The Achaean Mythos

Below you'll find a lengthy account of the early days of Creation, a civil war between the Gods, the subsequent Chaos Wars, the after math, which would leave the universe forever changed.

Highly recommended reading!

Chapter List

Genesis

Past legend and lore, before memory and myth, Ayar, the Creator, willed into existence everything known and unknown. He saw fit to create not only diverse planets in this universe, but entirely separate planes, some with physical laws that differ radically from our own. At the last, he created the Elder Gods and the Aldar, to serve them. The Elder Gods he infused with a small, finite, portion of his own boundless power and gave them the gift of immortality. To the Aldar he gave great power exceeding that of virtually all beings save for the Gods.

Valnurana, Goddess of Dreams

Valnurana, Goddess of Dreams

Of the Elder Gods, there were a handful only: Aegis, the God of War. Thoth, whose realm is Death. Matsuhama, the skilled God of Combat. The calculating Prospero, God of Wealth. Vastar, Lord of the Skies. Aeon, who has some control over Time itself. Gaia, Goddess of Nature. Agatheis, God of the Elements. Shaitan, the feared Lord of Evil. Flighty Eros, patron of lovers everywhere. Gentle Scarlatti, God of the Arts. Caspian, who rules the Oceans. Miramar the Evenhanded, Goddess of Justice. Twilight, the mysterious God of Darkness. Lupus, the wild God of the Beasts. Lucretius, enigmatic God of Philosophy, Raclawice, patron Goddess of Rogues and Wanderers everywhere, and Valnurana, Goddess of Sleep and Dreaming. Taking no specific realm were Lorielan, Daedalus, and Khalas.

Though satisfied with the perfection of these expressions of his divine aspect, the Lord of Creation was haunted by a sense of emptiness. Over the aeons, he watched his creations interacting and experiencing the wonderful uncertainty of their lives. Ayar had none of this, for he was all that ever was and all that could be. There were no secrets for Ayar, no goals to be striven for. Ayar spent his time in endless contemplation of his own existence and, for reasons too foreign for we of limited existence to comprehend, grew bored.

He desired to experience his creation first-hand. He wanted to feel the soaring ecstasy and painful despair of those who possess something besides the certitude of total prescience. After a deep period of intense contemplation, Ayar split himself into two beings: Ayar and Proteus. Ayar intentionally limited the power of Proteus and was able to exclude Proteus' origins from the mighty God's mind. For the rest of the Elder Gods, he implanted false memories which deluded them into believing Proteus had always been their leader.

So it was that the Elder Gods were created to rule over creation and maintain order and balance. All were given power far beyond even that of the Aldar, but still, not infinite. Proteus was unquestioningly the most powerful of the Gods and ruled them by general consent. For his Queen and lover, Proteus took Lorielan, who was one of the most powerful Gods as well as being possessed of a devastating beauty and razor-sharp mind.

Thus, the ranks of Creation were complete. Ages came and went peacefully as the various planes developed. Some, like our own, grew to incredible size and complexity, while others remained small and relatively uniform. The Gods had the power of effortless planar travel while the Aldar were forced to exert considerable energy discovering and exploring these endless planes. The Gods spent their time exalting in their power and expanding their influence. The Aldar became masters of building and of magic and testaments to their ability may be found throughout the multiverse. It can be truthfully said, and I write this without any trace of heresy, but only a humble historian's drive for the truth, that the Gods grew complacent, while the Aldar did the work and learned about their surroundings.

The Prophecy and the Races

Phaestus, the Smith

Phaestus, the Smith

Still, there were flashes of creativity in the otherwise Cyrenaic aeons after the Creation. Proteus and Phaestus began experimenting with creating life forms, while Agatheis explored the mysteries of matter and energy in their myriad manifestations. During this period, Proteus and Phaestus created many animals, birds, insects and types of vegetation, populating the innumerable planets with life. Finally, they hit upon the secret of consciousness and created the Tsol'aa. Tall and lithe, the Tsol'aa chose to dwell in the forests of the world of Achaea, on the continent of Sapience.

Eventually, Phaestus too created a race called the Dwarves. The Dwarves were short, stocky creatures fond of metal, gem, and all products of the earth. Much to the consternation of Phaestus, his beloved Dwarves seemed to lack any sort of free will. Unable to make decisions for themselves, they were not much more than very complex machinery. Phaestus eventually found a solution to this, but we will return and tell this story later.

Ages came and went with the Tsol'aa building their forest homes, the dwarves, under the supervision of Phaestus building their mountain fortresses and the Gods and Aldar mastering more and more of Creation. Ayar looked down upon his work and was pleased. He enjoyed feeling the triumphs and travails of Proteus, with whom he was one and things were good.

After countless ages had passed, one single event took place that was to forever change Creation. As well as we may know, a being of incomprehensible structure entered Creation from somewhere outside and began wandering. Eventually, it encountered Maya, an Aldar of exceedingly pure and innocent soul. Horribly, it proceeded to rape Maya, who was residing on our planet, the favourite of the Aldar. Upon discovering her, lying prone in a state of shock, Dekalb, a prominent Aldar, began wailing in grief.

Ayar heard Dekalb's cries and grew angry. He struck out at this being, banishing it to places unknown to suffer in eternal torment for its sins. He erased all evidence that it had ever existed, save for its effect on Maya: she was pregnant with the child of this Unnamable Horror.

