In fantasy there is no real history, of course, but in order to give things some background to how they came to be the way they are, it is important to create some history. This was important, especially for my second book, as all of Mirrortac’s other lives were as individuals from ancestral races, going back to the original tribal ancestor that he meets in Three Stones of Destiny — the Roznogh. The planet in which all of the first book takes place is Mareos, which has nine orbits of its moon, Mogog, in a single Mareos year. Let us now explore the ancestral history that finally leads to the erfins living in their valley of Eol, effectively isolating them from all their remaining ancestors.
The ROZNOGH we already know in Three Stones of Destiny, live in clans in the tundra lands of Yidrogh in the far north of Mareos. The clans consist of clan elders, maja-taks, who are sacred spell makers, and the hefty hyfnuks who are responsible for collecting the hyfnu weed and killing animals for food. There are also the regular roznogh people.
In the 9000th moon of their history, there is an extremely cold period when the Great Viyu (numbness) brings heavy snow falls. The roznogh survive by living near an area of hot springs.
The Stone Wall of Viyu (Glacier) comes in the 9010th moon, dividing the land of Yidrogh. Some tribes are caught on the southern side of Yidrogh, fleeing to warmer lands to the south.
The glacier retreats on the 11,800th moon, but by this time the southern tribes have formed into the UZDREE.
12,007th moon: The maja-tak seek more freedom to exercise their spellcraft, challenging clan elders. The maja-tak seize power from the clan elders who are exiled along with a group of loyal followers. The power play continues between the maja-tak spell casters, forcing the division into two factions — the URDAN and the MADREE clans. Skirmishes break out between the Urdin and Madree but the Madree gain control, forming a powerful ruling clan that reigns for many moons.
13,851st moon: The Monsters-of-the-Deep-Earth (earthquakes) create great destruction in the land, swallowing villages and spitting fire out of the volcanic mountains. The Madree flee the great under-gods of fire, and escape south across a narrow neck of land which is swallowed up by the angry gods of the Great Waters. Plumer-Ra and the other Islands of the Meretees are formed at this time.
13,860th moon: The Madree have been scattered into groups all over the southern lands and each settles to form new clans — RADREE, HUGHWA, URTAK, MADIN and ERFIN.
13,900th moon: Under the maja-tak spell casters, the clans thrive and expand their territories, exploring lands until clans encounter each other.
14,000th moon: Border skirmishes erupt as the power game begins anew between the five clans. Warriors are trained and their short swords bound by various spells to enhance their power over their enemies. Wooden swords give way to ones of metal with hilts adorned in precious stones.
14,005—16,154th moon: Battles rage between the five clans as each pits its might against each other. Finally, only two clans remain — the Madin and Erfins. The Madin are forced into the mountains where they maintain guerrilla style raids on outlying erfin villages.
16,155—17,000th moon: The Erfin empire reigns with battles continuing against the Madin mountain clans.
17,008: The hero warrior Merftac is born to the erfins of Fot. He grows up to lead a major offensive in the 17,146th moon against Madin mountain clans, forcing them to flee to the end of the earth where they are slaughtered on a precipitous mountain ridge and cast below into oblivion. The valley below the Mountain at the End of the Earth (Mateote) is so beautiful and richly endowed with nif-grass and fote fowl that Merftac convinces his maja-tak ruler to shift the people there in the place they name Eol. Merftac is dubbed Thane of Fotwood at the 17,164th moon for his service as a great warrior chief.
17,170: The erfin warriors grow restless, and many brawls break out. They start to challenge the authority of the maja-tak. Merftac realises that he must find a solution to their idleness.
17,180: Nite-wolves, attracted by the potential prey in the previously empty valley of Eol, grow in numbers in the woods east of Eol. Lorcs predate in the stream and lake to the west and south, resulting in the deaths of erfins. Merftac sets his warriors to work hunting nite-wolves and protecting villagers.
17,188: Alien demi-gods appear from beyond Mateote. They work powerful magic and tell of the wondrous worlds beyond the mountains thought to be the end of the earth. Nite-wolves retreat to deep within the woods while the demi-gods convince Merftac of the benefit of exploring these new worlds. Under their charm, Merftac and his warriors follow them over the mountain, promising to return once these new worlds are scouted. These same aliens also visit the Meretees people during this time period.
