As told by Kris the Bard at the Fisherman’s Arms, Two Rivers, Year of Creation 50506
The times they were tough in days of yore
The hounds of hell were at the door
We were in the middle of the 30 years’ war
When a boy was born in Erech
He was born into a family poor
His father went to fight the war
His mother left with no choice but to whore
To survive in the town of Erech
He was a small and puny boy
His childhood yielded little joy
Neglected and bullied, little food and no toys
He grew up on the streets of Erech
Wiry and tough as he learned how to fight
Wherever trouble was he was a common sight
His reputation was to stand for right
He matured on the streets of Erech
Then one fateful night a rich man he spied
Raping the woman he would take for his bride
In his hands the rich man died
Murder on the streets of Erech
As fast as he could from the town he fled
For the friends of the man would soon have him dead
His flying feet to the Buranan led
Never more to set foot in Erech
The mighty river has never been crossed
Except by an elf-friend, many lives it had cost
Braving its torrents all had been lost
And never returned to Erech
With the hounds on his heels and the river in sight
He had but two choices, jump in or fight
Two ways to die, but which one was right
For the youth who had fled from Erech
He plunged into the water and knew he would drown
As the eddies and currents dragged him deep down
The men on the river bank left with a frown
And returned empty-handed to Erech
And so the youth died, or so everyone thought
A tragic young life that had all come to nought
He’d ne’er be the Hero that everyone sought
Young Gil who’d been born in Erech
But Gil didn’t die in the river that day
Washed up on the bank near the forest he lay
A forest forbidden, elven and fae
No place for a human from Erech
Nothing is written on what happened that day
The elves I have questioned have nothing to say
To enter the forest a price he would pay
That young refugee from Erech
What things that he saw, we never will know
But two days later from Elvenhome he’d go
With new purpose, new name and so
Was reborn Gilgamesh of Erech.
Something happened in the Forbidden Forest, where no human would normally be allowed to enter. Gilgamesh never spoke of it and the elves have always treated it with the greatest secrecy. We can only guess.
Whatever it was, the young man Gil who entered the Forbidden Forest came out two days later as a very changed Gilgamesh – Everlasting Hero.
Around this time the political situation in FirstWorld was becoming rapidly worse. Adapa sat down and negotiated with Gadiel and determined to do nothing. Six years later Adapa realised his folly when Gadiel’s forces attacked First Delve and Elvenhome. Had Gadiel himself been present it is likely that the attacks would have succeeded. However the dwarves repelled the attack on First Delve despite being grossly outnumbered. Suicide Pass was given its name because Gadiel’s forces chose suicide and cast themselves to death rather than to return as failures and face the Dark God’s wrath. Elvenhome was less defensible and would have fallen but for the valiant efforts of a number of wizards. The Great Sage Bedwyr fell in its defence. The Fall of Bedwyr is an heroic tale for telling another day.
Although the enemy was repelled, it returned within two years this time with Gadiel at its head. There seemed to be no hope.
Then out of the west came Gilgamesh. During the preceding few years, since his visit to Elvenhome, he had been travelling with his companion Enkidu having many adventures. He had travelled outside of normal time and space, visiting the Gods in Limbo. He sought immortality, but the Gods refused him. Gilgamesh and Enkidu had many adventures, which are also for telling another day. They arrived back in FirstWorld at the time of its greatest need.
In YoC 7001 the elven lords had directed their smiths to create a powerful sword to be a symbol of Law. The great black sword Excalibur was created from meteorite iron and was used by a number of minor heroes and one or two early incarnations of the Everlasting Hero to fight for the cause.
In YoC 7134 the delving dwarves discovered the Blood Ruby and adopted it as the symbol of Chaos.
After the fall of Bedwyr his apprentice, the minor wizard Manfred without the support of the Great Sages, sought a way to defeat Gadiel realising that it would only be a matter of time before there was a renewed attack. He petitioned the elves and the dwarves to create a powerful weapon and received little resistance because both races feared for their future. In a great ceremony the King Beneath the Mountain, Darian son of Dail son of Dallin and the King of the Elves, Endymion, brought together the symbols of their cultures and handed them over to the elven smiths.
Two smiths worked through the night to join the Jewel and the Sword and just as the sun was rising they completed their task. The great sword Fleischaker was born and immediately took its first soul as one smith killed the other. The second smith then threw himself on the sword, whether through guilt or simply because he couldn’t control the sword is not known. Manfred found them at dawn and realised that they had created a weapon that could only be controlled by a Hero. He worked with the elves and dwarves to create the magic scabbard Vasek, which could give a measure of control over Fleischaker. It was reported that several elves and dwarves died before Fleischaker was sheathed.
