The following text abridged and amended from the opening of From Silence, the Song: A Primer to the World of the Núminway Chronicles…
Lourne, this wide and wondrous world of ours, and setting for the Chronicles, is a litany and a legacy of countless things great and small; of dreamings and fears, actions and words; of innumerable contrasts fantastic and glorious as they are desolate and terrible. It is a world torn asunder in places and times by that which in others joins it wonderfully together. A place of chaos and harmony; of darkness blacker than the deepmost bowels of night, and light brighter than all the suns of the Ages; of thunder and discord, silence and song; of magic and of life and of death. Where in some reaches dragons vast and shimmering do battle like distant fireworks high amongst the clouds, in others sounds throughout the ages nothing more than the winding of a stream, or the dreaming of a dream. Where across some vast swathes the land may be deeply and forever scarred by the terrors of war, throughout some others peace has reigned forever, nor even have the long grasses ever felt the foot of man. From some corners shine clear and brilliant the glinting lights of diamond fire and the reflections of the stars, while from others creeps darkness thick and black and terrible, and other things unnameably worse. Where in places wizards wield openly their great crafts, in others magic is but a vague thought of legend, from lands beyond, and times and memories long gone by. Peoples descended of gods descended of others still before them forge out their own innumerable paths to the beat of their own innumerable tunes; they amidst a great multitude of other wildly differing beings and places and moments all joined as they are separated by vast, sprawling distances of space and time; all linked in some ways and to varying degrees by certain histories or ideas, yet also distinct and isolated in almost all ways which now remain to see.
The central continent of Orion, in particular, is so: for while the wonderlands of Azhera and Samarkand at either ends of the world exist, for the most part, in states of single, timeless perpetuity, great Orion in their midst has seen so much change, and contains now as in its very beginning so many different beings and creations, being as it is and always has been the meeting place and battleground of all the powers which lie behind and at the heart of the world, that it is as different now to those others in form and thought as to be wholly unrecognisable from them, though all come from the same beginning, and all, it is believed, will be part of the same end.
But before all that – the beginning of all of this. The forming of the world; the hows and the whys and the whens, so far as any or all of them can be known today. The aim of what follows here in this long but all-too-short text is to take the various primary strands of history and mythology, of geography and politics, and of all other manner of description of this world – those written subjectively by the inhabitants of the world of the Núminway Chronicles; those written from within the world of the Núminway Chronicles; those which together have created and thus now form the Núminway Chronicles – and to bring these all together and present here a single, objective, all-encompassing, Stars’-eye view and description of the world, from the very moment of its creation – and even long before – until the moment of the beginning of the Alhanthra Saga many Ages of the world later, at which point this great and final series will take over the telling.
It will take the events and descriptions of the History of Orion, but add to them those details of which its author Huenedes knew little or nothing at all. It will tell of the forming of the world at the hands of the figures of the Aikhoronad, but add to this the telling of those other religions and systems of belief of which the text of the Aikhoronad itself takes no account. And it will tell much else besides.
This does not however mean that herein are contained all the possible facts and figures and names and events this world has ever seen in their entirety. In truth, far from it. For of course such a task would be impossible, and in any case unnecessary and unhelpful: In the interests of maintaining as far as possible a flowing timeline and a cohesive understanding of all this there is simply no way of or reason for detailing all these things in their fullness. Where relevant and necessary, these other, deeper sources of knowledge will be referenced and themselves explained, for any who chose to seek a deeper understanding of certain areas of the Chronicles.
Thus while the Seven Deiora of the gods of the Aikhoronad will be mentioned and explained, the full verses of these prayers will not in the main text be given (though they are given in their fullness elsewhere within the appendices). Likewise while not every one of the myriad beasts and beings of the world will be listed and described (again an attempt at this is made elsewhere), those who play a role in the creation and the shaping of the world or else are of some other specific relevance will indeed be portrayed. While not every one of the one hundred Mhytha will be named and described, those of whom we know most or who had greatest impact on the world will be (with the rest given elsewhere). Much of the majesty and wonder in the construction and learning of a world such as this is in the detail. But far from all. Detail where appropriate adds colour and great interest; detail when included for nought else but the sake of detail as an interruption to other more important things casts the unnecessary and unpleasant shadow of confusion and tedium.
By world of the Numinway Chronicles, to be clear, is meant here the full scale and scope of the Chronicles: not merely the physical planet upon which the central events take place, but the very universe of imagination and dream about it and from which this and all else came.
In summary then, what follows is, hopefully, a thorough and comprehensive description of Lourne, as it is now and as it has been; a full and unabridged History, as complete as one text on the subject can be. Put simply this text is written as a single, central primer to the world in which the Núminway Chronicles is set.
And as such this is not, necessarily, a recommended source for those just beginning their journey of the Chronicles. Many elements of the Story which follow are revealed steadily, gradually throughout the main, culminating, Alhanthra Saga; elements which many would far rather learn for the first time at the right place and time, rather than all at once here at the beginning. But to each, sincerely, their own. And if an enjoyment of the Chronicles (such as is surely the point of this or any other work of this nature) would be better achieved through first a thorough and more complete understanding of how and why the world and all in it is as it is at the outset of the series, at the risk and disadvantage of removing the enjoyment and enlightenment of many of the surprises and moments of revelation (themselves also a crucial aspect, for many reasons, of works such as this) along the way, then perhaps this text would indeed be a good place to start. That is up to the reader to decide.
But decide now. For myth and magic, silence and song, glory and horror and all in between: much is introduced now below. Welcome, visitor, whoever you are, and from whatever distant, though perhaps not too distant land you come, to the wide, enchanted, starlit shores, of the Núminway Chronicles…