It was soon after this that the Aldar, Caymus, began to gain his current reputation as the greatest prophet in history. It was the Twin Prophecies (as they were later dubbed) that forever cemented his place in history. Caymus first predicted that at some point, Proteus would be overthrown as leader of the Gods and another would fill his place. Upon hearing this, many of the Gods called for his death, but Proteus declined, feeling that Caymus was simply expressing what he had seen with his gift, not advocating a rebellion. Caymus' second prophecy was that Maya would bear twins, and that these children would not be Aldar but would have the potential to someday rival them in power.

When Maya gave birth, it was indeed twins and they were distinctly not Aldar. Many of the Aldar and Gods, upon viewing these children, laughed and ridiculed Caymus, for they were pathetic, mewling, helpless things. Nevertheless, Proteus saw something special in them and ordered the Aldar to build for them a land called Ceylon, meaning 'Land of the Dawn.' Designed by the chief architect, Mantru and built with the sweat of many Aldar, Proteus then placed the city on the continent we now call Sapience and decreed that these 'humans' would inherit it. Further, he ordered that no Aldar was to exercise dominion over humanity without their consent. This upset many of the Aldar and made them resentful, as they considered this world theirs and the humans merely bastard children, fit only to serve.

The Seeds of War

In response to these decrees by Proteus, three factions of Aldar emerged. One, led by Han-Silnar was distinctly xenophobic in its attitude. Another, led by Han-Silnar's brother, Han-Tolneth, was also xenophobic, but had great respect for the Gods in general and Proteus in particular and so resolved to support and respect Proteus' decision. A third was led by Dekalb, who was known for his loyalty and humble manner before the Gods. This faction always argued for backing the decision of Proteus, feeling that he was able to perceive factors hidden from the Aldar.

It was soon after the split among the Aldar that the Elder God Khalas, often called the Wanderer, encountered the great demon prince Pazuzu in a remote and inhospitable plane. Pazuzu ruled over all airborne demons and was one of the members of a loose oligarchy of demon princes, all of whom wielded as much power as the Gods themselves while in their home planes (collectively known as the Inferno). Ayar, when he created them, limited the demon princes' ability to travel between planes to prevent them from raging across the multiverse in a conquering orgy of blood and fire.

Pazuzu, with honey-coated words, implied to Khalas that he would welcome and support any attempt to overthrow the current dominion that Proteus and the rest of the Elder Gods held over Creation. Khalas, one of Lorielan's favorites, knew that Lorielan coveted the power that Proteus possessed and felt that Caymus' prophecy predicted a successful coup on her part. On his return from the Inferno, Khalas informed Lorielan of the horrific yet boundless power of the demons that dwelt there. He saw an opportunity to harness the power of these new beings in an effort to throw off the tyrannical shackles of Proteus and his allies. Lorielan agreed, and they approached the third member of their eventual triumvirate, Agatheis.

Agatheis, who had not yet mastered elemental control, but was close, agreed to support their rebellion, but felt that more support was needed before they could muster the necessary forces to succeed. The three Elder Gods agreed to wait a few hundred years while they marshaled what forces they could.

Soon thereafter, Lorielan discovered the Crystal realms, inhabited by the Kx'Khrah. A race of crystalline beings, they were highly organised and very disciplined. Though weak individually, they possessed the relatively unique power to merge into vast and intricate composite beings. Through the control of wave resonance, these unique creatures were able to manipulate and harness the powers of sound and light.

Upon their first encounter with a other-planar being, Lorielan, they worshipped her immediately for they had never seen a being so soft and rounded. They could only conclude that the magnificent being before them was a God. Lorielan, as all Gods, had the ability to communicate with any intelligent or semi-intelligent being and was able to convince these diamond-edged people that a grave threat to the multiverse was approaching. She spoke to them of other planes both terrible and wonderful and of the fantastic diversity of Creation. She told them how the Creator, Ayar, created the universe with order in mind and that, perhaps, the Kx'Khrah represented the ultimate order and thus must carry out the will of Ayar, which she claimed to represent. With great eloquence, she bitterly spoke to them of the chaotic Proteus and how his tyranny threatened the very concept of an ordered universe. The Kx'Khrah were swayed by her words and were outraged by this Proteus, of whom they had never heard. They agreed that he must be stopped and began rallying for war, with Lorielan as their general and queen.

Lorielan

Lorielan with Kx'krah guards.

At about the same time, Agatheis had completed his experiments and had obtained the eagerly sought-after power of elemental control. Through this, he was able to contact the powerful leaders of the elements: Sllshya, the Great Ocean, Kkractle, the Eternal Fire, Whiirh, the Western Wind and Garash, the Immovable Mountain. These beings possessed completely foreign thought-patterns and their intentions and goals are to this day utterly unfathomable.. Despite this limitation, Agatheis was able to use his newfound control to force them into the Triumvirate's army. Though the Elemental Lords could not leave their respective planes, they were able collectively to increase Agatheis' power of elemental control to the point at which he could summon legions of elementals and command them to do his bidding.

Unbeknownst to Agatheis, Dekalb had also gained a certain degree of elemental control and was disturbed by the tremors he could perceive. It was clear to him - the stormclouds of rebellion were gathering. Approaching Daedalus, he cautiously told him what he knew and promised that the Aldar would always be known as true loyalists of the established order. Daedalus immediately opened contact with the other Elder Gods and informed them of Lorielan, Khalas, and Agatheis' approaching treachery. Some of the Gods, including Shaitan, Twilight, and Scarlatti did not care to involve themselves in a war, considering themselves above such petty conflict or, in the cases of Shaitan and Twilight, were unwilling to exert themselves for the sake of Gods who had often excluded them. Others, notably the warrior gods Aegis, Matsuhama and Thoth, were eager for the opportunities that a conflict of such epic proportions would inevitably bring. The general conclusion was that this unholy Triumvirate must be crushed lest all the realms of creations be torn asunder.

