the dwarfs are the trolls. Huge, strong, ugly and hateful. Their world is called Troll-land. The trolls are not too clever or skilled with words. You wouldn’t expect their world to have any fancier name.

Anyway, Rauhian contacts the trolls and strikes a deal with about 400 of them. He arranges for a ship to go on a mission to a small island off the west coast of Amar. He tells the King he has found a magick gate to another world on this small island and that many trolls will come through that gate in just a couple of weeks. Of course Rauhian himself magickally gates in the trolls ­ he just needs an excuse not to reveal his real summoning powers, hence the story about the gate on the island.

The ship sets course and several trolls are brought back. Over the next month or so, the 400 trolls are brought to Amar by huge ships. The purpose ­ to kill, capture and rule over the dwarfs. At least, that is what the trolls are told.

Rauhian has a somewhat different idea in mind. He arranges for soldiers to be trained and equipped with large halberds. About a thousand soldiers assisted by some highly skilled wizards are to keep the trolls occupied with the dwarfs. The soldiers led by the wizards will in effect become the slave masters, ruling the trolls. While the trolls will harass and rule the dwarfs. The perfect set-up.

The plan works. Almost. Many dwarfs are killed by the huge trolls. But even more dwarfs survive. They hide deep within their mountains, behind barricades upon barricades. And they manage to stay alive and still give the humans and trolls a hefty challenge.

But many dwarfs are captured. They are tortured for the pure fun of it. By the humans as well as the trolls. The trolls get their thrill out of capturing and inflicting pain on dwarfs. But they themselves become slaves of the new human kingdom. The kingdom that will end the island of Amar ­ Rauhian’s kingdom. By now, he has the King by his strings and the trolls checked and the dwarfs are used for construction works.

from Amar...

Up until this time, the kingdom has not been much developed. Rauhian builds new castles, new barricades against the last dwarfs and the faeries. He even builds a new city, Rauion, named by the king after his most acclaimed and praised wizard ­ Rauhian.

From the time of the first fight with the dwarfs until Rauion stands proudly by the delta of the river Amir, 46 years pass. During these years, Rauhian manages to extend his lifetime by striking new deals with devils. However, he realizes that to fulfil his mission, he needs to hurry. The dwarfs are still holding out and the faeries prove to be more elusive and a tougher challenge in terms of magick than he had envisioned. He needs a big sweeping solution, and fast. So he starts working on his greatest summoning task ever: to gate in a general of Hell.

The general that fits Rauhian’s plans is Ombragi, The Dark Mover. In order to call upon such a powerful being, he needs a very complex ritual. He also needs a fair amount of protective spells and rituals to not become the adverse effect of the summoning himself.

So he enters a period of research and experimentation. He still maintains the training of the seven crippled wizards ­ his Magick Circle. They work as his eyes and arms into the society, and they keep his communication with the nobles and the King fresh. The Magick Circle is powerful indeed, it controls most of the functions of the society.

At the age of 126, Rauhian sees his days coming to an end. Still he is bound upon completing his purpose. He hates Amar more than his own crippled body. Having done this much harm to it, he needs to hate it in order to be able to live with himself. After all, even he is a good being ­ basically.

Rauhian has collected all his research in books. His hate for Amar, the source of deformation and cripples, is well soaked in the books he leaves to his loyal servants, the Magick Circle. He has described most of the ritual needed to call Ombragi to the island. He has even described his plot to get Ombragi to obliterate all life (except the Magick Circle of course) on the island and then sink it.

Rauhian taught his loyal wizards well. What he didn’t teach them, however, was how to teach others. Rauhian thought that his generation’s Magick Circle would be able to complete his mission. Not so. And the next generation of crippled wizards were not taught as well by their masters. And now, three generations after Rauhian’s death, we pick up the story again.

TarChalihr, the head of the Magick Circle, cries out: “Eureka!” The solution flashes through his mind. He can clearly see it now. “Yes, that is the way it must be. I will complete Rauhian’s dream. I will defeat this island!” He limps down the stairs in the tower to the ground floor. There the other wizards are resting and meditating. He gathers them around the magick table and starts explaining.

The others can barely follow his line of thought. TarChalihr explains how he has found the solution to how to gate in the general from Hell, Ombragi. The next weeks are spent in preparation for the great ceremony. The ceremony that will end all misery, end the crippling curse of MacGillan, end the island of Amar.

The night of The Call arrives. The Circle is assembled around a magick pentagram. All ornamented with the right symbols. Candles in the right places. Incense burning. Magick scrolls prepared. All is ready.

TarChalihr reads the preparatory poem. The wizards hold hands. Their combined powers flow into the pentagram as the ceremony develops. The search for the great one has begun. They travel by mind as through a maze. Right turn. Left turn. And left again.

Finally, after two hours, they reach their destination. They open the gate between the other world and this and call upon the Master.

Something has gone wrong. This isn’t Hell at all! The presence of trolls on Amar has shifted the ceremony. The wizards have just opened a gate to Troll-land! And the Master of that world is Gaark, the Troll Lord, the god and ruler of Trolls and of Hate. He steps out of the gate!

