Here it is, drawn from The Text File: Chapter 1: Beltane Cycle "We danced under the leaves, in the forest that was Sucellus. He sat at its heart but he was the branches that we walked upon, the ground on which we played and wind and rain that nurtured us. There was no disease, and no death that he did not allow." "That isn't to say that no one died. Our lives were long but not eternal and eventually the physical body would be laid aside to travel in more spiritual places. But no one ever died by malice or accident. A child jumping from branch to branch was blessed by Sucellus with agility and balance, but he would also find that the branch would move to catch him as well. So great was Sucellus's love for us that his forest cared for us as well." The elven children gathered closer to the storyteller. They could still feel the stirring of their bonds with the forest, but the forests they knew were tombs compared to the forest in the Age of Dragons. The elves still felt deep reverence for them, but the soul of the forest was gone. "What story would you like to hear tonight children?" Many answers were shouted back, the storyteller stopped them, surprised by one of the suggestions. "The Black Mirror? What do you know of that story Cewellyn?" The boy smiled shyly. "My father said that the Malakim receive visions from a sea of glass that is supposed to bless anyone who looks into it, to make him more virtuous. But that in hell there is one that does the opposite." "Yes, there was once a mirror as your father described, but it has been destroyed now. Remember that during this first age, as we lived in Sucellus's embrace and the gentle Aifons dwelt in the Seas with Danalin, the rest of creation was at war. We were bordered by vast mountains with moving rocks, battle scarred plains and the sea. Of those only the sea was safe to travel on. Those few that left to explore other regions never returned." "Cernunnos was with us then as well, and had 3 mortal wives. They all bore him children and all the male children were born with the horns and hooves of their father. They were powerful fighters among the Ljosalfar and used to play games to test their strength. The greatest was said to be Gower." "They were powerful sons, but powerful only compared to those in the forest and the occasional Aifon traveler, and they believed themselves to be unbeatable. They spent days watching the great beasts of the gods battle across the plains neighboring the forest, envying the battle they couldn't join. Until the day Gower defied the laws of Sucellus and left the forest to see what lay on the other side of the mountains." The branches reached for the charging Satyr, roots and weeds wrapped around his hooves but still he charged ahead tearing plants from the ground. Back behind his brothers called for him and a rustle of warning spread through the forest towards its heart. But Gower charged on. Leaping from the forests edge onto the rocky slope of the mountains was like moving from one world to another. He was no longer within the borders of Sucellus's lands and he immediately felt the difference. The forest had loved him, nourished him and been a companion from birth. But he felt nothing from the rough stone beneath him now. Beside him the forest lay open, welcoming him back like a protective womb. But Gower pushed on. In the forest the wind whistled though the canopy of trees, but here it roared against the mountains. He imagined the breath of those great beasts he saw battling on the fields couldn't be much stronger than this and the higher he climbed the more the wind pushed and switched direction. Everything seemed dangerous here. In the forest he had been the strongest of his father's sons, and there was nothing that he couldn't bend, break or push aside. But here the stones chipped at his hooves and tore at his skin when he fell and slid back along the steep mountainside. Occasionally the mountain shook, sending rocks raining down on him. One of these rockslides caused a rock to cut deeply into his shoulder. He had bled before, in mock battles with his brothers they would often hurt each other. But where those wounds were the worst he could receive in the forests embrace, here it was the very least. Stopping halfway up he looked back to see he had long ago risen well past even the forests tallest trees. He could look down into the emerald lands of Sucellus and see the deep blue sea beyond. To the west the mountains continued and to the east the battle scarred plains where he had watched so many battles. Now he saw a floating citadel passing over the plains like a giant rocky spike. Fortifications and symbols were carved into the rock and winged creatures surrounded it like a black cloud. As it got closer to the mountain range great giants rose out of the ground and began tossing rocks at the floating citadel. Crashing into it and causing hordes of the flying creatures to swoop down, pick up the giants and carry them up almost to the citadel before dropping them. But the rocks did little damage to the citadel and the winged creatures were rarely able to lift one of the giants off of the ground. The battle continued for hours as Gower climbed, with little success from either side. Night came and eventually the sounds of rocks slamming into the citadel and the distant war cries from either side faded away as well. The moon hung low over the sea but the stars were obscured