The overall theme of the epics is a deliberate step away from the good vs. evil trends found in a lot of fantasy. I explore how prophecies and "chosen ones" pitted against an assumed evil can be a matter of perspective. Further, I take the East vs. West narrative and turn it on its head; the farther east you go in Ard, the more advanced and enlightened the culture (to a limit, the northern half of Ard is wild country inhabited by matriarchal tribes of woman wolf riders, giant bear like creatures known as Behayim, and a race of birdmen among others). Think Tolkien meets Edward Said (of Orientalism). The first of the series is under a working title of The Great War. It is set near the end of an age (or Dawning, periods of time marked by great events or shifts in history) when a man rises to power in one of the three lesser kingdoms of men and attempts to establish an empire. Our protagonist is a noble woman, Treol, who opposed the empire-minded Latharon at the request of his now dead father, the previous king and her ex lover. Latharon out maneuvers Treol and her family is murdered while she is forced to flee. On her way out of country, she is abducted by a mysterious one eyed man and forced to labor on an island for ten years. She descends into madness and becomes an almost Gollum-like creature. She is suddenly released back onto the mainland where she wreaks havoc on the land, where Latharon's imperial endeavors have been successful. Through Treol's actions, independent of Latharon's, a great war breaks out pitting several races against each other. Unbeknownst to Treol, she is working in his favor. This world war has several theaters and one great decisive battle. This story is meant to set up the world in which the main epic takes place. I've called this epic The Ardaead. The protagonist, an Alfaran (the higher race with long life) named Farin is plagued with dreams of a great doom coming from the west, across the Black Sands from a country called Thulm. It is known by the Alfaran people in their mythology that one of the five immortals that ushered life to Ard was Sado, and he was expelled by the other four immortals to Thulm to live in exile, as he wished to enslave the souls with which the immortals were entrusted by the great god Alrahman. (This is the dominant creation myth of Ard). Farin relates his dreams to his father, Jarin, one of the original Alfaran lords who were there at the beginning. Surprised by this, Jarin tells Farin that he must travel to the Isle of Loren to report this to the greatest of the five immortals, Loren. Farin is then made aware that the immortals are in fact, a reality. Farin treks to the island and finds that Loren, a creature of light, is dying. Loren informs Farin that this is because Loren's life force, unlike the other immortals, is tied to the life of Ard itself because of the covenant he made with Alrahman when the five ships of souls landed on the shores of Ard (the souls were sent there from a distant land where the peoples of the land had failed their duties to Alrahman, Ard is in essence a second try for all sentient life to live righteously and do good by the earth). The failing of Ard, Farin finds out, was instigated by the extreme bloodshed of the Great War. The only hope for Ard is for Farin to unite all the peoples of Ard against the impending doom posed by Sado, who is returning to Ard to fulfill his perceived destiny. Farin then travels far and wide, and relays his message like a wandering prophet; few choose to follow him.