Chapter 1 Birthing Loriass Yematt, Supreme Highmage for the Elvynn Tua-latin war wizards, studied the swollen stomach of the pregnant human female, examining it for flaws. He knew from countless inspections there weren’t any, but did so just the same. There had once been two parent slaves, but only this one was left. Generations of human breeding had gone into creating her child. This baby should be exceptional, he thought reveling in his work, for being only human. If his calculations were correct, it should be one of the best humans ever conceived. Its stock had been derived from the highest quality of slaves, tracing back over three hundred years. With the father sentenced to death in the Du’ Artha slave mines for rebellion, there wouldn’t be any more quality stock until this infant came of age, so he hadn’t allowed any room for failure. Maldrith Renali, his Tua-latin second in command, strode purposefully into the room, her black and silver robes hissing like snakes scales across the stone floor as she made her way to the table. Studying the human with the swollen belly, she stated, “She still hasn’t had it yet, Loriass?” Turning, her silver eyes flickered like coins in the light, “Are you sure there are no complications?” “Nothing’s wrong,” responded the archmage, not removing his eyes from the panting woman. “The baby is just uncommonly strong and struggles to see the light of day. That’s all Maldrith!” As if to prove him wrong, the human woman let out an ear piercing scream that shattered the silence of the room. A torrent of blood shot from between her legs in a bright red stream drenching Loriass’s black and silver robes. Loriass saw the heavy flow and the splatter and spat out a curse. He knew as well as losing his prime breeding father, now he was about to lose the mother and possibly the baby. Seizing the forces of creational magic from the river of power flowing through the palace of Talathandria, he growled angrily, “This is not going to happen!” Quickly forming a stasis spell, he hurled it at the convulsing female, making her immobile. The beautiful slave looked awkward in her frozen position as the bonds of magic seized her. Her head was thrown backwards and her back was arched almost as far as it could go without snapping. Her muscles looked like taut ropes stretched under a thin cloth. The only thing still moving was the bright red flow of blood. As fast as he had reacted, Maldrith moved even faster. Almost caught by his stasis spell, she forcefully slid her hands in between the dying female slave’s bloody thighs. Clutching at the newborn’s head, she used her fingers to prevent it from being choked by the slave’s death throes. The human woman would die, but she was going to save this child. A lifetimes worth was tied up here. Calling on her own magic, Maldrith cast a spell onto the newborn baby’s skin, making it as slippery as an oiled eel and pulled. Another burst of hemorrhaging blood shot out of the dead female scribe slave’s body. Maldrith pulled the baby free, taking it out of the coffin that had served as its bed a moment before. Grabbing the magical dagger at her side, she sliced away the tether to its dying mother with a flash of steel. The Elvynn archmage checked to see whether the baby was still alive. The female slave shuddered in her death throes despite the stasis spell. A loud wailing filled the room as the struggling human baby fought against her tight grip. Icy cold gripped Maldrith as she held it. A thousand stinging needles racked her body and it felt like she was being been plunged into a freezing lake in the dead of winter. Staggering sideways like a drunk too long in her cups, she reeled as her innate powers of prophecy flared to life. Barely, she managed to set the child down just before finding herself overwhelmed. A blinding light split the inside of her mind’s eye and parted like a curtain being opened in the morning. A vision of war, unlike anything she had ever seen spread out in front of her. Battle lines filled war torn fields. Thousands of dead, from all the races littered the fields in piles of arms, legs and torsos, all surrounding a tall man with long, curly, dark hair. Around his feet was a broken chain, each link the size of a man’s leg lay shattered. In the tall human's hand he held a magical sword, a blade that glowed with silver light, a blade she recognized. The tall human turned away from the piles of bodies and she saw something that made her go colder than the needles prickling her skin. In his hands, he held a gigantic crackling ball of purefire. Amazement filled Maldrith that was followed by fear. None, but Elvynn, were allowed to learn creational magic, much less wield it. Yet she was seeing this human working the most powerful aspect of it. Suddenly shapes began stepping through the dead. A line that stopped in front of the human and knelt, bowing heads in deference. Maldrith’s fear intensified into a quaking that racked her entire body. The kneeling figures were Tyrus’ gods acknowledging a human’s presence. As fast as the vision came, it faded and left her reeling. Implications from it hitting her body like blows in a fight. Staggering, it took her a moment to recover but when she did she knew. Somehow, this newborn on the table would be the man in that vision. He was the one that would break that silver chain. He would bring those fields littered with bodies. He would be the one to bring destruction into their world. Eyes filling with dread, she rounded on Loriass. Stuttering, she hissed, “T…T.. This child should be put to death immediately, Loriass! It cannot be allowed to live. He will be the death of us all. I have seen it and it shall be!” Spinning back to the still wailing newborn, she raised her glittering, bloody knife. Loriass heard her damning words, saw her thin arms rise and knew that the results of his generations of human breeding was about to be destroyed. Screaming in protest, he cried out, “Nooo!” Maldrith ignored him and the knife descended. The supreme Elvynn archmage did the only thing he could do. Seizing the remaining energy around him, he hurlced a force bolt across the room at the other