And Gilgamesh arrived, unbidden, and took up Fleischaker and tamed it, becoming one with the Sword. Many scholars call Gilgamesh the first true incarnation of the Everlasting Hero, because he was the first to form a trinity with the black sword and the red jewel. Manfred was vindicated.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu travelled again, taking Fleischaker and increasing the Sword’s strength in an orgy of killing. A number of legends were created during this time and their truth cannot be verified. It is thought that Gilgamesh petitioned the Gods again for immortality and one Goddess offered it if he became her consort. He rejected her advances and began his journey back to FirstWorld. Angry because of his spurning, the Goddess cursed him. The curse was that he would kill his best friend and die just as he thought he was receiving what he most sought.
On the road to Elannort, Gilgamesh and Enkidu were set upon by a gang of ruffians while sleeping in the middle of the night. Gilgamesh fought in the darkness in the glow of the Blood Ruby and slew the gang. As dawn rose, he found that he had also killed Enkidu. It would not be the first time that Fleischaker caused collateral damage.
A distraught Gilgamesh arrived just in time to fight Gadiel’s army. His thirst for revenge fuelled the Sword’s hunger and they single-handedly destroyed the attacking army in unprecedented slaughter. It is said that the River Buranan ran red with the blood of Gadiel’s army.
In the middle of the Battle Plain surrounded by the corpses of Gadiel’s army, Gilgamesh and Gadiel met face to face. Gilgamesh carried Fleischaker; Gadiel carried a non-descript blade. The year was 11,146. That’s 39,360 years ago. The only living person who watched that battle and what followed is Manfred the Magician. He was a minor wizard then but is the Leader of the Wise today. He alone knows what damage that Sword can cause and how untrustworthy Gadiel is.
The Sword was carried by the Hero that day
The host of Gadiel was made to pay
For Enkidu’s death, some would say
For the sake of the Balance, come what may
The battle plain ran with the dead ones’ blood
Into the river, to cause a red flood
That passed by the bank where a wizard stood
And wondered who was evil and who was good
At long long last they all were dead
Until only one stood, it is said
He removed the cowl that hid his head
And to the Hero he was led
‘Talk to me Gilgamesh’, Gadiel said, ‘Why?
We are so very similar you and I.
There’s really no reason why either should die.
Believe me, for I have no reason to lie.’
But Gilgamesh refused to believe a word
And from Vasek he drew the Sword
Quick to strike but Gadiel swerved
‘Then the Hero must die,’ were the words that he heard
Though both had great power, they were evenly matched
After hours of fighting neither was scratched
And Gadiel, now a new plan he hatched
For the Hero he would have to be dispatched
A day and a night they fought to a draw
Less like a battle and more like a war
Until they both fell exhausted to the floor
And Gadiel, finally, his chance he saw
‘See, we are equals,’ the Dark God espoused
‘I sheath my sword on my honour,’ he fervently vowed
‘You are the one that stands out from the crowd
And rewarded you’ll be,’ to the Hero he bowed
‘For I know what you seek, despite all of your might,
Join with me now and let’s end this fight,
For I have the power as well as the sight,
To grant immortality as is your right.’
Gilgamesh was deceived by the Dark God’s cruel lies
Fleischaker he sheathed and awaited his prize
But alas, all that was heard were the Hero’s death cries
His still-beating heart in the God’s hand it lies
Gilgamesh spoke some words as his heart he did spy
Cursing the Dark God, before he did die
No Hero again be deceived by His lie
He swore on the Sword with his last earthly cry
Gadiel laughed aloud at his victory sweet
Conquest of FirstWorld he now would complete
He snatched up the Sword that lay at his feet
And knew that at last his fate he would meet
But Fate had a twist that the God had not known
The seeds of defeat in victory sown
For he had not the power, the Sword for to own
Only the Hero can call it his own.
And just like the elven smiths once before
The Sword turned on the one who held it in awe
The Sword sought to kill Him with maximum gore
He had won the battle but lost the war
But the God had no soul for the Ruby to keep
And the Sword howled loud in anguish so deep
Yet the life force itself it managed to reap
And send Gadiel to an eon of sleep
Yet somehow He stumbled away from the field
Clutching the Sword he refused to yield
Using the mountains and Northland as shields
Until once again his power he would wield.
The wise missed their chance to finish him off. Gadiel fled Battle Plain somehow hanging on the Fleischaker despite the Sword sucking out his life force. He fled into the mountains and at some point he was forced to abandon the Sword. He hid himself away from the world and began the long healing process. It would be 39,000 years before he began his new conquest of the multiverse. When he went to sleep it was a universe; when he woke up it was a multiverse.
Fleischaker lay lost and frozen in a glacier and Vasek was lost buried in the Battle Plain. Servants of Witch Queen Freda of Dishley would find the Sword and Eshe of Erech would find Vasek. The knowledge came together at the 777th and final Council of the Wise held in YoC 50506 at Melasurej. A new incarnation of Gilgamesh, Simon Redhead was also there. The hope is that the new Hero will recover Fleischaker and use it to finally defeat Gadiel. We live in interesting times.
Kris the Bard YoC 50506
Read about it all in the four volumes of the FirstWorld Saga, available here. Volume 1, Quest for Knowledge may be downloaded for free.