The City has stood since time itself began, and I, whom they call Risen has stood here at its gate. I am not the only one. There are my brothers and sisters beside me; the Dolomites and the Silent Ones, the ones who are now more stone than person, and those whose roots have become entangled so deep into the bones of the earth as to forget they could ever walk and move – and fight.
I am one of these first beings called the Risen, and I am called Calamis, although I have been given many names over the millennia. They have called me Stormbrow, the Gem-Hearted, and the Earthshaker.
I am Calamis Earthshaker, the First of the Risen, and the one to whom all the rest turn to. We creatures of rock and root, gemstone and leaf do not have leaders or captains, but we have respect. Our respect runs deep and ever-quenching through our metal hearts. A respect for the stones that we sprang from, a respect for the seasons that pass over our heads, year in and year out. A respect for this city that we did not create, but that we were given to guard by our makers.
The Fallen. That is the only name that I have given them, and so that is the only name that the younger races of Elves, Dwarves, the winged Vadora, the humans and the Sakura have ever called them. Names are important, you see. Just as respect is important.
The Fallen were beings that only I, of all of my brethren remember. They filled my mind with a shining light, one that bid me to move, to arise from the rocks, to be alive. I do not know their history, these gods (if that is what they were) but I know that they fell and when their blood hit the earth so it rose me from dull matter and into the light. I was there as the last Fallen fell, and I opened my eyes to see the City of Kings, the thing created by the Fallen and which I was pledged to for all eternity.
In time the other races emerged onto the face of the world, and they came to this place seeking power, seeking secrets, and seeking answers. We Risen would not give it to them. They were not worthy to learn of the ancient mysteries that the Fallen had locked within the City of Kings. First came the winged Vadora, singing their praise songs to the memories of the Fallen. They had respect, and so we allowed them to build their eyries in the peaks near here, so that they might gaze upon the sacred marble of the city.
Then came the Elves, seeking wisdom – but they did not know the ways of stone and of earth-fire. They understood tree and water and living things, and I told them to seek their answers in the Sacred Groves. Next came the Dwarves, ever tunnelling, and moving underfoot to try and get to the heart of things – but their tunnels hit hard rock that even they could not break, and we were there too. They went back to their mines, dissatisfied.
Last of all, came the proud and arrogant humans. Petty lords and ladies who deigned to call themselves Kings, Queens, Witches, and Mages. When we would not give them the sacred city that is the heart of the world they sought to blast its walls with magic, and with arbalest and siege engine… But they failed. All the armies of humanity failed.
Until Vesh came, that is.
Vesh was human once, or so I believed. But he delved too deep into the mysteries of death and shadows. When he rose once more, he was something else – Dark Vesh; the mightiest dark sorcerer that the world has ever seen, and his power came from me.
I am Calamis the First, the Risen, the Earthshaker, and this is the tale of how Dark Vesh came to burn the entire world, and reach out his twisted intent to seize even the greatest, and oldest city of the world: The City of Kings.
To be continued