Note: This page is about the book. For the holy calling and other meanings, check The Path (Disambiguation)
The Path is a series of books that document and retell the story of Vyn in verses. It is the holy book of The Order, and serves as a moral guide for all Endraleans. In Enderal, it is available as a series of 12 tomes, each with a specific theme.
Long ago, while the world was still unriven it was called Pangora. Pangora was great and mighty and reached from current Kilé to Enderal. But all life faded away as it was under no man's reign and ruins were all that remained of the old ones, the Pyreans. And so it would have remained, if Asâtoron had not come into being — the first Aeterna, the scourge of the ash, the malevolent sovereign of those early days.
In the first centuries Asâtoron roamed Pangora alone and shaped the world to his liking. However, he was cruel and heartless and thirsted after pain and suffering. He created two men: one from ash and one from his own blood. The bloodmen he called Aeterna, for he gifted them with longevity and magical power. The men of ash were weak and ephemeral and were created by Asâtoron to serve not just the Aeterna, but Asâtoron himself, who stood above all things
Under the scourge of Asâtoron and his servants, the ashmen erected buildings and cities. Great was the suffering the ashmen had to endure! Yet with each passing year Asâtoron's vile madness grew until his hatred began to spread not only to the ashmen, but also to his own kin, the Aeterna. And so it came to pass that he ordered the death of all life, disgruntled by his own creation. From his fingertips flew lightning bolts, which destroyed palaces and temples alike. And everyone who looked upon his countenance became consumed by madness and thrust a sword into his neighbor's breast, and then his own. So it was that the ashmen and Aeterna perished, until no more than a few hundred remained.
All were destined to die, and surely they would have, but the sky broke open first and a star, gigantic and engulfed in flames, blazed down from the heavens. It shattered Pangora into six large parts and numerous splinters — and so Vyn was created, the world in which we live today.He who claims to know of Asâtoron's destiny is a liar, as he was never seen again.
Tired of war, the few remaining ashmen and Aeterna scattered across the continents. The grudge harbored by those born from ash against the long-lived Aeterna was great, however their weariness and exhaustion after Asâtoron's bloody rage was even greater. So the ashmen blended with the Aeterna and their blood became impure. The tips of their ears shrunk and their longevity shortened to little more than a century. Even their gift of magic was extinguished and became a shadow of what Asâtoron had bestowed upon them.
A new people of short stature emerged from the debris of the fallen star and called themselves Starlings. The second age had commenced.
Civilizations arose on the continents and cities were built. Both humans and Half-Aeterna, as well as the Starlings, sought peace. However, with the end of Asâtoron's subjugation their fetters, which had bound them in place, had broken loose! And so an era of violence, war, and lust for power followed, as everyone hungered after the throne for power and dominion!
For almost four thousand years this era of chaos persisted, and once again it seemed as if life was at the very brink of destruction, since humans, Aeterna, and Starlings were all unable to respect one another and live in harmony and peace. Nevertheless, one day a light appeared in the sky and with it seven figures, as large as towers. The people bombarded it with magic and arrows, blinded by their thirst for blood and depravity. — But no fireball, no crossbow's bolt could cut through to the figures. Thus men laid down their arms and fell to their knees, as they realized they were facing gods. All seven rose to speak, their voices chaste and clear as purest crystal.
“Before us, there was Chaos and after us Chaos will remain. Since man has a weak spirit and a spoiled heart, it is only under divine guidance that he shall blossom. Do not grieve over bowing your heads to us! Fools mistake our might with tyranny, even as sages recognize our deepest desire: to shoulder the burden of man's foolishness — and to protect humanity.”
Yet not everyone realized the Light-Borns' divinity. And so it happened that a great man stepped forward. His name was Melros.
“You claim to be gods!” he shouted at the Light-Borns with a firm voice. “The last god who reigned over us brought us nothing but harm and destruction! You claim that your wish is to protect us, but how can we trust you?”
One of the figures drifted down towards Melros. Still endowed with light, its body narrowed to become even smaller than the man in front of it. It was the Light-Born Irlanda.
