Legacy by Rachael Deragon is today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds. It is the first book of a trilogy which mainly pertains to centaurs.
The greed of the Low King Eleazar has begun the war that the prophecy had foretold, planning to usurp the throne of the High King Emery. The centaurs Gunta, Stryder, tries desperately to keep his herds safe and stop Eleazar, but his world gets turned upside down as he takes the role of leader and faces almost constant setbacks. The wood elves, arcane elves, and the fairies have all been on the hunt for the Chest of Erinn, a relic that contains the clues to the oracle and only then can someone stop Eleazar before war begins and death ensues. The land of Rogasia and all who live in it, can only find peace if they can find racial and environmental harmony. Can they find amity between the races and come together to defeat the Low King and his army of mutants?
“The dwarves and the wood elves may have made an alliance to find this oracle, or so my spy suspects. There is also Eleazar to deal with, and his misguided sense of power. I am aware we are becoming greatly outnumbered as time goes on. But know this will never deter me from our cause,” Stryder shifted his weight slightly and turned to look at his new wife intently. “Hear me Isis, and never forget, I shall not rest until the oracle is in my hands, we walk this land as ours again, and the other races have been obliterated,” bellowed Stryder.
Stryder was now the Gunta of all the centaur herds. He is the son of Aleyn, a fierce warrior and mighty leader; he died almost five seasons ago during a battle with the last Low King, Jaanlar, in Candarra. Now Stryder is the herds’ leader, their Gunta, although proud to hold this title, he misses his father dearly and often feels overwhelmed in his duties at such a tumultuous time.
Thousands of suns and moons before Stryder’s story ever began, for the most part the elves and dwarfs traveled through the certain designated trade cities. The most popular was the city of Tubar near the tar pits. Though there was an inherent distaste amongst each other, peace was profitable for trades.
Then one day it began to spread that near Crandon Creek, a dwarf had uncovered a stone, which seemed to have a prophecy written on it. It foretold of the dying of Rogasia’s races, of a war that will ensue if one doesn’t come forth, find the oracle, and bring peace once again. It was a single insignificant dwarf found perhaps the most significant stone in all of Rogasia. Its story spoke thru strange writings that took years to decipher. Over time so much had been forgotten, so much loss of the past ways. It did not help that the stone had been broken and some text lost forever.
Though fractured, it partially read:
When the sisters unite, it shall begin
The time of tribal genocide…
The dark one…
He who shines to the beasts, inciter of conflicts
Creator of blasphemy…
Find the object of all blood beings every desire,
This one hope could change the tide for he who possesses it.
It had been written in three languages; elven, dwarven, and centaurian. Only the first of those were deciphered at first, as they didn’t know what the other language was. It took eleven scholars hundreds of years to finally decipher the few words using old texts. The centaurs had been considered more a nuisance beast than a race. Often treated as such back then, hunted down and sent into small areas throughout Rogasia with very little land left for any real way of life.
Not long after that the races warred, they retreated to their own lands, alienating each race from the other, and consumed themselves with trying to discover the way to the oracle. Seeking the answer to what the oracle even was. For none had ever heard or seen such a thing and without revelation; no texts or scrolls have yet to be found that describes what it is. Over thousands of years, the prophecy was slightly interpreted in different ways, dependent on race mostly.
“I understand,” Isis said gently, “but I worry about this prophecy Siita has foreseen. How can you just ignore it?”
Loudly Stryder began to preach, “It matters naught what that witch says, I will continue to fight for what my father’s blood has given to regain!” Stryder stomped his hoof down defiantly. “I will hear no more foolish banter from you Isis, you’re my lifemate and I forbid your disgrace. If you don’t believe in me, in my choices, in what we fight for, why should my battle herd? We shall never lay swords with any race Isis. Do you understand me?”
Humbly Isis bowed before him, her hundreds of long golden braids flowing to the floor, “Yes my Gunta, as you wish. I ask your forgiveness and just know I only presented my worries to you not because I doubt you, for I love you my sweet Stryder. Please don’t be angry with me.”
