"The Lost Letters" are the accounts of an ensemble of characters within the four kingdoms: Halyx, Eryx, Venidenn and Thayd. Four rich and diverse lands separated by great walls of solid bronze. At the epicenter of these walls, lies a mysterious golden land, believed to be uninhabitable and shining brightly at all times of the day. Our story begins at the All-Festival, a union of the four kings and their respective kingdoms. One of these, the great king Arsinoe, becomes obsessed with the wonder of the golden lands. In a selfish moment of adventure, he scales the wall to find the unexpected and unravels his own perspective about the truth beyond the wall. As time goes on, the world begins to take a dark turn, and our eyes are opened to the manifestations of corruption, scandal and even the supernatural. "The Lost Letters" sheds light on the first decisions of man. As a rebellion breaks, who is rebelling will be called in to question.
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The Lost Letters
By Normandy Ortiz, Ricardo Cruz
Balboa PressCopyright © 2016 Halyxian Productions, LLC
All rights reserved.
Written by the man in the wooden castle.
[Series of letters, the compilers from across the globe have accrued over the millennias. Set in chronological order as headings have been provided for the reader's distinction.]
The Creator was. He forged the world with words that pierced the nothing, and there we begin. The atmosphere was placed in the nothing and something was made round. Gravity was put in the center as oxygen came and filled the space. The sphere accepted it. Water erupted from the center of the sphere, and filled its boundary. Soil erupted from the center and the water flowed on it's back. The rock took its place underneath the water and on the crevice of the land. Warmth then came and filled the center of the land called Earth. All plants, all resources, and all life were placed in their proper position.
The world was before Man, and waiting patiently to be ruled. There were four races of men, each with their own culture and language. Peace reigned Supreme in the four kingdoms. The world knew no famine, deceit, or death. All were at peace, even through the Walls that separated the kingdoms. The Walls were not forged by the materials of man, but were of pure bronze forged in a fire a man could not make. They were established to serve as a reminder to man that borders came first. This continual solid Wall that made the shape of an X separated the four kingdoms. In the center of the X, was a space that no man could get to without ascending the Wall. In this utopian land, lie golden grasses, with a waterfall of crystal water so pure that the taste itself could create a world. At its bottom, in the water, you could see the reflection of the Mountain at its center. This too was forged as a sign to the world that the Mountain would always be there. No entrance was allotted, for this goodness would destroy all inhabitants of the world if it were to be reached. If no entrance was allowed, how could I describe it to you? No worries, we will get to that. The Wall was respected; all speaking and non-speaking creatures dared not cross its heights. The first Man and Woman of each region were joined together to populate their land. The Creator inscribed a saying that could be read plainly by all, that none would be able to say that they did not know. He instructed the four first men to instruct the following to their future heirs: Enjoy your land, enjoy your company, and do as you wish for nothing is restricted from you. Except this, the land in the middle of the world, do not venture into. There are gates from kingdom to kingdom and travel as you wish. If the land in the middle is ventured in to, then you will know knowledge, and life will dwindle and exist no more. Take these words to your future. These words were in scripted in each kingdoms own language, on each wall that faced the golden land for all future inhabitants to see.
The king stood silently in front of the engraved obstacle, realizing how large the inscription truly was. Even in his large stature, the thought came that perhaps this was bigger than he was. A combative murmur to that thought came from the king's lips "I am not a mere subject, surely this land is for a king, a king much like myself." The king spoke harsh as if to complain to a judge. The obsessed king began his ascent up the ancient Wall. He glanced at his goal; the ledge at the top of the wall. As he did, the Thayden crown released its grip from his head and fell to the dirt below. He watched as the crown seemed to bounce off the ground but this did not deter the crownless man. Nearing the top, he looked closely at the wall and instantly realized no human hands had ever touched this sacred structure. As the crown of his head reached the top, the emotionless leader whose subjects were at feast saw the golden land with his own eyes. He did not see a reflection, or a close mirage; his own eyes beheld the glory of the land. The man proceeded to stand atop the wall. At this very moment tears came down his face uncontrollably as if there were a pressure pulling them down. He looked behind him and understood that the seemingly ordinary wall was no wall at all. Once atop, the king knew he only needed to walk forward for he was already in the fair land. There was only need to ascend the wall. Then he raised his hands in to the grand sight and closed his eyes. Ironic, to get to a place where you have always wanted to be, only to close your eyes when you get there. The golden feeling fleeted, and this warmth that he had so longed for escaped him. Opened were his eyes, only to see that the golden land was now just land. That is where all the trouble began. What happened? No worries, we will get to that.CHAPTER 2
Written by queen Niyu's servant, Gilcris, at the behest of her majesty.
