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Religion

The Beginning
Shaping & First War
The Old Gods
The Gods of Woe
Erdhon & Selene
The Death of Shorral
The Shards of Shorral
The Second War
The First Races
The Young Gods
The Young Races
The Wrath of the Gods
The Ban of the Gods
The Latter Gods

 

Religion
Mythology

In the Beginning

There was The One, the Creator, who was and is before all things.  In the Endless Void he dwelled, and he created first of all things the Celestial Host, beings of light and beauty, made of thought alone.  And they gathered about his throne and listened to The One as he spoke to them of Time and Matter.

"Now I will a great creation," he said unto them, "that shall be within Time, and its fulfillment."  And in the secret heart of each of the Host, he spoke a tiny portion of his design, for each understood best only that portion of the thought of The One from which he had sprung.  And each member of the Host saw in his mind that the world of which The One spoke contained within it that which he loved best, and desired that it might be made real, that he might go and dwell thither.

"I know your hearts," said The One.  "Now therefore verily will I give thee this thing which thou desirest for thy dwelling place."  And spoke, saying "Let this thing come to pass," and the world was created.  

And then he spoke further to them, of the future and the things which must come to pass in the created world.  He spoke of the mortal races to come, and of the struggles they would know.  But no word did he tell them of how the world would end, and this they still cannot see. And because of this news, all the more did much of the Host desire to enter into the world, wishing to see beings unlike themselves and to teach what they knew.

"Know ye now," he said to his Host, "that this world and all of time shall be bound up in the lives of you who go to dwell thither.  And while time lasts, ye shall be bound to it, never leaving while the world endures."  Then indeed many quailed and turned back from their desire, but many still desired to see this place, and among them were many of the mightiest of the Host.

Of the Shaping of Theeurth and the First War of the Gods

Then the Celestial Host entered into the kingdom of Theeurth, and became part of it, and it of them.  Chiefest among them were five great lords who stood far above their fellows in might and knowledge and the understanding of the design of The One.  And the names of these five were Malbor, Thandor, Roldein, Shorral and Calandra. 

Thandor turned his thought and will to the airs of Theeurth, for he delighted in their tumults and in the beasts of the air.  It was to water that Roldein turned, and the oceans roared in his voice.  Calandra took to the earth, and knew all things which crawled upon it or underneath it, and secret ways of mountain, field and valley were hers.  Shorral took up fire, for she saw in it the power of life and vitality.  

But the greatest of the five was Malbor, for he had a portion of the gifts of each of the others, and he understood more of the thought of The One than any of his siblings.  Of all the Celestial Host, Malbor alone had wandered far in the Endless Void, and there he learned much that was hidden from his brethren and, so he thought in his pride, from The One. 

As they who are called The Four sought to create a fitting home for themselves and the mortal races.  But Malbor was filled with a lust to possess all of Theeurth, and he told his brethren "I am eldest, and thou knowest that I see farthest of we five.  Therefore I shall be thy king, and order all things as shall seem fit to me!"

But the Four opposed him, and called to their sides many of the Host which had come with them.  Likewise did Malbor call to his side many of the greatest of the Host, for they had been corrupted by his desire and power, and these became the Infernal Host.  There was war, then, in the kingdom of Theeurth at the start.  Malbor and his host were bested, and withdrew.  For a time, the Four and the Celestial Host labored unopposed in the shaping of Theeurth.

Of the First Gods Born in Theeurth

Now when Theeurth was well-fashioned, and the Celestial Host rested, gathered about the halls of the Four, which were set on the hill of Meledrian in the midst of the land, Thandor took to wife Shorral, and Roldein was wedded to Calandra.  Of these unions came forth those whom the mortal races would worship as the main gods of the Pantheon. Each union gave rise to twins.  Shorral gave birth to Ilion and Valkrys, while Calandra gave birth to Artorius and Borlamnos.  