”Your doubts bespeak wisdom, oh Melros. And yes, Asâtoron was deluded and wicked! But it came from ignorance. Even though he was aware of his divinity, his origin was as much a mystery to him as it was to us. It was this Uncertainty which devastated his heart.“
“We are of a different kind. We are the messengers of peace. Follow us and this world shall blossom. Our reign will last eternally, since we are not of flesh and blood as you are. We, Oh Melros, are the Light-Born.”
And Melros acknowledged the divinity of the figure standing in front of him. Filled with awe and understanding, he fell to his knees and begged their pardon.
So began the hegemony of the Light-Born. And it was righteous, for the Light-Born were true gods, free of human vices, free of Asâtoron's madness.
The gods are seven in number.
There is Tyr, the father of the gods, the highest of the Light-Born. He has not been allotted any land, for he rules over Inodan, the land of the gods at the edge of the world.
There is Irlanda, the goddess of judgment. She has been allotted the steppe-land of Arazeal, sectioned into merciless stone deserts and fertile coastal regions. Irlanda is merciful, yet severe, for she judges over those who in their foolishness do not appreciate the rule of the gods.
There is Saldrin, the god of knowledge and progress. He has been allotted Qyra, the land of the everlasting desert, watered only by two great, golden rivers. Saldrin blesses the thinkers and philosophers, for he knows that a human is able to achieve greatness with the right assistance.
There is Morala, the goddess of language and commerce. She brought Inal, the holy language, to the civilized world, and is the reason why every soul is able to understand one another on Vyn today. She has been allotted the islands of Kilé with its rich, green groves and roaring waterfalls.
There is Esara, the goddess of memories. She has not been allotted any land either, for she tends to the halls of knowledge on Inodan, the divine land at the rim of the world. She is the mistress of the council of the gods.
There is Erodan, god of wisdom and old rites. He has been allotted Nehrim, the largest of all continents, with its dry steppes, green forests, and wintry mountains. He reigns with foresight, and he is tasked with tending the ways of the gods.
There is Malphas, the guardian of the gods. He has been allotted Enderal, the secluded but rich land in the northeastern part of the world. He established the order of the Seraphim, the guardians. They are the ones who grant us safety and subjugate those who live a sinful life to Irlanda's sentence. His is the land in which we live.
Secluded and perilous, an untamed land, that is how Enderal was before the revelation of the Light-Born. Wild creatures roamed freely, and rich forests reached from east to west and from south up to north's wintry mountains.
And it came to pass that Malphas descended and appeared to a woman and a man. The woman's name was Selna
, the man's was Ketaron
. Both were low-born and had to endure great anguish during the wars of their country. They lived in a decrepit hut amidst a city that was scarred by devastation. However, they were pious and of goodwill. Replete with awe they fell to their knees as the Light-Born appeared before them, since both were witnesses of the revelation of the Light-Born and acknowledged him as one of the seven true gods.
And Malphas spoke: “Arise, my children! And rejoice, for you are about to be accorded a great honor. From this day forward you shall serve me solely. Your punishment will be severe, should you fail me — however, if you serve me sincerely, you shall experience eternity in my name!”
It was Selna, who answered first. “Oh lord, we submit, for we recognize your divinity! Yet how can you bestow eternity upon us? We are humans, and not even the blood of Asâtoron's sons, the Aeterna, courses through our veins! In twenty years I will wither — in forty years only bones will remain! That is the way of the world and not even Asâtoron was able to change that!” Malphas approached the woman. His voice was hard as stone, but still full of wisdom and empathy. “That is how it was under his subjugation — that is how it was in the profane years which you have lived through. But we, oh children, we are true gods. See and bear witness to my endless power!”
And the figure of light, which was Malphas, turned around and raised his hands heavenward — and thousands of lightning bolts shot downwards. They shattered Selna's and Ketaron's miserable hut with a loud crack and destroyed the wretched city surrounding them. Yes, even those who harbored doubt despite the Light-Born's revelation and whose souls were tainted were smashed. The odor of smoke and ashes filled the air.
