Market in the harbour started to wind down with the sunset whose glow unravelled the Flat Sea. While gripping bottles of wine with their callused hands, fishermen were setting their weary and collapsed bodies onto their vessels. As shoppers were getting back home with stuffed nets, captains who were counting gold coins in their pouches had their men complete the final preparations for setting off. Just as the sky turned orange in the wake of sundown and met the blueness of the sea at the no end horizon, Ortun was asking for 5 bronze Koran from Lodas for the last mussels. Lodas divided the mussel with his folding machete he removed from his belt and tasted it. He caressed the boy’s radiant hair with his hands dirtied with the mussel and went “You sell the freshest as always Ortun,” leaving 5 bronze Koran for the mussels at the booth and 5 Koran for the boy. Lost himself in the sea’s eternal serenity at the other side of the pier, the boy shivered in a flash as a result of the fish taking the bait and caught the end of the rod with a last effort. He was well aware that he would not get away without punishment if he told his uncle he lost another rod to a fish at the Flat Sea. “I won this time” he laughed, as if to consolidate his victory against the fish. With the happiness he retained in keeping his rod, he took the fish off the hook and packed up before hitting the road. While returning home, he sat himself to watch merchantmen, whose wide sails ruffle as the vessels moved away from the harbour. His eyes did not idle as he turned his eyes upon the Royal Naval Ships. He later glanced at the chance of guards whose silver shields lit up the walls of the palace under the sunset. Deep-seated in the coast and shined like a titanic snow-white pearl, Noorland Palace was the mecca for sailors. Piracy in the region came to an end after King III. Noor had seized the control of all the Flat Sea. Chain of Ice Mountains in the South of the palace on the other side was the superb hindrance for menaces, which along with the clearance of the sea made the Noorland Harbour the safest trade gate opening to the North. The kid fell into a reverie as he watched the guardsmen, yearning for fighting alongside these men in days to come. His daydreaming was interrupted by Ortun’s voice: “Mighorn, Mightorn!”


“How about meeting tomorrow at sunrise? I got permission from my father for the whole day. Besides, I am as curious as you about your uncle’s present.” Mightorn recalled once again that his birthday was the next day. Swaying his rod, he gave Ortun an approving attitude and at lightning speed he headed home, leaving Ortun unanswered. He was fantasising about the presents he would get on his birthday while following The Ice Mountain path by the palace.


“Mommy, do you think my uncle got me a knight’s sword for my birthday?” asked Mightorn as soon as he entered through the door, and went on “Will I be a knight like my uncle? Will my uncle train me so that I can end up being a knight fighting alongside the king?” Sayina calmly listened to him without uttering a word, yet the sourness in her heart was growing each time Mightorn asked questions. Pulling herself together following a moment of stoppage, she smiled and replied Mightorn who raised his hand upon finishing his questions: “Of course my boy, your uncle will get you one of his spectacular swords.” No other word came out of her mouth and without answering her son’s other questions she took the net from Mightorn and began to clean the fish. Meanwhile, Mightorn had already rushed out to the door and begun to swing his wooden sword around the trees as if it was his expected sword to come a present from his uncle. He was hysterically swinging the wooden sword which was also a gift from his uncle and bustling about in between the trees. He kept fighting his wooden enemies countless times and beat them till the dinner was ready. That evening they sat down to the fish Mightorn caught without his uncle and Mightorn told his mom how he would fight with the sword he would get on his birthday and what kind of a warrior he would be.


The night lasted way longer than a typical August evening. Mightorn had already woken up before the sun emitted its first lights, he was tingling with overwhelming excitement. The day he waited impatiently, August 27, came round at last. Now he was 10 years old, it was the beginning of his adolescence and he was free to decide for himself. Now he could forge iron, mount the horse by himself, swing sword, and become the warrior he always dreamed of. All the children in Noorland were dreaming of the things they wanted to do in the future till they became 10 years old. Boys wanted to become knights until they reached puberty. After they became teenagers, now they desired to practice so that they could join knight selections. However, only the lucky ones could seize a sword and find a trainer to train them until the elections. The remaining, on the other hand, continued to work in ordinary occupations like others at the Flat Sea. They would go out fishing on vessels and boats, then sell what they caught on the stalls at the bazaar in the harbour. The ones who sustained the occupation of their families met the needs of the houses, workshops, taverns, and inns within the walls of the palace. Nonetheless, today was Mightorn’s day as he would finally handle his sword, put his armor on, and begin to be trained by his uncle, at least these were the spinning thoughts in his mind. Everyone had to wake up, time had to flow like a river, and uncle Vielor needed to come home for Mightorn’s big day. Ortun kept his word he uttered the earlier day and arrived at the door by cockcrow, congratulating his bosom buddy.


