Of the Elders and the First Days of Daern - The War of Creation
Of the Elders and the First Days of Daern – The War of Creation
In the year 211, the Illithid Scriveners uncovered the following script deep within the vaults of their oldest library. It is unclear whether this is lore from ancient times, recorded to show the culture of those times or a memory tablet with true history written upon it.
Since the beginning, it has always been the six and the three among the Elders. The six; the Radiant One, the Guarding Hunter, Freedom’s Blade, the Voidwatcher, the Mystic Lord, and the Gate Warden. The three; the Enlightened Master, the Nightstalker, and the Ravenous One.
The Elders existed before time and were formless, but after the creation of Daern, they took shapes to walk the world. The Radiant One’s body was of metal and shined with light from deep within and all who stood in his presence took heart from the light and feared no evil. The Guarding Hunter was a being of two faces, sometimes taking the form of a noble beast standing on two legs, tending to the plants and animals of Daern with his hands, at other times taking the form of a fearsome yet beautiful predator that ran on four legs, guarding her charges from evil. Freedom’s Blade favored the form of mortals, most often appearing as a young man with wavy black hair, yet old eyes that had seen much, and a steady hand upon his sword. The Voidwatcher took the shape of a strange being with writhing tentacles upon his face that could reach beyond the bounds of time and space, his eyes white and terrible to behold, all who looked upon him were fearful. The Mystic Lord also favored the form of mortals, most often appearing as a mature man, his face shrouded by a cowl, and intelligent eyes that within was sometimes seen a glint of mischief. The Gate Warden was a beautiful woman, yet cold and sorrowful, none dared to approach, for before her all withered. The Enlightened Master’s shape was as a newly chiseled stone, perfect and ageless, his voice carried far and each word seemed profound and important but were as poison to the ear. The Nightstalker’s features were enticing to the eye, all who looked upon him desired him, and he would use them as long as it pleased him. The Ravenous One is the brother of the Voidwatcher and took a similar shape, but his envy poisoned his heart and twisted his body into a grotesque mockery.
In the Nothing before time, the gods clashed without form. Their blows rippled throughout the Nothing and shapes began to form. The gods fought for ages, heedless of the rips in the Nothing, until at last there came a lull in the fight and they looked around. A truce was made to determine what had happened to the Nothing. A thing as yet unseen by them was found in what had been the Nothing. An energy, flowing and swirling, like yet unlike the forces of magic. The gods pondered and determined that this was the Spark of Life. Each had their own idea on how it should be used, and began to argue. A blow was struck and a ripple went through what had been the Nothing, causing the Spark of Life to waver. They again stopped fighting and agreed to all share in the shaping of the Spark of Life. From it, they pulled and shaped a world, Daern, but it was icy and barren, so they called forth a mighty servant of fire and light and set it apart from the world. The gods’ servant of fire and light was too bright, though, and scorched the world, so the gods shaped another servant, this one huge and dark, and tasked it with moving the world around itself using unseen forces so that at times the world would be shaded from the light. Thus the cycle of day and night was made. The burning servant later came to be called Edromyn and the servant who brought the night was later called Nostiarna. The gods pondered what next to do, and as they sat thinking they were dismayed to see that Daern began to stray too near Nostiarna and also that other shapes formed in their first clashing drew near and almost hit Daern. The gods then shaped more servants and tasked them with helping Nostiarna to keep Daern at a safe distance using the same unseen forces and also to guard against the wandering shapes that travel through the space that was Nothing. These servants move in a complicated dance around Nostiarna and would later be called Ruthaen, Uskira, Oghaen, Iarthrod, and Siathar.
Now the gods turned once again to Daern and saw that while they were laboring, the ice on the side of Daern that faced Edromyn had melted and that the Spark of Life had taken some living shapes in the form of plants and animals. In that time, the face of Daern was much as it is now, though the great western glacier of the Bittercold stretched across what is now the Fey Downs and the northern snow often covered the lands where later the Cold Forest would be planted. The lands now called the Tirim Desert also once held some life, ragged shrubs clinging to the rocky ground and what is now called the Singing Forest once stretched westward, such that it covered all the land between the Frostmelt Sea and the great western glacier. There were plains and hills where now lies the Shattered Ocean. In the battles of which will be told, a fire spread through the western edge of the Singing Forest and made a clear plain. Later, the face of Daern was changed when Eadrom Casur spilled forth the hot blood of the earth. The heat from the blood spread on the winds, causing the great western glacier to recede, carving out the Fey Downs in its retreat, and the snows to melt on what is now the Riverlands. The Tirim Desert was formed from the spreading heat as well, the shrubs died off and the land became barren and dry. Later still, the Forest of Giants and the Cold Forest would be planted by the Guarding Hunter.
