To celebrate 100 combined reviews of the first pair of Elder Empire novels, I've agreed to give you some extra content here on the blog. Because I'm awesome, and because 100 is such a cool number, I'm including not just one piece of content, but five!
That's four cooler than it could have been!
Here's the first: information regarding the future of Simon and the Traveler's Gate universe.
(Hit the jump to see it!)
In the beginning, there were nine.
The first humans, our ancient progenitors, sought a bounty of food, medicine, and exotic poisons from Asphodel, the Gardens of Mist. Some who braved its blanket of parasitic fog returned with even greater rewards than they expected. Many did not return at all.
Scholars of these elder days sought Helgard, the Tower of Winter. The Tower’s vast libraries were responsible for humanity’s first advances in science and agriculture, though only the hardiest explorers could endure its bitter cold.
Humans were not the first to discover the Crystal Fields of Lirial. A long-forgotten race, known to us as the Daniri, left behind artifacts of their wisdom that our ancestors fought and killed one another to protect.
Naraka, the Caverns of Flame, was once believed to be the final destination of all wicked souls. Those with a heart for the law soon found that this Territory’s eternal flames would yield great power to the just.
It was only appropriate that a team of miners discovered Ornheim, for there were great deposits of gems and precious metals in the whirling Maelstrom of Stone. But it took time and study to reap the rewards of this Territory, and some were not so patient.
The Feathered Plains, Avernus, is the home of a thousand species of birds, some with the unique powers to invade—or control—the minds of men. Beyond all else, these winged beasts were loyal to their tribe, and it was soon found that they would defend adopted Travelers as quickly as any member of their natural flock.
Soldiers often stumbled upon Tartarus, the Steel Labyrinth, by accident. No one will ever know how many men were lost in this razor-edged maze before some found their way out, bearing finer weapons than any in the natural world.
Endross, the Lightning Wastes, was a country more hostile than any. This blasted landscape, home to murderous, storm-fueled beasts, became a home for men with hearts even darker than the weather.
And the truly ambitious, those who sought the destruction of their enemies at any cost, found in their hearts and veins the key to Ragnarus, the Crimson Vault.
With the powers of the Nine Territories, those early Travelers flourished. They brought their discoveries to the material world, the Unnamed World, the world in which we all live. And thanks to their bravery and their sacrifice, civilization blossomed.
With the rise of these early settlements, Travelers discovered that their abilities could not be fully controlled. The Territories themselves brought ruin to their exploratory outposts, and Incarnations—Travelers transformed by power unchecked—rose among the population. Soon, the existence of the Unnamed World itself was threatened.
It was at this time that Elysia, the City of Light, arose to defend the humans. Within the walls of the City, Travelers found power enough to match any or all of the other Territories. They ruled supreme, guided by virtue, keeping the Incarnations and all who threatened progress in check.
Elysia’s reign was long, but it ended in violence. When the Incarnation of Elysia sought to command the other Territories instead of curbing them, all of civilization came under threat once again. The world was darkened by the shadow of the City of Light, until Cynara of Damasca stepped forward and ended the war.
Thus began the Age of Ragnarus.
For the next three hundred years, the nation of Damasca lived in peace and stability. Philosophers, scholars, and Travelers alike agreed that the Territories must be limited to ten. Some believed that the City of Light would open its gates once more when Ragnarus’ time had ended. But no one thought an eleventh Territory was necessary, or even possible. Surely, if it were out there, then someone would have discovered it.
That was the prevailing belief until roughly 325 of the Damascan Calendar, when a man named Valin returned with keys to Valinhall, the House of Blades. The date is uncertain, because he hid the existence of his newly formed Territory. At first.
It was over thirty years before knowledge of Valinhall passed to the public. Even those who clashed with a Valinhall Traveler in combat—those fortunate enough to survive the encounter—did not truly believe that they had seen evidence of an eleventh Territory. How could there be eleven, where there had always been only ten?
They did not remember that, in the beginning, there had once been nine.
In these days, as Queen Leah of Damasca uses her Valinhall Travelers to defend the realm from Incarnations, and rumors abound of an order that trains Travelers of Elysia, one has to wonder about ancient history.
Where once there were nine, there are now eleven.
Why not twelve?
Enosh is practically rubble. Leah rules as queen. Simon is bodyguard to the ruler of a nation he once hated, leader of a new generation of Valinhall Travelers, and a reluctant treasure hunter. As per his bargain with the Eldest Nye, he's tracking down the remaining Dragon's Fangs with the ultimate goal of expanding his Territory's power.
While searching for one of the lost swords, he catches wind of a new threat: a foreign nation, long considered extinct, making its way to Damasca by sea. With them, they bring new weapons, new Territories, new Incarnations...and new ways of defeating Valinhall.
But Valin's Territory is versatile, and there's plenty of space for new rooms in the House of Blades.
The Traveler's Blade Trilogy
"Calder straightened his back, focused his mind, and opened the door."
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