Right here is a progolgue for a story idea I've had in my head for a while, and sinc ei cant get it out I decded to put a bit of it down on paper and see where t goes. Now I'm not thta confident in my writing style and its the first draft but here it is ____________________________________________________________ Thunder rolled over the hilltops, down from the mountains and across the fields. From everywhere in this narrow valley boomed the ominous sound, like the gods themselves beating a mighty drum in the restless night. The air was close this night, in the narrow space between dark clouds and wet earth it hid the world in shadows. One shadow was more looming than the rest, atop a high hill ancient walls stood proud and strong, nestling within them a sturdy castle. From within came the cries of a child, almost unheard over the clamour of the heavens. Gently, the Lady Anaiya hushed the crying babe to sleep. The day had been long, and now the sun had set all that remained was to put her children to sleep before she retired herself. Picking up the book where she’d left it propped open, she thumbed down the page and resumed the story where she had left it. “…….Heartbroken at the loss of his dearest companions, the other knights of the circle, Hearen wept as his enemies closed in around him, where once he had fought beside brethren, now he stood alone before those that sought the destruction of his homeland. With no hope he gave in to his anger and lashed out at his enemies with sword, fists and teeth until he had slain fifty men. But the host before him was numberless and he was alone, eventually he fell before the blades of the Ha’darak, ending the order of knights which had guarded the lands for decades since the dawn of the age.” The story ended with the deaths of all its heroes, and Anaiya could see the sadness in her son’s eyes, The Journeys of Hearen were his favourite bed-time stories, this was the first time he had reached the end. Across the room his baby sister slept peacefully at last. Davian was not so easily quelled. “Hearen killed the great dragon! And the King of Sorrows, how could he have died against plain soldiers?” “Because….” Anaiya began, not knowing how to finish. “He was alone in mourning for his brothers and sisters or the order, men and women he had known and loved for years. He gave in to his sadness that consumed him which stopped him fighting to the best of his abilities. He did more than most men could ever claim, but he was no immortal.” Davian still wasn’t appeased, but before Anaiya could console him further, rushed footsteps came towards the door, and she closed the book in readiness. Knocks followed abruptly. “Enter” In came Luc, captain of the guards, uniform in his armour and his frown, behind him came a dozen men at arms. Before a word was said soldiers rushed to and fro, checking windows and unloading chests and cupboards. “What is the meaning of this?” Luc looked to her, and set in his solemn face were pleading eyes, the thought alone frightened Anaiya. “My lady, we must escort you to safety at once, we have orders from the King.” Luc had always referred to her husband as king, even after the consolidation, one of many reasons why he had been left behind at the castle. “Escort us where? Where is my husband?” She shouted as they were rushed from the room. Luc frowned as he looked her in the eye. “The emperor did not heed your husband’s protests and means to go ahead with his plans. Even worse, he saw the protest as an act of rebellion.” He paused. “Your husband is dead.” Leaving the rest unsaid, Anaiya understood. Like so many before them, their house had fallen under the wrath of the emperor. Unwavering in his conquest, even as their so called ally, he stopped at no chance to be rid of them and have his plans succeed. The flight from their bedchamber passed in a blur, dark windows and torches on walls blurring together, permeated by the booming thunder. When they finally reached the front gates a carriage was waiting, and without protest Anaiya was ushered inside with her son. Luc closed the door behind them. The tears finally hit her, a wave of sadness at the loss of everything. Just that moment she saw the maid carrying her daughter away towards the stables and held her breath. “Beth! My daughter where are they taking her? Please! Bring her to me!” Luc paused only for a moment at her tears before shaking his head. “The emperor’s fifth legion is almost here, for safety we are separating the children, in case…” He ended there. It was too much, too much for her to bear, “please” was all she could say, beside her Davian began to cry too. “I will go with her, I promise nothing will happen” Was the last thing Luc said to her before striding away. A whip cracked and the rhythmic creak of carriage wheels took them out under the portcullis and into the night. Taking Anaiya away from her home knowing she would never see it again. Holding her son tight in her arms she wept silently with him as the wilderness passed them by. There was nothing left for them, once the emperor deemed a faction rebellious, he never stopped till they