No harm befell Selna and Ketaron, nor the two-hundred men and women who had gathered around the Light-Born who were full of anguish and veneration. Malphas lowered his arms and spoke with his head held high.
“We are gods and rulers over the elements, time, and life itself! And as surely as I am standing here, I proclaim: Those who follow me and honor my teachings, wander upon my path. And should you tread properly to its end, I shall grant you entry to the eternal paths, where you will experience eternal bliss, peace, and exhilaration!”
Both Selna and Ketaron, as well as the two-hundred destitute souls who were gathered around them, lowered their heads and understood. And so they became the first vassals
They all packed their belongings and followed Malphas to the coast, where two plain but solid ships awaited them. And Malphas spoke once again: “You shall be the offspring of my eternal kingdom. Board the ships and sail to the north, until you spot the red star. It will guide you to the holy land, which unites winter, summer, and autumn. There you shall build the foundation for all the thousands who will follow you.” And thus he vanished. This time became known as the month of “Departure.”
The first vassals pursued Malphas' call and set sail, unaware of their divine task. They did not know where their route would lead them, but they had faith.
After eight moons the famine began. Even though they had packed plentiful wheat, water, and salted meat, no one had known how long the journey would last. The vassals became restless and some of them became dubious. “What if this was a ruse?” one of them exclaimed to Selna. She remained vigilant, for she has not forgotten the sight of the Light-Born Malphas. And whilst he was not aboard, she sensed that he was watching them and each of their words and every single deed.
But not all the vassals had faith. And so it happened that twenty-four
of them connived against the rest. They schemed a pathless plan: In the coming night they were to split up — A dozen to creep onto the other ship and to plunder their food storage; the other dozen, to stab the rest of the crew on their own ship in their sleep. Then they would sail away alone.
And the plan worked. — No guards were stationed in front of the storerooms, for no one could have conceived of such treason from their own ranks. And so on the very next day, Selna found her ship alone on the high sea, their supplies robbed to the last piece of salted meat.
Chaos broke out! The remaining survivors raised their hands heavenwards frantically and begged Malphas, as they saw their destinies set in stone. Yet again Selna and Ketaron remained calm and prayed. “We tread on the righteous path,” they said full of dignity. “And we will find the red star and the holy land as well.”
So weeks of agony followed, which are known today as “The Hunger Days” in the moon calendar. Malphas did not appear, in spite of the vassals' numerous prayers. Querulous voices were heard: “The gods have abandoned us,” they sobbed. “And our fate is to die on the high seas!” And this time Ketaron answered: “Do not lose your faith, brothers and sisters! Malphas augured to gift us eternity, if we abide upon the righteous path — his path! And he will do so.” He paused for a moment and then spoke words of wisdom: “What worth does path-abiding have, adhering to veracity, if there are no hurdles to overcome?”
And Selna recognized the divinity of the words. “To be unwavering and to never forget the omnipotence of the gods. - That is what distinguishes a strong spirit from a weak one, a true believer from a heretic!”
Yet scarcely had the words faded when a happy shout broke the silence. Suddenly an island appeared on the horizon. And it was magnificent — for it had cascading crystal-clear rivers, banana trees growing higher than two men, and game which could nourish a whole army with its meat.
The vassals put in and feasted on the god-given delicacies. One week and a day they stayed on the island, regained their strength and refilled their supplies, while those who betrayed them were still straying pathless on the sea. Day after day their pillaged rations dwindled — and day after day resentment and despair grew in their hearts.
And so the day came, when the storage chambers were completely empty. And in their exasperation and malice they began to butcher themselves, ripping the meat off their ribs and eating it. Yet even after this gruesome act, there was no respite given to them — for they had sinned. And so it was that instead of sinking into darkness after the light of life faded, they realized with dismay that they still could see, feel, and live.