“Happy birthday Mightorn! Obviously, this is not better than what your uncle will get you but it will come in handy at the sea” said he, bashfully. If Lodas had not chipped in that 5 Koran he would not even have gotten that present. It took for him the saving of a month and that 5 Koran to only buy Mightorn a compass. Mightorn tore the gift-wrapping apart with excitement and meticulously inspected his new companion, thanking and giving his mate a tight hug. They burst into laughter just as Mightorn figured out the surtax. As both knew, Mightorn’s head was always in the clouds because of his constant reveries. He was constantly in such deep dreams that he would lose his rod when fishing and lose his way amidst the ridgeway. Boys spent Sunday observing the compass and telling each other how sturdy warriors they will be whilst wandering along the shores of the Flat Sea and watching the shining of the palace’s walls with the gleams of sunrise.


“You know what, I made up my mind as to whom I will marry. It is going to be a mermaid,” uttered Ortun. “I want to be the king of the Kingdom of Lost Sea. Besides, I am a little afraid of using these swords. I recently saw one of the mermaids, she looked absolutely gorgeous, like a princess. I just need to celebrate my 10th birthday.” While trying to understand how serious Ortun was with what he had been saying Mightorn was watching him and smiling. In fact, Ortun could swim fast and stay underwater for long durations, albeit his frail body and tall body. “I need to be one of the sea creatures to marry a mermaid anyway,” he sighed.


“You definitely need a tail and fin!” said Mightorn, bursting into laughter. “I do not fancy popping your bubble but we are human and probably sea folk would prefer choosing their king amongst themselves,” he further continued. Meanwhile, the sun showed its face with its all flamboyance. A hustle and bustle encompassed Noorland as market booths were set up and the assets of the fishermen were aligned on the stalls. When the gates of the palace were opened, the pearl of the shore was before them.


“Hey Mightorn, What does it feel like waking up in one of the rooms in there as the king, can you imagine?” Ortun asked, pointing the glaring palace with his forefinger. “Being the king of Noorland, or of somewhere else. Swallowing toasts, milk, honey, breakfast food every day.” Mightorn could hear Ortun’s stomach rumbling accompanying his words. Hunger made Ortun think of solely the food. Who knows what Mightorn would do if he became a king, and how would his life be…