The gods drew close to Daern and desired to walk upon it, so began to make their forms of which has been told. As they began to descend, the Ravenous One grew envious and feared that the six would take and hold all of Daern to themselves. He convinced the other two of the three to speed their descent and try to claim Daern. The six saw what the three intended and raced after them. All the gods landed with much force upon Daern and broke part of its surface. Waters rushed in to fill the site of the impact and formed what is now called the Shattered Ocean. The six grew angry at the three and the truce of the gods was broken. Battle broke out once again between them, but in their worldly shapes, the clash of their blows, though still mighty, did not rip the fabric of the world.
The Enlightened Master, seeing his chance to claim part of Daern, slipped away from the battle and came to what is now called the Singing Forest. There, he carved bodies from granite in the foothills of the Eolas Mountains and calling upon the Spark of Life, filled them with spirits, thus creating the race of elves. Being of granite, the elves have ever been unyielding and set in their ways. Upon waking, they beheld their creator, who taught them of many things and so came to be called by them their Enlightened Master. He spread them throughout the Singing Forest and told them to watch the borders, for there were foes in the world.
As the Enlightened Master was teaching his new-made race of elves, the remaining two of the three were eventually forced to retreat before the six. Thus the battle of the gods moved to the great stretch of grasslands that is now called the Veldt of the Sun. The Mystic Lord and Freedom’s Blade one day came to the edge of the Singing Forest and beheld the elves. They were amazed and approached the elves, meaning to offer friendship, but the elves had bows and shot at them, saying that their Enlightened Master had warned them against the treachery of the six and claiming that the elves would one day drive the six from Daern and rule over it. The Mystic Lord and Freedom’s Blade drew back and were dismayed that their ancient foe had created a race of mortals. They knew that they would need their own mortal race to hold the elves at bay, so went back to the islands of the Shattered Ocean and there sculpted the humans out of clay, breathing life into them from the Spark.
Even as the Mystic Lord and Freedom’s Blade traveled back to the Shattered Ocean, the Nightstalker and the Ravenous One came upon the borders of the Singing Forest. They sought refuge from their struggle with the other gods and the Enlightened Master allowed them to pass into his realm. As the humans were being sculpted, the gods who would be called the Radiant One, the Guarding Hunter, the Voidwatcher, and the Gate Warden stood vigil at the northern edges of the Enlightened Master’s realm.
As the race of humans awoke, they gazed in wonder at the world. Though being made of clay, their thoughts were ever malleable and divergent. Quickly, they began to quarrel amongst themselves, having disagreements of thought. Freedom’s Blade grew frustrated with their fighting but the Mystic Lord was patient and began to slowly teach the humans many things. At this time, the elves began to spread northwards from the Singing Forest, seeking to expand the realms of their Enlightened Master. The Guarding Hunter saw the elves advancing and the humans squabbling and knew that the four who stood vigil would need aid against the elves. The Guarding Hunter went to a stand of trees that were in the Veldt of the Sun and carved the wolfos race from them, making forms that ran on four legs to run swiftly across the land so that they could catch the elves, calling the Spark of Life into them with a mighty howl. Being made of wood, the wolfos have ever been hard and flexible in equal measures, fearsome at times yet nurturing at others, much as their creator god. At the sight of them running across the land and snarling, the elves halted their advance as each race determined the measure of the other.
At last, some of the humans united under the patience of the Mystic Lord and began traveling to reunite with the four who stood vigil. Freedom’s Blade took heart at seeing the humans finally united, and taught them much in the ways of battle on the journey.
After a while of taking the measure of the other, the elves and wolfos came together in battle between the Singing Forest and the place that is now known as the Silent Hills. The wolfos were swift of feet and strong of teeth, darting in for a bite and falling back before suffering retaliation. The elves wielded bows and weapons of wood and stone, fighting in ordered units under the guidance of the Enlightened Master. At a point in the battle, the wolfos pushed back the elves to the edge of the Singing Forest, howling in triumph, but the elves had feigned the retreat and had archers waiting in the trees that dealt a crushing blow to the wolfos forces. The elves then swiftly regained their ground and pushed the wolfos to the Silent Hills. All seemed almost lost, but at that moment the humans came over the hills and quickly took up arms to aid the wolfos. The wolfos rallied and with the aid of their new human allies, they stayed the advance of the elves. The elves retreated and made camp in the plains between the Singing Forest and the Silent Hills, while the wolfos and humans made their camp in the Silent Hills and watched the elf camp warily.
Now after the battle, the spirits of the fallen lingered in Daern and began to distort the world around them, clinging to the living and beginning to draw the life out of them. It is here that the Gate Warden got her name, for seeing this, she called out to the spirits and drew them to her. She created the realm of the dead and led them there, passing out of Daern. Ever since, she has dwelt in the place between the realm of the living and that of the dead, the gateway between worlds, finding the spirits of any who die and leading them beyond, returning their soul energy to the Spark of Life, so that the cycle of life and death on Daern could continue.
