It is the end of the semester and I’m finishing up assignments and projects for my classes. One was a final project for my Creative Writing class. For the longest time, I was at a loss of what to do. So I started working on finishing the last part of the Shattering (which I’ve posted 3 parts of so far). I wrote some and then my brain locked up.
So I decided to draw and color. :)
I worked on some dragon pictures and realized they might be the best way to present my piece visually. So I started a PowerPoint presentation and did some more coloring. Eventually, I realized it would be very difficult to put the drawings into the PowerPoint without a scanner. So I went and purchased one. Many of the pictures I drew, then inked, then scanned (in B&W), then printed on my laserjet, then colored, then scanned in again. I also scanned in some of my maps. (I love drawing maps!)
So here is what I presented. In the end, I just did the PowerPoint and explained the images, using up enough time without reading the excerpt. But I will include the excerpt at the end of this post.
Dadreon is a fantasy world I have been writing in since middle school–about 20 years. It has expanded and become more rich over the years. These past few years it has really begun to take shape because the various scattered pieces have begun to come together, fitting with one another like puzzle pieces.
This is the world as it existed before the Shattering of the Sunstone and the resulting cataclysm. The world was one large landmass, similar to Earth’s Pangeae.
This is the separation of the continents immediately after the Shattering, before the continents started drifting apart from one another.
Sandrae is basically the center of Dadreon, and the home to all of the Protectors. This is a map of Sandrae prior to the Shattering. The Temple of Yargonae is at the center in the elven city of Bethel. The darker portions are all forests as they existed by the humans arrived.
This is Sandrae after the Shattering, now surrounded by water.
This is Rhaegar, the Father of Dragons. He was created by Yargonae at the beginning. He is always dreaming, and in his dreams, he keeps an ancient evil locked away in the center of the world. The Shattering woke Rhaegar, allowing his prisoners to almost escape and changing the face of Dadreon.
After creating Rhaegar, Yargonae took a scale from him and created the Sunstone. Through the refracted rays of the sun, creating a rainbow of colors, Yargonae formed the Dracolords, the Gemstone Dragons. The Dracolords are the protectors of the elements–earth, fire, nature, air, and water.
Sapphire is the male Dracolord who protects the elemental earth.
Ruby is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental fire.
Emerald is the male Dracolord who protects the elemental nature.
Quartz is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental air.
Onyx is the female Dracolord who protects the elemental water. (She turned out looking awesome, but far more mean looking than I intended!)
The Sylvan are the Protectors of life and life essence. They are the mothers of all of the fae races–elves, fairies, halflings, and dryads.
The Avar are the protectors of the mind and mental powers. They are a race of bird-people with a strict caste system and a way of life that is similar to the Asian and Buddhist lifestyles–focusing on history-keeping, knowing the self, and meditation.
I believe that the world is formed of opposites and these opposites both complement and contradict one another. The Desecrators are the opposite of the Protectors. For each Protector there is a Desecrator to form opposition and who feed on and destroy the forces that the Protectors guard. The Desecrators are the minions of the ancient ones imprisoned within Dadreon by Rhaegar. At the time of the Shattering, they were summoned to the surface by the envious Zaeriin, god of darkness and deceit.
The Nagaesh are the Desecrators of the elements. They feed on the elements of earth, fire, nature, air, and water. I devised this creature from a combination of various monsters and based its name off the mythical Naga, or lizard men.
The Rusc are the Desecrators of life and life essence. They feed on the life forces of other beings. I picture the Rusc similar to a ghoul from Dungeons & Dragons–vampiric and emaciated–which is why I choose to use this image.
The Ilmaer are the Desecrators of the mind and mental powers. They feed on the minds of other beings. I picture the Ilmaer very similar to the mind flayers, or Illithid, from Dungeons & Dragons–who also seem very similar to the imagery given of Cthulhu from H.P. Lovecraft’s writing.
This is an excerpt from the larger piece, The Shattering.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Sunstone had begun to sing again, a melody dreadful and forlorn.
