Continuing the #My30DayWorld challenge, here’s a little excerpt describing an encounter between some villagers and a golem left to guard an ancient hall. The Legacy of Ash began as a role-playing setting for us, slowly evolving into fantasy fiction as the characters and cultures we created began to take on lives of their own. We hope you’ll follow us over the next few weeks as we reveal a little more about our world and the characters who bring it to life.
This post will cover day 16. We’re doing them all on our Legacy of Ash Facebook page as well, so head over and give us a like.
4/4: Are Constructs Common in Your World? What is their Role?
“It took us three days to reach the centre of the rift. The floating island had crashed, the force of it sending shocks out across the plains and into our small village. Thom Rest said he saw it come down, an aul falling from the sky, though at that distance he couldn’t tell how big the thing had been. Our small town was in shambles from the earthquakes. Only Mayor Harrow’s estate remained standing, that and the old mirenir keep on the edge of Parchin’s orchard.
Four different farms were out there, closer to the site of the fallen island than our little town, and if anyone had survived I knew they’d need help. Thom went with me, along with Cesca and her son, Keste. Cesca had been a soldier back when King Tersin ruled the country, and she wouldn’t be held back if there was trouble. Thom laughed at the thought of it. He didn’t think there’re be any need for fighting. Anyone closer to the rift than us wouldn’t be able to fight, he said, but Cesca just shook her head and slung her shield over her back.
The plains were shattered, fields torn by the force of the aul’s thunderous descent. The River Ysal was dry. Chunks of earth and stone from the falling aul blocked the river further upstream. The farms were gone. We found no survivors, but we decided to keep searching. It was my fault, curiosity getting the better of reason. We were so close to the centre of the rift, the place where the aul had struck land, and I wanted to see it. They say the ancient Rukarans left us, taking their palaces and kingdoms up into the sky. There would be treasure, I thought, if the legends were only half true. A fallen palace, filled with thousands of years of wealth.
The land itself was broken, struck not by a kingdom of wealth and treasure, but by ages of memory, layers of loss, heartache, misery, and sorrow.
After making our way to the centre, climbing down the deep rent the aul had cut through the fields, we found the remains of a building. Once it had stood on the aul, drifting high above the world. Now, it was shattered across the land. A temple perhaps, sealed in layers of sorcery, the ancient stone walls destroyed during its plummet back to our world. And there, half buried in the remains of the fallen aul, a creature of metal and stone lay unmoving.
Keste was first to approach the thing. Lying in the rubble, we thought nothing of it. Surely, it was merely an ornamental suit of armour, ageless, sealed within the aul. Poor Keste stepped forward to clear the dirt from the motionless creature’s solid helm. He had no defence against the thing’s might. The construct, not an empty suit of armour at all but a guardian infused with Rukaran sorcery to guard and watch the halls of the aul, crushed Keste’s head with one fearsome blow.
Thom screamed. Cesca leapt towards the Rukaran guardian, sword in hand and shield before her. Despite her skill, she lasted no longer than her son. The construct, a thing of metal and stone, sorcery encased in rusted armour, broke Cesca’s back with one powerful swing of its armoured fists.
Thom and I, terrified beyond comprehension, tried to run. We scramble over the torn rock and earth, both the remains of the aul scattered across the plain and the torn plains and farmland of our home. I escaped, but only because of Thom. Not because of bravery or heroism. No, this tale is nothing so grand. I survived because I was faster. I ran and ran, knocking Thom back in my haste. I ran and ran, back towards my broken little village, not stopping to help my friend, not when the inhuman sound of the Rukaran construct was behind me, and not when Thom’s screams filled the air.”
– Confession of Ilcan Vars, blacksmith of Ysal Creek, two days before his suicide
There are very few constructs in Celduras. The Rukarans, in the height of their power, had mastered the sorcery and skills needed to bind life to inanimate forms. Other races, like the elusive and savage varukhiri, are said to have mastered the power of merging the essence of two things. Even before the Rukarans opened their world to the ans’relan demons, they needed guardians for temples and palaces. These guardians, monstrosities of stone encased in armour, were imbued with sorcery to enable them to remain motionless, lifeless, until needed. Until the halls they had been left to guard were threatened.
They come in many shapes and sizes, their forms depending on their creator. All of them were made to serve, to protect a family estate, holy temple, or haunted crypt. Even now, the auls that drift through the skies above Celduras may contain riches and wealth, the ancient palaces of Rukaran lords or kings. But they also hold dangers, lifeless hulks of metal and stone, the sorcery within lying dormant for centuries, eons perhaps, until a misbegotten thief arrives, looking for treasure.
The Challenge will Continue…
Over the coming weeks, we will be posting more about Celduras and the continents that compose Calus Rukan. There is a lot more to reveal. Races, artifacts, oceans, and gods. This has been day 16, but look out for our next set of questions.