Skip navigation

The temple at the heart of Azenaria is not just a place of worship.  It is a gateway.  It is the only place in this world where Fanquizar can enter the world of mortal man.  It is the only place in this world where Azoth can feel the black hatred that his master has for this world.  The black hatred that sustains him.  It is the only place in this world where the darkness has any chance of destroying the light.

Like the temple of Azenaria, the temple at the heart of O’orn is also a gateway.  Unlike Azenaria, this temple is the gateway that Fa’Aln uses to fight the darkness.

Until Azoth is victorious in conquering the world, his master is powerless to enter the hearts and minds of men, and to turn them to him.  However, the same rules apply to Fa’Aln.  He cannot force any man to turn to the light.  It is up to the Az-Anan and the O’orn to convince the men and women of the world to follow the light, or the dark.

So far, the world has remained in balance.  Fa’Aln understands the importance of that balance.  Fanquizar does not care.  It is for this reason, that the O’orn must struggle so terribly to maintain the balance.  The darkness has the power of a god behind it.  The light does not.  Fa’Aln will not intervene to force the balance to be ruined.  The O’orn must continue to fight against the darkness, the Az-Anan, and their evil god, while at the same time, convince mankind to follow the light and maintain the balance.

It is an eternal struggle.  As long as the balance exists, Azoth and Fanquizar will fight against it.  If the balance ends, the O’orn and the world will be destroyed.

How will the O’orn keep up the fight?  How can they hope to defeat Azoth and the Az-Anan and their god?  The only hope of the O’orn lies in one person, one of their own.  Only he can overcome the darkness.  Only he will be able to confront the demons of Azoth and Fanquizar.


Somewhere beyond the realm of mortal man, there is a place for those who serve the gods.  In this sanctuary, those disciples meet together and discuss how the world must turn in order for the balance to be kept.  Here, in this crystal palace, the followers of Fanquizar and the followers of Fa’Aln do not serve their gods.  Here, they only serve the balance.  The balance must be kept, else the world will cease to be.

Now, the universe has been thrown into chaos.  Azoth and Fanquizar have betrayed the balance, and now Azoth has been taken from the world.  It may be too late for the balance to be restored.  There is only one hope.  The O’orn must survive.  If the world is to survive, the O’orn must be made whole.  The destruction of the O’orn means the destruction of the world.


The world spins.  Nothing we do can stop it.  The tides ebb and flow.  Nothing we do can prevent it.  There are certain laws, certain rules, that must be followed.  These rules cannot be broken.  They cannot be changed.  The Balance must be kept.

When Azoth decided to break the balance, he had moved far beyond the need for world domination.  He no longer wanted to rule a tiny world of darkness.  Somewhere, deep inside himself, he knew, he understood, the consequences of destroying that balance.  He hated the world, and the O’orn, so deeply, that he had convinced himself it must all go away.  He had moved far beyond rational thought.  When he made his agreement with Fanquizar, there was no rational thought involved.  He was an empty man, filled with nothing but hatred and burning rage.

When he took her as a sacrifice to Fanquizar, he wanted nothing but the destruction of her and all of her people.  When he finally possessed her and sensed her power, he was dumbstruck.  He suddenly wanted her power for himself, and his agreement with the dark god became as ashes blowing in the wind.  He thought he could possess her and her power, and keep it for himself.  There was no rational thought involved.

Azoth was wrong, of course.  O’orn, all O’orn, must be completely destroyed.  He could not keep any part of it for himself.  When he finally realized this, he had finally crossed over from humanity.  He was no longer a man.  He was the darkness, and his only chance, his only hope of survival, was for the balance to be destroyed.


Deep beneath the ruins of Azenaria are miles, perhaps hundreds of miles, of caves.  During his reign, Azoth and his Az-Anan used these caves for terrible rituals devoted to the dark god Fanquizar.  After the destruction of Azenaria, when the world believed that Azoth had lost his power, he had actually given up his life to Fanquizar.  His mortal body slept in the deepest part of the caves for many years.  When he awoke, he had been imbued with power from his dark god.  He knew it was time for a new reign to begin.