by a grey haze. When Gower reached the mountains peak he saw the source of the haze. Beyond the mountains burned. Great red rivers ran from them like blood and tortured smoke poured from peaks and collapsed holes in the mountains. "Such is the cost of war." An angel was sitting in the shadow of the peak. He was old, powerfully built and wore a gold crown decorated with opals. “What happened?" Gower asked, wary but curious about the stranger. "A raid on Kilmorph's lands. This was once a beautiful valley filled with the wide eyed Calculpech and troublesome groundhogs. Now only ash and broken rock remain." Gower noticed that the angel had a long spear beside him. It had rings on the end where a banner could be flown but the rings were empty. "Who are you?" Gower asked. Once the champion of hope, but that time is long past. Now I am only another victim of this great war." At this the angel finally turned and considered Gower, and Gower felt uneasy in his stare. Unwilling to be read by the angel Gower offered his identity. "I am Gower, from the domain of Sucellus." "Ahh, Gower. Do you come to join the war or to end it?" Gower considered the question. He only really wanted to see what was on the other side of the mountains, maybe wrestle the beasts he saw fighting on the plains. But this destruction, this kind of war, shocked him. "I thought I would fight, but I see now that Sucellus was right to stay out of the godswar. There is too much pain here." The angel smiled, Gower thought he approved of his answer but in truth the angel was just amused by the satyr's innocence. "We can end this war, but not through diplomacy. Only through more pain. When creation itself shudders, when every angel fights, there will be no choice but peace." As the angel spoke he stood up and his gold wings unfurled. Gower had seen Sucellus as the heart of the forest many times and this angel shared a majestic quality with the god of nature. "That will never happen," Gower answered "Sucellus will never join the war." "Yes, yes he will Chapter 2: Beltane Cycle Cernunnos, the great horned one, awoke to the whispers of the trees. They spoke of his son Gower, that he had left the protection of the forest. He was instantly up and charging through the forest. The Ljosalfar stared as his passing, unable to hear the trees and scared to see the greatest angel of Sucellus so enraged. "Where did he go? What of my children?" The chorus of answers surrounded him, "into the mountains...", "the children wait at the forests edge...", "Gower is gone...". As he ran he felt the presence of Sucellus beside him, calming him although Cernunnos didn't want to be calmed. “Why didn't you stop him?" Sucellus spoke directly to his archangel, his words resounded within him "This is no prison my child. Gower left of his own will, you cannot follow." Cernunnos knew the truth of the words but refused to answer. In a few minutes he was at the forests edge where the rest of sons stood yelling for Gower to come back. Gower was just beginning the ascent, no more than a few hundred yards from the forests edge. Cernunnos stopped to command his other sons to return to the forests heart, but so terrible was his expression that he didn't even need to speak to send them all fleeing into the forest. Cernunnos yelled from the edge. His great voice echoed against the mountain and everyone in the forest heard his call but Gower continued on as if he hadn't. Frustrated Cernunnos ripped out a tree and slammed it into the ground. The mountainside trembled with the blow, sending rocks rolling down into the forest and even knocking down Gower as he climbed. But still he didn't look back. Even more angry Cernunnos picked up one of the loose rocks that had rolled into the forest and threw it at his son. The rock hit Gower on his shoulder and he fell in pain. But when he picked himself up he only looked up the mountain and hurried forward even faster. Cernunnos looked back into the forests heart. Sucellus hadn't moved from the great chamber of root and branches that was his home, but his spirit was there at the forests edge. Cernunnos only whispered "I'm sorry" and then jumped out onto the mountainside. Landing on the rocky slope Cernunnos felt the loss of Sucellus's arda for the first time. His body trembled and it felt like his soul was pulled out of him. Only the thought of his eldest son scrambling up the slope ahead of him allowed him to continue on. Cernunnos yelled Gower's name again as he picked himself up. A shadow fell over him. Cernunnos recognized the god of despair when he saw him and paled when Agares dropped between him and his son. "You were always my favorite of the archangels, are you as strong as they say?" Agares stood bathed in black and gold flames, he was beautiful and horrible. His lance was raised above his head and his 6 wings fully unfurled and blocking Cernunnos's sight of his son. Cernunnos summoned the strength to talk, "I only want my son, I have no quarrel with you." "If you want him," Agares smiled "come and get him." Cernunnos charged forward, lowering his head he braced his shoulders for the impact. Nothing had ever resisted his charge, though he had never attacked a god before. Just before He struck, a single feather fell off of Agares's wing. It landed on Cernunnos's back and drove the charging archangel to the ground. There he lay prostrate before the god of entropy, a single feather on his back. As