Authors: Pedro Urvi
The Ilenian Enigma
The Ilenian Enigma:
Book 1: MARKED
Book 2: CONFLICT
Book 3: TRIALS
Book 4: DESTINY
Copyright© 2016 Pedro Urvi
All rights reserved
Cover Illustration by Sarima
Translated by Christy Cox
This saga is dedicated to my wonderful parents with all my heart,
for their love and unconditional support.
A cloak of sinister darkness hovers over Tremia. A terrible evil approaches, unnoticed, shadowing the whole continent, while the unaware inhabitants remain blind to all the horrible suffering it brings under its black wings. It comes from a faraway land beyond the seas, from a distant continent where slant-eyed men dwell. Nothing will stop the coming of abysmal pain, because the greed, yearning for power and absolute evil of the person brewing it will never be satisfied: Yuzumi, the Dark Lady, Empress of the continent of Toyomi, a being whose perversity knows no equal.
The unthinkable is about to happen. The three great Tremian kingdoms, powerful, proud, the greatest military powers of the great continent are on the border of war, a war of devastating proportions. A bloodbath which will sink the continent in pain and destruction, carrying death and suffering to thousands of innocents. The proud Rogdonians, the lords of the west, find themselves at a treacherous crossroads. On the one hand the Norghanians have descended from their snowy mountains in the far north, seeking revenge. On the other hand, the cunning Noceans, lords of the deep deserts, have located themselves south, hoping to expand their dominions.
In the highlands, a young Norriel warrior who has been disowned by his people leaves his home to begin a dangerous quest: to find justice for his parents’ murder. Fully determined, he begins a journey in which he will not let anybody or anything get in the way of this goal. But Komir is not just any Norriel. He is different, unique, he has been marked by tragedy, and the Gift he carries within him and loathes, marked by a fateful Premonition which the Dark Lady must avoid at any cost. She looks for Komir without pause, with the sole purpose of killing him. But Komir is not alone, his great friend Hartz travels with him, as great in heart as in size. With the big guy at his side and the Gift of magic within him he goes in search of his destiny.
Two more companions join him on his quest: Kayti, the smart redhead from the Custodial Brotherhood, whom they save from an ambush, and restless Lindaro, a priest of the Temple of Light whom they find at the Great Lighthouse of Egia. There, guided by Komir’s mother’s medallion, the four adventurers discover something as unusual as hard to believe: an underground temple of the Ilenians, the Lost Civilization. This civilization walked on Tremia before the era of men and has been extinct for millennia. There the four adventurers confront nightmare monsters and a powerful guardian spirit. They fight for their lives and come out victorious. Komir brings out the mysterious medallion of the Ilenian king buried there: the Medallion of Ether. And Hartz takes for himself the bewitched two-handed sword that belonged to the Ilenian king.
In Rilentor, young Prince Gerart, heir to the Crown of Rogdon, has been poisoned by a supposedly Nocean arrow, which brings on a diplomatic crisis between the two kingdoms. Aliana, a courageous, kind-hearted young Healer of the Temple of Tirsar, is summoned to save the life of the heir. She manages to heal the Prince, who upon his recovery finds out that Haradin, the King of Rogdon’s powerful Battle Mage, has disappeared. War is near and Rogdon needs Haradin’s power in order to confront the terrible Nocean Sorcerers. Gerart and Aliana set forth towards the east to find him, together with a column of Royal Lancers and Protectress Sisters.
Among those in the rescue party are Sergeant Mortuk, the Lancers Lomar and Kendas and Protectress Sister Jasmin. The search for Haradin takes them to the dangerous land of the Usik, to the unfathomable forests. There they come under the attack of men with jade skin and painted faces. They manage to reach the Peak of the Eagles and enter the highest cavern. Aliana, Gerart, Mortuk, Lomar and Kendas face a golden-eyed spirit, rock-creatures and traps which turn men into statues.
They manage to survive and find the Temple of Earth of the Lost Civilization. Beside a sarcophagus in which an Ilenian King sleeps the eternal sleep, they find Haradin. He has been petrified, frozen in carbon-ice. In his hand… a fabulous Ilenian medallion: the Medallion of Earth.
The group escapes with the helpless Mage. In their flight, first Jasmin and then Mortuk lose their lives fighting heroically against the savage Usik. One step away from salvation, Aliana falls into the river and is dragged away by the fierce current. Kendas jumps in to the rescue. The Prince, his heart broken, must leave for Rogdon in order to heal Haradin, hoping that Kendas will be able to save Aliana while he takes the Mage to safety.
