Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades

The Meantime of the Darklight: Part 1

Years before the humble farmer John would be recruited into an unjust war against the orcs of the west, a magic-user from the orcish lands known as "Pseudo", reckoned by her countrymen a witch of the warlock race but in fact something much older, guides a timid but brave orc chieftain to a secret location high in the mountains. There can be found a gem of immense power, that of the moon-goddess called Ice, able to quell the passions and calm the soul of both its bearer and of others. With it the orc chieftain aims to ameliorate the constant wars of the warlock warlords who rule over the western lands, and in that mission he quickly finds success. But as news of this reaches the lands of the east, the kings of people who reckon themselves human come to fear the power of a unified orc country. Turning to their wizard viziers for advice on how to combat this threat, they learn of another gem, that imbued with the power of the sun-goddess Fire, which a rogue wizard named Thomas has been trying to mount an expedition to recover for some time. None are able to find this Thomas to lead them to this great power, so the various kingdoms begin a race to search the mountains for it themselves. Fearing that the worst of them will find it and use it for great evil, contrary to his own intentions, Thomas himself approaches one of the few kings who has not set out a quest for the gem, the king of Chalmany, and says that he knows of its location and would like to entrust it to this king for safekeeping. Seeing the prudence in that, the gentle king sends his son the prince, and a small contingent, with Thomas into the mountains to retrieve the gem. (More details).

But after bearing the gem of Fire, the Chalman prince is corrupted by his newfound power, his lust for glory bolstered by the gem's ability to enflame the passions of its bearer, and of others. With that ability he subborns the normally reticent wizards of Chalmany to his side, and with their combined power at his disposal he conquers his own land, betraying and killing his kind-hearted father in the process. Thomas tries to oppose the prince, turning his own considerable magical prowess to the task. But he is bested by the godlike power bestowed by the gem of Fire. The prince incinerates Thomas in a magical duel using the gem's ability to summon and manipulate flame. But thanks to his nearly unique form of immortality, being in truth a being far older than the other wizards, Thomas immediately regenerates. The prince threatens and tries to trap Thomas in a chamber of eternal flame, so as to repeatedly burn to death forever. But Thomas is able to use his superior knowledge of that world's magic to escape that unending torment, though not without dying many times in the process, and flees from Chalmany. (More details).

With the full power of Chalmany, its wizards, and the gem of Fire at his disposal, the Chalman prince then conquers all of the eastern countries. Thomas tries to rally the other nations, especially the wizards among them, together to oppose the Chalman hegemony, but the prince is able to use the gem's power to inspire fear and hate to defeat those efforts. He further stirs the already existing fear and hate of the orcs, as well as fear of his and Chalmany's own power should the other nations resist, to simultaneously inspire and intimidate the peoples of the eastern lands to join the Chalman empire and together fight off their common enemy, the orcs. Thomas' fragile resistance movement dies at last with Thomas' own death yet again. This time he is captured and magically bound by a small army of wizards and the Chalman prince himself, then executed in a very public ceremony. As it has been inferred that Thomas' regeneration from immaterial spirit to corporeal man occurs at the same rate that his previous body decays after death, following his public execution his body is magically preserved, so as to prevent his further regeneration and trap him as a powerless ghost for all time. (More details).