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FANTASY

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Chapter 1:- PROLOGUE

People are reading and reviewing it like crazy before it's even published!My name is Liver. You are not alone in this world. The time has come to tell you a story—a story that has been kept secret for ages in the Eternal Book of Time. If you believe it, then it will change who you are. There will be no going back, and no way for you to know what that change might mean. Just know that you’ve been duly warned.

If you don’t want to risk the change, then shut this book now. Burn it. Tear out its pages. Throw it away. I reveal this story to you at a great sacrifice: You see, once my story is told I will be destroyed. So please, read carefully.

It’s possible that those who are powerless will find power. And those who are alone will be alone no more. The silent voices of those who are crying out might, just possibly, be heard.Listen. Learn. Pass the knowledge on. That is, if you choose to continue. Just know this: I can not lie, for I am made of light.

Before you are allowed to open the sacred pages, let me give you an explanation of things. I’ll start here, in the center of endless space, where I sit in the palm of the gods.

In the center of space there is a room. The room is a room of smooth, stone floor surrounded by numberless stars. In the center of the room there is an enormous, glowing orb that slowly spins and hovers above the glossy floor. The orb is an orb of blinding, white-hot immortality.

It is called the Mysterielle, for it is endless. Within the Mysterielle countless, smaller orbs tumble and roll. Each one resembles the Mysterielle in luster and luminosity; yet, each is filled with threads of light that spark and shimmer.

These orbs of light in miniature are called secret speakers. I am one of them. Most are assigned to tell the truthful story of the creature to which they are singularly born, each at its appointed moment.

Some, however, known as era-born secret speakers, are born to tell the story of an era. And so, these secret speakers are born to many. We are called secret speakers, not because we expose your secrets, or the secrets of the misdeeds of man, as you might imagine, but because we know your inmost heart, where secrets, most sacred, live.

I am about to tell you something that has never been revealed before, so listen carefully and consider its meaning. You were born with a secret speaker nestled behind that bump in your throat: the one that goes up and down when you swallow. Touch it with your fingertips. Can you imagine a small ball of light hiding in there?

When you lie awake at night, perhaps you have seen the movement of its light and particular color behind your closed eyelids. Or, perhaps when you stare at something—say, a left-over grape sitting on your plate—and close your eyes, you see it’s image. Its shape and shadow. What you are seeing is just a snippet of what we secret speakers are recording of your life: in its fractional triviality.

We secret speakers are put there for one purpose and one purpose only: We are note takers of sorts. We record your life, its every moment, every memory, and every choice you make. Then—when you are dead and gone, or ‘lightened’ as we say (for the body is, indeed, heavy)—the gods place us in the golden cover of the Eternal Book of Time.

It is in their constant possession, where it rests on one or the others lap. We then re-tell all the smallest details of your life while they listen, and while the words—and images—write themselves into the Book, filling up leaf after leaf in a page-flipping fury. All those details, no matter how meaningless they may seem, add up to something wonderfully important, as you shall see.

I must give one word of final warning: if you do not choose the thoughts and actions of your life wisely, your secret speaker will not return to recount your story, and it will go untold. Not because your story isn’t important, but because you haven’t made it important. There’s a difference.

Our number is known only to those who sit with the Mysterielle without beginning of days or end of time. And those who sit, who wait for the secret speakers to be born, consist of two gods most holy.

I’d like to tell you a story that is mostly mine, and mine to tell. Not because I am possessive of it, but because the gods have asked me to make it known to you at long last. I narrated it for the Eternal Book of Time long ago, but it is worth re-telling to you here because it has everything to do with you, as you shall come to learn. To state it more plainly, this particular narration touches every soul that has ever lived, or will live.

There was, you see, a small event that took place long ago in Cloven Grave, during a segment of time which you humans call the medieval period. To the hoomin of Cloven Grave, it happened ages ago, but a hundred years in Cloven Grave is a mere day in man’s reckoning of time. And so, the event happened sometime last week, most likely while you were blowing your nose or eating supper.