The Great Council

Though the Aldar were not as powerful as the Gods, there were many more of them and the Triumvirate knew that they must somehow gather Aldar support if their plan was to succeed. Khalas approached his student, Han-Silnar for support. The taste of resentment towards Proteus for giving Sapience to the humans still bitter in his mouth, Han-Silnar agreed to support his mentor. Han-Silnar assured the three Gods that he could convince the rest of the Aldar to support their side and called a Great Council; something only done twice before in history.

The gathering of the Aldar took seven years and was held in what is now called the Caves of Sorrow. During this time, there was much debate and it became evident that under no circumstances would Dekalb's faction participate in a rebellion and would, in fact, be likely to fight against one. Han-Tolneth's faction wanted nothing to do with either side in a rebellion and just wanted peace, to better continue their research and building. The arguments raged back and forth, waxing philosophic at times and descending to the level of base insult at others. Eventually however, Dekalb's virtue and moral certitude won the respect of all. Han-Silnar was forced to agree with Dekalb and vowed to support Proteus and the other Divinities.

The Triumverate Marshals

During the time of the Great Council, Agatheis, Khalas, and Lorielan continued to gather their forces. Agatheis, who was worshipped by the Rajamala, a race of tiger-people from the same plane but different planet as Sapience, joined with strike forces of fire and earth elementals to conquer and impress into service vast legions of the Nevaharr. Possessed of a humanoid upper-body and the lower body of a massive, six-legged lion, the Nevaharr resided on a planet in a plane much like ours and were very fearful of fire. The appearance of intelligent fire-beings, along with the Rajamala who made a practice of devouring their victims, caused the Nevaharr to surrendur quickly and unhappily join with these strange Gods in their revolt.

Khalas meanwhile encountered the Underworld, a plane populated solely by undead beings. Prince Slith, whose father ruled over the Underworld, was eager to fight against the hated deathgod Thoth and promised vast undead legions in support. His father, King Ugrach, was mightily displeased and cast Slith and his followers out of the Underworld, wanting nothing to do with a war in which Thoth himself would be involved. Mighty are the Powers of the Underworld, but mightier still is Death himself.

So, the Triumvirate had marshaled its forces and the Elder Gods did not know the magnitude or the composition of them. We turn again to the Aldar.

The Great Betrayal

After the Great Council, Dekalb and Han-Silnar reconvened the Council as a council of war. Han-Tolneth and his faction did not attend, for they wished to distance themselves from any conflict.

Aegis, the God of War

Aegis, the God of War

Before the council of war began, Han-Silnar advised that an anti-magic field be erected, to inhibit any magical surveillance of their council. A side-effect of this field would be that no one would be able to enter or leave the Caves of Sorrow until the field was taken down from within. Dekalb agreed, thinking it a sensible and wise suggestion and together they sealed the entrance. As a prayer was being said to Aegis, God of War, the Aldar were betrayed. Lorielan had conspired to slip some merged Kx'Khrah into the council of war under the guise of Han-Silnar faction members. These master wielders of sound and light were able to pose as perfect imitations, the real faction members lying slain by Lorielan's hand.

The disguised Kx'Khrah struck with immensely powerful beams of light, striking down many of the Aldar in Dekalb's faction. Han-Silnar was dumbfounded. Never entirely persuaded by Dekalb's assurances, he faltered and turned traitor to the Aldar. Han-Silnar truly believed that Lorielan was right and simply wanted time to persuade Dekalb to see the light of 'reason.' He had agreed with Lorielan that the other Aldar should be subdued and restrained for the duration of the war. Afterwards, they would soon, so Lorielan said, see the wisdom of Han-Silnar's decision as Lorielan's rule brought Creation into a new and enlightened age.

When he witnessed the Kx'Khrah striking down the opposing Aldar, he immediately realized that he had been doubly betrayed. Not only were Lorielan's crystal-beings killing Aldar, but they must have already assassinated most of his faction in order to infiltrate the Cave of Sorrow disguised as his comrades.

Outrage filled his mind and he screamed to his battlemaster, Yen-Sorte, an Aldar of legendary skill, to slay the Kx'Khrah. Immediately, the voice of Lorielan filled his head, telling him that he must go on, or she would subject him to an eternity of pain and suffering. It was at this moment that Han-Silnar realized he was no longer master of his own fate and was simply a pawn in a game beyond his understanding. He had only wanted to regain the Aldar their position as favorite children of the Gods and eliminate the bastard humans.

Yet, Han-Silnar had no choice. He could not directly contest with a God and could not face the prospect of being singled out for punishment by Lorielan. So, he quickly ordered Yen-Sorte and the other Aldar that followed him to slay Dekalb and company. The Kx'Khrah were, by this time, being overwhelmed by Dekalb's faction, as they erected barriers to prevent the deadly focused light from reaching them. Then, like a crazed demon, Yen-Sorte struck. A whirling frenzy of death, he cut down a score of Aldar on his way to Dekalb. Dekalb knew he was doomed, for all knew of Yen-Sorte's unparalleled ability. Nevertheless, Dekalb was also a fine fighter and few could match his prowess at sorcery. Conjuring a sword of pure piscine power, he bravely went to face Yen-Sorte. Within half a minute, Dekalb was bleeding from a myriad of wounds where Yen-Sorte's scimitar had sliced into him and suffering from a broken shoulder where Yen-Sorte's mace had smashed into it. It was over quickly after that and the rest of the Aldar, trying to escape, but prevented by the anti-magic field, were slaughtered like pigs. Daedalus, who felt the death of Dekalb but could not aid him due to the interference of Khalas and Agatheis wept, for the Great Betrayal (as it was so-named later) was also the first instance of murder among the Aldar.