much as he struggled, dug his hands into the earth and shattered the rocks beneath him Cernunnos could not rise. Agares knelt down beside Cernunnos, "Maybe next time will work out better for you." Then Agares was off into the sky, the shadow passed over Cernunnos and was gone. Cernunnos labored under the weight of the feather for the rest of the day. When the sun finally dipped below the mountains and Cernunnos was swallowed by the mountains shadow, a breeze blew along the mountainside. Barely enough to ruffle hair the breeze picked up the feather which circled lazily in the breeze before slipping down and coming to rest at the forests edge. But Cernunnos was already gone. The mountain shook with each thunderous strike of his hooves as he charged up the mountain. He could see the silhouette of Gower at the mountains peak, standing, looking over the mountain. Cernunnos was terrified for his son but for a moment he had hope. Hope that he would reach him in time. Hope that his encounter with Agares had nothing to do with Gower. Then Agares stood up next to Gower on the mountains peak and that hope turned to despair. Cernunnos screamed, the mountains echoeing that terrified yell back at him and over the forest below. The Ljosalfar cried in anguish and Cernunnos's other children echoed their fathers yell. Agares reached out and grabbed Gower by the throat. The satyr flailed helplessly in the gods powerful grip. Gower's muscles strained and turned red, his limbs trembled. Agares reached out with his other hand and opened a portal. There was a dark world beyond, full of ashes and pitch black seas. It was the ruins of a world now ground to dust. And Agares carried Gower through the portal. Cernunnos reached the top just as the portal began to close. Without thinking he leapt through. Cernunnos lost his connection with Sucellus when he left the forest. But he hadn't realized that he could feel the connection with each of the gods until it was taken from him. Passionate Bhall, loving Sirona, vigilant Junil all had some part in his soul and drove him from the forest to save his son. But this world was devoid of their voices. Here only one god remained, the god of despair, Agares, and only his influence was . The world was ash in all directions. The sky was empty and although he had seen a dark river leading to a sea that seemed to reflect the empty sky Cernunnos couldn't see it now. But Cernunnos was not without talents, he was the archangel of nature and he reached his hands down into the grey earth and called for some living thing to respond. Something with strength, with warmth that could grow and change. The entire world could not be dead. And he felt it, the only life in this forgotten world, his son being dragged into a pit. Gower was still alive but in horrible pain. And for the first time Gower sensed Cernunnos as well and called out his father's name. Cernunnos was up and moving again. Across the endless grey, his breaths the only sound in this empty world and a wake of ashes left behind him. He followed his sons call until he came to a great pit. In the center a granite island floated and ashes eternally fell like sand from it into the darkness below. Agares stood on the island with the captured Gower. Cernunnos leapt. He flew across the expanse like a bird in flight and as he flew he heard, he felt, Gowers cries. Halfway across the expanse Agares squeezed the neck of the young satyr and he died. Gowers soul hung in the air, longed for the call of Sucellus to lead him to his eternal home but Agares reached out and consumed the satyr's soul instead. Cernunnos slammed into the side of the floating island. He cried out for his son in despair as he clawed his way up and over the lip of the island onto the top. Agares stood alone on the flat granite top. He casually tossed the broken body of Gower down in front of him and Cernunnos charged. Agares held out a hand to stop the enraged archangel and the entire world shuddered with the force of the impact. Agares was the heart of this world and he could not be moved. But so powerful was Cernunnos strike that the world was moved around him. Chasms opened up in the surface of the deepest hell, rivers poured into lost caverns, and Agares was laid prostrate before the mighty Cernunnos. Agares looked down at the horn marks in his black and gold breastplate. It was as great a hit as the he had ever received, but he was a god and would not fall to an archangels attack. Agares was on Cernunnos in full force. His lance forgotten Agares tore into the horned giant as a beast. Black and gold flames sheathed both of them, burning Cernunnos and he suffered through the physical attack and a similar assault on his soul. Both his body and his spirit were being crushed by the force of Agares. Agares grabbed Cernunnos's head and turned it to the smooth polished floor of the island, it was a perfect black mirror that reflected the pain and anguish Cernunnos was feeling. "You were always my favorite of the archangels." Agares whispered. From within the black mirror Cernunnos's image writhed and yelled. He shared all of Cernunnos's features but they were cast in blacks and reds instead of browns and green of the archangel. As Cernunnos watched in horror the image reached up through the surface and climbed out of the mirror. This dark version of him stood leering down at where Agares held him. Satisfied with his new creation Agares