The War of Empires

The southern empire of Yss, ruled by the theocratic church of the sun has been at war with the northern empire of Lochna, ruled by aristocratic families as long as anyone can remember. In this world magic is rare and sought after in both armies and mages are treated as tools to be used or as demi-gods to be revered.

the story centers around Lilith who is a young woman from the city of Narr in Yss who also happens to be a mage.

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1. Narr (Lilith)

The city of Narr was a small village in the western part of the Yss empire in the south, ruled by the church of the sun. It was situated near the great desert of Narr that covered a vast area of the south-western part of the continent. The village houses were made out of wood but had a strong foundation of desert-stone. In the middle of the village was a well where people got their water from. The church of the sun had a very small presence in Narr compared to the rest of Yss but recently a company of soldiers arrived with a priest of the sun on the pretense that they were there to defend the village against the Lochna empire in the north, which Yss had been at war with for as long as the two empires had existed.

Lilith stood near the well and filled a bucket that she had brought from home with water. The well was a natural place for people to meet and talk about the latest gossip. She examined the water to make sure it looked clean and was greeted by a clear reflection of her face. She was fair skinned and had long black hair down to her back. She was tall, slender and was considered beautiful by most people in the village. The earrings that she wore reflected in the water. They were the shape of a small blue teardrop. She had gotten them from a priest when she was fourteen and she hated them. She hated them because they signified what she was and how Yss thought of her, a mage, a danger and a tool.

You have two choices in Yss if you are a mage, join the army and fight against Lochna, or be executed for heresy. The ability to use magic is very rare, so the government forces all mages to wear earrings in the shape of a teardrop. If the teardrop is black, then that mage is part of the army and if it is blue then he or she is not. Lilith was not sure why Yss and the church had let her live for so long although she refused to join the army. She was twenty years old now so it was six years since her magical abilities manifested. Not many in Narr accepted her due to being a mage, but a few did. She picked up the bucket and looked up, meeting the stare of two women who turned away as their eyes connected. Lilith sighed and started walking towards home.

Lilith came upon a group of people standing around a raised platform on her way home. She recognized a man at the edge of the crowd, standing tall and proud, and walked over to him.

“What's going on father?” asked Lilith

Her father turned and looked at her in surprise at her sudden appearance. Her father is tall and fair skinned with short dark hair and a well trimmed beard. It is clear that Lilith got her hair from her father but not much else.

''Hammond is getting executed'' he answered flatly.

Lilith turned towards the raised platform and recognized the old blacksmith sitting on his knees with his arms bound behind his back and a guard standing behind him. The guard wore the traditional guard uniform of light chain mail, a shield on his back and strapped at his side was a heavy longsword. Why were Hammond getting executed? As she thought it, a well-clad man walked up the steps to the raised platform. He was dressed in a white robe adorned with images of the sun and around his necklace was a heavy gold necklace depicting the sun and the moon. He was carrying a scroll under the crook of his arm that was sealed with the emblem of a sun. A priest of the sun. Behind him walked a big man with a executioner's hood on and carrying a huge axe. The executioner took his position beside Hammond quietly and looked straight ahead without a hint of emotion. The priest of the sun looked across the group of people and seemed pleased.

The priest cleared his throat to silence the crowd and slowly unfurled the scroll. With a loud booming voice he started shouting; ''By the order of the church, the blacksmith known as Hammond are to be executed for heresy''. A murmur went through the crowd, and the priest read on; ''The method of execution will be by beheading, let this be a warning to enemies of the church and those who try to spread false teachings in Yss''. With that the priest closed the scroll and walked to the side of the platform. The guard standing behind Hammond put his boot on his back to push him down and the executioner raised his axe. The crowd looked on silently and no one moved to intervene. Lilith couldn’t bare look at it and turned away as the axe came swinging down. She lowered her head and suppressed the tears in her eyes and was furious at the church. Why? Why did they execute Hammond? He had done nothing to spread false beliefs. The church was lying and just wanted to use him as an example! Lilith felt a set of arms wrap around her and looked up to see her dad comforting her. He didn’t say anything, just hugged her. She could see the sadness and the feeling of powerlessness in his eyes. She wiped her eyes and nodded to her father and they started to walk towards home.

Lilith and her family lived in a modestly sized house made out of wood. It was in one of the more well-off districts of Narr due to her fathers reputation as the best carpenter in the village. She and her father entered through the door and was greeted by her mother. Her mother was a middle-aged woman of average height. Her hair was a bright brown instead of the dark color you usually found in the south. She was quite beautiful and Lilith had gotten most of her features from her. Her mother kissed her father on the cheek and hugged Lilith tightly. Lilith was immensely grateful to her family for loving her and not thinking of her as a burden despite her existence as a mage. She waked into the living room and saw her little sister of 8 years, Ayana sitting on the floor drawing a picture with the new drawing-sticks she had gotten last week. Ayana was almost the opposite of Lilith in what she had gotten from her father and mother. She had light brown hair but her eyes and nose was from her father. Lilith went over and sat down next to her and asked softly

''What are you drawing Ayana?'' .

Ayana looked up and said with a big smile ''I am drawing you and me!''. Lilith looked at the picture and saw herself and Ayana hugging. Ayana had a real talent of drawing and could draw better then a lot of adults in Narr already. She sat and watched Ayana draw until her father called ''Lilith, come over to the workshop''. She gave Ayana a hug and went over to the small building next to their house that was her father's workshop. When she entered the building her father said

''Can you help me a little with these planks?''

''Sure father'' answered Lilith.

Part of the reason her father was the best carpenter in Narr was also because he worked the fastest of everyone. This was partly due to her father's skill but also the help he got from Lilith. She used her magic to hold the wood he worked with together so they wouldn't split and allowed him to work a lot faster the he usually could. This also let Lilith practice control over her magic secretly away from the church. They avoided talking about the execution while they worked. Hammond had been a good friend of her father and had been one of the few people in Narr that had supported her despite her magic. She wondered what would happen to Hammond's wife now. Would she get executed too or would the church allow her to live? They kept working to the evening and she must have zoned out lost in thought near the end because suddenly her dad was in front of her saying her name with a strong voice, as if he had to repeat it many times. He had a package in his outstretched arm and said

''Take this package to the priest at the chapel, he ordered it not long ago and I have to keep preparing for the next order'' with a strong voice that meant she could not protest even though she did not want to come close to that priest at all. She sighed and took the package and simply said ''Okay''. She went and informed her mother and Ayana she would be right back and started heading for the chapel. When she arrived at the chapel the doors were closed. This was strange as usually the chapel doors were always open. She went to knock at the door but stopped short as she heard a familiar voice talking on the other side.

''Her powers are growing, we should take her in to the army soon before we have to kill her''

a male voice that Lilith had never heard before replied to the priest,

''Don't worry, we have leverage to make her join us without resistance. Once in the army she will easily be disciplined.''

the priest replied ''Maybe, but the fight is not going well at the border near Lycan. Lochna is increasing its pressure there to try to force the king to join them. We need to send more mages up there soon.''

the other voice was silent for about a minute and then replied thoughtfully

''Maybe you are right. I will send word to the 5th regiment that they will be getting a new recruit soon. Order the guards to collect her tomorrow morning and send her off . If she refuses or shows resistance, just threaten the family''.

''It shall be done my lord'' replied the priest to the unknown voice.

Lilith stood frozen in front of the closed doors, unable to properly react. She knew this time would come but she did not expect it to come so abruptly. She put the package in front of the door to the chapel and started running back home. She had to escape Narr tonight before they dragged her off to the army or hurt her family. 

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