Artifact of the Dawn

The discovery of a mysterious glowing artifact leads to a chance encounter between a human named Jevan and an elf named Ardyn. Together, they uncover centuries of lies and the secret of their origins, while becoming inextricably linked to each other.


Excerpt

A flash of lightning startled Ardyn from his reverie. Another flash drew his attention to the far side of the cave as the light glinted off something. He may never have noticed it if he hadn’t been looking in that direction. Ever curious, Ardyn rose and made his way toward where he saw the twinkle of light.

In the dim light of the cave, he could barely make it out. There seemed to be something metallic, partially buried in the dirt. The edge of it peeked out from the dirt that covered the cave floor that had glinted when the lightning flashed. If it was metallic, that meant it had to be athla’maakh in origin. That would mean this cave must be one that their hunters used. Ardyn realized he must have strayed too far from his own people’s lands when stalking the beast.

Ardyn’s curiosity got the better of him, and he reached out to see what the half-hidden object was. As he picked it up and brushed the dirt from its surface, he startled and dropped it.

It had… glowed.

Occasionally, Ardyn had seen some metal tools the athla’maakh used when he traded with them, but he’d never seen one that glowed. Without touching the object again, he bent closer to study it. As soon as he’d dropped it, the glow had faded. Now it just glinted dully in the dim light. His heart pounded in his chest as he reached out again. As soon as he touched it, the glow came back, making him flinch away.

While his own people shunned technology, he had never feared it. However, he had never seen technology behave like this. What could cause this object to glow from a mere touch?

Ardyn steeled his nerves before he reached for the object again, picking it up with a firmer grip. It glowed again as soon as he’d touched it, but this time he didn’t flinch or drop it. The light it produced was a faint, eerie blue, emanating from a pattern etched on the surface of the silver metal.

Looking more closely at the pattern, Ardyn’s eyes flew open in surprise. It wasn’t some random pattern; they were words, written in an ancient athla’naa script. The script was too archaic for him to read, but he recognized it from some ancient scrolls and books the elders kept.

This made little sense. His people, the athla’naa, didn’t forge metal. They didn’t have technology anything like this. This object was more advanced than anything Ardyn had ever seen. The metal tools he’d seen the athla’maakh carry were never this polished, and none had ever glowed.

Wanting to understand what this object was, he turned it over, studying it from various angles. It was small, just large enough to grasp comfortably with one hand. It was roughly octagonal, with four sides longer than the others. One edge extended out from the silvery metal and was made of a reddish colored metal.

The glowing writing only appeared on one side, while the other was smooth with no marks. He looked around, sifting through the dirt of the cave floor to see if there were any other objects like this one, but he found nothing.

Shivering from the cool air in the cave, Ardyn carefully put the object into his pack and slid back into the warmth of his bedroll. Exhaustion hit him, so he settled in to get some much-needed sleep while the storm continued to rage outside. He could worry about the strange object tomorrow.