I introduce myself, Cheng Lai'Suki, translator and restorer of this book. A few years ago, when my friend Vao and I were crossing the Witherings on our way to Aeden Aqueous, a lucky fall led us to discover a hideout tucked away in an air pocket between two thick roots. The place was very roughly furnished with shelves, a desk and a small bed. Several objects were also strewn about the floor, including many books. Among these, one particularly intrigued me: The Sacred War, by Belenor Nebius. It was an old and battered collection, written in the ancient Zorai dialect. We also found a dagger with a finely chiseled black blade, and a set of seven orange dice, with between four and twenty sides that were not numbered, but engraved with fine intersecting lines.
For the next few months, I studied the book. It told a story from another time. It was a story set in the Old Lands more than a hundred years ago, after the kitins' Great Swarming had ravaged them and forced the people who lived there to flee to the lands we now occupy. This story was the story of the Black Mask, who in the wake of the devastation and his encounter with the Great Progenitor, gathered survivors and began the Sacred War against the Karavan and its minions.
Although I have never been able to authenticate the historical content of this story, the author of the story has been answering questions that obsessed us, me and so many others since our childhood. Unfortunately, as you know, today's civilizations have little knowledge of the Old Lands, most of the information about them having been lost during the Great Swarm. Every document from that time is therefore a valuable source of knowledge. However, this epic tale, because of its setting, could just as well be a fictionalized account. After all, how can one take seriously the story of a black-masked Zorai, who traveled for a time in the company of the terrible Marauders, and who, invested with kamic powers, exterminated the faithful and the agents of the Karavan still present on these lands ravaged by the kitins?
No matter, such is the answer. Themes such as family, relation to faith, free will, and the search for our origins have moved me deeply in the story of the Sacred War. I am glad to have found this book, and I hope that by sealing its contents in an amber cube and depositing it in the Temple of Knowledge, many people will will be caught up by Belenor Nebius' tale, as I was. If it is possible that some decide to make this heretical text disappear, know that I remain in possession of the original manuscript.
I dedicate this work of restoration to the Sages, who will forever delude themselves, and to the disbanded guild of the Rôdeurs d'Atys, which I know to have been linked to this story in some way.
Table of contents
- Volume I - Crossed Destinies
- Volume II
- (to come)
Acknowledgements (non diegetic)
Thank you so much to all of you who reviewed the proofs of this first book: Nolwen, Anaïs, Catherine, Nilstilar, Drumel, Namcha, Tamarea. Thanks to your advice and encouragement, I have been able to turn a hobby into something more. Big thanks to Tamarea, and especially to Nilstilar, passionate advisor and proofreader, who helped me enrich my writing style and pushed me to never give up. Thanks to Winch Gate, of course, without whom this book could never have ended up in your hands. Finally, thanks to Nicolas for introducing me to Ryzom, thanks to the players I've met over the years, and thanks to the Rangers of Atys, whose legends and myths inspired this story. I am thinking in particular of Kalchek, whom I never had the chance to meet, and of Damakian and Kalbatcha, who managed to pass on the flame to me. "Never forget", they kept saying. Know that I have never forgotten. So once again, thank you all. I could never have made it without you.