The Radiant One was moved by the valor of the humans. He deemed that such courage should be armed with more than wood and rock. From the ground, he pulled forth ores and showed the humans how to work them, crafting a gleaming blade that is said to have never lost its sharpness and to have glowed with the inner heat of the Radiant One. This blade was called Imaltheos and was given to a human who would become the most renowned smith in that age, later passed to the smith’s son, Aigonri, who would be a heroic commander of the human forces in later battles. The Radiant One showed the humans where they could find iron in the Silent Hills, so they began to mine it and make weapons. Unknown to them, elf spies brought word of this back to the realms of the Enlightened Master. The elves began working on crafting metal weapons, but without the help of the Radiant One, they were only as yet able to work bronze.
It is said that upon seeing the elves in battle, Freedom’s Blade was moved to deep sadness to see such beauty and strength be marred with such fear that comes from the tyranny of the one the elves call Enlightened Master. He therefore sought to create mortals with shapes akin to those of the Enlightened Master, but to fill them with joy instead of hate. In those days, there were deposits of gleaming obsidian in the Silent Hills, formed in the distant past, when only Daern, Edromyn, and Nostiarna were in the space that was Nothing. Freedom’s Blade crafted from these beautiful stones a new race of mortals, which were in appearance similar to the elves. The hill elves they were called in those times and to tell one from another in speech, the elves of the Singing Forest became known as the enlightened elves. Freedom’s Blade breathed the Spark of Life into them and they arose. Being made of obsidian, they were sharp and quick to learn the ways of battle that their creator taught them. The human smiths gave weapons to their new allies and the wolfos taught them to feel the flow of the wild.
In this time, the Enlightened Master saw the hill elves being made, and knew that his forces would soon be outnumbered by those of the five who had been the six before the Gate Warden passed out of Daern. He gathered to him his most learned and fearsome elves in the heart of the Singing Forest. There, the Enlightened Master showed them how they could tap into the energy that flows throughout Daern, even as the gods do, though their mortal minds and bodies could only move a fraction of the energy compared to the gods. Thus the mightiest of the enlightened elves learned the craft that we call Magic.
Now after the hill elves had been made and taught the ways of battle by Freedom’s Blade, the five called a meeting to determine the next course in the war against the Enlightened Master. One from each of the mortal races came before the Radiant One, the Guarding Hunter, Freedom’s Blade, the Voidwatcher, and the Mystic Lord. Aigonri the Steadfast of the humans, wielder of Imaltheos, a man who stood strongly, who could read the ebb and flow of the battlefield with his keen eyes. Ayu the Dread of the wolfos, a terrible she-beast, left with only one eye after the killing of many elves, and the maiming of countless others. Brannon the Fearless of the hill elves, who listened most closely to his creator’s teachings, eager to test his might against the foes of the five. After the five and the mortals held council for many hours, they decided on a course of attack. The humans would be the center of the attack, striking straight out from the Silent Hills, advancing and holding any ground that the army won. The wolfos would strike from the eastern flank and the hill elves from the western, moving the army forward. Aigonri considered the plan and then turned to the five, saying that the plan seemed sound, though that part of the army should be left to guard the humans and wolfos who had aged or been injured over time and those that were with child. Brannon stepped forth and said that some of the hill elves had been taught well in the ways of defense by their creator, Freedom’s Blade, and that they would gladly guard the camp. All agreed to this course of action and set forth to prepare their march.
After entering the realm of the Enlightened Master, the Nightstalker and the Ravenous One did not sit idle. The Nightstalker walked among the elves of the Singing Forest, seducing the most beautiful of them with wicked whispers and subtle powers. Many fell creatures were spawned as a result of his unions with the elves. The Nightstalker also took his favorite elves and tied their spirits to his, giving them immortal lives, but as the Nightstalker shunned the light of Edromyn and ever hungered in the black pit of his being, so too did those wretched elves.
The Ravenous One watched the elves and the Enlightened Master with jealousy, wishing that he had made something so beautiful. After the first great clash of the mortal races, he came to the battlefield, meaning to take some of the bodies of the fallen elves for study. There, he saw also some fallen wolfos and humans and was livid that others of the gods had also made mortal races. He craved to have his own mortal race to worship him. The Ravenous One picked up bodies of all the races and traveled into the foothills of the Eolas Mountains. There, he laid them out and studied them, attempting to determine how they had been made. The Ravenous One tried to make bodies for his own mortal race. Being envious of the forms of the other races, he tried to work the best aspects of each into his own creations, but with his impatient hands, all that he made crumbled and fell apart. Growing furious, the Ravenous One looked upon the bodies of the fallen and decided that if he could not make his own race, then he would use the bodies of the other races. Reaching beyond the bounds of Daern with his gruesome, twisted tentacles, the Ravenous One pulled soul energy from the Spark of Life and crammed it into the bodies of the fallen. They rose once more, but in a mockery of true life, for the Ravenous One had not the patience to shape the soul energy into spirits. They obeyed the will of their creator, though, so the Ravenous One was well pleased and thereafter whenever a skirmish between the mortal races occurred, he would later come and collect any bodies that had been left behind. He took his growing horde and began to carve out tunnels and chambers beneath the Eolas Mountains, making a realm for himself. At length, the Nightstalker and his ilk came to help the Ravenous One carve out his halls, for they much preferred the darkness of the deeps to the dappled shade beneath the trees. The deeds of the Nightstalker and the Ravenous One within the Singing Forest were as yet unknown to the Enlightened Master.
