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Voska

The Fall of Viveç

By Kelson HayesPublished 7 months ago 6 min read
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PROLOGUE

VIŞIC, VIVEÇ

Spring, 1E23

I was 9 years old when the Tekatan Empire attacked… They invaded the coastal villages in massive ships that were more liken to floating castles or fortresses than they were to the simple fishing boats of our own people. Atakebunes were what they called them in their own tongue, though we had no name for the monstrous ships where we had never seen anything like them in all our lives. Landing upon our shores, the men who disembarked from them were not men at all; they were dressed in gruesome armour with demonic faces— wielding terrifying firelances that they used to slaughter all who stood against them without effort. Their firelancers led the charge followed by the rest of the spear and scimitar-wielding horsemen who comprised the bulk of their mighty legions, hacking down all those who managed to escape their fiery wrath to futilely flee before them. Having seized the coastal towns and villages along the shoreline, they proceeded further inland, though as they fell to our town’s defenders we came to realise that their demonic faces were no more than masks designed to instill fear in the hearts of their enemies. Although it was no more than an intimidation tactic, it still proved successful where their fighting was equally as terrifying and demonic as their attire. As they charged forth from the floating castles after landing upon our shores, they rode on the backs of horses that they’d even dressed like dragons; storming into the villages and setting them ablaze one by one as they mowed down our people’s hapless defenders.

My father had ordered my mother to take me and flee to Tevui, saying that it was our only hope before he joined the rest of the town’s men in what would prove to be their final stand… The demons of Tekat killed every last man in Vişic— even the children— taking the women into captivity to satisfy themselves as they pleased. They razed my hometown to the ground and erected a fortress of their own design in its stead before setting their sights on the remaining towns and villages that comprised my native homeland. We had waited for countless months in the hopes that my father to return to us, telling us that it would be safe to return to our home, though that day never came. After a year of fighting, Vişic and its neighbouring towns and villages had finally fallen to them along with the rest of eastern Viveç, though not before my mother had the chance to send me away… Her final words to me had been to run as fast and hard as I could until I reached the neighbouring lands of the Slavic Tribes. Although I argued against abandoning my native homeland, she rejected my pleas— telling me that not even Beiuş would be able to withstand their might. She told me to surrender myself to the Slavic tribesmen as soon as I came upon them, sending me across the River Belaya on a box shield that was to serve as my raft with enough provisions to last me a fortnight.

“Please don’t argue with me anymore, my son— there is simply no time for that now. Quickly, quickly; I’ll come for you when it’s safe to return home, but in the meantime you must go away for a little while. No matter how long it takes and whatever happens between now and then, I promise that we will be reunited once again.” she said as she set me upon the makeshift raft before setting it adrift. “I love you my son. May the gods watch over you and grant you their protection, Vladimir, until the day that you can return home to me and your father again.”

She told me not to look back once she had pushed me away, though I disobeyed the command to stare upon her crying face as she watched me drifting across the river. I hadn’t known it at the time, but that would be the last time that I ever saw her again… She’d sent me away with enough provisions to last me until I got to my destination, though they did nothing to protect me from the nightmares I experienced over the course of those travels. I can’t count the number of sleepless nights I endured watching as those vile demons took my mother and father away from me whilst I found myself engulfed in the flames that burned all around me where I stood in the midst of my former hometown… I only knew they were dreams because of the fact that I couldn’t open my mouth to scream or I would have cried out from the immense and overwhelming agony of it all, though I know not what I would have said if I could have shrieked before awakening to the cold sweat that always seemed to accompany those wretched dreams… Although my parents were most likely dead along with everyone else I had come to know in my brief ten years of life, I had no choice but to continue onwards in my travels. As much as my soul wished to be reunited with them, my only hope laid in one day avenging them— otherwise all of their efforts would have been in vain. So it was that I found myself haplessly traversing the foreign lands of the Slavic Tribes that neighboured my homeland of Viveç, desperately praying to the gods for deliverance from the hands of evil.

I’d nearly run out of food by the time my saviours finally arrived, though they quickly became the reason for my loss of faith in nonexistent gods. I’d simply traded certain death at the hands of the demons of Tekat in exchange for a lifetime of enslavement under the Slavic Tribes of the south. A slavic warband hailing from Smolensk had stumbled across me one morning as I finished off the last of my provisions, encircling me as I surrendered myself to them before claiming me as a slave to serve their tribal leader. I told them of my plight and warned them of the Tekatan warriors, though they paid me no mind and laughed, saying that the Tekatan Empire was none of their concern where it was otherwise preoccupied with the war it waged against my people to the north. Instead, they beat me regularly in an attempt to shape me into a mighty warrior capable of aiding them in their own wars against the rival tribes scattered across the southern peninsula that would go on to become my new home despite all my efforts to encourage them to unite with their fellow men against our common enemy. They only respected power and strength, and so for six years I bided my time until the day of my reckoning finally came upon me in my ascent into adulthood— the day my story truly began…

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About the Creator

Kelson Hayes

Kelson Hayes is a British-American author and philosopher, born on 19 October 1994 in Bedford, England. His books include Can You Hear The Awful Singing, The Art of Not Thinking, and The Aerbon Series.

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