And so they moaned and groaned, walking the deck reduced to skeletons on bony legs; yes, some even plunged into the sea, only to realize that no matter how much water poured into their lungs, they could not drown. Filled with rage and horror they screamed, a choir of agony, and their screams reached from Kilé to Arazeal, from Arazeal to Qyra. And even Malphas' loyal vassals, who had not left the righteous path and feasted upon the delicacies of nature on the island, heard it. And they knew immediately what had happened: Malphas had cast his judgment, as he does today on those who have left the righteous path. The treacherous seamen were lost, and their ship drifts in the mists of the Red Sea and the Past Sea to this day.
A whole moon passed before the faithful vassals regained their strength. With barrels filled with clear water, exotic fruits, and salted meat they set sail. They continued sailing to the north, as Malphas ordered, and yet there was still no sign of the red star to be seen in the firmament. However, their barrels were as filled with rations as their hearts were filled with loyalty and faith in the eternal justice of the gods.
Days and weeks had passed, when one day the vassals crossed a dismal sea, with water dark as a raven's feathers. Giant, grey monoliths stretched aloft like spears, and a misty shroud hung over the passage like a veil. Still the vassals remained steadfast, and they had almost passed the fog, when an enormous creature raised itself up from the sea. It had tentacles, thick as wooden logs, and its eyes shone red in the gloom of the night.
The monster heaved forward a tentacle and battered it against the ship with all its might. Wood ruptured and the mast broke apart. The vassals screamed with terror, shock, and panic as they realized they had no hope in opposing the creature completely unarmed. This time it was Ketaron who proved his fortitude.
While the tentacles of the creature raged, and fountains of black water erupted from the sea, he walked towards the bow of the ship, close enough to look directly into the eyes of the monstrosity. Selna yelled words of warning, but he ignored her, as he knew what had to be done. For one moment silence reigned as the creature scrutinized its seemingly small opponent with suspicion. It then raised itself from the depths, each tentacle wrapped around one of the monoliths and opened its demonic maw, filled with fangs as long and sharp as fence posts. Bones, planks, and algae fell out, and a rotten stench hit Ketaron. Yet he did not lose heart, nor did he even twitch, for he was filled with his faith in Malphas and the righteous path.
And so the monster sprang towards Ketaron, its abysmal jaws fully opened, ready to devour him! For the last time he turned to face his comrades, Malphas' first vassals, and gave them a sad, but certain smile. Suddenly he was engulfed in lightning bolts.
White and glaring, they were numerous, and as thunderous as the roar of a hurricane. They flickered around his body, flashing from his fingertips and even from his very eyes. And before Selna or any of their companions could even begin to realize what was happening, he dove into the beast's maw.
How fast the expression of greed and joyful hunger faded from its demonic visage! It shouted out so loudly that it was audible from Kilé to Artkwend, from Qyra to Nehrim. Filled with pain it thrashed about, lashing its tentacles to escape the agony. But it could not, for its fate was decided. And then, after numerous minutes of anguish, it burst like a ceramic jar thrown to the ground. Its flesh was brown, its blood black, and a thousand small pieces rained down on the befuddled vassals and their ship. Barely had the remains of the creature touched the cold darkness of the sea and the wooden surface of the ship when they dissipated. When it was all over, there was no evidence left of the monster's existence, except for the splintered mast — and the disappearance of Ketaron.
Incredulous, unable to comprehend what had occurred, the vassals remained rooted where they stood. Yet it was Selna who had the scales fall from her eyes. And so she stepped in front of her friends and proclaimed with a loud voice:
“Do not mourn his death, brothers and sisters! He died a hero and saved all of our lives!”
One of the vassals, an old man, said: “How was he able to summon the storm? Asâtoron and the Aeterna were also able to work these wonders! And their hearts were corrupt! I do not understand, sister Selna! Please explain!”
And Selna responded: “Magic is neither vile nor good! It was bestowed upon us by the gods, and we must decide whether to use it for mischief or for good.”
Thereupon the old vassal asked: “But what if somebody misuses this gift, like the Aeterna did over all those centuries? Who will judge them righteously, as they are mightier than five dozen soldiers?”
Now it was Malphas' voice, which resonated from Selna's mouth, godly and illustrious. “They punish themselves! Magic is a trial and a burden, and only the most path-abiding of the faithful will not succumb to it! Those who do will never find their way to the eternal paths, which await those of you who worship me during your lifetime! You shall persecute those wild mages, hunt and bring justice to them, for they endanger the peace of the kingdom which you will build under my aegis!”