His hatred for the O’orn burned in his blood.  He, and his followers began secretly capturing and imprisoning the O’orn.  Death was too good for them.  He wanted to own their living souls.  When he discovered that most of the O’orn had escaped him, he begged Fanquizar to give a small number of his followers the power to travel in the storm.  He called these special Az-Anan warriors, Storm Chasers.  Using his Storm Chasers, he finally discovered where the O’orn had fled, and again began to slowly capture them, stealing their power, and their life.  He was a patient man and the knowledge of his coming victory was sweet.  He could wait.  Soon, he would have every living O’orn in his possession, and their spiritual power would be his.


He was a giant of a man, covered in black armor and a black cloak.  Even though he sat in a chair at the head of the stone table, he towered over most of the others there, who were still standing.  There were seven other men, all wearing black cloaks, all eyes on a large map in the center of the table.  The map showed the eight lands that made up the old world.  The four lands of dark–those who worshiped the great Fanquizar, and the four lands of light–those who worshiped the pathetic Fa’Aln.

The giant at the head of the table listened as the seven men argued over strategy and tactics.  They were human, and that made them weak, but Azoth needed them.  He needed them to lead his human armies.  He needed them until his victory had been assured, and then he would destroy them as he would destroy all the pathetic humans on this world.  He smiled as he thought of how they would suffer.  The Fa’Aln, the O’orn, the Bryn, and the humans, would all beg for death before he was through.  They argued over strategy and tactics as if it mattered.  It didn’t matter.  His Chumra, led by a few of his dead but undead disciples, would sweep over the world of light.

The room the eight men were in was a large stone chamber deep beneath the heart of Azenaria, and far beyond the world of mortal man.  It was a forbidden place that knew nothing of time or space.  It existed when Azoth needed it to, and ceased to exist when he did not.  In the day these men had been here, years had passed in the world of man.  When these men returned to their world, they would return to the very day they had left it.  They did not know this.  Their human minds would not be able to comprehend it.  Only Azoth knew the truth.  He smiled again.

The map on the table came to life.  The water of the oceans swayed in a gentle breeze.  The forests, mountains, rivers, and deserts all came alive.  Azoth stood.  He was at least nine feet tall.  He leaned over the table, and the other men, and watched the map.  He watched as a wave of darkness appeared from within a mountain range on the eastern side.  The wave of darkness spread across the map, moving toward the four lands on the western side.  A few moments later, the wave crossed the large ocean that separated the people of Fanquizar from the people of Fa’Aln.  As the wave moved inland, into the land of light, the living map became black and lifeless.  Within minutes, the entire half of the world was dead.  Azoth smiled as he reached into his cloak, removed a large dagger, and plunged it into the map, in the center of the blackness, and into the stone table beneath.

Azoth pointed to the blade and said, “O’orn.  All others are yours.  O’orn is mine.”  He then sat back down.

As he thought of his coming victory, and the sweetness of it, he began to laugh.  He would not destroy them.  He would allow them to live forever.  Lord Fanquizar would grant him that power.  He would let them live forever and he would flail their bodies and their souls until the end of time.


The mountains and forests that surround Azenaria are a terrifying place for any human to stumble into.  While no human has ever found his way there and returned to tell the tale, the tales still do exist.  Some men say the forests are home to terrible creatures that no man can describe.  Other men say the forests are home to a strange race of humans totally unlike those currently living in any region of Baylein, in the real world.  Some say the mountains are full of caves that descend so deep into the heart of the world that no light can penetrate them.  The creatures that live in these deep caves have no eyes, yet, they can see as well as you or I.

I know these stories are all false.  I know this because I have been there, and I returned.  Why didn’t I proclaim this knowledge to the world?  Why didn’t I sit in front of the blazing hearths of inns and taverns all over the land telling my tale?  Because the knowledge is the curse.  Because I have the knowledge of these things, I am cursed to walk the land forever.  I have no home.  I had to die, to convince my loved ones that I am dead.  I had to do this to protect them.  Anyone who gains the knowledge I have, will be cursed as I am.  I do not sleep.  I cannot sleep.  For me, the dream is death, and life is an eternal nightmare.  That is my curse.

I sought Azenaria as a babe seeks its mothers breast.  I sought that terrible place for the secrets I believed it held.  I sought those secrets and put them above my own life, my wife, my children, all that I ever had.  I was given what I sought.  I was given the secret that I so desperately craved.  I was given the knowledge that dreams can kill, the knowledge that life and death are nothing more than pitiful words we humans use to try to explain things we don’t understand.  I was given the knowledge that mortal man is a pathetic insect crawling on the arm of a dragon.  We are nothing, and our lives are meaningless.

