Prologue

Prologue

Forgotten Knight

Ninth day of the month of Octus, in the year of Tree-Six:

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      It was a lie. This whole time the promises of power, and peace, and fame were lies. There is no honor in this gift. The history of the title is forgotten, but I can hear it. I can see it. Deep within my mind it’s knocking. Bang, bang, bang- it makes itself known in my mind. It wants out, you see, but I resist. I resist with all that I am, but it becomes harder with time.

Thirtieth day of the month Decus, in the year of Tree-Seven:

      I can feel myself slipping with each day. The way they look at me is changing. My name drips from their lips in twisted words. Little by little, they lose sight of who I am. I am me gods dammit, not another. Yet they have trouble seeing that; ever since I took up the mantle of Zeroth I have been lost. Ever since I became lost, I have sought a light in the darkness, nay a beacon- any beacon that will keep me here, to keep me grounded. But even they are losing sight of me within this storm. The pounding continues, and now there are whispers.

Fifth day, Maris, year Tree-Eight:

      The whispering is gone now; and without it, I am lost. It was my constant companion for nearly a cycle. But it seems to have given up on me. It no longer pounds, no longer wishes for release. I would try to remain myself, were it not already far too late. They don’t see me now, ever. “Zero” is who they see. “Castus” is no more, ‘tis just “Zero” now. But without the whispers, and the pounding, I’m able to think clearly enough. My wives, my loves, they no longer know me. Yet I love them, and so I continue my journey. Perhaps I’ll understand what this has all been about, one day.

Fourth day, Austis. Year Tree-Nine:

  I understand it now. I do. They define us, ’tis known- these titles. Our growths are dependant upon them. They make us adhere to what they are. We are them, and they are us. I have been defined as by the Zeroth, to uphold the entity known as Zero. I do not know who this was, but ‘tis now who I am.

Twenty-Third day of Octus. Year Tree-Nine:

  The whispering of malice returns. It speaks, but not to me. It calls for another. It twists him, from me. It unmakes who he is, and he gives in. I have accepted the curse of who I am became, but to see a friend become unmade is heart-rending. It is time for tradition to be placed wayward, and to stand up for the life of one who is important to me. I shall do what I can to remedy the situation.

Jansus. Twelfth. Tree-Ten:

  I feel it within. The pull. It’s coming. I must fight it.

Maris. Thirteenth. Tree-Ten:

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  Reality is not as it seems. I’ve come to understand yet again. Warped perceptions are commonplace. Those of higher places- they wage a war no mortal may help to understand; and the darkness looms in our souls. The Zeroth… what be it? Savior, or Saint? There is no fighting its spread of warped reality, yet it seems to go no further; yet again something still remains, deep within it, banging, ringing, slamming.

Junus Twenty-Second. Tree-Ten:

  He is ghastly, and malformed, and so very, very powerful. I cannot beat him alone. His wife has betrayed him, and offered unto me, the power to rival a god. I wish for no more power, for that is what the whispers want. But to protect my people, I will break all taboos and fight for them. I will give into power, beget more power, to lay low a power greater still.

  Austis… I do not know. I can’t make out the world as well as before. The power beholden to me has come with a terrible price. Yet they chose to join in me, to make it so. I am going to win this; but I feel in my bones that it will not be without significant loss. I can only hope the Valkyries do not join me in Hades.

Know ye who comes after, the price that is paid by the title you bear. It is living, and ephemeral, yet corporeal. You are to become it, lest you become nothing. There are secrets within, as of yet undiscovered in this game of life, and dice as played by the Gods. I only hope, from one mortal to another, that you find a way.

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