I started writing a novel heavily inspired by Lord of the Rings back in middle school. It was one of my first writing endeavors. Naturally, it was over-ambitious, not well-thought-out, and fairly cliché. I stopped and started working on it for years and every time I would restructure the prologue. Thus, the prologue is the most developed part of the whole story. Go figure.
Despite the poor naming throughout, I'd like to think it's an okay setup for an epic tale.
People migrated in every direction in search of more resource-rich land. These groups formed more formalized kingdoms throughout the years. Nedunee in the northeast and Hayat to the southeast sandwiched The West Kingdom with constant disputes over land. They kept their tempers in check for years, though disagreements about boundaries swelled throughout the Sixth Age. These disagreements broke into what came to be known as The First Great War.
Hayat was the earliest kingdom to fall, succumbing to Nedunee’s grand northern armies. They say that the only light during the midnight assault was that of the flames billowing from the once-great Hayatian Hall. With the city destroyed, Nedunee proudly claimed Hayat’s land and began plans to march home.
However, the war-like attitudes of some soldiers didn't go away so easily. There was an avaricious hunger for even more land. Soon a radical group emerged. The aspiration of this Nedunean group was to declare war with The West Kingdom. The king of Nedunee refused to comply with the group’s wishes. He did not want to risk his entire nation for the unchecked desires of a fraction of his people. So the radicals deserted the army and gathered in the smoldering debris that was once the kingdom of Hayat.
Word of the attack on Hayat caused an uproar in The West Kingdom. Some citizens so frightened by the prospect of war fled further west to seek shelter. There were others who felt it necessary to take up arms to protect their land. These people formed an army to counter that of Nedunee’s, unaware of the real threat growing in the lost city of Hayat.
In the confusion, the radicals formulated an attack on The West Kingdom, which, ignorant of the very existence of the rebels, took a beating. The radicals broke through the front gates and killed hundreds of men before retreating. They did not have enough soldiers to counter the entire army of The West Kingdom. Their unexpected attack, while displaying their unimpeded thirst for land, was unsuccessful.
This attack sparked an alliance between The West Kingdom and Nedunee, one that would last the path of time. Fearing destruction from these tyrants, to which they referred to as The Arrogant Ones, Nedunee and The West Kingdom coalesced an army of their own. The armies were no longer driven by their own kingdom, but by their wish to rid the land of the unconstrained greed of The Arrogant Ones.
But The Arrogant Ones were clever. They sent their men into the kingdoms disguised as merchants and doctors, travelers and bards. They all had one purpose, to covertly deliver the objectives of the radical group to the people. Tales of glory, power, and lies overwhelmed even the noblest of men. In The Betrayal, The Arrogant Ones gained an ocean of new members, stragglers wandering into Hayat with a bottomless desire for power. Their growing army gave the idea of all-out war a new hope.
The Betrayal sparked fear in the governments of the kingdoms. They knew their enemy was rising well above what they originally believed to be possible. The Arrogant Ones didn’t allow any time for a plan of action. They made the first strike on Nedunee and The West Kingdom two months after The Betrayal. Battles broke out on all fronts; the war had begun.
Three years of fighting passed in agonizing haste and people began realizing that the blood spent on the war was much too great. The kingdoms had made no gain or loss of land and the human population was decreasing significantly. Opposing ideologies tore families apart and it seemed as if you could trust no one.
Throughout the mindless battles and chaos that engulfed the land, The Arrogant Ones held strong. Their greed for land kept them united. Even at the end of the fourth year, outnumbered three to one, they continued to fight. Finally, after a series of successful battles, they took the land north of Nedunee for their own.
This prompted The West Kingdom and Nedunee to install a new strategy. They wanted to cleanse the bloodbath once and for all. A draft throughout the allied kingdoms placed every able-bodied man into the army. This new force beat The Arrogant Ones as far east as possible, winning battle after battle.