Tua-latin war wizard. The creational magic hammered into the female Elvynn’s body with the explosiveness of a battering ram, blowing her across the room. Caught unprotected and unprepared, Maldrith crashed heavily into one of the walls with a sickening thud. Her body slid down, crumpling onto the floor in a heap of black and silver. Loriass had seen the look in her silver eyes. He knew. She would never allow the infant lying on the table to survive longer than it would take for her to kill it. It would be a constant struggle to save a lifetime’s worth of his work. Before she recovered enough to gather her powers, the Highmage of the Tua-latin cast a second stasis spell. The air around him crackled with energy as he wrapped her body from head to toe in coils of power. He tightened the grip of his magic until he could see the energy creasing her robes. Knowing he didn’t have long before she worked her way free, he stepped over to a rune-inscribed wall cabinet and waved his hand, saying the words needed to release the protective wards. Several white hot lights flared to life with power, brilliant flashes that would blind the unsuspecting even if they knew his passwords. Then they were gone. The magical cabinet that would have killed him a moment ago was now safe to open. Loriass pulled on the large doors. Rows of magical items stored on shelves, hooks and cupboards lined both sides of the interior in levels higher than the archmage was tall. It was plain that the case was larger on the inside than on the outside. A small walkway appeared between the rows and the High war wizard stepped onto it, only after it was fully formed. To have done otherwise would have caused the other defensive spells to react. Striding purposefully past all of it, he paid no attention to any of the items, heading instead towards only one. A large sheathed sword stood at the far end, propped almost against the wall as if it had just been thrown there. Snatching the sheathed blade, Loriass retraced his steps backwards and stepped back out of the cabinet. Fingers closing around the ancient dragon bone hilt of the Talisman sword known as Spellbreaker, he felt tingles of power weave about his hands. Without caring about the consequences, he drew out the long blade in a whistle of steel. Glittering silver runes carved into blade’s sides flared to life, causing the edges to gleam with white light. This was the most powerful artifact of talisman magic ever created. Its hilt and guards were made out of the bones of a guardian dragon, mounted on a blade of pure mythryll that was dwelven forged and crafted on Garn’s own forge. Given power by the planet Tyrus itself, it had been cured in the dwelven blood of its forger, instead of water or wine. The endstone capping the hilt was a glittering gem of dragonseye, held in place by a magic-wrought filament that enhanced its abilities. The hilt was wrapped in the skin of the same dragon that had given up its bones. Spellbreaker was the only weapon that could create purefire, the purest form of creational magic. Purefire rendered all other aspects of magic vulnerable. The magical sword had been designed to both protect its user and shatter spells in order to kill war wizards. Its use was only allowed to one person. Only the Highmage of the Tua-latin was allowed to wield the powerful weapon of destruction. Loriass spun the balanced sword in his hands end over end with the skill only a blade master could manage. Kicking the cabinet closed, he went and stood over the crumpled form of Maldrith. Despite the strength of his spell, the powerful female war wizard was already moving. Maldrith had managed to turn her head just enough to face him, had gotten her knees under her and had almost managed to move her hands in front of her. Without a word, Loriass raised the glittering glowing blade high over his head just like she had done a few moments earlier with her dagger. Unlike hers, his fell. Arcing through the air, the blazing sword, crackling with white hot purefire, plunged down into the chest of thec female war wizard. The white hot blade pierced her defensive spells as easily as a hot knife cutting through warm butter and ran completely through her body. For a moment, nothing happened, then white hot light erupted out from where the blade had entered. Maldrith’s eyes gaped in horror. An agonized scream erupted out of her mouth. It filled the room and mingled with the human baby’s cries. Then the sound was gone as the fiery flames surrounding the sword’s edges consumed her. Nothing remained but her smoldering black and silver war wizard’s robes and thin tendrils of light that slithered around them like silver snakes. Drained of his life force, the powerful sword fell out of Loriass’ quivering fingers and clattered noisily on the stone floor. He stared at the blade as his legs sagged and wished with all of his heart that he hadn’t had to do what he had just done. But he had seen the look in the other Tua-latin’s eyes and knew that there could have been no other way. It didn’t matter to him that he had killed her, but now she wouldn’t be around to work with him any longer. She had been the best assistant he had ever had and they had spent years working together. They knew each so well that at times you could hardly tell them apart. But there was no way that he could let her destroy the fruits of his labor, the human child lying on the table. Generations of breeding and design had gone into this one and he would not allow that to happen. Finally, the strength the sword had drawn from him returned and he moved towards the crying baby lying on the birthing table. Staggering, he knew before his eyes saw it. Something was wrong. The newborn’s movements were wrong. His eyes fell on what lay there and went wide, first with disgust then dropped towards the floor full of anguish and despair. Years of sacrifice lay on the table in front of him, and what was on it was beyond belief. Even worse, was that both parent slaves were dead and there couldn’t be any more children to make up for this. His supposed perfect human slave was nothing more than a worthless cripple, twisted and deformed.