And once again the vassals recognized truth in the Light-Born's words. Few there were who discovered magic within themselves over the course of the voyage — but those who did unveiled their gift and used it for the welfare of the society, and were not driven by greed and vested interest. For only as a consequence of their comrade's martyrdom, the holy Ketaron, was it possible to continue sailing, for he had slain the demonic beast. And so it happened that this moon came to be known as “The Kraken.”
Three moons had now passed since the vassals set sail, and one moon after the kraken's attack their path-abiding was to be rewarded: On a starlit night, in the dead of winter, a red shining star appeared in the firmament. They recognized it immediately: It was the red star for which they had been searching. And despite the bitter wind and the surrounding ice their hearts were light, for they knew they now had but to trust the divinity. Thirty-one days they sailed — and as a new year began, the moment they all craved arrived. This last moon of their journey, for which we now celebrate the end of the year, became known to us as the “Winter Star.”
The sight awaiting the vassals was glorious. Faltering, they stepped upon the land they had to colonize. Filled with awe and gratitude they fell to their knees, raised their hands towards Inodan and thanked the Light-Born and their guardian Malphas for his protection. A great time awaited them. And in remembrance of this exceptional time, we call the first moon of the year, “The Arrival.”
For one more moon the vassals explored the new lands. Marvelous was this land gifted by Malphas for them to colonize! Deep-green woods full of life covered the hills. Animals of unknown species scurried through the thicket, and lakes and rivers were full of nutritious fish. However, the land they had to explore was large, and Selna knew they required a sanctuary as a starting point for their exploration while they searched for an appropriate location for their new capital. In an ancient forest, full of knotted trees whose rustling leaves reminded them of whispering, they made a discovery. And it was at this moment as Selna thrust her spade into the ground to erect the first palisade of their outpost, that Malphas sent her a divine revelation: Enderal, the land of a thousand leaves — this would be the name of the new kingdom, which shall outlast the millenia. This magnificent moment would be known as “The Groundbreaking,” and the chroniclers named the second moon of the new year after it.
For many weeks the valorous pioneers persevered in their new refuge, for despite all the prosperity the foreign, savage land offered, it also bore dangers they had to brave. Gigantic birds, half-goat, half-lizard, roamed the skies and devoured man-sized cattle in a single bite. Large, pitch-black wolves, whose pelts gave them their name “Shadow Wolves,” strayed through the forests. And even though the vassals knew that Malphas would hold his protecting hand over them for as long as they were loyal to him and the other gods, they also knew that they were responsible for their own lives. They built walls from stone to protect their refuge in the Whisperwood, and they kept watch to fend off the hostile creatures, while resting from the exertions of their long voyage. At the end of the moon of the Delving of the Spade, Selna began preparations to explore the land.
The men and women learned to respect Selna, for it had been Ketaron and she who had granted them their unscathed arrival. Therefore it was she who planned the ensuing research judiciously. At the beginning of the new month, the vassals set out into the wilderness, split into four groups, leaving two dozen men and women along with their children and elderly at the base. This moon is known to us as “The Exploration.”
The vassals had to fend off numerous dangers during the exploration of the land; however, just as many wondrous sights greeted them. They found a warm and beautiful moor in the south, where the sun shone incessantly. In the north they found a cold, snow-covered mountain-range. In the northwest they found a forest which bloomed in golden, deep-red colors, as well as a region full of green plains and lakes in the heart of the land.
The vassals, overwhelmed by the land's prosperity and vastness, had difficulties finding a location to build their new capital. Where could they cultivate their crops, raise their children, and build a society which could turn path-abiding into a felicitous future under Malphas' protection? That is when Selna exclaimed to the Light-Born: “Malphas, show us the site. Where should we build the temple in homage to you with the city around it?”