Now Ilion took most strongly to the restless nature of her parents, and delighted in new things, and became ever quickly impatient with the old. Her sister, gentle Valkrys is said to be the wisest of the gods, who sees most clearly the will of The One. 

Artorius grew quickly into a fine, strong warrior, and he strove with any who would oppose him, but for the love of valor, and not of conquest.  Though quick to anger and stern in war, he is ever foremost in opposition to all who would do evil.  Borlamnos grew in mind as his twin grew in body, and came to most deeply understand the nature of the forces with which The One had created the world.  Knowledge and Magic are his province.

Of the Birth of the Gods of Woe

For a time, all was peaceful. The old gods and the new lived among the Celestial Host at Meledrian amid the fairest portion of the world.  Their labors of creation were finished, and their stewardship over the mortal races had yet to begin.  Yet all was not well with the world.

In secret, Malbor had retreated to the dark caverns below the earth, where the Infernal Host raised up the fortress of Azhran.  In the pits of Azhran Malbor put forth his power into the greatest of his Infernal Host, until they were well nigh as powerful as he.  And these four he filled most with power: Drauluin, who is a spirit of hatred and rage, terrible master of violence and destruction; Caravok, the red maw, the endless all-consuming hunger; Andobulos, the bringer of plagues and madness; and Evaless, cunning mistress of evil who is the mother of monsters.

And in the pits of Azhran, Malbor lay with Evaless, and of their union came many unclean things and evil races which plague the earth to this day.

Of Erdhon and Selene

The gods lived in radiant splendor, and fiery Shorral burned with the pure flame of creation, her brow adorned with the gems of her sister's bounty, and she was beautiful to behold.  From afar, Malbor conceived a lust for her, for he had desired her always, though she had never returned his regard.  Therefore, Malbor put forth the arts he had learned of the Endless Void, and assumed the shape of Thandor, and coming to Shorral in the guise of her husband, freshly returned from wandering Theeurth, he lay with her, and got her with child.

Now when Thandor returned in truth, he soon learned of the ruse and perceived that the culprit could be none other than his old rival, Malbor, and his heart was hot with anger.  But before he could seek out the dread god, The One spoke in his heart, and cooled it.  "Will thou then murder thy brother, Thandor?" asked The One.  "For thou knowest this is against my express law.  Know, rather, that by this evil stroke has Malbor lain the seed of his own undoing, for the children born of this union shall be great indeed, but whether they be for their father or against him lies now in your hands."

Therefore, Thandor relented, and went not to war against Malbor, but swore instead that the children born of his beloved Shorral would be raised as his own.   And when the twins were born, they were a boy and a girl, named Erdhon and Selene. When they were born, Malbor sent to the gods a herald, saying "Thou hast sought to deny me my rightful throne.  Think not to despoil me of my progeny, lest ye be destroyed.  Give the twain unto my herald, who shall bear them to me, their father."

But Thandor sent back this message, bidding the herald "Speak thus to thy master in his dark halls.  'These children thou shalt not have.  No more claim have thee to these than thou hast to the throne of Theeurth.  For thou got them falsely in my name and likeness.  Therefore will I keep them, and raise them in my halls as my own.  Fear the day thou shalt see my foster-children, Malbor!"

Of the Death of Shorral

Then Malbor grew terrible in his wroth, and his form turned black and terrible, and smoke rose from where he trod.  He swore that he would punish the gods for daring to thwart him.

But Malbor feared to assault Meledrian, and instead sent many spies forth to watch the land.  They reported that from time to time Shorral and Thandor would go a little ways from Meledrian with the young Erdhon and Selene, where they might have peace and privacy. 

Thus it was that Malbor came upon them in his might, with many of his greatest servants. Black was his armor, a reflection of the Endless Void, and his black sword dripped oily smoke as he strode forth to war.  Thandor leapt up to protect his wife and children, but Drauluin leapt upon him, aided by Caravok, Andobulos and many of the Infernal Host, and they restrained him, though he lashed them with the winds and summoned a terrible storm.

