Today I’m excited to share Jennifer K. Marsh’s Times of Old, the first part of the Ilimoskus fantasy series.
“Times of old are leaving, my friends; know that soon it will be the end”
Living amongst the humans of Earth is a race of beings unbeknown to them; they are Ilimoskus, the elemental folk: beings of fire, earth, air and water. They are a most peaceful race who lead uneventful lives in harmony with nature, but one fateful autumn, the Flamikus (fire folk) feel the ground tremble beneath them in tension they have never before endured, and troubling concern starts to linger.
Throughout this ever-growing tension, Fii’dezrhu Reotum – a rebellious Flamikus – discovers a momentous secret he then acts upon by venturing to the forbidden human lands; while there, he inadvertently reveals the Ilimoskus’ existence to one young girl. Little does he know that this sets in motion the beginnings of an earthquake so great, it will result in gruelling searches, confounding ambiguities, painstaking truths and heart-wrenching decisions. In time, both humans and Ilimoskus will watch the world they once knew crumble around them.
Excitement roused within himself and he wanted to share his discovery with Nax. And he would have, had he not suddenly heard Gnotsu’s words echo inside his mind:
‘But if your urge for misbehaviour is too strong and you cannot resist it, Fii’dezrhu, I strongly suggest that you leave Nax’pala none the wiser to your plans. If anyone should be avoiding trouble right now, it is he.’
This sudden recollection of Gnotsu’s words crushed Fii’dezrhu’s spirits, for he shared everything with Nax, good and bad alike. But, despite this, he obeyed Gnotsu’s words. It hurt him to do so, for he was keeping a massive secret from Nax. A dangerous secret. A secret that could cause catastrophe for him if anyone else knew what he was doing, what he was planning. Perhaps, then, it was for the best, for enlightening Nax on such a monumental discovery would surely make him want to participate, and he could not possibly in his current confused and fragile state. Fii’dezrhu knew this.
“…You don’t know that,” said Fii’dezrhu, subdued, after a long pause for thought.
Nax did not answer, just simply looked at Fii’dezrhu. This time it was he who was examining the other’s expression.
“You know,” Fii’dezrhu said, “if Kaidoyrr Allo does grant you permission, which he will, you are unable to refuse if it’s in your bloodline.”
“I know…” Nax mumbled quietly. “I can’t help but feel so guilty and awful for feeling the way I do about being Dook. You have no idea what it’s like, Rhu. There’s all this pressure on you before you even understand why, everyone looks and treats you differently because ‘you’re the Dook’s son’. Everyone knowing who you are, everyone expecting you to be someone you can’t be!” He covered his face with his hands, hiding from the world.
Fii’dezrhu wore sad eyes while looking at his friend; much distress radiated from him. Nax was right, he did not understand, but then Nax did not understand what it was like to be him, either. “You’d be surprised how many long for your life,” he said gently.
Nax separated his fingers so that only his eyes could be seen for a time, but he then moved both his hands away from his face completely. He wore a soft, yet remorseful expression, taking his time before speaking. “We come from different worlds, you and I, yet we aren’t really all that different.” When Fii’dezrhu met his eyes, he smiled kindly.
Fii’dezrhu smirked to himself. “I’m the leogesso, triuvo’so scum of the holid while you’re the son of a Dook. Different worlds indeed.”
“Your destiny was cruel by taking away your parents.”
“Just as yours is cruel by trapping you somewhere you don’t want to be.”