Vittori Book I: The Story of Vittori

Written by Szoke

Chapter I - Conclusion

The pain swooped stripes upon his mind as a red-hot wedge which brought him back from the door of the next world he was knocking at. But it was too late for him. His soul had been visited by Death itself, and there was no way back from the impossibly sharp claws of annihilation.

There were three men in the small hovel. Incense made breathing harder. The air was full of whirling green smoke smelling like bitter almond. The man in the bed was whining painfully while the other two were still trying to expel the poison from the tortured body of the young boy, but it seemed totally senseless. The whining seemed to be unstoppable. Something tied the boy to this life, something or somebody didn't let him go.

It happened two days ago.

Poor Vittori was searching for the Book of Legends, sheets of old and forgotten parchments which, maybe, could answer the questions of the ancient History of the Elves. It had been written by Groomha, the unsparing God of the known world in the time when nothing existed. The letters were formed by living fire on a material made from the heart of trees, the root of all rivers and lakes, and created by the boundless knowledge of the ancients. The young boy seemed serious and resolute, but nobody suspected what was ahead of him. He had spent nearly four years in dusty libraries, searching for bits regarding the book and reading prohibited folios; in long forgotten churches praying to Dark Gods for their help. And then he found a dim reference to the Dark Forest. Everybody knew about the crypt of the man who died before the first saplings had appeared, but nobody had the courage to get in or even disturb the ancient atmosphere of the place. But there was a mad man who tried it. And now he stood between life and death for two days. At last the chest shuddered, and the whining stopped. The body of the boy was slowly covered and was pushed into the everburning fire. The shout of the tormented soul echoed long into the silence.

Chapter II - Introduction

The trees were moved by the cold autumn wind. The messenger of the shortly-to-follow rigorous winter stirred the browned leaves of the enormous foliage into complicated eddies. Only a few yellow blotches hung on the bare branches to greet the blood-red nightfall with feeble nodding.

The Nightfall - which painted the cloudy horizon and the far-off peaks scarlet. Maybe it had remembered the ancient ages at this abandoned place. At that time the precious blood ran in wide and fast streams: the blood of the Lord of Aghar and of the slaves who revolted against him.

The blood of men - of the Rebels.

They won, and the Dark had to go back with his children, with a pale hope of having Revenge. The fields were glittering with sunrays after ten thousand years of darkness, and Halcon, the new God, who had been born from the prayer of tormented men, slowly caused his people to grow up. But Aghar's grey people are still living today. Their evil realm - although now quiet - is Hell itself. In the month of the Blue Moon it expels the people of the Frozen Plains in dread, even at places where the half-year-long winter night is known only by repute.

Nobody can imagine what these old trees can relate at this place, at Ladnaroc, in one of the surviving kingdoms of the Empire. But they can be spoken to only by the Elves.

But they do not want that.

They know why, and perhaps they are right.

Thus the life of the thousand-year-old trees is never disturbed. They are interested neither in the blood-red nightfall nor in the benumbing wind. Perhaps they are only waiting for the month of the blood-flowers - for the Spring - when the song birds are sounding through the big forest, small insects are flying in circles and herds of deer are trotting on the moss covered forest litter confused by the smells.

They - the trees of the Dark Forest - can hope for the spring but their close fellows, the trees of the Phantom Forest, could not expect it. But now, when the specially cold winter of the Raw Winds Month is coming, they can share their fate a bit with their relatives.

Chapter III - The Man

The last rays of nightfall die away in a frightening spectacle. The strongly blowing wind is tugging at the dry branches screaming, it calls for dark dim between the trees and it slowly covers the valley in grey dawn. Only an outline could be seen on the mossy carpet of the great clearing, clasping his hands. His dark cloak is tugged by the wind just like his snow-white hair which has collapsed over his shoulders. The red sky casts an odd tint on his oily dark purple features.

It is a man. A drow man.

Now he is watching the narrow sickle of the moon with his purple glance, just as yesterday and before. He has been disturbing the calm of the place for four days, certainly, as if he disturbed the quiet plants. Well, no others, besides them, were there who could keep an eye on the drow's light motions, on his researching round trips on the trodden ground and on his seemingly aimless roamings. There was only one animal as exception: the old owl under whose nest the newcomer had been staying since early afternoon. When the cruel wind stopped for a moment, the wondering and indignant hoot of the bird could be heard. But the uncalled-for visitor does not give up his vantage point. He came here with a definite aim, and at last his research bids fair. Here, at the land of nobody, he was searching for a cemetery. For an ancient kushon cemetery.

