My Tomb at Night

When we sleep we are not dead, nor are we truly alive. And I despise it.

To close my eyes each night and lose myself to the world as it continues on, going about its business without me, is a loss I cannot abide. Yet I have no choice. Our internal mechanics decree that without sleep, we cannot function as we should. Without these long hours lost to the dark din of senseless slumber, we simply will not be as we should be. It is known that the ‘typical’ person, one who gets roughly the necessary amount of sleep that the average person requires, will have slept for a quarter of a century by the time they turn seventy-five. A quarter of a century. That is twenty-five years of a life lost to chasing shadows in the night as our minds wander beyond sense and reason into a world nigh unfathomable to even the most logical minds.

Why?

Why must I strive to make the most of each and every day only to have to surrender myself to the forces of nature? The dolphin can get by with only allowing half of itself to sleep each day. The bullfrog can go for months at a time without it. Yet we must capitulate. If I were to stand tall and attempt to defy my natural state of being, my strength would fade, my mind would crumble and I would eventually come to embody the guise of someone bereft of life. A husk of a man devoid of spark. He who wanders the world holding his lantern low, dimly lit with a quiet wisp of candlelight. Without sleep we forfeit our capability, our sanity and even our lives.

There are many who welcome the rest. They who see their beds as a cradle of comfort, a chance to switch off and give in. To let the shroud of nightly dreams claim their minds each and every passing of the moon as they drift into worlds both strange and familiar. Their beds become their nests. An enticing embrace of warmth and wellbeing to close out the day. To me though, it is a tomb. Not of cold stones or lifeless bones but a tomb nonetheless. Each night I lie, motionless in the dark, waiting as my mind wanders pathways not chosen by me. Waiting for the sun to greet us all each morning, to ‘grace’ me with the permission to rise once more, to walk the world anew.

What do you dream of? I dream of never dreaming for my dreams offer me nothing, yet my waking thoughts give me everything.

I know that I need to sleep but I do not want it. Now or ever. It gives us our rest, at least when blessed enough to maintain it sufficiently, but it is also a loss of time, a loss of life. My time. My life. I am no longer a child gifted with countless years to come, able to waste my days in blissful ignorance of purpose. I am a man now and I desire to command my time as I see fit. My time, my life, has more meaning than that younger version of me could ever comprehend. He knew little of his resolve, his intent, and he had time to burn. I now know my purpose. I now know my desires, and I want my nightly hours, enshrouded in my wasteful tomb, for me.

Give back to me that which is taken. Give me the chance to trade away this need for sleep in exchange for a life truly fulfilled. There is no eternity for man or woman. Only the burning embers of a candle that grows dimmer each year.

I despise sleep. And it despises me. I will sleep when I die. Only then will I truly rest in peace.

Forged from Reverie.

The Legacy of Gaius Mordan

The continents of Ayl’gard, Gaiaden, Terraden and Valleden, are vast lands filled with distinctive cultures, architecture, history and industry. Any avid explorer with a desire to see this world could spend a lifetime walking the roads of Ayrlaston, traversing the valleys of Sollistar, drudging through the wastes of the Deadlands or sailing the seas and yet every now and then you might come across something so unprecedented, so very unexpected that its mere sight would render, and have rendered, the sharpest minds of this civilisation entirely dumbstruck.

Imagine stumbling through the din of the dark streets of Stonehold, a city deep beneath the stone, for the first time with only the guided light of the torch in your hand and then happening upon a gigantic stone/metal figure standing well over thirty feet high. An unmoving, unyielding giant that imposes itself in such an intimidating way that its vast shadow would threaten even the stoicism of a whole battalion of the Altyran Empire’s Sentinel Knights.

What those who have seen one would likely all agree to be the most amazing aspect about them, other than their origin, is the fact that they have been discovered all over the world from the northern peaks of the Highland snows in Gaiaden all the way to the misty moors of the southernmost coast in Suthershore of Valleden.

What would appear as mere statues to a simple minded fellow, several of these constructs have been located throughout the world that defy explanation. Collectively they have been entitled the Golems of Gaius Mordan and they are best described as incredibly huge, statuesque creatures the colour of silver and sapphire and they’re composed of an unknown material much stronger than any iron or steel. As uncompromising as a mountain and as awe inspiring as the ocean, the reason for their presence is completely unknown. The one and only long established truth that can be contributed to their existence is their design and creation from the mind and machinations of Mordan.

