A quiet, green and peaceful hill, one side rolling gently down into the cool water of the sea. To another side, a luscious forest teems with life, and sheep idly graze upon the hillside, occasionally wandering down to the clear blue lake which reflects the morning sun.
A small bird tweets and flies, landing on one branch of an ancient oak, and chirps a merry little song to himself. In the shade of the great tree, rabbits gambol about, chasing each other in circles. The sheep bleat and munch upon grass, content.
Suddenly, a resounding tearing noise, and the loud, throbbing hum of energy. A cavernous circular rip appears in the fabric of the hill, revealing a dark, swirling maelstrom. Twisting snakes of purple energy lash around, and the rabbits, birds and sheep flee from the noisy chaos.
From the vortex, tribesmen are flung out, landing squarely but reasonably softly upon the grassy tor. Piles of wood and grain come flying out, landing in heaps here and about. When it seems nothing further is forthcoming, a bright green light glows, and a glowing symbol thrusts itself out of the portal, beginning to swing round and round.
As soon as it had come, the vortex begins to shrink, getting smaller and smaller. With another resounding tear, it seals itself, leaving no trace that it had ever been there – except for the group of dazed men and women, these piles of food and wood, and this strange, hovering symbol.
The symbol glimmered, and flew gently to the floor, whereupon, with a flash of light, it morphed into the figure of a very tall, distinguished man. His hair was a rich brown, and it fell in curling locks to around the height of his waist. He wore dark green robes, delicately entwined with strange patterns and symbols. Upon the back of these garments, and upon his sleeves, was emblazoned a bright symbol of an encircled eye. A hood was attached to these singular robes, but he did not wear it. His bright green eyes looked this way and that, taking in his surroundings.
A young Greek villager ran over to him, prostrating himself. He spoke in a quavering voice: "Holy One! Tarsis! Where are we?"
The figure turned his gaze to the bowing man. "You may get up, Hector. We are safe – this is all I know," he spoke, his voice strong and reassuring. Hector, the villager, bowed, and ran over to his fellow villagers.
"Come!" commanded Tarsis. "I require my temple to be rebuilt. Plenty of wood has come through, and we must use it." Without a temple, my strength here is feeble, he thought. But where is here?
The villagers gathered together planks of wood, and set about reconstructing a gigantic temple, the focus of a God's power. Even young children hefted sheets of wood as big as themselves to help construct the mighty building. The mightiest villagers even lugged huge blocks of stone that had come through, and together they began to work hard.
One very elderly villager did not join in, but instead sat on a small stone and watched the proceedings. Tarsis turned to him, calling out: "Oracle! Thou art blessed with sight. Where are we?"
The man bowed low, and closed his eyes. "I cannot say for sure," he said, in a weak and papery voice. "All that I know is that we have successfully fled the grip of the Tormentor, for now. I do not think He can follow us here." The Oracle even managed to pronounce the capital letters upon Tormentor and He.
"So there is no danger here? We have nothing to fear?" asked Tarsis, seeming somewhat worried. The Oracle shook his head dimly.
"Nay, I cannot say that. Let the villagers know we are free, but remember yourself that with freedom comes its own perils. We must explore this land and establish a foothold."
"As always, you speak nothing but the truth," said Tarsis, and turned back to supervising the villagers.
The temple had been finished, and Tarsis spoke to his villagers. "Now we must build a village, so that you might have places to sleep and be safe." He pointed down towards the base of the hill. Scaffolds rose from beside the temple and hovered over to where he pointed, before dropping silently onto the ground. "This," he spoke, gesturing, "is where I should like you to build. There should be just enough room for you there." Of course there will be, only twenty of you made it through the portal. "I need two of you to get some worshipping done, otherwise I won't be able to help you. Well then? Jump to it!"
The villagers scurried off. Two young children ran to the temple's worshipping site, and began dancing round and round the altar, chanting and worshipping. Tarsis felt a rising strength build within him, and his aches began to fade. Phew, I needed that. He watched as his villagers gathered wood and began building that which he had placed for them to do. They were fiercely loyal to him, as he had been their God and protector for a long time, and had secured them through several worlds. Still, they always required some coaxing, even to do the simplest of tasks.
At the thought of looking after them, his mind once again turned to his creature. Sophis, his ape, had been his constant companion for aeons, until his foe had cruelly imprisoned him and separated Tarsis from his beloved pet. He shed a tear, and imagined Sophis locked in some prison, tormented by his enemy's vile bear.
Tarsis had lived a life of abject slavery, and upon rising up had fought a terrible war. A war he had only just fled, to spare both his own life and the life of his villagers. The Tormentor's hand had crushed and choked them, until Tarsis had had no choice but to flee.
He wandered down to the edge of the lake, and looked out over the cool, calm water. His heart longed for Sophis back – without him, he didn't feel complete, there was a hole within him. Nevertheless, he resolved himself to do his best in this new world.
The sun sets over the clear, calm hill. The villagers rest in their homes, and their God retires to his temple to rest and recover. Down below, his people still worship him, filling and feeding him with power.
The day has ended, but their troubles are not yet over.
Thanks for reading the first chapter of my first story! I hope you're enjoying it so far. Next chapter, a new force makes itself known to Tarsis and his people. Will they be friend or foe? 'Til next time...