In the Masig steppes Iruki, a young girl of the Blue Cloud tribe, is kidnapped by the Norghanians and taken to the fortress of Great Duke Orten, for his pleasure. That same night, though, a mysterious Assassin whose mission is to kill the Duke frees Iruki and allows her to avenge herself: she kills Orten.
Iruki and the Assassin escape together from the fortress and are chased by the best Norghanian trackers. The Assassin, who possesses the Gift, gets rid of two of the expert trackers, but the third is not an ordinary man. Lasgol, Norghanian Forest Ranger and Royal Tracker is also a Chosen, and has the Gift as well. Lasgol confronts the Assassin and manages to beat him, capturing both fugitives. Lasgol must find out who gave the order to kill Orten; he wants to prevent the war between Norghana and Rogdon, since Rogdon is suspected of having ordered the murder. But the Assassin will not talk. When Lasgol is about to hand in the two fugitives to the Norghanian troops, he is surprised by the Blue Cloud who rescue Iruki and the Assassin, making Lasgol flee for his life.
In an attempt to avoid confrontation between her tribe and the Norghanian army, which would cause the extermination of her people, Iruki decides to go to the top of the Fountain of Life and hide there with the Assassin.
Meanwhile, Komir is unaware of the threads which Destiny is weaving around him, but he experiences something extraordinary: the Ilenian Medallion of Ether creates an unbreakable link with his Gift, his inner power, and shows him a young woman in the distance, wearing a medallion similar yet different to his. It is Aliana, the Healer, and her Medallion of Earth links itself in symbiosis to Komir’s.
But the sinister darkness pursuing Komir and his friends is relentless. A price has been put on their heads in Ocorum. Kayti and Hartz fall in a night ambush in which Hartz’s Ilenian sword reveals its power. They save themselves, but find Komir on the point of falling into another ambush and both run to warn him.
Will Hartz and Kayti manage to warn Komir in time? Will the Dark Lady stop the Premonition? Will there be war among the three great kingdoms of the continent as Isuzeni has planned? What is the Dark lady after in Tremia? What are the enigmas of the Ilenians? Which mysteries are locked within the Ilenian medallions? What is the relationship between Komir, Aliana and the Ilenians?
Keep reading to find out.
Walking fast and in the middle of the night, Komir set out to the Temple of Light, crossing the dark streets of Ocorum with urgency. He wondered which would be the straightest way and turned to his right down a wide street, where he passed four soldiers of the city guard on patrol. He nodded in greeting.
He had to hurry. Abbot Dian’s message had been clear, it was a matter of utmost importance and extreme urgency. Something bad had to have happened, or else the Abbot would not have sent for him at the Flying Horse Inn at such an ungodly hour. Unease stirred in his chest. Would anything have happened to the big Norriel? No, Hartz was as strong as an ox and harder than a boulder, Komir could not even imagine that anything could happen to his best friend. Would it be something to do with Kayti? She was with Hartz, although it was probably not that either. Perhaps Lindaro, the good man of faith? The young Norriel had no answer and his mind, guided by the worry he was coming up with the worst of scenarios.
He kept walking at the same speed for quite a while, and at last identified the characteristic building of the Temple of Light at the end of the narrow street he had just turned into. When he was already half-way, four armed figures appeared at the end of the street which opened to the Square of the Gathering, where the Temple stood. Instinctively Komir stopped, seeing possible danger, and watched the four men who were beginning to come towards him forming a line, cutting off the street between him and the Square.
he thought, surprised. He was in a relatively safe part of the town and the guard had just gone by. Seeing that the four men kept coming in his direction, forming a barrier, he turned to escape down the opposite way. There was no time for useless confrontations. But to his surprise four other men appeared at that end, forming another human chain and trapping him in the street.
By the Norriel Goddesses, they’re not thieves, they’re coming for me! Damn, I’ve fallen into a trap! The message wasn’t from Abbot Dian! It’s an ambush! Are they coming to kill me? But why? It doesn’t make any sense, why me?
All these thoughts rushed through his mind at once as he tried to make sense of the situation. Eight men with swords and daggers: he could not fight them all at once, there were too many.
He had to come up with something fast or he would die.
Without thinking twice, he ran at full speed towards the four men coming from the south, from the Temple Square, the ones who were closest to him. As he ran he drew out two small throwing daggers from the back of his belt. He went on running towards the four men, who stopped still as statues when they saw his sudden change of course. They looked completely bewildered by his reaction.