“Uncle told me kings do way more than just eating,” said Mightorn smiling, with fixed eyes on Ortun’s belly. “But I suppose it has to be quite pleasant, you know. A king who has many servants under his command, who satisfy his all sorts of needs. If I were a king I would stroll withinside all these palace walls and buy anything I desire. It would not be a case if I got bored as well, as then I would fight the gargantuan Emeges who live in the back of the Ice Mountains. You probably remember that our parents would always frighten us with the stories of those. Though I bet they are scared of the king too.” While emptying his mind he was striving to visualize the king, whom he has never seen. He never put a foot on the inside of the palace because of his mother. The only things he got a sight of were the houses, inns and workshops that were seen from the outside when the gates were open. Why didn’t her mother let him go inside the walls? They were living in the mountainside huts situated on the hillside of the Flat Sea, right outside of the palace. All of his friends have been many times to the inside of the walls, his uncle virtually lived most of his life there. However, Mightorn could only see the inside, palace folk, and the life inside from the outside. His attempt to sneak in without the notice of his mother fell through when he had failed to elude the guards. Uncle Vielor once took Mightorn to the entrance of the palace and exhort the guards to prevent Mightorn from entering, whereby the guards abided for they did not want to be at odds with him. “Please tell me again the life in the palace Ortun, and do not miss any detail,” said Mightorn and put his hand on his compass, as if wishing for mapping the whole place about which he had just listened several times. “There are parallel streets along the straight track reaching out to the palace upon walking through the gate. The order inside would amaze you, it is like a different region from here. There is a street for everything, the first ones are filled with barns and inns in which the rich and travelers who carry valuable load stay. Once you pass to the other street you will notice food smells, but of course it does not smell only like fish as it does here, there are a variety of food and beverages.” Mightorn intervened: “It is better if we skip the food Ortun,” thinking that his friend would finally be captured by the hunger monster. “Well, I went to bed hungry last night, fantasising about the cake your mother would make today. Anyway, now I am coming to describe the streets you will adore the most. The last time I have been there me and my father were wandering the streets full of tailors and leather shops, from which I got myself leather gloves and boots. To my surprise, I learned that all Noorland knights and navy workers would buy from the shops situated in these streets. Finally, in the street closest to the inner wall there were paths stretching out to the training grounds of the knights and to the arena. Along these paths, some blacksmiths were dipping blistering forged metals, as if forged in dragon fire, into the oil barrels. There were swords, axes, helmets, and shields before these men, the radiance coming from these were illuminating the streets. Recently I told my father I wanted a bow and arrow. Who knows, maybe we have enough money now.” Coyly inclined his head, Ortun strived to avert his gaze. “I hope your uncle got you a sword from there. You are fortunate for having knight trainer uncle,” he finished his words. Mightorn had already forgotten the map in his mind at the moment he noticed Ortun’s sorrow. “My uncle will train both of us, just be assured. But we have to go back home if we want him to train us” said Mightorn, discerning the late hour. Heading home, buddies left the pier and set off towards the mountainside huts. When they were home uncle Vielor had not arrived yet Sayina had already decorated the home for her son’s birthday. Attaching old red fishing nets to seashells, she placed blue evil-eye beads in between the pieces. The light passing through the beads was scattering blue glows inside the house, arousing an enchanted feeling as if there was a sea underneath. For a moment the house was not so different from the Flat Sea where Mightorn had dipped his feet in, as if he would be soaked to the bone just by a false step. Specially dressed up for her boy’s big day, Sayina tied her long blond hair up with a thin silver crown with blue stones. Her deep blue eyes were laid on her son, watching him dotingly. Through the light beams came she to her son, glidingly with her blue satin dress. She caressed Mightorn’s head and kissed him on the forehead. Everything was ready for the celebration. Everyone filled the room, candles were blown out and the cake was devoured. Ortun seemed a bit more excited than Mightorn while eating, though that could have been because of the cake. Following a big adoring hug from her mother, Mightorn got his present with twinkling and effusive eyes, which resulted in him opening the gift ramblingly. What he saw was a thick black leather notebook with worn-out edges, enveloped by a rope. Once he disentangled the knot of the rope, the very first page welcomed him: “To my son, to always guide him in my absence. from Torhun” Having failed to avoid his cries, Ortun raised his head up and went: “My father! Is it really my father?” Sayina nodded with tearful eyes. It was the first time Mightorn genuinely felt his father in his heart. Torhun had died before Ortun was born, for this reason all Ortun knew about his father was from the remains of the memory of his mother. Sayina had told Ortun about how his father used to tell him stories when he was in his mother’s womb. Ortun knew that he had to be contented with those stories as he had no chance to learn more. However, now he was holding a notebook that comprised of the pieces of his father.


My son,

For days and days I have been sitting before this diary and meditating on how should I begin to start my journey of telling and teaching you the things in my head. I suppose the starting point of this journey that we will take together should be a story that narrates the origin of everything. A story that my father used to tell me, a story that is my all-time favourite.


“In the days of yore
“was the tail of timeline,
“was the knob of timeline,
“was the epoch of war,
“was time of peace,

Sorrow, solitariness and awe
Were blinking under each tree’s shadow
And from the beneath of each stone
Joy, tranquility and reliance from the Sun, the Moon
In the essence flowing from the trunk of the Tree of Life