The Gods March To War

The Gods were in dire straits at this point. They had counted on the support of the Aldar and they now realized that not only would they not have that support, but that the Triumvirate would have Aldar backing them instead. They also did not have much time, for the forces of the Triumvirate were already massing on a plane called Nishnatoba, which lies near to our own plane, in preparation for the destruction of the humans and the attack on Proteus and the other Elder Gods.

At this point, Proteus himself took a hand. Exercising his immense power, he transported all the varied forces of the Gods to Nishnatoba to meet the Triumvirate on the battlefield. This was a blow to the Triumvirate, for they felt their greatest advantage lay in the hundreds of years of preparation that the other Gods did not have.

Aegis was there with his legions of Horkval: well-trained insectoid warriors arranged in tight phalanxes, and armed with spears and shields. Prospero's merchant-lords had been out negotiating with the infamous mercenaries of Arn. Consisting of beings from many planes and planets, these forces were famous for their courage, their ferocity, and their absolute loyalty once paid for. The overlord of this army of mercenaries was an eight-foot tall powerful and craft warrior-lord of a previously unknown race, called Gruul. He traveled constantly surrounded by an elite guard called the Arcanians, composed solely of members of his race, none of whom spoke any language but their races' own.

Matsuhama brought the four-armed hordes of Scrula. Thoth was there with his snake-like Quisalis assassins. Phaestus, bargaining with Proteus, agreed to pledge his eternal loyalty in exchange for giving his beloved dwarves a soul. Proteus agreed and the dwarves marched to war. Daedalus arrived with the Qui'anar, the army of the Tsol'aa, mounted on various breeds of giant arachnids, with whom they telepathically bonded at birth. Proteus himself brought a legion of unicorns, pure but deadly fighters, who were also possessed of many defensive magics.

So, after hundreds of years of preparation and intrigue, the War of Humanity had begun. Making up the core of the Triumvirate's forces were the Aldar and the Kx'Khrah. Flanking them on either side were the Rajamala, fighting with short sword and whip and the vast numbers of the Nevaharr, armed with bows and longswords. In the rear, and ready to wreak havoc among the Gods' divine forces, was Prince Slith and his undead liches, vampires, wights, and a host of twisted undead entities too warped by the forces of chaos to bear any common name. Pazuzu and his enormous Inferno legions were held in reserve, unknown to the Elder Gods.

Aegis, supreme commander of the forces of the Elder Gods, ordered that his Horkval followers polish their shields to a shine and form into phalanxes to match the Kx'Khrah. The mercenaries of Prospero, equipped, naturally, with the best equipment that money could buy, including great catapults and other large missile weapons, were to first slaughter as many of the enemy from afar as possible and then, when the two armies clashed, to abandon the war machines and engage in close-quarters combat. The battle-ready hordes of Scrula were to flank around the western side of the Triumvirate army, where the Rajamala were, and engage them there, while the legion of unicorns was to attempt to stay the stampeding destruction of the Nevaharr.

Clash of the Titans

The forces thus laid out and prepared, battle commenced.

The war machines of the mercenaries of Arn caused much destruction amongst the opposing forces and were particularly deadly to the brittle Kx'Khrah. Nevertheless, the Kx'Khrah were present in uncountable numbers and the overall damage was not particularly large. Proteus' unicorns charged under the aerial cover of a stinging insect swarm sent by Lupus to distract and hinder the Nevaharr. The insects began stinging at the eyes of the Nevaharr and it looked like the eastern flank of the Triumvirate army might crumble as the unicorns began tearing into it. Agatheis, however, sent air elementals to blow away the insects and soon the vastly greater numbers of the Nevaharr began to prevail.

The phalanxes of the Horkval advanced towards the Kx'Khrah and sustained surprisingly little damage from the deadly lightbeams, due to their tight formation and polished shields. They were, unfortunately, countered by a group of Slith's ghosts that were sent in. The ghosts could pass through the shields and could paralyze with a touch. Furthermore, Agatheis was able to mar and scorch the shields of the Horkval with flame elementals, rendering them non-reflective and once again, vulnerable to the deadly lightbeams of the Kx'Khrah.

Seeing no advantage in retreat, Aegis ordered the legions of the Horkval and the hordes of Scrula to charge the enemy Kx'Khrah and Rajamala, feeling that the lightbeam long-range attacks of the Kx'Khrah would not be as useful close in. His strategy proved correct, as many of the melded Kx'Khrah were hacked apart into weaker pieces and quickly exterminated. The Rajamala were able to actually disarm many of the Scrula using their whips, but the Scrula were formidable in both armed and unarmed combat and it became apparent that this contest was evenly matched.

At this point, the Aldar, led by Han-Silnar and Yen-Sorte, took a hand and began weaving magic and skill in a pattern that began to systematically annihilate the Scrula and the Horkval.

