In a room lit only by four torches, one on each corner, there stands a man carrying a newborn baby. Beside him, a bed with a woman lying down on it, also carrying a newborn baby.
“What do you want to name our first child?” said the man.
“I want to honor Helios. Oh, I think Elio would be perfect!” said the weak, but happy, woman.
“May I have the honor of naming our second child then, my love?”
“It would be my pleasure, darling.”
“But I can’t seem to pick. I want to honor Zeus, but I also want to honor Selene.”
“How about one of the moons of Dias1? It can honor both Zeus and Selene, right?”
“You’re right. Then I’ll name him Io.”
“Elio and Io Lightweaver, new half-elves of the community, welcome to the world.”
It’s bright out, the sun’s rays flow into the temple, which was made for the three siblings, Helios, Selene, and Eos. There are a mix of priests, acolytes, clerics, some travelers, and some people who are in need of healing. There are two children moving around, helping with whatever needs help with, and a man staring quirkily at another man who in turn is looking lovingly at a woman praying to Helios.
“Aaaah, romance. You really love her don’t you?”
“Of course, she’s my wife. What did you expect?”
“Well, yes, no doubt about that. But hey, get back to work. Your children have done more than you.”
“Alright, alright. I’ll just look at her later at home.”
The other man smiles suggestively. “Whatever you say. Now let’s finish this.” And receives a playful push from the man.
It’s the early evening, the moon’s rays illuminating the dark corners of the temple that the torches cannot reach. In the kitchen, an elderly woman is chopping vegetables, and another stirring the soup, glancing at her sleeping children seated on the table and at a man praying to Selene.
“You might overcook the soup my dear. You don’t have to look at your children and then at your husband every second like they’ll just disappear into nowhere.”
“I’m so sorry High Priestess! I’m honestly always very embarrassed at how often you see me glancing at my family. And this happens everytime!”
“It is understandable, my dear. They are the most precious gifts the gods have given to you. I know how much they mean to you. I was very much similar to you back in my youth, so don’t be sorry.”
“Thank you, High Priestess. It mea-”
“You should be sorry if you overcook that soup though!” She chuckles at the younger woman’s embarrassed face and faint mumbling of “I’m so sorry…”
The skies are dark, thick clouds have formed, lightning strikes the land, and the thunder roars, shaking the earth. People are panicking, the more formidable ones stopping the avatar of a god who is wreaking havoc. It seems to enjoy destroying everything in its path, laughing along the way. The god is looking for someone.
“Elio! Io! Let’s go now !”
Elio, frantically dragging his brother behind him, asks, “I get the urgency, but what’s happening Dad?”
“You guys are adults now, you should know who that is! Perses, the god of destruction, is looking for someone. Now hurry up!”
Their mother is running up to them, coming from the direction of the temple. Io notices her.
“Mom! Your too pale. What’s wrong?”
“Let’s hurry to the temple. The High Priestess told me, Perses is angry at Helios and Selene. He can’t do anything to them, but he can do something to their most precious followers.” Elio goes up to her and holds her hand.
The father’s eyes shoot wide open. He grabs Io’s hand and starts running. “Then, Perses is looking for us! Let’s go now to the temple!”
A voice stops them, male. “Lightweavers. Perses will not stop hunting you down until you’re dead.”
A second voice steps in. It’s a female this time. “We have no choice but to send you to a different world if there’s ever going to be a chance for you guys to live.”
“We have no other way but to do this. It’s the best outcome we could come up with.”
“We know you will be able to live peacefully. Even if we lose you in this world, at least we know you did not die.”
Simultaneously, the voices echo, “Now go!”
Two resounding finger snaps are heard, and the Lightweavers are being teleported.
But something’s not right.
The Library City of Ortlinde on the continent of Lingrah’Vod in the world of Ka-iel2. A city of mostly gray, filled with books to the brim, with people flocking to gain knowledge from these books. There are temples of the various pantheons scattered throughout the city as well, perfect for the religious.
The sky darkened, lightning flashed, and people heard a rumble from above. They look towards it. Then it’s gone as soon as it arrived.
Elio and his mother are now standing within the city walls, thankfully in a place where there were little to no people. The few people who were there didn’t notice their arrival, too busy looking at the sky.
“We’re okay! Okay. We’re okay. Huh? Where’s dad and Io? Mom, are you okay?”
His mother stares at the floor, eyes starting to widen at Elio’s question. “They snapped their fingers… at the same time. Elio…” She looks at him.
“Mom? You’re starting to scare me. Do you know where dad and Io are?”
“Elio. They snapped their fingers at the same time. They used their powers at the same time. I don’t think that was supposed to happen and now…”
Elio’s eyes open wide as well. “We’ve been separated haven’t we. Or we’ve been sent to completely different worlds. Is that what you mean mom?” She nods her head slowly.
They’ve moved in to Ortlinde and adjusted pretty well. They learned a lot about the world they’re in through the insurmountable amount of books in the city. It’s as if they were locals of the world who just wanted to move to Ortlinde. People didn’t know better.
