Introducing Ilios, a new fantasy world with plenty of stories to come.
Tale One: The Beginning
Hu ran through the streets of his village in rural China yelling, “The snakes! The flying snakes are real! They have been seen again in the sky! It says so in the paper!”
As Hu passed each home along the road one by one all the residents turned in surprise then turned away realizing it was Hu with one of his stupid fantasies. One of Hu's neighbours, Mohammed, even shouted out,“Take those stories and put them in the landfill where they belong”
Hu reached his house and presented the newspaper proudly to his mother. His mother smiled at him and took the paper from his hands flicking to the page she knew he wanted her to read,
“See, see. The snakes have been seen here in China!” Hu enthusiastically told her.
“Yes Hu. I can see.” She replied. At this Hu beamed looking into her dark brown eyes. Lilavelds' face was tanned and filled with freckles. Her long black hair was tied neatly behind her head and the old clothes she wore were presentable and still shone with colour to them. She loved Hu with all her heart, and as she smiled at him she wished all the other residents could show the same love to him as well. This was hard to ask with them both being migrants from Russia and the fact he had just spent all their money for food on this newspaper. Lilaveld knew Hu would buy a paper rather than food, but she had prepared for this and she had enough food to last them 2 days so she had given him the freedom. She would have to work extremely hard to feed her and Hu but that was a price she was willing to pay in order to see the smile on his face.
All of a sudden there were screams from outside and Lilaveld left her house to look. What she saw shook her. She dropped what she was doing and turned back to where Hu had just been to see an empty space where her son had just been. Immediately she shouted for Hu,
“Hu! Hu where are you?” She called while she made her way through the stampede of people screaming his name, “Hu!” Not long after she found him, standing calmly in the midst of all the chaos staring up at a creature. It was big, having the appearance of a snakes' body with a dragon like head and face, like the dragons Lilaveld had seen in storybooks when she had been a child. It was hovering a few centimetres above the ground while making no sound and only moving gently with the wind. The mayhem of screams was distant now but the fear remained raw and real.
“Hu, come away” Lilaveld said calmly while her heart skipped a beat. Hu pointed at the creature and turned towards his mother,
“Look mother, it's a flying snake” Hu said with a great smile on his face. Lilaveld smiled back at him,
“Yes Hu, I can see. Come to mother now.”
“I want to touch it” Hu moved closer to the creature and Lilaveld held her breath thinking fast.
“I don't think that's a good idea Hu” Despite Lilavelds' words Hu's hand continued to moved closer to the creature, “Remember what mother said about snakes.” Hu's hand then stopped.
“We shouldn't touch them. They hurt people.” Hu said slowly, remembering his mother’s words.
“Yes Hu, come to me now. We don't want it to hurt you, do we?” Lilaveld reassured him.
“No” Hu held eye contact for a moment with the creature and said something only he and the creature could hear. Then he turned and ran into Lilavelds' arms. They hugged tightly. Then Lilaveld heard a low rumble like the earth itself was starting to move.
“Go Hu. I will be right behind you.” She whispered
“Mother?” Hu whispered back confused.
“Mother will hold back the snake and make sure you get a safe distance away then I will carry you on my shoulders once again. Go.” Hu stayed still, afraid. “Go!” Lilaveld screamed, a scream that turned from a word to a high pitched howl. The scream of a banshee.
Hu ran as fast as he could from both the creature and his mother, his heart beating in his chest to get away. Lilaveld turned screaming to the creature, which was taken aback by the sudden, loud noise. Blinded by the pitch the creature lost control and began writhing this way and that, meanwhile the earth below Lilavelds' feet staring ripping up, causing Lilaveld to be dragged into the chasm below the surface. Still screeching Lilaveld grabbed onto this creature, holding on for dear safety.
In a moment the planet of earth collapsed in on itself, taking everything with it. The creature, as known by its' real nature as a great sky serpent is long believed to be the source of the collapse of earth and also a major reason for of what immediately followed. The sky serpents are a living wormhole, they eat dying planets and stars, consuming their materials, gravitational force and magnetic fields. They leave behind a material called dark matter once they have feasted. It is said that any one of these creatures can live up to 500billion years old. However it is unknown as to why this sky serpent came down to earth that day or why it made a strong connection with the boy, Hu.
