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Lore part 5

A New Beginning in the Elderworld

Listen to the narrated lore.

The ground shook so forcefully it was as if the whole earth moved and the Stone Circle was about to collapse.

“To the Elderworld,” the Mad Sorceress laughed. Her laughter and joy at the chaos seemed to make her magic stronger.  

Chosen repeated the Mad Sorceress’ whispers, and the magic in him was a vibrant and powerful force that integrated with all that was around him, there was nothing, and everything, a feeling that was difficult to comprehend and somehow just graspable at the edge of consciousness.

There were negative thoughts, Not even the Mad Sorceress knows what will happen to us all. This is madness.

Stop that, she said, still whispering her incantations. This will be our greatest magic, do not fear it. And it is this or eradication. Modius will not let you stay here. That is the end of it. Waste no more energy on it, Chosen One. Even with mind talk, she cackled and laughed hysterically. Now tell the humans we need more lorestones.

“More!” Chosen roared, and he returned to whispering the incantations.

Eyes closed, yet a sense of everything as if there were no solid forms but only the energy of all things and the connection between them. Conjurers were sitting in and around the mighty Stone Circle repeating the incantations of the Mad Sorceress. Those without magic were burying lorestones, aided by humans and giants. Each stone arch of the circle glowed. Some were magenta. Some green.

A sense of the humans’ apprehension. Whatever magic they were witnessing, they could barely believe their eyes.

What of the humans, and the bonded companions, will they be transported to the Elderworld? Mind talk to the Mad Sorceress.

All will be as it should be, Chosen. Now stop this nonsense before I control your mind. I will do whatever it takes to make this masterful magic succeed. Be proud to be a part of something so magnificent.

Chosen, he thought. Regaining a small sense of self. Yet, no pride whatsoever. Worry, and distaste toward the mystery in her answer. What does “As it should be” truly mean?

Everything swirled and lost its solidity until it felt as if there was just energy represented by colour, intertwined in mysterious and grand ways beyond comprehension and then something grabbed and dragged all the energy in a frictionless swirl and there were feelings of dizziness and disorientation, moving so fast everything was chaos.  

Strange swirls of purple, orange and white, and lots of deep intense black. Stars shooting by. Slow, confusing serenity. A translucent white wash.

Screaming. Rock: rumbling, smashing grinding. Darkness, all but some light from the stars and moon of the clear night’s sky.

He was in the Stone Circle and he felt his sense of self again. The Mad Sorceress and Modius were still chanting, unmoved, unchanged. The herd panicked around him. The Royal Palace was in ruins. Not just the palace, the whole of Moonstone. Ruins!  

It hasn’t worked, he thought, and now Moonstone is ruined.

The Mad Sorceress laughed and said, “This is now the site of the greatest magic I have ever made, treasure it, Chosen, build upon it and establish your legacy in the Elderworld.” She morphed into her owl form and flew away.

“Wait,” Chosen said, but it was too late. The Mad Sorceress was gone.

Modius stood in his human form with his rich brown skin and tattoos glowing in the moonlight and he said, “I’m sorry,” and he disappeared.

The Chosen One was in disbelief, and empty. A dark shadow crept over his heart. How could I have failed you all again? he thought, hearing cries of grief piercing the air and the desperation of the inhabitants of Moonstone trying to come to terms with what had happened.

A deep, loud roar sounded in the distance, overpowering the sounds of turmoil in Moonstone. The herd gasped.

There were no humans in sight, no giants. And those were the least of his thoughts. Just passing considerations.

Something had been ripped from him. It was as if an organ had been taken and his skin sewed back. But when he looked at his skin, there were no marks. Then it hit him, like a boulder hurtling down a cliffs edge.

None of his companions were there. The bond had been broken.

All is not as it should be, he said to the Mad Sorceress, as his legs gave way and he fell to his knees and folded in despair.


The sun rose behind a thin layer of clouds, painting textures of pink and orange over the pale blue sky. The cries had turned to murmurs and sobs and the herd were tending to the injured and burying those who had passed.

‘See those mountains to the east?’ King Wisdom said. “I saw something huge flying from them and into the clouds, much too large to be any bird from our world,” he stroked his beard. “We are indeed in a new world.”

