DECALAGE

Decalage

Prologue

This is a true story, whether you believe it or not is up to you. Every word in this book is real, every person lives, every mountain flies, every desert dies, everything is true. There are no lies, there is no falsehood. This is the truest, realest, and most unbelievable story that shall every touch your lips and that will ever brush your mind. This is the story of Decalage.

The bard sat next to the fire, strumming his lyre lightly, and a steady gleam of fire burned in his blind eyes. A young boy approached, to the disapproval of his mother, and quietly sat at the man's feet. The boy had the face of a dreamer, and the same fire in his eyes that the old man had.

How do we describe such a fire? Through blind and old pupils it burned, no different from the hollow, deep set eyes of the child. By its own flicker it brought hope and life, a twinkle in dark eyes that were sealed by sadness and fear. Perhaps it was hope, for in the child's voice it flew like an eagle in the skies.

"Tell us a story sir?" the young boy asked in the pleading voice of a child who had seen too much, but knew too little.

"I am no sir, child. I am a bard, a historian, and a story teller… but yes, I shall you a story, for there is a story for everyone, and when they are ready to listen they shall hear." His voice was soft and musing, already the story seemed to lift his face, framed by what wisps remained of his thinning hair.

With a thoughtful look on his face cracked with age, the bard let those misty eyes wander as if looking at the boy, but he was blind so how could he see the small dirt streaked face filled with hunger? How could he know the sadness that caused ravines to be drawn against the face devoid of any innocence? He was a bard, a story teller, a teacher and a wanderer. That is how he knew, and of course there was the song that sang so sweetly in his ear.

The bard sensed the need for a story, for hope, and so he began to play the chords of a song on his instrument. It was a song so delirious, so chaotic, that silence fell like a gale on the tavern. The notes that were played did not fit together, yet somehow they sounded so beautiful… and at the same time so hideous, that those who heard it instantly turned to listen. Once everyone's attention was on the bard, and he knew it from sound alone, he spoke, muffling the haunting tune with a craggy old hand.

"Once upon a time two immortals, fleeing from that which sought to destroy them, stumbled upon an empty dimension that was truly nothing. It wasn't dark, it wasn't light, and in its bounds it contained no material or immaterial object. No ideas roamed its empty shrillness; no memories were contained in its grasp. It was without a name, and here, there, the immortals came and went.

Who were these immortals you ask? They were the Father and Mother of everything, tired from running and fearing for the safety of their unborn children. They decided that they would settle in that magnificent place and build the perfect world to shelter their unborn babes. The Father of all worlds, banished because the ones he had given power feared him, gave shape to the unreal so it became real. He created a universe and held it in the palm of his hand before pulling it so it became a flat canvas for the Mother to work on. The Mother of all things began to shape the sketch of what he had made, creating mountains and rivers with her fingers as if she were simply painting on canvas. Once she had finished giving life to the painting, she joined her lover on the world which she had truly made her own and they sat down to take in what they had created.

Mountains, waterfalls, lakes, rivers, and deserts; each one was beautifully perfect in its own right. They were untouched by pollution, and still separate from other pieces of landscape around them. Bright with power, and filled with magic, they were diverse and cultivated to protect and to teach. Everything the two deities had, they had given to this world in hope that it would be perfect and safeguard their children, the only children they would ever truly have.

Finally, it came time for these children to be born, and born they were under the mother of all trees… the weeping willow.

Vie was the first born, and when her body touched the Earth life sprung up. She was given the title Goddess of Life, a powerful position that was matched by the next born. Abrafo was the first born son, and when he touched the ground what his sister had created was destroyed. Death was his title. And so it continued until eleven children graced the land, causing flowers to erupt from the ground, and animals to leap from the skies. Yet, the last one was entirely different. Chaos erupted with her first cry and nightmares leapt into the sky, the seven sins became real, and what should have been peaceful was far from serene. Her name was Eris and she was given the title of Goddess of Chaos, giving her power over almost everything for everything has a little chaos in it."

The boy stirred, fear in his eyes as the immortal's name was mentioned. "It is a curse to speak her name," he said in a small voice, hesitant to interrupt the story. There was pure fright in his tired eyes that were sunk deep into his head from sleepless nights and small suppers.

"No not a curse my child… she would like it to be, she would like for everything to bow to her, Eris… there is nothing to fear from a name my child. The others will protect us and keep the balance. Together they will keep us safe and ensure that Decalage will always rebuild itself. For, together they grew, and together they lived, teaching the humans and animals and letting them evolve and olden to worship them.

Generations, and thousands of years went by before the portal from other worlds began to open, and in the mix and confusion the Mother and Father of all things disappeared… no one knows what happened to them and their names are almost wiped clean from nearly all the written histories.

