The Calendar of Niarand:
Not being Fate, their choices were never correct and they began to even doubt their hindsight. They eventually chose to not act at all and this disastrous choice led to the Darkling War and, many believe, allowed the Shadow King to arrive on Niarand. The weight of their burden led to them entering a trance-like sleep during the Darkling War. This burden also unhinged all of them to a certain extent, which perhaps explains some of their actions in the times preceding the Darkling War.
The Dragons seek sanctuary with the Elder Gods: The Elder Gods ceased their long argument as Sedah brought the Dragons into the Council and told them to make a choice. Either give aid now or watch the world die. The Elder Gods chose to debate this.
Gods created out of pure belief (rather sexist): It was only much later, when a group of Malthusians managed to actually "summon" their own god that people began to realise how right Malthus had been. A Necromancer decided to raise Malthus and the spirit revealed that gods were created out of belief -- at least in the beginning. It might be possible for it to go beyond belief if the supply becomes more than the demand, legend claims Malthus said, but that is not likely. Many now think Malthus was predicting the Two God.
Worship of the Two God first reported: Worship of the Two God is first verified during the Time of Many Gods as he was the god who banished the Elementals. No one pays much attention to this new deity yet though some of the Elder Gods notice that he is stronger than they would have expected for a god with so few followers. Since no other god has the strength, resources or reason to try and destroy his religion, they do not find out if it is possible. As the first of the created gods to declare the sexes equal, the Two God is thought a religion only for extremists or weaklings.
The One cries at the start of the First War
World of Niarand formed
The Unborn stride the world
Reptiles are born, followed by other animals
The Elder Gods arrive
Make the Halls of the Gods for Themselves
Nata and Morash chosen as their leaders
Arrival of the Lun Lion
Making of the Barrier
Farae first stride Niarand
Lun Lion create the Sonne
Law made forbidding marriage between Gods
Prophecy of mortal marrying a god
Elder Gods war over rulership
Lun Lion threaten the Elder Gods with Sonne
Elder Gods cease warring
Lun Lion hold a Gathering of Knowledge
Elder Gods get paranoid over Lun Lion plans
The Sonne given to Elder Gods
The Sonne is bound by all Elder Gods
Dragons arrive on Niarand
Greater Demons arrive on Niarand
Demons and Dragons begin to war
Animal "Gods" begin to fade
War between animals begins to break out
Elder Gods begin to doubt their control fate
Demons declare intent to eradicate Dragons
Dragons seek sanctuary with the Elder Gods
Demons kill an Elder God
Some Demons bound in the Old Woods
Birth of the Qshith and Valru
Arrival of the Elves
Qshith and Valru make war on the Farae
Gargoyles are created
Establishment of the Alias Empire
Farae defeated by Qshith and Valru
Farae flee world but leave Fairy Brew
Humans are born
Lun Lion leave Niarand's main reality
First rumours of Niand's existence begin
Aendar are first born
Reptiles begin to wage war on the other races
The Shadow King arrives on Niarand
The Dark Ones are bound
Death of the Reptiles and Moirae Parcae
Niand wakes and is beaten by the Elder Gods
Witches are hunted by their former allies
Elder Gods face off against the Shadow King
Elves fight Dark Ones; Fog Born are created
ShadowSouled first appear among the races
Demons try to destroy Old Woods
Demons imprisoned in the Barrier
Humans begin to increase in population
Healer named Malthus predicts need for Gods
Gods created out of pure belief
Elementals first created
Time of Many Gods
Birth of Shadron Jerduni
Worship of the Two God first reported
Rise of the Mage Smiths
The War of Land and Sky
The first non Lun Lion Druid is reported
Rise of the Half Gods
Half God War
Council of Powers
Two God is worshipped in the Alias Empire
The Darkling War begins*
End of the Darkling War*
The Tyrilda is destroyed
Adept War ends
Time of Ice
Hingari first scout out Niarand
Tricks of the Night
Evil Mages become common
Rise of the Empires
Tales of Doom
Coming of the Hingari
The FireLight War**
FireLight War ends
Terrin Starsight blames mages for that war
Alcar comes to Niarand
Spirit of Morolan Koth comes
Death of the Dancers
All Gods (except the Two God) begin to fade
Power of Prayer
Tisan Laroth comes to Niarand
The Awakening; Terrin Starsight dies.
Reptiles are reborn
Sundering of the Old
Gaya, an Elder God, weds Tokan.
Shadron Jerduni dies fighting Niand
The Aendar return and reamke the Tyrilda
The past becomes present; "lost" races return
Alias Empire finally Sundered
Talkani Empires becomes Vampires
Tokan Twins are born
The actual Innocents of Niarand Die
Seers die mysteriously while seeing a future
The Time of Terror begins
Xerath wields of the Winds of the World:
Tokan is killed by a Scarlet Strider
Zeric establishes trade with Valdridan
The Powers of the Oldest World hide from all
Tirien is hunted by Shadow Demons
Fog Born rebel against the Shadow King
Fog Born are destroyed
Returned races begin to interact with humans
The Elves mourn and call the Earth Magic
The Farae return
Elves face the Shadow King:
Farae face the Shadow King
Caigen begins to bring back necromancy
Qshith and Valru face the Shadow King
Humans try to free the Qshith and Valru
The Shadow King attacks the Lun Lion
The First Times die
Most Dragons are killed by the Dark Ones
Reptiles face the Shadow King
Shortlings are summoned to die
Returned Elder Gods begin to die
The Gargoyles die; magic become unstable
Lun Lion face the Shadow King
Dark Ones rebel against the Shadow King
Priests of the Two God perform Aabsolution
Absolution (finally) ends
Priests are killed by Children of the Shadows
Aesir Druids die in the proper manner for a Druid to perish
Necromancers born again
The Sacrifice of the Dead enacted
Lords of Light face the Shadow King
ArtIsts gather the Foes of the Shadow
Science Races return at the call of the ArtIsts
Alliance of Lingos faces the Shadow King
Mages perish killing Children of the Shadows
Many Aendar perish killing ShadowSouled
Secret of Hodge Podge revealed.
Fall of the Hyindril
The Darkest Secret is revealed
The Shadow King "dies"
The child of the Two God is reborn
The Holders Of Truth disband forever
Time of Tears
Death of the last of Elven blood
Redemption of the Druids
Niarand is renewed
Alias Empire refounded on ShadowHome
Time Mages are born again
The Open Eye Cult
Time of equal science and magic
Return of the Elementals
Time of the Failure of the Two Arts
The Statements begin to act
Light Home darkens
* Every Point before this in Niarand history is approximate as are all points up to and including the FireLight War since no one can say exactly when the Darkling War began or when it ended.
** The dates from here on are more specific due to better calendars and lack of Time Mages ruining the time stream.
The Events In A More Specific Manner:
Niarand has been around for a long time, exactly how long is unknown. Some claim that this world is a foundation in time and has always existed. Others think it is trapped in a special time warp so that it never dies, as all things are wont to do. Not even the Two God, the most powerful of the Gods, knows how old the world is since even he can only remember so much. What is known is that some of the First Gods, the Eldest, petitioned Fate and were given control of the fate of this world but the pressure of this responsibility and their lack of knowing how all the fates interact led them to constantly second guess themselves to the point where even their hind sight was faulty. Lacking Fates perspectives, they were unable -- or unwilling -- to see how the fates of the people and things meshed together and, in their desperate preoccupation with certain people and places, they lost control of the overall fate of the world so that they could no longer grasp what it was.
The Events of the world of Niarand:
The One Cries At The Start Of The First War: This is event is rather easy to understand given the history of Creation. Basically, when the One was forced to declare war on the None, It cried tears that tore holes into the fabric of creation itself. Some claim the tear that Niarand was formed from actually became it's sun and explains why life is possible in this area. It also explains why the world, as a part of the tear, is almost as old as the sun itself: they began at the same moment. This theory will be used for the rest of the text as it is the accepted, though by no means definite, theory on the sun and how it formed as well as how Niarand exists.
World Of Niarand Formed: How long it took the tear to coalesce into a star is unknown as is how long the part of the tear that became Niarand existed before forming itself into the world we now inhabit is unknown. What is accepted is that the world emerged from the dust around it slowly but surely as the sun began to arrange it into an Order with the magic the sun possessed. The sun simply wished for something to keep it from being so lonely in the unending darkness around it with no other stars for company.
Some Sages claim that Niarand is too far away from the sun to have been heated sufficiently for it to not be solid ice but others claim that the sun's magic is not bound by distance, much as thought isn't. Others claim that the sun was much brighter in the old days and one day will dwindle and die but they are mostly ignored. The last prominent theory is one that continually reoccurs and it is that Sun Callers (or Callers in general) are given their power by the sun and the are required to sacrifice either themselves or others (which theory is accepted is dependant on whether the society in question is for or against the Sun Callers) in order to retain their powers and this sacrifice, again depending on if one is for or against Sun Callers, either makes the sun stronger or weaker.
The Unborn Stride the World: A group of beings that simply created themselves are said to have walked Niarand. What happened to them and what they truly were and did (some say they created the Farae) is unknown. What little is known is very sparse indeed. They were said to be incredible shape shifters and could even turn into things that did not exist. If they died or faded from the world is also unknown but many legends claim that they could not die. The Unborn were legends among the animals when the Elder Gods came so their time on the world must have been very brief indeed. They are said to have created all forms of plant life on Niarand also but this, like all the other myths about them, has never been substantiated. Only the being known to most as Tirien can be shown as proof that they ever did live.
Tirien (Teer ee en): First truly active during the start of the Time of Terror, this being seems to be a human of the variety found in the God Lands but is in reality a shape shifter who may be better at shifting his form than even the Changeling. He can apparently assume any form and even create duplicates of himself. Any other power this being has besides shape shifting is unknown but his true form is so horrific to see that even the Shadow King would run away from it. This, as far as anyone knows, is not a power. He also has another form: that of a dragon made of pure light that is said to be beauty incarnate. He has memories of times pre-dating the Darkling War and some think he may be a descendent of -- or even one of -- the Unborn. Tirien can, in theory, change his shape to anything, from duplicates of himself to a castle to a star and even an entire world, if he so desired. He knows much and has been to practically every place on the world at one time or another. His largest problem is that his favourite form, that of a young man with grey eyes and white hair, may make some who have records of this form coming to their lands pause. Plants also seem to respond well to his presence.
Reptiles Are Born, Followed By Other Animals: After many centuries of absorbing the life granting energies of the sun and producing many varied plants, animals were first born on Niarand. The Reptiles, as was custom in the beginning of Creation, were formed first and given more awareness of things than the other species which soon began to flourish on the world of Niarand. These great and varied animals lived together in some semblance of order with the natural ways of predator and prey followed. Eventually, the animals began to develop a Heart-Soul for their own race (a minor God, for lack of a better word) that began to contact others and thus disputes between races did not reach war. Eventually, however, the children born later and later had less and less connection to the spirit and so the Heart-Spirit of all the Reptiles sent out a plea into the vast regions beyond the world for aid and, to the shock of every race and being, was answered.
The Elder Gods Arrive: No one knows how many of the Elder Gods originally arrived on Niarand but many place the number somewhere above fifty since the Elder Gods were heard to deplore that half their number had not survived after the Darkling War, though whether they didn't survive the Sleep or perished in that war is unknown. What is known is that the Elder Gods, the first and most powerful of all the Gods, answered the summons-plea of the Heart-Spirit of all reptiles and arrived to bring order to the world of Niarand. They petitioned fate for control of this minor world, and were granted this curse.
Make The Halls Of The Gods for Themselves: How long it took the Elder Gods to fashion these Halls is unknown as is their location. Some say these halls, a city in themselves, lie at the border between Niarand and the World of the Gods. What is known is that every Elder God made themselves a home within this city and also made other Halls within the city for meetings, dealing justice and whatnot. The halls, according to legend, originate from one central meeting place where even non-Gods and half-Elder Gods can meet the Elder Gods. To place this central Hall in perspective, there is one door into it for every race on Niarand, no matter the species or even if they are not permitted to enter. There are also separate doors for class and for states of being. Some of the Halls were closed off (such as the one belonging to the Unnamed) and have been lost to disuse. It is possible that characters could find their way into this city by finding the doorway to a lost Hall.
Nata And Morash Chosen As Their Leaders: The Elder Gods then choose Nata and Morash, the Elder Gods of land and sky to be their leaders for these Elder Gods, while fourth generation, held enough power to defeat any other single Elder God. The Unnamed got around this by being in at least two bodies at once so it didn't matter if they beat one since another was still possessed. The fact that they were the only Elder Gods to marry could have increased their strength even more.
Arrival Of The Lun Lion: The arrival of the eldest race to the world of Niarand angered the Elder Gods as few things have before or since. Apparently such an "invasion" was not what the Gods had in mind but they soon realised that they had no choice but to put up with the Lun Lion since this race was Innocence and could calm down some of the animosity that seemed to be occurring among the animal races. Note that the Lun Lion arrived along with few Elves (some say as little as one thousand) and no other Elves came to populate the world due to the next event in Niarand's history. The fact that the Elves, who should come to be the race and supersede the Lun Lion so the Lun Lion can leave the world and go to a different world, was not allowed to happen is a rift between the Elder Gods and the Lun Lion that has never healed. On this world, the Lun Lion never became lords of the Elves since they found no reason to justify rulership over a race that numbered so little. The Elves eventually went their own way and the Lun Lion remained on the world long enough that they are still remembered by the races. They even involve themselves in the affairs of the world on occasion and people born of their blood are not too rare.
Making Of The Barrier: The Barrier was made as a statement by the Elder Gods that Niarand was theirs. This barrier surrounds the sun, Niarand and the various other planets also orbiting this sun. Nothing can normally enter or leave the Barrier and even the World Walkers, who live to explore worlds, can not leave this world and, even though they have found a way to enter it, only one in a million of them survive the trip. Since this Barrier was made without the consent and approval of the Lun Lion it is not perfect and a way to breach it is possible. A certain number of World Walkers dying on the world may break it since their deaths fling their spirit into the Barrier and eventually weaken it to an extent. There is also a ritual known as the Opening that so far only Seers can perform. This effect kills the Seer but opens a doorway to other worlds and brings people to Niarand. There is also a Portal that is referred to as the Last Portal and can apparently bring things (objects for the most part) to Niarand. No way has been found to exit the barrier, however, and this may cause some problems with those brought to Niarand. The Lore Keepers have claimed to be able to exit Niarand for a time through the Last Portal but said that certain prohibitive strictures placed on them (such as not being able to speak about Niarand at all) make the trips rather pointless. Note that this claim has never been substantiated.
Farae First Stride Niarand: The race known as the Farae are the elemental forces incarnate. Each can be fire, land, water, rock or wind at will and can also be any combination of these with a thought. Combinations are often storms, lightning bolts and other natural powers. How they were created and what created them is unknown though the Unborn are often blamed for it. They are native to Niarand, however, and are very difficult to slay. The Farae may have been created as a side effect of the Barrier but so little is known about the barrier that this is pure conjecture. The very wildness of their power made them foes to the Elder Gods who felt that any random element in Niarand was detrimental to their being the fate of the world. The Farae, however, had the essence of the being known as Tiamrak as part of their nature and the perfection of Tiamrak gave them the ability to withstand the imperfect attacks of all other beings. Or, more simply, they had a ward against any killing attack by the Elder Gods.
Since the Farae rarely spoke to outsiders and were too powerful to be probed by any known method, knowledge of this race is lost to antiquity. What is known is that their first striding woke the Powers within the world and gave them meaning. The Farae also had a hand in the Creation of the human race but few know of this. They may have also aided the Dragons against the Demons or any other event before they left Niarand. They choose to remain in the background and rarely drew attention to themselves but worked through those with their blood and other beings in influencing the world, which is a good thing for the world since it can no longer bear their strength.
Tiamrak (Tie - am - rack): This being has always been active but it's creator (if any) and purpose remain a mystery to all which is well and good since that which is imperfect should never understand that which is perfect. The history of Tiamrak is unknown and unknowable. This being is the only perfect thing to exist within creation. and is said to be the father of Elementals for Elementals are truly One, unchanging and whole. They are as close to Tiamrak as most could ever hope to come. Tiamrak is one in the true sense of the word. She is self sustaining and requires nothing and expects nothing of others. As well, she is truly individual and has never changed since the day she came into the imperfection of creation. That Creation is imperfect does not bug her for Tiamrak finds it all the more interesting to study. The fact that it has been imprisoned in the Barrier has not come to it's attention as of yet and it is very likely that it could leave Niarand and return any time it wished. It's just has not grown bored yet. Some say that any being that can spends billenia examining the life span of a blade of grass down to what happens to it at the sub atomic level can never be bored.
Only Mages have been able to summon it and even among Mages Tiamrak is a fable for few Mages are whole enough to be able to summon it. Some say that Druids are whole enough to but no Druid has ever met or tried to summon this being. They have no reason to and would not wish to confront it and be beaten so badly that the Purpose of their existence is no longer possible to achieve. That much the Mages who have summoned it and failed know: Tiamrak steals a portion of the power of the failed summoned (about 25 to 50 percent) so that they can not attempt it again. No Aendar has tried since even the Higher Power might not be able to protect them from Tiamrak. Some of them even suspect that she is a part of the Higher Power.
Lun Lion Create The Sonne, A Truly Non-Living Being: In response to the threat the Farae could pose and in anger at the Barrier, the Lun Lion gathered in a place of power and bent the very laws of the worlds to make something that was not alive! The Sonne seems to be a vaguely horse shaped form standing about 16 hands tall and being a dark bay colour. This is just a faint corona around the darkness that lies within the Sonne. This being consumes the souls, hearts, minds, powers and often even the bodies of anything it comes near. The Sonne apparently thinks this will eventually give it life.
Once the Lun Lion realised what they had done in their foolish pride they attempted to destroy it only to find that nothing that lives, has lived or was made by a being that lives or has lived can kill it. In effect, they had screwed up royally. In desperation they awoke the magic on Niarand with a ruthlessness they have rarely displayed. This energy was sent into a Greater Magic so powerful it tore the magic itself apart and created DarkLight, FireLight and ShadowLight from the remains of the magic. This force was barely powerful enough to bind the Sonne and the Lun Lion stored it in a deep place within the heart of the world and their it was ordered to sleep until summoned. This was the first true Greater Magic and none others of this scale have ever been attempted since the magic could not support such an endeavour on its current, fractured state. Or, more simply, the mage casting the spell would die. Painfully.
The Elder Gods were well aware of this being but choose to not to destroy if for the god of destruction, Sedah, said that this . . . thing . . . would be of use in the future. Whether he saw it being used to defeat Niand or some other foe is unknown but he shared the details of his vision with none. Thus the Elder Gods choose to leave Sonne alone and since then, for fear it could hear them and come after them somehow, beings have always referred to it as the Moose (though the science races choose to call it Sherman). But the Elder Gods made the dangerous error of assuming that the Lun Lion were to afraid of their creation to use it, though how they had the naive idea that a race that created a being from pure anger would not do so again if they got that angry is unknown.
Unnamed Banished From The Councils Of The Elder Gods: The Elder God known as the Unnamed was first banished during this time. Said Elder God allowed its mental barriers to weaken when it tried probing the Sonne. Ranashok saw into the Unnamed's thoughts and was so horrified that all the Elder Gods received the thoughts in a surge of shock. After they recovered and sorted through the memories they decided to banish the Unnamed. They likely would have tried killing it but thought they needed their energy to deal with the newly created Sonne. Some Sages think that the Unnamed was angry at this and instigated the war against among the Elder Gods as revenge or due to shame at what they had read in its mind. There is no proof of this.
Law Made Forbidding Marriage Between The Gods: After having seen into the thoughts of the Unnamed and seeing how marriage led to wars among the first generation of Elder Gods that had faded long ago, the Elder Gods decided to pass a law forbidding marriage between themselves but, since Nata and Morash were already married, they were permitted to remain married -- none of the other gods were willing to defy them -- as long as they promised not to have any offspring (or not to have any more offspring since Sedah claimed to be their child) and would not engage in activities that would make other Elder Gods wish they were married when the other Gods were around of near and, as a result, marriage among the Elder Gods is now referred to as having a lasting relationship though only the Elder Gods Gaya and Moirae Parcae could claim a lasting relationship that endured until Moirae's death -- and beyond, according to some ancient legends.
Prophecy Of Mortal Marrying A God First Pronounced: Some say this prophecy was said by a God, others to the Gods by a Lun Lion to further increase the anger between the Gods and the Lun Lion. The more prevalent myth is that one of the Farae spoke it before an assemblage of the Elder Gods angering them by reciting it (thereby claiming their control of fate was imperfect) and by being able to enter the Hall of her own free will. It also seemed to be an outright mockery of the Gods declaration that none of them would marry. The exact prophetic words have been lost to the ravages of time but the basic tenant was that the mortal who married the gods would herald the downfall of the world. The gods rightly took this to mean their world and their control over it but mortals in ages hence thought it meant the destruction of Niarand and the very idea of marrying a god became a High Sin. In the Borderlands it was actually a higher crime than being a traitor to the races.
Elder Gods War Over Rulership, Idon-Nept Created: The Elder Gods began to have squabbles over which of them is truly worthy of rulership. Some of them claimed that Nata and Morash could not rule for they were married and already broke one of the laws of the Elder Gods. This was a sound argument except that the marriage had occurred before the law. All of the other reasons for this war were simply pride in the extreme, jealous fits and power gone awry. So few adequate explanations were given for this war that many suspect the Unnamed of causing it, though why has ever been uncertain.
The most horrifying circumstance during the war was when two Elder Gods, Idon and Nept, engaged in combat. Both were equally matched and angry with each other and so they "died" somehow and were merged into one being. This Idon-Nept God has many powers but is distrusted by the other Elder Gods for it could be the result that the Unnamed was hoping to get from the war and thus, even if unknowingly, serve the whims of the Unnamed. Some Elder Gods, also outcasts, side with Idon-Nept and others were against this new form of god so that some friction has developed -- and remained -- within the Council of the Elder Gods. This friction has never lessened and will likely always exist so that the Elder Gods can never work truly in concert any longer. That may have been the actual goal of the Unnamed all along . . .
Lun Lion Threaten The Elder Gods With The Sonne: This event is rather self explanatory but will be explained anyway. The Lun Lion were horrified by the war among the Elder Gods and the impact it could have on the fate of the world. Realising that they, alone, could not defeat the Gods they rewoke the Sonne from it's prison for a small time (since magic had been fractured by the making of the prison the binding itself had some fractures in it). The non-living thing that is the Sonne absorbed two Elder Gods before even the gods realised that they could not defeat it. They then choose the better part of valour, discretion, and asked the Lun Lion to stop it. The Lun Lion said they would stop the Sonne if the Elder Gods ceased their mad war.
Elder Gods Cease Warring: Needless to say, the Elder Gods didn't deliberate long. The war was ended with Nata and Morash still the leaders of the Elder Gods, many gods hurt and many sorrows began. The Elder Gods then began to wonder that if the Lun Lion would use it once then they could use it again. They began to fear the amount of power the Lun Lion had when the used the Sonne.
Lun Lion Hold A Gathering Of Knowledge: The Lun Lion were well aware of this fear and held a Gathering of Knowledge to decide the fate of the Sonne, the world, the Elder Gods and their own race (in no particular order). They sacrificed many wondrous objects and knowledge in hopes of learning the future. What they learned then no other race was told but many events in the future have been halted by this race for its own purposes and designs. Whether they aid or abet the future they saw is unknown but suffice to say certain parts of the future -- like the Dark Ones -- must have been unknown to them or they are made of sterner stuff than any other race to ever exist.