Surely their prey always remains still and frightened when it’s surrounded. But I’m not any common prey. I’m a Norriel, and as such I’ll die killing! By the Goddess Igrali who watches over me on this dark night, I’ll die with blood on my hands!
Komir swore to himself.
Three steps away from the expectant criminals, he stopped abruptly. He almost fell forward from his momentum, but managed to control himself at the last moment. Behind him he could hear the footsteps of the other four, coming at a run. He regained his balance, and with a whiplash movement of his arms threw his two daggers.
A silver gleam flashed across the night.
The two men in the center of the line fell to the ground amid cries of surprise and pain, with a dagger in each of their chests. At such short distance missing his mark would have been impossible. The other two assailants jumped on him. Komir unsheathed his sword and long knife. He blocked the charge at the last moment and counterattacked, but the two attackers defended themselves skillfully. This confirmed his suspicions; they were not mere thieves. They knew the art of the sword.
Komir was well aware that he could not stay there exchanging sword-strokes, because the other four would soon be at his back and he would be finished. He had to do something! He blocked a downward stroke to his heart and with a leap forward kicked his opponent in the chest so that the man fell backwards. He turned to the left to block the attack of the other aggressor, then crouched quickly and launched a stroke which caught his adversary in the ribcage.
He looked back. The other four were almost on top of him. What to do? Run or defend himself?
He began to run towards the square as if the devil were after him. The stone houses on both sides of the narrow street were slipping behind, one after the other. His lungs were about to burst from the effort. He could see the great round fountain and the building of the Temple behind it. He had almost made it, a few more strides and he would be out of the endless street and find safety. He went on without looking back, with the sound of many footsteps on the cobbles telling him that he was being chased.
Suddenly something hit his right foot.
And flew forward.
For a brief moment he felt his body flying, like a bird seeking the shortest way to safety through the air. Unbalanced, he crashed into the side-wall of one of the last houses of the street. The blow made him bounce savagely, and he fell on his back, winded. He also lost his daggers. Brutal pain exploded inside his head. He shook it to clear his mind, but the hammering would not even let him think. He began to get to his feet, but the moment he tried to stand he became so dizzy that he fell back till he found himself sitting. Nausea overcame him, and he tried desperately not to vomit. He touched his head and felt something wet and warm. When he looked at his hand he saw blood dripping from his fingers and realized he had cracked his head open. He took a deep breath, trying to calm the pain and contain the nausea, but he could not manage to recover.
Before he could find his balance again his pursuers had caught up with him. He looked around for his sword, but it was several feet away. He would never reach it in time.
I’m defenseless, I have no chance of getting out of this…
The five men surrounded him in a half-circle, pointing swords at his body. Disabled, alone and surrounded by enemies in the middle of the night in a foreign city, it seemed to Komir a sad end to his quest. He had failed and he was going to die, but worse still, he had failed his parents
. It all ends sadly this fateful night.
His life was being wasted without having found the answers he was looking for, and this infuriated him.
It was not the first time he had confronted death. He had dodged it in the past and felt its cold presence more than once in battle, but this time he was sure of the end.
“You were running so fast you didn’t see the rope, did you?” said the tallest of his attackers mockingly. “Not surprising as it’s painted black. The oldest trick in the book, and it still works nine times out of ten. And it worked again!” He laughed, looking at his prey lying helpless on the ground.
An intense combination of rage, frustration and fear began to grow inside Komir as if a spark had fallen on a dry bundle of hay. And like dry hay beginning to burn, the fire inside him grew in intensity until he felt he was filled with live flames. He tried to understand what he was feeling and noticed how the flames changed color, turning an intense sky-blue. He recognized the process, it had happened before …
He raised his head and looked at the man who had addressed him, leaving aside for a moment what was taking place vividly inside him and remembering the small knife he carried in his boot. He took it out with a swift move and threatened his attackers from the ground. When they saw his desperate attempt they burst out laughing at the unequal situation.
“Careful, you might cut yourself with that! What a dope, can you believe he still thinks he can fight us?” said another man.
Komir thrust his knife right and left and his attackers stepped back, laughing harder.
“Who… who sent you?” he asked, trying to gain time to recover and still waving his knife.
The leader shrugged.
“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter if we tell you, these are your last moments on this earth, so… I doubt it’ll do you any good if you know, but if that’s your last wish… Lotas sent us with the order to kill you.”
