I’m not sure of any of you have read Jonathan’s writing before, but prepare to be amazed! This is the prologue of his story, Wrathgate. Enjoy!!
Prologue: The Potion
“James! Are you even listening?” Arnen asked, exasperated.
“Huh?” James asked, looking at him innocently. Arnen sighed dramatically.
“You are frankly the most absent minded apprentice that I’ve attempted to teach.” Arnen said. “Now, I’d better start back from the beginning. The history of Azaria is very complicated, and unfortunately you haven’t had much education thus far. Now, the world was shaped by the Keepers. There are twelve of them, and I’ll tell you about them in a later lesson.”
James was finding it very hard to listen. The alchemist’s shop where he would spend his next few years was bursting with activity- an apprentice in the storage room was sorting plants and minerals into their assorted alcoves, three journeymen were grinding aromatic herbs in giant granite mortars, an alembic bubbled and frothed, and Emma, Arnen’s wife, was making lunch that smelled delicious. The room was warm and cozy, heated by a white stone hearth. But what really caught James’s attention were the potions- hundreds of them- that were arranged neatly under the wooden counter from which street noises filtered into the apothecary. One especially entranced James, a beautiful black vial with a golden rim and a stone cork. It was supposedly magic, and James had heard that it could actually turn a person temporarily into a living shadow. This was why James had wanted to be apprenticed to an alchemist, so that he could brew wonderful potions such as that one.
“James, focus!” Arnen noticed that James was drifting again. James used all of his willpower to listen to the tedious history that the sea elf sitting before him was trying to teach. “Azaria was originally populated only with grey elves, but then the fire Elves emerged. They are your ancestors, James. Many of them joined together and built a great city called Feynor. The rest of the fire elves were jealous and afraid of that beautiful city, and so they attacked Feynor and took everything. The sacking of Feynor tainted the guilty fire elves, and they diminished. As they lost their everlasting life and their natural magical powers, they became mere humans.”
Arnen realized that what he had just said was probably offensive to his current audience. “No offense.”
“None taken,” said James cheerily.
“At any rate, the residents of Feynor split into two groups, the white elves and the Ashen. The white elves left Feynor and made friends with the Grey Elves living along the coast. The Ashen did not forgive the humans and learned to use their magical skills to bring woe. Their civilization moved inland to the volcano called Ravenna and terrorized from their new city they terrorized the humans. The humans made up with the white elves and together they built a great seafaring civilization called Seacrest. The grey elves and light elves eventually intermarried and produced another race, called the sea elves. Together, the sea elves and the humans fought against the Ashen, and eventually they fought a great battle at the very gates of Ravenna. The citadel was impenetrable, however, so they had only one option. The white elf wizards performed a spell that would banish the Ashen forever. The Ashen, the citadel, and even the whole volcano were banished from existence. For many years afterwards the world was in relative peace, with only minor skirmishes with the centaur and squabbles with the dwarves. The current king of Seacrest is King Triton. He took power in the Adelide Revolution fifty years ago. Since then relations with the remnant of the pure white elves have declined and they are now unfriendly to Seacrest. Since King Triton, a sea elf, took power from the existing human dynasty, sea elves have become dominant in politics.” Arnen finished, satisfied with James’s attention.
“Weren’t my parents refugees from the Adelide Revolution?” James asked.
“I don’t know your parents very well, James, you should ask them.” The sea elf alchemist stood up. “Now we need to get you your alchemy kit. You should bring it around with you, and gather any herbs that you recognize when you find them. It is simply the best way to learn about their characteristics.” Arnen showed James a leather bag and delicately placed a wooden mortar, a pestle, and a few crystal vials. Next, he walked over to the counter, and placed a half dozen tiny potions into the slots in the side of the bag. “This is one of the perks of being an alchemist’s apprentice. If you get a cut, pour a little of this green salve on it. If you are tired, drink some of that blue bubbling liquid. These are cheap and easy to make, so just ask and I’ll teach you how to make yourself more.” “
Arnen studied James for a moment, drilling into his soul with those sea green eyes. “And this,” Arnen said, letting his voice drop to a whisper, slipping the black potion into James’s bag, “Is for emergencies.”