June 2021

Medeva fled Ratio-res, knew without divine intervention that the prophecy that the goddess, Luna, transcribed was being birthed into reality every hour she remained in the city — minutes melted quick, someone should have told Ol’ Tempus to slow his great wheel or turn back the shadows of the sundial. She boarded a ship at the Bay of Birds and spent half an hour watching the crustaceans scuttle across the seafoam and hide among the weathered docks before a caravel glided across the surface of the sea, covered in the wooden tentacles of a kraken carved across its bow, and hull, on the port-side. When Luna told Medeva she'd ferry a kraken across the Seventh Sea, Medeva imagined it’d be a great beast or some heroic figure wearing the mark of an ancient aquatic-kingdom. But alas, when she saw the ship, Medeva unraveled the prophecy and rushed to meet it several hundred feet down the bay. The Kraken anchored a mile off-shore and sent a small dinghy to the shore armed with two men and a woman, whom Medeva watched from atop sea rocks that comprised a stone jetty stretching limply into the water. 

As the sailors got closer, Medeva could see that their rowboat contained two wooden chests — one which was securely locked in steel chains (uncommon practice among traders since not many of them had the coin for such craft) which led her to become curious about its contents. She did not care for the other chest which was unlocked; but of that box, strapped down, constructed from the bodies of dead oak trees — that mystery Medeva could not abandon. She studied where the sailors would come ashore and planned a meeting with them. Their boat crawled into the shallows as two of them raised and lowered their oars in juxtaposed positions, and the third inspected the locks that fastened the chains to their precious cargo. Medeva didn’t know what she would say when they met but trusted the prophecy, and Luna, to lead her to the right words. 

The voyagers unboarded and dropped into the water like pebbles, dragged the boat, and two chests, into the sand. The waves washed in-and-out around their vessel, as if debating whether or not to let go of their little dinghy, but when the sailors had pulled it far enough up shore the tide lost its opportunity — resigned to flicker alone in its vast watery world. The one who did not row, a broad man standing at least seven feet tall with a ring of black hair around the naked crown of his head, spotted Medeva and approached (as she knew he would), and asked her about the markets. She pointed them in the direction and wondered aloud about their intentions. While the man answered, Medeva glanced at the woman who pulled the locked chest from the boat and set it in the sand. A silver chain wrapped around her wrist held three stones — a ruby, a sapphire, and an emerald — engraved with three, different runes (none of which Medeva didn’t recognized). 

“We’re here looking for herbs,” the broad man said, “for our people. In Elithrea, the people say that there are alchemists here who know every medicine and cure that exists across Aeora.” Medeva didn’t know if this were true, but nodded her head in agreement. 

“Then it’s fortunate that you’ve met a healer,” Medeva said, “who trained for almost a decade within the Society of Alchemists. And this particular healer just happens to need a ride across the Seventh Sea.”

The broad man looked to the woman with the gemstones bound about her wrist. She approached and inspected Medeva with light-green, honey dew eyes. Her pupils seemed to dilate as her stare floated over Medeva’s body — as if the woman were some mystic whose eyes were not fooled by thin layers of cotton and silk. The woman said, “She tells the truth.” The second man, one with a thin body and salt-and-pepper beard, led Medeva to the dinghy at her consent. The thin man boarded with Medeva, but before they left Medeva had just enough time to ask the mysterious woman for her name. 

“Emilia,” she said, “a Priestess of Knossos.” 

Then the thin trader rowed her back to their caravel. 

When Medeva reached the Kraken, she was locked in a cabin and waited for Emilia and the two men to return. The crew was busy — smelled and looked as if they had not seen land for days — so she spent several hours emptying the contents of her bag into the small, musky room. A few low-burning lamps illuminated the pages of a book she crafted before leaving Ratio-res, a scattered collection of stories, and spells, on many different materials and bound with steel rings. Many of the originals had been cut and re-written, and she burned what remained — watching them licked by fire with silent tears — because she had to flee the city. 

She read late into the night until, through her porthole window, she saw the dinghy approaching with the three sailors she’d met on the shore. There was a knock at her door half an hour later. Emilia entered, still dressed in her day clothes, before Medeva could get to the door. She wore a dark tunic beneath a maroon vest — just shy of the color of flames. Leather breeches wrapped her legs to right below the knees and revealed her skin, thick sea legs never seen the edge of a razor except for the one that she kept hidden in a redwood-colored sheath strapped to her upper leg. “We’re leaving soon. Are you ready?” 

