I was walking home from the market, down one of Dathyl’s busy streets, when someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind.
“Jerilyn, is that you?” asked an unfamiliar voice.
I turned around and discovered a blue robed stranger, an old man with wizened eyes set into a thin and narrow face, from which grew a gnarled beard that reached nearly to his waist.
“By the Spires, it is you!” He wrapped me in arms surprisingly strong for one of his years. “How have you been, old friend?”
Remembering my past was difficult, but I think Jerilyn might have been my name, back when I had one. There was an air of familiarity about the greybeard and a name climbed out of the hazy recesses of my mind, overcoming a small stab of pain. “Tarik?” I asked tentatively.
The blue-robed man laughed, “No one’s called me that for a very long time. The Duke of Arvon knows me as Gerard; he thinks I’m a simple Spellbinder from Weyland’s school on the Vale of Ferengali.”
I tried to remember where I’d met him, but that only made my pain sharper. “I know you, don’t I?”
Tarik stared at me in disbelief. “You really don’t remember?”
I shook my head.
“It has been a long time,” he said. “If not for the Herald’s curse, you’d have long since turned to dust.”
I’d been on my own for so many years, wandering from village to village, spending nights in cobblestone alleys, that my past was a complete mystery. “If you know who I am, tell me. I have forgotten.”
A look of sympathy, almost, but not quite pity, rippled across Tarik’s face. “You’re Jerilyn Haligar, born in Sangrithar, the City of the Golden Star. You were professor of history at the University of Colcester.”
Those names meant nothing to me. “Sangrithar?”
“An ancient empire that perished in the Long Night, more than three thousand years ago.”
I started shaking. Tarik couldn’t be telling the truth. “That’s impossible. I can’t have lived that long.”
He winked at me, “Don’t be so sure. Do you know how old you are?”
“I don’t,” I admitted. “I know little of my origins.” In truth, my memories only went back ten years. If I tried to remember farther back, my head exploded in pain.
“I’m sorry, Jerilyn. If I’d known you were still alive, I’d have looked for you long ago, but I didn’t understand what the Herald had done to you.”
“That’s the second time you’ve mentioned the Herald. Who is he?”
Tarik reached into his robes and produced a leather-bound volume, cracked and weather beaten. “I found this in Dathyl’s library, lying forgotten on a shelf, covered in dust. Take it.”
Something about the tome stirred feelings long dormant. “What is it?”
“It’s called ‘The Tale of Ages’.”
The title struck a chord in my soul.
“Take it,” Tarik repeated while handing me the book. “You wrote it.”
“I did?” Somehow, I don’t know how, I knew he spoke the truth.
“Yes, you did. ‘The Tale of Ages’ is the history of Sangrar. You wrote it just after the Long Night, centuries before the sons of Irontree founded the Kingdom of Tirel. Read it, Jerilyn. Read it and remember. Then, we’ll talk.”
I opened the dusty tome and Tarik muttered under his breath. Something snapped inside me, like a knot unraveling, and images of a world with three Suns rushed unbidden to my thoughts.
I started reading. “There has always been the Void….”