Of Life and Death

By Dartanian Lestor in Dark Ages


Malloray Verandi...a name that lives in infamy. Or would if names stayed in people’s minds longer than deeds. What Malloray accomplished was one of the greatest changes in history, and yet his name was lost to the ages. Those perusing me texts are most likely anxious to the deed of this mysterious fellow. Was it he who found the element of light to place in the lamps of Rucesion? I’m afraid not. Was it he the first wizard or rogue? Nay, those deeds belongs to others. The reason people like to remember the deed rather than the name is because this deed was unlike any other. Surely it changed all our lives, but many would for the worst. Ye see, quite by accident, Malloray discovered a terrible secret: how to die. It was him who history remembers simply as "the first unnatural death."

I do believe I can say without fear of contradiction though that Malloray did not intend to die. The pale twisted look on his face is proof enough of that. What is interesting to learn though is that Malloray had no enemies. None sought his death; how could they? In Hy-brasyl, death occured, of course, but the people were blissfully ignorant that it could be brought upon someone. Nay, that is not completely true. The people were not so thick-skulled as that. They surely knew that it was possible to "kill" someone, but the thought would never enter many of their minds. Those that did receive those thoughts (philosophers and the like mostly, those men that thought of the existance of the universe) would quickly banish them or dismiss them. Hy-brasylians did not even have such a word as "kill": The word "death" sufficed well enough on its own. Hy-brasyl was not perfect, but there was nothing ye could truly call evil there. The worst ye could possibly call anything there was neutral.


Time of Omens

It was a decent enough time, no one need be at war with others or one another. Those that lived faded away under the waves of Hy-brasyl calmly, never knowing anything other than a fond death. To say this is uneventful is a misconception many have. Peaceful times and prosperity are the best aspects to experience, and yet we as historians linger on the despicable: wars, plagues, dark pacts. Why is it that the legacy of the Grinneal seems so short and the dark and fallen so long? The calm and blessed streets of Hy-brasyl hold a fascination all their own. The gold streets bussled with activity. The rule was under the wise king Palloipe. The year was Danaan 999. This begins this man’s life.

Malloray lived in a time of omens. Superstition ran rampant in the land like a pale fog. So it is indeed correct that Malloray was marked from the start. He was born on the last sun of the last moon of the last year of the millenium: 12/28/999. Since the Aosda was lost a second time 70 years prior, the Hy-brasylians were worried. They feared that Hy-brasyl may share the same fate of the Aosda, and no one knew exactly why the civilization had vanished. They took Malloray’s presense as an ill-omen and sought to rid themselves of him. Fate and Fiosachd both move in mysterious circles and as luck would have it, a servant of a higher house took pity on the young child. She was ignorant of why she was ordered to take the child away from the town and she had a strong moral sense so she took the babe and raised it as her own.

She raised the child on her own, feeding him, clothing him, nurturing him. That young maiden’s name was Aislinn Verandi. The full understanding of her master’s whims had confused her, but she had at least figured that there was something about prophecy and omens in the reasoning. Thus, she called him Malloray, a bit of a twist actually. It meant nothing in her language but it is strikingly close to "ill omen" which is what is assumed she meant to say. He grew as one of the family, never once knowing that he had been marked when he was born.


Time of Growth

So Malloray grew with a new family, not knowing the story of dark omens. He was never told his true age because, in sooth, the servant girl did not know it. If she had, she might have chosen to abandon him as well. Her kind heart prevented that now. There was no father, the girl having been widowed at an early age for marrying someone much older, so she was doubly outcasted for that. The noble house took pity on Aislinn and gave her the work where she found young Malloray.

Malloray, even without the surrogate father, was put into a family of 5, quite large in those days. His sisters consisted of Arlina and Caitrina. Arlina was 2 years his senior and Caitrina 1 his junior. His brother, Adam, was almost into full manhood when Malloray was a mere 10. Adam struck off and made his own destiny, but it does not much intertwine with Malloray’s so this shall possibly be the last you may hear of him here.

Caitrina and Arlina, however, were quite influential in Malloray’s life. Youthful, well-educated, and resourceful, Caitrina was wise beyond her years. She and Malloray grew up with a strong bond between them. They always played games together, ate together, slept together: they would not bear to be seperated for long.Caitrina did not wish to make any decision without Malloray’s approval, and he felt the same of her. The shock came when Malloray sought to be wed though. Although he was a riper age, he was still young: but 23 winters. Caitrina felt betrayed by him. She did not expect him to ever chose another woman over her. Betrayal grew to spite, spite to vile hatred. The hatred bubbled and boiled until it turned black and she could not stand it any longer. As Malloray grew older, Caitrina and he grew farther apart.


