One look in my direction and your eye might wander right on by. Two and you’d guess I’m in my late fifties, closing in on my gold retirement watch and have three grown kids one of which is gay. Nothing special about me, your inner voice would whisper and it would be wrong. I’m a lot older than that, but don’t ask me how old. Time runs funny in the Greater Realm and I lost count long ago. When you’re immortal, you don’t care about keeping track. I understand if you’re skeptical. I was too, at first. It took Tarik a year of Sundays to convince me.
Unless you’re a one page visitor mistakenly sent my way by the Google gods, you’ll spend a lot of time here boning up on Sangrar, my first world. I’ve been watching yours long enough to appreciate the glory of Rome and get the hang of the web. It’s impressive magik. This site is chock full of Sangrarian lore, compiled and annotated by yours truly. If you hunt around, you might find a nugget or two about Tirel also, even though that world wasn’t part of The Tale of Ages. You’re either a fellow traveler of the Greater Realm or, more likely, an Earth born reader of The Tale who wants to learn more about Sangrar. Either way, I’m glad you found my home page.
I suppose a proper introduction is in order. I am the author of Sangrar’s chronicles, published collectively as The Tale of Ages, and my name is Jerilyn Haligar. No, Jerilyn is not the name of a bayou pole dancer or an Indy driver from Talladega. To begin with, it’s Jerilyn, not Jerri Lynn, that’s all one word not two shorter names slammed together into a trash pedigree, and I don’t top off my I’s with little hearts. I dot them like a grown man should. Where I come from, Jerilyn is a distinguished name for a gentleman. By now, it’s dawning on you that you’ve never heard tell of anyone named Jerilyn and there’s something about me that’s decidedly not so average and possibly even extraordinary. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t own a two-bedroom ranch with two years to go on the mortgage. You’re starting to wonder where I came from and that’s good, curiosity will take you far.
If pressed, I’d tell you I came from nowhere and that’s close to the truth, as crazy as it sounds. I can tell you’re thinking I’m full of it, that everyone has roots somewhere. Technically you’re right. I didn’t hatch from an egg, I wasn’t cultivated in a test tube and I’m not a clone from a biotech research facility. I popped out of my mother’s womb just like you popped out of yours, many worlds ago in the fishing village of Pelsdan on the coast of Fanar, but those names mean absolutely nothing to you. How could they? When the Prophecies were fulfilled, Sangrar was undone, so utterly erased that it was stricken from the annals of time. So, you see, I am from somewhere. But, since that somewhere never officially existed, it’s also fair to say I‘m from nowhere. I’m a living, breathing paradox, a conundrum of flesh and bone.
To properly explain, I need to rattle the cage you call reality. It’s not as flat as you might think. Your beliefs, for all your vaunted science, are overly simplistic. There is a place you have not discovered. Compared to the vastness of the Greater Realm, Earth, your solar system, your entire universe is but a drop in the ocean. Reality is not one dimensional, it is infinite, and your universe is one of many. I come from Sangrar. It’s in … a different zip code. Sangrar was a world steeped in magik and bright with three suns obeying none of the natural laws binding Sol.
The Greater Realm inherently defies definition, but I’ll try. If an infinite number of worlds exist, and by world I mean inhabitable planet, expanding universe, multi-phasic dimension, alternate reality, divergent space-time continuum or any other Doc Brown inspired phrase, then the Greater Realm is everything outside this infinity. It is that beyond that which we know. It is the something behind the nothing. Your scientists describe it as that which existed before the big bang. It is where the Traveler took Wesley Crusher in NextGen. On Sangrar, we called it the Void, where the Primals, Zuras and Majestrix, came from. Imagine an immense apple tree, each branch heavy with fruit. Each shining red orb is an entire universe and the tree is the Greater Realm. Or, if it’s easier for you, picture it as that place at the end of Men in Black. Sangrar is one apple, your Earth is another, and the tree is never barren. Even as one apple falls from the bough, another ripens and grows sweet.
Pelsdan lay between Sangrithar and Colcester. Colcester, not Colchester. Great Britain was several worlds away. As a child, I had hope, but no expectation, of leading an extraordinary life. When the other children went out to swim in the sea, I stayed inside and wore out the pages on The Grush with Six Legs, the only book we owned. It’s a Sangrarian take on Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. In Pelsdan, wishing for a bigger net was considered ambitious, so my big dreams were regarded somewhere between foolhardy and downright foolish. Still, I left the day I turned sixteen with only my clothes and well worn book. My folks thought I’d make for Sangrithar, but the lure of the University took me southeast to Colcester. The University’s acceptance rate was 100% for applicants willing to work. Once you stripped away Sangrar’s magik, it was positively medieval and few could pursue a formal education. The Deans were delighted to accept anyone showing interest or aptitude, either would do and both would put you on the honor roll. I took a position in the library and enrolled in as many classes as I could handle.