Once the warriors of the humans, wolfos, and hill elves were prepared, they sallied forth from the Silent Hills to march upon the realm of the Enlightened Master. Their war-horns, howls, and battle cries filled the sky. The enlightened elves gripped their weapons tighter, as their courage wavered a little. The Enlightened Master heard the clamor of the forces of the five and joined his elves at the edge of his realm, rallying them. The Nightstalker, rising from his lethargy, and the Ravenous One, eager for more mortal bodies to add to his horde, came also. The forces of the five began their assault. The humans met with the main force of enlightened elves on the field of battle, their iron and bronze weapons shining under the light of Edromyn, clanging at the crashing together of the armies. Aigonri held Imaltheos high and directed the forces of the five with a steady will. The wolfos darted in from the eastern flank, dodging the arrows of the elf bowmen, striking the enlightened elf force from the side, ensuring that none had a moment’s peace. Ayu the Dread, with a savage gleam in her one eye, took many more enlightened elves that day. The hill elves pushed forward on the western flank, trying to get around to the back of the enlightened elf force. They were fearsome warriors, wielding their iron weapons with ease, for Freedom’s Blade had taught them well how to fight, though he had not taught them formation and strategy, so they were soon outmaneuvered and forced to fight in small groups surrounded by enlightened elves. Brannon the Fearless was in the vanguard of the hill elf forces and fought with his group until they neared the edge of the Singing Forest. They reached a lull in the battlefield and saw ahead a group of enlightened elves standing oddly still, gesturing strangely as if in speech, and indeed soon, an odd chanting was heard from them by Brannon’s group. Suddenly, the space around Brannon and his fellow warriors burst into flame. The five were dismayed as they perceived the energy of the world being altered by mortals. The Enlightened Master laughed with delight and was glad that he had taught some of his elves the craft of magic. All but Brannon from that group of hill elves that faced the first battle magic on Daern perished in the flames. Brannon rose from the scorched earth and looked with blackened face towards the mages. Those elven mages struck again with more spells of fire and again, Brannon rose from the blast. The Nightstalker saw this relentless mortal and was intrigued. He strode forth from the forest and it is said that at that moment, Nostiarna covered Edromyn and night fell. Both armies seemed to pause and look to the scene. The Nightstalker unveiled his dark aura and was terrible to behold. He approached Brannon and offered him a place at his side, to dwell in his carved caverns as one of his chosen, to have immortality and perfection of form. It is here that Brannon earned the title Fearless, for he did not waver in the slightest at the sight of the Nightstalker’s full splendor, but instead replied to his offer, denouncing it, and saying that the Nightstalker was an ally of those who had killed his kin. Brannon the Fearless then struck out with his sword towards The Nightstalker. Freedom’s Blade cried out for Brannon and tried to reach him, struggling through the crowded battlefield. The Nightstalker lazily deflected Brannon’s blade, then plunged his own sword through Brannon’s belly with no more care than if he were squashing a insect. Brannon fell to the ground, gravely wounded, his life force bleeding out into the hungry ground. The battle resumed, the hill elves wailing in anguish for the loss of their most valiant captain. The small pockets of hill elves were soon overwhelmed and destroyed. Alarming was the wrath of Freedom’s Blade after seeing his finest creation carelessly cut down. He advanced towards the Nightstalker, unveiling his own aura as he did, knocking aside all who dared stand in his way. The winds rose behind him, blowing the embers of the fire that had burnt Brannon’s group into the western part of the Singing Forest, soon setting it ablaze. Freedom’s Blade, eyes burning with wrath, stood across from the Nightstalker, who unhurriedly wiped the blood of Brannon the Fearless from his sword.
