Last time on Work in progress: Yllel got his narsty on and killed his father!
With the death of Auremon, Yllel fled. Almost at once, Auremon’s school, and indeed the entire island of Aurensart crumbled. Many of the initiates, apprentices, and magi died in the collapse. What was left of Auremon’s school was a single spire of rock that rose from the water to the full height of the island.
Kaaria, an air elemental from Elphindar, and her sister Naia, rescued what was left of Auremon’s spirit and bound him into the spire that was all that remained of Auremsart. Without his god-share of power, though, Auremon was effectively trapped within the stone. He could communicate with no one but Kaaria and Naia.
Yllel returned to his preying on sourcerors and now magi as well. He held the magi in particular contempt for his father’s sake.
Auraya, saddened enough at her mate’s sacrifice of his power, was now left bitter and bereft by his death. She withdrew in earnest from the world, allowing Tryella to serve Tellurin in her stead.
The Kas’Khoudum, or book of light, that was started when Auraya, Auremon, and Tryella mingled freely with the people of Tellurin, was revised and added to. Many of the feats described in its pages were Tryella’s but the goddess was more than happy to let her grieving mother take the credit for her good deeds.
In response, and out of a twisted need to outdo his mother, Yllel began to inspire the creation of his own holy book, the Rada’Khoudum, or book of darkness. In its pages he put hideous secrets in the guise of rituals and ceremonies that seemed as if they honoured Auraya. In truth, the spells he wove into those rituals would drain his mother of her power and bind her will to do terrible things.
When finished, Yllel was careful to see the precious book into the hands of the greatest spiritual leaders of the time. The Kas’Khoudum, which Yllel encouraged to be seen as a pleasant book of fables, was supplanted by his liturgical masterpiece. Unfortunately, neither Auraya nor Tryella were very interested in reading and neither of them discovered what deviousness Yllel had been up to.
Tryella investigated Auremon’s murder intensively, but none of the magi who survived the collapse of Auremon’s school could remember anything useful. The only thing either Tryella or her mother knew for certain was that Auremon’s murderer had been one of his students.
Yllel had visited each of them briefly to offer his condolences, but did not join Tryella in her search. Auraya retreated to the moon, but Tryella, something piqued by her brother’s behaviour, began to suspect Yllel of his treachery.
She had no proof, but it would only be a matter of time before she found it.
While Tryella didn’t find exactly what she sought, she soon learned how her brother spent his leisure time: hunting and killing the very magi their father helped to train. She confronted him and Yllel told her that he was merely exacting revenge. One of these was surely the creature who had killed a god. Why should he not hunt and kill, even torture them?
Tryella went straight to Azuresahki, the blue realm of her mother. Auraya listened with uncertainty to what Tryella told her and together they continued to observe Yllel from near and afar.
There was nothing in his choice of victim to indicate that he suspected any of these poor users of magick of Auremon’s murder. Rather it seemed that he chose them for how much power they had. Some managed to escape him through clever tricks they called binding, but though their power and soul might have been safe within an amulet or object, that often wasn’t enough to prevent Yllel from killing them for spite and trapping them within the object they had bound themselves to.
He didn’t attempt to break or destroy the artefact, but ensured that the object would remain lost to Tellurin forever, thus relegating the magi within to isolation, and eventual insanity.
This wanton killing and cruelty was enough to inspire Auraya to action. Tryella still hadn’t shared her suspicions about Auremon’s murder yet, fearing her mother’s response, but held the secret as a trump card until a critical moment, or until she had proof.
Auraya first tried something like an intervention in the hope that Yllel was not lost to her entirely. Her efforts were rebuffed. She tried again with the same results but was reluctant to give up hope. Auraya couldn’t bear, after losing Auremon and the akhis before him, to lose another member of her family.
Eventually though, even she realized that tough love was more likely to get results. Unfortunately, administering a godly spanking was more difficult than she could have imagined. Tryella at her side, Auraya tried yet again to deliver her son a smack down that would put him in his place.
For his part, Yllel soon grew tired of his mother’s attempts to discipline him. At first they might have been amusing, but now they were simply tedious. Soon he no longer cared to hide his true feelings and motivations from them. Soon he would have enough source that it wouldn’t matter.
Auraya had eventually to concede that Yllel was evil. He killed for the joy of it as much as any other purpose. He tortured her with her inability to discover Auremon’s murderer. His attacks on Tryella were growing positively barbaric.
She had to face the fact that Yllel wanted to kill his sister, and that was something she could not allow. Reluctant as she was to lose a child, even an evil one, Auraya began to up the stakes, pulling out all the tricks she had learned in her exceedingly long life. Still every confrontation ended in defeat. Yllel gloated, but though he seemed eager for the kill, he held back from it, as though he were testing them. Or perhaps himself.
Something else would have to be done.
She got the idea from Auremon’s ill-advised release of power into the world. In the process she knew he had torn open a Way Between the Worlds. Auraya sought that place out and investigated it as a possible means to be rid of Yllel without having to kill her own child.
That Way would not be suitable, however. There were still a great many people living in the world on the other side. As Tryella continued her investigations and Yllel continued to test his newfound strength against her, Auraya sought out all the Ways Between the Worlds that existed in Tellurin. One after another, they proved unsuitable. Until she found the one on the plains.