A frightening and mad thought for a mortal - but not for a Dark Elf. Especially if he is a wizard and, moreover, the fanatic of the Legends vanished into the eddies of the long past. Well, the elders had their corpses with their most important belongings buried, and a cemetery like this can be a treasure mine for someone who can speak the ancient language. What can a sheet of parchments contain ....

But the cadavers don't give their goods easily. The cemeteries have wrapped themselves into the dimness of the past. But here, in the depth of the Dark Forest, close to the living, existing Aghar, the shades of the empire appear sometimes.

They strike out from the eternal dim to bring those who are thirsty for knowledge about the treasure. But when they become visible, they bring the Dark from there. The smell of the Passing, the children of the Night. Every piece of them is a remnant of the old ages, they are the ruins of the sunless night. And the drow found one of the most exciting crypts. He found the crypt of the Wise Man.

He knows that, at night, he can be easily caught by any kind of monster. Maybe, if he had lived on the Surface, as his hated species of the Grey and White Elves had, they would draw away from him. Although he is a drow from the surface, he is a Dark one: he is one of the Rebels' descendants.

The night came, and he knew that the cemetery had to be somewhere here if his senses were correct.

He stood up slowly, with a light movement, and rested on his rod. The chilly wind became stronger, but this could not disturb him.

Midnight might have passed, only the moon gave out some light onto the clearing. The tall grass was still moved by the wind which changed nearly the whole clearing into a wavy sea.

The wind stopped suddenly without any kind of transition.

He started feeling cold, like having ice-blocks on his back.

He turned back with unbelievable speed and ....

Chapter IV - The Cemetery

Behind him, where a few minutes before thousand-year-old trees had been swaying to and fro, a ramshackle grave suddenly appeared out of the Dark with a gigantic iron-gate which was aiming high right under his very nose. The crumbling walls - with sharp spits on them - were much taller than he. The iron-grated doublewinged gate was forming a mansize demon-face. It was made from a black and special material. Fangs were standing out from the chops, which were poised (gawped) for biting. The hooked nose and prominent forehead were covered by green moss, but in spite of this it seemed to be alive. It was disgusting as the graves in rows and as the crumbling crypts hid by bramble. Above all, the most dreadful was the Moon which painted the tombstones and the wreathing fogs blue.

He glanced back at the narrow sickle of the Moon, then again at the horizon over the cemetery.

Chapter V - The Entrance

The Blue Moon .... The unrivalled ruler of the thousand-year-long night, the source of magic made by the Ancients .... and it is known as the Eye of the Dark Lord by kushons ....

The wind revived, so to say, by a magic touch, but the old cemetery did not vanish. The man's dark green silk gown was being flashed coarsely by the wind, the white hair was beating the dark face. He tore his glance from the sneering Moon and examined the face again. Although examining the gate no harming was noted, he pushed the right wing of the door with a carefully thought out movement.

Maybe only the trees' whining became much more painful, when the door opened with a husky groaning.

As he stepped in under the arch, he got a whiff in passing. Behind the gate, the wind stopped like he had entered another world or time. As he hurried on along a narrow path among the graves he seemed to be a roving Undead with black body.

His shadow was following him flickeringly, sometimes it was broken up on the graves and walls. Only the sound of grass, which was under his feet, could be heard. The fog, which was wreathing at the height of his hip, as it would like to guard the place, forced him to stop. He rushed through the fog, waiting for danger next to each of the gravestones. In his legs the coldness was growing. He was walking among the crypts on a narrow trail, when ...

... to be continued

Table of Contents

Book I. - The Story of Vittori

Chapter I - Conclusion
Chapter II - Introduction
Chapter III - The Man
Chapter IV - The Cemetery
Chapter V - The Entrance

Book II. - The Story of Kirgan Chapter VI - The Fugitive
Chapter VII - The Escape I.
Chapter VIII - The Crypt
Chapter IX - The Escape II.
Chapter X - The Fight

The story is continued in the following Books: Book III. - The Story of the Queen
Book IV. - The Story of Keb-Heaar

Vittori - (C) 1997 by Szoke 0fh AtomiK (Smulovics Peter)