"Thank you Halyxian, Venidien, Eryxian, and my Thayden people for attending this union. I know it must have been a challenge coming, knowing how my father can be in these moments," prince Ari'us joked as the crowd roared in laughter. He continued, "But I promise you, that my mother's grace more than makes up for it," the audience smiled as they clapped respectively towards queen Niyu. "We wanted to do this the day before the All Festival to ensure all could attend. My beautiful northern bride may not be royalty as you all know, but she is without a doubt my queen. Royalty is not simply the right of birth; it is perhaps more importantly the belief that all people are equal along with the courage to prove it. This makes my beloved Lila a queen of queens whether she be Thayden or Halyxian."
The All Festival had begun because the mid of the night had passed. This yearly tradition is marked when flowers first come into bloom, it is a union of all races of man celebrating life by feasting together a night and a day. The masses of people were already merry because of the first joining between a woman from one territory and a man from another. The four kings began to talk amongst themselves. While serving my lady, my ear was inclined to their conversation. King Arsinoe, my lord, was complaining to the other kings about not wanting his son to marry a commoner. "What a disgrace! Out of all the people in the land, it had to be my son. He will never hear the end of this," my Thayden king said. "ARSINOE! Do not disgrace your son at his own feast, if disgraced, it will go hand and hand with your own if the people hear you," the Halyxian king rebutted. "Corl'u there is no need for you to tell me what I am to do. I ... The Thayden king stopped as he was interrupted by the chortle of king Volan who was both eating and laughing in hopes of instigating the tension further. "Arsinoe, Corl'u simply meant to remember the Law of First Right: 'Any royal male when he is 15 years of age is free to choose his bride.' Arsinoe! Ari'us is 22 years of age. We cannot ignore our traditions. What are we without them?" posed king Re'u of the east.
"Always marry within the kingdom I told him, but he is so crass. He does not see that this union spoils my name, my kingdom and my people," the giant western ruler passionately expressed while pounding on the table with one finger for emphasis. "And what of The Law of Love? Any man and woman with love for each other without any other engagements are qualified to marry. Arsinoe, friends, this is the way of our world," the benevolent Re'u uttered softly, as he looked towards the people and away from their table.
"This is NOT the way of my world," my king muttered faintly as I filled his chalice. "We should not be arguing like this. This is neither the time nor the place; words like these are reserved for palaces not for feasts. Here, I'll fetch for some drinks so we can have drinks after we finish the drinks we already have," the joyous king Volan expressed as he embraced his turkey leg.CHAPTER 3
Written by the man in the wooden castle
East of the golden land were the Eryxians. Over time they became skillful in the water, as each child was trained to hold their breath for up to twenty minutes. Each girl was expected to be able to swim as fast as a dolphin by the time they reached adulthood. Every young boy trained to become skillful in hunting the creatures of the sea, this ability coupled with tracking, eventually led to them becoming the providers for their families. Often times you would find the young men, joining their elders on hunting trips to fulfill their Right of Passage. This was completed when a young man wished to ask for a woman's hand in marriage. The head of a Monster of the deep was to be offered to the Father of the woman as a sign of unwavering devotion in times of peril.
The Eryxians were the first to create a multi-purpose pier. The pier stood over the water and was innovative and wealthy as it served the world as a Water Market. Eastern ingenuity was the first to transport a man on the water with the invention of the "wooden float." Soon they would come to understand that though the vessel stayed afloat, it would not move. It was not until Desperus, in his escape from a girlfriend who found out about another female friend of his, that the eastern people realized that a wind-catcher was needed in the center of the wooden float. The material would catch the wind and cause the entire float to move. This summed up the people of the east, they were a practical people who loved the water, and devoted their culture around their appreciation for the open sea.
The Venidien's brawn, more than made up for the Venidien brain. The Venidenn contribution to the world did not involve hygiene, but the quality of their work was seen in every country. They built seamless castles all across the land, with the finest stones from the Venidenn Mountains. Even their Center of worship was assembled with the rarest of Peridotial stones constructed by the great stonemason Gregor. Their work was without equal, as was their hairstyles. Normally you would find Venidenn males with their hair as long as a female. Their burly sizes came from incredibly long hours of heavy lifting. These southern people made intricate cave systems to travel and transport with ease throughout the southern portions of the Earth. Often, Venidien women were expected to carry heavy loads of rock just like their male counterparts. All people would work for about 12 hours before switching with another man or woman. In doing so, castles were built twice as fast. Both men and women were encouraged to be able to cook, seeing as it was not a sign of weakness but of community. Children were raised to appreciate the building aspects of their culture. Every person was expected to help build, and each person had their job. If it was day, the Venidiens were constructing something. But if it was night a strong drink was most definitely being poured.
The Halyx to the north were a people of the low and high ground who were skilled with the bow. Many skilled hunters of the land were birthed out of this northern kingdom, and they would present their catches to the world. Life was first given to king Corl'u and queen Julii in the northern kingdom. Corl'u was good to his people; you would mostly find him in the woods providing his own food for his household. In spite of his royalty right, he would often decline it, choosing to serve the people rather than rule them. His wife Julii was of a golden land beauty, she seemed to sparkle in the sun. Her people loved her, and she loved them. The Halyxian people were truly noble, not merely for their kindness, but more merited for their effort to bring that kindness to the world.