“What do you plan to do now mom? Still going to look for a temple to serve?”
“Well, yes of course. That has been my life on Earth, it will be my life in Ka-iel. No difference.”
“Do you have any god you want to follow?”
“I followed Helios back in our world. It just makes sense I follow Raidrion3 here, don’t you think?” She winks at Elio.
“Alright. I also want to serve in a temple, but I’m not yet sure if I want Raidrion or Lumiaris4.”
His mother looks at him, seemingly bored. “You do realize that, similar to the three sibling gods we worshipped, Raidrion and Lumiaris are married, right? They’re bound to have shared temples too. Let’s finish lunch and look around for a temple later, okay dear?”
The temple is bright, even in the evenings. The walls are crafted or gilded in gold and other reflective material, forever bathing the temple in light. Perfect for the deities of light. In the main prayer room, there is a lone half-elf around young adult age.
“Elio, I’m going to talk to the Head of the temple. Now behave yourself!”
Elio nods at his mother. He looks back at the prayer room and sees the young half-elf is now standing, staring at him intently, curiously. Elio moves closer. “Uh, hello.”
“Hi. And what might you be doing here in the temple?”
“Yes, my name’s Elio Lightweaver, thanks for asking. My mom and I just moved in and we wanted to serve the temple.” He answers in an annoyed way, but smiles in the end and holds out his hand.
The other man quirks his eyebrow, and a slight smile pulls at his face. He reaches for the hand. “So we’ve got a joker here huh? Raidrion or Lumiaris might not light that.”
“Wha- Are you serious? I’m so sorry oh dear” He faces the alter and bows down, faintly mumbling “I’m so sorry…”
“Man, I’m just kidding you. Don’t say sorry now, it’s funny!” He says while laughing.
Elio looks at the man. “So we’ve got a joker here huh? Blahdiblahblah. Tell that to yourself.”
“Being sarcastic now huh? Oh yeah, my name’s Sarkas.” He reaches out his hand again.
“Now I do not believe that. You probably pulled that out from the word sarcastic!” He still grabs the man’s hand and shakes it.
The other man is quiet for a moment, contemplating. “It’s Kallo’Bain actually. My real name I mean. But yeah people really do call me Sarkas here.” He smiles brightly and proceeds to head over somewhere, waving goodbye in the process.
Elio is left there dumbfounded. “What was that?”
The market is lively, filled with people moving about. Stalls of all variety line up the market: weapons and shields, knick knacks, magical items, even food. The place is bright in the early evening.
“I really don't understand your love for food, Sarkas. This is the third food stall we’ve been to!” Elio smiles fondly from behind Sarkas.
“Food is amazing my friend. It sustains us, gives us life ! And it’s as if you're not used to me eating. We do this almost everyday!” He laughs as he chooses between the street food laid out in front of the store.
“Yeah I know. And I do enjoy coming with you. Spending time with you is amazing.”
Sarkas stares at Elio for a bit then quickly looks back at the food before Elio notices. “You speak as if we rarely see each other. We serve the same temple, if you’re forgetting. But thanks.”
The cafeteria in the library is very spacious. It’s filled with people eating and reading books they borrowed. It’s mostly quiet, save for some people discussing the books they have. A lone high elven woman sits at a table for four with a spoon in one hand and a book in the other.
Sarkas bows down to the woman. “Excuse me miss. Would you mind if we shared a seat with you?” He smiles.
The woman smiles back and nods her head. “Of course! I’m sorry but I might not be good company. I get absorbed when I start reading books.”
“That’s not a problem at all. Thank you! I see you’re reading Wanderers Guide to Lingrah’Vod there. It’s a good read!” Elio smiles brightly.
“It’s one of my most favorite books actually! I don’t know how many times I’ve read it. It’s so good!”
Elio lights up at this. “Really! That’s also my go-to book when I want to read but don't know what to read. I really got interested about the Age of Tears5 and the Age of Fire5, about the Karcians6 specifically!”
“Oh yes! That was a really scary point in our history, I literally get goosebumps when I’m in that section of the book. Oh, by the way, my name is Althaea Alderon.”
“My name is Elio Lightweaver, and this is my best friend Kallo’Bain Sarkas, but you can just call him Sarkas!” Elio and Althaea seem to hit it off so well, their love for books bringing them together.
“You didn’t have to tell her my real name you know…” Sarkas becomes quiet and starts to close in on himself.
Despite Sarkas initially not wanting to talk to Althaea, deciding not to go with Elio when he meets with her, they became close as time went by. Sarkas isn’t as close to her as Elio is, but he’s now comfortable talking to her. Her visits to the temple paid off.
Althaea is looking around the temple. She sees a lady through the doorway leading to the kitchen, and heads there. “Excuse me ma’am. Would you happen to know where Elio or Sarkas is?”
The lady stops stirring her soup for a few moments, then immediately goes back to stirring it, mumbling under her breath, “I’m sorry High Priestess, I’m doing it again even in this world…” She goes to look at Althaea and smiles. “Both of them are supposed to be in the prayer room right now. Did you not see them on the way here, darling?”
