I. The First Mistake
Eons ago, in the aftermath of the War of Humanity, judgement was passed upon a rogue Aldar, and a sentence of unending servitude begun. Bound for eternity to the Goddess Lorielan, with She as much his prisoner as he Hers, the Aldar’s descent from truculence, to bitterness, to misery, depression, and a burning longing for a death denied by Logosian decree, was inevitable and absolute.
In the modern day, legends of the Aldar’s magnificence persist- their legacy of peerless craftsmanship, wonders of magic, marvels of science, technology, and tales of a golden age unmatched by any that followed was enough to rouse even the most cynical and jaded of adventurers to awe and fascination.
Eurice Al’Jafri was neither. Bewitched by stories of the Firstborn and driven by a desperation to advance her Psionic craft, she craved a living, breathing Aldar as a tutor. Unable to reach Han-Tolneth in the Parthren Gare, she instead travelled to Siorraidh, in search of the last remaining Aldar on the prime: the tortured, miserable figure of Han-Silnar.
Proving herself through a series of tests relayed through ancient forms of communication, Eurice’s excitement and interest rose to a fevered pitch as she contemplated grand designs, dreamed of wielding incredible power, and perhaps – if she let her mind wander far enough – fulfilling the ancient prophecy of Caymus himself.
Noticing the disturbances of her prisoner, the Jade Empress paid a personal visit to Eurice, warning her of Han-Silnar’s lone desire: for death, by any means, at any cost.
The Lady’s words were mirrored by the advice of the Dark Father, who counselled the importance of informed choices, and actions based on accurate information.
They would fall on deaf ears.
II. The Mace of Dawn Illoriel
Since its founding, the City of Hashan has rested above the remnants of an ancient star – a Protean star, said to contain a tithe of the very Creator’s power within its latent core. Mere trickles of that power have been set free upon the world in the art of Sublimation; vast reserves still lingered, deep beneath the earth, awaiting only a catalyst.
Twice the Dark Father attempted to create such a catalyst, and twice He failed. First ancient Noxtra, felled by the machinations of Slith then nascent Nurazar, too catastrophic and dangerous to survive in the heavens. And thus He sought something other: the star of a sun.
Countless relics were lost when Shallam sank beneath the waves, among them, an ornately inscribed silver mace, once held by the Priestess Dawn Illoriel: she who would later ascend as Mithraea.
Retrieved from the depths by persons unknown, the hallowed weapon was acquired by a mysterious man named Khedu and offered for sale to Targossas by his associate, a merchant of questionable integrity known as Aogail. Whether through scepticism or paucity, the Dawnspear refused to meet Aogail’s price, and the merchant disappeared into obscurity once more.
The fate of Dawn’s mace was unknown until the year 856, when Aogail reappeared on the streets of Hashan, ostensibly as part of a merchant contingent offering foliage samples for the in-progress Dicondron Academy science facility. In a quiet meeting of the Regency, the price was set and the mace traded hands. Atop the Obelisk of Darkness it sat, bound by magical enchantment as the priests of Twilight sought to unravel its power and turn it to their own purpose.
For years did the Order of Darkness toil to enact their plan: to empower themselves and wield the mace to command the eight-pointed constellation, the starry symbol of Mithraea Herself.
Han-Silnar, however, had other ideas.
III. Release the Hounds
Satisfied that she would serve as his instrument, Han-Silnar coaxed Eurice into visiting his grove in the ancient City of Nur. All the while, illusions of a young girl playing with a doll consumed her mind, strange clues left in the passing of each imaginary vision.
Following his clues without caution as she always had thus far, Eurice completed the pattern and broke the code, a gauntlet of magnificent craftsmanship and immense power manifesting within the abandoned atelier. The Aldar stroked her ego and fed her hubris, urging her to claim what he described as hers- to put it on, to take her turn, and while the young human woman attempted to ignore its beckoning urges, she found the temptation beyond her to resist.
Having donned the gauntlet and proceeded to her own version of a grove – the subterranean greenhouses in the Dicondron Academy, Eurice heeded Han-Silnar’s plea, turning the gauntlet around her wrist in an effort to invoke its power. Four times she did this, each attempt at the weave silently drawing her across the area, until she found herself atop the Obelisk of Darkness, aglow in power that was not hers, caught in a plan not of her making, wielding a weapon that was not of her weaving.
The Mace of Dawn resonated with the Aldar gauntlet, itself a Well of power borrowed from Saar-elan. As Eurice’s hands closed involuntarily about its handle, pillars of light soared into the heavens, while Eurice’s heart and stomach utterly sank.
Reduced to an observer in her own mind, the mocking voice of Han-Silnar at last revealed his deceit. The eight-pointed star came forth, called by Dawn’s holy weapon, and the Aldar wove Origination through his puppet, wielding the power to create in an act of destruction as the topmost star split free of its celestial brethren and began to fall.
Shouts of doom filled the air from a frenzied cleric while the loosed sun-star descended through the firmament, rapidly becoming supernova. Three worlds felt the passage of the heavenly body across their surface, all life incinerated in a momentary conflagration. Achaea would be the fourth.
Enraged by the premature calling of Mithraea’s constellation, the Dark God seized the weapon from the hands of Eurice and rallied His order to action in an attempt to salvage the disaster wrought by a bitter Aldar and his naive pawn. As one, the Darkwalkers convened atop the apex of the Dark Obelisk, divesting all their acquired power into Twilight’s twin hounds before expending decades of hoarded essence to raise Farrah Roualt as an Avatar of Darkness.
The Avatar, supported by the Dark Family, turned her eyes on the shadow hounds, Twilight’s most ancient servants, bringing them under her control. With a whispered command, the order to hunt was given, and twin shadows eclipsed even the light of the falling star as Daybreak and Nightfall sprinted into the heavens to give chase.
The Jaws of Night closed around the cascading radiance of the sun-star, devouring its light and consuming its fire, scattering its shards across the bleak landcsape of the Shadow Realm with each rapacious bite. Tirelessly the hounds feasted, until mere remnants of what once was the north star in the sun constellation remained. Exhausted, Daybreak and Nightfall retreated, a shower of meteoric shrapnel the herald of their departure to Athuin as the heavens returned to normal.
Shadows then boiled over the Shamtota Hills, the cowled figure of Twilight descending upon Siorraidh in search of Han-Silnar. Lorielan’s clarion tones rose to meet His whispered threat: the Aldar was beyond the reach of Darkness, taken to the Crystal Realm. His grand plan of death-by-deity had been thwarted, but so too had Twilight’s.
The Sundered Star now sits in Achaea’s heavens, irrevocably altered, as the Order of Darkness and the City of Hashan scramble to regather what was lost.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Through the machinations of Han-Silnar, Eurice Al’Jafri was deceived into using the star-forges of Creation to visit unimaginable destruction upon the world of Achaea. Tearing free the apex of the Mithraean constellation from its seat in the heavens, despite the efforts of Han-Tolneth and Sycaerunax the sun-turned-supernova began an inevitable descent.
Yet while the devastation was turned elsewhere before reaching the planet through the efforts of Twilight, the renegade Aldar known alternately as the Pawn, or the Condemned, found himself once more exiled to the Crystal Realm of the Jade Empress, Lorielan.