Elder Gods Get Paranoid Over Lun Lion Plans: Obviously, after seeing the Lun Lion end their nice little spat, the Elder Gods got nervous over that race having any kind of meeting. They began to spy on the Lun Lion and try to ferret out the plans of those in the Gathering. Whether the Lun Lion sensed the intrusion, saw it in the future during the Gathering or were alerted by an Elder God that they were being spied on is unknown. What is known is that the Lun Lion decided they needed to calm the Gods (and likely get some peace and quiet) so they approached the Elder Gods with a gift, the Sonne itself.
The Sonne Given To Elder Gods To Placate Them: Why the Lun Lion decided to give so powerful a being as the Sonne away is unclear. Some say they saw their shield fading in the future and It escaping to kill them all but the more logical explanation is that they felt the need to placate the Elder Gods. Needless to say, the Elder Gods were rather shocked at this gift since fear of the Sonne was at the root of their fear of the Lun Lion. They choose to accept it on the condition that they be allowed to bind it in some place where it would not get free. The Elder Gods found the Lun Lion acceptance of this so quickly rather puzzling.
The Sonne is bound by all the Elder Gods working together: It did not take Nata and Morash long to discover that all the Elder Gods would be needed to bind such a being. Even the Unnamed readily agreed to join in this binding, for even it feared the Sonne. Nata and Morash then summoned up the spirits of all the Elder Gods slain to date and turned them into the physical prison for the Sonne. The Unnamed then suggested a location for then prison and, since the only disagreement with this plan was that the Unnamed had thought it up, the place that was to become Janeel was chosen as the site of the prison.
Dragons arrive on Niarand: Exactly how the Dragons reached this world is unknown. They claim to not have had to pass through the Barrier at all but came from some other land. Indeed, they have memories of other times and even the Lun Lion can not say from whence those thoughts come. The Dragons also have more . . . presence and more individuality and more power than the Dragons on most worlds. The Dragons speak little of the "Time Before" but whether this is because they know little of it or because they refuse to is unknown, even among the Dragon Mages.
Greater Demons arrive on Niarand: Soon after the arrival of the Dragons, the first Demons reach Niarand. They claim to have been hunting the Dragons for committing some nefarious crime and also claim to have come from the same place as the Dragons. They are as secretive about this place as Dragons and any Wizard demanding information about them will find his or her hold over the Demon abruptly broken and they will become lunch. This dissuades many from pressing the issue. The actual reason the Demons came is unknown but from their actions, one assumes that it was simply to control and/or kill the Dragons. The Demons soon began to make their own strongholds, well away from the Farae and Lun Lion, but often picked areas close to the Dragons and this led to territorial squabbling. Being greater in number, the Greater Demons began to slowly win and eventually the Dragons were forced to declare an all out war.
Demons and Dragons begin to war: This war was one of the most all-encompassing Niarand had yet seen. No other species joined it but the amount -- and kinds -- of Power unleashed by the combatants devastated whole eco-systems and exterminated many species. The loss of these species began to weaken the Heart-Souls of the animal races, their Gods if you will, and the effort of maintaining the balance of predator and prey that had been so disturbed kept all the Elder Gods occupied.
Animal Gods begin to fade: The Heart-Souls of the species, already far removed from the generations that had been close to them and with few linked to them at all, began to gradually weaken during the course of the Demon and Dragon war. The Heart-Souls chose to side with the Dragons since the Dragons were genuinely disturbed by the amount of damage they were being "forced" to cause. Yet the Dragons had no choice for if they only killed one Greater Demon each they would lose the war. Thus they had to have mighty battles to kill as many Demons as they could and this led to deaths among the Heart-Souls of the animals. To survive and ensure the survival of their allies (for the Demons would kill the pesky animals next without a thought) the Dragons were forced to help kill the very beings that they were protecting.
War between animals begins to break out: With the demise of the species balance so long cultivated by the Elder Gods and the weakness of the Heart-Souls, the animals broke free of the restraints placed upon them and began to war among themselves. The attrition rate increased astronomically as the combined forces of the animals fighting and the Demons and Dragons killing each other and the animals to boot led to the destruction of some of the oldest woods on Niarand. Even the Powers of the forests were no match for this combined effect and the wars began to eat at the very essence of these Powers, causing even more woods to fall due to inadequate protectors.
Elder Gods begin to doubt their control of Niarand's fate: As the fires of war burned their way across the land, searing the heart and soul of many, the Elder Gods had council. Some maintained that holding to their current course of action they would eventually outlast the combatants while others thought that by employing the portion of their power that was the worlds fate they could command the war to end. One of the outcast Elder Gods, whose powers and ranking was unknown, then spoke up. As God of Destruction and Loss, Sedah had gained much power from the war and was able to use this new gained respect to survive his declaration. He told the other Elder Gods that their control of the worlds fate was abominable and that the war could not be stopped by force unless they had a reason beyond their own petty goals. The other Elder Gods wanted to lynch him but Nata and Morash told them to desist and asked Sedah what his advice was. He suggested letting the world run its own course and giving the denizens their own fate. This was vetoed even as he said it. Smiling ruefully, Sedah said then that their recourse was to wait and let chance take a hand in the war. Most of the Elder Gods were horrified at the idea that chance could exist and Sedah then asked them what the war was.
"Did you fools create this mess? Is it some party you devised? I think not. Do not try to blame the Unnamed who has been banished from this Council for causing this for by calling him stronger than us all you mock yourself greater than you should -- but not by much. Chance exists and has a hand in this world as it does in every other world and if you won't believe that then you deserve what will come to you in the End. Fate does not act, it reacts and changed its plans accordingly. If you act first then you make fate something not even Fate itself can do. React or be doomed."
With that he left the Council meeting altogether. The uproar that followed stopped the Council from acting since they were too busy debating so that they, in a sense, had no choice but to react to what followed. Sedah is often hailed as the patron of diplomats and politicians.
Demons declare intent to perform genocide on Dragons: Winning the war due to sheer numbers -- and a fair bit of ruthlessness on the side -- the Greater Demons chose to declare their Intent of the war. They decided to obliterate the Dragons to the very last unborn dragonet. Realising that the result of such a genocidal war would ruin the world, the Dragons met to consider their options. Desperate for a way to end the war without getting rid of all life on the world save the Farae, the Dragons appealed to the Elder Gods for aid since the Farae were already dying in numerous quantities to hold their own lands.
Demons call Dragons cowards and kill an Elder God: The Demons, not waiting for such a decision, chose to take matters into their own claws and attacked the Dragons. One of the Elder Gods, a Healer who could raise the dead, was trying to help wounded Dragons when the Demons arrived. They slew this Elder God, Kevain, who was in the process of killing the Dragons too weak to be healed and was going to raise them later with less energy cost. The Demons slew all the Dragons in the healing area and then employed some Art long forgotten to them. This was almost the last Magic they retained from the time before they arrived. Kevain was killed and the Elder Gods reacted to this and slew many Greater Demons. The Demons then laughed, claiming that they were too many for the Elder Gods to kill and would just kill off the Elder Gods in revenge for any deaths inflicted upon demon kind. The Elder Gods then gathered their Power, made mightier by waiting instead of acting and unleashed a Binding so potent that no Greater Demon ever broke from it, even with the aid of other demons.
Some of the Demons bound in the Old Woods to guard them: Fully as quarter of the Greater Demons were bound to the Woods on the world, as guardians against any foe, including other demons. The remaining Greater Demons could not continue their war since they could not kill all of their kind and the remaining Dragons. They then made the foolish decision to try anyway and the Elder Gods gathered enough power to sunder whole continents and imprisoned all demons within the Barrier around Niarand. Only magic could free the demons and with the magic fractured such a use would be impossible. Until the Wizards began to discover how to summon them, the Demons remained held and such is the strength of their prison that even the mightiest Wizards have not been able to break it. Only the advent of the Time of Terror and the power the Shadow King wielded then enabled It to break this barrier and the Demons were never what they once were regardless. The time of their true power had passed while that of the Dragons had not yet come.
Birth of the Qshith and Valru: Some claim that since the Qshith are magic that the Demons had a hand in creating these races since they led to Wizards and freedom for some Greater Demons. The Qshith and Valru are the creations of the Farae and the result of Farae mating with the Powers. The Qshith are magic and their very presence slowly heals the fractured energy destroyed by the Lun Lion. These people stand 2 to 3 feet tall, around 40 pounds and have the most beautiful golden skin many ever see. Like the Valru, they have no hair but their flashing eyes and the Power that they wield when young made them a great force on Niarand for a long time and their blood burns brightly in the Mages. The Valru have grey-black skin, are around 5 feet in height, are often overweight and have colourless glowing white eyes. They are psychic power incarnate and breaching their minds is practically impossible. Even the fabled Jewel of Gargonia, an item capable of enhancing mental powers to an infinite extent, almost has trouble breaking through their mental shields. While the Valru are not individually as powerful as the Qshith, their power remains with them during their entire life and does not fade after they reach the age of three trillion. Both these races live about fifteen trillion years and have much power. The loss of magic that the Qshith have is balanced by an ability to kill any of their blood. Any being whom they can trace back, no matter how distant the relationship is, can be harmed or killed with a single gesture or thought. This ability, and their resistance to magic, served to keep human Mages in line for many years. The Valru are more quiet and reserved. Thus their blood, the mental powers of a True Psychic and Psychic Adepts, is even more sparingly found than that of the True Mage or Mage Adept. A True Psychic Adept is so rare that Niarand has only had about eight during its entire history until the Darkling War. Then the Valru showed forth in battle and rewoke the Psychic powers many had long denied.
Arrival of the Elves: How the elves managed to penetrate the Barrier is unknown but some say that their penetration is what allowed the Shadow King to enter Niarand. The elves themselves speculate that they were called by the Lun Lion unconsciously. The Lun Lion deny this with religious fervour, for it would counter their self-imposed laws. Regardless, the Lun Lion were aware of the arrival and taught much to the elves. Others speculate that the Shadow King arranged for the elves to arrive so that It could follow them through the disturbance --- some say an actual hole -- in the Barrier that their arrival created.
Qshith and Valru make war on the Farae: The reasons for this war are long lost but Sages speculate that the Farae were trying to be too controlling. The Qshith love being free and would fight this with a passion and the Valru, while slower to anger, would challenge oppression of this sort with all the Power they could muster. This war was a dangerous idea since no one truly understand the Farae or their powers. Regardless of this, the two races were young and full of fire. Some say the folly of this war is why they allowed the humans to go their own way without a war and chose to flee to the Mirror World rather than challenge humanity. This was a largely personal war and few paid much attention to it so the results were rather shocking.
Gargoyles are created: One of the Valru, sickened by war and outcast for being half-Farae, left the scene of battle and wandered many years. She discovered many hidden wonders and continually sought the source to Power. She figured that control of such a source would stop a foolish war that she thought the Farae could win without trying, if they so chose. She found some mountains far to the south of the war and travelled the tunnels made by Dragons and the lesser-known tunnels made by the Powers of Niarand until she came to the centre of the mountain. Here she found Tyranium, the substance that is magic to a large extent. From it, driven by a Need she could not understand, she fashioned beings, guardians, who would halt wars and defend those who need their aid.
Thus, the race known as Gargoyles were created from the living magic of the mountains and were stronger than stone. They are the heart of all magic and are unaffected by most native Powers of Niarand save the Valru. Understanding the need to limit the strength of the Gargoyles, the Valru who had made them gave them an inborn desire to obey the commands of the Valru. This angered the Qshith when they heard of this but their was nothing they could do about it. The only problem with the Gargoyles was the unspoken fact that any with the mental power equal to a Valru could command one. The Valru brushed this off as foolishness but it could have been a reason that human Psychics were considered lesser than the mages and why they were not taught all their powers. The Valru had likely been told that allowing humans to control the Gargoyles was insane.
Deralak: Besides her dislike of war, little is known about Deralak. She was half Farae and may have also been a mage smith but this is unsubstantiated. Her skills as a leader led her to be chosen as the ruler of the Alias Empire but she refused. claiming that it would give her too much power. She also wanted to spend more time with the Gargoyles and improve the existing ones as well as create new ones. None know if she left any heirs but some claim she mated with a human, in defiance of custom, and let her blood -- and the Power it implied over gargoyles -- go beyond the reach of the Valru and Qshith, as a way of limiting them and stopping her peoples from becoming dictators.
Establishment of the Alias Empire: With the creation of the Gargoyles the Valru, Deralak, returned to the scene of the war and gathered as many war-weary Valru and Qshith and left to form a new grouping to the south. They centred this new land around the mountains from which the gargoyles had been forged that was practically inhabitable. Deralak refused the crown and the Qshith and Valru decided that they would have joint rulership. For a designated period of time, the Qshith would rule and then the Valru would. This idea worked for some time and they later decreed hat in times of war a War Council would supersede the ruler in terms of power and thus the nation would be served since a ruler was a preserver of peace, not a instrument of war. Echoes of these beliefs can be found in most kingdoms to one degree or another. After the Exodus, the humans chose to allow one council to rule and it is comprised of the nobles families. Note that the humans given seats on the War Council before the Valru and Qshith left the nation eventually became the nobility of Alias. The Qshith and Valru gave these few beings and their descendants the power to sense the futures that will result from each of their actions. Some have chosen not to see this, while others chose to ignore it but the power remains.
Farae 'defeated' by Qshith and Valru: The Farae chose to let the Qshith and Valru win for unknown reasons. The Qshith and Valru were not foolish enough to think they had been winning -- especially since they had only killed twelve Farae. [A thirteenth, the child of the family, remained on Niarand when the other Farae fled, both to connect them to the world still and to mature.] Yet the results were unmistakable as the Farae began a slow retreat from their places of Power and faded from the world. The Qshith and Valru reason this out by claiming that the Farae as a whole were shocked that they had incurred any losses and were unable to cope with such a thing. This may seem like idiocy to most but then it made sense. Many historians cite this as an example of using rationalism and logic as a weapon - the foe must find the reason for your actions since you could never do anything just on a whim. The Farae are proven masters at utilising the weaknesses of a foe that the foe thinks strengths.
Farae 'flee' world; leave Fairy Brew behind by 'mistake': As the Farae had planned the Elder Races (as they came to be called by others) followed the Farae to their last sanctuary. The Farae fled to another world but in their haste left behind a drink believed to be the source of all Power at the sanctuary. This drink, commonly referred to as Fairy Brew, is the strongest brew in existence. When the Qshith got drunk on it, the drunkenness actually communicated itself to the Valru and both races were effectively comatose for a time. They awoke with vigour and an insatiable need for love. Thus Qshith mated with Valru and Valru with Qshith to an extent never before seen. The union was so long that a whole new race had been created as a result. The Farae had watched other half breeds like Deralak well and knew what to do to entice the Valru and Qshith.
Humans are born: This race was named humans, a term in Lun Lion that refers to an unwanted burden. But it also, unknown to the Qshith and Valru, referred to a burden that could endure its trials. Thus, out of pity and debt to the Farae, the Lun Lion gathered together in secret and turned the Name human into a part of humanity. Humans were rendered capable of enduring anything yet few would ever have the strength to use such a power. That was not the issue for the Lun Lion, the issue was the debt and they had paid it. The humans began with equal heritage in Qshith and Valru powers but gradually more shifted to magic and less to the psychic powers. Rifts developed and many chose to leave the Alias Empire and found their own lands outside Qshith and Valru domain. The humans who remained chose to find a power that was outside their birthright and so became Staff Mages, capable of calling up the Powers of Niarand on a whim and channelling such force through their staffs that even the Elder Races knew wonder and fear. At their behest, most dropped this magic though it continued in small numbers well into the Time of Terror. Some say the last user slew herself to refuse the knowledge to the Shadow King and others that it was gifted to Tirien or the Aendar. Some even think it was given to the Elder Gods for safekeeping during those dark times but no mention of it ever came again following the death of the Gargoyles. Regardless, it continued to crop up even later and users became common once more after the Time of Tears.
Lun Lion create an Alternate Reality and leave Niarand: Driven by despair and their own sense of having influenced the world for too long and in too many dark ways (such as the creation of the Sonne and the Shattering of magic) this race departs. They know that they will gather few more times before the End. At such a time they will fade again and never regain their glory since their lives are tied into fall of Hyindril -- or so the prophets speak yet even prophets are occasionally wrong (the sane ones more often than not). That is why they meet and gather their powers to forge a Home for them outside of Niarand. They call upon Niarand as it first was, a jungle of immense beauty, and set Laws upon it that none can break.
1) That no violence may ever be done in this land.
2) That none can come here on their own. &
3) That its light must never fade.
It is said that when these laws begin to weaken, their land will be no more.
First rumours of Niand's existence begin: It is possible that the Lun Lions creation of an Alternate Reality awoke Niand but likely he had been aware since before them. It was only the force of the Lun Lion spell that propelled him to full awareness sooner than most expected. This was actually a boon since if he had rested until he had reached maturity, Niarand would have been doomed and all on it his slaves forever. Niand is a creature, a being that somehow is the whole world. Some claim Niand existed before the world and saw the Elder Gods arrive and the Lun Lion take their first hesitant steps. To some extent, he wishes to destroy the defilers of the land but was well aware that he lacked the power to stand toe-to-toe against the Lun Lion. Thus he decided to wait and bide his time until the races were distracted.
Niand: Niand has existed since before the Tear of the One twisted his home and created Niarand with its fall. Niand saw the arrival of the Lun Lion and the Elder Gods and witnessed the making of the Barrier around the world. He dreamt of killing these fools but was not sure how to go about doing this since his greatest power was rather ineffective against them. However, when more races began to be created and others achieved a high level of sentience, Niand began to sense a Presence within the world that had barely been defined in the beginning. He had felt the Higher Power, which was altering the lives and destinies of all to aid them against the future coming of the Shadow King to this world. Niand never even thought to question why such a great being would decide to aid the races against what -- to the Higher Power -- was such a little foe. Niand saw its power, and coveted it. To this end, it waited until the races were disturbed by the fall of th reptiles, and struck!
Determined to become a Higher Power himself, Niand gathered up his yet-untried powers and tried to Soul Burn the people. The Soul Burn power allows Niand to destroy the soul of a being and transfer it into Niand. There is no known counter against this power, though it is ineffective against Aendar and those with the Art. Each souls can be used to help gather power and can be expended as a defence against one attack or Niand could allow a number of souls equal to the damage he could take be destroyed and be able to destroy another soul that round of combat. This power is very deadly and its upper limits are unknown. Niand is reluctant to use it often for he thinks that if he absorbs enough souls that he will be able to focus their power into one Intent and become a Higher Power. No one else has ever had the power, or the audacity, to do this so none know if it is even possible.
This power seared the very air and killed hundreds of thousands of animals as Niand did a trial run on one of the Old Woods. After absorbing about 300 000 souls, including the Demons trapped to guard the wood, Niand found himself unable to absorb more. However, he was able to absorb a part of beings and destroy the part of them that made them individuals and render them useless for any Purpose ever again. Lack of individuality also made them easier to Soul Burn later.
He never got a later. The Elder Gods unleashed all their futile anger and impotent rage on this little being. Niand tried to flee but the Lun Lion came and barred his way. Not even Niand would dare to absorb the souls of a race that was Innocence incarnate and so, backed against the Powers of that time, Niand unleashed his strength as the Elder Gods began to destroy the souls he had absorbed and break their protective blanket over him. He chose the desperate action and slew the Hyindril, the mounts of the Lun Lion. So great was the rage of the Lun Lion that they vowed to kill Niand, something that the Powers of Peace had never done before, that they had never even dreamed they could do.
Niand was unmade for a time but had succeeded in weakening the Lun Lion for all time. The Lun Lion were aware that they were now partially vulnerable to Niand and began to study him, as well as his future. They discovered that Niand held only the Power, besides the Soul Burn, that others perceived him to have. The weakness of mortals made him greater than he was and thus no Power or being burn to Niarand was able to harm him. Thus only the Seers, with their Opening that could reach beyond the Barrier, could prove the salvation of the world. Every other attempt the Lun Lion made to pierce the veil of the future just created the image of one who would be known as Terrin Starlight in the future. They could not pass it and think that this woman must have some great link to Niand for her to be the future of him in some odd way.
Aendar are first born: The Aendar (Ay en dar) are the greatest mages on Niarand. They serve the Higher Power and do its will in keeping the races from great wars. They were destroyed during the Darkling War but were founded again during the Time of Terror. The word Aendar is said to have been first coined by the Lun Lion. It can be translated from their tongue as "part of all" but the Hingari translate it as "apart from all." Both meanings are true for the Aendar are a part of all the three forms of Magic. (Their power is either another point, making the Triangle of FireLight and DarkLight and ShadowLight into a diamond, or possibly the centre of the Triangle and the energy closest to what magic originally was.) Thus the Aendar are a part of all the Forms but rendered apart from others who wield magic by the very power they hold -- as well as its source. Many Aendar believe that the Higher Power grants them much of their power and an ability to resist corruption and not be corrupted by the power they wield. Most being are very careful about ticking them off and treat Aendar with great respect -- mainly because they are very difficult to kill.
Reptiles begin to wage war on the other races: Long before the Darkling War, reptiles thrived on Niarand. At this time, most of what later ages would call the Talkani Empire was all desert and it was here that the reptiles were the undisputed masters of their land. Slowly they began to spread out to the other land that were along the coast and travel through the north to the eastern continent. After time, those whose lands they tired to conquer began to fight against the fear the strange being caused. They began to mount a somewhat effective, though haphazard, resistance against this threat and rally other nations to their aid.
It was then that the reptiles enlisted the aid of their mightiest servants, the remaining Dragons who were imprisoned by a special binding. The reptiles began to truly conquer lands at this point. Orcs, Ogres and Trolls became their slaves and human villages were plundered to feed these slaves and to be used as breeding stock since some of the reptiles and ogres were carnivores and human flesh was a delicacy to them, who had not seen other races in a long time. With the Dragons at their side, and aided by their own unique magic, mage Smiths and many Dancers, the reptiles began to win the wars slowly but surely.
Their successes were legion. Even a few Qshith and Valru villages began to fall to their armies and, once a Dwarven mine was captured, the other races began to form a unified from to the reptiles. The wars began to grow more fearsome and, it is said, mages first began to use magic to kill people other than mages in large numbers. Witches decimated the reptile's ranks and earned the fear of their allies to the point that many witches were slain after these wars were over.
Still they lost.
Victory after victory the reptiles won. No battle was lost by them on their home land and this success slowly but surely began to spread with them to their attacks. To all others they seemed unbeatable and though their allies died, every battle the reptiles fought, they won. They couldn't lose in war and became convinced that they couldn't lose at all, in anything. They began to think of themselves as omnipotent. battle after battle they won, their tactics always working even when the chances of that occurring seemed impossible.. A group of ten reptiles defeated a million foes alone and the other races began to be afraid, and try to discover the source of the reptiles power. The reptiles began to win more and more until finally pride in war translated to feelings of superiority and slowly Pride became Dark Pride and they began to Sin.
For they were unaware that they had been aided by the Aendar of this time so that they could rule the world in a nice, orderly fashion. The Aendar saw their skills in battle and were mightily impressed and came to the realisation that the reptiles were good at keeping order and would be the best way to unify the world against the Shadow King. To their horror, they realised that the reptiles were no better than the other races and began to doubt the wisdom of their course. By then, it was too late.