At these exact times, nine species, nine races, and nine tribes coming from the nine boughs of the Tree of Life have spread all over Tengriya. Some races grew stronger and reproduced, some kept to themselves and burrowed. In each corner of Tengriya, new species and creatures began to appear. None forgot where they came from, the Tree of Life, their root. The tree gave its children love, happiness, and peace. After the passing of hundreds and thousands of years like this, Erlik, the largest of all species and tribes, felt that he was getting older. That massive body began to weaken, that mighty muscles that once removed the trees from their roots fell into decline. He could not stand this, so for days with his gigantic steps Erlik passed the lowlands and crossed the mountains, shaking the ground. He convinced himself that once he would arrive at the Tree of Life and drink from its essence then he would regain his strength. However, things did not turn out as he expected as the Tree did not allow his son to have even a drop of its essence. The reason was that as for the others it was time for Erlik to perish, as the circle of life commanded. Erlik thereupon revolted, as he was the primal, the mightiest and the supreme. Ragious, and blinded by vanity, he believed that it was time for him to possess everything. How dare a tree did not give him what he needed. He drew his sword which he had forgotten with holy fire at the very heart of Mount Qaf and targeted the very bole of the tree with all his strength. The old Erlik would have torn the tree apart if he was in his prime. The echo of the blow was heard in every corner of Tengriya. Then came the quakes, making each species and each living creature run to the Tree of Life. He lost his temper so much so that he was not only attacking the ones trying to stop him, but wishing to cut the tree so as to prove his greatness. The second blow exasperated the quakes even more, stirring up the seas and oceans. What slowed down the third blow was the dragon’s fire. Changing his target, Erlik grappled in a fight with the dragon who was soaring around him. After the dragon got its teeth into Erlik’s shoulder, furious Erlik thrust his sword right into the dragon’s chest, recapping instantly. The third blow which would destroy the dragon was dodged by the Fallow Deer. This altruism saved the dragon yet cost the deer its antlers. Erlik’s sword tore off the deer’s antlers. Meanwhile, Erlik’s chest was pierced by a small arrow. The stories narrate that that arrow was shot by the smallest child of the tree, the most mortal, the human. Besmeared his arrow with the tree’s essence, he drew the bow and opened a festering sore on Erlik’s undamaged skin. Afterwards, this hero was called Alp, who became a legend since then.


Erlik was ceased,
Tengriya halt did not,
The essence of the tree released, passed the quakes
Did not slacken the waters,
Kraken gave his all-seeing eyes, then ceased the waters,
The blaze went on,
Phoenix sacrificed its life and settled the waters


It was what it was, wars came to a stop, the supremes sacrificed their essence. The evil, however, did not end. It was only stopped for a while. Only their Kuts survived from the holy guardians. All that remains from the deer were its antlers, from the dragon who lost its fire was a petrified egg, from Phoenix was a single tail feather, and from Kraken was his eye that he sacrificed. If Erlik is to come back one day these Kuts will help us summon the guardians.”


“What falls on us is to find these Kuts before Erlik returns.” kept saying my father before he ended the story. “What falls on us is to find these Kuts my son.”


Mightorn indistinctly repeated the last words of his father, “What falls on us is to find these Kuts.” By the time these words poured out from his mouth Vielor had already arrived and begun to watch his nephew. Vielor threw a glance at Sayina, as if asking whether it was his brother’s diary. Sayina’s nod answered back. Vielor slowly got down on his knees, embracing Mightorn without startling him who just saw his uncle.


“Your father searched for the Kuts for a very long time, and came within the inch of one. Perhaps you will take up where he left off.” Vielor whispered in Mightorn’s ear. For a second Mightorn appeared to show signs of life yet was unable to move. In order to bring his nephew around, Vielor laid down the wooden box on Mightorn’s lap. “So what about opening your gift ere commence looking for them?” went Vielor, watching the boy expecting a wild reaction. The reaction did not fall behind, only it came with a slow and calm tone, “Sword, my sword” A smile ultimately settled on the boy’s face, he was way happier than he imagined in the morning. This jouissance stemmed not only from he would get to know his father closely but he was finally bestowed his sword. Now he could become a warrior worthy of his father. Leaving his diary aside, Mightorn gripped the box with thrill and opened it. He felt the cold metal wrapped in silk, looked everyone in the eye respectively. No one in the room failed to notice the excitement in the boy’s watery eyes. He unfolded the silk, but the expected rhapsody did not turn up. “But, but the sword!” he uttered.


“Happy birthday Mightorn. This could be your sword” Vielor continued, taking the piece of cold metal. “If you wish to be a knight and become a decent warrior like your father you have to forge your own sword. The first test of a genuine warrior is his forging. How come a hand failing to forge and swinging an axe could swing his sword around spreading terror to his foes. This will turn into your sword, your comrade.”