Before more damage could be done, Aegis ordered all his forces to retreat and regroup. The Triumvirate did the same and as night fell, the first day of the War of Humanity drew to a close.

The days' battle had taken a much heavier toll on the Elder God's forces and things looked grim. The Horkval were greatly reduced as were the Scrula. The unicorns had managed to survive reasonably well as had the well-equipped mercenaries of Arn. The Qui'anar had suffered few casualties.

On the Triumvirate side, the Kx'Khrah were greatly weakened and considering total withdrawal, for they had not anticipated such massive losses. Many Nevaharr had been cut down by the unicorns and insects, but just as many unicorns, proportionately, had been cut down. The Scrula had suffered grave losses at the hands of the Rajamala, whose power had been dramatically magnified by the magical aid of the Aldar.

Many have wondered why the Elder Gods did not directly participate in the battle this first day despite the fact that their Triumvirate counterparts were taking a direct hand. The reason was simply that they were still trapped behind Lorielan and Khalas' magical field and had spent the entire day tearing down the barrier.

That night, Thoth's serpentine Quisalis assassins crept across the wastelands of Nishnatoba and performed their deadly trade upon the forces of the Triumvirate. In a triumph of stealth and deception, the massed forces of the Rajamala were murdered in their sleep. This was their greatest hour, for death was their pleasure and this was truly an orgy of blood. However, sleepless vampire guards, set by Slith, detected the Quisalis killers and, arousing the rest of the undead forces, began to steal their life forces and turn the Quisalis into undead. The Quisalis were wiped out that night and became martyrs; slain while worshipping their beloved God of Death.

False Hope

Dawn came.

Gaia, the Earthmother

Gaia, the Earthmother

Freed from the constraints of the magical barrier, the Elder Gods rushed forth onto the battlefield. Proteus and Daedalus absented themselves to search for Khalas, whose absence was suspicious and disturbing. Aegis sent forth the war machines of the Arn mercenaries. The Scrula and unicorns were turned upon the Nevaharr while the Qui'anar, who had not participated in the previous day's battle, were sent to fight the undead. Aiding the Qui'anar was Thoth himself, who was overcome with rage and grief at the loss of his heroic assassins. He drew on his own divine essence to amplify the lifeforce of the few remaining Qui'anar, granting them near-eternal lifespans and powerful resistance to the parasitic magics of the undead.

So, the Qui'anar advanced upon the undead, the unicorns charged the remaining Nevaharr and the Scrula and Horkval engaged the Aldar and remaining Kx'Khrah. The mercenaries of Arn and the dwarves were held as a harrying force and they circled behind the enemy to weaken their rear flanks. Matsuhama and Vastar strode into battle to assist in countering the Aldar. Matsuhama turned his anger towards Yen-Sorte, who he felt had betrayed him. Though skilled beyond all mortals, even Yen-Sorte could not stand against Matsuhama and soon fell. Vastar began hurling lightning and meteors about him, wounding and killing many Aldar.

Han-Silnar, seeing some of the most powerful Aldar being slain by Gods, called upon Agatheis and Lorielan for assistance. Lorielan strode out to meet Vastar in battle and the two were soon occupied in battle. Agatheis sent out forces of earth and fire elementals to slay his enemies, but Gaia was able to counter these with earthquakes and localized rainstorms. The Qui'anar were slaughtering the undead forces and banishing them to final rest. Prince Slith saw defeat at hand and the rage-filled form of Thoth in the distance. He retreated with his forces into the Ether, quitting the battlefield and preferring to try to reconcile his differences with his father rather than face Thoth. The dwarves and the mercenaries of Arn joined the diminishing Scrula against the Nevaharr while Phaestus, the Smith picked up his newly-forged Hammer and began laying waste to the Kx'Khrah.

Legions of the Inferno

Just as victory seemed assured for the Elder Gods, a portal opened high above the battlefield. In a blinding blast of azure light, out stepped Khalas, a triumphant look on his face, followed by the great winged Pazuzu and his flying Inferno legions. Stunned by these abominations the likes of which no mortal or God had imagined existed, Proteus, Daedalus, Aegis and the rest of the Gods ordered a retreat. As they were retreating, however, Pazuzu's legions swooped down for the attack. Flying nightmares of all kinds attacked the Qui'anar, the Horkval, the Scrula, the mercenaries of Arn, the dwarves, and the unicorns. Han-Silnar ordered his Aldar and the few remaining Nevaharr and Kx'Khrah forward while Agatheis and Lorielan combined their powers and brought legions of earth, air, fire, and water elementals to the battlefield. While Gaia, boosted by Vastar, who had retreated from the more powerful Lorielan, was able to counter many of these, she could not handle all of them.

The scene, then, was that the forces of the Elder Gods were retreating towards their massive encampment many miles away while the Kx'Khrah and Nevaharr that remained, along with Han-Silnar's remaining and still-powerful Aldar forces, legions of elementals controlled by Agatheis and the uncountable numbers of Pazuzu's demonic Inferno army attacked and began to decimate them.

Aegis ordered Prospero's still numerous mercenaries to hold the rear along with the Qui'anar and dwarves while the tired and weakened Scrula, Horkval and unicorns retreated. Proteus and Lucretius began to weave a barrier that would at least temporarily prevent the Triumvirate and Inferno forces from reaching them. However, as with the anti-magic field erected during the Aldar council of war, it also prevented the Gods themselves from leaving.

Twilight of the Gods?