The Shadow King arrives on Niarand: The Shadow King is said to have come from beyond the world and to be immortal. No one knows what it really is but none can dispute its Power. Thus being is the greatest evil in Niarand's history and is older even that the Two God. The Shadow King is a power that even the Elder Gods have a healthy respect for. It is a force whose purpose and reason for being on Niarand remain shrouded in mystery and lies. Many Sages claim that the Shadow King is indeed the most powerful force on Niarand but the same shadows that conceal It's form also weaken it so that it may be driven back.
The few who have seen the Shadow King and not become its servants claim that the Shadow King is covered in a perpetual darkness that nothing can penetrate. Even the light of the Lun Lion falls before this shadowy mass and, of all the observations written by those who have seen it and survived, the most intuitive was done by a dwarven Seer named Kertef who said that "the shadows seemed not a weapon, but a defence. As if they concealed it from the world and that the Shadow King did not wish any being to see it!" Few have given this story any credence but songs claiming that the Shadow King is very ugly have cropped up since then.
What is known about the Shadow King is that it does not relish open confrontation with foes but prefers to let its servants deal with any opposition to its power. It's habit of retreat rather than actual war has led some to erroneously assume that the Shadow King is weak. The few still living who recall the binding of the Dark Ones would never dream of calling the Shadow King weak in any way.
Why it has not succeeded in ruling Niarand yet is unknown. The old Law that states "No one being can rule the world" does not apply to one outside of the laws of Niarand. Some say that the Shadow King simply lacks a certain fundamental understanding about mortals and their desire to win. Certainly, something about this being seems to be out of sync with reality but this does not explain the cunning with which the Shadow King has manipulated the world and its peoples for many an age. Some think it could be possible that the Shadow King may understand the deeper, darker emotions of the people but is blind to the simplest and purest of all feelings.
Other facts about this being are equally puzzling. Why it goes out of its way to kill Lun Lion and Aendar is well known but the reason for the absolute fanatical zeal that it kills Holders of Truth with is unknown. Also, why the Shadow King has orders that any female caught by its followers is to suffer until she begs for death is unknown. Some claim the Shadow King is biased against females but this would not explain why it refuses to allow rape of anyone. Any servant of It found to have committed rape is given to the Dark Ones as a subject for experimentation, which is a very good reason not to commit rape. Some doubt that so cunning and powerful a being would allow itself to be subjected to such a base desire like hatred of females but such ideals seem like worship of the Shadow King to many.
Regardless of what is known and what is unknown about it, the Shadow King is without a doubt the greatest foe to civilisation and the very existence of the races. Only true fools do not fear such a foe and that is why they are fools. If knowledge is indeed the greatest weapon then many have cause to be wary of motives no one knows and a purpose none yet comprehend.
The Shadow King: The reason the Shadow King is so powerful is rather simple. It is the only being to have ever defied the High Power and survived. It is truly beyond fate, destiny, choice, prophecy and necessity. Why the Higher Power has not retaliated is unknown. Some think the Shadow King is a renegade Elder God but that confuses it and the Unnamed. The Shadow King is actually insanity incarnate and the Shadow King can make any being mad just by thinking about them for a minute. This power must have a limit or the Shadow King would be nigh unstoppable. The sight of it has made whole armies flee in terror when they start wondering what could be beneath its shadowy form -- and if they really want to find out. None have fought it and defeated it in all its many years on Niarand though it has been fought to a standstill once. Apparently it is possible to banish it for a time but it can return to the world in a weak and comes back to full strength very quickly.
Some legends even claim that the Shadow King was once Nian Arath, the Necessity that provides a balance between Morolan Koth and Tisan Laroth. But if this is true, when was it Nian Arath -- and how do you cease to be Necessity and still live? Few give this rumour any credence.
The Dark Ones are bound: The Shadow King had coming during this war that was supposed to unify the races against it and began to decimate the Aendar using the Shadow Demons and Shadow lords it had brought with it. In less than a year, the first Children of the Shadows, ShadowLight Adepts who served the Shadow King as servants, were formed and the Aendar began to fear for their lives. Desperately, the Aendar tried to stop the reptile army but were unable sine belief had made the reptiles think they could win any batter whatsoever. They no longer needed Aendar aid. The Aendar then decided to join the other side of the army but were beaten back again an again.
It was then that the Dark Ones were bound since the Shadow King needed more effective servants. These beings are the Shadow Kings highest followers, even though all three of them together could not defeat the Shadow King. Much of the origin of these three beings -- the Changeling, Lord and Mage -- is shrouded in mystery and fear. The Dark Ones were actually representatives of the Lun Lion who had been sent to the Shadow King to find out what kind of being it was and why it had come to Niarand. The Lun Lion also wanted to give the other races time to mobilise against it. Rather than go to war with it, the Lun Lion chose to deal with it and fashion a Compact that both parties would abide by. This deal stated that the Shadow King would not enter the Mirror World or harm the First Times and neither would its followers. Tis was because the Mirror World had a link to the Lun Lion alternate world and they did not want the Shadow King there.
The Lun Lion sent their three most powerful, honest and promising people to the Shadow Home. These representatives were all male, of course, since the Lun Lion were a male-dominated society at that time. They ignored the seer who said that without a female, grave things would befall them but did, unknowingly, bring a hermaphrodite, the youngest of them, who became the Changeling. The Shadow King agreed to sign the deal if the Signers would bind it with their own blood. The chosen three felt themselves safe due to their Powers and agreed. The binding was uttered and the perpetual shadows that cloaked the Shadow King fell for one moment. What the three saw in unknown but they were so horrified and unnerved that their natural protections deserted them for one moment and in that instant the Shadow King struck!
In that moment, the sheer power that was the Shadow King unleashed shook Niarand to its very foundations. The Shadow king, in rage and pain at being seen, evoked its full might to an extent that it never has since. The three signers were Unborn and ceased to exist in that single, eternal surge of power. Thus were the Dark Ones created. It is a testament to the power of the Lun Lion that they withstood the full effects of the change for many years and, even now, show signs of resistance. This resistance, even in the Mage who has fallen the furthest, is enough that the Shadow King does not dare have them kill a Lun Lion or enter the First Times (if they even can). The Changeling being a hermaphrodite seemed to help him resist far longer than the others and, as a result, he is not as strong as the others are. The Mage is the strongest of the three (some say this is because he slept with the Shadow King but this in unproved) and the Lord, with control over the ShadowSouled who have died and all who have died fighting the Shadow King, is next. The Changeling, with his almost unequalled shape shifting, is also very deadly but it is said that some exist who are even better than the Changeling at shape shifting (i.e. Tirien).
Death of the Reptiles and Moirae Parcae: It was at this time that the Dark Ones decided to enter the war. Only the Lun Lion knew of their creation and their shame was so great that they told none about it -- ever. Everyone else with power had felt the making of them but did not know what had been done. The reptiles agreed to the aid the Dark Ones offered since they were beginning to doubt how long they could withstand the Aendar. They agreed to bind themselves to the Dark Ones since no binding had ever held their race. They were unaware that this talent had been a gift of the Aendar and had vanished when the honour of the reptiles did also.
They soon began to realise that the Dark Ones were not saviours when these beings began to decimate the reptiles ranks also as they tried to find out the limits to their new powers -- and forget what they had once been. It was then that the reptiles chose to refuse the offer of aid only to discover that the binding had no end or beginning. It was eternal. The reptiles had committed crime after crime in :necessity" and "desperation" as they war began to turn against them. They had fallen so far that nothing in this time was capable of redeeming them. It was then that the began to finally understand the true power of the Shadow King.
As one they gathered their power and sent the strength that was them into an artifcat they fashioned called the Collar of Command that bound anything to it forever as they had been bound. They tore down their cities and empire as the Dark Ones laughed in contempt and casually drove many of them insane. Knowing that redemption was impossible and that they were bound forever, they chose to enact a ritual by which the spell known as the Shattering was first formed. They Called upon the power that was theirs and, sparing only the Mage Smiths who did not do battle and had fashioned the Collar, they began a rite that would endure until the end of time or, more accurately, would never endure since it would be forgotten.
What they did next was perform an act of Power so great that it made the creation of the Dark Ones seem a lark. Calling upon the inherent power of their race, and ignoring the price for calling such forces, they all turned themselves into Time Mages and altered the very fabric of creation, fate, chose and time to the point where the Elder Gods, watching the war with mild amusement, cried out in agony as the spell tore into them. Being the Fate of the world, the Elder Gods responded by attacking those who had caused them such pain. The reptiles had been prepared for this and turned the retaliation into as fuel to enhance their ritual and make it stronger still. Yet in responding to this agony the Elder Gods became truly aware of the Shadow King and the threat this being represented. The wrath of the Shadow King was immense as it strode the desert towards the reptiles for it had not wanted to be revealed that soon. The mighty army that was preparing to destroy the reptiles was brushed aside like twigs as the Shadow King passed them by and stood over those who had tried to trick it. The Shadow King simply used the bond and refused to let them die. Some say it laughed at them and others that it just smiled cruelly.
It was then that it cursed them to never die and serve it forever. Weakened by the ritual they had enacted, they were to weak to fight off the curse and wept in fear. Seeing this, one of the Elder Gods, Moirae Parcae, the Elder God of Justice and Healing and husband to Gaya, goddess of Nature and Vengeance, gathered up all of his great power and sacrificed his life to create a burst of energy so immense it staggered even the Shadow King. The God then created the Crown of the Higher Kingdom, a device allowing communication with the Gods, and destroyed himself along with the nation of reptiles.
With their death, the spell they had made was enacted and the very existence of the reptiles wiped out of the memory of almost every being on the planet. The desert ceased to be and the cities vanished into a swirling mist. This would remain, Moirae Parcae swore, until they were freed by one worthy of leading them and restoring their honour. And so it came to pass that the reptiles faded beyond legend ands myth and were forgotten by even the Elder Gods. Yet one minor god remembered part of what occurred that dark day. The Two God was able to use a variation of this effect to make people forget about the Elementals but was unaware that this spell he had made had been used once before, in a much more powerful fashion. Thus ended an age, and with it a people.
Niand wakes and is defeated by the Elder Gods: It was during this great disturbance that Niand first awoke. Niand decided to try out his soul burn power and killed everything within an Old Wood and mastered it. The Lun Lion sensed this disturbance and, as Niand prepared to flee from them (since he could not absorb their Innocence) the Elder Gods arrived, in the mood for a battle. Desperate to avoid capture, Niand dared to kill some Hyindril, the mounts of the Lun Lion. Before he could do anything else, the frustration of the Elder Gods at the death of Moirae Parcae exploded into him and, quite simply, killed him. Niand of course only became discorporate for a time but it weakened the Elder Gods anger enough that when they tried to face the Shadow King, it was able to evade them without a direct confrontation.
Witches are hunted by their former allies: After the fall of the reptiles, the witches were hunted by their allies due to the fear the witches had inspired in people by killing so many reptiles. Many great and powerful witches were slain before witches were able to flee to remote areas. Some found sanctuary with the Aendar and others founded their own small villages, calling it a gathering. Gatherings of witches still exist but are more moderate. The most important aspect of this war is that the witches knew enough to not repeat these same mistakes during the next great war, the Darkling War and were not hunted as much after that time.
Elder Gods face off against the Shadow King in a draw: The Elder Gods finally track the Shadow King down and try to destroy it. The Shadow King, being from outside the world, is resistant to much of their power and simply absorbs the rest. Finally, after both sides have fought for a year, it expends itself to brush them away like flies. Then Gaya, with all her vengeance at her husband's death, struck and the Shadow King paused. Even it had no wish to face such anger and so the Shadow King decided to expend enough energy to hold them at bay. The Elder Gods, on the whole, would recover their energy faster than it would and the Shadow King did not want to waste its power in continuous struggles or to hide from them. It likely could have killed an Elder God or two but Gaya's wrath could possibly have become great enough to kill it so it opted for a draw. Both sides backed off, though they tested each other often in the next thousand years, and the Shadow King became more subtle at hiding its plans and plots from them.
Elves fight Dark Ones; Fog Born are created: The Elves had the belief that somehow their coming to Niarand had opened up a hole for the Shadow King to come through. In a need to expiate this guilt, they attempted to destroy it, not knowing that the Elder Gods themselves had failed. Not all Elves engaged in this bitter war due to being to young or being close to bearing children or being too old to fight. This amounted to fifteen percent of the Elven population. The rest engaged in the war and no one ever found out what happened to them, only that they died. No one connected these deaths to the rise of new beings defending the newly made Shadow Home that were made entirely out of fog and killed anything they encountered. In truth, likely no one wanted to suspect that the Elves had become turned into the Fog Born and rendered into mindless slaying zombies.
ShadowSouled first appear among the races: After the war against the Elves, the Shadow King realised that it needed to keep tabs on the other races. Thus it sent the Mage, most loyal of the Dark Ones and brought various people of all social classes, professions and sexes secretly to the Shadow Home and, using the Dark Sight made them See servitude to the Shadow King as great. It turned them into patriots of it, but hidden ones who would spy and report to Shadow Demons and others about threats to the Shadow King. It did not take long for people to discover these folks and, with the resulting suspicion and distrust that followed leading to the collapse of whole kingdoms, Sages began to understand the Shadow King's intent. Having people know the ShadowSouled existed was actually good since it created enough disharmony that armies could not be sent easily against it. Especially when people eager to go to war against it were revealed to be ShadowSouled and this not only led to these people being killed for trying to lead others into traps but led to no armies attacking the Shadow King since they thought that was what it wanted!
Demons try to destroy Old Woods to free trapped Demons: The Demons, aware of Niand's success in destroying an Old Wood, decide to try and destroy one their own way to free their Demon brethren trapped in that Old Wood. They know the Greater Demons are imprisoned somewhere and they reason that they can bargain for them. The Elder Gods decide to deal with this by venting more of their anger at the death of Moirae Parcae on the demons. In one battle they halve the demon population and, using a spell taught to them by the dragons, gather all the demons in one place and trap them. The disadvantage of this is that they are placed in the same place as the Greater Demons and can work out a method to get free together.
Demons imprisoned in the Barrier: The spell traps all the demons within the very barrier around Niarand and makes it possible for them to be freed only by beings with great magic who wish to and learn the ways to do this. The dragons vow to tell none but somehow a human finds out and, since knowledge cannot be hidden, the Wizards are born. They are few, and hunted by the Dragons, so that they never got a chance to weaken the barrier enough so that the demons can come through unaided, though the dragons fear it may be possible some day if they do not keep vigilance of the Wizards and the barrier. For if a true Wizard adept was born in a time with few Dragons and the Elder Gods either weak or absent, havoc could be wreaked on the world and its people.
Humans begin to increase in population dramatically: Due to the wonders of nature and the obvious nature of things to multiply, humans began to increase in population rather rapidly. To counter this, some earth-based Powers of the world, the energies given form that controlled the elements, formed Dwarves from the bowels of the earth. From the start, the longer lived dwarves and the taller humans got into wars. Dwarves and humans have disliked each other since this time and very little has ever changed that. It is a simple fact that they were made to counter each other. Some say that while humans have their endurance, the dwarves have their stubbornness.
To counter the dwarves, the Powers of the air formed the Shortlings as a way of equalling the scales and also to prove that they could create a race. These three races lives quietly with the elves, Qshith and Valru but then the Shadow King created Orcs, goblins, and other such races so that it could have its own reproducing army. Mages even began to experiment with creating races and some say vampires and trolls are the result of these but none is sure.
Healer named Malthus predicts need for more Gods: A human healer took stock of this abrupt influx of peoples into the world and came to the startling conclusion that the Elder Gods weren't doing enough for the people. The demand of the people would exceed the supply of energy the gods soon and thus he decided that the people needed more gods. This revolutionary claim was greeted with strong scepticism and Malthus was soon killed by angry critics of his theory.
The "lesser" gods were then created and, as if they were a new game of sorts and people began creating more and more. Malthus had not anticipated the strength of all the belief that was just waiting to be harnessed. Some reportedly were involved in creating multiple gods and some say witches had a hand in much of this over-use of belief, though no one ever said why. Eventually, the gods each began to grow in power and realise that they needed worshippers for strength. Holy wars became more and more common until the Elder Gods threatened the lesser ones with punishment if the wars became too great. Most of these wars were then confined to small, isolated areas but the lesser gods then realised they needed a way to keep the people believing in their power. As a result, they got together to perform an act of Power.
Elementals first created: As a way of showing their growing power, the new gods proceeded with a first attempt at god-like creation and made the elementals. Beings of fire, water, earth, wind and rock, they were pure and impossible to "contaminate." This means that they couldn't be possessed or have their mind read or be changed unless they choose freely since everyone has choice. The Gods also gave them no strictures during their creations, not seeing that they would have a choice about what they were since every creature is free to choose his or her own life and future to a degree. The Two God was eventually able to banish them for a time and cause them to sink into legend but they eventually returned, as capable of slaying gods as they had been when first made. They did forgive the Two God for his deception since they had grew wiser in captivity and had now wish to slay gods when they were returned to the world.
The Time of Many Gods: This was a period when there were more Gods than mortals. Belief had made too many Gods and no mortal could kill a God. Therefore, the Gods killed each other and made the first weapons that can kill Gods since it is the weapon, and not the mortal, that is doing the killing. Something like Magic, which is part of the mortal, can not be used for killing them, the Gods decreed. During this time the elementals first began to try and slay gods but the Two God intervened and banished most of them. The few that remained faded into legend much as the Farae had. Eventually the weakest of the gods died and the balance of power began to return to a more equal state.
Birth of Shadron Jerduni: The history of Shadron is a complex and tangled path of betrayal and lies. Shadron is a full Lun Lion and was born to the house of Jerduni during the Time of Many Gods. His father, the Jerduni, was a very powerful Aendar in his own right. The Jerduni sensed this power within his own son and trained him for many centuries until Shadron was deemed acceptable. By this time, the Darkling War was nearly about to begin. The only problem with getting Shadron declared an Aendar was that the current Seat of the Aendar Council was quarter-Lun Lion, quarter-Qshith, quarter-elven and quarter-Valru. The Jerduni hated Elkran with all his being for a slight done some years before and thought that Elkran would try to deny his son admittance. Some say he induced his son to start the Darkling War as a means of making Elkran have to admit more Aendar to their ranks.
The Jerduni, unknown to himself, was a very powerful Empath and unconsciously twisted his son's mind until Shadron began to hate Elkran as much as his father did. When Shadron went before the council to ask to become a full Aendar, Elkran, being what he was, was able to see into the very Self of Shadron and know the hatred that spurned him on. he told Shadron that he could not aspire to be true Aendar until the anger was gone. Shadron went into a rage and demanded to be named Aendar then and there and if he wasn't then Elkran was not fit to have the Seat. The other Aendar were shocked at this near-treason but Elkran just looked at Shadron and said quietly that the anger wasn't yet his and the hatred not yet his own. He told Shadron that until he could come to terms with this anger and understand its source, he could not become a full Aendar.
Then the Jerduni, from his seat on Council, demanded to know the reasoning behind this refusal. He said the word mockingly enough that all Aendar present knew he was challenging Elkrans right to rule, as any True Aendar could. Elkran felt the suspicion and scorn of the council at him and his ancestry and snapped. He showed the Council what the Jerduni had done to his son and Shadron fled in pain and horror, unable to bear Elkran's pity and the betrayal of his father. The Jerduni fled, as all Lun Lion can, to the First Times (Some think he fled to before that) and was never heard from again. Shadron now had a true reason for hating Elkran: he had been humiliated and his father driven into exile but, most of all, Elkran had pitied him. From that moment, Shadron vowed that he would never be pitied again.
The Darkling War got more and more out of control but none even thought to suspect Shadron, whom they thought was in mourning. Elkran ended the Darkling War and was bitterly trying to come to terms with the way he had ended it when Shadron entered his home. Elkran asked why he was there and Shadron quietly replied: "because you pitied me." He then engaged Elkran in a duel arcane which Elkran, even weakened by his inner turmoil, could have won with ease save that Shadron was tapping a dark force deeper than any he could call. Shadron then brought forth the long lost Collar of Command and try to place it on Elkrans head. Realise what that would mean, Elkran gathered all his power and struck at the energy that was the source of Shadrons new-found might. The Shadow King smiled at the assault and struck back. Elkran fell to the ground and was engulfed in a strange cold wind and vanished from the world.
The Shadow King then spoke to Shadron and told Shadron that he had done well in its service. When Shadron dared to question this feared evil about how much aid it could give him, the Shadow King revealed something to Shadron that shook the former Aendar-trainee to the core of his being. Shadron was the forced (he claims) to don the Collar of Command himself. Apparently Shadron had come under its influence when he killed a mage serving the Shadow King that had control of the Collar at that time. The Shadow King then ordered Shadron then place the Collar on one of the Dark Ones, who killed him and then placed it on the next one for something once controlled by the Collar can never be controlled by it again. After they had removed it, they resurrected Shadron the Shadow King had the collar placed on Itself by Shadron! It then replaced the collar on Shadron by violating the Law of the Collar with ease and then gave Shadron the choice to either serve it willingly and be under the control of the Dark Ones or be under the control of the Collar itself forever. Shadron chose freedom and therein lay the damnation of his Spirit. Shadron committed every deed while of his own free will, according to the mythical Higher Power that ruled the Aendar. Even when he was controlled by the Collar (as he was on occasion, just to remind him of his servitude) he will still be blamed for his actions when he dies. He is unaware of this.
The fall of Shadron to true servitude of the Shadow King is not well documented, mainly because few were aware it was occurring. Thus it is unclear exactly when Shadron truly fell into darkness -- if at all. From what is known about Shadrons action just after the Darkling War, many of those deeds seem to be rather self-serving. such as the extermination of the Aendar during the Adept War. Some Sages even speculate that Shadron may have caused the Adept War. Such an act would be as easy as stealing a priest from the two God.
The slaughter of the Aendar took many centuries for they were very powerful and did not take the attempted genocide well. The ;argue problem of the Aendar defending themselves was that all of them had participated in the Darkling War and their magics were set in that sort of destruction mode. Defence often led to a veritable blood bath that made people want to kill them even more. In the end, the people of Niarand finished what Shadron Jerduni had started and the term Aendar became a curse word for many years. It is estimated that eight hundred Aendar died during this war, either by assassination, mob killing, defeat in combat or by their own hand. Some families even killed the Aendar themselves then took their own lives for being related to the slain. Shadron himself often killed many of the families so that they could not breed another Aendar.
Rumours persisted that some Aendar survived that Adept War (and were multiplying rapidly). Thus Shadron spent two billion years after the Adept War had officially ended hunting the Aendar who had escaped. He found some surviving Adepts and agreed to let them live if they chose to serve him, thus slowly building his own private army to serve the Shadow King. What became of this army is unknown. Shadron finally found the last living Aendar near the end of his quest (during which he found and killed at least one hundred and fifty Aendar). He found the lone True Aendar Adept, a friendless orphan who had escaped destruction of the Aendar Tyrilda, their Fortress of Fury, and had escaped the mobs that came later. It is said that on a windy day one can still hear echoes of the child's screaming, diminished neither by time nor space. The death of this Aendar created the Roving Waste, a strange not-place few have entered and none have emerged sane from.
After this time, Shadron was heard of less and less as he chose to fade into myth and legend and finally into fancy. Regardless, many wars following the Adept War could be attributed to his careful, devious planning. Shadron is considered the worlds foremost expert in genocide and some say he even founded the Scarlet Striders, a group of assassins that tries to kill any traveller from another world who ends up on Niarand. Shadron also tried to corrupt many Druids, since he had a suspicion they would bring about his fall, but never succeeded.