were eradicated. The only refuge was found at the ends of the world, and Anaiya had no delusions of the likelihood of getting that far. Out there somewhere lay a dead husband, a separated daughter and a man after their blood. Thunder rolled once more. And the carriage came to a stop suddenly, shaking the curtains around them, in the dark of the night Anaiya could see nothing outside. “Onwards!” she shouted to the driver when she had mustered the courage. No answer returned, and no action was taken. Sitting still for a moment in fear Anaiya turned to her child. “Wait here Davian, be brave for me” And with a melancholy smile, she turned and stepped out into the night. On the road ahead a row or torches illuminated the armed riders holding them, behind her was the same scene. Atop the carriage lay the driver, a crossbow quarrel jutting from his chest. For a moment she waited in fear, and for a moment there was silence. Finally once man dismounted from the row of horsemen and came forward. In the night she had not figured him for more than the leader of the band of soldiers. But as he stepped forwards she recognised the proud, arrogant face of Shenn. The Emperor. “Leaving so soon?” He smirked, stepping up to her. He glanced quickly into the carriage, frowning. “Where is the daughter?” When she didn’t reply he turned on her, and before she saw it move his hand was at her throat. “Tell me.” When he loosened his grip she paused a moment gasping for breath, but still refused to answer, not to this man. There was a look of indifferent disappointment in his eyes. She had not noticed him draw his sword, until he sheathed it in her stomach. Steel cold in the night air, stopping her breath with pain. Tumbling to the ground and into the mud, she looked up at his face. And as it began to rain and her vision faded, he turned and climbed into the carriage with her son. ______________________________________________________ Like most prologues, it has very little to do with the main story, only indirect foreshadowing, so theres not much to go on. The basic summary is set in a fantasy world (no name for it yet, or for the book) that is ruled over by this emperor, shenn. its an absolute dictatorship, and the few kingdoms left around are all sworn to him, most have been taken by force and had governors chosen by shenn. The only places left not in the empire are the frozen north, occupied by bandits and brigands. Imperial legions watch the are but have no heavy set method of hunting bandits, since the bandits themselves dont stay into imperial territory. There is also the southwestern lands, arid, where one kingdom eludes the empire's grasp. this i the 'frontier' which is constantly at war and higes around one large city the empire has failed to take. North of the frontier is an impassable desert, the lands beyond only accesible by sea, the trade routes held by the emperor, here he trades in slaves, captured rebels, only leaving this land free as it is too far to stretch his forces to conquer it. Our main character is the boy davian (though ten years after the prologue he is about 20) ward among others to the emperor. Though he has a vague knowledge the man was responsible for his parent's death he is a fixed father figure. The emperor had a dozen 'children' like davian, all sons and daughters of dead kings and queens, theyre a little project of his. He is training them up to be loyal followers, much tot he anguish of the Emperors current generals and lords. After being victorous in a yearly tournament between the other wards, Davian is charged with fllfilling the emperors goals, namely he is sent on a mission to stop a rebellion on the south coast. There, after discovering first had what it means to crush a rebellion, Davian escorts the captive leader back to the imperial city to face the emperor. this man turned out to be Luc, and over time and talks Davian begins to doubt his own loyalty. thats about the first few chapters there, the rest is the classic tale of rebellion against a dictatorship, the only problem being the emperor is so powerful open rebellion is impossible, after many attempts at rally resistance and many failures they turn to hidden (guerilla) warfare. there are a few extra things, mainly about the emperor, he is unwavering in his goals to keep the land under his control, when he sees rebellion he will stop at nothing short of absolute genocide of a people to stop it. hence why its so hard to coax open rebellion. Further the emperor himself is nigh on unkillable as has been tried in the past, he moves faster than belief, is skilled beyond any with a sword, and is rumoured to be over 400 years old, though looks only 40. on top of that, he is actually a likable character when known personally (as davian does) which is an odd contrast. there will also be a secondary main character, which is a juxtoposition. While this fantasy kingdom is relatively magic-free (apart from the mystery surrounding the emperor) a traveller arrives who doesnt realise this, from somewhere no one knows. theres a lot of interweaving plots and revelations planned out so it all goes somewhere.