Time of Plotting

I have not yet covered how exactly Arlina was important. That is because her importance is not really entered until here. Caitrina was a major influence in Malloray’s earlier life, but it was Arlina who was around more during the last years of his life. She had scorned Malloray for a long time in secret. Malloray did not only, from her perspective, usurp his place into the Verandi family, he also stole the affections of her younger sister. Jealousy rose out of her, a black nimbus of emotion. Malloray was mostly oblivious to this.

Meanwhile, Malloray had grown into a lanky but charismatic young man. His clean-cut face and youthful looks attracted quite a horde of ladies’ eyes. Only one received his gaze in return though: A young strapping lass by the name of Faylanna. She had grown most of her life in the assistance of her father who was a famed merchant in Hy-brasyl. Many had forgotten the day of Malloray’s birth and the omen, so they accepted him willingly. The ceremony was lovely and the couple was most happy. The priest blessed them with a hopefully strong lineage. They were all happy. Her father blessed her with one of his more precious items for the happy union: a silver talisman shaped in the symbol of life, an ankh.

Well, one was not happy. Caitrina, again, had always loved Malloray deeply, and in her eyes, this enchantress was stealing him away. She ran with flooded eyes from the ceremony into her sister’s arms. Arlina had already had enmity against Malloray but seeing her beloved sister in such a state through her into a fury. Her expression remained calm, but her eyes raged with the tumult of the storm inside of her. She spent quite a few months trying to decide how exactly to pay Malloray back.

It was then that she found that Faylanna was a curious sort. She was a philosopher in the highest standing and always dabbled with the unknown just to see what was there. Her latest study was that of the elements. Wind, water, fire, and earth were all peaceful but she had hoped to harness it and find how they worked. Arlina had a plan.

Faylanna and Malloray had taken residence and settled down in a nice house of two levels that was on the banks of the river Cionta. It was expensive, but her father had paid for it. It had a research area of sorts on the second floor where the lass conducted her search. It is rumoured that here was the incident that cost Malloray his life. Here is an excerpt from the lass’s diary on the day of Malloray’s death. The first part was written earlier in the day, the second after it occured:

He must be returning from his business in the market soon. I’ll be so glad when he returns. I’ve finally harnessed it! The true power of the wind! The elements are powerful indeed. Just an inkling of this could aid Hy-brasyl immensely. The wind to turn the mills, dry the clothes, sail the ships, the possibilities are limitless! It seems a bit unstable but I think I’ve made a breakthroughe. I must show him when he gets home. I am sure he will be fascinated with it.

I am still at a loss at what happened. I gathered the element exactly as I did before but...something was different. Tis all so wrong, so terribly wrong...the wind is not supposed to feel so cold...so cold. Malloray came home this day, and I ran towards him in my usual manner, hugged him and kissed him endearingly. Then I squeaked out, "I have something special to show you." He looked positively intrigued, so I held my hand out. The wind swirled around it, gently carressing along the arm and hovered a tad away from it. Malloray looked on, as if entranced. I giggled sweetly, as is my fashion, and whirled about as a dancer, winds surrounding me joyfully. But then, the winds spread. I’d lost control. The winds howled, whirling about and destroying all my precious equipment. I screamed and Malloray, galliant as he is, ran towards me to my rescue. The winds pushed him back, out through the window. What is that around him? Why does the river have a crimson streak trailing away? What happened? Why don’t I know?

(Taken from Faylanna’s personal diary, entry 3/21/1023)

The expression caught on Malloray’s face was famous: full of terror and grief. His eyes were wide with fright as he laid there. What is not talked about is the small amount of black powder that would have been found if the place had been searched more thoroughly at first. The substance was known as zerphyte, not a very common known mineral. However, in this mineral was a bit of essense of wind. If too much is used, the winds around could easily be amplified to a tornado-like state. This was all around Faylanna’s table. It could also be found in small amounts in Arlina’s bedroom. Her husband was a miner, and regularly brought home some unwillingly on his dusty work clothing. Historians do now believe that it was indeed a plot, and not simply an accident of Faylanna’s harnessing becoming uncontrollable. Caitrina realized that she was indirectly the cause of Malloray’s loss of life and, it was later found, decided it best to commit herself to suicide.

The body was easily found in the streets, most of the blood having flown from him during the night at the river Cionta. His terror striken expression stayed. What is often not talked about is the omen’s truth. The first unnatural death led to a series of events that would reach the ultimate downfall of Hy-braysl. What is also not talked about is the indistinguishable body that would have been found if they travelled downstream of poor Malloray. The face had, unfortunately, been washed away but the figure still had the fine dresses of at least modest wealth. It had clutched to its chest a small bound diary and, grasped tightly in the fingers, a small silver ankh talisman.