As the earth was dragged slowly upwards it exposed the inner layers of earth and eventually the earth's core itself, the great sky serpent opened its' jaws causing Lilaveld to be consumed by the creature. Lilavelds' voice ripped through the serpent prompting its' premature death. Darkness came swiftly as earth imploded, everything was gone but the wormhole had to remain. With the sky serpent dead the wormhole became inside out causing huge magnetic and gravitational forces to be released. This caused all the material from earth to be brought together again causing a new planet to be created in its' place. This planet was much the same as earth, with a similar atmosphere and climate but around the planet sat rings. The name of this new world came from Iliopsoas muscle which provides enough strength to allow a human to stand upright. In the intense crushing of matter Lilaveld was in the middle of it and her body was crushed turning her body into rock. When the planet was formed, in the very core sat the remains of Lilaveld’s Iliac bone, and part of what made up the rings around the planet was her Psoas muscle. Therefore resulting in the new planet being named Ilios, it is still unknown as to exactly whom named it. Around Ilios were two moons, the moon of hot, red rock: Selcer and the furthest and coldest moon of Alu which is filled with storms.
In the beginning all was still, the great serpent was dead and the new planet filled with rock and water was formed. Over time a high pitched noise could be heard on the wind, filling all the air and reaching from the tallest mountain to the lowest trench. A noise to anyone familiar to it would recognise it as Lilavelds' voice. She was in the centre of the living wormhole when it died thus from that moment Lilaveld became one with the serpent resulting in her gaining power, power which she expressed through the medium of her banshees' voice. Therefore from this Ilios was created by both a natural sky serpent along with Lilaveld's human emotions, feelings, memories, experiences and imagination.
It is no doubt that Lilaveld was a banshee, a creature that often appears as a wailing woman who when seen or heard is a sign that someone is about to die. Their incredibly high pitched scream can kill a living creature and it can also be powerful enough to shatter objects, such as glass.
From the great forest floors to the snowy mountain peaks of Ilios all was still, for a time. Then a strong wind carrying a voice, a voice which awoke winged creatures from below. From fresh pine leaf floors, snowy mountain caps and deep blue seas dragons rose up, each marked by the terrain from which they were born. The wind continued to strongly whistle around large mountain cliffs, calling to something deep within. Sure enough as the wind whistled round the cliffs, they started to crumble, only a bit at first then rock falls and avalanches followed. Soon the cliff made way, falling away, for huge creatures. Giants.
In the north, the Rhern mountains rose out of earth and sea, rising out from the corpse of the sky serpent, Psoas. At the northen tip of this mountain range in cold northern territory lay the Ettolrahc, the most powerful place in Ilios. In Ettolrahc great fissures formed in the ground, geothermal heat paved the way for humans to live and thrive there while poisonous fumes turned honest and kind men to greedy and caused them to become sour. It is said the Ettolrahc will heal hearts that are broken, save lost souls and refresh tired minds. However those who come with secrets, with evil both that is hidden or meant as a threat will be corrupted and made to turn on itself.
In the southern Etselec mountains the rivers ran softly. Flowing over rock and sand the quiet noise filled the air around it. Gradually in the morning sun on the first 8th August in this new land these waters transformed from gently rippling rivers to giant raging, torrents of white water frothing as they turned over each boulder on its’ bed. Just as the waters began to settle something moved beneath the waves. A shape but unlike that of any fish moved and grew. The waters became calmer and just as they settled the surface broke. Aimee stood up in full and breathed the fresh air, her body bare and new. From our eyes dear reader, Aimee would have appeared roughly 20 years old in age with all the knowledge of the world around her but new land to stand on. From the water she walked to the shore bringing life to the world around her with every step.
Just before sunset she found a small sheltered, shaded patch and made up a fire. As she sat staring into the flames she started to wish, tracing in the sand the shape of a man. As she sighed the flames moved with her breath letting out ashes and she watched as they disappeared into the sky.
The hot sun awoke Aimee through the leaves of the shaded tree. The fire had died but then Aimee caught the sight of the river close by, it was much larger than before, the turbulent water was creating a roaring sound that filled the air. Aimee suddenly winced and looked down at her body, the right side of her chest had been badly burned, the wound created at some point during the night was small and round. It had healed a considerable amount but it was still red and sore to the touch.
