Opening Excerpt from “Tales of Jayrith”

This is a story with no clear beginning and no definite end…

It takes place in a land known as Farenia. Much like the world we know, Farenia is filled with trees that grow, birds that sing, and seasons that change. Society is an ever-evolving, complex equation of interactions and understanding. Apples still come in various colors.

Farenia is also abundantly filled with humans. Unlike our world however, humans are not alone. While their vast numbers have led to their migration across the entire lands, they share the world with creatures equal in intelligence, yet wildly different in appearance.

Their closest kin, in looks and allegiance, are the Farenians themselves. Born leaders, Farenians have struggled throughout the centuries in maintaining order (and some might say their dominance) with all who call Farenia home. They even named the land after themselves, a true sign of how much influence they really control.

Most of their history was spent dealing with Dragons. Long gone from the main continent, the beasts had originally formed their own society, believing themselves incomparably superior to the bipedal creatures that eyed them with jealousy and fear. There was a whole big war and everything, nearly drove the Tortellas (a race of flying bear creatures, not as cute as they sound) to extinction. Yet the Dragons weren’t unreasonable. It only took a just leader to admit their kind needed to be alone.

There are also Dwarves, Pizcas, and Roccans. They too had their own sordid history: lots of joining forces against a common enemy, then declaring war on each other. The world of Farenia isn’t that old, but the history sure makes it seem like it. Eventually the Farenians picked up the pieces and put things in order. The loner Dwarves scuttled away inside their mountains. The aquatic Pizca stuck to the rivers and the lakes. The rugged Roccans hid away in the hills.

The last group of beings is not defined by their race. With the ability to wield different forms of magic, the Mages are a powerful group in more ways than one. All the races possess the ability to perform magic, though not all beings have such power. Or even the same powers, as there are certain types of magic that come naturally to humans or Tortellas or Farenians, but may be impossible to perform by Dwarves or Roccans. Throughout history, the Mages were the real group that united the lands. Sometimes it was to cheer them on in combat against the tyranny of Dragons. Other times, it was in hunting them for fear of what they could do.

There are few in the world that can say they understand the complexity of life in Farenia. Even fewer can say so while only a child, yet young Jayrith of Faren City had been given an opportunity like no other. He was a plain looking boy, his Farenian pointed ears his only distinguishable mark, with mop top dirty blonde hair and emerald green eyes. He had always been on the smaller side of boys his age, at every age, and was more introverted than the other mothers thought was healthy. Jayrith didn’t mind though, for his life had always been different. He was an orphan, for as long as he could remember, never knowing his mother or father. Jayrith had been raised by a man named Marquette, a very patient and kind soul, who had taken him in without hesitation and raised Jayrith to be self-reliant.

Marquette was an ambassador for the king of Farenia and spent most of his time visiting nearby cities, gathering information or bringing messages from the royal family. It was in this way Jayrith had met gritted Roccans who turned gleeful at the sight of a young child. How he had seen a secluded city built behind a waterfall. How he had even witnessed a young girl named Emma begin to cry, then watched as snow began to fall in the middle of summer.

When they weren’t traveling, Marquette and Jayrith stayed within a small home settled in the roof of a three-story building. Jayrith imagined Marquette could have done better if he wished, but the old man seemed to prefer more modest accommodations. This wasn’t to say they went without luxuries as both had their own feather beds and a chest with enough money to buy two of everything in the marketplace. Marquette was an adventurer though, and complained about growing docile with his age. He enjoyed joking about the day he would be forced to retire, pack up his belongings, and hobble down the stone streets to the castle gates, where he would spend the rest of his days having artists paint the memories of his youth. He would then smile and remind Jayrith of the large shoes he would eventually need to fill. 

Yet like so many others, Jayrith’s happy story eventually came to an end. One day when he was eleven, Jayrith awoke in their two-room home to find Marquette was already gone. He glanced out their single window that overlooked the streets of Faren City and felt there was something wrong in the air. Usually he could hear the sounds of merchants hawking their goods and couriers racing through crowds as they tried to deliver the early morning news. On that day he heard none of those things, but instead found a note from Marquette nailed to the side of the window. He had left in the middle of the night for his own safety, urging Jayrith to understand it was safer to leave him behind. There was no further explanation and for five years Jayrith lived on his own, self-reliant like Marquette had raised him.

He wasn’t completely alone though. Jayrith still had his best friend Tylen, another Farenian boy who lived in the house next to his. Tylen was slightly older than Jayrith, but the two could have easily passed as brothers. Jayrith loved to share stories with Tylen, who in turned kept Jayrith informed about the city while he was away. After Marquette left, Tylen and his mother made sure Jayrith knew he had people he could call family, though Jayrith never tried to impose.

The day Marquette left also brought a new acquaintance in Jayrith’s life, an odd little cricket that lived on his windowsill.

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