And I’m cursed!
Not that I had much choice in being cursed. That can be blamed on my great-great-great-great ‘something or other’ ancestor. He messed things up for all my family when he opened an inter-dimensional gateway to Dunari, accidentally killed a Dunari citizen, and got cursed as a punishment.
The family curse is a secret that is passed down through the generations from first born to first born.
The curse goes like this:
1. The first born of every generation of the Keyes family must enter the World of Dunari and spend a period of five years in the service of the Dunari authorities.
2. The ‘first born’ is referred to in Dunari as a Dawnhunter.
3. When the Dawnhunter’s service ends, they return home.
4. When the first born of the next generation reaches the age of eighteen, the previous Dawnhunter must confide the family secret to them, and spend the next four years preparing them for their spell in Dunari.
That’s how it’s gone in our family for over two centuries.
I am an only child. The previous first born (who is named and shamed in my upcoming eBook) was too cowardly to enter Dunari. Instead, he waited until I hit teenage years before tricking me into taking his place.
Unfortunately for me, I became the next Dawnhunter without realising it.
And doubly unfortunately for me, the curse didn’t mind who came through the gateway, as long as it was a Keyes.
I couldn’t pass back through that gateway for another eleven years.
Now you might thing that having a title like ‘Dawnhunter’ is all grand and exciting. The reality, however, is different. I work for a guy called Ganhook. He is my mentor, and the Dawnhunters do the jobs he doesn’t want to do.
Ganhook is a kind of scientist sorcerer who works for the Dunari Imperator. Ganhook wasn’t expecting someone as young as me to turn up—especially as I hadn’t been prepared. But he did a good job of training me up in Dunari survival skills.
I’m still alive to prove it.
I’m mostly based in the City of Bones, the capital of Sevenoath, one of the easternmost Dunari Kingdoms.
Or, should I say, of the ‘known’ kingdoms.
Dunari is endless.
And while I was supposed to serve Ganhook, when I found out who he really was, and what he’d done in the past, I rebelled. The curse had stolen a chunk of my life, but I was determined to spend that chunk of my life doing things my way.
Luckily, Ganhook couldn’t really argue. He’s older than the curse, and played a big part in setting it up. When I arrived, he pitied me, and let me find my own way here. I became like a son to him. Powerful genius that he is, his parenting skills weren’t great.
From the age of fourteen to where I am now, is no great superhero saga. It’s been a roller coaster of danger, despair, delight and discovery.
And amidst all this, I struggled against extreme anxiety, paranoia and social phobia.
It can be hell to fit into an unfamiliar society. I had to hide my true identity and try to adapt to life here as best I could. I was once so unable to cope with this place, I spent over two years holed up in a flea pit cottage, hungry, broke, and unable to face going out. If it wasn’t for two great friends of mine, two brothers, i many not have made it.
My ‘term’ is long up. Instead of returning permanently home, I’ve opted to stay awhile in Dunari. This place grows on you. And there’s a chance I could break the curse once and for all.
Besides, the wars between the Spirit Storms and humanity are heating up. If humanity loses, humanity may need to evacuate Dunari, or face extinction.
Because of this, Ganhook has tasked me to document everything I know about Dunari, and store it all off world as a record of my time here. My story will be just one of countless stories about this world that will be saved as a Dunari history, a personal history to add to the official history that others are working to preserve.
That’s why this website exists. That’s why I podcast. And that’s why I intend to use technology back home to recreate the Dunari that I know as a digital twin.
It’s the least I can do for a civilisation that has given me a life so very, very extraordinary.
One final thing.
It’s ironic that they call me a Dawnhunter. I’ve never ever liked getting up early.