Chapter 1

Bormaror, the outpost on the southwestern coast of Mayve, was busier than it had ever been before. Every ship in the port was being boarded by the legions of soldiers in preparation of the final attack organized and led by Gerzh, the half human, half Dark Lunari son of the late Kathorg, one of the ancient Dark Lunari. Because of his mingled lineage, Gerzh looked like an almost average man but had somehow managed to obtain the near immortal lifespan of the Dark Lunari. Now, five hundred two years after the defeat of his father, Gerzh had subdued enough of the world that he could launch the final plans his father had given him. He was going to invade Tanarad and attack the great city of Atalan. As he sat in council with his most trusted commanders, he smiled, thinking of the victories he would soon win.

A map was spread on the table before the commanders. One of them stood up and pointed at the map. “There are too many cities between the west coast and Atalan,” he stated. “We may be able to take a few, but we’d have to fight through every city and Atalan would be warned long before we got there.”

Another leaned over and pointed to a different part of the map. “We could sail a longer distance and attack Atalan from the south,” he suggested.

One of the commanders that had been sipping at a cup of water slammed it on the table. “Atalan is too protected to take it with seasick soldiers. Besides, every city along the Bay of Anamnesis would see us sail in and send their armies to assist.”

Broin, Gerzh’s favorite commander, stood up. “We cannot attack from the west, south, or east. That leaves only the north.” He pointed at a lone city on the map. “Itragoni is isolated on the northern coast at the western edge of the Wulu’Mu’Bar Mountains. The soldiers of darkness are already in place and can hold the lands south of Itragoni while we arrive from the north. The people will either die in battle or be killed by the soldiers of darkness when they flee.”

Gerzh chuckled. “I like it,” he announced. “There will be no living witnesses of our arrival and there are fewer cities to pass along the way to Atalan. This is along the lines of what Kathorg had in mind. We can quickly take Itragoni and have enough horses to quickly move the troops and take the cities of Amis and Eeraman before we turn south and find our enemy unprepared for our arrival.”

“But what of the Awa?” one of the commanders asked. “They will surely see us depart Bormaror and send a message to the Great King.”

Gerzh frowned. “The fishmen have kept us from attacking them through claims of neutrality but you are correct, their true allegiance is to the Great King. We will sail through their realm at night and burn everything that sticks above the surface.” He turned to one of the commanders. “I will speak with the dark ancients and demand liquid fire.”

A dark shadow in the corner left the wall and stepped toward the table. Several of the commanders quietly gasped in fear at the sudden appearance of the Dark Lunari. “We are already here,” spoke the soft voice. “Your request will be honored and every ship supplied with the substance you request. Kathorg would be pleased if he were here to see you bringing his plans to completion.”

“It is not my father, but the advancement of prophecy for which I endeavor,” Gerzh replied. “Fear not the ancient enemy. Follow the precedents,” he quoted. “The Lunari are no longer assisting the enemy and I am following the footsteps of those before me.”

“Success will be well rewarded,” the Dark Lunari said. “Do not fail us as Zarvaz failed us.” He slowly moved back to the wall and disappeared.

A brief silence filled the room before Gerzh leaned forward and spoke. “You have your orders. We set sail at midnight.”