Tension seemed to escape his brow, he held her closely for a moment then gently explained, using a Centaurian word that was a term of endearment, “My petra, Siita has been wrong before. She joined the herd just before I met you, after my father died and I had to take his place. She came to me and told me I would never find my life mate, that I would never sire a foal. She claimed that I was destined to fail my lineage. But then I found you, captured and enslaved by those dwarves,” Stryder almost spit the word in disgust. “I freed you and knew instantly you were the one. Now you are with foal. Do you see why this worries me not? I have no faith in her Isis, my faith lies with the Gods, elements, and my herds’ people, my great centaur warriors, and with Rogasia. I will find the oracle first. That my petra is my destiny.”
With a soft warm kiss, Stryder left their home and walked out into the crisp night air. He could almost taste the fresh fertile air of spring coming; the purity of the air was almost rejuvenating to him. Stundarak Village had always been where the Guntas lived as long as anyone could remember. The homes were built of the strongest tamarack and cedar trees and the roofs shingled from shells of the Akknar (giant turtles which live in the River of Gaundaa far northwest of here). Stryder gazed about the village, the windows glowed orange like candles in the darkest nights, as centaur families prepared for bed; and he knew what was being spoken in those homes and it angered him to no other. How dare that turncoat try to ruin the herd’s faith in me! Siita is a useless, lying witch, and not even a good one at that.
He could see towards the center of the village, where there was what they called the drangann, a circular area with a large fire pit in the center where biinin and bii would gather to speak about anything from announcements of life mates or births, to the common village gossip, to battle stories.
He could see his four dearest and oldest friends standing there, Drake, Corst, Jake, and Kristoff, centaurs he trusted with his life as they did him. Drake and Kristoff he had known since they were all just foals together. All four were not just his friends but also his Team Generals for his battleherd, and he knew all too well what they spoke of, Siita. The word almost burned his tongue with just the thought of it. Stryder jaunted over to them; and his body seemed to harden as they quit speaking while he approached. After some pleasantries, he grabbed a craft of winter ale they still had left yet from this past season and took a place among his friends around the crackling blaze.
Drake of course was the first to speak; he was a proven warrior and had been friends with Stryder since they were both foaled only a few days apart. Their fathers, Aleyn and Lindin, had been the closest of brethren. Drake had the blackest coat and mane Stryder had ever seen. His mane flowed down to his waist, as did his beard (manes on herdsmen or herdswomen were a sign of attractiveness and pride when selecting a lifemate), two long braids fell down the sides of his face. “My Gunta, my friend, I must address what we have heard. Rumors are being whispered amongst the herd that Siita has foreseen a prophecy.”
Although he tried to keep his composure, his muscles tensed and rippled not by the chill of the late winter, which was amplified by the firelight on his chestnut coat even though he wore his leather and fur tunic and a cloak. As controlled as he could he said, “I have heard of this so called prophecy. I also have known Siita to be wrong before and I lost what little faith I may have had in that traitor a while ago. You know of my feelings about this magic she has brought here and I have had enough of it.”
Stryder didn’t yell but his voice was deep and strong and he made his stance known. His voice beginning to rise, he continued, “Our kind has never used sorcery before and we don’t need it now. To seal a pact with any race would mean we turn our backs to what generations of bloodlines have sacrificed, and it would mean the possibility of giving up Rogasia to another race. That does not sit well with mine heart, does it yours? As long as blood coarses through thy veins and mine hooves carry me, this will never happen!” His voice becoming louder as he spoke, herdsmen and herdswomen began to filter around the drangann.
Stryder looked to his left where Corst and Jake stood by him, two of his team generals, two of his closest friends. “Corst, did not an elf sorcerer kill your life mate?”
To Jake he quickly asked, “Did you not watch, paralyzed by spells as the dwarf shamans took your older sister into slavery to breed those atrocities they have created?”
Jake looked to the ground and weakly nodded.
Lastly, he spoke to Kristoff who already knew what his next words would be, “Dwarves took your legacy when they butchered your foal son and took your lifemate, did they not Kristoff?”
“Merciless, foul bastards they are Stryder” Kristoff snarled with damnation.