As the shimmering dome formed over their heads, the Gods gathered to decide what to do. Outside, Lorielan, Agatheis, Khalas, Pazuzu, and Han-Silnar held counsel and decided to attempt to break down the barrier. As the Gods debated, the enemy threw attack after attack onto the magical dome of protection. Proteus stationed his unicorns around the dome and with their powerful defensive magic, they were able to strengthen it. It was, however, only a matter of time until the enemy broke through and both sides knew it. Pazuzu arranged some Ideryc winged demons resembling upright bears with six, evenly spaced eyes about their head, to observe while the rest of his forces screeched, dove, and taunted the Gods and their forces.

Days passed and the Triumvirate, Pazuzu, and Han-Silnar slowly wore the Gods down. Even Proteus began to tire, as the energy he was expending on the shield was great even for his almighty essence.. Despair overtook them and they began praying to Ayar for deliverance from their trials. Lorielan started to feel the ecstatic flush of victory while Pazuzu could be seen gloating with his arch-hierophant, the chaos lord Jy'Barrak Golgotha. Han-Silnar, though saddened by the murder of the other Aldar, was nevertheless feeling cautiously optimistic about his future, for Lorielan, Khalas, and Agatheis would doubtlessly elevate him above all other mortals for his role in the successful rebellion.

The prayers of the Gods continued, but there was no answer from Ayar. The demise of the Elder Gods seemed imminent as they lay impotent beneath the faltering dome barrier. The Triumvirate forces massed for one, final assault which they were sure would shatter the magical dome. Gigantic earth elementals began pounding on the dome, the few Kx'Khrah left massed into one being and focused on it a beam of pure light. The Aldar, Lorielan, and Khalas wove spells of disentanglement to weaken the dome. Pazuzu's Inferno army threw itself at the barrier, tearing apart the magical bindings that assured its cohesion. The unicorns that were massed around the interior perimeter began to fall to the ground, dead, one by one, as the force of the assault overwhelmed their defensive magics. The mortals within, the finest and bravest warriors in existence, began to break down into panic. It was not death they feared, for death was ever part of their daily existence, but the demon hordes of the Inferno, which were beyond any experience or expectation.

The dome was on the verge of collapse, and all within knew that within minutes the fabric of existence would be altered for eternity. Scarlatti began singing a sad lament, whilst Proteus thought about what had gone wrong. His grief was great for he felt that it was at least partially his fault that Creation was going to be destroyed. Further, his special relationship with Ayar (which he did not know the extent of) caused him to feel extremely guilty for he, as the leader of the Elder Gods, had failed the Creator. What was to become of them? Would this simply be the end of supposedly near-omnipotent beings? It is said that even the most courageous of the Gods wept that day, their reality almost over.

The Dragonmasters

Vastar, Lord of the Skies

Vastar, Lord of the Skies

Suddenly, an ear-shattering keening was heard over blood-stained Nishnatoba. All eyes turned skyward to witness a fantastic sight. Hundreds of huge winged serpents, what we now know as dragons, filled the sky. Of all colours and hues and varying in size from huge to enormous, they were the source of the keening. As they streaked towards the ground, it became apparent that upon each dragon's back was a rider. Both sides wondered what this event portended: their doom, their victory or a third, heretofore unknown group of contenders for the kingdom of Creation? As the dragon flight drew close, another detail became visible. The lead dragon, an incredible massive beast of opalescent white, was ridden by none other than Han-Tolneth. Every other dragon was ridden by one of Han-Tolneth's erstwhile faction of Aldar. Han-Tolneth had come at last. Fist raised, Han-Tolneth wheeled his dragon around and boomed a challenge to his brother, Han-Silnar.

The Gods, seeing their salvation at hand, quickly brought down the dome and attacked, concentrating first on Pazuzu's hordes. The dragons, their Aldar riders hurling magic and arrows, stormed at Han-Silnar's Aldar and unleashed their awesome weapons of firebreath and claws. The Horkval, Scrula, Qui'anar, Dwarves and mercenaries were filled with an incredible elation as their anticipated deaths were averted. Howling battlecries, they charged the Nevaharr and Kx'Khrah, quickly overrunning them and forcing them into a frenzied retreat. The Elder Gods were also furious at their humiliation and turned their anger on the Inferno hordes, and particularly Pazuzu. Matsuhama and Aegis raged out of the dome in a whirlwind of fury, decimating any foe that dared come near them. Gaia and Vastar threw their awesome energies at the elementals and Agatheis, forcing him into a retreat, while Proteus, Daedalus, Phaestus, Lupus, and Thoth went for Lorielan and Khalas. Prospero, Aeon, and Lucretius turned their attentions to assisting their mortal allies and they quickly exterminated every last Kx'Khrah and Nevaharr on the battlefield.

Soon, with all their mortal allies slain, most of the Aldar dead or dying, the Triumvirate was down to Agatheis, Lorielan, Khalas, and the still-massive forces of the Inferno. Matsuhama and Aegis had Pazuzu on the run, but he was not to get far. Some of the mounted Aldar cut off his escape and he set about fighting like a cornered rat, felling many dragons and Aldar before Matsuhama and Aegis could reach him and subdue him. Proteus, Daedalus, Lupus, and Thoth caught and beat Khalas to within an inch of his existence and Lorielan prudently surrendered under the threat of Phaestus' Hammer. Han-Silnar proved no match for his brother and he was on his knees, Han-Tolneth looking at him sadly. With the leaders of the rebellion captured and neutralized, it was an easy task to send the remaining demon hordes and Aldar to the beyond. Matsuhama and Thoth in particular set about this task with noteworthy enthusiasm.