Freedom’s Blade leapt to the attack with fury. The Nightstalker was taken aback by the ferocity of the onslaught and fell back slightly, barely blocking the blows of Freedom’s Blade. The Nightstalker found his footing and began his counterattack. The battle stopped around them again, as the mortals quailed in terror at the crashing blades of the gods. Freedom’s Blade and the Nightstalker were evenly matched, trading blows that shook the ground, as the fire spread behind them throughout the western part of the Singing Forest. The fury of Freedom’s Blade made him blind to all else but the Nightstalker and so he did not see that both the Enlightened Master and the Ravenous One drew near. The Enlightened Master began altering the flow of Daern’s energy, preparing a spell to strike Freedom’s Blade. They Mystic Lord saw this and, also being masterful in the ways of shaping Daern’s energy, countered the spell of the Enlightened Master. The Enlightened Master turned his attention to the Mystic Lord and they dueled with spells and magic as their weapons, rending the skies above the battlefield. Freedom’s Blade and the Nightstalker fought on, heedless of the others, as the attention of each was fixed on his opponent. The Ravenous One drew close and prepared to strike at Freedom’s Blade, but the Voidwatcher, seeing this from across the battlefield, bent time and space to stand suddenly before the Ravenous One, blocking his blow. The Ravenous One seethed in rage and saw that the Guarding Hunter and the Radiant One drew near as well, so fled back into the Singing Forest. The Enlightened Master and the Nightstalker, breaking from their fights, also retreated into the Singing Forest, as well as the enlightened elves. Freedom’s Blade would have pursued the Nightstalker in his wrath if not for the other four of the five holding him back, saying to him that it would be folly to enter the realm of the Enlightened Master, where his power was greatest. Freedom’s Blade looked around and saw that the human and wolfos forces had been greatly battered by the enlightened elf mages and were too weary to continue the attack. The battle rage of Freedom’s Blade then ebbed and he came to Brannon, who clung to life by the merest thread. With his dying breath, Brannon told Freedom’s Blade of the Nightstalker’s offer and that the Nightstalker had mentioned having his own realm of caverns, of which the forces of the five had before now not heard.
Freedom’s Blade brought the news of the realm of caverns before the others of the five and they held council. It was decided that the Guarding Hunter would speak with the animals of Daern and tell them to scout beyond the Singing Forest, to find the truth of this rumor of a realm of caverns and to return with their news to the five.
In this time, all the mortal races of Daern rested from their struggle, but remained vigilant at their borders, knowing that the war of the gods was not yet at an end. After seeing the mortal enlightened elves using magic, the five decided also to teach their races how to alter the flow of the energy of Daern. The Mystic Lord spoke at length to any who would listen, mostly humans and hill elves, about how to shape the energy into different forms. His most apt students soon learned to call fire and frost into being. The Guarding Hunter spoke of a subtler magic, tweaking the flow of energy only slightly to shape the weather or to cause plants to grow. The wolfos listened most eagerly to their creator along with a few hill elves, though the humans preferred the Mystic Lord’s teachings.
During the great battle, the Enlightened Master had also heard the Nightstalker’s offer to Brannon and the rumor of a realm of caverns. The Enlightened Master sent elves into the Eolas Mountains, to where he often seen the Nightstalker go, in order to search for these caverns. The elves soon found the dark deeps that the Nightstalker and Ravenous One had carved, along with many abominations that they had made, for the Nightstalker had tied many elves to his energy, turning them into creatures of the night, and the horde of the Ravenous One’s reanimated fallen was vast. The elf scouts returned to their Enlightened Master and told him of what they had found. The Enlightened master was angered by the corruption of his order and came to the Nightstalker and the Ravenous One. With menace in his voice, the Enlightened Master denounced his alliance with them and banished them from his realm. The Nightstalker, who had long grown bored of the Singing Forest, shrugged and said that he preferred the darkness of the deep anyways. The Ravenous One was spiteful, but held his mind, for he secretly feared the power of the Enlightened Master when in the Singing Forest. The Nightstalker and the Ravenous One departed the realms of the Enlightened Master and went to dwell in the caves they had carved, ever deepening them. In secret, the Ravenous One crept through the burnt ash of the western part of the Singing Forest, staying near the great western glacier, a towering cliff of ice, and came to the site of that terrible battle and collected more bodies of the fallen to be raised back in the darkness of his realm. He avoided the eyes of the enlightened elves, but a small songbird spotted him and followed him back to the deeps. The songbird was one of the Guarding Hunter’s scouts and brought its news back to the five, though it had not espied the abominations.
The five held council with Aigonri the Steadfast, Ayu the Dread, and a hill elf. It was decided that the realm of caves could not be allowed to stand unchallenged, for the five were concerned at what the three may do beneath the earth. It was decided that the scorched pass, the burnt land between the great western glacier and the Singing Forest, was too narrow and risky to take, for if the enlightened elves were to see the forces of the five there, the great western glacier would cut off any means of retreat should the battle go ill. So it was that the council decided to sail the Frostmelt Sea and by way of water, come behind the Enlightened Master’s realm. They aimed to hold onto the north as well, so planned to split their forces. Ayu the Dread said that most wolfos were wary of the water, as they were not adept at swimming long distances, and that the wolfos would be glad to stay and guard the Silent Hills and the Veldt of the Sun. The hill elf also volunteered to guard the Silent Hills, as those few hill elves left after the slaughter of the burning battle were inclined towards defense. The hill elves had also never recovered from the death of their greatest leader, Brannon the Fearless, and another aspect of their obsidian nature came to light, being hard and brittle, their thoughts more discordant than those of the humans when they were new-made, but being less malleable than the humans of clay, the hill elves were hard to reconcile, each fragment set in their ways, unyielding much as the enlightened elves. The sparse hill elves remained at their posts in the Silent Hills, but were never able to rally and would later fade out of Daern and into history, becoming known as the forgotten elves. Aigonri the Steadfast volunteered to command the human army that would travel south. The Guarding Hunter decided to stay in the north with his wolfos, as well as the Mystic Lord, who traveled back to the Shattered Ocean and began teaching magic to the descendants of the humans who had never left there. The Radiant One, the Voidwatcher, and Freedom’s Blade, who aimed to avenge Brannon the Fearless, would go south with Aigonri’s humans. They came to the shore of the Frosmelt Sea, built many ships, and set sail, keeping their distance from the coast, away from enlightened elf bows and magic.