In the middle of the lush, grassy plains of eastern Tellurin. Auraya found a Way that seemed to lead nowhere at all. There was literally nothing on the other side, no light, no sound, no air, and certainly no innocent people or creatures for Yllel to torture. Now that Auraya had found her cage, she would have to figure out how to get the Way open wide enough to admit her son without sucking half of Tellurin in with it, and she would have to figure out how to close the Way afterward and make it impassable to Yllel.
She hadn’t thought so deeply about anything in a very long time. Rarely had she had to think about how to accomplish something she desired at all. Usually her desires simply manifested themselves. This was something different. Auraya was trying to change the very nature of something, a place, a void, into the ideal prison for her son.
Despite its apparent suitability, the void was its own place with its own purpose. It did not want to be changed. It had its own power and its own desire to use it. In the end though, Auraya had more power and more desire, and a son she desperately did not want to kill.
When the void was subjugated and prepared, Auraya and Tryella found Yllel, engaged him in battle and lured him to the Way that led to the void. The battle lasted sunspans in Tellurin time.
Great earthquakes shook the land. The entire western coast of the world sheered off. The mountains grew. Volcanoes long dormant erupted into life. The plains upon which the three gods fought became a desert. The jungle became infested with random power, investing its creatures with strange abilities. Vedranya changed from a season where few wished to travel to one in which shelter was an inescapable necessity.
This was the Tellurin Cataclysm.
In a few short suns, much of Tellurin civilization fell. Many creatures died before they learned how to survive the newly changed Vedranya.
Finally, on the verge of exhaustion, Tryella and Auraya brought Yllel to the opening of the Way, but now Auraya had to focus her attention in opening the Way without tearing it so that it could be sealed again once Yllel was within. That meant that the task of forcing Yllel into the void fell to Tryella alone.
She was unequal to it. Yllel taunted her, as much as confessed to the murder of Auremon while his mother was otherwise occupied. He was too confident by half and Tryella managed to make him stumble until he was caught in the well of the Way.
He realized his fight against the pull of the void was not going to be successful and relented, but not before reaching inside his sister and tearing her source and immortality from her, in one swift motion, killing her instantly.
Auraya wailed in despair. First she lost the ahkis, then Auremon, now both children at once. As she sealed the way to the void, Auraya heard Yllel say one final thing. “Don’t you want to know what I did to—”
And then he was shut away … Auraya thought forever.
Auraya was so depleted from her long battle and so wounded from her losses that she retreated again at once to the moon for solace. Taking stock, she realized that she was now slowly dying, fading away. She had poured out so much of her power during the battle with Yllel that the world had gotten hold of it and was slowly siphoning it away. She could not stem the flow or find a way to reverse the process. It would take centuries yet, perhaps even millennia for her to die completely, but it was a certainty now.
Kaaria and Naia, as they had with Auremon before, now resurected Tryella in the same manner. The only vessel that could hold the former goddess was that of a giant sea eagle, or yrne.
From within his prison, Yllel discovered that while he could not escape, his thoughts could, and a god’s thoughts are powerful. He found someone willing to help him escape, a sourceror named Kane. Over the next two centuries, Yllel plotted, used his favrard soul-slaves to trick some of the other people of Tellurin, the okante, krean, blinsies, grunden, and bakath into binding their collective souls to him as the favrard had done.
Tryella and Auremon, meanwhile found themselves in a predicament. Due to the nature of their respective deaths and resurrections by Kaaria and Naia, they were invisible to all but each other and their saviours. They couldn’t even tell Auraya they were still alive.
The only talent that Tryella retained was that of prescience. That talent alerted her to Yllel’s scheming and she tried to find some way of stopping him. Even with Kaaria’s help, however, her efforts proved futile, until her visions revealed to her the face of a young girl. She could be the means of defeating Yllel. Together, Tryella and Kaaria set out in search of her.
Auraya, meanwhile, while still hidden on Azuresakhi, nonetheless felt the effects of Yllel’s machinations in the world. She determined to raise a champion of her own, a man who would become the Kas’Hadden, or hammer of light, and her avatar on Tellurin. He would protect the world and end Yllel’s predations once and for all.
Like his sister, Yllel began to be haunted by dreams of a girl. She had power, a mere splinter of a god’s but more than most Tellurin could ever hope for. He knew that she could prove a complication to his plans. She could kill Kane before the sourceror could free Yllel from the void.
She was such a tasty prize, though, that Yllel determined to enslave her to his will instead. Only if that plan failed would he concede and kill her.
He also became aware of what his mother was trying to do to end his hopes of escape. Even as he commanded Kane to set sail for Tellurin and begin the war that would eventually result in his freedom, Yllel began to manipulate his mother’s followers, the Faithful. He’d make sure that the Kas’Hadden would never be made.
And this is the point at which the novel opens.
Next week: We’ll start on the earthly history of Tellurin.
- The cosmology and divine history of Tellurin, part 1 (melaniemarttila.ca)
- The cadre … or should that be the cabal? (melaniemarttila.ca)
- The Initiate of Stone rogues gallery (melaniemarttila.ca)
- Character sketches part 1: Ferathainn Devlin (melaniemarttila.ca)
- Character Sketches Part 2: Eoghan MacDubghall (melaniemarttila.ca)
- Character sketches part 3: Dairragh McKillian (melaniemarttila.ca)