wrapped his hand around Cernunnos's throat and squeezed. The world swirled in Cernunnos's gaze, he could feel his life draining from him and Agares preparing to consume his soul. A crack of thunder shook the island. Agares screamed in pain and dropped Cernunnos. Another blow destroyed Agares's breastplate and drove the god back further. The twisted image of Cernunnos charged and was caught by deer hooves and kicked over the side of the island and into the pit. Sucellus stood in the center of the island, an angry god in all his glory. He looked down at Cernunnos but his gaze was caught in the black mirror. Cernunnos realized immediately what was happening so he struck the mirror with all his force and the mirror exploded around them. Great black shards rained over them and Agares howled in anger. Cernunnos picked up a shard, intending to throw it at the god of despair but Sucellus grabbed him and the grey wastes of Agares's hell disappeared beneath them. Back in the forest Sucellus called out to every plant and animal, ordering them to prepare for the coming battle. As his presence raced through the forest he could already feel Agares's taint invading. The forest was being twisted and corrupted. The grass withered, animals grew sick and fled, spreading their disease in any area they passed through. Cernunnos began organizing the Ljosalfar. They had never known war but they would soon. One, a young sculptor, looked into the shard of the black mirror Cernunnos still held. She was frozen, transfixed by it. A ghostly image appeared beside her, an image of her but malicious and cruel. Cernunnos crushed the image with his massive fist and handed the shard, face down, to the elf. "Hide this, don't ever let anyone look into it." She took the shard it and rushed off immediately to perform the task. There was a battle coming, but Cernunnos had a task left to perform before he started it. He returned to his home beneath the red oak. Gower's mother was waiting outside. He didn't need to say anything, as he approached she fell weeping, her head in her hands. The children sat entranced by the story. Eyes widened with every attack and they quivered and mourned with each defeat. "What happened next?" Cewellyn asked. The storyteller considered the question. "I wish I could say that things were better but things became much worse. Sucellus and Danalin joined the godswar and creation itself was nearly destroyed in the following weeks. Fortunately, rather than cause that, the gods came together to create the compact and agree to withdrawal from creation. All because of the events begun by Gower." "Did Sucellus rescue Gower?" "No, I don't believe so. But at Beltane the nations that revere Cernunnos hold a wrestling celebration that is in honor of his favored son. And to this day the satyrs, distant children of Cernunnos, ally themselves to any nation that follows their great father." The storyteller paused. Beltane was only a few nights away and he wanted the children to understand that these were more than just games. "But it is late and more of this story will have to wait for another night." The storyteller smiled as the children moaned and begged for a little more time. But they eventually accepted the storytellers statement and went off to their beds where they were met by dreams of battling gods, Cernunnos and his favorite son. Chapter 3: Beltane Cycle Hemah reached down into the underbrush at the forests edge. A storm had ravaged the area and a glint of gold was visible in the dirt. Thinking it a coin he was surprised to find a golden feather. The feather was beautiful, unblemished by its time in the mud despite the fact that Hemah suspected it had been there for a very long time, and it had such a feeling of strong reality about it that it made everything around it seem less real. Alazkan called for him from the horses. His accent was as perfect as the illusion Hemah's amulet wove around him. He would appear to everyone as a Lanun trader instead of a Svartalfar assassin. Even his impatience was indicative of his human persona, and Hemah wondered how much of it was an act. "I'm coming." Hemah slipped the feather into his robe and brushed the dirt from his sleeves, the signal that they were being watched. Alazkan was already aware of that and resisted the urge to roll his eyes at the mysterious, though talented, mage. Three days later found them in the heart of the forest. It was Beltane and the city was full of travelers intent on worship and games. A pair of new faces, even human ones wouldn't be noticed. Once Alazkan had shuttered the windows and checked the inn room he removed the amulet. "Have you found it?" Hemah rubbed his eyes. He had been scrying the city all day but hadn't slept well for days. The Svartalfar provided him with incense that kept him from dreaming, but the sleep was empty. He was physically rested but it was becoming more difficult to focus his mind. "Yes, there are three temples in the city. Between the three there is a small grove with a statue of a satyr. It is inside the statue." "Inside?" Alazkan asked, "is there a secret door in the statue?" "I don't think so. They couldn't destroy it. So they built it into a statue to hide it." Alazkan was a talented thief, but he couldn't steal a statue from the Ljosalfar capital alone. And trying to chip away at a statue in the middle of a festival was bound to get someone's attention. "I'm going