After some time at sea, Aigonri’s army reached the shores beyond the Singing Forest and landed in the place that would later be the Tirim Desert, which was even in those times, hot compared to the climate of the north, though for now had rugged plants and hardy animals living in it. Scouts were sent out and a river was found to the north, across which was the southern edge of the Singing Forest. This river would later be called Luasempa, the broad border, for it is deep and has no place to ford along its whole length. Aigonri’s forces moved towards the Eolas Mountains, following the Luasempa, but not too nearly, for enlightened elves were spotted lurking in the trees across the river one day and over time, more were seen keeping watch. After much travel, Aigonri’s army came to another river, running from north to south, a little ways before the Eolas Mountains. This river would later be called Sutakhir, the river without end, for it flows for many miles, from the foothills of the Eolas Mountains all the way down to the Icebound Sea. The Sutakhir has many shallower places in its course, easy to cross. Aigonri sent scouts to the river banks and across the way, on what would later be called the Plains of Arasan, they saw strange figures moving in the distance. The scouts crossed the Sutakhir and drew closer to the figures. Upon drawing near, they were horrified to see humans, elves, and wolfos with rotting skin and dead eyes moving about the Plains of Arasan. The scouts had found some of the abominations of the Ravenous One. These creatures soon became aware of the scouts and let out a ragged cry, calling others of their ilk out of the foothills of the Eolas Mountains. A horde was soon after the scouts, who fled back to the Sutakhir, crossing in haste and calling Aigonri’s army to arms.
The humans picked up their swords and axes, Aigonri holding Imaltheos high, and made for the river. Upon reaching the Sutakhir, they found that many of the abominations had already crossed, though some still floundered in the water, struggling to cross in mindless hunger. The humans fell upon the abominations with weapons whirling. Many abominations were skewered through the heart or otherwise mortally wounded, but to their dismay, the humans soon found that the abominations fought on with unchecked ferocity until they had been chopped into a myriad of pieces. Even then, sometimes a severed arm or leg would still move, grasping or kicking at the human army. Many good men died that day. Clouds gathered as they fought, and soon a drenching rain fell, uncommon for the dry south. Soon enough, though, Aigonri rallied his men to him and adopted a more cautious pace. The abominations, having no minds or spirits, were oblivious to any tactics, and only scrabbled in rage to try to get to the humans. Aigonri and his men quickly dispatched all the abominations on the eastern bank of the Sutakhir and with bowmen covering them, began to make their way to the western shore carefully, for the waters of the Sutakhir ran swiftly with the rain and any who stumbled were washed away. Aigonri and his vanguard made it across and began clearing the shore. The clouds overhead darkened and the winds tore at the humans. Ahead, the Ravenous One and the Nightstalker appeared, for they had sensed the stirrings of the horde and had come to investigate. Upon seeing the small group of humans that had made it to the western shore, the Ravenous One felt a cruel joy, such easy prey for the slaughter. He used his fell magic to strengthen his abominations. The Nightstalker saw the gleaming Imaltheos and instantly desired it. He strode forward through the horde, a smirk on his face as he prepared to destroy Aigonri and take his blade. At the sight of the Ravenous One and the Nightstalker, many of the humans on the eastern shore of the Sutakhir lost their courage, fleeing into the east. There, they stayed, forgetting the war of the gods and wandering through the ragged land, even after it became to Tirim Desert. Aigonri saw some flee and saw his vanguard waver but he called out his old battle cry, telling the men to stand fast, stand together, and claim victory.
