The story of Isby. A well known myth around the world of Ilios, which is commonly told to children.
Tale Three: The Man, The Myth, The Mysteries
Isby was a man that one would call tall. Not overly muscular nor noticeably skinny. To all, he appeared to be an average man. Perhaps too average.
In the year 400, Thana was not the place for average men or women. It was full of the most richly gifted persons. Be it by knowledge, strength, wit or humour. The people of Thana were certainly extraordinary. Isby just wasn’t one of them. He never had favour with the ruler of Thana, Unar, even though he had seen him often enough. It was, for a long time, that many of the persons in Thana were out of favour with Isby. Something Isby was happy about. The people of Thana were curious and as much as the people enjoyed the company of each other, they relished in their own gifts and thought a little too much of themselves. This didn’t bother Isby however as to him he had his own unique gift.
As every Thananian before him, Isby had been told the story of Unar’s Pillar. He had been told about how Unar their great king was rumoured to be over 100 years old. None knew for sure the king’s age however what they did know was that once Unar had established Thana, in around the year 298, he had climbed the 100ft pillar that lay just off shore. He had run into the crashing waves, scaled the rock and declared it Unar’s Pillar as a symbol of strength, power and might. Unar’s Pillar would go on to become the symbol of Thana. The unfortunate end to this tale was that the descent from the pillar would prove more difficult, Unar had made a wrong move and had almost died. No-one knew how he had survived as even with the most skilled healer his injuries were beyond repair: yet Unar had survived. Some speculate that whatever the healers did to him in the palace, is the reason for his incredibly long life. This story had inspired Isby and had resulted in his wanderlust, ever wishing to explore the world outside of Thana’s walls. Many stories were told about the world outside Thana, all of them were dark and twisted.
The high walls of Thana stretched far above the height of the buildings, it was common in Thana that only the ruler had ever seen the horizon. The deep, magnificent colours in the sky before it became blackness fascinated Isby. He found peace in the endless world above him and as a child it was how he use to escape the situation around him. His home was with those who worked at the palace. His father, the chief servant, meant that Isby saw a lot of Unar, his son and the kings’ personal gathering. Deemed as a child to have a strength in battle, Isby had been forced to join the training school for fighters, where he had all but excelled. He was nothing but a low life now in the palace, known only by his father’s status.
He planned that the day his father was to be promoted in the place would be the day that he would leave. His father would be busy with all new duties he would have to face and the place would be busy with all its staff as well. Thus when this day came Isby collected up all the items he thought he would need, and indeed had, before he snuck out of the palace. The streets of Thana were quiet but the few people who were out took no notice of Isby. Soon Isby came to the city gates, they loomed above him. The two guards at the gate were watching him.
“Can you open the gates?” Isby asked them, unsure of what the answer would be. There was a pause before the guards agreed to open the gates. Isby just stood in awe at the landscape which opened up before him. Golden sand stretched out into the distance where the crashing of waves merged in with the horizon. Isby took a single step outside of the castle walls and the gates closed behind him. Isby walked silently towards the shoreline. The sand was crisp and warm beneath his feet while the breeze soothed his skin. He heard the gentle crashing of waves onto the shore and he could feel himself connect to the world around him.
The men from the wall watched as Isby went down to the water, as he splashed in the waves and admired Unar’s Pillar. They watched Isby wash his face in the water before humming and digging his feet into the sand. They watched the shadow of Unar’s Pillar move until it fell onto Isby. They watched as the sand began to move as though a wind was blowing across it. Gradually the sand moved more and more until great tails covered with spikes erupted from the sand. That’s when Isby knew that something was really wrong. Giant scorpion like creatures emerged and charged at Isby, who panicked and ran back towards Thana, where the gates were shut and were not going to open. Muscle memories kicked in from his childhood and Isby managed to duck and dive many of the creatures attacks. He made swift, quick movements in order to keep ahead of the scorpion like creatures’ attacks while still heading for the gates of Thana. One of the long tails landed in front of Isby which caused him to come to a complete halt. He turned to the creature which was now by his side while his mind raced as to what he should do next.
The creature stood eerily still before him and as Isby prepared to make a run for it by darting in-between its body and its’ limbs he felt a sharp, painful stabbing sensation in his back. He drifted and his attention diverted away from what was before him. He listened closely as whispers flooded into his head and swam around his mind. The creatures that Isby had been fighting moved away from him and scuttled back underneath the sand. Isby faded in and out of consciousness, only partially aware of his drunken movements and gagging reflexes as he wandered. The whispers came from all around Ilios showing him the truth in every story, in every land and what lay beneath them. He was unconsciously aware of King Unar’s men surrounding him. They gently listened as Isby muttered quietly and quickly as he lay on the ground half-conscious,
“Kakgra. Wea. West. West. Enza. Enza. Sirens. Islands. They are lost.” Came Isby. The men carried Isby back into the palace where King Unar decided that Isby’s mutterings were not just that of a mad man. His words referred to places and creatures on Ilios yet The King could not decipher them. He demanded that every highly intelligent person within Thana was to come and attempt to make sense of Isby’s words. A woman called Sicua managed to decipher Isby’s words and made the papers of Suvri. The papers were bound and placed deep within the vaults of Thana for use of Unar’s direct decedents only.
The effect that the Kakgra’s venom had had on Isby had made him oversensitive to the world. Isby knew every secret, every hidden place and every rare species of Ilios. The papers of Suvri contained all these secrets and would be locked away behind Thana’s walls for over 1,000 years. In the meantime Thana became a stronghold, full of secrets which none outside the walls of Thana knew about. Many traveled to it for training or to visit it yet none could shed light on whether or not Thana knew more knowledge about the world than anyone else ever knew. Little known to the people of the world, just over 1,000 years after Isby’s time Thana would be uncovered and there was lot more to the stories, myths and legends about Thana than anyone would have ever guessed.