Today, just as it was then, Cloven Grave was a mild-weathered valley nestled within what the folk there refer to as the Lands of Ice, which, if it could be found, would be mapped out near the North Pole. As I said, you are not alone on this planet.

From my vantage point here in Airen Or, Cloven Grave (along with a smattering of other green and fertile countries surrounded by snow and ice) looks like one of several small, green emeralds scattered on the fur of a polar bear.

The emerald of Cloven Grave has a strand of pale-blue water that curls out like a necklace to the north seas. To the untrained, earthly eye looking down from a plane, there is only white to be seen. No green. The gods have kept these lands invisible from the world.

The folk of Cloven Grave called and still call themselves ‘hoomin’. The term isn’t too far different from the English word, ‘human’. For the hoomin, however, the word means ‘people that are hidden’. This is true, for they are land-loving folk who are hidden away from the world of man. They know nothing of trains, electricity, running water, or airplanes, though they hear the drone of airplanes in the sky above them from time to time.

Their language is a conglomeration of the many languages of man, and they are very fond of songs, and words that rhyme. This conglomeration of tongues came from a time, when the hoomin sent ships along that strand of blue river warmed by a volcanic crack beneath it that means it will never freeze over (again, invisible to the untrained, earthly eye—as were the hoomin themselves).

These ships were sent out into the world to bring back spices and citrus fruits, particularly in the dead of winter, during the Shortlightren Dons, a time when the days were short and their bodies craved flavorful things.

Even the way the hoomin dress shows an outside influence from their unseen travels. The men hoomin dress in kilts and high wool stockings, which are very similar to the kilts worn by men in Greece or Scotland. Once a wee hoomin, or a child, reaches the age of hoomin-hood, knee-length pants are exchanged for the much longed-for kilt. No hoomin would ever be seen wearing pants. They are considered childish.

The hoomin are normally pleasantly plump as far as earth-dwelling creatures go. During the time of this story, however, they were deprived of having enough to eat. There is one characteristic of the hoomin that hunger—and the ruling impostor, Harrold King—could not even erase: The cheeks on the faces of the hoomin are rounded and slightly pink, as though covered with the skin of an apple.

As for the ever-present hunger, the hoomin folk were required to take all that they grew, milked or sewed to the temple of Osden Shorn once every seven days, where it was then handed back to them in small, sad-looking portions. Law-making Harrold King hoarded the rest within the walls of the temple, where it often turned to rot and pig fodder, except for what made its way into his belly.

And so, nearly everyone (except those that hid what food they could) felt keen hunger nearly every day. During the chilly Shortlightren Dons the nights were colder than they should have been, because they didn’t have enough blankets to keep them warm. It was difficult to sleep the whole night through—without waking up in a shiver. As I mentioned, Cloven Grave has a mild climate, but the evenings do get cool at certain times of the year.

The hoomin have always had a particular fondness for sheep, and the grass-munching creatures dot the hillsides and valleys at every turn. They also find great pleasure in planting and tending to orchards and vineyards. So, where sheep are not seen grazing, or where there isn’t a stone cottage thatched with grass on the roof, there is most likely an orchard, or vineyard, or woods.

The land is thick with furry green trees and woodlands. Near the rivers, the bark of trees is covered with thick, green moss. The horses of Cloven Grave are enormous and have a blanket of thick hair that swishes around their hooves when move at an ambling gait.

Beneath the feet of the hoomin, the fertile land is rich with jewels, gems and gold, cultivated by the small and spritely, Impissh Nissen: winged creatures who are no taller than the length of your hand. They call the jewels ‘moss blossoms’ for they sprout out of the moss, almost as though they were flowers. The roots of the moss blossoms have no end, and no one knows where their reaching, feathery fingers go.