After graduating, I taught history and eventually chaired the department. Life at the University was rather ordinary, though not quite as dull as the life men from Pelsdan were supposed to lead, and teaching was more fulfilling than filleting swordfish. The closest I came to fame was being named to the Fellowship of the Ages, the highest accolade the University could offer. It’s an insider thing though and fell short of extraordinary by a wide margin. My life didn’t change from ordinary to extraordinary until I retired and sought out Kandol Elf Lord on the top of Pel Aesylle (that’s Elvish, Sangrarian not Tolkien, for Mountain of Clouds).
The Tale of Ages was Kandol’s story as much as anyone’s. Throughout Sangrar’s long history, many wore the mantles of Warrior, Prince and Priestess, but none wore them as well, or as often, as Kandol and he was eager to share The Tale. I think he’d been waiting centuries on his mountaintop for someone like me to come along. I sat at his feet listening to the beginnings of my world and, as it turned out, to the beginning of its end. Kandol had lived through most of Sangrar’s past and had the earlier parts on the best authority.
If not for my time with Kandol, the Herald wouldn’t have noticed me. I left the mountain just as the end foretold by the Prophecies was coming to a head and when the final battle of the Warrior, Prince and Princess ripped the world asunder, I did not perish as so many others did. Instead, the Herald swooped me up and took me to the Greater Realm.
Those of you who have read The Tale of Ages, know all about Kandol and Tarik, both of whom had starring roles. Both were amazing men (in the broadest sense, Kandol was an Elf and Tarik was … Tarik) that I was lucky enough to know personally and powerful wizards, but after that they were as different as night and day. Tarik was stronger in terms of pure wizardry, but wizardry was just one of Kandol’s gifts. When I met Kandol, near the end, he was wise and regal and also tortured, after so many promises made. Kandol might have been proud once, but time had smoothed over his arrogance. When the last line of the Prophecies came true, I whispered prayers for him to gods now forgotten. He served the Balance for so long and in the end, it betrayed him. Perhaps its better he didn’t survive the Long Night. I think his wife, Velora, might have suspected how it would end. She was an elder from the Vale of Alyrre and none came closer to deciphering the Prophecies than them. Kandol never suspected the endgame.
I spent one decade with Kandol and several with Tarik. There’s never been anyone quite like him. The only child of the Harnae and grandson of the god Harnor, Tarik didn’t fit neatly into any pigeon hole. Neither god, nor man, nor Elf, he was never ordinary and at his best, god-like. Magik was his birthright and he took to it like a fish takes to water. At his worst, he was a petulant child with all of Harnor’s prejudices. I blame that on growing up so isolated in the grove. If you spent your first millennia with only your mother and two fathers for company, your social skills would be lacking too. Still, he was my dearest friend, the one person with whom I could truly laugh or cry. In those first frantic years after the Long Night, we kept each other company while I penned The Tale. When we reunited centuries later, we were the only two left who could remember the old world. His magik should have failed when Sangrar ended, but did not. He never told me how he held on to it. I asked, more than once, but he’d just smile and wink.
The Herald is a lesser known figure, even to those who have read The Tale. If infinity is an apple tree, then the Herald is the tree’s keeper. Whenever a new apple ripens, the Herald bears witness and when it falls from the bough, he watches it wither. All knowing and all powerful, he is master of none and answers only to the Balance. He appears when a new world blooms, at the turn of an age or at the end of things and sometimes, he enters into the legends of the worlds he attends. In my world, he gave creation to the Primals. In your world, he is Armageddon.
From the Greater Realm, the Herald showed me countless worlds and revealed the grand design. The Balance is supreme over everything and the Balance is maintained through the Necessity of Opposition, that premise postulating that only through struggle can ultimate achievement be attained. Every battle, every labor, every toil across every world is an expression of the Necessity. The form of expression changes from world to world. On Sangrar, it manifested as the Prophecies. On your Earth it was reflected in the rise and fall of nations and the gridlock of bipartisan democracy. On Tirel, the Forgotten Sword and the Adversary encapsulated the never-ending struggle of the Necessity.
