During the first few centuries following the loss of the Book of Dei’lo, armies of guardians and lords scoured the land in a series of quests, or Sojourns, to locate the Book. None succeeded. Though the exact number of Sojourns undertaken in this age is not known, twelve of the largest and best documented are noted on the Timeline of the Inherited Lands, compiled by Kyrintha Asher-Baal. Each of these Sojourns is named for the lord who led them, and the dates cited are approximate.
Many of the major Sojourns lasted for decades, with thousands of people lumped into nomadic groups and sent to various parts of the Lands. A few Sojourn leaders, such as Basreal and Marin, even led their Sojourns out of the Inherited Lands, taking routes through the Silence Sound or across the Deathland Barrens. None of these Sojourns ever returned, but those who went on such trips were highly esteemed. In fact, sojourners took on a priestly quality during this time, and were often thought of as holy men and women.
In addition to the major Sojourns, individual men and women would often leave their homes and families to go “on sojourn” alone, in response to a longing to return to the greatness of former days. These people were regarded as especially holy, if not a little eccentric.
Much information about this age remains in the Wordhaven and Songwill archives. The records there indicate that, with the abandonment of Wordhaven, the majority of the soundens became self-governing, and developed a feudal system of trade—the remnants of which remain to this day. To establish an equitable trade environment, soundens began to barter away the special knowledge (called the Trust) given to them by the Wordhaven lords centuries earlier. Initially, this resulted in a brief renewal of culture and commerce. But in the end, the soundens’ knowledge of the Trust became diluted, misused, and often lost.
One exception to this was Songwill sounden, which, because of its placement in the Scolding Wind Hills, was able to maintain its Trust with greater purity. Songwill became a cultural center during this time, drawing artisans, philosophers and prophets alike.
A few of those prophets—including Mikail, Bari, Silmar, Endimnar, Shikinah—were held in especially high esteem. Their prophecies concerning a Kinsman Redeemer brought hope of a great restoration that would transform the land back to its former glory. As if to answer that hope, a man from Proftel sounden named Palor conTelma rose up in the Lands in the late 1500’s. He claimed to be descended from the Old Lords, and to speak with them in visions. He dazzled the people with his ability to control weather, shake the earth, and perform other miraculous acts.
In only a few years, he amassed an army of followers, who started a campaign across the whole land to name Palor (now called “Wordwielder” ) as king of the Inherited Lands.
Factions quickly rose up against Palor’s forces for many reasons. Though endearing before a crowd, rumors of Palor’s cruel and abusive private nature abounded, leading some to reject him as the Kinsman Redeemer. Others believed he had rediscovered the fabled Book of Dei’lo, and was purposefully hiding it from the people. Others, especially those from Songwill, believed Palor’s power came not from Dei’lo, but from a new evil language of power. Despite the resistance, however, Palor proclaimed himself king, and set up his capital in Proftel sounden, renaming it “Palornar” (Over the centuries, the name evolved into its present pronunciation, “Phallenar.” )
Palor Wordwielder’s attempt to take control of the Lands launched a war that has come to be known as the Slaughtering, which opened the door to the Black Ages.
Aside: It’s interesting to note that, despite the prophecies and the rise of Palor Wordwielder, by the end of this age most people had come to believe that Wordhaven was merely a legend, and had never actually existed.
The Slaughtering, which began in S.C. 1605, lasted only three years. During that time, many soundens were completely obliterated, their inhabitants killed or taken as slaves to Palornar. Palor’s armies, which came to be known as the New Guardians, were taught some of the Words of power that Palor had used to control the elements. Palor himself became increasingly unstable during the war, eventually ending his own life in a rage of insanity after failing to topple Songwill.
After his death, several of his highest-ranking officials formed an oligarchy, naming themselves Council Lords, and continued Palor’s plans toward total dominion of the Lands. At the start of their reign, the Council Lords announced that Palor had indeed found the Book of Dei’lo, but he had never opened it. Instead, using a new and superior language of power, he had destroyed it. The Council Lords gained intimate knowledge of this new language from Palor’s extensive journals, and began to use it with even greater malice than Palor had done.
Within a few years, the power and authority of the new Council Lords became absolute throughout most of the Lands, with the exception of Songwill sounden, which stubbornly maintained its feudal independance from the oligarchy. Despite the Council’s iron grip on power, small pockets of resistance remained throughout the Lands, and slowly began to organize. In S.C. 1858, the Society of the Remnant was established. The Society was a clandestine organization based in Phallenar whose members believed the Council Lords had indeed found the Book of Dei’lo, but had not been able to destroy it. It was there sole purpose to infiltrate the government structure in order to discover the Book’s whereabouts. Their ultimate goal was to steal the Book, and learn its language so that they might overthrow the Council’s rule.
One member of the Society, Laudin Sky (S.C. 2026—2139) was raised to the Council position of Chief Mentor, the highest rank among the lords that anyone in the Society had yet reached. Although he did not learn the whereabouts of the Book, he did learn of the existence of Wordhaven, the fabled ancient seat of power in the Inherited Lands. This discovery led to the Sky Rebellion, in which 100 members of the Society fled Phallenar on a sojourn to find Wordhaven. The resulting retaliation of the Council Lords cost the Remnant, and the inhabitants of Phallenar, dearly. Many thousands died.
After 35 years of running from the guardians, Laudin and the others finally located Wordhaven. Although the Book of Dei’lo itself is no longer there, many of the Words recorded in the Book were recorded in other documents within the Wordhaven archives. Since the time of their discovery, the Remnant has studied these documents, in an effort to learn the Words and discover the final resting place of the Book they still seek.
"...a work of extreme depth and breadth of vision."
-Christian Fiction Review
Michael D. Warden has been working professionally as a writer and editor since 1989. After several years as Managing Editor for a large publishing house in Colorado, he stepped into the adventure of writing full time. In addition to his fantasy trilogy The Pearlsong Refounding, he has written several non-fiction books, and contributed to more than 150 other books and magazines.