The Tribunal

The rebellion was quashed and now certain questions had to be answered. A tribunal, headed by Miramar, the Evenhanded with Daedalus, Proteus, Phaestus and Han-Tolneth as members, was formed to decide the fates of the traitors and Pazuzu. Proteus advised that Ayar had spoken to him and decreed that he did not wish the destruction of any of the leaders. Still, punishment was not out of the question, for these rogue Gods had almost succeeded in a plan which would have devastated the order of Creation itself. Proteus, who had loved the woman Lorielan once was, advised that Lorielan be banished to the plane of the Kx'Khrah, where she could rule over them, but be limited from ever leaving that plane. Miramar decided that it was fitting that Khalas and Agatheis be forced to forever serve Proteus, the main object of their rebellion, in whatever context he chose, while Daedalus and Han-Tolneth advised that a fitting punishment for Han-Silnar would be eternal servitude to Lorielan, who would no doubt release her frustrations on him frequently.

Thus it was that Lorielan, along with Han-Silnar, was forever banished to the Crystal plane, where she rules over it still as the Jade Empress. To replace the now extinct unicorns, Agatheis was refashioned as one and had the majority of his power and intelligence stripped. Khalas was not destroyed, but imprisoned in a statue and placed on the continent of Sapience to forever remind people of the folly of rebellion against Proteus.

Pazuzu presented a more interesting question, for he was a being that the Elder Gods had never before encountered. He simply smirked during the tribunal and would reveal nothing of his intentions in this, save for cryptic remarks about those he answered to. This puzzled the Gods, for Pazuzu was a being of nearly God-like power and anyone that he answered to must surely rival or surpass the Gods. Proteus in particular was sure that he would have long-ago detected any being that approached or exceeded his own power, and he had not.

In the end, it was decided that the Gods would appeal to Ayar to create a plane to banish Pazuzu to and, at the insistence of Thoth, Slith and his undead forces too. Ayar consented to hear their appeal and Proteus presented their case. Ayar agreed and created the Plane of Chaos for Pazuzu and the undead. He further removed all planar travel capabilities from the inhabitants, ensuring that they would not be able to break out and cause more havoc.

An interesting side-note to these events was the effective creation of a new race, the Trolls. After the mercenaries of Arn had finished their contract, some, including their leader Gruul, decided to stay on Sapience. Though they died off in their natural lifespans, Gruul and some of his massive Arcanian bodyguards mated with adventurous human women, and their offspring began the race of Trolls.

Thus ended the War of Humanity which, though starting with Aldar hatred of humans, almost ended with the death of many of the Gods. This most pivotal event since creation itself would have consequences far-reaching and never-ending. It seemed that, for now at least, the trials and tribulations were over.

Chaos Rising

They were not.

Soon after the War was over, strange reports began to filter in from the far corners of Creation. Beings that no one was capable of understanding were appearing. More disturbing still, many similarities could be found between the Nameless One of whom Maya had vivid memories, and these new beings. The reports came more and more frequently and became more and more disturbing, carrying tales of the edges of Creation unraveling through the power of these beings.

As this attack on Creation itself grew and spread, the Gods once again marshaled their forces. This time, however, they all participated. Han-Tolneth and his Aldar were there, mounted on their Great Dragons. Some Gods fought personally while others, like Eros, Raclawice, and Scarlatti, did what they could to aid in this fight against Chaos itself, for by then, it was clear that the enemy was not part of the order of Creation and originated from outside. Scarlatti, and his followers wove highly structured music to combat the discord. It is said that our greatest arias are simply an attempt to mimic the music that Scarlatti wove during this time. Shaitan and Glacius came with the shadowy and feared Dreadlords. Proteus, Daedalus, Thoth, Vastar, Gaia, Aegis, Phaestus and Matsuhama personally fought against the enemy, driving it back to the fringes of Creation. Raclawice created pathways and byways to assist in the movement of forces. Caspian fought in the depths of the oceans of the worlds of Creation, calming the excessive storms that this chaos caused and forcing the tides back to natural patterns.

Nothing, however, could prepare the Gods and the Aldar for what would happen next. As they were meeting to discuss this disturbing new phenomenon and their progress in battling it, a rip in the fabric of Creation opened directly before them. All that could be seen through the rip were swirling lights and colours in no discernable pattern. Suddenly, two sections obtained the smallest sense of order, and immediately separated themselves from their surroundings. These beings we shall call Entropy and Discord, for they originate from a place where names have no meaning; where organized thought is not known and where the mortal mind would be rendered instantly insane were one unfortunate enough to experience it. Entropy and Discord came through the rip and immediately began an assault upon the Gods and Aldar, a vast collection of the most powerful beings known, outside the Creator.

Order From Entropy

Once again, the Gods themselves were under assault. This time, all of them, save for Lorielan, were present. As the Gods and the Aldar with their dragon steeds fought to force back the Chaos beings, the Chaos Lords re-doubled their assault. The Aldar began to die as their minds were overwhelmed by forces alien to Creation. Soon, only a handful were left and the Gods were in very real danger once again. Entering the mind of Proteus, Discord screamed a challenge and there began a combat, not of physical proportions, but of mental. Though Proteus was able to stave off the impending insanity that Discord promised, he was unable to call for help and soon Entropy joined in.