Many of the world's common contraptions such as the wheel, bread, and steel originated from the Halyx people. Musical instruments were first introduced in northern festivals, not to mention eighty-five percent of named stars originated from a Halyx citizen. The idea that people can make the world a better place was revealed through the first Halyxian settlers who would pass this to their children at a certain time of the day. The children would awake with conflict because it was too early, and the parents would begin to teach them the ways of the Halyx life. This center of learning was often referred to as "skool." Children around the world, currently blame the Halyxians for this ritual currently in use. To instill continuous development in the world, they dedicate a portion of their people to new wonders and creations by their own hand.
To the lands of the west were the Thaydens, Giants who opposed to their stature, were quite gentle. Life in Thayd was rather simple, centered on the essential workings of farming and irrigation. Due to their size and capability, carrying loads took minimal effort, which increased production for all variety of crops. Over time, they have developed ways to water their lands by creating systems of irrigation. These systems sustained their crops throughout the year, even through various droughts. In fact, many crops around the world originated in western fields. With their fierce work ethic, Thaydens developed the blacksmith trade, which transformed the way all people functioned in their responsibilities. Blacksmith's steel, and other various metals, enhanced the inventions of the north, the wooden floats of the east, and the creations of the south. Despite their size, the Thayden population was easily influenced. In the capital city of Cythera, you would often find citizens trading with natives from the other countries. As strangers would haggle, most Thaydens would simply accept the offer to avoid the hassle. They've always been known to be very docile, it was rare to see an angry Thayden citizen. They did what they could to resist conflict. But all of this was before the time of corruption came.
These were the races of men many painful years ago. It gets harder to talk about the more time that passes. The races of man still exist, but not as peaceably as the beginning. Remember the golden lands in the center, which were so powerful they could create a world? Well, they are also so powerful they could also destroy one, this one. When perfection is interrupted by man's intention, that perfection can destroy man. Man could not exist in the glory of the golden land because of the intention of his heart. I was there at the beginning, when the creator built everything from the nothing. I watched the rise of man turn into a free fall, the Creator kept me here as a guide in these troubled times.
Beginning of the End
When the races of man began to populate, they grew in amazing numbers. The world was full of laughter, and all people knew no status outside of peace. The Thaydens led by king Arsinoe, would prove the beginning of our present circumstance despite the efforts of queen Niyu. Even in the tranquil times of the beginning, Arsinoe proved to be at best a reliable schemer. Each New Year is marked with an All Festival, celebrating the inception of all things. From the first All Festival, the western king would lay claim to the head seat at the feast. Claiming that his stature, and his people should be the example to the world. We did not know war or vengeance then, for even the selfish king could not stop the people from their celebrating. Seeing all the people gathered together enhanced the western king's lust for more power. The problem with thirsting for more is that the present taste never holds any satisfaction. The Thayden kingdom's thirsty leader plotted his official rise to power.
He would walk through his lands, and would often climb the Sinope Mountains. This was the highest point in his kingdom where he could see all the lands of the world. It was in these moments that his eyes would pierce into the goodness of the other lands, seeing their people and their joy. It was in these moments of intense jealousy where he would overlook his own lands and all his inhabitants. This ritual continued throughout the first century of man's initiation to this world.
On the third month of the one-hundredth year, the warped king arose up the familiar mountain range where he would see his path in the wilderness due to his increasing visits. He overlooked the entire world as he had done innumerably before, as he gazed with a thought that no one had ever thought of before. He said, breathing heavily "Why have I walked through the beauty of these lands, yet never ventured through the splendor of the golden middle land? I have hunted in all these parts, and I am respected, why should this land not belong to me also?" In that moment, he blinked and realized that no one had been with him, he had merely been speaking to himself.
Days passed by as the treacherous thoughts of the golden land haunted his dreams, and stole his appetite. Days turned into weeks, and weeks slowly crawled into months. What were once monthly walks to the mountain quickly sprang in to weekly spurts. A plot began to spring up in the king's mind, and with each visit the soil beneath his scheming feet was water by the ambition of his desire.
After months of investigation, the unfortunately wise Arsinoe reached a stance, that he would be the first to venture into the golden After months of investigation, the unfortunately wise Arsinoe reached a stance, that he would be the first to venture into the golden paradise. He waited for the All Festival, knowing that all the people would gather together for the celebration. As the people began to sojourn to the festivities, the Thayden king stayed in his bed. Telling all who inquired of his newfound sickness that he was going to cancel his presence at the one hundred and first festival. As the sun passed his window, the shadows projected that early noon had come. With no subjects in sight, the king enthusiastically made his way out of bed and into his disguise that would render him common. Upon his quick descent to the ancient wall, he noticed the giant inscription with the creator's ancient admonition to the people.
Excerpted from The Lost Letters by Normandy Ortiz, Ricardo Cruz. Copyright © 2016 Halyxian Productions, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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