Freedom’s Blade, the Radiant, and the Voidwatcher were still on the eastern shore of the Sutakhir and had been using their magic to hold back the storm water of the river, making it possible, yet still dangerous to cross. Now, seeing the Ravenous One and the Nightstalker arrive, they let the river run free, holding on just long enough for the humans to get clear of the water. Freedom’s Blade, seeing the Nightstalker striding towards Aigonri, resolved that he would not let yet another mortal be slain by that cruel god. With a mighty leap, Freedom’s Blade crossed the Sutakhir, landing between Aigonri and the Nightstalker, drawing his blade while in the air. The Nightstalker drew his own blade and began to unveil his aura, darkening the air around him. Freedom’s Blade, calmer than in their last fight, circled his opponent, unveiling his own aura as he did, the air around him stirring and blowing. The horde of abominations pressed in on Aigonri and his vanguard, who now had no retreat with the full fury of the storm fed river behind them. Seeing this, the Radiant One strode into the river, his metal form standing against the might of the rushing water, he was soon submerged. While plodding across the river bottom, the Radiant One unveiled his aura and when he rose from the water on the western bank, it was as if Edromyn herself had dropped onto Daern and made herself three times brighter. The abominations hissed and wailed, scrabbling at their eyes, falling back in terror of the holy light. The Ravenous One grew angry, unveiling his own hideous aura, and ripped a great rift to the Spark of Life, feeding soul energy into his abominations, which grew strong and terrible, and feeding it also into his own form, which began to rot, regrow, and rot again in a quickening cycle. The Voidwatcher, slipping through space, stood suddenly before the Ravenous One. The Voidwatcher ordered the Ravenous One to close the rift to the Spark of Life, lest all the energy of Daern be burned up. The Ravenous One, eyes gleaming with madness and hunger, denied the Voidwatcher and began to devour more soul energy. The Voidwatchers pale, white eyes grew cold and he resolved to stop his brother’s madness. The Voidwatcher unveiled his aura and the rain and wind seemed to slow, struggling to move, as if wading through thick mud, stopping for a moment, then resuming their courses at a frenzied pace. The Voidwatcher drew his great-sword, which was as cold and as black as the Nothing, and struck repeatedly at his brother, all the while with cold calculation in his eyes. The Ravenous One tried to dodge the attacks, but moved at an agonizingly slow pace compared to the blur that was the Voidwatcher. The Radiant One smote the ground with his war-hammer, lending much courage to Aigonri and his vanguard, who fell upon the abominations with renewed vigor, cutting them down.
Freedom’s Blade and the Nightstalker were locked in furious battle, trading blows, each looking for a weakness in the others’ defense. At last, the Nightstalker’s gaze was drawn once again to Imaltheos, which he coveted, and since Aigonri stood next to the Radiant One, the holy light burned the Nightstalker’s eyes and he held up a hand to fend off the light. In that moment, Freedom’s Blade leapt forward and struck the Nightstalker with a mighty blow. The Nightstalker fell back from the advancing Freedom’s Blade, growing clumsy and taking more hits as he did. Looking around, the Nightstalker realized that the battle was lost, so fled towards the Eolas Mountains. The Ravenous One felt his power wilting under the Voidwatcher’s endless assault. With spite in his rotting heart, the Ravenous One at last severed the rift to the Spark of Life and ran for the Eolas Mountains.
The Radiant One, Freedom’s Blade, and the Voidwatcher, along with Aigonri and his vanguard, pursued the Nightstalker and the Ravenous One across what would later be the Plains of Arasan. The storm broke up and, it now being nighttime, the guides of Daern that roam the sky were seen above. The Nightstalker and the Ravenous One reached their realm of caverns and fled deep underground. The pursuers paused at the entrance to the caves, unsure of what other horrors lurked in the dark. Aigonri and his vanguard were tired and so made camp at the entrance to the deeps, keeping watchful eyes it. Nearby, a small stream flowed down from the mountain. The gods looked around at the ragged remnants of the human army and knew that their campaign in the south against the Enlightened Master could not be continued. They gathered together and with their combined magic, communed with the others of the five that had stayed in the north. The gods in the north reported that the Enlightened Master had made one more attempt to break out of the Singing Forest, but that the attack was feeble and easily crushed, for half of his forces were likely guarding the southern border, spread out and thin. After much debate, the Radiant One, the Guarding Hunter, Freedom’s Blade, the Voidwatcher, and the Mystic Lord decided to let their war on the Enlightened Master be at an end, for they had succeeded in quelling the spread of the enlightened elves and given other races a chance to thrive on Daern.