The world was growing and changing so much that no one really cared. The three kingdoms, Lumiere the kingdom of light, Moyen the kingdom of the neutral, and Fonce the kingdom of the dark were beginning to feel unease between their threads in their triangle and thousands of people simply disappeared in unrecorded battles, ending the war before it began. 500 years later, the time that we now exist in; pirates, rebels, thieves, witches, and wizards are once more coming out into the world from their hidden guilds and courts, recognizing the scent of a war. The animals of the Circia herd, magical animals said to be the creations of the Mother and Father, also retreat from their seclusion, realizing that now may not the best time to hide. This war is not an ordinary ramble; it is one that includes Gods and Goddesses, one that may destroy Decalage forever."

"But mister… there are rumors."

"Rumors, boy?" asked the Bard with a smile that caused the creases in his face to become canyons.

"Of a race before, of a race of nothingness."

"Yes, you are right. Rumors… are born from fact. Sometimes they manage to have a little truth in them. Once upon a time… there was a different story as well.

Before the Gods and Goddesses arrived in the dimension of Decalage, a different species inhabited it, intertwined with the darkness seen as nothingness. They were the dragons, ruled by a Queen so great that she could have destroyed the Mother and Father if she wished, but did not see a need for it. The Mother and Father realized the power of the reptiles of myth, and found an ancient magic so powerful that it destroyed the physical bodies of the dragons, but the spirits became one with the Earth, a silent reminder to the Mother and Father. Only one dragon was strong enough to roam the Earth and remain real. She was their queen, cursed to live a half-life, for she was the only one strong enough to do so.

Generations stretched past, and the mortal remains of the dragon withered in old age and died. From the pyre and ashes of the physical body though, another would be born, and when that one died another. The dragon reigned as queens, as princesses, as beggars, and as thieves. It was never the right time, until now, now the spirit has reincarnated into her first form, a young woman."

"What was her name?"

"Ah, the better question is… what is her name?"

A man sneered, making a rude comment to the man sitting next to him, referring to the story as a piece of trash, nothing but a myth.

"Dear Sir, I may be blind, but I am not deaf. What I tell you here tonight is true. She walks among us, a shadow? No. An angel? Never. She is the dragon spoiled, and the speaker of fire. War is in our midst my friends, neighbor against neighbor and father against son. Remember this tale. Remember the past, and look forward to the future. But live in the present… yes… the present."

The tavern owner, who had been listening with as much interest as the others now brushed away the story gruffly, disbelief in his eyes, and turned away. With a mutter of disgust, after realizing that the bard had stolen any customers he may have had, he turned to a cloaked figure with the hood pulled low over their face. The gender was indiscernible, as was the race.

"Nothing but an old man's ramblings…" muttered the tavern owner to his customer.

"You'd be surprised… how much truth was in that story."

With a smile the hood tilted upwards, the glint of gold and dilated pupils inside the darkness causing the tavern owner to leap backwards, falling into a heap. Golden eyes were cursed eyes, only those who were from Eris's world held eyes that sparkled with the only thing that turned greed into gold.

"A monster! A demon!"

The crowd leapt to their feet, the only one who remained sitting was the bard. No surprise was kindled in those blind eyes, no fear. With screams the others ran from the tavern, in what seemed to be an over dramatic mob. Even the mother of the small boy left, fearing for her soul and not bothering to worry about the screaming child whom the bard scooped into his lap, patting him gently.

"The Prologue has been told… the circle broken." The bard stated loudly and clearly, but the tavern was already empty, except for the boy who hid in the arms of the bard. There was no one to hear, no one to realize, and therefore no one to understand. The hooded figure turned with a snarl on the old man.

"Pity your story was interrupted."

"No… the story is just now beginning." He turned to the child in his lap. The child sat in wide-eyed fear, watching the cloaked figure as it silently watched back. The bard chuckled, and paid no heed to the figure. "What about I tell you another story?" he whispered to the grimy child, "A story about a demonic woman who sails the sea. To whisper her name is to call on her soulless corpse."

The boy looked away from the figure to study the bard's face. Realizing this, the child quickly glanced back… but the figure was gone. Then a broken-tooth smile stretched across his face and he nodded.

"They say she is the child of a drowned ghost and the water demon that drowned him, but such a babe can not live beneath the ocean and so she was given to the earth. To this day she rules what should be hers; she is… the dreadful pirate queen."

Outside of the tavern, the demon-figure laughed.

Sing our tattered story,

The dimming wisps of rain.

The chorus sounds of trumpets,

The melody defamed.

We are an earthly people,

Honored by the wind.

We are a story in our own,

A whisper from within.

The prologue at a still now,

The tale in turn begins.

Know our longing story,

With you all hope is brimmed.