“I didn’t actually. Where else could they be, if I may ask?”
“My son usually goes to the library and Sarkas just follows. Sarkas usually goes to the market and eat, and Elio just follows. I swear, those two are inseparable. I don’t think they’re there at this time though. Maybe you can try asking near the resting quarters?”
“Oh you’re Mrs. Lightweaver! Pleased to meet you. My name’s Althaea Alderon. Maybe Elio has mentioned me to you before? But thank you for your help! I’ll go look for them now.”
“Good luck my dear! Tell my son to come to me when he’s not busy!” She sighs. “What a pretty girl, that Althaea.”
The day is coming to a close. There’s a group of people outside the temple, looking like they’re about to go on an adventure. Sarkas and Elio are standing far away from them, but Sarkas is carrying supplies. It seems like he’s part of the group.
“You know, I’ll miss you. It won’t be the same without you here.” Elio smiles sadly.
“What is wrong with you, Elio! It’s not like we’ll never see each other anymore! We’re just going to look for the legendary artifact of Raidrion, no big deal. If you were his follower too, then maybe you’d be with us as well.” He laughs, but it’s evident in his voice that he’s sad as well. More sad than Elio, actually.
“Hey, Lumiaris is a great goddess. I have no regrets in choosing to follow her. But hey, keep in touch okay? Come visit when you can.”
“Of course, I’d lose my mind if I don’t get to talk to you. About visiting? Of course that depends on our progress and what the party wants to do. But if I can, then I will.”
They hear someone whistle. “Well, I guess it’s time to go then Sarkas. I’ll see you soon, okay?” He hugs Sarkas tightly.
Sarkas didn’t know what to do at first, his arms staying at his side. But he eventually hugs Elio tight as well. “Yeah, I’ll see you soon Elio. I’ll miss you a lot.”
Sarkas moves towards the group and waves at Elio. Elio smiles, and watches them leave until they’re just a dot on the horizon.
Althaea steps out of the temple. “I finally found you! Where’s Sarkas?”
“They left. They were tasked to go look for an artifact of Raidrion this morning, and they had to leave tonight. We weren’t able to tell you. He was busy preparing, I was busy with the temple. It was all too fast.” He still stares at the horizon, not looking at Althaea even once.
“Oh no. I didn’t get to say goodbye to him. Do you know exactly where they’re headed?” She notices the sadness in Elio’s eyes.
“They had a lead, but it’s very general. They’re on the way to the Free Glades7. Can I get a hug? I feel so sad.” He faces Althaea.
She hugs him. “He’ll be back, Elio. Don’t worry about it.”
Elio is inside his room. Things thrown and scattered here and there, but the bed has neatly arranged supplies. He seems to be preparing to go somewhere.
“Elio, dear, Althaea is here to visit!” His mother shouts through the doorway.
“Mom, the door is literally open. You don’t have to shout. But yeah I’ll come out in a bit.”
“Too late, I’m here.” Althaea sits down on one of the chairs in the room. “So tell me again why you’re leaving?”
“I felt like Lumiaris is calling out to me. Something’s telling me to go to Stalvan8 and help out there. If Sarkas can go adventuring, why can’t I?”
Althaea chuckles. “I’m not trying to stop you, you know. I’m still just not over the fact that first, Sarkas left. And now you’re leaving too? What about me?” She pouts.
Elio laughs at the face Althaea made. “Not like you won’t hear from me. I mean we hear from Sarkas frequently. I’ll do the same too.”
“I know that. It’s just that I won’t get to see my friend for a while. You two are the only ones I’ve got. Well I mean, I’ve got my books too I guess.” She laughs.
“In any case, I’m done packing. Don’t worry, I’ll be leaving tomorrow so you can come visit again. Want to go to the library to read?” He smiles brightly.
“Of course! You don’t need to ask me that, you know!” They laugh, and they set out towards the library.
The roads are bumpy, but not so much that you can’t travel. The skies are blue and the sun is bright. The winds are cool as it hits your skin. The City of Stalvan is just a few minutes away.
“I wonder what it’s like in Stalvan. This might become Ortlinde all over again, not knowing where to go.” Elio sighs.
He stares at his hands, deep in thought. “Is it right that I followed my guts? Should I really have gone here to Stalvan?”
Before he notices, they’ve arrived. He’s in one of the outer portions of the City. He steps down the carriage and looks around. He immediately finds a temple. “Good, I can start from there.”
The temple is small, but serves its purpose well. The High Priest welcomes him and asks what he needs. “I wish to serve in this temple as I stay in Stalvan for a bit.”
The High Priest nods. “I assume you need a place to stay in as well? We’ve got a spare room here, you can use it.”
They walk around, talking about the temple, what he should do, his duties, and his “payment” for the rent. They reach a good middle point, and he accepts the terms. He now goes to the spare room, fixes his things, and prepares for his life in Stalvan as he awaits for whatever the voice wants him to do.