Ayar, watching the battle while undetectable, realized that his creations, including Proteus who was, after all, part of Ayar himself, were about to be destroyed. Though omnipotent, even Ayar could not see the future with absolute accuracy. At the time of Creation, he created two realms. One, the realm we know, was filled with a multitude of planes and universes, each with its own set of physical and immutable laws. The other was a realm of pure chaos and was anathema to Creation. None save Ayar himself are certain why he created this unholy twin, but some of humanity's more unorthodox philosophers speculate that our realm's existence is somehow dependent on the other.

Nevertheless, his plan began to fail when, somehow, the Unnamable Horror broke through into our plane and raped Maya. Humanity, the children of Maya, are the only race of beings, then, that are born of both Order and Chaos. It is this that Caymus saw when he predicted humanity's future greatness. It is the spark of Chaos within us that allows us the creativity and drive we possess. When Discord entered the mind of Proteus, Proteus became aware of all of the Chaos Lords' plans. He realized why Pazuzu had so much power. Sadly, Khalas was simply a pawn of Pazuzu, who was in turn merely a manifestation of Entropy and Discord. It was the energies released during the rebellion of Lorielan, Khalas, and Agatheis that had allowed this chaos to creep into the world. The entire War of Humanity had simply been a way for Discord and Entropy to gain a foothold in our existence.

The result of this was that all the Gods were forced to expend massive energies to try and drive back the Chaos, unwittingly allowing more of it to enter our multi-planar existence. Finally, Entropy and Discord were able to enter, imperiling all that we know. Ayar knew that he had to act quickly, or his creations would be destroyed. Appearing to all, he commanded Entropy and Discord to cease their assault. Ignoring Ayar (as he knew they would), they continued to crush Proteus and the other Gods. So, he was forced to cause Entropy and Discord to disperse across Creation, adding chaos to it. Why Entropy and Discord didn't plan for this, we do not know. Perhaps they were unable to fathom the concept of loyalty or affection and thus didn't see any reason why Ayar might step in. The Plane of Chaos, where Pazuzu, his surviving demons, Slith, and his undead forces were banished, received most of the dispersal, but everywhere in Creation, chaos increased.

Sarapis

sarapis - 1020

Sarapis, the Logos

Ayar, not wanting something like this to happen again, revealed the secret of Proteus' origins to Proteus himself and the rest of the gods. Having successfully experienced the sensations of defeat and challenge, he decided to recombine himself and Proteus. Overwhelmed by this news, Proteus resisted at first, but after Ayar had taken him aside and showed him the wonder and beauty that could be his, Proteus agreed. Ayar and Proteus were joined that day, before the assembly of Gods and Aldar, into a new being called Sarapis. Taking on the title of Logos, which means the creative will behind everything, Sarapis now rules Creation as the synthesis of omnipotent Ayar and noble Proteus.

Sarapis' first act was to create a new god to be the patron of those would seek chaos: Babel. Further, seeing the furor that resulted from the newly created Humanity, he elevated Maya to Godhood, in order for her to have the power to better look after her beloved children.

The Aftermath

The repercussions of the War of Humanity and the Chaos Wars (actually the same war, but given separate names before the truth was understood by human scholars) were numerous and manifold. First and foremost, the Gods felt that Han-Tolneth and the surviving Aldar deserved much for their timely discovery of dragons and their rescue of the Gods. Han-Tolneth, however, felt nothing but guilt for, in truth, had he and his Aldar supported Dekalb from the beginning, both the War of Humanity and the Chaos Wars could likely have been averted. Han-Silnar would almost surely have realized that he would have no chance of winning against Dekalb and Han-Tolneth and without an Aldar contingent, the Triumvirate would have never rebelled.

Most of the few surviving Aldar simply wanted to live out their remaining lives in peace. Before this however, they exerted their greatest effort yet and built, for the Gods, the Garden. An area of unsurpassed beauty, it is located at the top of the PIllars of Heaven mountains, and touches the mystical Yggdrasil - the great World Tree that travels through many planes of existence. They built the great Amphitheatre, favoured gathering place of the immortals. These and many more wonders are reserved for immortal eyes only and the Garden is said to be the most beautiful and tranquil place in Creation.

For their many services, the Aldar were granted solace on a plane created specially for them and most were never seen again. Han-Tolneth however, felt that his debt to the Gods was not dispensed and he, along with a handful of Aldar, begged to be allowed to serve the Gods for eternity. Thus were the Celani created with Han-Tolneth, known forevermore as the dragonmaster, at their forefront. Immortal and possessing power beyond any mortal, yet not gods, the Celani are the companions and servants of the Gods. In time, they would come to be worshipped as virtual Gods by humanity and they do, in fact, serve as Gods in some ways. With the advent of the Chaos in Creation, the Gods saw that things would change and grow far more quickly than before and that they would need help in overseeing their realms. So Matsuhama, for example, took on a Celani to oversee weaponry and another to oversee honour. Gaia has one to look after forests, to watch over the mountains, and so on.

And so it was that the ranks of Creation had survived their greatest challenge ever. Chaos had entered Creation and had produced offspring, humanity. The Gods themselves survived their challenge and the planes of existence had a new master. Sarapis took on Daedalus and Phaestus as his top lieutenants for their roles in the War, and life progressed for humanity and the other mortal races. History of course did not end here, and indeed this marks the real beginning of history for the mortal races, as they were now allowed to progress relatively unhindered by powers greater than them. Dwarf, Tsol'aa, Troll, Human, and a race we have not discussed, the Mhun, now will be the focus of history, but that, gentle reader, is another story for another time.

 

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