PRELUDE

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Prelude: The Archives

The book had a life of its own. Its heart resonated between his withered fingers. Created from still living tree bark, complete with tiny leaves engraved upon its surface, the tome gave off a throbbing power that sent tingles through his body. Eyes wide, he watched his trembling hands grow supple and young again, the nails clean, the joints free of disease and arthritis. When he removed his hand, the effect faded, his skin slowly regaining the wrinkles of age, becoming desiccated. The book was beyond ancient, that he could tell, but magic preserved it, embedded within the very pages, within the fiber, within the ink. His eyes bulged as he read the name.

“The Libri Arcanus,” he whispered. Head bowed, he repeated the name reverently.

It was a tome created by the gods to tell the story of the gods.

How many of the myths, the old legends were real? How many had been changed to suit man? He intended to find out. Enthralled, he turned the first page of vellum that should have been yellow or crumbling, but instead was pure white, as if the papyrus had been created moments ago. He began to read.

“Separation from the supernatural and natural were a must, we soon realized. Thus, we created the Planes of Existence. Foremost among them was the Veil, wherein lived all manner of life forms and spirits beyond imagining. Then we formed a more mundane world, one meant to be free from our influence, the Mortal Realm. Between them lay the Nexus or the Astral Plane, that which stored the primordial forces of all creation, the prana from which all beings were made, the essences of all magic: a place to be monitored lest the very power that made the universe unravel life itself.

“Our goal was to keep them forever apart. We failed.”

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