Something I've been slowly working on. Currently writing the backstory for a whole world
Decided to chop it up into somewhat faction related short stories. Gives me a bit more leeway when it comes to ordering them
Completely open to critique. I will be adding to this chapter for a little bit but don't let that disuade you from laying down your thoughts.
All questions about the setting may be answered in later chapters. What isn't I will answer.Chapter 1 – Frosmery
The Shaman strode forth onto the balcony, feeling the icy winds whip past his muzzle and through his fur. The cold didn’t bite into his flesh, for he was a Frosmery, a towering race of bear-like people. They lived in the frozen north of Elsinqart, cutting into the mountains to form their citadel cities. The shaman looked out onto the region controlled and protected by Ice Peak Citadel. Ice Peak was among the tallest of the Frosmery Mountains, second to the Citadel on the Laughing Isle.
It was two moons until Apex Day, the Frosmery New Year set by the sun reaching its highest point in the sky, and the year was 1349. The continent of Elsinqart, as the Frosmery had called it, had survived centuries of peace, as the only cultured peoples were the Frosmery and the fiery Red Goblins to the sun scorched south.
South is where the shaman looked, but not for any red skin threat, but to the blackened scar that dominated the southern skyline. Fowl Mountain. The wisp of smoke that constantly escaped from the top had been growing thicker in the last decade, and Frosmery tales foretold of a great upheaval that would befall the land should the mountain stir into life. Shuffling noises came from the archway behind the shaman.
“Master Canoros?” A young Frosmery in messenger attire stood in the archway. “The Council is waiting for you.” The messenger fidgeted where he stood, his fur not as thick as Canoros’ own. The balcony was part of an open plan waiting area that lead to the council audience room. It was largely unused, as with the world at peace, a council of war was unnecessary, and the Frosmery were intelligent enough to sort out their own disputes before pestering their elders. Canoros turned to the messenger.
“In your own words, how willing to listen do you think they are?” Canoros meant the Council, for the ranks and titles had fallen into formality only, and so most of the current Councils in all the Citadels were inexperienced.
“It is not my place sir” The messenger responded averting his eyes from the gaze of the aged shaman. It did not help him, as Canoros’ gaze was burning the messenger’s skin, or so it felt. “They grumble for a missed meal, and complain that a Shaman alone should have no authority to send for them.” Canoros thumped his stave into the carved stone floor, and an array of archaic runes blossomed from its top.
“They would do well not to forget a Shaman’s power.” Canoros grumbled as he began to walk towards the audience chamber, as the blossom of arcane magic transfixed the messenger’ gaze so that he stood there in awe. The great door opened from the inside where ceremonial guards stood a ceremonial vigil, and Canoros met the eye of each council member in turn, noting who he’d be speaking to and their station.
Fenuros, Councilor of the Army. Peace had dulled his senses, and his will, and the turmoil of peace showed on his sunken or sagging features. An ornamental and finely crafted helmet sat on the desk before him. An heirloom passed down through the generations of Army Councilors. On a battlefield it would have been no better than a leather cap, but in the Citadels it was a badge of office to be carried, or worn, and admired with honour.
Next was Gibaloi, Councilor of Trade. While Fenuros had lost his spirit and body to peace, Gibaloi was large from an abundance of food. His face brimmed with almost absentminded glee, making Canoros wonder if the Councilor even knew why he was here, let alone on the Council. Around Gibaloi’s neck with his badge of office, a Gold and Leather book pendant, held by a chain bound again in leather and gold. The weight cut the chain into the fat that rolled down Gibaloi’s neck.
In the middle was Omenorus, Councilor of Law and Order. He could be described as unhealthily thin, as his face showed the lines of his skull, most prominently around his eyes, which seemed to have fallen into their sockets. Yet despite this he also carried a strange air of vitality, as if he was fuelled by some other worldly force. Many would say that his hunger for the enforcement of Frosmery Law was what kept him going, as all severe transgressions went through his office. Omenorus’ badge of office rested across his shoulders. Balanced perfectly by weight and Omenorus’ pasture, was two books on each end of a shaped beam. One contained the laws that ensure the Frosmery Order, whilst the second was rumoured to contain every crime ever committed in the Frosmery hall. This theory was readily accepted, as the book of crime always looked the most worn, as if it had been opened often.
Fourth was Aermius, Councilor of Health. The official title was “Compassion” though many felt Health worked better, for Aermius was in charge of keeping the Herbariums stocked, and all ailments researched and treated. Her features were softer, and better kept than her male counterparts. Her fur was brushed, and her robes clean. Aermius was renowned for her kindness within the Citadel, and her understanding was what many sought out for aide in the worst of conflicts, less they become violent and Councilor Omenorus brought into the mess. Aermius’ badge of office was a necklace, in the shape of an Elsinqart flower. Each petal was a different colour and made of a unique mineral rock.
The fifth seat lay empty, for this was where Canoros would sit. As the Councilor of Shamans, it was his duty to foresee the trails of his Citadel, to walk into the realms beyond and either return those on the edge of death back to the living world, or give them their last blessing for the next life. His Stave was his symbol of office, and through it his most potent spells could be channeled. As he had entered the room, the four councilors fell silent, coming to realize this was not the summons of a fever dreaming unskilled shaman, but a potential call to action by the Master Shaman himself. Canoros let the moment sink in before he spoke.
“Councilors.” He began, eyeing Gibaloi who had returned to a face of oblivious delight. “I hope you are willing to listen to what must said. For I do not call a council without proper reason.” Gibaloi fidgeted in his seat, knowing that he was the one that complained about the meeting. “Many of my Apprentices have been plagued by a shared recurring dream. As Aermius will tell you, we have been treating it as some sort of infection, or desease. But last night I was visited by the dream, and not only did it carry a real message, but one of dire repercussions.”
Canoros’ words echoed slightly around the chamber. Fenuros seemed unmoved, but his eyes moved with life. Gibaloi continued to feel uneasy. Omenorus had leaned forward and steepled his clawed hands, whilst Aermius who had known all Canoros had to stayed silent to listen.
“Elsinqart is on the brink of change. The land itself is preparing for it, as you have likely noticed the increase of twins and triples among pregnancies. Even our livestock seem to have been affected by this, and our sources of other foods are increasing in their yields. Worse yet, I fear the Fowl Mountain itself is awakening with the world!” This last statement sent a shiver down the spine of all present. Fowl Mountain, though nearing an old story to keep children in line, was still a present concern for the elders of the Frosmery. Fenuros Straightened himself slightly.
“And what does this mean for our army” Fenuros asked, in almost a whisper. “We have not needed to mobilize in decades, since the last time the Fire Goblins encroached on our lands. Our soldiers are inexperienced!” The Fire Goblins had been cultivated by a wild Goblin Khan to claim the entire Elsinqart continent as their own, forcing them to travel far north of the desert homelands and over the slopes of Fowl Mountain. The land to the south of the Frosmery regions still bared the scars of this incursion. As the great swathes of forest and had been cut down to produce the crude war machines the Fire Goblins built to lay siege to the Frosmery Citadels. Few of the remaining Watch Captains had been a part of the defences during this time, and so their soldiers only knew of it through lectures about formations and tactics.