Zaeriin reached forward. A tiny tremor in the marble floor gave him pause. He hesitated for only a moment, then grabbed hold of the gem. A greater vibration shook Zaeriin, seeming to originate from the Sunstone. He took a firmer hold of it. The walls of the Temple began to shudder and cracks appeared in their flawless surfaces.
Zaeriin stood mesmerized, gazing deeply into the Sunstone. Within the gem were swirling masses resembling tiny cosmic clouds, and within them twinkled tiny stars. Now that he held it, the Sunstone seemed to trill with a higher pitch than before.
First dust, then pebbles, then large sections of the plastered walls and columns began to crumble and collapse around him. A large chunk fell to the floor, narrowly missing him and breaking him from his reverie.
“I think that is my exit cue,” Zaeriin murmured.
The Temple groaned and rumbled with discontent. As Zaeriin moved toward the doors, more chunks of plaster fell, now joined by the stone and mortar beneath it, quicker and in larger pieces than before. A jagged hole marred the ceiling, and it made the sun’s rays unpleasantly harsh and condemning to the dark god’s sensitive eyes.
Zaeriin clutched the Sunstone protectively to him. As he reached the aspen doors, the gem wailed and flashed hot pain into his chest.
Crying out, Zaeriin tried to hold on, but the burning gem tumbled from his covetous fingers.
The Sunstone hit the marble and shattered, letting loose an ear-piercing wail. It was a scream of fear, a howl of pain, a cry of anguish.
And it woke Rhaegar, the Dreamer, from his slumber.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
To those living on the great landmass of Sandrae, it seemed the gods had cast judgment upon their creations, found them lacking, and sought to destroy all evidence of their existence. The once calm landscape became a roiling, punishing, living thing.
Mountains bled and groaned and collided with one another, ground together like gnashing teeth then violently ripping apart, leaving great chasms that sucked down the unprepared. The chasms channeled torrential sea waters into the crevasses forming across the continent’s formerly solid surface and the landmass shattered apart. Fractured pieces drifted away from the center of the continent.
The quakes created by the upheaval wracked Sandrae, crumbling buildings, destroying forests, and reshaping the features of the world of Dadreon. Molten rock spewed up from below and washed away great areas in burning rivers of lava.
Thunder and hail created a great cacophony, making ears ring and teeth grind. Lightning lit up the blackened sky and eerily outlined the apocalyptic landscape in stark white on black.
The cataclysmic events sent the peoples running in fear for their lives, but with nowhere to escape.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Zaeriin stood in horrified awe for several moments, staring at the topaz shards scattered around him. He grabbed the largest jagged fragment and fled down the marble stairs that spilled down the front of the violently quaking Temple.
He quickly realized the turmoil extended beyond Temple, though. The city of Bethel had fallen into chaos. Terrified elves fled homes that crumbled around them. They poured into streets that cracked apart beneath a sky that rumbled and spewed torrential rains.
He might have escaped in the confusion if not for the grief of one.
Umaesh, lord of the moons and stars, had watched his love, Onyx, enter the Temple of Yargonae and only Zaeriin emerge. He knew the malice that blackened that one’s heart, had seen much of his wicked acts from his high throne. Umaesh left his heavenly realm to confirm the fears growing within him, but was still stunned into anguished silence when he saw his love slumped into a pool of her own blood.
His tears had begun to fall as her body shimmered and shattered into two pairs of dragons–two of black and two of steely grey. The dragons cried out in their own despair before smashing through the remnants of the skylight of the Temple and escaping into the trembling beyond.
Umaesh was left with only his tears and his aching heart.
For what seemed an eternity to the immortal god, he knelt there, his face soaked with tears that would not stop falling, until finally he remembered the source of his heartbreak. Cold anger, the kind that sharpens emotion-dulled senses, filled Umaesh. He spent only a moment shaping the physical manifestation of his sorrow, the black pool of his tears, into a sharp obsidian instrument of revenge, and then crossed the Temple’s vast marble floor.
Zaeriin had only made it to the lower courtyard at the base of the stairs when Umaesh smashed through the remaining fragments of the great pair of aspen doors.