And Malphas answered: “Do you see the rocky cliff projecting over the countryside amidst the Heartland? This shall be the site of my temple. Pile up stone on stone and you will build a structure which will grant you protection and illumination for all time.” The vassals were startled for they were not many, had only a few tools, and the cliff was high and steep. Yet Selna comforted them, and so they began to mine the first rocks and brought them to the summit of the cliff.
They had only established one foot of the wall by the first evening, and they were already exhausted and weary. Silently they endured the task given to them, but within some vile doubts sprouted as to whether the task could be done. Selna sensed their thoughts and told them: “Let us sleep now, let us rest and confide in Malphas, as he has entrusted us with this task.”
As they awoke the very next morning, they caught sight of an almost shoulder-high wall, which enclosed the whole plateau and depicted the outline of a magnificent building. Euphoric they rushed to work, knowing full well that they were only worthy of divine assistance in the construction of the temple if they were to exert all their strength during the day. And so the cornerstone for this new city was laid, and the fourth month of the year was named “The Fundament.”
The Sun Temple
grew due to men's arduous diligence and the incomprehensible help of the divine hand. However, as the remaining vassals came to the Heartland and laid eyes on the enormous building, they were struck with fear. “We are supposed to build a city here? In the shadow of this cliff? The tremendous temple makes the rock unstable already, even though it is unfinished!” And many of those who were steadily constructing higher walls glanced at the site with the same anxiety and pointed at the subtle fissures which had formed in the cliff's rock.
And Selna watched with a heavy heart as more and more vassals withdrew to the hinterlands to build small farms at an allegedly safe distance from the imposing, but menacing building. “Trust in Malphas,” she yelled again and again. “He is the one who is constantly protecting us and is showing us the righteous path.” But the skeptics did not want to listen. They assured her of their loyalty to Malphas and supplied those who were still building the temple with a great amount of food, which they grew on their lands. Yet still they fled from the face of the cliff after each visit.
And so it happened that only a small fraction of vassals remained to finish the Sun Temple. Disregarding the rock creaking under the weight of the temple, they continued their arduous labor tirelessly. However, as they awoke the morning after the completion of the temple's framework, they cast their eyes upon something marvelous: The shapeless, brittle rock of the cliff had become a gigantic stone statue of Malphas, which carried the burden of the temple's weight on its mighty shoulders. It was a blissful sight and in shame and reverence even the skeptics came from their hinterlands and clustered around the masterpiece to behold the wonder.
That is when the voice of the Light-Born resonated thunderously. Malphas himself spoke from within the stone figure: “Hear, vassals. You have all walked my path, and explored and colonized this land. You all are and will remain path-abiding. But only those who trusted my words and built this temple without fear or hesitation are worthy of living in its glory and being closer to me. You are the stout, the dauntless, the Sublimes. You shall carry the title “Dal” before your name, as will your descendants, to always remember your fearless, enormous deed.
Ashamed, most of the doubters moved closer to the vicinity of the temple, knowing very well that the highest and most gorgeous parts of the prospective city were reserved for the Sublimes. The land surrounding the cliff was dry and barren, yet with a strong desire to never doubt Malphas again, they prepared themselves to cultivate the land with even more toil.
However, as the new farms were built on the dry earth surrounding the city, a rumble sounded one evening from above. In the midst of the temple's court, a rock shattered and a well released clear, delightful water, which spread through canals and whose significance was not immediately understood. Unstoppable, the water poured towards the rim of the temple and off the cliff; it spread all over the land and rendered it more fertile than the rest of Enderal's regions. The river was named Larxes, the life-giver, by the vassals and as it carved its way through the still young land and the hinterlands, the clouds opened and revealed a shimmering, golden full-moon, whose light danced upon the surface of the divine river. From that day onward, the fifth month of the year has been called “The Golden Moon.”
The country's capital was steadily growing. The vassals furnished their homes and began to raise families. Even Selna became aware of a child in her womb, the fruit of her love with her late spouse, Ketaron. Humbly she kneeled in the Sun Temple in front of the great statue of Malphas and prayed to him. “Which path shall my offspring tread, Malphas? You spoke to us and led us to this land, but how shall our descendants, who are born here, find their path?”
