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Dawn From the Valley of Glass

by Langley Häftling 6 months ago in Fantasy · updated 5 months ago
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Chapter One

Painting by Kate Wynkoop

There weren't always dragons in the valley.

Just as there weren't always flowers,

There weren't always rivers,

There weren't always blankets of parasitic weeds.

There weren't always swamp waters. There weren't always carnivorous fishes who roamed their habitation, mocking the ocean's sharks with their massive teeth and razor-like gills.

Just as the valley was once picked open by crows; moisture and life completely scorched, and the land was lain bare and desolate.

Just as the wind once swept from the sky seeking anything lush to sink its harsh teeth into, nipping at the ground and cutting into the mountain's arid cliffs, yet finding no flavor to satisfy its craving.

Only sweeping up small, dejected pebbles not even soft enough to form small clouds of dust.

Just as, though all change is inevitable, much change is forced.

There weren't always open rivers of connection between cultures of families and peoples and governments.

There was always war,

But where there were eminent dams holding back the powers of interaction and spirits of exploration and of adventure, just as much as spirits of hostility and vengeance, there was the burst of all effort and natural processes of change, erupting from the floodgates. They exploded in a radical display of ideas of discovery and migration. From the eradicated floodgates poured over travel and the missionaries' heart. By which every young traveler assumed on himself the personal duty to bring the incredible and unique aspects of his own culture to the nations of the entire Northern Continental Region, to let it soak into every home and child of their secluded civilizations.

The patriotic young countrymen, both wealthy and poor, coming on their horses and mules sparked hostility in every former military leader or government official. The common people now thought it their mission to know of the wars, the battles, and names of The Broken Swords, and either stood against the effort, or built up their own figurative walls between the nations of the world.

Though it ranged from what the old called over-privileged, the young called chaotic, and others called obscure, all were the result of natural change that sweeps it gangly fingers across the world of life, culture, nationality, and time.

This truth hung over certain young travelers as they passed through the swamp of the valley. A thought that could neither be ignored, nor stated in plain terms, tackled each and every one of them as they glode on the water--the pressing sound of their breath, itself afraid of catching the notice of the dragons.

In their tense, heart-wrenching silence—every one of them equally afraid to make a sound, equally afraid to move, equally afraid to breathe. The tails of the dragons slashed at the branches of the trees overhead as they whipped past; each and every time, a little too close to the boat that croaked, slowly wading along the surface of water. In their fear and in their silence, they were more unified than they had ever been in the presence of one another. For once, they were thinking the very same thought, without the smallest measure of verbal or gestural communication, in unity, they all hoped not to die.

Now, listen closely, and you may understand why these travelers were quite so strange in the sight of all nations. In the boat were four young travelers.

For any spectator in or out of the valley, the rickety canoe was no less disconcerting than nauseating in disposition. A tangley-haired girl from Heispanica, equally innocent as feisty, came from a rice-growing family, and traveled to Castanea for the cuisine and what she called "adventure." Though she would never ask for the fear and trembling that chased her on this journey, she would no longer be saticfied by the quiet peace that filled the air at home. Transoceanic in kindness and blunt in nature, she sat anxiously at the stern, behind a Mynce young man incredibly foreign in appearance. Dressed as a Hura Crepitans soldier, he contradicted his very culture and all honor through his profession. Shamed by his parent’s country and foreign where he lived, he could never return home, or he would be killed if he returned to Hura Crepitans. He knew very well the custom; Huraan soldiers killed those of their own who were wounded to stumble in battle. Quite contrary to such, who had dedicated his time to navigation, a picture of elegance and dignity was a slender, Khatz-speaking female of white skin and golden hair. Most assumed her to be wealthy, but seemed to find no joy discussing herself, in the small amount of Castanean she spoke. It was a mystery why she was there, and why she chose to travel across the continent, through desert, and jungle, and wildlife, and storm, to reach no known destination. Undoubtedly, steering at the bow with his Cypreen staff, trudging the boat through the waters of the valley, was a Castanean boy. Most prominent for the privileged culture he derived from, though the son of a farmer, who raised his produce miles from any city. He had lived by the valley for years, but never once crossed it. Only was he told of the ancient and devilish history of its setting.

The famed valley is located north of the pastoral colonies of Sedrus. What once consisted of nothing more than arid caverns and destitute canyons of dry, hard rocks, is the lush jungle that is found in its place. Though the distinction of each culture was prominent and finely determined, every nation had a single thing in common, just as the young travelers did in their expedition through the valley, was that they were all incorrect in their assumptions about the valley. What is seen now in the valley is only the result of intention, held back for generations, but always present, that eventually tore out of its leash, from the threads at the seams to the roots. What one nation thought had merely the power of a weed to effect all the world, has become this. What another nation assumed would be far too drastic for the world to conform to—the shattering impact that would tear up the roots of a million forests, burning their lands from deep underground—has become this massive valley, disguised by the mask of ginormous plants and sprouts that shielded the deadly creatures dwelling in her depths. Just subtle enough, yet persistent enough, that both life and death were brought into the depths of The Valley of shattering Glass.

Some will claim the valley that it has become is the simple result of natural change in the workings of the world. Some will say it is the manufactured inclination of cultures and their desires to influence the world around them to surrender to their way. And some will say it is the result of both fanciful ignorance and inspiring determination, that forever changed the world.

The lifelessness and death that dwelled in the valley was what resulted in both its barrenness and protection. For when life and water was poured out into her idle canyon, an abundance of life of creatures and thought poured in with them—including the dragons. What was once was dangerous for its long and rusty terrain, difficult to cross in scorching heat, was now deadly for the abundance of man-eating life that lay in wait to ravage its prey.

Regardless of its derive, the indisputable reality, is that the valley before the travelers, was not always as it is now.

The young travelers, both brave and naïve enough to face the depths of this region, knew this simple truth. There weren't always dragons in the valley. Yet there were now, and though the dragons were not the greatest of their trials, the reality their presence brought was of an immense prominence that brought more fear and death than any physical creature.

They were all in danger of the Glass of the valley, and some had already fallen victim.


About the author

Langley Häftling

Wenn Vertrauen bedeutet, die eigene Freiheit aufzugeben, bedeutet Misstrauen, ein Diener Ihrer eigenen Unsicherheit zu sein.

Ich werde kein Gefangener zu dieser Welt sein.

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