Shadron then became the head of the Wier of Wizardry. the last training place for mages on Niarand. He took it outside of reality and only people he chose, or those with Aendar potential, would arrive their. Finally, one of Aendar potential, a mage known as Hercules, arrived at the Wier. Shadron befriended him and told Hercules his life story, edited a fair bit. He claimed to have avoided evil and now be good even though the repetition of his minor crimes reputedly took a whole year. Hercules then returned the friendship and they brought the Wier back to reality and journeyed for many months. However, the Shadow King had never forgotten Shadron and proved to Shadron in a dark dream that it was still his master, even if it was forced to hit him over the proverbial head to do this. For one who had claimed to never give into any foe in his life, Shadron was forced to fight the most desperate battle of his long existence. And lost.
Shadron, once more fully serving the Shadow King, tried to kill Hercules but Hercules managed to imprison Shadron inside a statue with the sword known as Sarcoth Daim, the Sword that Shatters Empires, in the vague hope the sword would somehow kill Shadron or bore him to death. It did not succeed and Shadron was eventually accidentally freed by the Diman known as Tokan. Shadron then began to reclaim his mantle as a traitor to the races [one who betrays all to the Shadow King. None has ever successfully been accused of this crime, but Crimes to Humanity/Half Kin and other races have been done to members of one race by that race.] He was stopped by the people brought forth in the Time of the Opening and eventually gave his life to force the son of the Elder God Gaya and Tokan, named Sharlin, to kill him. As Sharlin's energies tore into Shadron, he focused them and redirected them all to kill the reawakened evil known as Niand. As a result of this, Shadron became an Angel and was made the heart of the Tetric Grove that served the newly reformed Aendar. How long he will remain serving the grove is unknown.
Note that Shadron still thinks that the Collar is responsible for all his evil, and not himself. Such knowledge could well drive him insane or make him become evil again. Some even speculate that he would declare war on the Higher Power but this is unfounded. Still, the prospect of an insane semi-Aendar who can clone himself going insane is a thought to give even the Two God nightmares.
Rise of the Mage Smiths: Mage Smiths become more and more important as they continue to fashion great weapons of destruction, protection and all-out war. Some say this is what led to the War of Land and Sky while others think it was inevitable. Regardless, their rise did indeed play a strong role in this war and they left behind many items of power that were used during the Darkling War -- and later. Some say a few still remain to be found.
The War Of Land And Sky: The oldest remembered incident in the history of Niarand that has been recorded by scribes of that time, this ancient war occurred when the people of the land refused to pay an unmentioned price to traverse the sky. The people of the sky could walk the world and, with scientific devices and spells, the people of the land could travel the sky also. The refusal to honour this pact by the of the land led the Sky Gods to declare war on the Land Gods and so battle commenced. Dragons, Sprites, Pixies, Avarsan and others began to wage war on the creatures of the land. Midway through, the Dragons realised the folly of this war and left but allowed the Avarsan to find out how to become Dragons for the Avarsan could become any flying creature. Thus the folk of the land believed the Dragons still waged war. It is also said that the Shortlings entered the War at this point to defend their homes since they couldn't remain neutral. The Sky Gods were driven back and lost, but destroyed all means of reaching the sky among mortals. At the turning point in this war, the Sky Gods fashioned a Statue of their Creator, a being that their belief had made (though they were unaware of this) and invested it with suck power that it rent the very heavens and the earth groaned in pain at it's making and even the Gods paused respectfully before the power they had formed. This was the most powerful item known to exist then and, when it was destroyed by one Dartanien, managed to pierce thorough the Atheist Shield around the Talkani Empire! It also banished the spirit of Morolan Koth, albeit temporarily. No one knows if said item is as powerful as most claim or if it can repair itself. The first non Lun Lion Druid is reported: To the general shock of all the races, a Druid was born to a non Lun Lion or the first time. The dwarves were ecstatic since it allowed them to needle the humans but, due to all the furore surrounding this, few asked why the druid had been born! The dwarf was a woman named Ulagen and
the dwarves have honoured her name ever since for defying the gods.
Rise of the Half Gods: With the dramatic increase in Gods, the number of half gods, those with gods for parents, increased also. It increased to the point that half-gods began to outnumber normal people in some areas though no one paid attention to it. No one took note of the amount of odd weapons the half gods were asking the mage smiths to make until it was too late. Some claim their audacity that followed was inevitable for the children of living egos.
The Half God War: This war occurred when the amount of half gods on Niarand grew so immense that they formed an empire of their own. In time, their arrogance at their natural superiority surpassed even that of most nobility and they angered one to many folk. They declared war on those who refused to obey their "suggestions" and the Gods rose up against their children. This war was short and bloody for the half gods lacked the power (though they did have the hubris) to defeat their fathers and so weapons were fashioned to kill Gods -- and the sons and daughters of Gods. The half gods used what they had asked the mage smiths to make and are said to have actually killed some gods on their own! The most important fact about this war is that it created more powerful mystic and holy items than any time before or since and that few Half Gods have existed since. it was when the gods decided to teach the half gods a lesson by killing all half gods, even the ones that had refused to fight or had aided the gods, that Ulagen revealed why she had become a druid. She sacrificed her life, as all druids eventually must, to keep some of the half gods alive since they have powers that could aid the races and no druid would approve of, nor even be able to condone, genocide for any reason. Note that while mortals cannot harm a god due to Law, half gods are exempt from such laws, which is why no half god is allowed to become a mage for fear they will use magic to kill a god. And since magic remembers spells, it may then be possible for a non-half god to slay a god.
The Council of the Powers: A time when the Gods met and decided to limit their powers to certain areas and nations so that they wouldn't destroy the world with feuding. This also was the first time the Gods got an inklings of the power that was to be the Two Gods and it was said that the prophecy about the Two God becoming the only god, indeed, some say it was the only Power, on Niarand was pronounced by a mad man. All ignored it.
Two God is first worshipped in the Alias Empire: Why the people of Alias chose to worship the Two God at this time is unknown. Some say they had heard of the prophecy and knew it to be true but most doubt this claim. Regardless, the "sanction" of Alias gave worship of the Two God more meaning and it began to spread very rapidly after this point. Rapidly enough that it was able to survive the coming darkness.
The Darkling War begins: This was the single greatest event in Niarand history yet. Many claim this war was started by Shadron Jerduni but this is still in doubt, for one person producing this kind of effect, even accidentally, is too frightening for many to accept. This war was a war between two nations of opposing ideals, one holding the world as a non-living tool to be used as they desired, and the other defending the world with their dying breath against such expatiation. it seemed harmless enough but then the nations began to form alliances, a new idea they devised to win the war. It was effective. Too effective.
Both nations, whose name was lost to time as a curse against their unholy act -- a way of blaming the cause for the effect -- began to recruit allies and the war slowly expanded until, within 40 000 years, every nation in the world was at war and those who tried to remain aloof were destroyed or crippled so that they were not a threat. This was the first war to engulf the whole world, and many figured it would be the one to end the world. Nations and races were shattered again and again as weapons of mass destruction and spells the like of which have never been seen again flared across the land. Whole continents were devoured by sea, fire, ice and blight to never be heard from again. More Druids were born in this period than have ever been born since but even they could not halt this war.
The Shadow King stretched forth It's might and madness began to rule the world. Fear and paranoia as well as power gone rampant destroyed all that was great in the world of that time. Power was unleashed then that will never be unleashed again and Greater Spells were used with such abandon that the very fabric of magic ripped and mages became possessed by the magic they held. The destruction was so vast and total that many Gods gave up their lives in despair and the Elder Gods fled the war to enter a true sleep that would last for many, many years. They left one behind, Ranashok, to make sure the world was not truly destroyed. (How considerate of them.)
The effect of such power being used on magic itself was that said force completely lost all the sentience it had once held, the last remnant of strength left over from the making of the Sonne crumbled beneath forces even greater that the creation of such a non-living entity. Powers were used in ways so dark that not even legends dare recount them. The Werefolk were created by the Aendar but even the Aendar could not control the warped magic fields and the Werefolk became a race dedicated to war. They unleashed such power as the world had never known and the fires of war sprung from their lands to engulf the world in eternal flame. In a desperate attempt to stop the Werefolk from going fully mad, the Aendar bound their power and changing talent to the moon so that they were much weaker during the day. It didn't stop them much and earned them the undying hated of their creation, a hatred that some say will never end until a greater darkness descends upon the world. Since it did not truly end even during the Time of Terror, many fear that a period of more darkness -- if such a thing is even possible -- may occur some day.
Science drained the world to the point of death of all vital minerals in an effort to fight back. Weapons capable of annihilating energy fields and whole spectrums of force flared deep within the bowels of the world and the moon itself glowed red with the blood of the slain. The prophets of doom were vindicated and the final days were at hand. Desperate to stop the loss of all, four Aendar, now called the Tetric Mages, created the Tetric grove and gave it enough strength to regain what the magic may have lost forever. They and many others, their whole school and knowledge in fact, perished but some little bit of wisdom was saved. It was almost the only bit.
In time, the causes had been long decimated and both sides forgot the reasons for the war but began to just simply fight to exterminate each other to the best of their myriad abilities. They tried really hard and the greatest miracle of that war is that they did not succeed. The Gods died in hordes and death engulfed the world. History was destroyed so totally that not even the Lore Learned or Time Mages are sure about what happened before this period. Almost all the wise were slain in blind fury and mobs ruled the lands. Might didn't make right; hells, it never even made wrong -- it could not even make anything at all. Might merely destroyed all it faced.
Even the Shortling race, who avoided the War of Land and Sky by only defending and fleeing when they could, that race that had been a light of hope and humour in a world gone grim and dark -- even they succumbed. Shortlings in armour began to enter wars and they fought with a kind of fanatical hopeless rage such that even the mightiest Dancers and greatest mages would not face them. It is said that a simple band of Shortling warriors nearly made the Dark Ones flee a battle once. The Dark Ones have never attempted to deny this.
The Demons were summoned and their power cleft the very land. In anger and pain, the Dragons stayed. This time, they fought; this time they did not run from their problems of seek another's aid. And this time they died. Both sides employed the last Arts they still recalled from whence they had come and much good and ill was done. The Dragons and Demons eventually squared off and the Dragons, knowing they needed allies, enlist certain humans and turned them into Dragon Mages, mages with control over the elements within themselves and bound to the dragons. The Dragons Mages slew all the Wizards and the Demons were forced to return to their land. Nearly extinct, the few remaining Dragons took to the skies and flew to "other worlds beyond the moon but bound by the sun" and hid for a time to rest. Most assumed them dead and the Dragons, when they returned after many generations and saw the war still raging, hid in their homes and left it that way. Thus the Dragons faded from the world as so much else had, as the world itself was fading into a glimmer of what it had been and could have become.
This war destroyed all that was good, most that was holy and all that was beauty in the world. A darkness entered the hearts and minds of the people that no cleansing could ever erase. The deaths imprinted themselves with brutal clarity upon the very spirit of the peoples and none escaped unscathed. Many of those who survived the war (such as Tirien) vowed never to go to war or kill again. The death total of this war was greater than the number of beings who have ever lived before it or will again. Ways of stripped a mage of magic were discovered and the race known as the Pyr'rick were formed by mages to slaughter their enemies. This created race ended up killing many of their creators and is an even greater threat to mages today than Werefolk or mages themselves. The world literally ran red with blood and the oceans were filled with it till there came a point when there was no water left on the world. In desperation, the Waterborn sacrificed much of their old knowledge and cities and restored the water. The Minotaurs and Dimen died out and only their offspring, the Cotis, remained to mark their passing. Some say more races did then than their are people living now, but most scholars dispute this. They claim more races died then that will ever exist again on Niarand. The devastation was so great that almost all the Old Woods were demolished and almost no area escaped unscathed by the power of war.
The very land was warped beyond all hope of true repair and fire sprouted out of the burning mountains as the wounded land shrieked its pain to a people wounded even more that it and unable to hear its cries. The land of Hodge Podge was formed and still continues its warping to this day. And that land, the land that changes its appearance daily, was among the mildest results of the Darkling War. Beings of darkness and shadow strode the lands unhindered and legends walked the world, their wrath blazing like a sun. Even the Aendar were practically helpless, for their attempt to call Tiamrak, the being that is perfection incarnate, failed because she was too disgusted to come aid them.
Nations and peoples were broken in ways none can fathom any longer. No value or law or will was able to withstand this onslaught and the suicides began to outnumber the actual battlefield losses in some countries. Despair ruled and Hope was gone. People fought and died to simply get dying over with and hate ruled over all.
It was at this time that the Darkling War became a living entity.
In these darkest of centuries and bleakest of ages, War became a being itself and was capable of prolonging the war past what the world could bear -- even though it had already reached that point. The people had lived with war for so long they knew no other way to live. They existed to kill and be killed, for no other reason. Their were no values or causes for what they did and, in recognition of the deaths of the spirit to be true, the Necromancers perished in a vain attempt to hold back war.
Following their example, one Werefolk, of the house Karanthra [those who wait to die] gathered the strength of their people and reforged the blade known as Sarcoth Daim, the Sword the Shatters Empires, and with it destroyed the moon and freed the Werefolk from the mages and from war. Alas, it was too late and many of them are still bound to wars and their need to cause and fight in them has never been beaten and will remain a part of the race until they are no more.
In horror at this cost and due to many other factors, another Druid was born: the first and only Greater Druid to walk Niarand. The Aendar known as Elkran persuaded the druid to become a Dark Druid and she accepted. The Druid lived her life and when her time came to die, refused Death and healed herself. She was the first Tam'makar (Unfated One) of the world in many years. Unable to die, she strode the world, hunting War and finally, after many millennia of searching, she found War and fought him. Unable to refuse to fight someone, War accepted and gave the Druid a fatal blow. The Druid then used Blood Magic (!) and bound War to her. She then called Death to come and kill herself and released his defences against dying. Death claimed both her and War and it is said that day, for once during it's existence, Death smiled. And the dead, who could never truly forget the war, cheered silently and for the first time the Valley of Death resounded with the sound of hope.
The world did not.
End of the Darkling War: The Darkling War had wrought such changes that the world was never the same. The First Times of the Lun Lion became so bitter a myth and a proof of the degradation of the peoples so that they fled from the truth. Even Holders of Truth began to lie and their once-inviolate order was weakened. The Wizards, Necromancers, the moon itself and many others were no more. Too great a price had been paid and even humanity, which legend has said can bear anything, could not bear the pain of the whole world. There comes a point when endurance just leads to a stubborn, unthinking resistance (some humans call it dwarfism, though not when a dwarf is around) and they had reached and past that point long ago. The human race was broken and would never again achieve the unity of power they had once held. Nothing survived unscathed and the few nations that emerged from the rubble would now be called villages, if one was being very generous.
Adept War: Fear and paranoia still ruled the people's lives and soon the best and greatest of those left, those of natural ability (for trained abilities existed no longer), known as Adepts, were then hunted. The Aendar order perished and the Witches were nearly decimated. All Adepts, blamed for being the cause of the Darkling War, were nearly exterminated off the face of the world. This was a time of prejudice and mistrust, with many innocents dying and people being killed for being too pretty or handsome etc. It was one of the few truly racist times in Niarandian history that wasn't an actual war -- it was more of an extermination that had come from a war where extermination was done in an hour.
The Tyrilda is destroyed: The fortress of the Aendar was decimated by a mob. That is what the history books say but if even half the tales of the Aendar are true, that would have been impossible. Here it is possible to understand that Shadron Jerduni was telling the truth when he claimed to have destroyed the Tyrilda. He led the assault and killed many of them with his own hands in an attempt to destroy all those who had known him before he killed Elkran and doomed himself. He was very successful.
Adept War ends: The war ended when many Adepts had gone into hiding or fled into areas where only they could hope to survive. Shadron continued his personal crusade against the Aendar long after this and Witches are persecuted to this day in some areas due to some of the habits he ingrained in people. Adepts have never truly lost their stigma and many are often killed with little or no provocation for being better than others. Some courts even accept the fact that a person is an Adept as sufficient reason to kill them still.
The Time of Ice: The Gods of Nature, realising the power that the Two God would have, decided to make his ascension a little more difficult. They committed suicide on Niarand and sent a veritable flood of power to the other Gods. Only the Two God was able to do anything besides juggle the surging force crackling around him. Therefore the Two God was still able to use some of his power to help his followers when the Ice came since the death of Nature's Gods drastically altered the worlds climate, which was unstable enough as it was thanks to the Darkling War.
People were forced to fight for their very survival and the races competed with the evil races for existence during this bitter time. The races invented Valley Shields, a shield that covers one area called a valley (since it is between two glaciers) and remained relatively warm. The evil races tried to find out how to make valleys, and failing this, to destroy the valleys with Swarmings. Swarmings were a banding together of evil that consisted of a minimum of 3 000 foes but often averaged 20 000 enemies attacking a valley. Most of these Swarmings were headed by Ice Dragons, a Mage experiment that allowed Ice to exist by bonding it to a Dragon. Some still exist and serve the race known as the Teargash, a left over result of the storm.
Mages were accepted into society (And even had some schools for training Mages opened) since, without the power of prayer, many priests were less useful. To combat this, the Two God created a new class of Priest, the Soul Priest and got rid of all the strictures he placed on his followers for this one time. A special sub-group called the Explorer existed then, a person who made and held the precious paths between the valleys as well as being semi-useful Mages.
To make matters worse, a Power Storm flowed across the world. This storm occurred every two hundred days due to the death of the Nature Gods. Anyone using power during this time was unable to use it again as it was burned out of them. Some claim this was one of may remnants of the Darkling War just left waiting for others to find them. As a minor bonus for him, the Two God was able to use his extra power to make hermaphrodites, those who are the Chosen of the Two God, immune to this storm. Also, some evil creatures could absorb a small part of the storm and send it at people with power during battle. The storm also came to individual areas about once every 40 days. Eventually the Power Storm faded and the people began to try and rediscover -- again -- a land once more reshaped, this time by ice instead of war.
Hingari first scout out Niarand: The Hingari somehow came to this world during this great disturbance and decided not to use it yet as a place to live and d retreated back into the fabric of the barrier to wait for a time when they would be of more aid. They also had enough unfortunate incidences they decided the races were not ready for them as yet. They left one of their creations, Adion the living star, to tell them about the world. Adion accidentally fell into a glacier and was not free until the Scattering, at which point he was only able to learn much about the few groups he encountered near him.
The Scattering: When the Time of Ice ended, the races began to separate from each other and explore the world. Mages are again scorned as weak and evil prophets of doom and magnets for death (i.e.. the Pyrrick and Werefolk hunting them with reckless abandon) and due to the fact that the priests and Gods regained their former powers -- and then some. No one is sure how long this time lasted, and some say it is still continuing in a cultural sense. Some say the world never evolved beyond this point and that all time, they claim, had ended then because all that could be done had been done and the future is just a repetition of that since the Darkling War broke time itself so that nothing new can only occur. Most ignore them -- but there are always fools, that is the only eternal truth: there will always be fools.
The Tricks of Night: Occurring at the same time as the Scattering, this was when the Shadow King convinced everyone, through It's agents, that ShadowLight was really ShadowFire, and in It's control and that Dark Mages all serve It and use DarkLight by It's training them. Due to this act, Its influence spread rapidly and hatred of mages became even more widespread. It was said that the surest way to die was to cast a spell. Some say it still is, even long after that time.
Evil Mages become common: Due to this master work of Public Relations, the Shadow King was able to sway many races to its side and more and more mages began serving it. The ShadowSouled became more common and, in many places easier to spot. Most assumed that this showed that the Shadow King was weak but in truth the Shadow King was merely sacrificing many scape goats so that its true agents remained undetected, slowly killing off the remaining Holders of Truth.
Rise of the Empires: The Talkani and Omaru empires begin to exist as alliances become common once again, though not spoken of. The reason for this is long forgotten but maintained, more due to superstitious fear than anything else. The Omaru empire soon fell due to a lack of heirs of the throne and the Talkani Empire tried to conquer the small kingdoms that sprung up in what was Omaru but then the invading force made the mistake of trying to attack the ever-present Alias Empire also. One quarter of the land of the Talkani Empire was disintegrated and the Dead-Life Waters formed. Whatever the Darkling War had done to that land, it had evidently not weakened its defences any.
Tales of Doom: Seers, visionaries and Voices of Prophecy begin to have visions of a war to come that will be greater than even the Darkling War. Some speculate it to be the return of the long-forgotten Farae. They also foresee the deaths of the Gods and the Gods banish the few remaining Elementals in fear that the Elementals will somehow cause the Gods' death. These few Elementals are ones that were summoned to aid them during the Darkling War and never sent back due to minor incidences like the Time of Ice weakening the Gods. The Elementals are once again forgotten by all, even the Lore Learned.
Domination War: The Shadow King tries to take over the world without hiding the fact that such a goal is Its goal this time. The Qshith and Valru succeed in driving It off and the races begin to create a Wall around Shadow Home but the Fog Born stop it from being finished. The remaining Elves finally wake up and smell the extinction as their numbers are reduced to a paltry 50 beings holding pure Elven Blood in all the world, and those with their blood are almost as few. Elven scholars refer to this as the "Age of Whorehouses" for the Elves but many with their blood are born from such unions. The elves stop when they realise that such beings could eventually call back the Farae since they could use their elven blood to tap the earth magic, as true elves could not. They cease their breeding program at once but do not have the courage to slay al their offspring and refuse, in their shame, to tell others of the threat that their blood poses.
Coming of the Hingari: The Hingari come to the world and begin to set up trade with various governments and world-wide trading becomes viable as the Hingari show sailors new ways of making boats. Some vessels try to sail beyond the known lands, but none return. On every world the Hingari have been known sometimes as aliens or saviours and other times as creatures of evil. On this world, the Hingari were actually Half Kyree -- since mist hides this world, its sun and other planets around said sun from others and due to the fact that mist is their home. They took their spells and placed them in an area of power that no creature could breach, or so they thought.
Travelling Times: This is a period when the travelling to other lands reaches a very high proportion of the population but wanes when no other lands are discovered. Or, to be more accurate, no one returns from their discoveries. At least, not as sane as most would like -- and some not alive by any definition of it. It was a time of great exploration and people began to truly explore the world as they had not done since the Darkling War to find out what it was not like.
The Leavetaking: As they began to fade, both in strength and in power, the Hingari realised that a race known as the Qshith had been able to breach their wards and learn the origins of the Hingari. Though the Hingari were waning, they still had enough power to make the foe pay and fought the Qshith in the Hingari's places of power -- and lost. For the Qshith had been here since the dawn of the world and were still magic incarnate. In desperation, the Hingari "branded" their magic on every building in their stronghold and sent themselves into the void between reality and Niarand. The Qshith were flung from Niarand onto a Mirror World, the world Niarand could have been in the Alternate Reality farthest from the world itself, a world that no evil or war has ever touched. A world of peace.
Since the Qshith are a part of Niarand, they returned, startled but alive, since the Qshith's cousin race, the Valru (who are Psychic power incarnate), had not been banished also. This part of history is important since when Humans began covering the world, the Qshith and Valru went into the Mirror World for they wouldn't obliterate the humans. No one is exactly sure why though since the origin of humanity has been long forgotten to all save the Qshith and Valru and they were called cowards for their actions then. The few remaining Hingari were killed by some unknown plague and left Adion to await their coming when they were able to return. It is said that the last Hingari, before she died of the plague, warned Adion that they would return after a time even darker than the Darkling War. All scoffed at his warning and berated him until Adion left to live on his own. He never understood -- having never learned to lie -- that their greatest fear was that he spoke the truth.