The moss blossoms are used as currency by the hoomin, except that they are called shackles. You humans use coins and paper money to pay for what you want, as well as what you have to pay for even if you don’t want to. The hoomin call them shackles, because that’s exactly what they represent to them: bondage to Harrold King.

The hoomin’s cottages are situated between the road and the lake where the hillsides slope more gently. The hillsides slope around Lakinren Bae, a lake that glistens like a jewel in the center. Due to some force of nature, mountains rise sharply skywards to the east of the lake. Then, on both sides of the lake the mountains give way to hillsides, where the hoomin of Cloven Grave live. To the west lie the lowlands that are marked by winding canals, naturally called Low Grave.

The hoomin mark time according to the Era’s—or periods of time—that shape their existence. At the time of the story I am about to repeat to you, they were living in the midst of the Fallow Era, and the year was F.E. 797.

There was one among them, at that time, who prophesied that the Fallow Era was coming to an end. And so, of course, stories were being told of what might come. The legend of the Planter Era was on their lips, amidst whirls of pipe smoke during quiet evenings, in front of the glowing embers of their fireplaces. The hoomin wondered as they fell asleep what would happen to them when the old era passed away to make room for the new.

There is one more thing I would like to mention about the hoomin folk. They have an almost uncanny ability to sense the spirits that dwell in the rocks and trees around them. It’s not that they are superstitious. I think perhaps, it is due to the fact that the valley of the Grave’s is surrounded by ice, and, like a funnel, the very stuff of life gets poured into that spot of earth. The air pulses with a vibrancy unknown on other continents where life can be spread, well, rather thinly. The grasses grow greener and more lush, the vines and flowers more vibrant and colorful.

They teach from the Scrolls of Truth that all things have a light, or spirit, that existed before they were created in physical form: whether rock, or bird, or twig, or cloud. Or hoomin.

I wish I could describe what we secret speakers see when we look down on earth and all that dwells upon it. As secret speakers, we are able to see particles of light because we are made up of nothing more than light ourselves (being as we are, pure intelligence). And so, we see the earth as a moving, shifting ball of burning brilliance and smoky darkness, where the light—and shadows—of man tread upon its skin. And since everything you touch, and all that has been created is made up of light in varying degrees, suffice it to say you are absolutely brilliant to behold. So is this book in your hands.

There are those whose light is more refined and, for lack of a better word, shimmery. Why you don’t see it, only the gods know. But it is there just the same. There are those, such as a hoomin I shall soon tell of, whose light is so diminished that they are nearly as dense as lead metal. There are many varying degrees in between. This diminishing light is the cause of much suffering in the world of hoomin and man alike.

I mentioned that my story began with an incident—it was a birthday. But, it was all that was needed to get the ball rolling. Let me explain: just before my host left home to celebrate the event, there was a small pop, and an opening appeared on the Mysterielle. As with the birth of all secret speakers, I emerged like a luminescent marble and rolled onto the floor. I was born, lit from within by the glowing red sparks of the story I had waited so long to reveal: the story of the Great Deliverance.

I was one of the few secret speakers of which I told earlier, not assigned to a person, but to an era that was to shape the destiny of all things living. To be more precise, I am Secret Speaker number 538.336. Era-born Secret Speaker No. 3. In other words, 538,335 secret speakers needed to be born until it was my turn. Two of them were era-born secret speakers. They needed to record the events of their assigned eras. Then it was my turn.

I tumbled out and rolled across the floor; whereupon, the delicate hand of Thelras, Mother Queen of Light, reached down and picked me up. She turned me over in her hands and whispered,
"Mysterielle nah brah steerrohn."

The sound filled the air like the rushing of great waters. It was the sort of sound that makes you want to sit and imagine what you hear in its music, much like you want to sit by a fire at night and imagine what pictures you see in the dancing flames.

