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PROLOGUE to The Gossamer Trilogy



       In the Time forever lost in wispy cobwebs of the Ages Past, when Magics were stronger by a hundredfold than exists now; long, long ago, before the Time when Humankind came like locusts on the wind; and before that, in the Time when the Tri-Races who called themselves Gnomes, and Dwarves and Halflings appeared and spread across the primeval land; and long before that, in the Time lost in nearly forgotten Ages when the Elven came and were themselves but younglings to this wondrous world; and yet, before even that, in the Time beyond the deep recesses of foggy dimness that could have been recalled by the Grand Elder of the Grand Sire of the eldest living of all the clans of the creatures who call themselves the People of the Eons; even then, in that Time so unimaginably long ago, the People of the Eons were a part of this world, as they have always been. They are a magical people, for magic in one form or another is a natural ability for all the People of the Eons. Not withstanding their great physical strength and abilities, their innate Magics insured they were the most powerful creatures on this world.
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       Just as they have always been part of this world, so has the dark force of evil. It has been known by many names; the Doom Lord, the Dark Master, the Lord of Darkness, the Heart of Evil; though the People of the Eons know this black force as the Ancient Darkness. Thus, there has always been the inevitable struggle between good and evil. Many races among the People of the Eons were inherently good, and just, and fair, and treated the world and all its creatures with the dignity and respect each deserved. Some of their races were quite solitary by nature, and seldom interacted with the world, or even their own kind. Alas, some races were evil by nature, and made use of their great powers, including magic, to kill, torture, and make life as unbearable as possible for anything that got in their way. It must be understood that those most evil among the People of the Eons could be as vile as the Ancient Darkness itself. Because of this, the other creatures of the world learned to fear and avoid all of them, irregardless, for it was far too dangerous to try to discern the good from the evil.
". . . . the Ancient Darkness came to them with a scheme whereby together they would enslave or destroy the entire world."
       Among the powerful innate Magics the various races possessed was one that only a few races possessed— the ability to shapechange into many forms of animals. The races with this Magic could go out into the world disguised as a bird, or bear, or stag, and thus they could be accepted by other creatures without the fear they normally caused in their natural form. When the creatures of the man races came upon the world— first the Elven, then the Gnomes, Dwarves and Halflings, and later the creatures of Humankind— they too learned to fear the People of the Eons above all else, making no distinction between the good and the bad. Yet, those People of the Eons who could shapechange found they could also take the form of any of the man races. By doing so they could secretly interact with these intriguing creatures, who were just as intelligent as they, but far more interesting and complex in their ways of living.
       Eventually there were some among the man races who realized there was both good and bad among the People of the Eons, and learned not to judge them all as evil and dangerous. Yet, because all People of the Eons remained secretive, particularly when mingling among the man races in shapechanged form, alliances were seldom ever struck between their worlds, though there were rare exceptions. However, those exceptions never happened among the evil races, for they never worked together with each other, much less with the pitiful creatures of the man races. These evil races have always been too selfish, too treacherous and far too distrustful for such as that.
       Yet, very long ago, when the Elven were still new to the world, before the Tri-Races appeared, there was once a time when the evil races agreed to such an alliance among themselves, believing it might be useful, for the Ancient Darkness came to them with a scheme whereby together they would enslave or destroy the entire world. They were convinced they must ally with the Ancient Darkness for this horrendous scheme to work. They knew that in order to conquer the world for themselves, they must first defeat the good races of the People of the Eons, their near equals in power. Once victorious, the evil races and the Ancient Darkness could go on to conquer the other creatures of the world, including the Elves, with near impunity. In their blind arrogance the evil races believed themselves powerful enough together to keep the Ancient Darkness at bay, and yet benefit from its plan. So, they plotted and schemed, and fought for seven hundred years against the good races. Then finally the struggle ended, but only because of the part played by the Chosen Ones.
". . . . a curse like none before or since, devised by the twisted spirit of the Ancient Darkness itself, to be wrought by the strongest of evil Magics; . . ."
       The existance of the Chosen Ones, and from where they came, was known only to themselves and the Ancient Darkness. They were always born to a single clan of a particular good race of the People of the Eons, and would always be born thus. The Ancient Darkness knew it had been defeated by the interference of these Chosen Ones. It chided the evil races with which it had conspired for their utter failure, and brooded on its defeat for five hundred years, a mere trifling of time for the Ancient Darkness.