“I would rather be dead,” Chosen said. “My companions were all left in the old world, Moonstone is ruined and we lost many of the herd.”

“Chosen, how many times must you achieve wonderful things before you stop thinking like that? The herd needs a strong leader more than ever now. You cannot question yourself now. What has happened has happened, and we must move forward and make a good life in this new world.”

“Curse the Mad Sorceress for ever transforming us.”

“I believe it is a blessing,” King Wisdom said.

“Look around you. This is no blessing. This is carnage.”

“We will be joyous once again. Make it so, Chosen. Make it so,” King Wisdom said. “If it was not for you, we would all have been eradicated. Sure, the herd’s path has not been easy, but when is life ever easy?”

“You are wise indeed, King wisdom,” Chosen said.

“Then take my word and make this the last time you ever allow doubt in yourself to fester.”

Chosen dragged himself up and he felt heavy and slow and burdened. He cleared his throat, unsure of what to say. He wanted to fall back to the floor and take comfort in its solidity. He cleared his throat again. “Deerkind, I believe we are in a new world, and whilst we face the unknown, we must be strong together.” The word “together” reminded him of the companions he had lost and it tore his heart.

Some looked at Chosen, most ignored him. They were all still dazed and distraught from the magic and chaos.

“Listen to the Chosen One!” Queen Ferocity roared.

Chosen was surprised by the support. More looked to him, though, and it was not the time to question any help sent his way. “Deer of the Alliance,” he raised his voice. “We are in a new world, yet that does not mean we have to start again.”

“Moonstone is in ruins,” one shouted.

“My brother died,” another shouted.

“We’ve got nothing, we don’t even know where we are,” said another.

Chosen said, “It is true we have suffered great losses; for our entire existence, we will mourn those who have left us.”

“Ask that whacky sorceress to bring them back from the dead,” one shouted.

Tell them not to be so ridiculous. Magic that toys with death is seldom worth exploring, the Mad Sorceress said in his mind, from what seemed like a long distance away. I must rest, the magic took a lot from me. After, I will teach you of the magic lore of the Elderworld and how to harness the essence. There is much power here, you will see.

“We built Moonstone once, and we will build it again. And it may seem we have nothing, but we have so much. We have each other. We have our clans. We have the herd,’ Chosen said. He could see hope sparking in some, yet in most it was all but lost. “Who will explore these lands and collect the resources we need to rebuild Moonstone?”

The Royals grouped around Chosen.

‘Domence will,” King Wisdom said, looking to Queen Prudence, who nodded. Deerkind from Domence cheered.

‘As will Ferocunn,” Queen Ferocity said, and King Cunning saluted. Clan members from Ferocunn seemed somewhat apprehensive. Ferocity roared, “For the herd!” with unquestionable authority.

Deer from Ferocunn roared, “For the herd.”

Not all, however. One named Bardu Thunder cracked his whip with a thunderous force, and all were silent. He said, “I am sick of your mind changing with the wind, Queen Ferocity.”

The herd gasped. Treachery.

Bardu continued, “I will no longer follow you without question. Ferocunn does not need the Alliance. We are in the Elderworld now and we should go and make the most of it. There could be treasures and more waiting for us while we rebuild Moonstone and protect the weak members of the herd. We were never content with those ways.”

Queen Ferocity pulled her sword halfway from its sheath, her eyes flaming red.

Chosen felt anxious, the last thing the herd needed was more fighting. He felt saddened that things kept going in circles. No matter where they were, or what the threat was, the Alliance could not settle on matters and often rushed to violence. He felt as if it was his fault, that he had not led them properly.

Ferocity sheathed her sword. “I am saddened, Bardu, we have always seen eye to eye. We have always been close. Perhaps in the past I would have taken your head.”  

Chosen was taken aback by her response.

“Perhaps you have stumbled upon something, Bardu,” Ferocity said. “Things have changed beyond recognition in the Alliance, and perhaps it is time our leadership reflected that.”

The crowd looked at Ferocity curiously, probably wondering how she had managed to control her anger for once, and perhaps confused by her diplomatic and considerate words.