The Exodus: The Qshith, Valru, Dragons, Dwarves and other races move to the Mirror World for the most part to not be in the way of the enroaching masses of humanity that, if they could no longer endure anything, could endure much more than many others dared to at that time. Many claim it is because humans had less morals though humans refuse to accept that. The other races didn't want to spend the time and energy needed to fight humans and the Qshith and Valru refused to kill off the humans. This ushered in a time of human dominance in the world which was unique and quite unprecedented. Some had Seen the results of such dominance and were very bitter about the Qshith and Valru desire to fell instead of fight but the Old Races insisted and few had the courage to challenge such old powers, even if they feared such powers were going senile.
The FireLight War: [This text is taken from a historical essay]
Time passed, as it is wont to do and Mages, without the Qshith and Valru teaching ones who got too powerful "lessons", began to rise in power even more than ever before. Then one very powerful Mage gathered many lesser Mages, about 20 000 of them, and had them perform a Shattering on a Human who was born without the drop of FireLight that all are born with. He wanted to know why it was forbidden to perform the Shattering on being with this Magic Resistance. Putting it bluntly, he found out. All those who did the Shattering died though some say this Mage, Garean Histacha, managed to survive. The young human who was hit with the Shattering was a Seer and fought the spell but it proved too strong and he went insane and the outpouring of magic that stopped other Magic killed nearly every Mage on the same continent as him and wiped out at least three cities near him. Mages attempted to contain him and others to use him while others tried to ignore him until every Mage was at each others throats and Power being unleashed at the slightest provocation, real or imagined. For three years the Mages fought but then the others of Power on Niarand; Alterators, Physicists, Psychics, Priests, Chosen of the Two God and others began to help subdue the Insane One. Another two years past before the Insane One was contained but, as the Mages began to stop warring, the Shadow King, devil, god, the ancient evil, struck.
Whatever you seek to call it, the Shadow King was Evil. It marched from the small country it held and slowly began to defeat nation after nation. Knights of the King, their once human forms twisted by the Fog Born; Shadow Demons, possessors and shape shifters; Shadow Lords, Mages and Psychics; Fog Bound, Elves bound to the land the Shadow King claimed and many others began to march. For a full 20 years the ShadowSouled ravaged land after land and people after people. The last 13 Elves fought their fallen brethren, the Dimen woke from the Mountain Sleep and died in a world that had changed so much as to be unrecognisable from even fifty years ago. Vampires and Werefolk came out of hiding to brave the shrouding evil. Even the Qshith and Valru came, though mostly to kill Shadow Mages and to stop the Shadow Kings servants from entering the Mirror World. This was called the Aendar Alliance and slowly began to push back the Servants of the Shadow but then disaster reared it's mighty head.
Shadow King invades Lun Lion reality; FireLight war Ends: [A continuation of the essay further down the manuscript]
The Shadow King released it's reserves. The Dark Ones, three beings who are second to it in command and power and these things roamed the land. Undead, Unliving, Neverlived, Deathspawn, Ean Nachaka-Hidara (The Black Pits in reality), the Pitiless Powers: many names described them and many curses were screamed in defiance but still the Dark Ones came. For another 10 years the Shadow King fought but then it made a blunder: If the Mirror World was denied to it, what about the worlds beyond? The Shadow Mages reached and then, on the thirty sixth year of what would be called the FireLight Wars, they received an answer, of sorts. The Lun Lion, the elders to the eldest, came.
The Lun Lion had seen the time Niarand was separated from All and had seen the very world form. They were older than the word old and held powers long forgotten. When they rode, evil fled before the time when there was no evil. Only one description of the Arrival has been found:
They came across the world like the Wrath of the Two God, searing the very spirit with their passing. I am human so to me the Lun Lion were human but too my Half Kin friends, they were Half Kin. No one seemed to see them begin the ride, but their horses -- if such wondrous being can be given such a simple name -- galloped, no tore, past all the weaker Shadow Demons and whatnot to tear right into the centre of the Army of Evil. The Army fell like wheat before a scythe and the Dark Ones fled, weeping in rage and, some said, pain and loss. Why? I don't know but for some reason I pray we never do. Then I saw Them, purity incarnate. It was beyond anything, holy above the Gods, power to sear the very world and love to blind every eye.
The very air seemed more pure and it was as if the world was being born around me, but I lacked their blood; I couldn't be part of it. It was devastating, final., horrifying. At least half the men went insane, crying about "the jungle, the first jungle" and others screaming "the darkness, the unending darkness" and lots of other nonsense. I myself felt as if I was being born again: it was wondrous, unholy, purifying as the fire purifies the sins of mortals and as if I was honoured above all to see this sight. More went mad, knowing that this was all they could see, it would have been better to never feel this at all than to be tormented every waking moment with what was and should have been.
They rode directly to the Shadow King and it fell back, the darkness being seared by a good that couldn't be harmed. Then, for the first time since we had entered battle, the Shadow King spoke and even more men fled.
"Why have you come?" The voice said coldly and all hope left me but then they responded and their voices were like the dawn of a new day, the rekindling of hope that had never been lost, only buried and forgotten beneath the winds of war and the blood of the slain.
"We come to stop this war. You can not -- will not -- be allowed into our lands nor those of the Qshith and Valru. The compact binds you."
"But it doesn't bind my servants," It said coldly.
Now I saw how the grace could be dangerous, how a fire could warm yet burn and how ice could cut so very deep for their voices, when they answered, were filled with a cold rage that made even the Shadow King pause. "If you wish to debate technicalities, we will say that you are killing Qshith and Valru blood so, according to the Compact, you should die."
"You recall what I did to the three who made the Compact?" It said with what seemed like humour and their faces turned so pale that it could have obliterated the world and they wouldn't have been hurt more. Then from somewhere within themselves, they drew strength and gave answer:
"Nonetheless, the Compact still stands, even if the signers do not."
"They stand when the mood suits me." It said, but they had mastered their dismay and just looked at him, perfection gazing upon imperfection and finding it . . . wanting.
It's voice was cold ice when it spoke next. "I will agree to the compact but it will take time for my troops to disperse." They agreed and then the Lun Lion left and the world looked older and wearier than I had ever guessed and in that one moment, I longed to end the worlds suffering but I recalled how no one being can destroy this and recalled myself, to see the armies rising, and the Shadow King laughing at the "eternal fools".
The account ended there but what is known is that the Qshith and Valru left and the Shadow King began to continue the war, albeit a little more quietly so some of the Qshith and Valru returned to force him to leave by being in front of every battle so that neither the Shadow King nor it's servants could harm them. If they still live on Niarand, they have broken the Compact and are much reduced from the war.
Terrin Starsight Gets The Mages Blamed For FireLight War: After the War, one Terrin Starsight, greatest seer to ever walk the world, put the Plan of Accusation into play for she had foreseen the results of the thirty six year long FireLight Wars during the beginning and who helped "frame"' Mages as the culprits of the war -- at the request of the Mages since the Aendar Alliance took full responsibility for having started the war in the first place. During the Mage Hunts after the war, she took refugee in Alias and is believed to be dead but some of the rulers uncanny plans and stopping of invasions seem to hint that either she, or a descendant, is still alive. She is thought to have held the Old Blood. Note that few believe, or know about (or, in some cases, care that) the Mages were framed -- Also note that this includes most Mages! -- and many think that the FireLight War was won by the Human/Half Kin/whatever Alliance that had nothing to do with Qshith, Valru or Lun Lion. Few would honour the debt owed to the elder races.
Terrin Starsight: The True Adept Seer who saw the results of the thirty six year long FireLight Wars during the beginning and who helped "frame" Mages as the culprits of the war -- at the request of the Mages since the Aendar Alliance, as they called themselves (not knowing what Aendar meant) took full responsibility for having started the war in the first place. During the Mage Hunts after the war, she took refugee in Alias and is believed to be dead but some of the rulers uncanny plans and stopping of invasions seem to hint that either she, or a descendant of her, is still alive. She held the Old Blood. Some claim she died and her ghost haunts the world, and others that she is still alive, plotting the ruin of the world.
In truth, Terrin was the lover of Niand in the far futures when Niand rules Niarand So great is his despair at how he won and the results of it, Niand uses his great powers to send her back in time, unknown to his past self, to stop him from achieving his goal or finding another way to achieve it. This is the only reality where she has actually had a chance to do that without destroying the good she believes lies in Niand -- or the world. Being dead is just a minor handicap.
The Mage Rebirth: One thousand years later a blacksmith-turned-Mage named Hercules rediscovered the Shattering, Nodes and other spells by entering the Hingari Ruins. He also founded the Wier of Wizardry, freed a Fog Born from The Curse of the Shadow King and is said to have started a training school with the former head of the Wier one Shadron Jerduni who is a Lun lion and who, according to rumour, should have been charged with being a Traitor to the Races) for starting the Darkling War -- among other things. Hercules also possesses the Collar of Command, a device that allows one to control whomever you place it on. It is passed down by the controller giving it to the prisoner. What Hercules did with it when said former head of the Wier gave it too him is unknown. Some say he is trying to destroy it and others that he seeks to imprison the Two god with it since he owes the Two God a debt but now is hidden from the Two God finding him to make him pay the debt.
Alcar comes to Niarand: It was during this time that Hercules visited the ruins of Janeel and activated the Last Portal the resides their. Due to a variety of factors too great to mention, the portal activates and an elf with black hair and gold eyes, who was recently supposedly destroyed by Burf Barf appears. Alcar was Morolan Koth, Bringer of Sorrow and th most feared being of his time. He had just slain his opposite, Burf Part who was Tisan Laroth, Bringer of Hope but killing Burf Barf had caused a world that, thanks to a trick of Burf Barf's, was the Source of all incarnate. The destruction of that world was great enough to disperse Alcar and the spirit of Morolan Koth since they had been weakened by killing Burf Barf.
Spirit of Morolan Koth comes; Mountain of Despair formed: It did not take Alcar long to learn Niarand magic and that he held all three forms of magic (which might make him a potential Aendar save than neither he nor the order would wish that to occur). It took Alcar less time to realise that he was no longer Necessity and, furthermore, that he liked it and the freedom he now had. It also did not take long for the spirit of Morolan Koth to come to Niarand also and try to kill him. Hercules and Alcar held it off until it was forced to flee but Alcar realised that he must always be on guard for there might be others on this world it could possess and he must not let that happen. The defeat of Morolan Koth created a mountain in the Talkani Empire that some say was the first thing to stir the Elder Gods from their slumber.
Death of Dancers: A Vrrgmq Dancer named Dartanien befriends Alcar and helps Alcar get rid of the spirit of Morolan Koth for a time by sacrificing the mighty artifact that the Sky Gods had used to nearly win the War of Land and Sky, namely the statue of them all. He then angers Alcar by insulting his mother such that the Sky Gods are rendered powerless. In desperation, the Dancers sacrifice all of their numbers (approx. 3 000 beings) and die to bring the Sky Gods back their power. They leave Dartanien since, with a Statue of the Sky Gods in him, he is part Sky God and they want the Dancers to continue.
Dartanien frees a being calling himself a Greater Mage from the Kings Land in the Talkani Empire and finds out that this being created the Northerners during the Time of Ice to survive it. In retaliation, its three other companions (he refused to say where they came from) imprisoned him and left the world. The Greater Mage chooses to remain in his prison and open it slowly, as well as revealing that the son of the Talkani King of that time is a hermaphrodite! This destroys the whole kingdom and eventually leads to its future as a realm of Vampires. He also finds the secret home of the Gargoyles (and that it is not in the Alias Empire!) and that they are the heart of all magic.
Most importantly, in the Ruins of Janeel, he kills the Power in charge of Gold in the world and all gold turns into lesser metals (Silver, copper etc.) in the places where they don't fade away entirely as well as helped a lore-learned named Xeran become a Lore Keeper. The world's economy collapses and barter becomes the main source of trade. Dartaniens name is a very strong curse word among merchants now. He apparently trained a new generation of dancers and fought the Elementals wielding the blade Manaké, and forces them back into hiding by slaying the only Time Elemental. He then took the new dancers with him into the sky to live and not heard from for a very long time.
Dartanien: Dartanien is a Vrrgmq dancer who appears to be a male human since he accidentally destroyed his shape shifting power. He also has no ears and very small breasts due to travelling through Janeel. He actually caused Alcar to have a tail in this area and his friend, the Lore Keeper Xeran, is semi-transparent thanks to the dangers of Janeel. Little else is known of him or how he managed to cause such havoc. He has been quoted saying that "I guess I am just lucky." He is lucky to have survived all the Assassins the merchants sent after him.
All Gods (excluding the Two God) begin to fade: The Gods of Niarand's excepting the Two God, of course begin to gradually weaken for no apparent reason. Many of them chose to blame the Two God but the Two God denies such allegations. None of them suspect it is the Elder Gods drawing upon energy to effect their awakening.
Power of Prayer: The Church of then Two God becomes more powerful than the Two God could have ever wished it too. An expedition force is sent to find the people on the other side of the world and convert them to the Two God. The Sky Gods pass out of memory among the land dwellers and the remaining Dancers not killed in the Purge flee to the sky (this happens early in this era since the Dancers worship of the Sky Gods leads to many fanatics trying to kill them). The Mages either die or agree to serve the Church in unspecified ways.
The Opening: Terrin Starsight senses the weakening of the Gods and its source. Using a portion of the power the Elder Gods are summoning, as well as her desperation at knowing that Niand will wake soon, she creates an Opening through the very fabric of the Barrier and brings strangers from other worlds to Niarand. The effort nearly kills her and she has no control over where these beings end up. Few of them ever find out that it was she who has summoned them to this world. The most prominent of these people is Tokan, a Diman who automatically has the Cotis willing to aid him and was the one to free Shadron Jerduni from his prison and use the sword Sarcoth Daim in the cause of good.
Tisan Laroth comes to Niarand: The Opening had at least one unprecedented effect in that it allowed the bringer of Hope, in the persona of Burf Barf's ghost, to arrive on Niarand in search of Alcar. The ghost realises that it cannot coexist with necessity and remain the Source of all. In desperation, it approaches Terrin Starsight who agrees to separate both forces from each other, even though she has no idea what it will cause.
The Awakening; Terrin Starsight dies: The surge of energy when Tisan Laroth and the Source separated was enough to kill Terrin. It also awakened Niand. In horror that she had caused this, Terrin uses the energy of her death to bind Tisan Laroth to an unknown object and hides the object within herself so that Tisan Laroth will not give its strength to Niand to defeat Morolan Koth and Alcar, as she foresees it doing if she does not stop it. Her last command to the ghost of Burf Barf is that it find a being whom the spirit of Morolan Koth will try to possess -- a vessel, like Alcar, that can be filled -- and fill said person with the Source to stop Necessity from aiding or challenging Niand since she sees the doom of the world in that act. Burf Barf agrees and possesses the spirit of one of the travellers from another world and thus the family line of Coldrie was born.
Reptiles are reborn: One of the travellers from another world summoned during the Opening turns out to be a reptile and fulfils the prophecies necessary to reawaken the reptiles and bring that race back to Niarand. They appear in the Waste Lands of the Talkani Empire and begin to slowly rebuild their ancient empire. The Talkani ignore them as best as they can and the king makes the official citizens of the empire. Wars are averted only by mutual exclusion and isolation, which suits both sides fine. An unidentified stranger with grey eyes and white hair comes to them and tells them to beware of the Shadow King's plans for them. He leaves with no further explanation or warning but it is only because of this that the Reptiles are able to find and deal with the ShadowSouled that come to them.
Sundering of the Old: The Alias Empire is breached and becomes part of the God Lands, now called the Kingdom of Two. The Aesir, the people on the other side of the world, begin to lose their battle against the Church of the Most Holy and constant prayer is making the land of Hodge Podge more stable and ships are sailing that way around the world in search of other lands. The Alias Empire is still very anti-traveller and any non-Priest found in their lands is killed. The church of the Two God finds itself blocked at every step it takes and discovers that without the protective barrier around it, very nasty things can get out of Alias. The Alias call it a coincidence that these things target priests more often than others. Many scholars feel that this sundering of the barrier around the Alias Empire was a defeat in name only, a propaganda piece for the church since the Alias resisted the church openly for many years.
Gaya, an Elder God, weds Tokan: The Elder Gods begin to awaken and the first to awaken is Gaya, Goddess of Nature and Vengeance. She meets one of the travellers from other worlds, the Diman known as Tokan and discovers that she can be harmed when Tokan smashes her across a room after he claims that she is not a god and she asks him to hit her, confident that being an Elder God will protect her from his assault. Their relationship begins then -- because he does not laugh at her and is rather courteous and helps her up, and because Tokan has no concept of rank and authority. Gaya is just another woman to him, albeit a very dangerous one. When Tokan asks for her hand in marriage, Gaya either forgets the old prophecy about a non Elder God that would fulfil the ancient prophecy about a mortal marrying a God and leading to the doom of the world. Either that, or she ignores it. She has never said which but their marriage reawakens many of the other Elder Gods and they have a Druid son, Sharlin, born in the Tetric Grove and raised, in many ways, by the outsiders since he is force-grown to adulthood within ten minutes of his birth.
Shadron Jerduni dies fighting Niand and becomes an Angel: Niand awakens fully but is stopped by the outsiders fighting it with Sharlin at their side. Sharlin balks at the task he has to face and Shadron Jerduni -- who has been hunting these outsiders since their arrival since at least two of them were potential Aendar -- forces Sharlin to kill him and redirects that energy into Niand, effectively killing three birds with one overkill burst of power. Shadron is turned into an angel for this deed and becomes the heart of the Tetric Grove and aids the Aendar. Sharlin is killed and Niand is dispersed once more.
The Aendar return and the Tyrilda is remade: With Shadron aiding them and giving his full knowledge to them, the outsiders capable of becoming Aendar do so. All of them eventually reach this status and search far and wide for others with this potential. Shadron himself remakes the Tyrilda and improves it to the point where he is convinced it cannot be destroyed by most native forces on Niarand. The Aendar chose to keep their existence a relative secret and rarely do things that no other mage could do. As a result, they are not as well known as they could be but decide they like it this way.
The past becomes present; races return from Mirror World: The races that had left Niarand to enter the Mirror World return and many historical events repeat themselves, on a minor scale that goes almost unnoticed by most. The Dwarves, some Shortlings, the Qshith, Valru, Cotis and many Taigen (Hill Trolls) return to the world and are greeted by the Half Kin once more. Territorial disputes with humans erupt very quickly, especially with the Dwarves who want their mountains back right now, thank you or we will hack you off at the knees with our axes . . . or aim a little higher. Obviously, this does not do much for their relationships and the old conflicts between these two races flare up anew. The Cotis settle into quiet areas and are generally accepted -- mainly because no one wishes to tick them off. Ditto for the Taigen. The Shortlings are greeted with mocking and laughter -- until they prove how dangerous they can be when they completely lose their sense of humour. The mocking stops rather quickly at that point and the Shortlings are never proud of it. From this point until well into the Time of Terror, race relations are a public relations nightmare and good diplomats very hard to find. The Shadow King does nothing to stir up trouble, generally because many expect it and also because the races are doing a fine job without it's interference.
Alias Empire finally Sundered: Many of the returned races find sanctuary in the Alias Empire and this leads the Church of the Two God to finally succeed in breaching the nations defences in an all out war that devastates the nearby nation of Diami and many of the small kingdoms nearby. The amount of Alias who died in this war has never been calculated and likely never will since they are a very private people. Granted, they knew the defeat was inevitable since the nobility, with its ability to predict the (most) inevitable future had known this would happen, but they did not submit willingly. No priest of the Two God in these lands was safe from accidents. The Alias chose to keep the fact of their worship of the Two God -- and being the first worshippers in large numbers for that matter -- a secret. This was relatively easy since they had no priests and they were more than adept at the art of saying nothing. The priests also knew that some Alias had chosen not to fight and that if they did anything too drastic these forces would react.
These forces were actually Staff Mages as well as the Gargoyles and Terrin Starsight in ghost form. Other old Powers of this land, as well as a bound demon who had actually decided to like the Old Wood in this empire that she was protecting. The Alias mages and the few Aendar who walked that land openly were a subtle hint of defiance. The Church also had a suspicion that the Tyrilda was actually in this land and had no wish to get all the Aendar against them. Healer Mages of the church received no calls for healing and the Aendar would go to any other choice available, even if it meant certain death. Mind Priests also found that these people had unnaturally strong mental shields and that at least one quarter of the population had the natural talents every psychic has if not the trained ones. There suspicion that the infamous Cyran blood was in these people kept them from probing anyone too deeply. The nobility was able to counter some to the Soul Priests talent and was immune to it also. Body Priests encountered the few remaining Church Knights as well as some Dancers. Basically, the church found itself as a ruler too afraid to exert its power since the captives had its equals, although in smaller numbers. Also, it is very difficult to convert people who actually worship your god to worship that god.
Many even doubt how effective this sundering was since the church learned very little about the Alias people, nothing about the races that only lived there and very little about the terrain. All explorers were never heard from again, regardless of what the went out with for protection or how many their were. Many subtle and quiet forces blocked the Church at every step it took in a quiet rebellion that was so non-existent the Church could do nothing about it. The few people they dared torture revealed nothing, not even their names. Here the ancient endurance of humanity still shone forth in all its splendour, only muted by a passiveness more deadly that any battle. Many priests cracked under the strain and no historian calls this sundering a "victory" for the Church of the Two God by any stretch of the imagination.
Talkani Empire becomes Vampires: In what is likely one of the truly bizarre anecdotes of Niarand history, a whole nation is altered irrevocably by one simple "Yes or No" question. The Emperor of the Talkani was a Dancer in the time of Dartanien. This trait was passed through all the family until finally Dartanien returned and asked the latest Emperor if he would like to become a Dancer as his ancestor had. Dartanien was then attacked by one of the older noble houses, who were actually all vampires. It turns out that they had become a noble house because the first emperor needed a really efficient and loyal assassin. Dartanien, welding Maneké, easily defeated the nobles "daughter" but the Emperor was pragmatic enough to know that not even Dartanien could defeat Shetel, the vampire originally hired by the first emperor and the ruler of that noble family.
As a compromise, the emperor removed the Crown of Office, a very potent symbol of power, and gave it to the vampire! Shetel placed it on and did not die (Which according to legend some of the legitimate descendants even did!) and thus became the new emperor. It was not long after this that some fool adventurers arrived and tried to depose of the "evil" emperor. One thing led to another and one of the adventurers turned out to have the Source and be capable of actually killing the emperor. When this happened, the crown took matters into its own hands and sent out a burst of power that turned every native of the Talkani Empire into vampires [This includes the animals!] The emperor was then reborn and much of the crowns powers lost as a result. Once the people accepted this new change of being Dawn Vampires they quickly banned all silver from their nation and grew food on farms -- for export purposes since they had no need to eat. Few of them even feel a great urge to drink blood thanks to the crown. Other humans eventually were allowed to settle here and the sheer volume of produced food reduced many famous merchant companies to dust since they could not compete with Talkani prices. Vampire priests began popping up slowly since normal human ones did not like the feeling that they were lunch for their congregation. Vampire babies even slowly begin to be born as the vampires found out that some of them, thanks to the crown, could breed. This threw the Church into a fit but it lacked the resources to try and take to a nation of vampires and deal with the Alias at the same time.