For me, the dream is death, and life is an eternal nightmare.

— The journal of Verton was found in a satchel hanging from a tree branch somewhere west of the Daggers Of Chardaka. His body was never found, and no other personal items were ever discovered. It is not known why he was attempting to cross the Daggers.


In the entire region of Baylein, there is not a more legendary, or a more controversial place of higher learning, than the Battle School in Helam.  The school has been training young men for at least fifty years, and Trelon has gained a reputation as both a caring teacher and a vicious punisher.  Young men who decide to attend the school do so with a firm knowledge of their humanity.  They are expected to be both killer and peacekeeper.  Any young man who walks through those gates with too high an opinion of himself, is immediately and permanently shown why arrogance and ego has no place in a soldier.

The first class to graduate did so two weeks early when war broke out between the continent of Astynia and the island nation of Galdin.  All thirty-four graduates were immediately sent to the demilitarized zone on the eastern border of Astynia to act as a security force.  Early in the war, Galdinian military began an attempt to claim the DMZ.  They were pushed back by the Astynians, but there was great cost on both sides.  The Astynians then approached Baylein for military assistance, not in battle, but only as a security force.

It was at the Battle of the Two Lakes where Trelon threw off his mantle of teacher and leader, and became a legend.  Because of him, all thirty-four of his graduates saw fierce battle, but not one was killed.

An hour before dawn on the southern shore of Lake Nord, a lone Galdinian scout approached the edge of the outer encampment and pleaded for an audience with the Astynian commander.  The audience was granted and the Galdinian was allowed into the camp.  This is what he told the Astynian commander.

“I come here on pain of death.  My people do not know I am here.  If you kill me, no one will know.  I only wish to bring you a warning.  I am no traitor.  I did not come here to betray my people.  I only come here to prevent a massacre.

“An hour after dawn, this camp will be invaded by an army that you cannot defend against.  It is an army of creatures so vicious, that many of your men will be unable to face them.  Even my own people are terrified of them.  I do not know what they are or where they come from, but they are terrible.  My king has made a deal with forces beyond his understanding in order to win this war.”

Of course, these words were taken with some apprehension.  None of the Astynians believed this man’s tale, but because they were not stupid, they increased the capabilities of the front lines and prepared for the attack.  When the attack came, their preparations were thrown into the wind.

A fog bank had rolled in and covered the entire lake, extending about a half mile into shore.  When the invading army appeared behind the lines, chaos came with them.  It seemed the creatures were made of fog.  When they attacked, their attacks were brutal.  When they were attacked, their bodies turned to mist.  No man was able to injure them.  They killed the Astynians without mercy.

When it was believed that all was lost, and the Astynians were prepared to surrender, Trelon and his thirty-four boys, no, thirty-four men, approached the melee.  All thirty-five of them, to a man, had decided to no longer sit and watch the massacre.  They decided to do what they had been trained to do–fight.

He split up his little army into three units and sent one of the units east, another west, around the lake, and the third he kept with him.  He and his small company then walked directly into the fog and headed for the center of the conflagration.  As they walked they stayed low and avoided any confrontations with the enemy.  In order for his plan to work, they needed to reach the center of the fog bank without attracting attention to themselves.  As they crept the last few feet into the heart of the darkness, he saw what he had hoped and expected to see, and he was terrified.

There were four robed creatures standing in a circle.  Each creatures right hand was on the left shoulder of the one next to it.  Inside the ring of brown robes was an altar of stone.  Sitting on top of the altar, was a blue globe about three feet wide.  Each of the creatures left hands were resting on the globe.  The creatures were mumbling incoherently, and the globe pulsed with life.

Trelon knew that the four creatures must be killed at precisely the same moment, or the fog and the mist creatures in it would continue to grow.  They split into groups of two and each group slowly crept behind one of the creatures.  When they were in place, they acted as a single, highly polished machine and struck their enemies in unison.  As the four creatures fell to the ground, the blue globe shot a narrow shaft of blue light straight into the air.  This was the signal for the other two units to begin moving into the fog.  Trelon moved to the altar and with a single thrust of his sword, shattered the globe.  The fog immediately began to evaporate, and the Galdinian soldiers were exposed and quickly dispatched by the combined efforts of the Astynians and the young ‘Trelonians’.

Trelon and his little army were hailed as heros and the reputation of Trelon and his battle school became legendary.


