She has been wandering in this… she paused as she struggled to find the right words to describe this place she was in now. Sight, sound, smell and sensations are all null here. As for thoughts, well, she no longer had much need for them. After all, this place is a place of emptiness, of nothingness, a void. Yes, that’s the word, a void. A void that is making her part of its very substance at a painstaking slow pace. Like a malicious predator playing with its prey, devouring it in tiny mouthfuls each time. At first, she tried to resist, to fight. She tried to cling onto herself, driven by an instinctive sense of self preservation. But she was just one being in this vast void, one drop of water in a sea. Ultimately, determination gave way to indifference. Why resist something inexorable? So she wanders, wanders in a listless way until she knows no more, becomes no more. But not yet. Yes, the time has not come, yet.
Then she felt a distant throbbing, from a distance that defied comprehension. It was moving towards her, first at the same excruciating pace that this place is disintegrating her but slowly building up in speed. Then it was there- a vortex of darkness spinning at dizzying speed. It pounced on her and swallowed her whole…
The opening of the tent flap alerted the three figures jovially engaged in wrestling. In the blink of an eye, the impossible tangle of arms and legs had miraculously separated into three youths, well-built but not yet hardened into form, with many chances to grow yet. They stood up in proper deference to the visitor, the Khan of their tribe and one of the elders dear to them all, but otherwise was at ease.
“Khan-father.” “Uncle Yesu.” “Khan-aegin” Three enthusiastic greetings came to Yesegei’s ears and he smiled. He walked further into the ger and led the youths across to the centre of Temujin’s ger so that they could all sit around a burning fire in the morning chill.
Yesegei surveyed the three youths in front of him with satisfaction. His eyes automatically went to the tallest but also the leanest, , and he sighed despite himself. If only the others of the Circle would come around and see what Temujin would be able to offer the tribe. It was true that his son was merely a competent fighter. Even more troubling, Temujin was well-rounded in, which really meant being mediocre across, all aspects concerning combat. In his youth, he himself would have scoffed at the notion of entrusting the future of the tribe to such a leader. However, he has since seen things differently. Changed by his personal experience at being chieftain, he felt in his heart that of the hafins- contenders for future chieftainship, Temujin whose eyes contain determination way advanced of his own age would be the greatest fit for the position. On top of this, there was Temujin’s seeming indifference to whether he would actually ascend to the position. Despite the substantial amount of time he devoted to learning of the various aspects of managing a tribe’s affairs, Yesegei knew that Temujin did so out of a sense of duty rather than his own desire. Yesegei was afraid that this just added to sentiment against Temujin becoming Khan after himself. Oftentimes, he would find himself torn. He frequently questioned whether he should really be forcing the burden of leadership on Temujin that he clearly did not want for himself. Yet, it would truly be a great loss to the tribe if he was rejected by the Circle in favour of another.
Then his gaze shifted to the left, to a much stockier and not much shorter figure. Borochu, whose grandfather traced to generations ago came out of the same womb as his own forbearer and who grew up under his gaze as much as that of Borochu’s own father. At the age of nineteen, Borochu was already a sharp blade unsheathed. He smiled appreciatively. Then his eyes strayed to the other side of Temujin, to Nergei. About the same build as Borochu but half a head shorter, Nergui was utterly unassuming, thus easily missed. At the same time, his eyes miss nothing, vigilant like those of hawks that circle their preys. Mentally, Yesegei nodded with approval at these three that are the most promising of the hafins, who encapsulate the future of the tribe.
“Khan-Father?” a surprisingly firm voice broke in on Yesegei’s reverie that carried him further and further away from what he came to discuss.
“I came to discuss the coming meeting at the Ctofalir.” Yesegei announced in a grim voice.
“What about it? Either the Tatar backs off or we fight, right?” Borochu shrugged as if it made no difference to him either way. That earned him a swat on the back of his head.
“Crunalan men are not scared of risking their lives on the battlefield. But like the wolf, one has to know when to back off and when to stay firm and fight to the death.” Yesegei started to lecture but then stopped when he saw that Borochu had half turned his head to make faces at Temujin and Nergui. He could feel his palm starting to itch. He ignored the urge and carried on with where he left off before getting distracted. “I have… a bad feeling about it.” A dull sheen had momentarily settled over his gaze when he uttered the words. While he was unaware of it himself, this did not escape the keen eyes of Temujin and Nergui. However, rather than interrupting, the two merely waited to hear more.
“Just remember to take care, the three of you.” Yesegei paused and then looked keenly at Borochu and Nergui especially. “Watch out for each other.” With that he made an abrupt departure, leaving the three youths dumbfounded and staring amongst themselves.
Additional Ideas (1)
For this Prologue, mainly looking for feedback on whether it is interesting enough to draw people to read on. Also, the first passage is sort of getting out of my hand and after I'm done with it, I feel like it's sort of lukewarm but will suffice. Wondering what other people think of it. Looking for 10+ feedback and if anyone is interested enough in this five-book series to be brainstorming with me over PMs on plots for later books