Then Malbor strode to where Shorral hid her babes behind her back and in a loud voice demanded that she surrender to him his children.  "Thou hast served me well," he told her.  "But see now who is master!"

When he reached for the arm of Erdhon, Shorral cut at him with a sword which was made of her own fire, and it pierced his armor, and cut off his right hand.  Crying in anguish, the winds of Thandor howling around him, Malbor drove his sword through the breast of she who had fathered his own children.  There ended Shorral, first of the immortals to die.

Malbor then took Erdhon and Selene with him, leaving Thandor senseless upon the ground by the remains of his wife.

Of the Shards of Shorral

The death of one of the Celestial Host is not as the death of a mortal.  Still less when it is one of the greatest of the gods who has died.  For at her death, Shorral's spirit could not leave Theeurth.  She was bound to it, as The One had said.  Rather, her body burst forth in a multitude of brilliant shards, which flew across the firmament.  Many hang there still, and are the stars.  

Many other shards fell to earth.  The greatest and brightest of these became the immortal Fey.  The lesser sparks became hidden in mountain, field and sea, and it seemed to the Celestial Host that they burned out.

Of the Second War and the Exile of Malbor

Now the gods and all the Celestial Host were in their wroth, and Thandor not the least.  And they went to war against Malbor in all their strength.  In the deep places of the earth, the burnished spears of the Celestial Host battled the blood-soaked scythes and swords of their Infernal kin.  At last the gods stormed the deepest pit of Azhran and Artorius dragged forth Malbor in chains and led him before Thandor.

Mindful of the warning of The One, Thandor did not slay his enemy, but with the aid of all the gods, cast him and all his host into the Abyss, where Borlamnos sealed him with many arcane locks of unbreakable strength.  Then Thandor recovered his foster-children and returned with them to Meledrian.

Of the Origins of the First Races

The hours of the gods are not like the hours of mortal creatures, and though the Second War lasted but a little time as the gods counted it, the Fey had grown strong upon the earth.  But the ruin of the Second War unleashed upon the Fey terrible energies from which they could not escape.  Their bodies and minds were forever changed.  Some became the first dragons, who breathed the fire of Shorral.  Others became the giants and the treants of the wood.  Still others became spirits, and were fused with the rocks, trees, lakes and valleys, and live there still.

The least of the Fey were unable to change, and many perished.  Those that did not at first perish cried out, and were heard by gentle Valkrys, who had pity on them, and gave them bodies of flesh and blood.  Thus were born the elves, undying yet mortal, youngest of the first races.  

Of the Birth of the Young Gods

In the peace that followed the Exile of Malbor, there was much sorrow for the loss of Shorral, and the gods mourned for long years.  This sorrow was broken at last by the birth of new gods.  For Valkrys had wed Artorius, and of their union were born Agaleus, Omara and Mordhal.  Likewise, Ilion wed Borlamnos and bore him the twins Eristemus and Valendria.  

Agaleus was stern and serious, and grew into the lawgiver of the gods, and the judge of the dead.  Omara was kind and playful and worked ever to the betterment of her fellow gods.  She became the matron of home and hearth, patron of servants and service.  Mordhal delighted in the works of craft, and became the mightiest smith of Theeurth.

The children of Ilion were less serious than those of her sister.  Eristemus was filled with wanderlust like his mother.  He is the cleverest of the gods, and is the patron of travelers and merchants.  Golden Valendria is the most beautiful of all the dwellers in Theeurth, and is said to possess the radiance her grandmother Shorral had.  Valendria delights in all things creative and beautiful, and is the patron of beauty and the arts.

Likewise, young Erdhon and Selene were come into their own power.  Under the rough treatment at the hands of their father, and the wise counsel of Thandor, they had grown to be firm foes of the power and hatred of Malbor.  Erdhon blazed with the fiery power of his mother, and with the consent of Thandor mounted into the sky as the sun, and all the host of Malbor who saw his radiant face fled beneath the earth.  