After the Herald raised me up, I could recognize the dichotomy of the Primals as an expression of the Necessity, but that truth had eluded me when I was anchored to the world. No one, not even golden Finbardin, King of Heaven, had any reason to think otherwise. All believed the Primals the wellspring of life itself, not the long arm of some cosmic philosophy. Our world view did not allow for a greater power than Zuras and Majestrix. Only those precious few serving the Balance knowingly could guess at the truth.
Everyone thought that fulfilling the Prophecies would banish Sorrow and restore tranquility to the world, but instead, fulfillment brought a moment’s peace to the Necessity and in that instant, Sangrar washed away in the tide of the Greater Realm like sand castles at the beach. Tirel took its place, seemingly a continuation of the old world, but the truth was so much more complex. Tirel was no phoenix born from the ashes of the old world; it was a new world unto itself, a new apple on the Greater Realm tree. Tirel had one sun, not three, and one god, not many. The old gods were gone forever, lost in the dark of the Long Night. By the next generation, all traces of the old world had vanished, along with any memories. The Tale of Ages was the only record of the world that came before and it lay for centuries on a shelf in the Duke of Arvon’s library, forgotten and collecting dust.
My sojourn in the Greater Realm began when the Herald saved me during Sangrar’s waning days. From there, I observed the end of the old world and the new world’s beginning and the Herald named me chronicler. My destiny was to watch and record. At long last, I was extraordinary, a distinction I would have traded in a heartbeat to bring Sangrar back.
After the Long Night, that span of time between the worlds, he deposited me on Tirel to observe and record. At first, I didn’t realize how much I had changed. All I knew was that my memories were fleeing like horses from a barn on fire and I had to write them down before they were gone. It was just me and Tarik back then and unlike me, he had retained every last one of his memories. Here and there, we’d stumble across other survivors who had already forgotten that Sangrar had ever been.
Over time, it became clear that my condition was different. Unlike the other survivors, I was aware that my Sangrar memories were failing and wrote with the pace of a Grush on saddaka leaves. I considered the others lucky. Having no recollection of the world they’d come from, they had nothing to regret.
Whether it was the Herald or exposure to the Greater Realm that changed me, I’ll never know for sure, but I think it was both. The Greater Realm blessed me with the curse of immortality and the Herald took steps to protect me. Mortal minds were not meant to understand the vast secrets of the Greater Realm and he worried I would burst from the knowing.
Seven years later, when I finished The Tale, Tarik and I parted company, neither of us dreaming how long it would take to find one other again. My memories of Sangrar were gone, but those from Tirel were still fresh as a spring day and neither of us had any reason to suspect they’d fail. Unbeknownst to me, the Herald (I presume), had eliminated my long term memory. By the time he’d completed his handiwork, my banks of organic DRAM could only hold a rolling ten years. Everything older than that was programmed to automatically delete. I wandered Tirel for the next thirty-five hundred years, without friends or a place to call home, dressed in pants older than my memories. The past – mine, Tirel’s and Sangrar’s – was kept from me.
Then Tarik found me on the streets of Dathyl. I didn’t recognize him, but he knew me. His magik broke the spell and my memories rushed back, not just those from three and a half millennia in Tirel, the older ones too, the ones from Sangrar, the world that had never been. I could recall every word Kandol had uttered with crystal clarity.
Tarik and I started having weekly dinners together, a practice that lasted a very long time. We’d debate, compare and contrast the worlds we knew and revel in the stories of the old world. Tarik’s favorite was hearing of the Greater Realm. Despite his power, he could never discern it and he was always jealous of me for that.
Still, all worlds are fleeting in the eyes of the Balance. Like Sangrar, Tirel has come and gone and now I watch your world and others, chronicling tirelessly. I am more attuned to the Greater Realm now than I was just after the Long Night and my senses are such that I can observe worlds from afar. Honestly, I prefer it that way. Chronicling based on dispassionate observation is much easier on the heart and soul than immersion in the world.
Sometimes though, such as with your Earth, I come down to the world I’m chronicling. I have been called magikal, but I have no magik and my work is at times tedious. Imagine my delight when I discovered your world wide web. That is a form of magik too, magik I can use to lighten my load. I wish Tarik was here to see it. I can almost hear him, belittling internet protocol as an overly verbose arcane tongue and ridiculing its might, like he used to with the earth magik. You can always count on Harnor’s progeny to find cheap magik to chastise. Where is the power, he’d ask, reminding me that his can level mountaintops, and I’d tell him that for the technowizards of this world, 1s and 0s were the weapons of choice.
Welcome, noble reader, to the world of Sangrar.