       As the ages passed the Tri-races appeared, and then Humankind, their numbers growing and spreading across the face of the world over the millinnia, once again driving the Ancient Darkness to devise a new plan for their destruction. And once again it conspired with the evil races, its fiery tongue reminding them how this one clan had turned the tide against them before, causing their embarrassing defeat. Then it told of its new plan, how it had found a way, requiring the aid of the most powerful from the evil races, to place a curse on this clan. This would be a curse like none before or since, devised by the twisted spirit of the Ancient Darkness itself, to be wrought by the strongest of evil Magics; a curse against nature which would utterly destroy the clan by causing them never to be able to have younglings, ever again. It would be centuries before all living members of this clan would die, because all races of the People of the Eons lived exceptionally long lives compared to all other creatures; even longer than the Elven of the man races. Yet, die they would, for without younglings to be born, the clan would dwindle away to nothingness.
       The Ancient Darkness never spoke the real truth of its plan to the evil races. Only it knew that if it could stop the birth of another Chosen One, any more Chosen Ones ever, their power to fight it would be ended, for even the Chosen Ones were mortal, and those still living would someday die too. Then once more, with the aid of the foolish evil races, it would defeat the good races of the People of the Eons, then conquer the world. By that time the evil races would be so decimated themselves, they too could be controlled and toyed with like puppets. Oh, how they would hate that, those arrogant fools of the evil races.
       As the virtues of this plot, this most vile of curses, was argued and wrangled over among the evil races, it was found out by the Chosen Ones. Their frenzied efforts soon found an answer of sorts which might stave off the curse and save the clan. The Chosen Ones, who before had saved the good races of the People of the Eons, now hoped to save their own clan, and thereby continue their fight against the Ancient Darkness.
       The Chosen Ones feared that even their wonderous magic may not be powerful enough to completely stop the taint of evil which the curse could cause. Still, they did everything they could, but despite the powerful Magics of all three of the Chosen Ones, there still came to be a curse of sorts upon the clan. It was bad enough, this residual curse, but it could have been far worse. It could have been just as the Ancient Darkness had planned. In the end their magic saved the clan and ensured forever that the Chosen Ones would still be born, for they knew the Ancient Darkness could never try such a curse again. Yet, for the clan there was a price to pay, a heartbreaking price. For many creatures, such a price would have been unbearable.
      ". . . . there was a prophecy, a foreseeing of one who would come to break the curse. It was something onto which they could hold, a saving grace . . . ."
       For all that the clan knew, the curse to be brought upon them had succeeded, for it surely seemed so. They went on with their lives, never knowing how the Chosen Ones had helped save them and all good races in the seven hundred year struggle; never knowing that the true curse from the Ancient Darkness had not been visited upon them; never knowing how the Chosen Ones had kept that curse away by their Magics, yet could not stop the lesser curse that the clan now suffered. They never even knew the Chosen Ones existed, except for the tales from ancient legend, stories strangely peculiar to their clan. Among those stories there was a prophecy, a foreseeing of one who would come to break the curse. It was something onto which they could hold, a saving grace that would in time remove this curse, or so they believed.
       The Ancient Darkness knew much, though. It knew the Chosen Ones had once again somehow interfered with its glorious plans. It knew, ever since it felt the Chosen Ones re-weave the powerful Magics it had cast, twisting them into a tangle that corrupted its curse into something other than what it was meant to be. Yet, the curse as it happened seemed to the Ancient Darkness to be almost as devastating as what it originally intended. In fact, the Ancient Darkness thought that for this clan, which held such an unexplainable affinity and perverse fascination for Humankind, it was ironically appropriate for the curse to have been twisted into such a fate for them. In the end the Chosen One's interference did nothing more than postpone the inevitable, making the Ancient Darkness wait longer for its victory.
       The Ancient Darkness also knew of the prophecy. Yes, it had heard of this prophecy, and it knew that it must stop the prophecy from coming about. It knew if the prophecy was fulfilled, it may never again have the chance to take the world for itself. So, it acted once again, setting about with this new plan, one so deviously simple it would never be seen for what it really was. The plan's success seemed certain, almost inevitable. Now the Ancient Darkness had completed the final step to thwarting the prophecy, and so it waited, smiling to itself, for soon, very soon now, it would cheat the prophecy, .... or would it?




A prophecy:
When Gossamers three return, rejoice.
We sing The One with wondrous voice
Who frees the Gossamer nearly gone
And lifts the curse that binds our hearts,
Whose deed of love shall break his own.

When Gossamers three return again,
Though his heart breaks, our hearts shall mend,
Yet still his life is cursed of old,
And knowing not the good he brings,
Must die before his wings unfold.

But one day hence, when life is lost
He shall be paid for what it cost.
And freed at last, with clouds to roam,
The Last Enchanted Dragon spreads
His silver wings to bring him home.



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Copyright © Fred Hurteau, 2006, 2007