But the elves too were dismayed, for they desired still to see the stars, which were the monuments to their lost ancestor, Shorral.  So Thandor convinced Erdhon to draw beneath the earth each day, and so proceed through the numberless caverns at the root of the world and then proceed again from the east.

Not willing that there should be a time when the servants of her dread father could walk upon the earth unnoticed, Selene too mounted into the sky, and became the Moon.  Her silver gear of war and the twenty-one white swans that draw her chariot over the night sky sheds a quiet, steady glow by which the mortal races might still see their way at night, but still see the stars, her mother.

Of the Origins of the Young Mortal Races

Those shards of Shorral that had fallen on Theeurth and not awakened into the Fey seemed to the Celestial Host to have been snuffed out, too weak to endure.  But this was not the case, for by the will of The One, they slept only.  And now, ages after the passing of the goddess of fire, they awoke in many secret places.  Those that struck the mountains and the deep places became the fathers of the dwarves.  Those which landed in hills and wooded places became the gnomes.  Those which landed in pleasant pastures became the halflings.  Yet there were those scattered throughout Theeurth, in desert, field and meadow, in wood and on hill, which became the humans.  And these were by far, and are still, the most numerous.

Of the Wrath of the Gods

More than ten thousand years ago, the legendary civilizations of Numanthaur and Iridian had risen to heights of power undreamed of today.  They had plumbed the depths of mortal knowledge, and traveled to realms far beyond Theeurth.  But their pride grew with their power until they considered themselves the equals of the gods. Despite the warnings and prophecies of the gods, one or both of these nations sought to challenge the very power of Heaven.

In one fragmentary legend, the Priest-King of Iridian used forbidden knowledge to unleash Malbor and the Infernal Host from the Abyss.  In response, the mages of Numanthaur launched an invasion of Heaven, and sought by means of powerful rituals to seize control of the gods themselves.  Another ancient tale says that priests of Malbor goaded the two nations into both trying to seize the power of the gods so that the other should not have it.

Whatever the truth of these legends, the result was a disaster that engulfed all of Theeurth, and nearly wiped out the mortal races altogether. The gods were far more powerful than even the wisest had imagined, and they threw down great mountains of fire which destroyed the cities of the ancient world, and cracked the very earth itself, causing great seas to swallow up the blaspheming mortals, and new lands to emerge from amidst the sea.  This, it is believed, is the origin of both the Hammersea (from the Hammer of the Gods which fell there) and the great Valesian Sea, as well as many other changes.

Another legend tells that all the gods and Celestial Host battled Malbor and his minions across the breadth of Theeurth, and that the Evil One was at last returned to the Abyss in chains, cursing his brethren for once again betraying their true lord.

The Ban of the Gods

After the destruction of the ancient world, it was decided by the gods that they themselves bore some responsibility for the hubris of their mortal charges.  They therefore agreed to remove themselves from the mortal world, and to cause Heaven to become a place apart.  Nevermore, save under the most serious of conditions and by mutual agreement, would the gods walk the earth in their own forms. 

Henceforth, the gods would act only through their mortal servants and divine messengers, and would take no direct action in the affairs of living mortals.

Of the Latter Gods

Daria is the daughter of Eristemus and Selene.  She was born to heal the mortal lands after the Wrath of the Gods, and she alone wanders the mortal plane unhindered by the ban, a wild hunter in the wild places. 

Though the gods have, through the long millennia, parented many children with mortals, only one has ever risen to the status of a god in his own right.  The great Iridian soldier-hero Fargalann was the son of Artorius and the mortal woman Velenė.  Through many battles and labors of skill and courage, he proved himself the greatest general of all time.  When he died, this demi-god was given an official place within the pantheon as the Marshall of the Celestial Host.

 

 
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