What is known from the written records of this intrepid adventurer tell the tale of a traveller, an alchemist, an academic, a weapon smith, a trader and an artisan whose intellect and imagination were unrivalled. Several accomplishments and advancements in these fields have long been attributed to his seemingly endless works. His teachings and methods have come to form a large part of the operations of the Guild of Alchemists based in Frosthaven, with some saying he even had a hand in advancing the institution, and at least a quarter of the commissions coming out of Covenraen’s Artisans Guild are encouraged by the inspired stonework designs he crafted long ago. There are even a series of books known as the Mordan Compendium that have cost passionate academics and frenzied collectors a lifetime of silver and gold just to own a single copy, with most of them now housed in the Academy of Aetheria.

Many old accounts have endured over the years with some considered unquestioned truths whilst others are of a more dubious nature. There is evidence of his work documented in the halls of the Archons as having aided in the design of several ships for the Mithylfar fleet as well as the accompanying improper suggestions of romantic entanglement with the third daughter of the Grand Archon. There exists a port town at the edge of Ardenea, outside the borders of the Yslfar forests, called Mordan that was apparently founded by him that once harboured a safe haven for settlers who fled the destruction of their former home by Dothylfar pirates. It is now a thriving town of fishermen and farmers. Another account even tells of his having inadvertently started a conflict between two ogre tribes that he also managed to quell by sharing his personal designs for a long bow that was capable of piercing the thick hide of a Mastodon with a single arrow. Legend now tells of the exploits of the famed outsider ‘Hide Splitter’ and his three-day long hunt in the Grey Wolds with the Kols of the Iron Tusk and Blood Mane tribes.

In spite of all of these notable accomplishments though, whenever a conversation is spoken that utters the name Gaius Mordan it always inevitably comes back to the mysteries surrounding the scattered Golems, dormant and wondrous feats of creation that have frightened and fascinated folks for a long time. Several journals bearing the words of this long-lost voyager have been discovered throughout the centuries since his apparent demise and within their pages, the pieces of the story of this man have continuously captivated scholars and researchers. Strewn amongst the sheer volume of these fragmented tomes, there are mentions of these colossal constructs as having a grand and possibly world affecting purpose. What this purpose actually is though is a question that has driven some to madness. Some have spent their lives searching for more records of the journeys of Mordan only to lose their minds and eventually their lives to the pursuit.

Why were they made? How did they come to be created in the first place? Who helped him? Why do they remain dormant and lifeless? How is it that so many were able to be crafted many hundreds of miles and oceans apart from each other?

Some years ago, an Arch Magister of the Aeon Citadel conceived of a startling proposition that could have some merit in possibility. Since the expulsion of the demon hordes from Ayl’gard several millennia ago putting an end to the war that almost destroyed the known world, the only significant remnant of their lasting impact is the chaotic gateway into the Hollow Plane located in the heavily guarded Fell Vale of Sollistar. The Arch Magister surmised that it may have been conceivable that the capabilities of Gaius Mordan were ‘god given’ since it wouldn’t be possible for any normal being, human, aylfar or otherwise, to accomplish everything that he had.

It was confirmed several times by the testaments of his occasional companions that he was indeed no mage but many accounts exist of the rare instances in history of those who have come to be known as Godspawn, people capable of so much aptitude and influence in such a short amount of time that the only logical conclusion to their abilities was at the bidding of a god. He also predicted that it may be that Gaius Mordan somehow knew of a possible threat to Ayl’gard. That he foresaw its potential destruction once more at the behest of the demons. Perhaps the Golems were intended to be a line of defence to hold back the tides of fire and blood.

This ‘proposition’ was dismissed as irrational folly some time ago but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a widespread topic of discussion amongst scholars and researchers still attempting to unlock the secrets of their existence. It is probable that the ultimate purpose of Mordan’s Golems will never be known but if in the incredibly unlikely event that one day they do begin to awaken, it will not stop some from assuming that the end times are upon them as the dawning of the demon wars beckons once more.