17,200: The maja-tak, realising their warriors would never return, seize the opportunity to assume supreme power without fear of challenge by restless warriors and their ‘charmed’ swords. They announce that Mateote is their god and warn erfins never to scale the great peak as oblivion awaits them on the other side. They brand the demi-gods as deceivers from the Netherworld who robbed them of their warriors.
17,210: The maja-tak form the priesthood of Mateote. The spell language of Maja is declared sacred and forbidden among the common erfin folk. In the ensuing years, the High Priests of Mateote establish firm control of Eol which becomes their prison as there are no warriors to kill the nite-wolves and slimy lorcs. The erfins settle into a subsistence lifestyle of harvesting nif-grass and herbs as well as raising the fote fowl for eggs and meat.
Here is an excerpt of the beginning of The Wizard’s Sword where Mirrortac first discovers the mysterious sword in the woods.
The woods were a forbidden place for erfins. The scent of the fir trees was pleasant as the erfin Mirrortac went in search of firewood for his hearth, his paw-like hands deftly picking out the dry twigs and branches as he kept a wary eye at the woodland deep for any danger. Beyond the woods were the steep slopes of Mateote – the Mountain At The End Of The Earth – its snow covered summit partly obscured in cloud. Erfins were afraid of the mountain and believed the oblivion of the Netherworld awaited anyone foolish enough to attempt to cross over. Even before one reached the foothills there were nite-wolves to contend with – vile smelling creatures with shaggy hair, fanged grins and cold yellow eyes.
Mirrortac stumbled and cursed the ground. He bent down to massage his sore toe and saw the faint sheen of metal winking up at him from amongst the litter of fir needles. Coming down into a squat he sifted away the litter with his fingers, exposing more of the metal. His eyes widened and he sighed with awe. Beneath his hands was a short sword of exquisite design; its hilt adorned with three stones of precious amber and its blade gleaming as though it had only been fashioned yesterday. Glancing into the dark of the wood, he picked it up and handled it with reverence. The sword was weighty yet balanced easily in his grip. He stood up and swung the blade through the air, feeling at once the clean gliding motion and a sense of strength and power. He tested it against the grey fur on his legs. Its cut was precise, deadly. Where had such a weapon come from, he thought. No erfin owned a sword though there were tarnished examples on the walls of the Halls-of-Eol and the High Halls of Mateote. The high priest was keeper of a ceremonial sword that was rarely used and was unlike this one, though it had been kept sharp and in good order. No, this was a warrior’s sword and countless seasons had passed since erfins had been feared warriors. All their enemies had been conquered and none remained to challenge the might of the fierce erfin warrior. The last to be conquered were the Madin, who were mountain people, but in the end, it was the mountain that brought their demise. Forced upwards, the Madin were trapped on the edge of the earth. The erfin warriors were remorseless in their pursuit and sent the last of the Madin warriors over the edge and into the great abyss beyond. Both peoples were from the same stock. The erfins were grey of fur and thickset with pointed cat-like ears and large eyes. The Madin’s fur was courser and they were slightly taller than their erfin cousins.
Now, gone were all the warriors. The last had died many moons ago but the stories of their conquests had been passed down from generation to generation until they had attained mythological status alongside the great god of the mountain and the gods of the day and night skies, Luma and Mogog.
Mirrortac brushed fragments of soil off the crevices in the hilt and looked up as his neighbour, Fillytac, approached from across a meadow of nif-grass. His was the portly figure of an elder erfin, his fur shaggier and exhibiting the silver tips of age. His eyebrows lifted theatrically above luminous green eyes and his voice betrayed surprise.
‘Mirrortac, what have you there? Is that a sword?’
The younger grinned. ‘Yea! I must have walked over it dozens of times. I can’t imagine how it has escaped my notice all these moons.’
Fillytac bounded the last few steps and stood staring at the sword while he regained his breath. The blade gleamed in the afternoon sunlight.
‘What will you do with it? Present it to the priests to display on the walls of the great hall?’
Mirrortac ran his fingers along the blade. ‘That would be the place for it,’ he said, uncertainly. ‘But I think I shall keep it for a few days; show it to Yenic and the child-fins. It is such a fine piece of work!’