Then Malphas spoke to Selna: “Hear my words and proclaim them to all vassals: Each of your children shall receive their Path Consecration at the age of eight. Those who devote their life to becoming a priest of mine shall conduct the ceremony and through them I shall speak and assign to each child their path. He will be told if he is going to be a Sublime, an Erudite, or a Manufacturer, and he will receive a task which he shall fulfill path-abidingly, for he will not want to become a pathless one, who treads banished from the divine order and godly protection.”
“But your son, whom you still carry within you, Selna, will receive his path from me right now. He shall become the first grandmaster
of the Holy Order
, who will fill this temple with life from now on. And you, Selna, will instruct him in this task from the day of his birth, as his mother and servant, the first Truchessa
of the order.”
Humbly, Selna heard the voice of the Light-Born, and she declared his words on the great forecourt of the temple, after representatives of all the vassals' families had gathered there.
And she declared even more of Malphas' will: The temple shall host those who wield a sword in the name of Malphas, to guard the Path-Abiding ones in Enderal, as well as those who record and proclaim his teachings, against their foes.
There shall be a Sanctum in the Sun Temple, to pray to Malphas and to indulge in his wisdom. There shall be a Chronicum, to lay down all the teachings and events of the coming ages in order to educate and illuminate the people. There shall be a Curarium, to provide healing to the ill and wounded of the Holy Order. There shall be an Emporium, to provide the grandmaster and his loyalists a refuge in their mutual pursuit of guiding the order and serving Malphas' will.
Not only were children born, but the vassals' dead were also mourned. When the first of the elderly had died, Selna, the Truchessa, brought him to the Sanctum and laid him on a bier in front of the Light-Born's statue.
And yet again Malphas spoke to Selna: “Do not bring your dead here. If they were path-abiding, carry them to a place which had been important to them in life and burn their body in the fading light of a setting sun. If they have unfailingly followed their destined path, I will accept them in the eternal paths above the firmament before dawn's first light. They will dwell in a place where no mortal will ever enter, and fortune, peace, and unity reign.”
“Those who have not followed their path loyally, I shall send back to begin a new life with new tasks and trials, until they tread their path faithfully to the end; then they too will be allowed to ascend to the eternal paths.”
And this was also reported to the first Truchessa of the order by Malphas: “Know, Selna, that there will be those who stray completely off their given path and lead a life of malice and infidelity. They shall be judged by the path-abiding ones with the sword or live their pitiful lives as lost, like the 24 pathless ones on their ship, until they shall be redeemed from their deserved torments by the blade.”
“Listen, Selna: There is one among you right now who has given his path up completely and has forfeited my divine clemency. It is your duty to find and prosecute him. This will lead to sorrow and will require a death toll, yet even this is a part of the trials I will impose upon you and whose accomplishment will strengthen and fortify your society of path-abiding ones.”
At that time Selna heard a racket and screams from the city beneath the temple. Weapons clashed and voices drew near. The Truchessa summoned the Keepers of the Order and declared to them that their first true ordeal was imminent. “Pathless ones cause harm and death to those who were left under our protection. Let us step in front of the temple's gates and confront them. We must not tarry, so that the traitors may not do any more mischief.”
That is when the pathless ones, who left a trail of blood behind them, came upwards to the temple. Kilra, one of the doubters from the time of the temple's construction and head of the greatest farm in front of the city, rallied twenty followers to overpower the unsuspecting people of the order and to seize power with swords and bows. The attack was quick and merciless, and the Keepers of the Order had little to set against the brutality of the pathless ones, despite their magnificent armor and the premonition of the Truchessa.
Most of the order's warriors fell in the first moments of the assault, and the temple would have become a cradle for pathlessness , if not for the remaining citizens and countrymen who united to strike into the back of Kilra's band. With dreadful casualties the path-abiding vassals managed to defeat the renegades on the steps of the temple.
