An enigmatic cult arises in the eastern lands, from the vast steppes of the U’skar to the border realms of the Carth Dominion. A sister religion to the Golden Sun Cult, according to the obscured rumors of distant realms, that worships Kharothir, the God of the Primordial Hunt. A deity of wilderness and freedom unbidden, promising a way of life unshackled from the domination of others.
The mortal souls devoted to the White Sapphire Sun have long dwelled in the bleak, unforgiving lands of Khios. Having survived their entire lives walking hand in hand with perilous death, newfound prophecies lead them out of the frozen wastes.
The tales born from such harrowing journeys are often filled with tragedy and sorrow. Yet there are many such stories shared around the hearth, every one containing glimpses of heroism, kinship, and intimacy.
Fragments of memory forever linked with the stories of those that have endured a fleeting existence for the promise of another life. Seeking the whispers of a quiet place beyond the veil, where the forest thrives eternal and the winter sun shines like whitest sapphire…
Ara gradually awoke from his unconscious state as shed leaves broke against his face. It was bruised from conflict and caked in someone else’s blood. He fluttered his eyes open to find a White Sapphire Sun shining from ashen skies. A gust of wind made him shiver from inside his armor. Heavy snowfall drifted from the heavens to blanket the Halliya Hinterland beneath a white shroud.
A craggy, irregularly shaped forest sprawled out into the horizon’s four corners. An emerald and veridian landscape of small creeks and bubbling brooks. Groves of exotic fauna clustered around riverbanks and nestled formations of rock. He spied bold shades of color here and there amid the endless white.
Seated on a bed of wild grass, Ara found himself slumped against a Perseus Pine Tree. His right leg was bent up at the knee whilst his left rested in the snow. His mind registered his right arm cradled against his flank. A heavy chain bound his left limb to a high branch on the Perseus Pine where he had come to rest.
Had Ara ventured here for a moment’s rest?
He found the question difficult to answer. The thought bounced back and forth in his mind with a sense of unease. He felt dazed as if he had slept for several nights without waking.
Gradually, he began to question where ‘here’ even was. A secluded nook in the Halliyan Hinterland, he wagered, but how he had even come to be here with no memory of his journey eluded him. That thought bounced back and forth in his mind with a lingering sense of unease. Feeling dazed, like he had slept for several nights, Ara found answering that question difficult.
A woman’s vaguely familiar voice revealed itself from nearby shadows. She sounded colder than the fierce winter to an enemy like him. Yet she spoke with softened utterances, threatening to surge on a moment’s notice.
White-and-Vermillion banners. Ara recalled witnessing them scattered throughout the autumn woods. A deluge of recent memories surged back to him in a flood. They regaled him of his chase through Halliya for a Child of the Sun and her enigmatic band of U’skarite warriors from the Steppe lands.
An ambush and defeat of the Anahir Immortals of Old Myria. He looked up and recognized the female U’skarite approaching him from the forest.
She clothed herself in linen-weaved garments of snow white, daubed with vermillion dye markings. Boots of tanned leather lined with thick furs waded across the snowy clearing toward him. The remaining pieces of the wolf pelt adorned her back like a cloak. The jawless head rested neatly on her left shoulder. Its dead animal eyes watched Ara in tandem with hers, which were ruby in color.
Her darkened red gaze studied Ara from a gaunt face of alabaster skin the shade of fresh snow. Dark auburn hair cascaded down her back in a lengthened braid. She pursed small lips of a cerise shade into a tight frown as loose strands danced across her face in the wind. A sturdy composite bow remained clutched in her lowered hand. Arrows jostled inside the quiver slung over her shoulder, billowing back and forth in the wind.
Ara had the impression that the wolf’s head had always adorned her shoulder as if she was destined to wear it.
“I wouldn’t think too much about your place in this forested land, Old Myrian.” The female White-and-Vermillion Wolf greeted him with softened utterances that he found audible in the silence. “You aren’t native to these emerald wilds either. Your memories won’t return any peace of mind unto you.”