Morgan stood on the beach and stared out at the horizon.  He could barely tell where the sky ended and the water began.  He wondered what it would be like to live in that underwater world.  It seemed so peaceful and serene.  To say his last few years had been hectic would be an understatement.  He felt paralyzed, trapped, by his now legendary status as the greatest student the battle school had seen since Trelon himself.  When he had failed to make the cut last year, Trelon had personally told him to return, that this would be his year.  Trelon was right.  This was Morgan’s year, and now he needed to get out.

It was rare for a failed student to return to the school.  If you failed, it meant you were done.  However, because Morgan was so young, and had performed so well for his age, Trelon had given him this almost unprecedented second chance.  He had not spoken to his family in almost three years.  He missed them dearly, especially his little sister.  Now, staring out at the flat blue water, he knew he would never see them again.  He had just received a piece of paper that had changed his life forever.  A simple piece of paper that would change the world.

The Eagle.  Morgan had dreamed of being a famous mercenary since he was a child.  The Eagle wanted him.  He couldn’t believe it.  He had not slept since he received that piece of paper yesterday afternoon.  It couldn’t be real.  He had read it so many times, every word was burned into his mind.  Not only had The Eagle heard of him, but The Eagle wanted him.  He knew he would leave.  He knew he would follow The Eagle.  He would leave the battle school, and his family, and his entire life behind.  He would forever be remembered as a deserter and a coward.

His life was going to change, but he had no idea how terrible those changes were going to be.


When Brienna was conceived, it was a joyous occasion in O’orn.  The first child of Tiban and Branlei was the first princess O’orn had known in many generations.  When the pregnancy was announced to the people, it was as if a new sun had risen on the world.  All of O’orn celebrated the miracle.  O’orn would have a new sister.

Branlei had always been healthy and strong, but something strange happened during the first few months of her pregnancy.  She became young again.  At 41, she was not considered old, not even too old to bear a child, but a good, healthy middle age.  She became 21 again.  The few gray streaks in her hair faded away, and the glowing golden hair of her youth returned.  The few wrinkles she had around her eyes and neck completely left her body, and her skin became smooth and tight and creamy.  She had the energy of ten boys.  Other women looked at her in wonder.  Not only did she continue doing the work she had always done, but she took on new duties–physical labor, reading, sewing, cooking.  She was a new woman.

The baby came at the proper time, healthy and strong, with powerful lungs.  The hundred O’orn waiting breathlessly outside the home of Tiban and Branlei all heard Brienna’s welcoming cry.  Then, the cord was cut and Brienna’s life-blood was ripped away from Branlei.  Suddenly, Branlei began to fade.  Her skin turned gray.  The light in her eyes faded.  Her strength waned, and her milk quickly dried up.  Tiban called for the healers, but there was nothing they could do.  Branlei was dying.  The light that had grown inside her for nine months was gone.  It had not been Branlei giving life to her daughter.  It had been the daughter giving life to her mother.

Late that night, Tiban crept into Brienna’s nursery, gathered her into his arms, and took her into her mothers room.  Branlei was sleeping, her breathing rough and ragged, as Tiban sat down on the bed next to her, and lay Brienna on her mother’s breast.  The tiny babe looked into her mothers weak, sleeping face, and smiled.  Branlei’s eyes flickered open and the two women stared into each others souls for many minutes.  Branlei reached out and laid her hand on top of Brienna’s smooth head, and began to cry.  The light returned to her eyes.

From that moment, all of O’orn knew that their new princess was truly a gift and a miracle.  She was their greatest treasure.


The flames reflected off his dark eyes, as if the anger inside him had come to life.  He watched the temple burn, hoping this desecration would somehow ease the almost painful hatred.  He was wrong.  As each rampart fell, in a blast of light and heat, he felt the blackness in his soul grow stronger, and deeper, and darker.  The more he destroyed them, the more he needed to destroy them.  The intense hatred threatened to turn him to ash from the inside.

He walked closer to the raging flames and reached out to touch them.  His captains watched in astonishment, each one too scared to speak.  Moments later, the smell of burning flesh overwhelmed them.  As his hand blistered, he smiled.  He welcomed the physical pain.  It somehow eased the burning hatred in his mind.  The searing pain in his hand was cleansing.  It allowed him to see the truth of what needed to be done.  Until they were completely destroyed, by fire, the pain would never go away.  He looked forward to the day when he could once again see clearly—the day when his enemies were nothing more than ashes blowing in the wind.