Tokan Twins are born (Greater Mage and Necromancer): The first true children of Tokan and Gaya (Sharlin being a fluke in many ways and born only to die as well as being dead) were born. The Elder Gods were horrified but the threat of Tokans anger (since his blade Sarcoth Daim could kill even them) and Gaya's rage caused them to decide that discretion was the better part of valour -- as well as the better part of continuing to live. The one child is a potential Greater Mage (and this is noticed before birth so the child does not die due to being touched) and takes after Tokan, hence being named Tokan as well. The other twin, a female named Nakto, was a potential Necromancer who is eventually trained by the blade of Caigen, a hill troll. Tokan and Gaya continue to have more children, many who will become legends in any time and whose children will be great myths for many ages to come -- and ages that have been, since at least one is a Time Mage.
The actual Innocents of Niarand Die: This incident was not noted by many but during this time the complete innocents (not true innocents, since those beings can never commit a crime) died. Few noticed it because, being blunt, there were few such people left. Only Tirien, who noticed the deaths of many descendants of the Order that, before the Darkling War, had taught him never to take a life without cause and much of the fighting skills he has now. He sees them die and wonder what omen such deaths portend to. His interest leads the Shadow King to become aware of him and begins to hunt him as a result of this.
Seers die mysteriously while foreseeing a dark future: The sign of the innocents dying was not heeded and thus the seers began to See the future and the war the Shadow King was preparing to begin and die when they see the scope of it. The warnings they gasp are too vague and do little more than instil a slight feeling of unease in people. Only the Aendar begin to piece together the true Seeings and by then it is too late. Far too late.
The Time of Terror begins: The armies of the Shadow King rise up out of the Shadow Home and march against the Border Lands. Or, to put it another way: the Shadow King begins its truest invasion. The Aendar attempt to give aid but the Children of the Shadows, the Shadow Kings greatest pawns, use ShadowFire to an extent unprecedented. The Tyrilda is actually held under siege for a week and that is long enough for the bulk of the Border Lands to fall. Since those people had lived and died with the fear of invasion for many generations, the other nations quickly prepare for war only to find ShadowSouled in every centre and government. Nations begin to topple one after another and slowly the very planning and centuries of effort placed into this attack take their toll on the morale of many. The Bay Lands and the Kingdom of Two (soon reduced to the God Lands again) slowly take up the battle, aware that they cannot stop the army but determined to slow it down long enough for others to raise their own armies.
Priests of the Two God begin to pray for aid but receive no answer! The ghost of Terrin Starsight appears and informs them that the Two God, in his continuing quest to not become the Power of Niarand, has allowed the Shadow King to attempt to destroy the priesthood. The Shadow King apparently has taken this as an invitation to conquer the world. And the Two God, for now, will not stop him. The only power capable of truly defeating the Shadow King is refusing to. This places the church in great turmoil, especially when the news leaks out. Many good priests leave, feeling the Two God has let them down and the church sinks into corruption within two generations,* not rising above the fact that their gods will give them no direct aid but falling into the trap of pity and fear. Thus the church failed the Two God, unaware that this had been the last chance of true redemption granted by the Two God. The church was now alone to prove itself -- or be annihilated, and with it possibly the world.
As a side note, many scholars believe that the war was planned so well that the Shadow King likely manipulated the Two God into agreeing to allow the church to be destroyed in such a manner. The Two God has said nothing on this matter and those who might know refuse to speak.
Not being Fate, their choices were never correct and they began to even doubt their hindsight. They eventually chose to not act at all and this disastrous choice led to the Darkling War and, many believe, allowed the Shadow King to arrive on Niarand. The weight of their burden led to them entering a trance-like sleep during the Darkling War. This burden also unhinged all of them to a certain extent, which perhaps explains some of their actions in the times preceding the Darkling War.
The Dragons seek sanctuary with the Elder Gods: The Elder Gods ceased their long argument as Sedah brought the Dragons into the Council and told them to make a choice. Either give aid now or watch the world die. The Elder Gods chose to debate this.
Gods created out of pure belief (rather sexist): It was only much later, when a group of Malthusians managed to actually "summon" their own god that people began to realise how right Malthus had been. A Necromancer decided to raise Malthus and the spirit revealed that gods were created out of belief -- at least in the beginning. It might be possible for it to go beyond belief if the supply becomes more than the demand, legend claims Malthus said, but that is not likely. Many now think Malthus was predicting the Two God.
Worship of the Two God first reported: Worship of the Two God is first verified during the Time of Many Gods as he was the god who banished the Elementals. No one pays much attention to this new deity yet though some of the Elder Gods notice that he is stronger than they would have expected for a god with so few followers. Since no other god has the strength, resources or reason to try and destroy his religion, they do not find out if it is possible. As the first of the created gods to declare the sexes equal, the Two God is thought a religion only for extremists or weaklings.
Xerath becomes wielder of the Winds of the World: One Xerath, a half Waterborn thief, becomes the wielder of the Winds of the World, a gift from the Waterborn at Sinathar. He dies defending Toltan and his Power is passed in a special jewel. His lover, Veris, is a Qshith Keeper who became master of the Water of the World. Both powers combined were nigh unstoppable. They died defending the city of Toltan during one of its first defences as the nation of Perethen falls around it. For two weeks they held back the army that had defeated the Borderlands in one but were finally slain by treachery. Their respective powers are placed inside magical containers and sent out into the world to aid in the battles against the Shadow King.
Tokan is killed by a Scarlet Strider: The Scarlet Striders, in their unending quest to kill all unknowns who arrive on Niarand, succeed in killing Tokan. Gaya annihilates almost all the assassins save the one who ordered the attack and didn't come with the rest and in secret sends her daughter, Gakan, to infiltrate and destroy the order and whoever ordered Tokan killed. However, the conditioning of the order makes her forget who she is until she converses with that killer. Well aware of what her rage could do, Gaya decides to give up that portion of her power to this daughter and allow Gakan to exact vengeance. Gakan decides to defect the Scarlet Striders and evade the assassins the Striders send after her. When one of them destroys a Shortling village on Karni, the last Shortlings not living in the clouds. The only remaining Shortling villager, Zeric, joined Gakan in hunting down the Scarlet Striders and their assault, which quickly became a retreat, saw them board a boat attempting to sail around the world, past the land of Hodge Podge. They found the kingdom of Valdridan, long lost even to their legends.
Zeric establishes trade with Valdridan: Zeric, being a very quick thinker, soon had a trade route going between Valdridan and the eastern lands. It did not take long for trade to develop with the other major eastern land, Aesir, as well as other small island nations. Some lands still remained isolated for many years but this bridging of the gap between the races is the main thing that allowed many wise people to come together and try to discover the Shadow Kings plans. They did not succeed but of their talks was born the rough outlines of alliances that would allow many to survive the Time of Terror. The wise were reaching an accordance of sorts when the Lore Keeper, Xeran, suddenly cried out and vanished, struck a blow that temporarily disembodied him and the defences around the place the wise met collapsed. Before they could react, a Power erupted into their meeting and they were all slain.
The wise could have held off even the Dark Ones for a time if one was feeling very conservative about estimating the various powers at that meeting. The only major powers absent were the last Greater Mage, Alcar and Tirien. Alcar arrived late and was in time to witness the deaths of all the gathered wise. He then called out a Word that summoned the Lun Lion to sing a song of mourning for the dead. The Lun Lion were originally horrified that Alcar would waste such power for people he barely knew but understood soon enough. Zeric, Gakan and many children of Tokan as well as at least three druids, uncounted Sages and Seers, Witches, Mages of all sorts and other powers had been slain. Even the Qshith and Valru had lost many great ones and the despair of the world at this lost was very profound. The slain Lun Lion, Elder Gods and Powers were enough to horrify even Alcar. The amount of sorrow unleashed almost turned him back into Morolan Koth but the Lun Lion helped him hold back that dread spirit.
It was finally decided by the only Keeper to have not attended the meeting that the wise were attacked by the Shadow King itself and not even they, lulled into complacency by their numbers and powers, could hold it off. Alcar later said that even if they all had been in their best condition they would not have won. The Shadow King was making a Statement such as had never been made by it before. It was saying that this was a war to the death of all. And it was not going to hold back for any reason.
The Powers of the Oldest World hide from all: In fear of the Shadow King, many of the oldest and deepest Powers of Niarand went into hiding. Some speculate that this loss of fundamental energy strengthened the Shadow King while others think that it made the Shadow King over confident to the point that It thought those Powers defeated. No one is sure but the after effects of the hiding were very noticeable. The Shadow King sent even more armies abroad and places It had not attacked fell very quickly due to the loss of the Powers protection. It is often said that the Shadow King conquered Alias only because of this fleeing and that theory is right.
For in Alias there remained a small group of mages from the time when humanity's magic first began to drift away from that of the Qshith, not long after ther discovery of Necromancy. The larger part of mages chose to manipulate the forces directly though themselves but a select few chose to use magic in an indirect sense -- by calling up Powers of Niarand to aid them. This was done through staffs and these Staff Mages gained much fame until they declined and faded into myth. It was by their strength, a force unknown to the Shadow King, that the Alias held as long as it did. The hiding of the older powers weakened much of the Staff Mages strength and they were forced to retreat before the Dark Ones.
Tirien is hunted by Shadow Demons: The hunting of Tirien begins in earnest as he aids the city of Toltan and assists a Staff Master at regaining her staff (and power) as well as killing a Shadow Lord alone. He is forced to flee into lands he has been in the past thousand years and is very worried that he might be recognised. He considers adopting a different form but decides not to when he realised that some of the Shadow Kings servants seem to be able to attune onto his presence whenever he changes shape. One of them is the Changeling and they meet once. Tirien shows his true form, the dark thing in smoke, and the Changeling screams in fear and flees. Even the Mage, who has reputedly seen the Shadow King's true forms, retreats from this sight when sent against it. In the second battle between him and the Changeling, Tirien assumes the form of the Dragon made of solid light and manages to evade the Changeling long enough to flee. Both realise that the third time must be the last time they meet and will determine who the better shape shifter is.
Fog Born rebel against the Shadow King: The Fog Born, elves imprisoned long ago, finally succeed in rebelling and refuse to serve the Shadow King or protect the Shadow Home against intrusion. When It realises their duplicity, the Shadow King decides to place them in eternal torment and sets them on "fire for all eternity," a black flame that will kill all who venture near it and prevents them from moving. Thus even in their torture they still serve their master.
Fog Born are destroyed: The Lore Keeper Xeran comes upon them since they originally let him into the Shadow Home to spy and senses their true nature. With a cry of rage and despair, he unleashes the Lore at his command in a bitter defiance of the shadows. The Fog Born die and revert back to their true elven forms as Xeran barely manages to escape with his life. Most of the few remaining wise are in shock that the Fog Born, the evil defenders of the Shadow King, were once good and this shakes many to the core of their cultural beliefs. People begin to question what other "tricks" the Shadow King has and some begin to doubt the validity of the Time of Terror and even of resisting against the Shadow King. Rifts between mages and warriors intensify since all wise are seen as cowards (not for seeking an alternative path, but for considering surrender). Paradoxically, with the death of those long dead elves, Farae blood begins to become a little more common and elven blood stirs once more, even in the hearts of the elves.
Returned races begin to interact with humans: With a lack of speed that defies description, the races begin to interact with each other for something other than wars. Eventually. Mutual recognition of the dangers the Shadow King faces forces the few remaining people in the area that once compromised the Bay Born, Border Lands and God Lands begin. To combat this unity, the Shadow King frees many Greater Demons and the ancient wars begin to escalate. Demons and mortals slowly battle, with a few of the remaining Wizards picking sides, all knowing that the revealing of their presence means their doom.
The Elves mourn and call upon the Earth Magic for aid: In despair at the death of the other elves, and a grim need to act upon it, to do something, the twelve remaining full elves gather together and call forth the totality of the Earth Magic to enact a rite of farewell such as the world as not seen in many an age. Defiantly aware that the use of such force will kill them, they gather its immensity to create a memorial the likes of which Niarand has never seen before. And Power comes, rising from the world in a grey-gold-green flare that tears the very fabric of reality. Even the Shadow King pauses in acknowledgement of this homage but only Xeran and Tirien realise the full impact of what the elves have done. Their is indeed a reason that the Farae blood and use of Earth Magic is shunned and that is because a prodigious enough use will get the attention of the Farae and summon then back to this world. And not even the dead could ignore such power.
The Farae return: Obviously not dead, the Farae follow the energy bridge and return to Niarand in all their glory. In recognition for having brought them back, the Farae refuse to let the Elves who Called them die. The power behind these elemental forces was greater than it had been when they had first strode the world, they who were each all elements, the true storm and its eye, pained the world itself. For Niarand had changed; Darkness and shadow strode it, the Darkling War had rent it's very being in twain and it was no longer strong enough to support them. The Farae, confused by the changes they could not understand, tried to communicate with the world again. The last two, non Aesir druids (for Aesir druids are pledged to never die, as Druids must, and thus the Aesir people take the pains their Druids should have and are that much weaker for it), the only remaining, chose to give up their life to save the world this pain and allow it to survive the Farae's return. As a result, those Druids were not available to stop what they were fated to and the Shadow King was able to launch an assault on Aesir and Valdridan unopposed by any major power.
Elves face the Shadow King: In rage and shame at what they had unwittingly caused, the elves decide to assuage their broken pride and bitter pains by using the same force that had returned the Farae in a personal war against the Shadow King. Had they been what they were before the Calling, they might have had a hope of harming it. But they fought in pain and shame and only to die honourably, not to die to stop It. The Calling and what it had done to the world had broken them more surely than any other thing could have and they fought not only to die with honour but to stop the madness inside themselves. Madness is the Shadow King's weapon, however, and it twisted their very essences and the brightness of the Earth Magic warped, backlashed, and killed themselves and the small country they were hiding it to perform this rite. And the Shadow King laughed at their pettiness.
Farae face the Shadow King: Hearing such mocking laughter from a being that had never truly laughed before, the Farae were driven by the very Calling that had brought them here to defend the honour of the elves. The only way they could was to make it as if they had never followed the energy bridge back to Niarand, to banish themselves but first they decided to deal with the foe that had killed the elves. To do this, they Bound power into themselves and swore an Oath of vengeance upon death that Death itself came to witness and accept. They then unleashed their glory, the glory that had caused so much new pain, and attacked the darkness. Light and fire against shadows and insanity. A light and purpose such as the world had not seen since the departure of the Lun Lion shone forth and was quenched, slowly, grimly and implacably.
But even on the brink of defeat the Farae pressed on their assault until it seemed as if they begged to die. It was then that the Shadow King forced Itself into their thoughts, an effort greater than any yet, and found out why they wished to die. It drew back in horror from their plan but they merely renewed their assault until the Shadow Home shook to its foundations. But the Shadow King no longer struck back, only defended. In Its defence was a rage almost greater than its return assault but still they came, power without and a deep curse within. A curse sworn in energy and to Death, knowing full well what it meant, a curse of genocide and a last bitter mocking of the darkness beyond their existence.
For the Farae had sworn an Oath such as Niarand had never been bound to witness before. An oath to Death and bound by Death, that if most of them died against any foe, their deaths would create an unbinding that would break one of the first bindings and free the Sonne, the only non-living being and a force possibly great enough to slay even the Shadow King. So great was their certainy that this would occur, the Shadow King hesitated long enough for them to call forth another time, another place, and the First Times shone forth in all their glory for one moment. And the Dark Ones saw and screamed, fleeing in fear at what they had once been and would never be again. The Shadow King then gathered its failing Power and bound them who had bound themselves to Death, and placed the Farae in a place of shade and Shadow such that not even a Minotaur could escape such a maze.
Caigen begins to bring back necromancy: Meanwhile, other powers gathered in defence of the world. The troll known as Caigen found a blade forged by the last Minotaur Mage Smith, a blade that could open any power locked within any being and create and break open most mazes. Sadly enough, the plight of the Farae was unknown to him but the blade was capable of freeing his Necromancy. Thus Caigen became the first Necromancer to use power outside himself to focus his strength (a Staff Mage in his own way). He then taught some of his art to the Aendar and found the child of Tokan, the eldest of the Twins, Nakto, and Necromancy returns to a world that needs such arts badly for the amount of dead is almost more than the living since this Time of Terror began. Nakto begins her search for more potential Necromancers but first finds the Greater Mage still on Niarand who agrees to train her brother, Tokan, in the arts of being a Greater Mage.
Qshith and Valru face the Shadow King and are enslaved: Driven by a need as the Farae had been, the Qshith and Valru meet together and realise that they must act to free their ancestors, the Farae. A Statement must be made and kinship recognised again, for with each bond that is unacknowledged or broken, the world grows weaker every day and the boundaries of the realities begin to thin. Desperate to end the unceasing pain of their duty, the children so much reduced from what they once were gather up their greatly depleted numbers and try to sneak into the Shadow Home, which is still being repaired after the Farae assault. However, the Dark Ones, in a desperate need to forget the First Times they have seen again, find the small group and proceed to kill them one by one. The Shadow King senses their actions and orders them to stop after fully eighty percent of the sneak invasion is slaughtered. For amusement, It places them in a cell right beside the Farae and much like it and makes the Farae, Qshith and Valru aware of it so that the binding of progeny and parents burns and aches until it is nigh unbearable. The Shadow King then uses the energy of madness to make the prisons that much stronger and that much weaker so that they can hear each other and almost see and touch each other.
Humans try to free the Qshith and Valru: The curse of parentage strikes deep again and the line of ancestry binds itself once more. The humans of Aesir, the land where where humanity first walked, feel the stirring of their dim racial memories and are forced to try and free the Qshith and Valru. Three quarters of their population, almost as many of Valdridan and half of the remaining humans from the east gather up an army and march. They fail miserably. However, the Shadow King decides to not imprison them for it needs no more madness for extra strength, but decides to test them and see how much of the legendary endurance of humanity remains after these years. Sadly enough, while it has fallen like much else, a piece of this endurance -- now reduced to mere stubbornness in most -- remains. Not enough for them to die when the experiments begin but little enough that they weep for the end. Their greatest strength is now their greatest weakness, as sages often have said is true of all, but it is but one of many weaknesses and they are broken even more thoroughly than the elves to the point where their children, having seen what their parents have become, make the most bitter and lost choice of all who have ever lived and choose to willingly, of their own free will and with no true coercion, serve the Shadow King in a desperate attempt to not feel the pain. And the clouds that darken the skies above the Pit of Sin are not all normal. In the thunder the screams of the damned ring out and the Two God stirs in pain as well, and the rain that falls is not just rain but also, some say, the tears of a bitter and beaten God. A God bound by honour even when seeing how honour has destroyed many others but still bound and with each death at his feet, he binds himself to his altar and begins to die with them. And from his blood, his child begins to stir and be born as the child was once before, during the Darkling War, and through error and sin lost to the world until this more bitter and darker of times.
The Shadow King attacks the Lun Lion Alternate Reality: Wary of losing his still-pained Dark Ones to the First Times, the Shadow King decides to try and assault the Lun Lion alternate reality that is the First Times. It ignores the fact that It is ignoring all bindings and pleas It made with these people, and especially the Compact that the Dark Ones were bound by signing. It launches an assault through the weakened walls of the realities. An assault that touches those times and does one thing, and one thing only: it blights and kills a leaf.
The First Times die: Even with all the Shadow Kings power, in that place where Law made death impossible, it had nearly failed. Not even Its battles to control War during the Darkling War or the more recent challenge of the Farae had weakened it this much. The shadows writhed and trembled as it broke the law the Lun Lion had made the cornerstone of their reality -- that nothing should die there -- and won. The small leaf died and blight surged forth, a part of nature long denied by the Lun Lion, the sign of death and war that had come again. It grew faster than they could contain it and they, for all their might, were forced to flee. Only the Hyindril, the darkest ones and the mounts of the Lun Lion, stayed to watch the final death. For they were the steeds of war and they felt war's bitter, yet long lost joyous call again. And rode forth, thundering to the Doom that lay in wait for them.
And unknown to all, one who was not of the Lun Lion remained also, watching the darkness claim the land and, raising her trembling right hand, opened the Eye of Truth that made her a Holder of Truth and, for one brief moment during which time stopped, saw past the ebony clouds and saw the Shadow King for what It was. What the Holder's had always known was now proven, and the burden of what they were and the truths they guarded had never lain so heavily upon them. All things break, even humans and their endurance (as the Shadow King was still proving with Its experiments) and this final truth, a truth that could end the war, would be the truth too much for any Holder to bear, even the human ones. Slowly, she walked away back to Niarand proper and found another, shorter form -- another holder, and her trainer -- and told him what she had seen, then pulled out a dagger and killed herself. The choice was now his, a choice even a human did not have endurance enough to leave unsaid.
Most of the Dragons are killed by the Dark Ones: While the Shadow King was using its power to destroy Its greatest foes, the Dark Ones were slaying the dragons. Not even the Shadow King knew truly from whence the Dragons and Demons, both Lesser and Greater, had come. The Demons It had freed had not been enough to kill these menacing Dragons who still retains a spark of what they had once been. A small spark of their lost Home that the Shadow King knew it could not halt the power they might bring forth, for it did not understand Dragonkind enough. Thus they had to die. And they did, in droves and with their Dragon Mages dying beside them, no match for the Dark Ones combined. Many others gave up their lives in battle, but they were too few and it would never have been enough to stop the killing. The Dragons had hidden and slept for too long and were not awake enough to win. Desperate, and realising they could not win, the Dragons took council and did the only option they could think of.
The Barrier to the demon's rent prison was spilling more Greater Demons and knowing that it would mean their doom, the Dragons flew into it and pulled it shut behind them. They left a few behind, in case the others died in the land of demons, and gave a Power to their long-time allies, the Dragon Mages bound to them. They allowed that a Dragon Mage with Wizard talent would rise someday, and be either one or two, who could summon them as one would a demon, provided any existed then to come when Called. This could only be done when the ones left had either died or slept the deepest sleep they might not awake from or were lost in the world they hid in.
Reptiles face the Shadow King: Forced into hiding and bitter battles due to the invasion of the Talkani Empire, the reptiles took stock and realised that the vampires might be forced to serve the Shadow King if it bound many more of them since they were all linked. They did not know if the old legend was true that the Vampires and Vrrgmq had served the Shadow King once but had no wish for either group to fall. Thus they determined that they, who had never fully paid the price for trying to rule the world, would fall instead. It took little to work up the Shadow King's enmity towards them again for they had revealed it to the Elder Gods before it was ready.
A time of sacrifice, this, and a time for paying so many old, old debts that had never been truly repaid. A time of expatriation, it was, one that killed nearly all of them save the twelve left again, the Lerzar, the Mage Smiths of their people. For only one thing could the Elder Gods promise to them: they would not be forgotten; something would survive. Of course, they forgot that the Elder Gods had not said if it was good or bad and not all the devices a Mage Smith could make were kind: they made weapons. But by then it was far too late for they had placed themselves beyond resurrection in an attempt to weaken the Lord, Dark Ones mastering the dead, and had succeeded for a time. So many costs paid to defeat the Darkness, so many prices far greater than ever needed to be paid this way. It was then that the vampires wept and began a covert attempt to find allies against this war for none could win it alone, that much the Shadow King was making abundantly clear.
Shortling are summoned and die: If it was not already obvious that alliances would be needed to defeat the Shadow King, the next deaths proved that and drove the point home as little else could. For, bound by their word to the Dancer Dartanien, the Shortlings returned when the Dancers returned to Niarand in order to fight evil once again. And fight they did: having been twisted to fighting by the Darkling War, they were very angry at this new war that disturbs their long attempt to return to what they had once been. They decide to come to the aid of the reptiles but arrived far too late to do anything. As they milled around, the vampires turned to serving the Shadow King chose to attack, aided by some twisted humans who could fly -- in a fashion. Even then, the Shortlings might have retreated but the sight of what had been done to the humans made them truly angry. Even though they knew that they would die during this battle since they had no aid, they continued to fight grimly until the Dancers arrived to aid them. A few Shortlings guarded by Dancers managed to flee but most died.
