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Prologue - The End Of Summer

Many years ago, humanity came to an end.

 

With a flash of light and a tremendous, deafening silence, it was over. Thousands of years and billions of lives were reduced to one single catastrophic moment in time. So brief was the event that not a single word was spoken, nor a scream let out, before it was done. The world went quiet for a while, it was peaceful.

 

Time moved on as it always does, and the years left their mark. Things began to change.

 

In the absence of man, nature began to reclaim what had been stolen from her. The paving cracked as she shed the concrete, trees sprouted from street corners, and buildings were overgrown with the beautiful colours of new life, and from a certain perspective, things were as they should be once again.

 

With the rise and return of the natural world, so too began the new era of the beasts. With no one left to clutter or industrialize the beauty out of things, the animals made their homes anew in the remnants of the cities and towns they left behind. It is in one such place where our story begins.

 

Fate's Hollow. A small town a few miles from a place the humans used to call Seattle, Washington. 

 

Almost completely overgrown with grass, weeds, and trees, the evidence of man's presence in Fate's Hollow was now only perceptible in the shape of things. Buildings still stood proudly and defiantly, like grey hulks hidden beneath the green fronds and leaves. Cars still littered the old streets, now consumed with rust and made of jagged edges, but their bodies remained. Small creatures nest in the empty headlights of long abandoned vehicles, and skitter in the shadows beneath their skeletal frames.

 

Empty shops and houses line every street, their facades cracked and weathered with time. Once busy pathways are now nothing but ancient reminders of a different kind of life, one that rarely had any time to stop moving. When everything was built and nothing was organic. A family of deer graze from the old pavement outside Jakeman's Utility Store, stopping occasionally to survey their surroundings.

 

The sky bleeds a burnt orange as the sun begins to set over the town, another day ends and another night begins.

 

On this night, deep in the heart of town on the corner of Gates and 7th Street, the animals have gathered. In the subtle glow of dusk, something curious is happening.

 

Beneath the towering spire of a crooked and rusty street light, a congregation of creatures large and small sits in wait for the Storyteller to arrive. None of them know where he came from, or when he first appeared in the hollow, but every night he returns and every night they listen.

 

Taking the form of a great bird, adorned with sleek black feathers and crowned with antlers, The Storyteller comes with the night to share his tales. With a fluttering of wings and a strange breeze, he takes his perch high atop the street light and begins to speak...

 

“My dear little creatures of the hollow, it seems the time for stories is here again, and tonight is a special night.”

 

The gathering whispered excitedly below, their eyes focused intently on the great bird high above them. He continued.

 

“If you would allow me, I would like to tell you the story of my life. I have been a great many things and I have been here for much longer than you know, but for you to understand you must learn where this all began.”

 

The great bird gestured with a wing, sweeping it in a grand display of theatrics. The audience grew even more excited, anticipating every word the great bird spoke with their undivided attention. 

 

“Storyteller, we would like to know about the world before.” A small rabbit spoke from somewhere in the crowd. The other animals bustled and muttered in agreement. The Storyteller rose on his perch, his chest proudly displayed and his wings spread.

 

“What were things like then, before us?” The rabbit said in a voice approximated to a whisper, now made bashful by the Storytellers gaze.

 

“The world before you, but not the world before me. Everything that you now know as history, the world you live in, the ghosts of mankind that haunt every part of this land, it all began somewhere distant. Some of what I tell may you not seem relevant, or even make sense to you immediately." As the great bird spoke, his audience looked on and listened in silence.

 

“everything I shall tell you now is the truth, and it all begins with a King, his son, and the man who killed them. I witnessed it all, and tonight, at the end of summer, I will tell you the story of The Heir Apparition.”

TO BE CONTINUED...

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