The wizards are fully prepared for Ombragi to appear. All their protective spells are geared for the devil. They are totally defenseless against the Troll Lord.

Gaark, the god of Hate, just loves to hate. That is what he does best. He hates very well without any reason at all. Now, having been called upon by some feeble humans, he really has got a reason. And when Gaark has a reason to hate….

All the explaining in the world wouldn’t do the wizards any good. They were doomed the moment the Troll Lord entered the tower room. He curses them into the cripples of cripples, strips them of their magick powers and leaves them squirming in pain for the rest of their lives.

The Troll Lord decides to have a look at this island where some of his troll minions ventured a century ago. Upon seeing the fate of the trolls, he realizes they were tricked. They were turned into slaves by the humans! His followers ­ tricked! He rages. He is boiling with hate.

He curses the lot of the humans. Every one is turned into a crippled monster later known as an arax. An arax has a bent body, about 150 cm tall and weighs from 130 to 150 lbs. It has blackened skin, black hair, red eyes, spiked teeth in its protruding muzzle and black claws on hands and feet. It inspires fear in innocent people.

Most of the humans on Amar were inspired by magick before the curse. The curse makes them one with their magick. This merging creates some weird effects: araxi with longer or shorter limbs, extraordinarily strong araxi or weak ones, others have limited magick powers, some have special skills, abilities or disabilities. The curse degenerates the whole human population into stupid, ugly araxi.

To make the curse complete, Gaark calls upon a waterspirit who owes him a favor. He asks the spirit to conjure a fog some nautical miles from the island. This fog makes sure no-one can leave the island. Any ship that enters the fog looses its direction, is turned 180 degrees and therefore returns to the island again.

Gaark leaves the island with resentment. He leaves the trolls there. After all, who needs stupid, easily fooled trolls in his kingdom? Anyway, now they can become the slave masters and harass and torture both their previous masters and the dwarfs. And the deformed human slaves can’t even escape the island. He walks through the gate and closes it behind him.

Only the humans were touched by the curse. The dwarfs immediately start to rebuild their mountain kingdom. The faeries couldn’t care less. They are living between this world and the Otherworld anyway. They are not really affected by this sequence of events.

The island again has the capability of becoming lush and prosperous. Only now it is full of chaotic araxi. Even though they are ruled by the trolls, they represent a sort of crack in the beautiful picture. The trolls themselves do not really fit the picture either.

There are still some humans left. Quite separate from the rest of the former kingdom, these humans kept to themselves and followed their own path in life. They never mingled with the kingdom. The little group had settled in a very special place in the mountains, north of the dwarfs. They are religious and skilled in magick, and this protected them from the crippling curse. They are left in the mountains, not knowing what struck the rest of the humans.

Most of the dwarfs that were captured by the trolls manage to escape. Only a very few are kept as servants of the trolls. The trolls are more occupied with harassing their former masters, now araxi. Several rescue missions are engaged upon by the dwarfs to get the last of their friends out from captivity. They succeed on almost every mission. The rest of the captive dwarfs die in their own attempts to escape.

The dwarfs never saw the curse actually happening. They don’t know that the humans were turned into araxi. They think the humans were killed and that araxi are minor trolls gated in from Troll-Land. They certainly look like small trolls.

Some 200 years later

During the next 200 years, Amar remains fairly unchanged. Nothing much exciting happens. The trolls are second generation, and they have forgotten about the curse and how the araxi came about. The trolls have moved into the forests where they feel most at home. The dwarfs are in continual strife with both trolls and araxi. The faeries don’t care. The few humans in the mountain are still isolated in the mountain. The former human kingdom on the southern plains is left wide open, not populated by any of the races. Then something happens. It was bound to happen, really.

from Amar...

Some outside humans discover the island. They come to Amar by ships. Not for any other reason than to refill their barrels of water and their food stores. They are actually just stopping by on their way to some other place. But the fog is still enclosing the island, and they cannot escape. However much they try, they seem to be getting back to the island. The curse is still in effect. They just have to settle down on the island. This was later marked as year 0 in the new calendar (present time is the year 354).

So, the new settlers find the old villages, cities and the capital. They settle down. But still they have not lost hope of returning to where they came from. Some of the newcomers are magicians and try to establish some contact with other islands by magick means. They succeed in a way. They manage to attract attention to the island.

More humans arrive by ships. Some come as an answer to the request for help. Some just come and don’t know why. At least they do come. But does it help at all? No, it doesn’t. The hordes of ships with thousands of humans can do nothing about the curse. They are stranded just as the first ones were. The civilization is building up. The capital is populated, and eventually so are the other cities and villages. More people arrive, until the magick request for help fades away and no-one pays any more attention to the isolated island.

The humans discover the araxi and the trolls. Fights and battles ensue. They make contact with the dwarfs and trade is established. They sporadically get to see the faeries, but the fay people are not much interested in the human way of life.

