When the present is plagued with past,
When the broken beast is freed at last,
When the dark of dawn arrives,
The rebellion will arise,
A single spark a dying ember,
This is a tale you will remember,
For when the fire roars and the drums pound,
When the monster is awakened by a single sound,
When the dark of dawn reveals the demons of the night,
They won't be blighted by the glowing light,
Not this time. . .
It was well past midnight, but the harbour was full of late night revellers spilling in and out of every tavern and inn as was possible. Boats bobbed methodically on the calm water, the light of the lanterns dancing on the ink like surface. Drunken men staggered about arm in arm, singing slurred shanties, waving their half drunken tankards of ale around carelessly. Along the qua in the centre of all the noise and bustle was the infamous tavern 'The Black Unicorn' home to pirates and plunderers alike.
The doors were open wide to accommodate the vast amounts of people pouring into the tavern. It was packed with travellers and the rowdy crowd of pirates and locals. Men sat on the counter, arms woven together swaying and singing along to the small band in the corner. It reeked of sweat and stale beer, but everyone was too drunk to care. No one paid any attention to the three men huddled in the corner.
The old man facing away from the ruckus was scrutinizing the two people before him with popping eyes, one of which was slightly off centre making him look slightly cross-eyed. His bulbous nose was greasy as was his grizzled grey hair. His long yellowing nails tapped rhythmically on the table as his eyes travelled from the scrawny adolescent to the well built man leaning against the wall arms folded, promptly ignoring the pair of them. The youth shifted uncomfortably as the old man leant across the table and said in an accent thick with the sea,
"Do y' know why we're 'ere laddie?"
His putrid breath wafted across the table. The boy shook his head trying to stop his eyes from watering.
His mouth turned up in a rotten toothed smile as he turned his attention on the man ahead of him. "So . . . d 'y know who ar' host be Mr stoic over ther'? I don't tink e's gonna show his face. . .this 'ere Lord." The man showed no sign of having heard the words and continued to lean against the wall. "What 'bout you Mouse? What d y know 'bout this host o' ours?"
The scraggly boy looked up uneasily, trying not to make eye contact. "I dunno anything Sir, honest. I was told to meet 'ere same as you." The old man tapped his fingers harder on the table. "Mmhmm. . .Well I did ma research into this fella and I 'eard he's a royal, not to be trusted."
The boy muttered "I did 'ear something, but I didn't think anything of it. Someone said he has a cloak of invisibility like. . ." He trailed off at the look on the old man's face.
"You better not be lyin' to old Crow now 'bout invisibility cloaks an' what not," He sighed dramatically, effectively clouding them in a mist of pungent bacteria. "This host is obviously not gonna show his pathetic face." He sneered taking a swig from his tankard.
The boy jumped violently as a fist collided with the table and Crow nearly choked on his ale. "Don't you disrespect our host Corven, he can do things to you not even a madman could think of." The old man looked up from his tankard with one popping eye, his beak like nose sniffed disdainfully "Ah at last the statue speaks. Well then if he can do these things then wher' 'is he."
The broad shouldered man clenched his jaw and was about to retaliate when his eyes suddenly shifted to somewhere over Corven's shoulder. His face returned to it's natural impassive state. The boy's face followed his gaze and immediately froze in his seat. It was Corven's turn to flinch as a hand fell heavily on his shoulder. "Hello Crow glad to finally meet you in person, I hope you can forgive my lateness, but I had some pressing matters that needed to be attended to." The voice belonged to a male not passed his twenties. Corven didn't move as the figure moved slowly around the table and sat to the right of the stoic man. "Now you've been waiting long enough, why don't we get down to business."
The male in the cloak removed his hood his black hair falling across his face. The three waited in silence as he pulled a piece of cloth from his pocket and wrapped it around his head removing the hair from his face. "I assume you are all familiar with the legend of the five tribes?"
"Of course we know that story, everyone does." The skinny boy piped up.
"Aye, those who don't know 'ave heard some form of it or another." Corven said taking a swig from his tankard.
"Well then this is for those who have forgotten..."
The newcomer cracked his knuckles and began.
Long ago before our Grandfathers' Grandfathers were born five tribes protected Piawwa in unity and peace. The protectors of the land were known as the Guardians. When a child is born into any of the tribes they possess a gift, one which shows itself when they enter adulthood. Their gift being either a Demon or a Maven. When a Demon and Maven find a partner they can become unstoppable. These warriors guarded the boarders from intruders. They shared resources when times were tough and accepted each others' ways. They were governed over by the five elders who lived in the capital of Piawwa, Ravata. They ruled fairly and lived one with the land, until the Elder of the wind tribe sensed a change in the sea breeze, something was coming.
It came from the uncharted waters of the Blood Red Sea. Not long after the Elder's predication they arrived in foreign boats with exotic food and clothing. The Elders welcomed them with open arms. These people bore no gifts and didn't understand the tribal ways. It took over a generation for the Elders to realise their mistake. By letting in the newcomers they had let their guard down. It had been too long since they had recognised a threat.
Their defences had weakened. The ungifted had bred with the Demons and Maven resulting in half breeds and less guardian pairs had shown themselves. It was only when the Elders were attacked and one slain did the threat emerge. It showed itself in the form of a man named Rhodoru Drake. He didn't understand their traditional ways with the earth, seeing the land as something to be profited from and owned.
Rhodoru brought about the war known as the Battle of Ranckor. He was merciless in his greed for power. He didn't spare a soul, killing Demon and Maven children alike. The tribes fought as one, but with their forces depleted Rhodoru overpowered them forcing the Earth, Fire and Dark tribes into the Hiaryu Mountain range on the border between the Forest of giants and Piawwa where they vanished into hiding. He pushed the Sea and Wind tribes into the treacherous waters of the Sacred sea to the West.
But Rhodoru wasn't satisfied. After he crowned himself king, he captured the many stray demons and enslaved them, whilst threatening the Maven to his will. He brought more of his kind over across the Blood Red Sea and they swamped the land like a cancerous parasite."