Prologue

I was born in the early morning hours, when the mists still hung heavily in the chill air, far in

the distant past. My dam and my sire, Fire Weaver and Sky Splitter, who are among those

referred to as “First Ones”, were filled with joy at my arrival, as is generally true of all parents. I

was given the name “Mist Runner”, I was later told, because I pumped my tiny arms and legs as

if I was trying to run through the cool early morning mists.

We are an ancient people, one of the five Elder Races on the world of Y’Nahra. We call

ourselves the Ayoona-Lu-Nehm’a, which means “The People of the Forests”. The First Ones

have existed on this world since its earliest days, and from them the five immortal Elder Races

sprang. Of my own people, we are artists, poets, healers, magic wielders, and fierce defenders of

great pride and skill who value truth and honor above all else. We live in harmony with the land

and have a deep respect for all life. We live simply, though our lives are rich with culture and a

natural understanding of the Great Circle of Life.

From the earliest of ages, we have lived in a vast area known as The Great Forest—a living

whole with its own special awareness—where evil cannot enter. In return for all that it provides,

we act as caretakers and protectors of all things wild and free, taking only what little we need to

sustain ourselves. We are content to live within our ancestral homelands, though some of us will

occasionally travel the world to see and learn. We do not hesitate to come to the aid of those in

need, or to teach if asked. Over the course of time, however, there have been some among the

younger races who have attempted to invade our lands with force. We always resisted,

determined to live free according to our own ways. The invaders would learn that we could not

be matched in battle and would soon leave us be. We always had peaceful relations with many of

the younger races, such as the Cunatii, the Pumatii, the Skunatii, and the Vulpinii, who are

collectively called The People of the Woodlands. The “furless ones”, such as the Eastlanders, the

Southlanders and the Westlanders, took a bit more time and effort to develop peaceful relations

with. In more recent times, however, there came a new group of “furless ones” from the

southeastern part of the continent known as The Wastelands. They led a brutal existence with

little regard for Life...a horrific existence to our minds, and, worst of all, they fought as madmen

bent upon utter destruction of all in their path if any did not instantly drop on the ground and

immediately convert to their ways. For those such as the Woodland People, these Wastelanders

viewed them as “demon animals that walked upright”, and would simply strive to kill them

whenever possible.

When we first encountered these strangers, we thought their minds must surely have been

affected by the twisted and barren Wastelands they came from. They tried to rush us in their

religious hatred of any who were different. Much to their utter astonishment and confusion, as

well as to their despair, they found that they were no match for our defenders. After two wars

and several skirmishes, they eventually agreed to an uneasy truce. Basically, as long as they left

us alone, we would leave them alone.

Among themselves the Wastelanders are of two camps in their beliefs, and hostilities are

growing between them. Both sides tend to be rigid and inflexible, firmly entrenched in their

belief of inflicting their own version of order—not only upon others, but also on the world itself.

In the eyes, hearts and minds of my own people, this shows a horrible disrespect to the Great

Circle of Life. We have watched in great sadness as they force their surroundings into unnatural

shapes, and as they force their people to live a joyless life. They are ruled by despots who claim

to know the Divine Will, and they treat their own females nearly as cruelly as they do their

slaves. The average Wastelander tends to view us with superstitious awe, and even fear. Their

warriors hold us in grudging respect. Their merchants have learned that we are fair in all our

dealings.

I begin this tale as I am making my way home from conducting my yearly trades. I typically

begin my route near the time of the spring equinox and generally return to my den sometime

during the summer. I spend as much of the rest of the year as I can with my love mate, Red

Moon. She makes small pottery jars and then fills them with various herbal preparations—

ointments, salves, tea mixtures, unguents, and the like. I take these to trade for other things,

beginning in the village of Cedar Knoll, about three days east of The Great Forest. The village is

near a river that flows out of our homeland and eventually joins with a much larger river called

the Silver Mist that comes down out of the northern mountains. For the past twenty turns of the

seasons, I have begun and ended my trading trips at an establishment there called The Glass

Dove Inn. I have formed a friendship with two mortals who call the village their home: Alnakh,

the proprietor of the inn, and Salzar, the sergeant of the village guard. When I started out this

spring, all seemed normal enough, though when I stopped again in Cedar Knoll on my way

home, things ended up becoming anything

but

normal.

Uploaded 05/03/2018 04:12

This is the Prologue for "The Sacrifice for Peace, vol-1, The Gathering".

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  • Word count: 958
  • Reading time: 5 minutes @ 180wpm

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