It was then that the Dancers danced as they never had before. Dartanien, with a great True Dancer Adept in his blade and being one himself, was more skilled than any Dancer ever. Maneké gleamed in his hand, the sword of waiting that killed with a fierceness to match its owner's. It is said that some Dancers urged Dartanien to flee but he refused, saying: "I did many things in my time, destroyed the original Dancers and the economy, killed Elementals, freed the Greater Mage and other deeds. Only history will tell if I was good or evil but here and now, for the dead and the living and the dying, I will redeem myself for myself and to myself." So saying, he turned to face the twisted beings and fought on. It is said that he killed so many alone that the Shadow King was forced to send portions of his standing army to this battle. Some even say the whole army besieging Toltan was sent there, but that is a myth. Regardless of truth or myth of fact, it is known that Dartanien, alone, fought as not being on Niarand had ever fought before.
He killed enough foes alone to put a permanent dent in the Shadow Kings plans for conquest and forced the Shadow King to delay his attack on Valdridan by 30 years, which gave the Lords of Light enough time to prepare for the inevitable invasion. In the bitter, blood-soaked end, wounded with at least ten death dealing blows, the greatest Dancer of all fell back. It was at that moment that Alcar arrived with Xeran. Dartanien smiled at his friends and ordered them to kill as many as they could. They, not seeing the extent of his injuries, obeyed and by the time the blood and bodies were cleared away Dartanien had died, his gleaming blade buried in the chest of a Greater Shadow Lord.
The remaining Shortlings wept as they had never wept and the sky poured rain in answer. Alcar just smiled bitterly and picked up the body, saying: "You would have defeated even Knort, my friend." and all watching knew it the highest praise possible, though none knew why it was so. Xeran later said that, in the Creation that Niarand is separated from, Knort is the greatest warrior to ever live. There is no higher honour to say that one could fight the being known as Knort and one have been told they could beat him. Xeran then fiercely said that the praise was well deserved. None dispute it and history has generally called Dartanien a hero.
Returned Elder Gods begin to die: With so many wars being fought, the Elder Gods found themselves fighting grimly for survival. They needed no worshippers, true, but they were no longer the Powers they had been and could die. Seeing what the Shadow King was doing and had done, they decided that, if others were dying, who were they to sit back and do nothing. Sedah said dryly: "The living," but was ignored -- until they began to die fighting the Dark Ones and Children of the Shadows. Finally, after all the Third Generation had all been slain, they retreated and took a less active role in the war, often badgering the Two God into doing something to help the people.
The Gargoyles die; magic become unstable: Realising that the war is not progressing as planned, the Shadow King sends the Mage to the home of the gargoyles in Talkani and the first of the Dark Ones kills them all. Many were horrified (many meaning many of the few who knew of their existence) but it took longer for most to understand the depths of the Shadow King's plan. Magic was altered by the deaths of those who had been the Heart of all magic and many weapons and other devices made of or with Tyranium, the most magical element of all, began to weaken or fall apart. Mages found spell more difficult to use in some places and magical effects became very chancy and more random than they had ever been. Areas began to appear where the magic was wild and could not be controlled even by Aendar. The Dark Ones, drawing power from the Shadow King, had no problem and neither did any mage serving the Shadow King. Thus, paranoia reached out and any mage who was still good at using spells was killed as being Shadow Souled. The fact that everyone knew some of them weren't was irrelevant: the fact was that they could become ShadowSouled!
Lun Lion face the Shadow King and many of them die: Pained and desperate after the destruction of the First Times, the Lun Lion gather again and declare the Shadow King to have broken their ancient Compact, among other things. The Shadow King just laughed at them and they, insulted by It for the last time, ride out to war with It. A battle then raged that few were aware of at the time. They told none about it and sent the Hyindril off on a spurious errand so that those glorious beings did not all have to die yet in war. The war between their innocence and the corruption of the Shadow King was theirs, plain and simple. They sought for no help and therefore got none. The Dark Ones were conspicuously absent from the battle but the deaths of so many of what they once were resonated through the world so that they sensed it and were afraid. For the Dark Ones felt the longing to destroy the Lun Lion, for the Lun Lion were a symbol of what they once were but they felt an equal desire to beg forgiveness and try and aid them. Given two equally valid and opposite choices, they chose the middle option -- inaction, which was an action in and of itself -- and did nothing. They earned the hatred of the remaining Lun Lion and the scorn of the Shadow King for they had failed this test miserably. The few Lun Lion who managed to escape on the Hyindril (who had sensed the battle and returned in time to take the wounded and living away) were too few to continue the battle. Grimly aware of their failure, the Lun Lion and the remaining Hyindril retreat to actually plan a battle -- and seek allies, much like the vampires were doing.
Dark Ones rebel against the Shadow King: Finally forced to face the Choice of their non-existence, the Dark Ones rebel. Already stressed by seeing the First Times, the deaths of the other Lun Lion echoing around them nearly drives them insane -- which is amusing in retrospect since the Shadow King, which is insanity incarnate, would not want them to be insane for any reason The pain finally becomes unbearable and the Changeling convinces the other two that they should not live at the expense of the dead -- mainly their own people. With that simple statement, he reclaims his lost life and the other two move against him but something in his eyes stops them. The Lord shudders also, seeing the quiet strength now in the Changeling and embraces his kin for the first time since the signing of the Compact long ago. The Mage, no longer even an Unborn as they are but far beyond them and much darker for it, slowly looks at them and sees love. The Changeling turned slowly, fearfully to him and said quietly in the tongue he had forgotten: "Remember the light and the purity of the stars, my friend. Recall love, in memory of what it can conquer." It was not a planned speech, nor eloquent but it was spoken in the language of the Lun Lion and the images it evoked brought them all to bow their heads in pain.
The Shadow King heard those words and knew what they meant. Rising up in wrath, It gathered its might to unmake them once and for all when the Mage stood up to it and threatened to "reveal It's secret." The other two managed to flee as the Mage fought the Shadow King with the desperate strength of the hopeless. The Changeling and Lord sensed their comrade fall and sang, softly and in a note of awe, the Lun Lion dirge for the dead.
"A light that cannot end,
A dark that dares not slay,
A hope that must someday fade
And despair that won't let us cry.
"We mourn your bright passing,
We grieve for the worlds pain,
We even note Deaths sorrow
That it must see you 'mong the slain.
"And to the night we send
A cry your death had bade
Us sing, a song of mourning
That you'll never see Tomorrow.
"We cry in deepest need
That life might hear your name
And your deatb plant a seed
So that hope may yet rise from shame:
"That it may shine so bright
So your death will bring light,
And everything shall be right --
So that we may mourn the coming night."
The Lun Lion heard it and came to find the Dark Ones. Harsh words followed harsh words but finally two of the Lun Lion arrived in the Shadow Home and claimed the essence of the Mage as theirs to bury. It was a measure of how strong the Mage had been that the Shadow King allowed them to enter and leave or, more accurately, was too exhausted to stop them.
Priests of the Two God absolve the Dark Ones of their sins: The two remaining Dark Ones, is a desperate attempt to become free of their taint, approach the Gods Own and beg those priests of the Two God to absolve them of their sins. To their credit, the priests agree but warn them that they must recite all their crimes in order to be saved. The Lord just laughed without humour and asked how many centuries they had to spare. The Priests thought he was joking until he spent a month reciting all his crimes during the first year of being a Dark One. Then they begin to seek candidates to take shifts in hearing these darkest of crimes, and replacements to last through many years.
Absolution (finally) ends: The Dark Ones finish their recital after a many years and are absolved. The priests warn them that they will not be able to return to the First Times if those times are created again for their essences will always be impure. The Dark Ones respond that such a price is nothing compared to what they will pay later. An Aendar sent to witness the absolution approves it with "The authority granted to me by the Higher Power that moves all" and then dryly remarks that their list of crimes impressed even Shadron Jerduni. The Changeling just smiled coldly and said that some fool mortal could not give them any insult that could hurt as much as the thoughts they have of themselves. Chastened, the Aendar nods and leaves the room, taking the Dark Ones to the Tyrilda to grill them on the mind of the Shadow King and what It might be planning next.
Those Priests are killed by the Children of the Shadows: In a fit of icy rage, the Shadow King sends a Shadow Lord Adept to slay all the still living priests who partook in the ritual of absolution. The Dark Ones sense this and manage to save one Mind Priest but the other priests are killed mercilessly and insultingly. Despite the fact that the Dark Ones claim that such an assault is designed to make people lose faith in the church, that is what it does -- some think the reason is because people know that is what the deaths are to do. Sages claim such a reaction is fear at how well the Shadow King knows the moods of mortals but the intervention of Shadow Souled in said moods becomes all too apparent. As does the difficulty of finding them all.
Aesir Druids die in the proper manner for a Druid to perish: In a drastic attempt to stop the Shadow King's invasion of Aesir, the druids of that land chose to defy the ancient law that prevented them from killing themselves. They decided that they had seen enough of the people of Aesir killing themselves and suffering so they few might live. The energy unleashed by fifty four druids dying far past their appointed time was vast enough that it scorched the land on which they stood. The keepers of the mind and guardians of nature had called up enough force to harm that which they were sworn to defend. The shield they made stopped the armies of the Shadow King for over twenty years. Even after the first shield failed, the secondary shield against the undead lasted for many, many years and was still active in a small form long after the Time of Terror.
The Shadow King had sense enough to allow other beings in Its service to have a lesser version of the powers the Dark Ones did, just in case they ever rebelled. However, it was not prepared for the expenditure of over ten group of Children of the Shadows (thirty of the Children in total) and when this just made a dent in the Aesir barrier, the Shadow King chose to make an alliance with the Unnamed and that Elder God destroyed the barrier and was protected by the Shadow King until it regained its strength. The Unnamed later left the service of the Shadow King, fearing that the Shadow King might actually lose the war. The Aesir allowed their cities to fall in the first assault to fall since they had only been a formality anyway but the burning of their fields was more than they could take. Each tribe fought in very impressive guerrilla tactics of quick in-and-out assaults and no tribe knew when another would attack or when. This made torturing the foes for information very difficult since few knew much. The Shadow Kings armies, being made mute in Baal as everyone else there, found it difficult to relay orders or communicating there. Many of the Aesir fled here since it was easy to defend against a completely disorganised foe. The centre of their continent, the isle of Vanin, actually was held throughout the war thanks to many sacrifices and the intervention of their gods. The Aesir asked the gods to defend Vanin and nowhere else and as a result the centre of their culture escaped with less (relative) damage than any other place, though it cost the lives of some of the Aesir Gods.
Necromancers born again: With the intervention of the Lord, few beings on Niarand were able to raise the dead save Healer Mages, and they often died doing that. When the Lord defected, this onus faded. As a result, the Necromancers were born again, with Nakto, daughter of Tokan, leading them and a descendent of Caigen using the special blade that was able to awaken necromancy until the Necromancers found out how to. The Aendar gave them much aid in terms of knowledge and many on the isle of Vanin in Aesir and the city of one million Gates, in Valdridan, gave their aid. The Priests of the Two God decided that since their god was not helping them, they would ignore Its strictures and teach the Necromancers what the priests had learned of that art through the ages. As a result, the new Necromancers knew more about their abilities than any who had gone before. The Lord applied to become one and was, obviously, accepted since only so many Necromancers can exist on the world, the Lord had effectively became them all and prevented Necromancy from flourishing. The thought that he might do so again forced the Necromancers to make him an honorary member of the order.
They begin to join the battle against the Shadow King very quickly and urged many to fight that foe, even going so far -- some claimed -- as to place bindings on the people they raise to fight the foe. The Necromancers deny this but the fact that they would only raise people whom had fought the Shadow King during later stages of the Time of Terror tends to refute their claim. They proved to be a very strong force in defending many areas and their aid was invaluable to Toltan and most other pockets of resistance in the eastern continents. Necromancers earned the title of Bringers of Death very quickly for they used their talents to kill more than they ever had during the Darkling War. The Necromancers then had perished when they refused to do this but Nakto and the Lord decided that such a choice was not available now. Amends must be made for the past and necromancy must again be a proud art.
The Sacrifice of the Dead enacted: In an attempt to save the Kings Land of the Talkani Empire from the Shadow King, the vampires asked if the Necromancers would raise every being who had ever died their as a tribute to the Reptiles battle and to stop the armies of night. The Necromancers agreed and the dead were raised in numbers that made even the Lord impressed. The army of night was actually forced to retreat for a time and driven off the Talkani continent for an entire year. When the army mustered up its Powers again, the Lord gave his life -- or so Nakto said (rumours have the Lord becoming a ghost and aiding the Necromancers forever but none have proved it) -- in order to utilise the energy of the dead when they died again and destroy every Shadow Hound in the world. The Shadow King, who had treated the animals very well (they got choice meat from the dead among other things) was angered enough that Its assaults lessened in other areas.
Valdridan Lords of Light face the Shadow King and lose: The assault on the islands of Valdridan was very well planned but, due to many factors -- not the least of which was the fact that water lies between the islands -- the army the Shadow King sent here made less headway than expected. The Lords of Light were actually able to form a cohesive defence and the Silver Sea is said to have shone brighter than any saw it before, a molten fire reflecting the Light called forth. Islands the army destroyed were blasted with pure light and reduced to a smoking memory, effectively killing the attacking forces before they could evacuate. The army then decided to keep some people alive as prisoners but those self-same prisoners invariably killed themselves so that the Lords of Light could destroy a part of the army and the island it held. The Shadow Lords then decided to plan an attack on the City of One Million gates itself.
The Lords of Light had been fooled by the slow pace of the army and their defences were not in place when the army, focused on one purpose, arrived at the great Harbour and began an overland trek to the city. The Shadow Hounds killed almost all of the livestock to induce famine and were so well hidden that the Lords of Light had trouble finding them to eradicate them. It was then that the Lord, former Dark One, sacrificed his life to slay all Shadow Hounds on Niarand. Due to the Lord's sacrifice, the Lords of Light were able to hold out longer since the Shadow King was still in shock over the death of the Shadow Hounds -- and busy breeding new ones from human bodies. The Order of Lost Saints fought the army then and gave the Lords of Light more time to prepare a defence, though at a high cost since over ninety percent of them died.
The Lords of Light used the time gained to gather up all of their Power. Time itself is said to have been warped by the amount of Light that each called up, channelled into the very stones and heart of the city. Across their land, and in other lands where the Light was scarcely known, their Call was answered and all of the Light sent their strength, many dying due to the effort of sending such power over such a distance. The Lords gathered it, coldly and dispassionately and focused it on the desperate attempt to slay the Shadow King. Their Power, a force outside of time, reality, and space shone brighter than it had ever before, the luminosity changing the very hearts of all in the city. The attacking army wept in terror and many were blinded at seeing the echoes of the Light The Lords of Light then called out a Name and, from beyond the world, Tiamrak answered.
Perfection incarnate, only summoned by mages in dire need, Tiamrak was called by a strength that could have possibly bound even her for a time. The Lords faced her, the Being whose light was almost dimmed by theirs at this moment, and asked her to channel their energy so that the entire western half of the world not be charred to ash and ruin by their assault. Tiamrak consented and the Light shone even brighter as the Lords focused thier power with all their will. The Silver Sea, locus of their strength through the long ages, boiled and evaporated, the city shook and the entire army of Darkness gathered near died, seeing a mere flicker of a Power not even being unleashed against them. Across the world it flew, a glory that burned the very light and caused even the sun to dim at when the strength of that light shone near it.
The Shadow King stared in shock at the energy and did the only thing it could. It aborted the strike and sent it as far away from It as was possible. The Lords if Light, sensing this, detonated the whole flare at once and laid the upper levels of the Shadow Home to waste and ruin, scorching all of that dark place and some of the Border Lands. The entire Pit of Sin collapsed in ash and the Shadow King was wrath with fury. However, knowing that the Lords of Light had failed only because they did not know the Shadow Kings true Name, it chose to make sure that the Farae, Qshith, Valru and Humans remained imprisoned instead of stiking back. Sensing this, the dying Lords of Light begged Tiamrak to free some of the prisoners and, out of respect for their sacrifice, Tiamrak consented and freed one thousand prisoners, most of their humans.
ArtIsts perish gathering the Foes of the Shadow: The humans, Qshith and Vlaru fled back to the lands they had come from and spread the word of what was happening deep beneath the earth in the ruins of the Pit of Sin. Driven to desperate action, the users of the Art met in the hidden valley they inhabited and decided that a battle must be made, a final one. Too many single attempts had done little: an alliance was needed to defeat such a foe, an alliance of Power that could have stopped the Darkling War. The only problem was that so many had died already and most of the wise and powerful had already perished. Seeing the need of the world, they took a deep risk and contacted the world of Niarand and got the worlds advice. All the world said they refused to say, but in the end some perished to destroy the valley they were imprisoned in long ago by Shadron Jerduni, the Roving Waste returned to the world and the Aendar child trapped in it went to the rest denied long ago by Shadron and the rest of the ArtIsts died in an effort to touch the soul of every being on the world and bring them together to defeat the great Evil. It was at this moment that the Two God stirred from its own pains and spoke the irrevocable Word that sent Its child into the world to save what could be healed.
Science Races return to the surface at the call of the ArtIsts: Then races of science, long awaiting the time when the resources of Niarand would enable them to survive on the surface and use those resources as they had before the Darkling War -- the war that ruined them -- heard and came. With their arts being mostly unknown to the army of the Shadow King, they were able to infiltrate many places and gather allies to meet in various special places of their choosing. On the Isle of the Sky they gathered in secret the heroes of this age, untried and untested, and all present swore an Oath to defeat the Shadow King, even at the cost of their peoples. It was a grim oath, sworn in bitter pain and the dull realisation that it might have to come true. Even the Tree Squeaks sent a representative to swear that oath and it was bound by Xeran, Lore Keeper and last of the ancient wise.
First (and Last) Alliance of Lingos faces the Shadow King: The leaders returned to their lands and slowly gathered up as much aid as they could. All knew that almost all resources had been overdrawn but the desperate need to win, coupled with the food and defences the science races provided in secret, made the nations, empires and races slowly form together and begin to march. It was a small army, bitter and knowing they would in all likelihood die that marched towards the newly rebuilt Shadow Home that winter. All present knew the kinds of forces that had been arrayed against the darkness before and none knew how they would win, small and puny as their force was. Xerans exhortations about past heroes and small armies were just that: past. The stranger known as Alcar was just forbidding to any and had many heated conversations with a group of three dwarves in the army but not even Xeran knew what those were about. As the army approached the border of the Shadow Home uncontested, Alcar is said to have glowered at the dwarves and said: "Fine, keep your secrets. Just remember that the eyes bleed and the truth can never be silent forever." The dwarves said nothing.
TechnoMages killed by the Children of the Shadows: It was then that the Children of the Shadows formed a surprise attack and killed the TechnoMages of science who were stopping telepathic communication between the Shadow Lords. The Aendar retaliated in a blaze of power that did little save make their companions a little more confident about their chances of success. At that point, the battle was engaged. The Tree Squeaks died in large numbers but killed more than any would have expected with Words and strength long absent from the world. The people of science took heart from the sacrifices of the Tree Squeaks and came from out of their caverns with their great weapons of death and destruction and many healing devices for the wounded. But this time, they held back. No truly deadly weapon, such as chemical warfare that would kill everything on the world, or bombs capable of annihilating the very sun were used as they had been during the Darkling War. Even knowing that this was the final battle, that no army would be able to be raised if the Alliance of Light failed, they refused to kill as they truly could have, as the Aendar refused to unleash Fire of the Apocalypse or drain the world dry of magic. Some things had been learned since the Darkling War and, while not much, they were enough to ensure that the world would survive this war regardless of its outcome. Whether the world would want to was, perhaps, a different tale.
Most Mages perish killing the Children of the Shadows: Realising the need to kill the Shadow King's greatest servants, the normal mages gather their strength and slay them all, their lives making the spell unstoppable. All of the Children of Shadows remaining, even the ones in training, are slain. Having learned from the deaths of the Shadow Hounds, the Shadow King simply ignores that setback and sends forth the reserves of Its army. Darkness and evil covered the sky and land as the army of shadows, almost innumerable in their immensity, marched out of the Shadow Home to do war. Many of the attackers fled at seeing the sheer size of the foe they had come to face. Sensing this, Alcar lifted up his hand and spoke a word of power. Energy leapt around him and a mountain erupted into existence in the middle of the Shadow King's army. Spewing volcanic ash and raining fire, it grew and collapsed, whole regiments of Shadow Demons crushed beneath it. When the spell was finished, a wasteland stood in the middle of the army, a visible dent that caused both sides to pause, one to acknowledge the wound and the other to realise the foe could be wounded. Alcar merely smiled and said: "At least I used that spell for a good purpose finally," and laugh rather oddly.
And then both armies converged. The Darkling War had destroyed all that was good, most that was holy and all that was beauty in the world. This war destroyed the rest of the holy and all the truly good perished in this time that sundered all beauty once more under the clouds of war. Under normal circumstances the Army of Lingos would have lost but something deep was moving within them that day. Lun Lion, elven blood, wielders of the Light and those of the Art, Necromancers, dwarves, shortlings, Dancers, reptiles, Farae, Werefolk, Waterborn, humans and many others fought for the dead, to free the wounded and to kill the foe. They fought as if the army was merely a stepping stone to reach the Shadow King they meant to kill. They fought with a purpose that called to purpose and only the Aendar truly understood the moving force of the Higher Power that flared among them. Alcar knew it also but chose to ignore that part of the battle and stepped back to rest for a time -- and consider his options. The last Keeper and the Lore Keeper sent surge after surge of raw force into the foes and death piled up on death. It was then, with the death energy swirling madly, that the Necromancers realised why they had returned. They had to prevent War from becoming a living creature again, a being that would keep both sides alive forever to justify continuing the war.
They grimly devoted their strength to stopping this and were barely capable of succeeding. The Aendar realised the war had to end soon of the Necromancers would not be able to hold War back -- but saw no way for that to happen. Humans and other things once human as well as twisted Qshith, Valru and, most shockingly of all, Farae, continued to hammer into the attacking force that was rapidly becoming a defence. Physicists unleashed and twisted the Laws of Nature enough to buy the allies some time but all knew the situation was desperate. Old and deep might was called forth that day; Staff Mages wielding Power as they had not openly done since before the founding of Alias, Elder Gods calling forth might to slay and half gods using what strength they might. And throughout the army, grimly determined, the Priests of the Two God fought with anger and power, as if they could redeem their God for what was happening this darkest of days. Sun Mages, Callers and Binders showed forth all their might, Witches altered belief as they had never since the Darkling War and the Aendar unleashed spells that could sunder whole worlds.