“Lotas? Who’s Lotas and why does he want me dead? I don’t know him. I’ve never even heard of him!”
The hammering in Komir’s head had stopped at last, his dizziness had vanished and now all that remained was that powerful feeling, the blue energy burning inside him. He felt it grow and grow, feeding on his anger, and for once he wished he could control it
“And you’ll never get the chance to know him, you dog!” said another man. There was a smile on his ugly face as he winked. “All you need to know is that there’s a price on your head. A contract for your life, and a generous one. We’re looking forward to collecting it.”
“True,” said a fat man with a thick black beard. “And as you’ve been ill-bred enough to have dispatched several of our boys, there’ll be all the more for us.” He aimed a kick at the Norriel.
Komir lost his knife with the impact of the kick on his face. Forgetting the pain in an unconscious gesture, he raised his hand to his neck, to the Ilenian medallion he had found in the tomb of the king of the Lost Civilization. He held it tightly, and at the contact with his hand the mysterious jewel seemed to come to life, waking from a long lethargy, as if it had been waiting to return from the far beyond. He felt the sweet tingling it had produced in him before, and again the mysterious, ethereal sensation enveloped him completely like a magic cloak. He experienced the bodiless feeling, the Ether, the Spirit. The beautiful, crystalline gem which formed the medallion began to feed on the blue energy accumulated in his being, creating a link between his own energy and the jewel.
“Who’s put a price on my life? Who’s going to pay you for my death?” Komir asked, even while he struggled to make sense of what was going on inside him.
“Only Lotas knows that, and it’s all the same to us who’s paying, just as long as we get paid,” said the leader of the band. He laughed loudly. “You’ll die without knowing who wants your head. Although what you don’t know, and you’re going to like this, is that it’s not just
head that has a price on it.”
“What are you saying? I don’t…”
“Your friends are surely dead by now. You might take that bit of information as a parting gift.”
All the men laughed whole-heartedly.
When Komir heard this, he realized he was not the only one to have fallen into a trap. His friends must have too, and the rage and fear he felt at that made the inner volcano of energy explode. He closed his eyes and felt the great jewel in the medallion fill with his energy and shine ardent-white. Unknown golden symbols formed in his mind. They seemed to flow from the gem itself, one after another, as if dancing in waves to form what looked like words. Then the words rearranged and formed a sentence, although he could not understand any of it.
The gem seemed animated by an intellect of its own, it was dictating a message to his mind which he could not understand. It was not Komir who was controlling what was happening but the Ilenian medallion. But what were those enigmatic symbols? What did that obscure sentence mean? The medallion was using his inner energy and summoning a sentence, a Phrase of Power. Komir was finally aware of something so strange that it left him breathless: the medallion was casting a spell through his own energy.
“I see you’ve got your eyes closed. Are you ready to face the journey of no return? Say your prayers, you’ll need them to cross hell,” said the leader of the band. He raised his sword ready to cut off his victim’s head with a single stroke.
At that instant, all the energy which the strange jewel was channeling burst forth from the medallion in Komir’s hand in a devastating explosion. The loud blast was followed by a blinding light which lit up the dark street in all directions. It hit the leader first, as he was closer. Straight away it expanded to strike the other four attackers, overwhelming them with devastating strength.
The power of the blast catapulted the five ruffians through the air. Their bodies broken by the brutal blow, they fell a few feet from Komir.
The Norriel, still in shock, looked at the fallen men and made an effort to clear his mind. He stood up and gathered his weapons. He was not sure the five men were dead, although they certainly looked it. One of them moaned in pain, and Komir cut his throat with a clean stroke. He watched the blood run down the neck and chest of the man. Half-closing his eyes he looked at the others. For an instant he felt doubts, remorse and guilt at what he was about to do.
But if I let them live today, they might kill me tomorrow
, he said to himself. Although he knew the deed would blacken his soul, he felt he had no choice, and he finished them off.
Unfortunately, it was much easier than he had expected.
The noise and brightness of the explosion had awakened the neighbors, and lights began to appear in the nearest windows. He did not want to have to explain what had just happened to the city guard, so he decided to disappear in search of his friends.
He ran with one thought in his mind: the medallion had cast a spell with intent and direction. It had not been a mere explosion of energy like the ones he had experienced before, without control or awareness. Komir knew nothing of magic, spells, runes or Phrases of Power, so he could not create magic. But the medallion could and did.