The Prologue

Behold! Thrice-crowned Cronos where champions are common

Matchless in might a world of men

Where shimmering stars shine at sun's setting

Reflecting on fanes formed of fine stone.

Power over the people to three was permitted.

Zedek the strong, liege-lord of great legions,

Menelkir, the archmage, the archanum's master,

Traductus true Churchman rending transgressors.

Over every people these elect reigned.

Happy was their hold oe'r healthy lands;

Prosperity and plenty abounded for princes;

Water and wine for men and wheat grown plenty.

Golden set the good sun in the gathering season

When harvest held feasts gave heaping bounty.

Night passed in pleasure till morning wakened

Killing star gleam as East was kindled.

Though gladness grew in golden seasons,

As days dwindled and dread cold mustered,

Zedek counted his years and yearned for youth

Menelkir and Traductus his mind met.

For peace and prosperity pleasured the heart

And magic could mend nature's cruel malic

But no man escaped the end of all things

And dread of cold death tore dauntless hearts.

Then remembered they their forefathers

Beyond turning time in tombs renowned

Kinsmen whose craft held Cronos of old

Preparing the way for their peerless power.

Magic reigned first muscle's might breaking

Mages unflinching fought many foes

Towers they toppled retaining their own

And raised they great ramparts far in the North.

Voludar led them in vengeful valor

Against mirthless men who long hunted mages

And lands and lords fled fleet before him

Until his hand stretched to Helevor's hold.

Helevor led legions that mighty lords dreaded

War he waged then to Voludar's woe.

Red ran the rivers that rushed through Cronos

As sword and staff met on plains they spoiled.

Leaping like lightning, Helevor's lords

Charged the foe's fire unflinching they came.

Beside Helevor, Timon the Titan, whose feet made stone tremble,

Awoke the blue magic of his bloody ax,

And mage met new magic in merciless warrior,

For a traitor had traded mages' secrets untold

To gain glory from warriors whose great deeds would be

Sun in songs through endless time speeding.

Thus Helevor came hunting the hellfire mages

With shields enchanted by star shine and dark

By cloud and good care and calamitous storm

By whispers and whistles and warbles of birds

By fire and fear and fell wrath and danger.

Thus, to north reaches rode the grave retinue

Of Helevor the mighty with monstrous men

To tear down towers and rend the tyrants

Who long held sway o'er languishing lands.

But as they stood a thane approached them.

"Hail Helevor!" cried he, "whose mighty hand

Conqers fair Cronos with crushing force.

I bid thee hold thy brothers in battle

Lest my lords their wrath unleash."

He received harsh laughter as Helevor's answer.

"Return to thy masters and give them my thanks

For a wishful warning so wanly given.

But spare their strong wrath of hot spirit.

For none shall defeat me so fell is my coming

Undefeated till now and dark dread withstanding

Your threats neither faze me nor find friendly ears."

Moved to the mountains the messenger did

While Helevor's host looked to the heights

Seeking a winding way they may wend.

But while they idled thoughts consuming them

There arose in the North a ravaging raincloud

And a fell wind flung it with fury

And a storm assailed with anger smiting

Until blighted were banners and barren was land

The wind split rocks and spoiled trees

Till all seemed lost and languid, and loath

Were men to face the wild wind's torrent,

But Helevor pressed on suppressing pain

To reach the glory he sought to gain.

Titanic Timon and Besok the terrible

Hold strong beside him with hammer and axe.

But wrath yet filled the roaring rain

Flames released from fantastic clouds

Engulfing grim men in ghastly red glow

Thus fell Timon with terrible axe

And Besok beside him blighted and burned.

Said he to Helevor: "Hear me good lord,

My spirit is spent, but speeding onward

Bring retribution to those reckless rogues

Whose larceny robs of life and love."

Thus perished he in pain most potent

But Helevor now held both hammer and axe.

Quick to add them to Quietus his sword.

With axe at his waist and arms bearing others,

Helevor hurried up the disheartening height

Storms assailed him with slippery slope

Flashing lightning and furious flame

But onward the strove under ubiquitous storm.

Against wizards upward an army of one

Harrying Helevor to winding course held.

Until at last finding foe's mighty fortress

And assaulting it then his sword his own storm

Till breaking the bones of iron-barred gate

And facing Voludar his foe now fain met,

But over this enemy he overtly slowed

For Voludar's charms charged and brought change

To his frenzied assault, and forgetting all fear

The mage boldly made a magical mending

Of all his foe's pain. Proudly then praising

Helevor's might he turned his heart

To preserving new peace unknown to the past

And there the two talked training their hearts

To look beyond battle to unblighted wealth

For all people under their prosperous power.