The Arrogant Ones’ manpower dwindled. After countless battles, they ended up cornered in the vast mountain range in the far northeast. Their hope had finally depleted. They were few in number. They were far from the land they wanted. With nowhere to go and nothing left to live off, they lay on the ground helplessly waiting for the whip. Yet it never came. The West Kingdom and Nedunee had their land and their will to fight was all but gone. So they left, back to colonize the west, leaving the desolate mountain range to finish off their wounded and broken enemy.
Centuries passed and the scar left by The Arrogant Ones healed. Everyone had either forgotten their existence or accepted that they had died in the mountains. Beneath the scar though, blood boiled, for the truth swelled in secrecy.
The Arrogant Ones survived their death sentence and populated the mountains. Overwhelmed by resentment and rage towards the humans who left them to die, they promised to avenge their dreadful past and vanquish their enemy. They were going to steal back the land that was rightfully theirs.
This anger was passed down from generation to generation and grew by every passing year. Their descendants began to build a massive rock wall surrounding their land in the mountains. Hopefully, this would diminish any effort to overpower them again.
The wall took many generations to build. After the construction, it became obvious to the descendants of The Arrogant Ones that the humans knew not of their existence. They vowed not to attack until the time was right, for they had as long as they needed to prepare for the next war. This time, they had the advantage.
The descendants desperately searched for a way to make themselves superior. A way to expand their strength to a level currently unattainable. Many theories developed in the shadows of the wasteland yet all lead to the same conclusion. It was anger that fueled their power. Hatred, disgust, and antagonism. They were desperate to find a way to amplify their emotions. Poisoned by the isolation of the badlands, they convinced themselves that the only way to attain the power they so desired was through the killing of their own children. They rounded up the newly born children and ripped out their hearts, leaving nothing but an empty hole in their chest. This bloodbath consumed the mountains until all the children were dead. It took only hours to realize what they had done.
Distraught by their act of madness, the descendants prayed to the Gods to forgive them for their foolish actions. They prayed also to give them a chance to avenge their ancestors, for that is what they truly desired. The Gods denied them, refusing to heed their prayers. Dreadfully frustrated with their Gods, the descendants turned to a darker idol, one that granted their wishes and supplied them with a vessel for their power. The murdered children were reborn. Thanking their new god, the descendants got to work.
They sewed up the children's chests and buried them with stories of the wicked humans and how much pain they had caused. As the babies grew, their anger followed them. Once they were old enough, they began to train as warriors. They learned to control their anger and let it out in a furious wave of torment.
The warriors began to mutilate their bodies, searing their skin black and red with scorching Firewood. They colored their eyes a horrific yellow with the deadly plant Vistaria’s liquid-filled stem. They sharpened their teeth with rocks and cut symbols of death into their skin, scars healing over them to leave a permanent mark. They became a half-breed of humans, calling themselves Gols.
The production of weapons boomed as the elaborate mining system of the descendants spread into the mountain range. Caves were alight with molten metals and new advances in weaponry surfaced frequently. The Gols began experimenting with different metals, creating alloys, and even found a use for the precious stones of the mountains as embellishments on the hilts of their swords and tips to their deadly arrows.
The Gols began breeding with each other and their population began to exceed the humans left in the mountains. The Gols did not need the process of removing their children's' hearts or mutilating their bodies. By an unnatural power, their children were born with tarred skin and no heart.
The population grew, big enough to overpower any kingdom. Now, it was a matter of how and when to attack.
The Gols ventured out, back into the land that was once theirs, to seek out the humans. They made contact with The West Kingdom and told them that they were foreign weapon makers from a distant war-torn land. The humans, though repulsed by The Gols’ ghastly appearance, had long forgotten The Arrogant Ones. Accepting their lies, the kingdoms began to trade with them.
In time, as their friendship grew, the Gols devised a plan to destroy every kingdom that stood in their way. They were finally going to take back their land and avenge their ancestors.