Ferocity said, “If you want to depart from Ferocunn, I understand. I agree with Chosen, we need to be together. However, I do not want to dictate the fate of the herd. If you feel you must, then choose a new leader, or perhaps lead those who want to march into the Elderworld and explore the unknown. Your new clan will always be recognised as a clan of the Alliance, and you will always have Ferocunn’s support, so long as you do not wrong us.”

Bardu appeared stunned. He had clearly expected violence for his outburst, and instead he had received kindness. Chosen could see it on his face, and he shared the scepticism. Chosen also felt warm and overwhelmed. Perhaps things were changing after all.

“Those who wish to follow me into the unknown, so be it,” Bardu said. He headed south, where there were meadows, and a thin line of trees dotted the horizon. A dozen from Ferocunn followed. Some from other clans looked anxious to follow too; it was clear they did not know if their Royals would disagree with Ferocity’s notion.

Queen Prudence said, “Those from Domence who wish to follow Bardu may.”

Royals from all the clans agreed that those who wished to follow Bardu should do so. Around thirty followed Bardu, and a new precedent emerged in the Alliance. Those who wished to form their own clans could do so.

Chosen was not sure how he felt about it, but it seemed right for the alliance to embrace its diversity and he hoped it would result in strength, as diversity often did.

A beastly roar came from a heavily wooded and hilly area in the north.

* * *

The herd had begun to map their surroundings and to learn about the new world around them. None ventured too far alone, the roars from the woods and the shrieks from the mountains were unsettling.

They had built temporary shelters with wood upon the structures that had remained strong enough within the ruins of Moonstone, and it was sad for the Chosen One to see once such a magnificent settlement in tatters.

Chosen watched as the herd rebuilt Moonstone. Removing ruins, relaying foundations, gathering stone, building the workshop, crafting tools and weapons, and surprisingly, Ferocunn seemed the most enthusiastic about it all. They seemed to want the best for the entire herd, and it was strange to see.

Queen Ferocity was with Chosen by the Stone Circle. “Look,” she said, pointing at the mountains to the east.  

A flying creature circled a peak, and it must have been gigantic for it was so far away and yet they could still see its form, circling gracefully, powerfully.

“Perhaps this is a bad place to rebuild Moonstone,” Chosen said.

“The Mad Sorceress ordered us to rebuild here,” Ferocity said. “The Stone Circle will remain a source of power to the herd, we should not waste it. Who knows what we will gain from the Stone Circle’s power next?”

The gargantuan rocks forming the Stone Circle buzzed with energy. Chosen could indeed feel the power. “Yet it is clear they call her Mad for a reason,” Chosen said. “I can not be sure whether we can trust her or not.”

“Let us not worry about that now, there are more important matters,” Queen Ferocity said. “What do we know of our surroundings so far?” She said. “Much of the terrain looks like our old world.”

“The forest in the north sounds like it is littered with bears, and we have called it Bearwood. We have not gone deep into the forest, we do not want to provoke the bears. The meadows in the south are vast and are great for grazing. We have called them Sweetmeadow. The plains in the west are less fruitful and yet there are great streams of crystal-clear water, so we have called them the Shimmering Plains. And the forests in the south west, we have not reached yet. The land spans far and it would take much time to explore further. We must wait for a winged scout to return.

“The Elderworld appears ethereal, the plants and mycelium glow with vibrant colours and forces and the air shimmers in places with a mysterious, translucent essence.”

“And the mountains with winged beasts? What of those?” Ferocity said. “I want to take an exploration party there. I feel something calling me.”

“It is too dangerous,” Chosen said. “We have no idea what those flying beasts are capable of, and no idea of whatever else lurks there.”

“If I have to go myself, I will,” Ferocity grunted. “How can we defend Moonstone if we do not know what surrounds it.”

“If you must go, take volunteers. Do not go alone.”

It was decided that in honour of Queen Ferocity’s bravery to explore and map the mountains, the area would be named Feromount. Brave Knights, curious Politicals, keen Makers, powerful Conjurers and enthusiastic Citizens joined Queen Ferocity’s call to explore the mountains in the east.  Most of them were those loyal to her in Ferocunn, but volunteers from all clans joined them.

