A/N: Though this novel is set in the same world as the trilogy beginning with "Royalty of Wind, and Fire, and Clay," it takes place over two hundred years before. There are certainly common themes (Destiny, the Cycle, Elle, and so on), but Pheron and most of the others haven't been born yet.

The form of this book is, um, rather different, and at least some of the voices are probably going to be rather annoying. Feel free to review and tell me that, if you want ;).

The number and length of chapters will vary much more than in the past, since I'm writing so many different interruptions in.

A final thanks to anyone who enjoyed the trilogy, and is now following me into Orlath again.

*Deep breath* Here we go...

Golden Heresy

The Introduction

116 OR, Snapice 15

It is indeed a great task that the High Priestess of Elle has charged me with, to record the truth of what happened in the Rennon Heresy ten years past in an acceptable form. Future eyes will gaze upon this book, future hands will hold it, and they must not be clouded or smudged with the stain of the Heresy's evil. They must, of course, be warned against it, must see how evil it was, but if they know too much about the Heresy's path…

They might follow it, and their souls would be lost to Elle.

Therefore, I come before this task in all humility, charged by the Light and the Cycle, Destiny and the Goddess, with not failing. I will not fail. My heart is humble in its pride and strict in its dedication. I will not turn aside from preserving as much of the truth as I think those future eyes should see, and displacing all of it that might cause harm to their souls. When I am in doubt, then I will pray to Elle, and She will tell me which should be cast out, and which preserved.

I am in no doubt that I will do this task well.

*******

This history has been assembled from the journals of one of the Heresy's most prominent leaders, as well as an account of another of them from an unknown eye, by an unknown hand. However, this second history expresses the inner thoughts of the woman then known as Rilleta with such confidence that we may trust it is true. Nearly all of this history will be presented, and where I cut out passages, I will explain why. The person who wrote this must have been sympathetic to the Goddess, knowing that Her grand design would be fulfilled, in the end, even by the priestess who was most opposed to it.

The journals, on the other hand, present a problem. We cannot simply ignore Klessa of the Nine Wonders, whose name has spread so far that even from Ilantra the tales of her come back, and whose fame will soon cross over the mountains into Rivendon and Arvenna. Therefore, I must present her journals. But they will require more severe editing and explanatory commentary than the other history. They present much of Klessa in the truth of all her heresy, but they cut out other parts of what we know is true Darkness, and sometimes they present her in a very flattering light. Of course, Klessa was a Mage of the Star Circle, and must have had some sense of history. We can assume that she knew her journals might fall into someone else's hands someday, and that her vanity prompted her to write many glowing things of herself. Luckily, her evil ran so deep that she did write much of the testimony later used to condemn her. Wondrous is the Cycle, that turns even those determined to triumph over it back against themselves! They are all servants of the truth and the Light, whether they know it or not.

It is my hope that by presenting these journals and this history in their current edited form, I will set the pattern of tales of Klessa for all time to come, and teach everyone around me the truth of what really happened. May the Light of Elle pour forth through me, and shine upon these words!

-Sealed by the hand of Lusirimonalata, Priestess of Elle, Temple of Elle in Queen Twydon's court, this fifteenth day of the month of Snapice, in the hundred and sixteenth year since the founding of Orlath by the glorious Queen Aneron.