Excerpt from "The Mask of Nuorne"
The stag-headed man, his body dappled in shadow and leaves, raised his arms before the druids assembled in the forest glade, white-robed as they were, and wearing chaplets of oak. "Hear my words, O druids," he intoned in a melodious chant, "Hear my words and learn. For a large continent drifted once in a sea of mist, a great island made crescent-shaped by two conjoined inland seas. At the spine of the crescent, mountain ranges running north and south divided the land.
Girl children were born, bore children, died - generation upon generation. Druidic stones arose in the wilds,
carved with the eerie symbols of pre-literate magic. Eventually, the use of bronze tools and weapons gave way to the use of cold iron, opening the way for the rapid spread of the iron-using matriarchal cultures of the coasts of the inner sea, the Eo-Galtannic peoples. Traditions migrated like tides, and evolved by means both of peaceful trade and by bloody carnage. Fearsome gods were forgotten, replaced by those more in keeping with the hopes of a people beginning to look to the future, congregating in rude towns and developing alphabets and coinage. Trade with the dwarves of the mountains began in distrust, and even trade with the mysterious and whimsical fey folk of the deep wilderness. Sorcerers and kings multiplied in parallel with the advent and dissemination of literacy. Invaders from beyond the seas landed in tides, generations apart, in places destroying the gossamer fibers of the developing kingdoms of the Galtic peoples. To the west, the barbarian Teuts, and to the east the evil but civilized Nethtep invaders were assimilated as overlords into the Galtic population, altering the mix in the crucible of civilization, and returning the concept of male primogeniture to the continent. It was an age of battlemented stone fortresses; of tenuous feudal empires propped up by sorcerers and personal friendships among the mighty; an age of struggles between the gods of civilization and hope, and those of fear and blood-placating sacrifice; an age in which the folk of the walled cities still looked fearfully out into the dark wilderness; an age in which haughty sorcerers, their minds and morality skewed by the exigencies of their art, loomed greatly in the politics of peace and war. It was an age in which life was bought cheaply, and war was the sport of barons, unchecked by and culturally invulnerable to the efforts of monarchs. It was an age of grand plans and theories, of great hopes and hauteur, of the unmitigated power of the nobility, of fragile, fledgling kingdoms, and of grinding religious turmoil. Such was the sixty-fifth year of the stag by the Galtic reckoning, the 650th year of the Cycle of Stones. So it is written upon the slow waters of memory. So let it be recorded in the alphabet of the trees.