to need another illusion, and a time when no one will be in the grove." The festival provided the opportunity they needed. The regina procession, a parade of all of the Ljosalfar royalty lead by Arendel herself. Hemah and Alazkan stood waiting at the edge of the procession only a few hundred yards from the grove. Though they would be close to the crowds of Evermore no one would be watching the grove and the cheers should cover any noise they made. Adepts were preparing for the procession. All were dressed in elven finery and practicing the minor illusions that would enhance the parade. Hemah scoffed at the obvious strain they spent on starlight or glowing effects on the chariots. One adept struggled to make a deer carved in the side of chariot look to leap and dance along the chariots side. Then Hemah saw her. She was going to each of the adepts, making sure they were ready and encouraging them. She went from one display to the next, she had mastered every illusion and easily recreated it for each adept. Showing him how to improve it or making sure it was just right. She stopped at the struggling adept, held his hands against hers and let him feel her movements as she cast the spell. It was perfect and in his next attempt he had it as well. She was beautiful and for the first time Hemah felt guilty for helping the Svartalfar steal from this city. It had been a long time since he had felt guilty for anything. The horns rang out and the crowds pushed toward the center of Evermore. The beautiful archmage slipped into the palace and the procession began. As elven royalty began coming out of the palace to enter their enchanted chariots Alazkan grabbed Hemah's elbow. "Come on." Hemah resisted, hoping the she would come back. But gave in at another pull from Alazkan and followed him through the crowd.[PARAGRAPH:1]Outside the grove their wagon waited. Four bulls pulled it and the open back was reinforced with enough iron to be able to carry the statue. There was a rune inscribed on the wagon bed, though for now it was inert. Alazkan lead the wagon into the grove while Hemah walked alongside. They could hear the crowd getting louder as each set of nobles got progressively more famous. But not everyone was watching the procession, a disciple was startled to see the wagon cutting through the small grove. "What are you doing? Get that wagon out of here!" Hemah started the excuse they had prepared, "I'm so sorry, the road ahead was blocked and we..." The rest of the story was unnecessary as Alazkan had already killed him. A sword strike, body caught before it dropped to the ground and slipped into the back of the wagon. Hemah was suddenly glad that if he were to die Alazkans amulet would stop working and he would be revealed as a Svartalfar in the center of the Ljosalfar capital. The crowds cheered and horns announced the entrance of Arendel herself. "Help me." Alazkan ordered, throwing ropes around the statue. Hemah did, tying them off and signaling that he was ready for the wagon to pull. Alazkan whipped the bulls forward until the ropes pulled taunt, there was brief second of pause when nothing moved and then the statue fell forward against the wagons back. Alazkan stopped the bulls, then locked the wheels in place and adjusted the ropes. While he set the bulls to be able to pull the statue up into the wagon Hemah inscribed a rune on the ground where the statue used to stand. When he was finished he cast his spell and an illusionary statue stood in the old statues place. By that time Alazkan had the statue in the wagon and was calling for Hemah to hurry up. Hemah jumped into the wagon bed and traced over the rune he had inscribed there. The statue in the wagon bed shimmered and disappeared, leaving the wagon bed apparently empty as long as no one noticed that it sat low on its wheels and its wheels cut heavy grooves in the ground. Alazkan looked back and smiled, "I don't think were supposed to be here friend, what say we try to get out to real roads?" Hemah nodded. The ride out of Evermore was uneventful, outside of that single disciple and the hordes of people watching the procession the city was empty. With luck it would take days for anyone to notice the statue had been stolen and by then it would be safely outside of their forest. But the further Hemah rode on the wagon the more anxious he got. "I can't leave yet." Alazkan eyed him suspiciously, "You are far to useful to be discarded after this mission if that is what you are worrying about." "No, I just want to explore Evermore more. There may be more artifacts here, it's supposed to have been the same location the elves once shared with Sucellus." Alazkan considered his options, as always killing anyone presenting the least risk weighed highly in his thinking. But he either decided that Hemah may be right in finding even more treasures in the Ljosalfar city, or the mage truly scared him. Either way he decided to let him go. He reached into his tunic and produced the pouch of incense that was Hemah's payment. "Very well, let me know if you find something worth stealing and we can try it again. Next time I want to be a Grigori nobleman. I have some ideas for some great insults and I can put down Cernunnos at every opportunity." Hemah smiled, "I will do that, the shadows greet you." "And you brother." With that Alazkan drove the wagon out into the forest and Hemah turned and began walking back into Evermore.