Mightorn, without having lost a single drop of his tears went “But I know nothing about forging. I will never become a warrior like my father and yourself.” He had already put his head on Vielor’s should, crying his eyes out. “Come on” declared Vielor, slowly lifting the boy’s head up and wiping his tears gently as though tickling an infant’s cheeks. With a hand he held the boy’s hand and with the other he handled the metal bar, going out and setting off in a haste. While Sayina and Ortun were trying to sober up from this sudden departure, Vielor and Mightorn had already passed the side huts on the mountainside and converged towards the palace. The boy’s eyes whose tears had not dried were set on the walls, of which he could see blurrily. The big moment ultimately arrived, Mightorn finally would pass through the gates of the palace. He could not help the unintentional trembling in his body, so instead wiped his eyes and nose on his sleeve and waited to come round. They swiftly passed a couple of gatekeepers by the gates, for the first time Mightorn could inhale the atmosphere of the palace. Upon recalling Ortun’s memories he turned his head to encounter the hay bales in the first street Ortun was describing. Vielor tugged his nephew’s arm in such a hurry that the boy could not catch the details from Ortun’s narration of the place. Yet he caught the hold of the food fragrances encompassing the whole street, remorsing at his grumble about Ortun’s stomach growling in the morning. At that exact moment, the sounds of forging began to be rebounded from the street ahead of the duo. Several steps onwards Vielor redirected Mightorn who with his shifting eyes was still striving to match the details of the place with the specifics of Ortun’s story. His uncle’s abrupt manoeuvre made him a little dizzy. They dived into a street reverberating with hammers beating hot metals and brightened up with metal sparks. In each atelier was frantic labour, hammers were beating hot metals and shortly after the very same metals were submerged in cold water, steaming up the tub. Glaring shields, helmets, and carefully-sorted swords in the shopfronts were glaring the Mightorn’s eyes. Just as they were approaching the end of the street, Mightorn with a sally burst into one of the shops, leaving the noisy background behind him.


“Vanir, you rascal, are you slacking off already?” shouted Vielor, once he entered the smithy following Mightorn. Vanir showed up from the back of a dusty table, he was rubbing his eyes while walking towards the centre of the atelier. Mightorn rubbed his eyes as well but the reason was not dust but his need for reassurance as he saw a dwarf for the first time. Although he had heard about the dwarfs and their craft in forging, he did not expect to meet a smith full of health.


Nevertheless, the Dwarves in Tengriya were renowned for their forging skills. By the look of him, however, Vanir did not seem to be one of those. Dust was everywhere in the shop, was as if no metal had been forged for years. Vanir set his eyes on Mightorn for a second, then turned to Vielor after failing to recognize the boy: “Well, was that you? What are you doing here?”


Vielor replied “In our last meeting I told you that I would bring you an apprentice. Years have not treated you well have they, now that you forget your conversations.” The eyes of the dwarf were shuttling between the boy and Vielor, each switch brought a glow along on Vanir’s eyes. Mightorn was his ultimate destination, he came near and touched the boy’s head. The dwarf did not have a hard time touching him as they nearly had the same height. “So you are the one” Vanir said, later turning towards Vielor he continued “He is a little puny but I bet he could pick up an axe. Also he is teeny-weeny (despite knowing that the boy is taller than him) but sure he will shoot up.” Vielor jeered, and started to introduce him to the boy.


“Yes Mightorn, this little grumpy man will be your master. You will come here every day. You will work as much as he wants and whenever he favours then you are to get your sword and begin to practice. He will show you metals and what to do with them. He is the best in the kingdom who can teach you to listen and talk to metals.” Mightorn already knew dwarfs’ merit in forging but the colossal smiths whom he just saw and maybe stronger than his uncle were swinging swords and axes around. Besides, their ateliers were abundant in shining swords, shields, helmets, and many other materials. This rubbish place on the other hand harboured nothing glaring. Nevertheless, the boy nodded at his uncle; his main motivation was to finish the making of his sword anyway. Vielor passed the piece of metal to Vanir, who examined the piece and asked “Is this it?” Vielor replied “It is for Mightorn. He will forge his sword from that. In a few days I will drop by and leave a couple of more metals.” Leaving the piece of metal aside, the dwarf turned to Mighorn: “Be here tomorrow morning at the moment the doors of the palace will be opened. We got so much to do kid.”

Written by Alim Geyik
Edited by Oğuzhan Karaca