The Ashes of Brigdarrow is a story about the first real adventures of Auric Ulvin, back when he was still a pretty good guy. Kael was intending to eventually try to publish in an anthology of tales of Erebus, to be entitled The Book of Tears. Summary: The main characters are Dain (not the Caswallawn, but an unrelated Illian boy with a name which is as common in Erebus as John is in the English speaking world) and Kirien, two of Auric's childhood friends. Brigdarrow is the name of their home town. It was a minor Illian settlement which was closer to Ljosalfar cities than other Illian town, and where Danalin was the main god worshiped. Dain and Kirien venture outside of town, and find an injured dog. They go get Auric to help them care for it, because he is extremely wise for his age and knows more about healing than any of the adults in town. (Also, an adult would probably get them in trouble for wandering off like that. Dain was skipping out on the mandatory practice for the town militia. Kirien was a girl who was a better fighter than any of the boys, and was very upset that they would only let her use a bow and arrow instead of melee weapons. Auric was exempt from practice, since he was so odd that most of the town thought he was cursed.) While they are gone, Gosea the Dwindling and a couple of her guards pass through town. They are detained for questioning, on suspicions that they had something to do with the children disappearing. They are set free once the kids return, but not before their things are searched. The Heartstone is among her possessions. After departing, she hired goblin mercenaries to burn the town and kill all its inhabitants, to keep her secret safe. Luckily the dog (actually an Amicus, a spirit familiar created by Nantosuelta to care for children with the potential to become great heroes) leads the kids out of town first, where they find an elven boy (Lyrr, son on Adulin) ho is her master and rescue him from his goblin captors. They return to find their homes burning, and everyone they ever knew dead. They decide that they must head to the nearest settlement to find help, or a new home. They decide that it is to far to walk to another Illian or even Ljosalfar town, and instead follow the elven boy's map to discover the mysterious Once-Elven city of Barathrum. They would have gotten lost in the whispering wood, had not Auric Ulvin known how to navigate by sensing the Air mana of Tarch's tower. Within the wood they find the Well of Shadows, and descend into the Shadow Rift. This is liminal realm between Erebus and the land of the dead, where the Once Elves built their city after escaping from the Netherworld. It is against their law for anyone who has seen the land of the dead to ever again see the land of the living, and living visitors require special permission and a charm to get past the Widdershins Curse (which disorients those in the Whispering Wood). They are captured by Once-Elven guards led by Waldrun, a Necromancer. The Necromancer is shocked when Auric manages to free one of the souls he had imprisoned and sent against them. They are taken into Barathrum and imprisoned before meeting King Haerlond Gossam and his little brother Prince Varn Gossam. In prison with them in Talia, a dark skinned Ljosalfar Druid who had been given permission to visit the library and who is their chief suspect in the theft of the Heartstone. (Rathus Denmora had visited the library at the same time, and was in fact still walking through the city, but thanks to the Waning ritual found in the Books of Laroth no one saw or remembered him. Sandalphon had been a guest much earlier, and had made a copy of the books of Laroth to take home to his people. The first shades were created from this copy. Rathus visited the Once Elf because he realized that Sandalphon's copy was of poor quality, and its rituals were not nearly as effective as they should be. While there he performed the rituals properly, and made a copy of much higher quality.) Talia gives Auric Ulvin his first (possibly only) formal lesson on how to channel magic. Although he is disappointed by his progress, as he was not at this point able to consciously perform anything nearly as impressive as he had none by instinct in the past, she is greatly impressed. She says she was considered a great magical prodigy among her people, yet he made more progress in a few hours than she had in the first several months of training. Waldrum accuses the kids were her accomplices, but Haelrond does not believe them. The king sets them free, says they can stay until the next caravan of Ljosalfar visitors comes and can accompany them safely away, and gives them permission to study in the Great Library in the meantime. This library is the city's main attraction. It is relatively small, but is filled with masterpieces which the greatest authors in the history of Erebus published posthumously. These tomes were stolen from Laroth, who had collected the best of all literature that had been written by the dead, and taken by the Once-Elves when they escaped from slavery in the land of the dead. While Auric is studying in the library, Dain wanders the city. Waldrun (who is secretly loyal to Laroth) convinces him to pass through the portal into the land of the dead. (This provides a distraction which the invisible Rathus Denmora uses to visit the Netherworld too.) While there, the spirit whom Auric had freed warns him that Haerlond is about to approve Waldrun's request to steal Talia's soul, so that he can force her to falsely confess to the theft for which she is accused. Although tempted to stay and be reunited with his deceased parents, he returns to save her. He tells Varn Gossam, who helps them break Talia out of jail and try to escape. Waldrun leads the troops to capture Varn, Talia, and the children. Talia says that she is not strong enough to stop them with magic, but that Auric is. Auric managed to channel the sun and cast blinding light against their pursuers. (Auric would not have had time to do this had not the portal from the Netherworld mysteriously opened and briefly distracted the soldiers. This was Rathus Denmora returning, with the Netherblade.) In the process he broke down the barrier between the Shadow Rift and Erebus, which caused much of Waldrun's magic to cease working and made the Obsidian Guards' spectral mounts to vanish. Dain was killed during the escape, and his spirit passed through the portal the the Netherworld to be reunited with his family. Varn saw Lugus in the light, and devoted himself the sun god. He married Talia, wandered into the Desert of Myrh, founded a religion devoted to Lugus, and later found the Mirror of Heaven where Lugus appeared to him again and revealed the full doctrines that became the holy book of the new faith. Auric went on to ascend to godhood. We do not know for sure what happened to Kirien and Lyrr, but I like to think that they became Grigori Adventurers (as they are in my modmod) and are how Cassiel knows that Auric was a decent farm boy before the precept of Ice corrupted him and drove him to seek godhood. Kael did post a couple excerpts of it on this forum, but I don't think he shared the full text with anyone but me. He asked me to help it edit it, and not to share the text publicly. I corrected several grammatical and spelling errors, and pointed out a few places which did not seem consistent with the more or where his chronology did not make much sense. (For example, he had Auric read in the Library of Barathrum a book written by the last High Priest of Mulcarn, giving a first hand account of how the God of Winter was summoned and how he was vanquished by Kylorin and the Godslayer. This does not make sense, as the Once Elves left the Netherworld centuries before Mulcarn's demise and never went back for more books. Their library could contain texts describing the summoning of Mulcarn, but not his death. Barathrum was over 300 years old, whereas Mulcarn had only been dead for 17 years.) Rathus Denmora is not mentioned in The Ashes of Brigdarrow, as his presence is unknown by any of its characters. Kael filled me in on his role in discussions after I sent him my critique of the text. I do not know if Kael had made further changes, or made any attempt to move towards publishing it. I think he is too busy with his real job now.