The Oracles of Cai Terenmare
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In ancient Greece, an oracle was a person through whom the gods were believed to speak. The four oracles in Sign of the Throne are also seers. While the magical, parallel realm of Cai Terenmare is ruled by the Solas Beir, the high king, the oracles serve as principalities governing the outermost regions of the kingdom. The four oracles are connected to each other—they commune as one over great distances. Although they started out with individual identities, in accepting the role of oracle, they surrender their old name and their old life, gaining great power in their link to the other oracles. Oracles are like forces of nature—they do not bow to the Solas Beir’s authority, but by working in harmony with them, the Solas Beir can tap into their power, much like a ship sails with the wind. There is a mutual respect and elemental balance between their power and that of the Solas Beir. Some of the oracles have aligned themselves with the Solas Beir, acknowledging the source of his power, the Light. Others have remained impartial in the long war between those in the Light and the Kruorumbrae, creatures of Darkness.
The Northern Oracle resides in the Ice Mountain Territories, a bitterly cold region far north of Caislucis, the castle of the Solas Beir. Her house is ruled by strict order, and her monks infuse discipline and spirituality into every task: hunting for hares using birds of prey, caring for domesticated deer, tending indoor gardens, and refining their skills as warriors while gaining wisdom from ancient texts.
The Western Oracle is the Northern Oracle’s polar opposite in character. She makes her home on a small island in the Western Sea. There, arrayed like a beautiful goddess in her marble temple, her daughters tend to her every need. The Western Oracle is loyal to no one, narcissistic, and, like the murderous sirens who serve her, absolutely lethal. Only one person has ever visited her island and lived—the Solas Beir, Ardal.
Similar to the Western Oracle, the Southern Oracle is rumored to be narcissistic and loyal to no one. He has been unwilling to engage in the political conflict between those in the Light and the Darkness. But like the Northern Oracle, the Southern Oracle and his people are isolated by dangerous terrain. He lives in the center of a thick rainforest with deadly plants, both of the poisonous and carnivorous varieties. Legends describe horrific beasts and phantoms lurking in the dark forest as well.
Finally, the realm of the Eastern Oracle is located far from the western coast where the Solas Beir resides, and it is a stark contrast to the pastoral communities surrounding Caislucis. Separated from the west by an enormous desert called The Barren, the walled city of the Eastern Oracle is a bustling metropolis of commerce where it is rumored that those in the Light and those of the Shadows dwell side by side. The Eastern Oracle is a pious traditionalist, and insists on holding counsel only with a Solas Beir. Even with the extraordinary circumstances of Ardal’s assassination, the Eastern Oracle refused to recognize the queen’s authority or meet with her ambassadors from Caislucis.
If David Corbin manages to reclaim his throne, he will need the help of the oracles to keep it, but convincing them to ally with him could be a challenge for a ruler who was not raised in Cai Terenmare.
© Melissa Eskue Ousley 2012