The Omens
 
(And another project starts today. This is a series of short stories sent in the same universe. each friday, a glimpse of this universe will be published.What follows here is a prologue of sorts. The first couple of these will be somewhat sequential, and this sets the stage for those coming stories.)


The month of the young lord's birth was awash with omens. The beginning of the month was marked with a red moon that sat heavy in the sky. The moon's waning was accompanied by a strange illness that took hold of the people in Kanthia. Murders of boisterous ravens devastated the grain crop, and famine quickly exacerbated the sickness. Then on the final day, the forsaken child tore its way out of its mother’s womb.


To those in the know, such as the court magicians, the signs were clear; a catalyst of wrongness was fast approaching. The queen and king were warned of the foreboding symbols, and feared they related to the child’s coming. They were growing old, however, and had not produced an heir. They clung to hope against the advisements of the magicians.


The queen went into labor in the final days of the month. It had been several weeks since the omens, and their majesties held that the omens had been about the famine and devastation of the Kanthian kingdom. The queen, a long devotee of the Sun, beseeched the Moon, goddess of change, to make her child the catalyst of peace, a symbol to save Kanthia. She prayed for any sign.


That night, there was a lunar eclipse. The babe began to scream, half birthed as the shadow passed over the moon. Its newly freed hands, clawed at its mother’s thighs and stomach. She fainted from the terror and pain. The midwife took the talos child, and held it above her head as the king bit viscerally into the cord, marking the creatures entrance into this world. Handing the thrashing infant to the king, the midwife dutifully cared for the queen.


The king stared at the child. Instantly, he knew the magicians to be correct. All his hope was devoured by the hungry darkness in its eyes. He was distraught, and terrified for what he and the queen may have brought into to the world. He conferred with the midwife, who agreed that his fears were well founded, for she had never been at a birth so bloody.


The king called his most trusted advisor, his sister, the leader of his personal guard. The task he set forth for her that night was a dark one. He bade her, take the child to the temple in the Wall. Deliver it to them, so that they may consecrate the demon and wash clean the sin of its blood. She swaddled the child, and carried it swiftly away.


The midwife suggested to the king, that the queen not need more than the child died shortly after birth. The king agreed. The queen did not wake for several weeks; once she did the grief and shame haunted her for the rest of her life. She spent a great deal of time, after that, teaching in the schools outside the castle. Instructing children in arithmetic and philosophy. They adored her kind and gentle presence, though she rarely smiled.