Here Helevor left holding new purpose

Returning home, he raised then new hosts

To march out together with mages in might.

But forgetting not friends nor foe's cruel malice,

For uneasy alliance the mages had earned.

He held both axe and hammer still with him

And trusted not troth of tragedy bringers.

Nonetheless knowing no nobler power

He cleaved to the mages clad in clean robes

Until won was the West and the wastes of the East

The South surrendered to North's savage war.

Conquered was Cronos where champions are common

And peace gained by sword proved its full power.

Long lived these lords the land at their feet,

But dreadful death comes to dour grave sending

And dust was their dole who darkness had conquered.

Though power prevailed to their progeny

For descendants shared in their father's story

Reigning with ruth and raising the land

To wealth and well-being all woe depleting

Till only death could drive men despairing.

Generations passed with this power unprotested,

Till arose a tall man teeming with spirit

For angels had offered to view the eternal

And guided by glory a world he glimpsed

Where God became man a martyr who mended

The fullness of all for both friend and foe.

And given a mission to mend there all men

Thokos the theocrat set out with thanks

To God of all glory who grateful prayers hears

Whilst seated above. Spreading salvation

Thokos thought then of thralls in Molor

A city far south where servants were many

But protected by power from patrols of Pelros

The heir of Helevor angry and old

Who held no man safe for hated rebellion

Then spake Velem thane of good Thokos.

"Listen my lord and linger still here,

For Molor is mighty and men will not aid you

And Pelros brings pain to all who oppose him

By cold steel and cunning , he communicates only

And suffers no servants of our saving God.

Rest here and write our retainers sending

Rebellion to raise in Pelros's realm,

For slaves he makes suffer and sending them hope

Of bright and blest morrow may bring them to valor

Against lords and longswords to labor for freedom

While you wait safely wholesome and well.

Receive thou my rede remembering my service

And knowing that no one nearer I'll stay."

But Thokos did heed not his holy friend's wisdom,

And forward to Molor his faithful friends went

With him came Wraithverge for ravaging rogues

Who dared to oppose their ethereal aims

An artifact deadly dark spirits directing

To rend flesh from foe till forgotten they bleed

A tool for toiling among tangled sinners

Protecting good priests and garnering praise.

But weapons to wield would not bring safety

From warriors fierce and fallen were many

Good folk of Thokos followers and friends

And even Velem with vociferous voice

Till grieving he called upon God the Gracious

To silence the savages who brought all this suffering

But much to surprise him a miracle mended

The wounds of his thane waxing in wisdom

For death he had entered but heaven returned him

And breathless they bade him his silence to break.

Spake he then sated upon Helevor's statue:

"Good friends do forgive my flawed retelling,

For splendor beyond all my senses have stolen

And I cannot contain in language to copy

The majesty given to men beyond mourning

But glorious gates of gold and fine gemstones

Rose to meet me with might unmatched

Silver shone water by glass stained like gold

The houses beyond were happy and hallow but held

Only few people of this pained planet

And a voice called violently vexing and shaking

The mighty stones many but mirth was within it,

'Blessed mortal so brave to walk beneath battlements

Of heavenly hosts out battling hellfire,

But your world fails fading in fellowship

With demons undaunted for lack of devout men

Return thee sent forth to rise and rally

The people together to ponder the pain

Of afterworld sorrow in sadness unsated

When welcomed not to world without woe.

And rending their garments reduced to repentance

They shall again find good life in the grave

Bear thou these promises to Thokos my thrall

And turn these torn people to times of good service.'

Thus spake the voice of soul saving Master

And this word I take to tell tired folk

Of peace and salvation through sorrow for sin."

Then people of Pelros raised pitiful cried

And threw down their weapons in wonder and woe

Pelros wist then what fate him awaited,

And fled far away to furnish new armies

For Molor was changed made new or maddened

By charitable churchmen with unworldly charms

Healing the sick and helping brokenhearted

Thus Molor was conquered by caring and Christ

The name for the God the good churchmen gave

And soon the Church challenged the champions of Cronos

And power they gained by the guidance of God

These three held all the world there before them.

But yet yielded not death's yearning for souls

And fearless defenders found themselves fey

Though no enemy dared to enter their doorways

For time alone terrified and taught men to dread

On thrice-crowned Cronos where champions are common.