“I am,” Medeva said. Emilia took a seat on the bed (only furniture in the cabin save a dresser along the wall) and listened with arms crossed, her eyes placid as Medeva spoke. “I've never been across the sea. They say that there are all sorts of wonderful places and people out there.” When she was done Emilia sighed and rubbed the sapphire at her wrist between her pointer finger and thumb, the engraved rune acting a blueprint for her fingertip. “When a person lies,” Emilia said, “their pulse quickens and their eyes shift unusually to the left and the right, as if seeking an answer they cannot find. Your eyes haven’t set still for a minute — twister that will not stop spinning.” 

Medeva could have blushed. “The truth is that I saw your ship from shore. I saw the locked chest that you brought to the beach and wondered what was inside. Since I have no family left in this place, and I saw an opportunity for travel and adventure, I took it.” Emilia looked at Medeva sideways, seemed to perceive that this wasn’t the whole story, but smiled and did not press the issue. 

“You want to know about the secrets that we keep hidden?” 

Medeva nodded. “Yes.”

“Then I’ll tell you a story. And unlock the chest when it’s done.” 

Medeva drew her spellbook closer in silent agreement and readied her pen. The Kraken lurched in the water and coasted across the surface as Medeva heard the familiar bellow of a horn and resisted the urge to look out the port window — knew that the Society of Alchemists sounded this alarm when it rallied sailors to take a voyage out to sea. 

“A poem discovered in Misram in 127 A.D. (After the Destruction)”

In a land thought unknown, near the Elysian Grove, 
there lived a half-mortal named Medeva, and
‘though her husband forbade it, she practiced strong magic — 
kept a collection of spells on her walls

wrapped up in scrolls, bound in thick leather tomes, 
secrets that had been forbidden,
indexed according to author’s last name, the archivist
kept them locked and well-hidden 

— words of a prince who led Valentian ships, 
recollects the rites of a priestess,
who carried on-board a metaphorical sword,
prayers to the weather and east wind 

— tales of a people who lived in steel cities,
written down by authors unnamed, 
revealed the secrets of gods they worshipped, 
now dead, Medeva watched over their graves

(lost mages’ magic, calculable madness,
Medeva prepared to conquer,
and though there were skeptics who doubted
their existence

she knew they were real by her visions), 

their poems by Kemetians,
the songs of their heavens,
the mouths of their angels in chariots, 
her scrolls had been filled with a divine set of skills
passed down by a collection of ancients — 

the man she wed known as Jason 
the Dread, a member of the Society of Alchemists,
believed her magic was a fool's task, an errand,
passed down from dead preachers of treason,

so they scoured the house, searched for hours and found
a door veiled by a sky-blue woolen rug
spun in a circle and woven in the center — a medallion 
from a story the bards sung. 

(what if they’d known of that secret legend,
would they have recognized a warning to turn 
around? known of that violet iris blooming inside
a diamond studded silver crown?)

but some know nothing of Mystery, 
of that which resides in the Unknown, 
and therefore will fail to discover the source 
of that which calls out from their bones. 

Alchemists entered her chambers, 
silently passed through the halls, 
hoped that soon they’d discover 
the secrets and shelves on her walls. 

Behold, every room they came to
they discovered the door was unlocked, 
but each had been emptied and abandoned,

turned out Medeva had gone and run off… 

not a single book she’d forgotten, 
not even a single line, 
knew she must have taken them with her
— this future, she had divined — 

they turned with hopes to catch her
but the door behind them barred,

the system had been rigged so
they wouldn’t make it far.

Those halls were made of granite, they knew of no escape;
realized long before they got there, she chose to seal their fate. 

History of Misram

"The history of the empire of Misram has been studied by historians for centuries, primarily because of its close connection with the Hellenic Disaster. Scholars know that Before the Destruction, Misram was occupied by a kingdom called Kemet. After the Destruction, the kingdom of Kemet grew into the empire of Misram — and the nation was split into two states which were called (appropriately) Upper and Lower Misram; however, exactly why and how this occurred is not understood. A few preserved tablets, from the early days of Misram, seem to depict a mass migration of people from a different region.

Not much is known about Kemet, or the early days of Misram, since most of the evidence is fragmented and difficult to decipher. The only texts that still exist from the ancient kingdom of Kemet are written in Kemeti and, although this was the most popular language across the southern hemisphere Before the Destruction, scholars still do not even know all the characters in the ancient script. Sources from the Ananta Islands and Elethra, however, do give some insight into the early days of the Misram empire.