A border is erected against the araxi and the trolls as well as trading outposts along the dwarven mountains.

The island is again stabilized and life goes on.

The discovery

About 60 years before present time, we pick up the story. The kingdom is well established and stable. It has a King, and it runs smoothly. The King even has some magicians as his advisers and an army posted along the Arax border. All is indeed running smoothly.

There are adventurers seeking treasures of the old kingdom. They find treasure here and there, but more often they find creatures of Rauhian’s summonings. Many summoned creatures were never destroyed. They slipped out and roamed the countryside or escaped into the mountains or forests. Some of the demons he called had summoning powers of their own, and they gated in even more monsters.

So the adventurers have many challenges to take on.

Then it happens that a party of adventurers break the wardings on the old tower of the Magick Circle, and they enter. They battle horrible demons guarding the place, avoid magick traps at the cost of three lives, and only one adventurer survives the challenge, Olarichan the wizard warrior. He gets past the last barriers and enters the third floor. An interesting aspect about the top two floors of the tower is that they are made invisible from the outside by powerful magick.

At last he stands in the top room of the tower, and what does he find? The old books of Rauhian. The black books of summonings. His whole story written down, and his mission regarding the island. It is so well written it is designed to trap anyone who reads it. It completely convinces Olarichan that the island is evil. It in fact makes him evil and endowed with the same black intentions as the old master.

Olarichan becomes ecstatic over his find. He stays in the tower for a week reading the books. Rauhian completely turns him over to Mestronorpha through his books. Rauhian’s mission is alive again. His purpose is delivered on to another being, Olarichan.

To honor his new master, Olarichan cuts off his right index finger. He decides to revive the tower and the Magick Circle.

Upon returning to the capital, the wizard warrior starts his recruitment task. He gathers possible apprentice magicians, cripples or not. Those who are not cripples have to remove their right index finger and complete a ritual to make their faces ugly. All for the glory of power. Black power. The task of recruiting seven followers proved to be an easy one. By the authority of the books and his own magick abilities, he possesses great powers of suggestion.

The Magick Circle is again in operation. With the intention of obliterating the island by gating in Ombragi, The Dark Mover.

It then takes Olarichan about 20 years to turn his Magick Circle into real wizards. He engages in extensive training of his followers. At the same time he employs some of his magick skill to secure his standing with the King. Through a clever cabal, Olarichan first removes the King’s advisory council of magicians and establishes himself as the true adviser of the King. One of his first destructive steps is to secretly hunt down and kill all Elesi and Man Peggon worshippers. This is done in such a way that it looks as if they are struck by some kind of curse. And this discourages others from establishing or joining the two religions.

Some of the Elesi priests, a couple of Man Peggon lords, and three life magicians get the drift and escape their horrid fate. By a small boat, they travel with their families eastward to a small island, just a few nautical miles off the coast. The small island is almost on the border of the fog. They call the island Elesir, to honor their goddess. Here they set up two temples for their deities and start their plan ­ to handle the evil Magick Circle and restore the island of Amar back to the paradise it should be. They know it used to be a prosperous and lush island long ago. However they do not know of the Troll Lord’s curse, who the araxi were or any of the story concerning Rauhian. They only know the island is supposed to be a paradise, and they intend to revive it.

Olarichan spends the last of his years studying Rauhian’s old books. But he seems to lack some basics necessary to understand the intricacy of the summoning ritual.

He dies at the age of 78, only 23 years ago, in the year 331. A new generation of wizards take over the Magick Circle. They are still researching the spells of summoning. They are still focused, if not as firmly as their ancestors, on the mission to destroy the island. Mind you, the wizards recruit youngsters who bear some strong grudge against the established society or the island itself. This is why they can thrive on the hate and resentment and draw the energy necessary to keep the old intention alive.

During the last 20 years the priests and magicians on Elesir have used all their magick skills to seek help from outsiders. They know they can never set their feet themselves on Amar, as they will be seen by the magick eyes of The Circle. Therefore, by the use of a magick pond working as a crystal ball, they see ships coming near the area of Amar. Some of these ships carry bright and magickally adept passengers or crew. They then steer the ship into and through the fog to land on Amar.

In order for the outsiders not to have the urge to get off the island again, they do two things. First they make sure the ship hits a cliff and sinks. Secondly, they cast a “mindblank” spell on them. This ensures they will have a total loss of memory of their past. The outsiders will wake up on a beach, never knowing what hit them.

In this way the Elesi people hope that some outsiders, not marked by the holy hands of either Elesi or Man Peggon, will settle down on Amar. With their “outside” view, they may see more clearly what is really happening on Amar and start to investigate. If they investigate, they might discover the truth about the Magick Circle, and that the king is really a pawn of the Circle.

This is the present time

You wake up on a beach. You are wet and a little cold. Looking around you, you see three other persons you seem to know. But you cannot remember anything. Nothing at all. You just feel the other three are your friends. You have only your dripping wet clothes on. No equipment. You know what you are good at, but you don’t know why. You feel confused and bewildered. What do you do?