Now the Voidwatcher walked among the human camp. He saw Aigonri the Steadfast sitting a ways off on his own by the stream, staring into the distance. The Voidwatcher approached and asked Aigonri if everything was alright. Aigonri replied, speaking about the great toll the war had taken on him, for he was now weary and old after the battle of the burning forest in the north and the long southern campaign. Aigonri continued, saying that he had been glad to serve, doing his part for the gods of Daern, but that he was saddened by the thought that the generations to come would likely forget all his and his mens’ deeds, even if the gods remembered them. The Voidwatcher was moved by the words of Aigonri the Steadfast. The Voidwatcher said to Aigonri that as yet, he had not considered creating his own mortal race, for the resources of Daern were not limitless. The Voidwatcher went on to say that now he would like to make a mortal race, one that would be the great stewards of all history, but that to avoid his own competing with the other mortal races, the Voidwatcher said that he would like to make them dependent on another. The Voidwatcher, reaching into the stream and beginning to call upon the spark of life, told Aigonri that he would make his mortal race from water, for water is patient, able to wear down mountains in time, and water flows with the land, moving where it must, withstanding the tests of time. The Voidwatcher said to Aigonri that his mortal race would fill the bodies of other races, as water fills a vessel, washing away the mind and spirit of the other, and by the others’ death, new life would take form, and in this way the Voidwatcher’s mortal race would ever depend on the other races and Daern’s resources would endure. The Voidwatcher finished his call to the Spark of Life and pulled from the river his creation, a small creature with the potential to grow within and follow the form of another’s body. The Voidwatcher asked if Aigonri was ready to lay down his burdens and Aigonri replied that yes, he was, he had seen enough of war and was old and tired, and would be glad to know his passing would have more meaning than perishing in some bloody struggle. The Voidwatcher said that before he let his mortal race take Aigonri, he would gaze into Aigonri’s mind and record all the events of his life, so that they could be preserved for future generations. After doing this, the Voidwatcher put his mortal race into the weary old human. The spirit of Aigonri the Steadfast severed from his body and the Gate Warden appeared to him, showing him the way beyond, and new life grew from within Aigonri, following his form, but growing also similar in appearance to that of the Voidwatcher’s worldly form, with white eyes and undulating tentacles, and thus the first of the Illithid was made on Daern. The Voidwatcher taught his mortal race of Daern, often showing passages from the record of Aigonri’s life, then told his first Illithid that he would like his race to be the historians of Daern. Soon after, many others of the vanguard, being old and weary veterans of war, also gave themselves to the new race of Illithid and their memories were recorded.
Now, the Illithid got their first taste of battle, as the abominations of the Ravenous One rose up from the deeps. The Illithid, being able to read the energies in other beings that make up their memories, were shocked to find that the abominations had none. The Illithid pushed back the abominations into the deeps and like the humans before, paused at the dark entrance. They spoke at length amongst themselves, disturbed by the mindlessness of the abominations, for they feared that one day the abominations might rise in mass, slaughtering the other mortal races, and all memory would be washed from Daern by the thoughtless horde. The Illithid decided then to enter the dark opening into the realm of caverns, saying to the Voidwatcher that as historians, they would both write history and defend it from the evils lurking below, that they would be the Guard in the Deep, living in darkness to fend the world above from the evils below, to oppose the Nightstalker and the Ravenous One as well as their ilk, to preserve knowledge and spread it throughout Daern.
The Radiant One, seeing now that Daern had peace for the first time, headed south to the Teorann Range. He had as yet not made his own mortal race, for he did not want yet another race born into war. Now, though, the Radiant One felt that the time was right and so, directing the flow of the energy of Daern, he brought forth fire from the earth, creating Eadrom Casur to use as his greatest forge. This fiery mountain would, over time, change the climate of Daern, causing the lands to the north of it to dry out and become the Tirim Desert, the great western glacier to recede and carve out downs in its retreat, and the northern snows to melt and form the Riverlands. In time, the Guarding Hunter would go to the downs and the Riverlands and plant vast forests there. Now, the Radiant One took up his hammer and with great joy, crafted the bodies of his mortal race from metal, similar to his own worldly form. Calling upon the Spark of Life, he awoke his metal race, calling them Mechlan. Being made from metal, the Mechlan are a sturdy race, well built to withstand the ravages of time. Just as their form can grow warm under the light of Edromyn and cold under the shadow of Nostiarna, so too can the feelings of the Mechlan run hot and joyous, yet also icy and bitter. They share their creator’s love of crafting, and have always been the greatest artisans of Daern. When the need arises, the Mechlan are also fearsome warriors, though they prefer peace.
For much time, the Elders walked upon Daern, watching and teaching. The climate change happened and great forests were planted by the Guarding Hunter. The Mystic Lord shaped the flow of the energy of Daern in many ways, seeking to further push back the Bittercold. The Gate Warden continued to govern the cycle of life and death. The Voidwatcher gazed into time, pondering unknowable thoughts. The Radiant One crafted many great works upon his forge. Freedom’s Blade wandered across Daern, defending the lands from any evils that arose. The Enlightened Master, glad to have carved out his own piece of Daern, stepped back from the world, but still watched his borders warily, lest any try to seize his lands. The Nightstalker carved out a dark city in the realm of caves and dwelt there in sloth and greed. The Ravenous One gazed out from the Deep with pale eyes, filled with hate and envy of all the other gods.
Now it was that the five would hold councils from time to time and there they would decide on how to deal with any disasters that arose. During one of these councils, one from the mortal races came before them and spoke at length about his petty woes, beseeching the five to solve his problems.
The five said to him, “If you feel that these problems should be solved, you should solve them yourself.”
The one from the mortal races replied, “But you have always solved our problems before.”
The five considered and at length decided what they must do, so said, “Yes we have, in the infancy of your race, but now you are grown and must learn to take care of yourselves. For this reason, we shall step back from Daern and let you now govern the world. Fear not, for we do not forsake you, we shall always be watching.”
With that, the five shed their worldly forms and flowed out across Daern, watching the world but now letting the mortal races come into their own.