“Zaeriin! I will have your heart for the pain you’ve caused mine!”
The fleeing god cringed and hunched into himself as he met the glaring anger of Umaesh. The moon god cut an impressive figure across the darkened front of the Temple–silky black skin taut over rippling muscles that trembled with rage. Umaesh’s luminescent silver eyes burned into Zaeriin, making him flinch away from the gaze. In his passionate grip hung a sword with a black blade and Zaeriin knew what the other god intended.
“Be reasonable, Umaesh. You cannot kill me. I’m brother to your King,” Zaeriin said. He gave the moon god his most charismatic smile.
“I am beyond reason,” Umaesh replied, taking slow steps down the stairs to the lower courtyard.
“As was I. Believe me, her death hurts me as it does you.”
“I doubt that, but no worries, you will feel a similar pain.” Umaesh’s steps remained even, measured. “I plan to cut out your black heart.”
Zaeriin winced at the implications. “You are indeed without reason if you think I will submit to you.”
“It is my wish that you don’t. That will make my revenge sweeter.” His drawn out progression continued.
Zaeriin had never realized how steep the staircase was until it counted down to his end. He had no intentions of that happening. “You cannot attack what you cannot see,” the god of darkness hissed.
The entire courtyard went black. Umaesh could not even see the blade in his hand, let alone the steps ahead of him. He paused, his ears alert to any noise. “Coward!” he shouted into the dark.
The words were quickly lost in the deafening sounds of the world destroying itself, an end which meant nothing to Umaesh.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Umaesh whispered to his sword, and it responded. A dim light came forth, black on black, but cutting the immediate gloom. Umaesh stepped quicker down the stairs until he stood where Zaeriin had been a moment before. “Show yourself!”
“What fun would that be?” Zaeriin said. His confidence returned with his ability to fade into the black. This was his element.
Umaesh was aware of Zaeriin’s powers of deceit and knew better than to trust his ears. He focused on the dimly glowing sword as he cut slow swaths through the darkness.
At first, he saw nothing, but finally as Zaeriin’s voice laughed tauntingly behind him, Umaesh caught a movement at the edge of the sweeping sword’s light in front and to his left. He followed where he thought the movement’s path led and slashed.
Zaeriin cried out and the black wall around them wavered. The gloomy low-light of the continuing storm fell like streamers of dull gray, piercing random places and plunging to the ground around them.
Again, Umaesh waited, then lunged. Again, his opponent confirmed the hit through the shout of a scathing epithet.
The third time, the moon god’s sword met hard resistance and two weapons came together with a thunderous crash that echoed in the wounded sky. But Zaeriin’s strength was no match for Umaesh’s. As steel met obsidian, the moon god put all of his weight behind his Moonblade and crushed Zaeriin down toward the ground.
The tattered remnants of the darkness blew away like dead leaves in the whipping wind. Umaesh was face to face with Zaeriin and glared at his love’s murderer with vengeful silver eyes.
“Last words?” Umaesh growled.
“I think that’s enough fun for one day,” Zaeriin replied with a grin, still straining against the other’s muscular arms.
A moment later, Umaesh nearly fell to the ground, all the resistance beneath him gone–along with Zaeriin.
From then forward, whenever the light of the moons became eclipsed, the people of Dadreon remembered the great battle of Umaesh and Zaeriin, and rejoiced when the moons’ faces once more shone, knowing their moon god had triumphed over evil, though not destroyed it.
Umaesh returned to his heavenly sanctuary and continued to cry for his lost love. His great dark tears fell all across Dadreon, and wherever they sizzled against the flowing lava of the ravaged land they became chunks of obsidian, the tears of the moon.
This last slide is a surrealistic image I put together from the battle between Umaesh and Zaeriin. It symbolizes the lunar eclipse from the battle as well as Umaesh’s tears falling and forming obsidian.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This story and all related material are the original works of Awaiting the Muse and Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti. All rights reserved.
Awaiting the Muse by Effy J. Roan AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.