Only Kilra himself survived and for his treason, he was sentenced to death by the Truchessa. On the same evening the city's inhabitants gathered on the forecourt of the Sun Temple to witness the execution of the traitor. Repenting of his deeds, he faced his righteous punishment without hesitation and proclaimed some remaining insight with a firm voice: “Our sins, small and great, will not evade the watchful eyes of our lord. And his retribution will follow as certain as the next sunrise.” The Truchessa herself resided wounded in her rooms, cared for by the healers of the order. Her labor started prematurely, having been induced by the gruesome events of the day. At exactly this moment, as the sword swung towards the neck of the traitor Kilra under the window of her chambers, she gave birth to her son. From this day on, the sixth moon of a year would be known as “Kilra's Treason.”
Strengthened and full of trust in Malphas, the vassals, from whom the Endraleans originated, progressed from these trying times of construction and treason.
The city underneath the Sun Temple grew and became more magnificent day by day. Its inhabitants dubbed it Ark
, the city that would exist eternally, guarded by Lord Malphas for all time.
And the land surrounding Ark, vitalized by the holy water of Larxes, endowed the people's crops with such yield as they had never seen before. Forgotten were the times of famine and deprivation, for bread and fruits covered the tables of all, from the temple to the simplest home at the edge of the city. From this time on, the seventh moon of a year would be called “First Harvest.”
The vassals gave thanks to Malphas for his gifts and hosted a great feast in his honor at the foot of the Sun Temple. That is when the Light-Born spoke through Selna's voice for the last time: “Now you have subjugated this land. It has become your home and the thread, which spins the future of Enderal, lays in your hands. However, know that you will remain under my protection, if you continue to abide upon the path. And even if I may not be in front of your eyes, always live by my virtue.”
After these words of the Light-Born, Selna spoke to the vassals with her own voice: “Return to this place in a moon and bring your families with you, so that we can all gather to the last person. We shall pray collectively to honor Malphas and reassure him of our faith.”
Selna began preparing the ceremony and assembled those who would build the holy order with her. She held her son in her arms and spoke to the Keepers: “Look, this is my son. He will become the first Grandmaster of the order according to Malphas' will and he shall, once the time is right, designate his successor. He is still but an infant and I will teach him everything a path-abiding Endralean should learn. The first stories he will hear will be those of our journey to this land. He shall write those down and give them to the Chronicum, once he has mastered writing, so that the holy opus may be duplicated for all Endraleans. The holy writing will be titled ‘The Path,’ and so I baptize my son, the first Grandmaster of the Holy Order, Dagis
, the scribe.”
Selna now assembled the Keepers every day and recited the words which would be recorded by her son and would become known as “The Path.” And so it came to pass that all the members of the order were able to recite the words in their entirety, and this would continue until the end of time. The scribes of the Chronicum began to create laws based on the wisdom in Malphas' words, and they set down parables which were to serve the Endraleans as examples of how to live a path-abiding life. These writings were distributed across the land, to spread the words of the Light-Born's wisdom even to those who lived far away from the temple and Ark. Yet not one of the scribes wrote down even a single word of The Path, for that was reserved for Dagis, the Grandmaster, once he had learned the written word.
And Selna, the first Truchessa, anticipated that the number of those who wanted to join the Holy Order would be large, yet only a few of them would be chosen. She decreed that a long period of apprenticeship would be finalized with a strict and difficult test of spirit to pick only the best and most loyal from among all the novices who wanted to become keepers.
During the warmest part of the summer, the great ceremony to honor Malphas was finally held, during which the Endraleans swore their eternal faith. The temple was decorated with banners depicting the sun-eye, which symbolizes the light and wisdom that Malphas emits. And a snake could be seen that was formed into a circle, symbolizing the beginning and the end, for Malphas united both in himself.
All of Enderal appeared and gathered in front of the temple. The firmament was lit with wild, red starfire, and so the eighth moon, which ended the year with this festivity, was called “Star Summer Night.” The society of path-abiding ones recited with a single, tremendous voice the holy words which Selna had spoken and which shall honor the Light-Born Malphas until the end of time:
“Thou art my light, my glimmer at the horizon. Thy name is my sacrament, and thy Path I will honor … in life as in death.”
“May your Path guide me.”