Then the Shadow King unleashed Its new Shadow Hounds, formed from consenting humans and twisted beyond recognition. It was then that the humans separated from the army and advanced on their once-kin. Advanced, knowing they could not win, and won. A despair and courage brighter than hope or joy shone that day and the humans, bitterly weeping tears of deepest pain, slew fathers, sons, daughters, unborn children and other warped things that had once been their kin. The other races simply took care of everything that tried to interfere and by the time the sun had set and risen again, it showed a field of blood that stained the very oceans and lakes. In the sky, Tirien, last of the Unborn, took his second true form, that of a golden dragon of pure light, and all Shadow Souled who ventured in the sky were slain without remorse or pity. Even the oaths to rarely kill Tirien had said long ago were petty and nothing compared to the darkness of this war and he used his strength grimly and coldly to defeat any aerial attack alone and with no other aid. And then he was not the only light in the sky, for the sun slowly, as if bleeding itself, began to rise to greet the next day. It was not entirely fancy that some poets claimed that the sun rose as if it feared to rise, afraid of what it would see and the blood shed on the ground. The legends that the sun had fled for a time during the Darkling War had more truth than many supposed.
Both sides flinched at the rising sun for the dark knew it had not won and the light how many, many more they had to kill. Almost all the humans were dead, many others dying, and the Shadow Hounds still kept coming. It was then that the Shadow King decided to deal with the humans who were killing Its new servants once and for all. It reached and the northern ices shuddered and began to melt. Within the army, the Northerners who held the north within them cried out in pain and the centre of the human host was forced backwards. It was then that the worlds last Grater Mage died for all time calling forth power to heal the Northerners, its chosen people and the north land itself where it placed the next Greater Mage, Tokan, son of Tokan, to stop the Shadow Kings assaults here for they threatened to unstable Janeel and thus free the Sonne. The slain humans rose form the ground, living again, and fought their battle as if they had never died. By the time the sun reached its zenith, the humans were almost all dead, even the Northerners and all who had been reborn had died again, a final time. But the Shadow Hounds lay slain.
All save 1 Aendar perish killing most of the ShadowSouled: The army of light continued but began to falter. Deceit and treachery spread through the ranks and men killed their own lords and themselves coldly and with purpose. It was then, with the Shadow Souled weakening the already weak army, that the Aendar gathered all their strength and, disdaining magic, touched the core of their being, the part of them that was truly and indisputably Aendar, and all save the eldest died in creating an effect so great that all the Shadow Souled on Niarand died in that exact moment. The Shadow King reeled from the pain of their deaths and the army of Light cried aloud "E millorae a Lingos os Shargos!", the Aendar having restored their strength and made them all greater in passing, and attacked with renewed strength.
They were the army of light, and now more. They fought with a brightness that almost, in its own way, rivalled the shining of the Lords of the Light when they assaulted the Shadow King not so long ago. They fought a desperate, unending war to stop the evil once and for all. This was not a war, but a battle -- the death of the Shadow King would be an end to the war. They fought, refusing to admit they could lose, and the battle continued to rage throughout the day.
Secret of Hodge Podge revealed: With the Powers who had not hidden, and the powers that were coming forth again, the attackers still had no hope. They would not survive another day. It was then that a small group of adventurers, travelling in the land of Hodge Podge and far from the war, discovered a very special weapon. It was a staff, carved from no wood and never made by anything, but found nonetheless. A thing never created and beyond much of Niarand. During the Darkling War, those who had found it had been so fearful they had created the land of Hodge Podge to hide it. Now it was free again, the ancient staff upon which one long rune, one word, was engraved for all to see and know: choice.
This staff was the Chooser, incarnate in a different form only for this world. It was luck and choice and randomness, the ultimate gamble and it ensured that all things had free will. Whomever or whatever wielded it could not be controlled or constrained by any other force and when the adventurers, in awe and fear and deep desire, held it aloft, Alcar sensed them and bade them come. The Lun Lion, having some deep instinct for this, sent a Hyindril to bring the staff hither and it came.
The Shadow King, sensing something also, sent Power into the skies and killed the Hyindril before it could reach the battle. The Hyindril, knowing that if it died its user would never be able to kill -- or give the staff to one like Alcar, who would likely use it to kill -- held back her power and thus the oldest curse of their race came true. The oldest and only, deepest by far and into its chasm the Hyindril fell.
Fall of the Hyindril: This race of such beauty had been given one curse: that if ever they held back their defence that any killing them would never kill again -- gift and curse both -- they would perish, and become the darkest ones legend named them, a madness that even the Shadow King would rightly fear. Knowing this, the Hyindril rose up from the battle, glorious even in their fall -- some said made even brighter by the fall and their acceptance of loss -- fled the world and the darkness they would bring. Fled into the last bright left to them. They flew into the sun and died for the world, and that they not become what they were fated to. Under more "normal" circumstances, such a thing would not have been possible but the staff of choice and luck was nearby and nothing was proof against it, not even necessity or a curse as deep as that that bound the Hyindril.
It was then that Alcar picked up the staff and only the Lun Lion, who recalled much, and Xeran, who knew Alcar as few others did, saw the desperate fear and loathing in Alcar then. Slowly, weighted down by burdens and deaths, the golden eyed elf lifted up his head and spoke two named. "Rashel." A ghostly presence shimmered in the air and both armies froze, for the ghost was as deep a Power as any in this battle. Asrath," Alcar said then, and something else with love and sorrow in a language none knew and the second unseen presence seemed to almost be there. He spoke that word again and some claim it was Father. he spoke to the being he had named Asrath There was no manifestation then but Alcar straightened slightly and spoke again, his voice harsh and cracking with many emotions. "Shadow King, by our like powers, I bid you to hear me! We touched minds once, many worlds away from here and I know why you fear me and why I feared you even then. There was darkness in us both and to combat mine I left most of my Power. You have not fought yours but, by the Power I once bore, the Necessary thing I was, I compel you by that Name to submit and by the One Sight I hold that is the counter to your Dark Sight." The staff blazed brightly with a pure pink light but then the Shadow King spoke and the sun, which had blazed so glorious at the entrance of the Hyindril, dimmed to less than it had been for that moment.
"Fool! You have not power enough to bind me." But then Alcar smiled and the fear in his eyes was visible to all. "But I do," He said simply and whispered two words that echoed across the land: "Morolan Koth." And then all felt a presence, an energy come forth greater than any ever seen before. Many had heard the legends of Alcar, of how he had been a being capable of destroying whole Creations and all present knew that this Power had been his, and him. And he was calling it back, losing the goodness within him that was making him call it back to him.
"No," Xeran had said softly, a gasp torn form his throat but Alcar had turned to him, smiling sadly "Yes. I can still die and the spirit will try to possess another, and I will not be able to stop it. Of all beings, I had the most Power as the Bringer of Sorrow and the most control over what I was."
"The past is not enough," A new voice said harshly and one dwarf stepped forwards, one of those Alcar had spoken to before the battle commenced. "You will not survive."
"But I will kill my foe," Alcar had said implacably and the dwarf shuddered, as if being rent from within then spoke hoarsely. "No, you must not. The staff brings choice and binds even necessity but even you will not survive using it to kill the Shadow King. It is too great a risk, too deep a pain to be allowed."
"Then what will you do?" Alcar asked, half mocking and half sad. "Only this," the dwarf replied and the staff twitched from Alcar's had to touch the Dwarf who cried aloud in a tongue no dwarf had ever know, words that blighted the air and seared the eyes. The spirit of Morolan Koth, Bringer of Sorrow vanished, bound by the dwarf. "It is done. Your burden is gone for now and it has been prisoned deep beneath the land, in a place not of this world and deeper by far than the heart of the sun. But now I have given up all choice for my life and must now speak the words that should never be spoken." There was a pause as Alcar called up Power and the battle stopped, a Barrier forming between the attackers and the defenders that not even the Shadow King could penetrate for a time and the army stopped, waiting for the dwarf to speak.
The Darkest Secret is revealed by the Holders of the Truth: With a deep, steady breath the dwarf lifted up his right hand and everyone present saw an eye appear on it and open. And they knew, in legends spoken by the fires, what it meant. The dwarf smiled at their awe and fear, and spoke. "My friends, fellow warriors in battle, I am indeed a mythical Holder of Truth. I am one of those charged with keeping secrets and Truths hidden because they are more than any mortal can bear. Now I know that they have grown beyond bearing.
"I will not say whether we were right nor wrong, for none can know that even now, but we have held a secret newly understood for far too long now and it is time to speak of it and end this darkest of wars. I did not speak before now because the consequences of such a speaking would shatter many truths and possibly reality itself. I was a fool, and fully expect to be cursed when I say this, but: None who have died in this battle need have died. I know how to defeat the Shadow King!" If he had planned to say more, it was drowned out in cries of mingled wonder and rage. He heard it all and stood unmoving. "Say what you will -- I have paid a price for silence and will pay an even greater one soon for speaking but no truth can remain hidden forever. That is the sorrow of our world." With that, he took a deep breath and spoke words to end the war:
"All know the Shadow King is clothed in shade, hidden from all but none know why. I do. The Holders of Truth do. The Shadow King, an It in all our histories, is -- " At that point, the full might of the Shadow King tore into Alcars ward. Alcar breathed a name, a faint gasp that was almost a prayer and some light in his eyes shone and held the darkness back. "Hurry," Alcar said urgently. "The One Sight can only hold Dark Sight for so long and the aid of my family is tenuous at best." The dwarf nodded and drew strength from deep within himself. "The Shadow King is a female."
The Shadow King "dies": In the ensuing silence, the only thing heard was the howl of pure rage that shook the shield to its foundations. The Dwarf responded to it with a glare of defiance. "Hear me," He said, and power rang deep in his voice. "The Shadow King is actually a bitter, twisted woman, scorned by others as ugly and raped and harmed by many women and men. Her natural talents were warped into evil and the shadows cloak her in shame. She is merely a frightened, spoiled brat!" The shield fell but as the blow came, the dwarf uttered a single word, the Shadow Kings true name, which in this hour and place he knew for in giving Truth he had gained this last gift. "Eris!" He said, and became all the Shadow King hated for one second. It was enough to divert all the rage of the ancient evil into him and the dwarf took it all. He absorbed all the rage and refused to let it go. "This is my first step of payment, " he gasped. "Humans are not the only ones who can endure." He then died and took the strength of the Shadow King with him.
A Lun Lion understood what was happening and, gathering her courage, called the Shadow King by name as a friend. The Changeling, who had watched form afar, came clothed in a form so beautiful that the Shadow Kings ebony shield shuddered and quaked in fear. Then the Changeling, with fear and a tenderness to break any heart, began the Lun Lion singing for forgiveness and friendship. The world quaked and with a howl of pain and fear -- a howl unbearably and shockingly human, as if a little girl had just been slapped -- and the might that was the Shadow King disintegrated into dust and the shadows it had been and commanded fled into the world, to become lesser evils. The Dark Sight faded and the girl Eris vanished, consumed by fear and pity. No one knew where she had gone but all knew with certainy that the Shadow King was no more.
The child of the Two God is reborn and heals all wounds: Even with the aid of Tirien, it took long to kill the remaining evils and other minor darkness in the Shadow Home. Not all died and many fled but the army was too small and weary to continue fighting any longer. Then the child of the Two God arrived, late but welcomed with open arms by the few surviving priests. The child, created by its father alone and truly without sex, remained long enough to heal the army of wounds, heal most on the world of their pain, perform miracles to heal the land in many areas and faded into myth as quickly as it had come. Those who had seen knew a deep Power was there, a depth of strength unequalled in all of Niarand. This being was the greatest Power of the world, greater than its father, who had been bound to helplessness by an Oath. The last place it was found was Talkani, and legends say the child became a Vampire, though none have ever proven this. The last promise of the child was that not all wonder had vanished and while it lived, wonder would never die and magic remain in the world. And that it was deep enough to make this come to pass.
The Holders Of Truth disband forever: After realising what they had caused and the folly of their ways, the Holders of Truth meet for a final time, all of them meetings each other for the first time, and Alcar using the Staff of Choice as they direct and the Open Eye closes for many, many years. Their last agreement as an order is to find and train every one of the remaining Wizards since all of untrained children will be running around now in need of Opening, not all of them Seers or Druids. This is because the Shadow King controlled much of the Barrier imprisoning demons through careful plotting in an effort to destroy the Wizards, on the off chance one would be Open enough to sense the Shadow King for what she had been.
Time of Tears: The world mourns the loss of many beings in the previous time. The Two God disbands his religion and tells mortals to go their own way. The Qshith and Valru desperately try to save the lives of the few remaining humans and once more give them access to some of the power that was inherent in their race so long ago. Sadly, the "breeding" experiments of the Shadow King is too much for the Qshith and Valru to overcome and many of the remaining humans die except for the Northerners, some in the former Alias Empire who are descended from Nobles there, the folk of Hodge Podge and some Aesir Plainsmen and Valdrdini. Staff Mages become common again The Shortlings and Lun Lion, who suffered the highest losses, are granted the immortality to never die form natural causes by the Farae, who choose to depart the world once more for the most part but say they will return. The problem was just that it was too crowded and noisy. With all the wars and battles, they didn't have time to think and the Shadow King's attempt to obliterate them was very irritating since they were deprived of solitude as a result. Flippancy aside, they simply wished to be alone and assimilate their loss in their own way, without harming the world.
Death of the last of Elven blood: With the passing of the elves and much else, the elven blood slowly fades until it is gone,. Farae blood itself becomes common for short spurts of time but dwindles away also as the weakened and broken races no longer are strong enough to sustain such blood. Half Gods fade in much the same way and, while the Aendar do reform they are rarer and not as strong as they once were -- or so they let people think, many critics claim. Mages, even Nat'rel Mages (who, after defending places rather well could not claim their magic was less deadly than FireLight, ShadowLight or DarkLight) fade and much of their knowledge is lost. The strength and learning recovered by Hercules are forgotten again and magic becomes a shadow of what it once was. Xeran realises that this must remain until the time when the Hingari choose to return and save the world from a civliisational extinction. He, Alcar, Tirien and the Changeling, choose to fade into myth and be forgotten until the day comes -- as it will again -- that they are needed once more. For if wonder is not to die, it must be rare and thus remain a wonder. That much the child of the Two God said to them.
Redemption of the Druids: Many druids are born again, especially in Aesir. The ancient custom of preventing a druids death in that land is disbanded and the druids die quickly, brightly and slowly begin to dispatch the first of the minor shadows the Shadow King has left and deal with the older evils (such as the Unnamed) that still remain an are beginning to make their presence felt once more. Their unquestioning sacrifice makes people cease to fear the druids as they once did and druids become accepted in most places as a friend and ally. Their protection allows many witches to be partially accepted and they actually strive to keep the priesthood of the Two God running because, regardless of its faults -- including their chosen god, some say -- it trains psychics in proper use of their power and restricts their access to truly killing mental assaults.
Niarand is renewed: The sacrifice of the druids and many Nat'rel Mages slowly begins to heal other parts of the world. The few civilisations rising out of the ashes of the Time of Terror begin to keep in contact for much needed aid, often Healers. Many lands begin to place their healers worth more than even the nobility (with the exception of the ruler and his or her heirs). Healing begins to reach a pinnacle and remains there for a very long time. The science-users begin to make their own lands on the surface once again and the mages and Aendar are too few to make an effective protest against this unless they want to destroy more land. This unwillingness to harm the land led to a time of peace since war was a very direct way of harming the land. Obviously, once the land had recovered somewhat, the science users went to areas where they could get the basic non renewable resources to duplicate and use for their many devices. This "raping of the world" angered many, especially when it occurred in ancestral lands that had been theirs. The Cotis, who had only been able to hold a few of their places for the Shadow King and were not enough to expand again yet, found this invasion very annoying. The mages tried to feed this anger but the druids intervened and said that both science and magic would live on the surface now, unless the mages wanted to flee into the caverns this time. They said no and slowly some trust began to develop since science could tell mages much about the fluctuations in magic and some mage spells could duplicate things better than science could.
Alias Empire refounded in the ashes of Shadow Home: The people of Alias decide to make a statement about evil and refound their empire on the ashes of the Shadow Home. Most take this for a bad portend but a few, such as Alcar, approve of such deeds. Without the Gargoyles and with the Tyranium mountains they had made form ruined the Alias had no reason to place their empire where it had once been. The original had been made in the most inhospitable area they could find at the time and since that area was now very hospitable, a new location was needed. The Alias, true to form, never let anyone know how much evil they found in following the many tunnels and caverns beneath the Shadow Home. It would be many years before Light Home was a city worthy of their ancient ones but they succeeded. Surprisingly, the Staff Mages refused to enter Light Home, saying that the echoes of evil were too strong there. In pride and anger, the Alias nobles ignored the mages and refused to move the city for any reason. In time, the city became as closed as the empire had once been since the secrets and training it gave out were deemed too dangerous for most to know. It was done "For your own good" as they told travellers and the few who knew such a phrase and could have told the evil it portended had faded into myth by now.
Time Mages are born again: The period of peace led to many changes in the world. Time Mages were born again -- for good or ill -- to change the past and future as they had once before. To their shock, they discovered that the Time of Terror, like the Darkling War before it, was too filled with energies for them to visit, or change in any way. The Aendar force all Time Mages they find to take an oath saying that they will not alter the past too much and that they will alter the future only after consulting an Aendar. The Time Mages agree but at least one goes back in time and alters it so that they never took the degree. Since the oath was to the Higher Power it was difficult, but nothing is impossible. This group of renegade Time Mages continues to crop up during history, often trying to influence effects directly -- i.e. by killing someone important -- rather than an indirect manipulating of time itself. They do this because the other Time Mages can generally counter manipulating time but manipulating events is harder to counter, especially when people remember the event, such as a death.
Few doom sayers have the courage to speak of another darkness to come but Tirien, sitting by a table with Xeran in a inn, says softly: "The Holders of Truth said that they could have prevented the Time of terror entirely so then the greater darkness many spoke of before that time was not the Time of Terror! A new dark and evil will someday come, possibly greater than any before." And they both shuddered, knowing the world was likely doomed.
Many possibilities exist for Niarand after this time. Wars will begin again, the nature of people being what it is, the human race will recover to some extent, though it will never be the force it once was. Niand as a force eventually makes itself shown more often for few Powers exist now capable of killing or truly harming Niand. Many of the Two God's followers turn away from the being that had caused the Time of terror but eventually the religion rises again, without many priests though. Since the Two God no longer gives much power to the priests the Soul Priests and their power die out as it should never have been. Most of the Aesir and all the Valdridan gods died in the Time of Terror and the remaining Elder Gods wish to be left alone. This leads to a period of new gods forming but they are generally so weak that, save for th god of sacrifice, people turned way towards the Two God once more. Also, about 5 000 years after the Time of Terror, people had generally (thanks to the church) forgotten exactly what the Two God had done that was worthy of such hate.
Shadron Jerduni also returns to his evil ways eventually. He is the being that sent the small group of adventurers to discover the secrets of Hodge Podge and thus is indirectly responsible for the slaying of the Hyindril. This gnaws at his conscience until he is driven mad and flees his angelhood and turns to evil once more. Most of this is due to the fact that, without the Shadow King, there is avoid of evil -- and balance -- in the world that must be filled an Shadron is uniquely suited to filling it.
The Far Future:
The Open Eye Cult: A cult based on the Holders of Truth of long ago. The people are able to duplicate the Eye of seeing the Holders used but not to hide it from all and find few secrets. They mostly concerned themselves with diplomatic intrigue and political secrets, with nations and empires rather than the truly pervading and useful Truths. They are said to know much but to know little.
Time of equal science and magic: Eventually science and magic become equal forces, working together to produce the best effects for each. These leads to some intermingling that never goes away. Tyranium becomes used in scientific devices and the principals for energy use enter common magic. This time is the closest Niarand as a whole comes again to the great eras before the Time of Terror. People used science and magic with equal abandon and TechnoMages finally came into their own as equal mages. Some mages were even born with normal magical abilities as well as TechnoMage, though they were rare. Sadly, the old antagonism and mistrusts as well as lies about specific science and magical abilities lead to divisions and many began to steal knowledge from each other. Organisations hid and knowledge was lost in special caverns and devices so that none might misuse it.
Return of the Elementals: The elementals are returned to Niarand, claiming they are the vanguard for the return of the Hingari. However, while their world still needs wonders, the elementals are considered too wondrous and most are killed to fuel spells or dissected for scientific experimentation. Many of them leave -- presumably to tell the Hingari "the races are now idiots, and therefore it is a perfectly time for the Hingari to return and wizen them up," as one departing elemental said coldly. Their blood actually enters a few humans and some Hingari do come down to the world but leave after dealing with fears and the distrust evinced by the actions of the populaces they visit.
Time of the Failure of the Two Arts: With the body of the world being raped by the constant use of science and the mind of the world dying due to age (and thus sending little magic into it) magic and science begin to fade. The obvious effect of science fading is that most of how it works is forgotten and people just follow the way it was done before. Magic fading leads to the magic becoming more wild and many mages are driven insane by the strength of the magic, which is more than they can cope with. It is either so weak to use that few can sense it or so strong it kills any mage. This failure of both forms of power begins to frighten many as they seek different ways to use power.
Blood Magic comes into play again since it is less diminished than normal magic and Staff Mages become common again, though the Powers charge a high cost for their servitude now. Psychic powers become a little more known and martial arts increase their commonalty also as a way of dealing with things. Ideas for healing the world are planned but none succeed properly and all are only short-term solutions. Wizardry is discovered once again in lieu of the lack of necromancers. Even healers feel their strength weakening on occasion. Basically, many are aware that something new has to be discovered but no one knows what that is. The obvious claims that the end of the world is near begin to crop up with disturbing regularity and prophecies begin to come true. Voices of Prophecy slowly begin to enter lands and many begin to fear their voices. Rumours of Niand's return stir man of the hidden powers and lost beings to slowly re-enter the world, fearing that this might be true.
The Statements begin to act: In an effort to keep the promise of the child of the Two God true, the last Hingari mates herself to one of the last elementals on the world in an effort to create a being that will show the world how much has been lost. Her son, Jenson, and many others begin to act. Dubbed Statements of what could and should have been, they are beings representing the lost powers and abilities the races could have had and very dangerous. mages capable of using magic, users of the Light and the Art, mage Smiths capable of making scientific weapons and many others form into groups or act as individuals in an effort to stop the loss of knowledge and Power from the world. Travelling through slums and ruins inhabited by people crossing science and magic in dangerous ways, they begin to fight. Many of them die, and many more are driven mad, but the Statements act as they must. They speak and are heard. Farae blood sings again and old, old forces stir to life once more when feeling the Powers on the word again. Two Druids are born to try and revive the people, and so revive the world.
Light Home Darkens: The capital of Alias becomes even more secretive and closes its borders even to people of Alias. Nobles, using the knowledge of the old times they have, seek the ruin of Janeel an the lore Keeper Xeran in an effort to find out how to stop the darkness from blighting their land. These few are banished and hunted for daring to reveal secrets of Alias and the nobility to outsiders. Xeran and his apprentice begin to journey the land once more and Shadron stirs again, forcing the Aendar to come out and fight him for control of the Tetric Grove that gives them much of their strength. Tisan Laroth, the Bringer of Hope, stirs once more and the staff of Choice is found and lost again.
The shadow of Light Home beginning to darken the land, the Two God stirs, sensing that the corrupted in Light Home wish to bring back the Shadow King. Desperate to avoid such an occurrence, and wishing to redeem itself for the Time of Terror, the Two God sends the child down again, asks it to show forth the depth of Power that might again heal the world -- before such healing is needed. Due to many mistakes, the child of the Two God is a vampire, as the legends claim! Trying to deal with this darkness in such power, almost as deep as the child itself, the Two God's attention is diverted for the one crucial moment when the Dark Sight returns and touches another. The Shadow Kings power has returned and the Two God dares not act, now that he wishes to, for destroying Alias will severely weaken the words attempts to heal itself for the knowledge that land holds is needed.
And thus a new time dawns . . .
Or the time of Niarand begins to end.