Then Cael, Father King of Light, reached out and took me in his hands. He looked into my blood-red depths. His deeper, more thunderous roar pierced my heart, and I trembled. "Yes, dear one, it is time for the change. The great plan unfolds. Let the story begin—and end—according to the law of Arbiter Will."

One final thing might be worth explanation: the gods never interfere in the lives of their offspring. That is the meaning of the law of Arbiter Will. Their offspring must act for themselves in all things. Cael looked at me once again and nodded. It was time. I rose in the air and hovered.

“I should like to hear your report once it is finished,” he said to me.
“And you shall,” I said. Then I disappeared in his hand.

In the next instant (and miles below the realm of Airen Or) I hovered above the neck of Fair O’Nelli. She lay motionless in a wooden box, as though she were dead, scarcely breathing. Oh, what a gentle face. A crack of moonlight pierced through a crack in between the planks above her. In that moment the darkness was transformed into a dusty glow and her face appeared to be the sun! Then it was gone. I rested upon her forehead and spoke these words,

So nice, so kind, polite and loyal.
So clean, so humble, valiant, royal.
You, dear one, have a journey to make.
You will not be alone, though much is at stake.

That accomplished, I lay upon her neck. My excitement caused me to be somewhat more dense than usual. It took me a moment to calm myself, so that I could return to my permeable self and nestle beneath the bump in her throat, in what you call the Adam’s apple. My presence there would give her the feeling, for the rest of this story, that she had just the hint of a lump in her throat.

You must remember that I was not born to her as her personal secret speaker. She was already born with one. I am an era-born secret speaker. Since the change of the era to which I was born could not take place without her actions, it was with her, and her personal secret speaker, that I resided to tell the tale. Know that if there are moments when Fair and I are not present in the story, I shall call upon the secret speaker of the hoomin who is, and they shall fill in for me.

And now, to press on with the telling of the tale. The sound of a sharp trumpet blast awoke the hillsides of Cloven Grave like a rooster announcing the coming of dawn. In the dark, wooden box Fair opened her eyes, and saw nothing but more darkness. Her pale, blue eyes glowed faintly like watery ponds. Such a simple moment, yet it is all woven into this story, which makes this moment, and every moment of her life, great indeed. You shall learn in due time whether or not she survives. That is, if you choose to keep reading and risk possible change.

******************************************
One Final Note
Before you Open
the Eternal Book of Time

Through the expanse of space, Thelras and Cael saw me nestle into Fair’s throat just before she woke up. I heard them say,“Perhaps we should have chosen her brother for the task, Cael. Fair is so wide-eyed and unsuspecting.”

“Yes, but her dog will be a help to her. And it couldn’t be helped about her brother. It was not our place to interfere, nor has it ever been, nor will be.”

“Of course, but as a mother . . .”

“I know, dear. I know.”

The year was 797 F.E. I recorded every sound. I recorded every word spoken. I recorded every event that seemed important to the story. When the Great Deliverance was accomplished, I returned to Airen Or. Thelras placed me into a hollow area, carved into the thick, gold cover of the Eternal Book of Time. The story I held within me melted into its pages, never to be erased, never to be forgotten. That was long, long ago.

The time has now come to open the pages of this story for the first time, where it has lain untold for ages. For reasons unknown to me, the gods of Airen Or have chosen to make it known to you now. Perhaps you will come to understand the reason by story’s end. Perhaps not. The pages are opening. You are almost there.
************************************
THE ETERNAL BOOK OF TIME

The Great Deliverance:
as told by Era-born Secret Speaker 538.336
otherwise known as Liver.
Color: Blood red with orange glow.
Filled with yellow threads of light.
Year: 797 F.E.
Page: 7,429,696
***********************************
This is the story
of a
compassionate heart.

You are about to open
the Eternal Book of Time~
***********************************
You're invited to join the Secret Speakers club! I send out a newsletter every once in a while (monthly, if I'm lucky.) Know that I respect your privacy.


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