In the mythology of Aedysus and Emilia (told in Ananta), Misram is depicted as a nation that has fallen into disarray. The government is corrupt and the people live in poverty. Besides this, the legends claim that Misram built pits with savage animals that were used for entertainment and execution. However, scholars debate the veracity of these statements and suggest that Misram was not as bad as Ananta believed. In fact, the empire continued to grow and prosper every year until about 124 A.D.

The empire of Misram always had two capitals, or at least as far as we know. The capital of Upper Misram was Thereb, and the capital of Lower Misram was Helena. Both capitals were governed by a single emperor, who was chosen directly by his, or her, predecessor. Most of the time the title was passed down based to the emperor’s direct descendants. A new emperor personally selected their government officials and assigned them seats in Upper and Lower Misram.

For all of their supposed problems, the Misram did very well in the arena of war. Although surrounded by enemies, and possessing few natural resources, Misram possessed ample amounts of land and a large population. Emperors would often elect powerful war leaders who expanded the military to unrealistic proportions. Every male citizen was forced to serve in the military for at least three years after they turned sixteen, and Misram was never at a loss for soldiers. Many of the smaller, surrounding nations were destroyed and rebuilt as Misram expanded their territory.

It would take an entire book in itself to document all of the historical events, and places, in Misram. As years passed, and Misram ceased their conquest of the surrounding nations, the empire became a major trade hub thanks to their miles of undeveloped coastline. But as many other people migrated into the empire, it became more difficult for the emperor to maintain control over the two states of Upper and Lower Misram..."

Excerpt from “A History of Aeora” (V. 2, C. 2) by Tuor Barilis, published in 642 A.D.

In order to understand the history of Aeora, one must address the incident (that occurred some hundreds of years ago) known as the Hellenic Disaster or, more commonly, the Destruction. The incident was so profound, in fact, that it revolutionized our methods of time-reckoning and still represents a clear division in the span of Aeorian history. Across the world, people refer to time as being Before the Destruction (BD) or After the Destruction (AD) — and it is clear that whatever records we have from before this division are fragmented and incomplete at best.

The question remains — what was this incident that the Ancients refer to as “the Destruction?” Mystics would have us believe that once upon a time Aeora had three moons, and their names were Luna, Phrixus, and Helle. During a final battle known as the Morte Kalendis, the moons Phrixus and Helle destroyed one another… or so the legend goes. Many still believe that this was the cause of the Destruction. However certain groups, such as the Society of Alchemists, have moved away from the “Multiple Moon” philosophy. They claim that although there was a devastating flood during the period known as the Destruction, that is was caused by natural forces from a single moon.

What the Mystics and Alchemists agree on, however, is that there was a great flood that occurred hundreds of years ago. The flood has been recorded in many nation’s historical documents, in particular those of Misram. Before the Destruction, that empire of Misram was a single, unified nation known as Kemet. After the Destruction, however, something caused the country to change its name and split into two parts — Upper and Lower Misram. Many documents cite the flood as the impetus to this major change.

There is much debate over the source, and extent, of the flood. In the Ananta Isles, there are sacred documents which detail the life of Medeva the Sorceress — who was sent by Luna to warn the people about the flood. Yet again, in the Freelands there are rich deposits of sandstone, embedded with fossilized seashells, scattered all across the plains. There seems to be evidence in every part of the world that there was some catastrophe during the Destruction.

One must wonder, then, how did we survive? We know that humans existed long before the Destruction and, if legends are to be believed, other beings (such as fairies and giants) as well. But the flood wiped them out, we are told, and spared the early human who had far less resources at their disposal. The answer is not at all clear and has led to much speculation on the nature, and involvement, of the divine.

Of course, Alchemists claim that there were never any fairies or giants to begin with — and that humans prior to the flood were naturally superstitious creatures with overactive imaginations. They see the natural world as holding the real answers to questions about the flood, and have dug deep into the earth to uncover secrets about mankind’s history. Several buried, and ancient, civilizations have been uncovered — complete with fully preserved relics, pristine works of art, and the fossilized remains of creatures and people who have long since died out. Even so, they come no closer to an agreement on the true nature of the Destruction.

Although what exactly happened during the Destruction remains unknown, it is obvious that there was some world-wide disaster occurred several hundreds of years ago. The scope must have been massive, able to wreak havoc from Kemet to the Freelands, and was so destructive that it forced the reconstruction of almost all of the world’s nations. Yet humans persist, like a narrow bridge between the worlds of before and after the Destruction, leaving behind only crude relics to guide their descendants…

Excerpt from “A History of Aeora” (V. 1, C. 1) by Tuor Barilis, published in 642 A.D. 


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