In that moment a shape crossed in front of the sun, it was a bird, about the size of an eagle. It swooped across the sky back and forth towards the confluence of 3 rivers where Aimee was born out of the water. She headed towards that place as the bird descended on it. From the shore Aimee could see the bird in full now. It had a long body and tail, covered in bright red feathers and around it, small flames could be seen rising from its’ body but the bird didn’t appear to be hurt or phased by the flames. Aimee watched as the waters calmed just like they had done before and Aimee watched as a man arose from the waters. He paused and stared at the bird, which was hovering with incredible precision above the water and by the mans eye level, after a brief moment had passed the bird flew upwards and disappeared into the sunlight. The man stood calmly in the water before turning to see Aimee, then he calmly walked towards her. When he came onto the shore they stood for a few seconds in silence just looking at each other.
This cycle repeated itself on the 8th August every year with each woman being born out of water and the man being born from a phoenix. For 8 years each pair left for far away lands in search of a rich, fruitful and welcoming land rather than the harsh surroundings of the Etselec mountains and desert.
In the first year Aimee and Ashleigh were born, in the first hours their thirst took over and they went south over the high mountains, towards the cool breeze in search of a land with water. They followed the river down through desert, rock and grassland. They passed many animals and a plateau slightly higher than the surrounding land from which water from a spring was flowing. They stopped for a night then continued towards the rainforest in the distance. Once in the rainforest they met many a creature some of which they worked with and others from which they ran away wounded. Soon after they left the rainforest and headed for rocky cliffs. From the rainforest they cut down trees, they made boats and sailed across the mouth of the river Krad. On the sea they sailed north in the calmer waters, a week it took to reach the shores of a new land. They set their boat up and settled in this land, The land of Aiya.
In the 2nd year Powla and Rain were born, from birth a deep instinct drew them north. They travelled through the desert, rocky mountains and through the canyons leaving shadows behind them along with creatures not bron from Ilios nor created by Lilaveld. From dry canyons they went to deep, thick rainforest then into the rocks and thick grass’ of Maeo and Reol. They kept travelling north past the channel of x. Where they cut down willows from the marshes and wove them together with thick roots from below the marsh. From there they sailed to the cold land of Daer. Passing into the Staig islands landing in the first hostile land they touched. They continued north having to build shelters to survive. Coming eventually to the Ettolrahc, however they had now been poisoned by the fumes from under the ice that had seeped into the air through the cracks and crevasses resulting in Powla and Rain becoming twisted.
In the 3rd year flowers started to bloom in the Etselec. Rosalin and Miguel were born in the warm waters and fell in love with the world around them. After the Autumn when the cold air and dark nights drew in they went north. They followed Powla and Rain’s trail, if a bit more slowly, but instead of leaving the marshes in the north they stayed falling in love with the bizarre yet compelling beauty of the water, wildlife and the eerie atmosphere.
By the 4th year the waters had grown warm as they gave life to Ffion and Flinn. Drawn by the rising sun they went north east towards the coast to the ? Sea. Crossing into Alsi and walking along the coast, passing a stretch of spectacular marble cliffs they fell in love with it. In their travels they went between the Sahlo mountains and the sea, crossing the river Fien and going up into grassland where they settled for a time learning to farm. But in time they yearned for the sea, and love they had had for it, so continued north in hope of finding it once more. Instead they found the river Rien and lived out their days next to marshes with the Rhern mountains on the horizon.
As the 5th year came round rains fell over the Etselec bringing life to Priya and Tunmise. Feeling the rain on their skin they went north also to the Takei mountains settling in what we now call Kanma.
In the 6th year Nianqi and Eamon came to Ilios. They did not travel as far as the others had but instead following the seas’ boarder through Alsi, to Tu Reef, and crossing the river travelled by Aimee and Ashleigh. Through the western rainforest then north to the wastelands of Sehgona they went.
7 years passed, like the others Derek and Shela crossed the western sea to ?. Where they landed was cold after they had passed through the warm ocean. They went north into Yelman and founded Hawrew.
In the 8th year Karla and Milo were born. They also followed Derek and Shela and journeyed across the sea but they landed south in the warm and wet climate. They went to what is now known as Hoyam.
It wasn’t until the 9th year when the rivers rose and the phoenix came down for the ninth time that the newly borns, Maya and Thangar decided to stay in the Etselec. In the first few nights they slept by the fire as strangers but by the end of the 7th day they were sleeping side by side for warmth. It was on the 8th day that the love first appeared between them, love in its’ most passionate form. For the next few months they survived in the harsh environment praying to Lilaveld that their perseverance would pay off. On the day that Maya bore her first child the land around them turned from harsh to fruitful, with trees bearing fruit and animals appearing out from under the ground.