She said to those from other clans, “I appreciate your support, but I do not expect you to risk yourselves for my quest. Stay and be safe in Moonstone, it is for your own good. And your own good is also good for the herd.”

They looked at each other with hesitation, seemingly wondering if she was right. Then one nodded, and another nodded, and another. “We go, for the herd.”

Over a hundred deerkind marched toward the mountains, weapons reflecting the sun, colourful clan banners flowing rhythmically in the breeze, staffs glowing with magic, and the chatter of opportunity and the unknown in their voices.

Chosen was optimistic and worried. He imagined them being torn apart by giant eagles or finding a source of powerful magic to bring back to Moonstone, or a resource they had never encountered before. Hope and fear tangled inside of him as he watched them disappear into the distance.

Void, King Glutton’s henchman, approached Chosen. He said, “Void,” and looked to the temporary building that was the Royal Palace. He nudged Chosen and they walked together.  

King Glutton was sitting on a bed of cloth eating apples that smelt as sweet and juicy as they looked, so vibrant and delicious.

“Chosen, I want to send spies to follow Ferocunn, I do not trust them.” Glutton said.

“They have been nothing but supportive since they came back to Moonstone, we cannot cause tension now,” Chosen said. “If the spies get caught, it could provoke Ferocity.”

“So, we send the best; one with wings from the future. They were blessed with such magics and artifacts, we should not let them go to waste.”

“They are already surveying the land and drawing maps for us, it is better they continue with that.”

“Oh, Chosen,” Glutton said. He bit lavishly through the skin of an apple, juice dripping from his lips. “You are too quick to trust, you think the best of creatures too often. If you do not send a spy, I am sure you will regret it.”

Chosen wondered whether Glutton was right. Would it be worth the risk? If Ferocity was up to no good, the fate of the whole herd could be at stake. If she was being honest and genuinely questing to protect and assist the herd, then losing Ferocunn could be detrimental.

Warning bells rang. “Enemies attacking from the north,” a guard shouted.

Roars sounded, loud and rough, close, not like before. The ground rumbled.

Chosen dashed outside. Glutton and Void followed.  

“Bears coming from the woods,” Metalwing the Marauder said. He looked exhausted as if he had rushed back as fast as he could to raise the alarm bells.

A hoard of armoured bears charged toward the palisade walls, their roars so loud they dominated the air. Moonstone prepared for battle. Conjurers and Knights rushed to defend the palisade.

The bears reached the walls. Conjurers fired magic but the armour was strong. Knights lunged with spears and archers slung arrows, but the bears had caught them by surprise and the herd’s efforts were not enough. The bears were getting into Moonstone. There were too many.

Chosen called his bone staff, and it appeared in his hand. He conjured air and threw it at four bears at the palisade. The bears rolled backwards and skidded across the ground, roaring. Claws caught him from behind and smashed him to the floor. He conjured ice and froze the bear as it pawed down on him.

He sprung to his feet and conjured ice to freeze two bears who were dragging King Glutton to a cart lined with thick wooden bars, already half full of struggling prisoners.

Void wrestled with a bear in an equal match. “Void” he roared.

Two incredibly strong arms wrapped around Chosen and held him tight. He could not move, and every essence of air was being squeezed from him. His head felt like it would pop. He tried to conjure, and there was barely any life left in him, never mind magic. His staff dropped to the floor and he was barely conscious as they dragged him and threw him into a caged wagon.

King Courage was encircled by bears, and he moved his sword elegantly and ferociously fending them off in droves. He pivoted and slashed and slipped and rolled and stabbed and parried at lightning speed. Bears fell, but with each moment they gained a little ground and the circle enclosed. Courage roared and swirled and grunted and his sword danced elegantly with ruthless execution. “FOR THE HERD,” he shrieked as his blade pierced through a bear and those surrounding him had gotten close enough. They pounced on him.

Lore Part 1

The Magic of All the Ages

Read / listen
Lore Part 2

Moonstone Rising

Read / listen
Lore Part 3

The Siege of Moonstone

Read / listen
Lore part 4

The Magic of Moonstone

Read / listen
Lore part 5

A New Beginning in the Elderworld

Read / listen