A World of My Own, Part Two
The Third Age, The Great Creation
Throughout the Second Age, Grazhak and his children, sometimes with the aid of Jakoba and sometimes without it, fought against the Elder Gods. These conflicts scarred Mahdi, but, as it was Immortals who fought, nothing could be settled. No god temporarily defeated was permanently vanquished. The battles went on, following one another so swiftly that it seemed but one long battle. Eventually, the gods were exhasted, and even Elladine lost her will to fight. Grazhak, they realized, was part of the world now, and they could not defeat him, nor could he defeat them. The most that they could hope was that, in time, he would learn to be a better guest.
The gods had learned from Grazhak. They had learned of change, and, although they did not fully understand it and at first they did not desire it, they came to learn the beauty of motion through time, of generation and decay. They discovered in themselves a new desire, the desire to see things grow, the desire to create. Learning this, and following their desire, the races of Mahdi, the monsters of the wild, the beasts, the trees, the flowers, all that grows, breeds, and dies, were created by the gods. The Ancestors of all that live were created in the Third Age.
The total number of years assigned to the Divine Ages by the Cult of Vetrais in Bar-Nashra within the Empire of Tryshtar is 16,000 mortal years.
The Ancient History of Anwyll
Following the Divine Age, history truly begins with the mortal wars and strife of mortal peoples. The early history of mortals, however, is no more transparent to most people than the history of the divine ages, however, for no records were kept and there are no surviving witnesses to the legendary wars, heroes, and conflicts of the time.
The time assigned to ancient history shows a distinct divine convenience: the total years assigned to the period total 18,000 years, a number easily divided by three, and thus sacred. The simplicity of a round figure for the period and its divisibility by the sacred number indicate that it is probably an invented number indicating a long period of time and not an exact figure. Whether the true time covered by this phrase was longer or shorter is up to the gamemaster.
The Fourth Age, the Kinslayer Wars
Jakoba was the first deity to create a mortal people, the Fey. The Fey live now in their descendants, some of whom are yet able to walk in and out of her Veil, inhabiting for part of their lives a world of her own making, a world that is hidden from others within the known world shared by all. Belier, lonely in the depths of Mahdi’s heart, made for himself companions, knights and ladies, craftsmen and delvers, serious and somber men and women, like himself. From Belier’s Company are descended all dwarves. Humans were also made by Belier, as a gift for Mahdi, but that much later. Hesper, with the help of Ensa and Kalos, created the ancestors of the Dragonmen and Changelings of the Fourth Age. Much later, in the Ninth Age, Grazhak formed the first Shifters and allowed the invasion of the Chaos Lords, who now have their strongholds in Ruz.
Jakoba’s Fey were first, however, and, like her, inhabited by magic, so that they did not notice, and did not treasure, the wonders they could create. They were mortal, but did not know this either, and were careless of their lives and of the lives of others in their first generations, for the gods had not yet created monsters to oppose them and teach them prudence. Without enemies, the Fey turned on one another, and so it was a child of Jakoba that broke the First Law with less cause than Maineau and with more fatal effects. The murder of Kolru the Swift by Balraga the Bold began the longest war in the history of mortals, the Kinslayer War. In some areas, this war continues in the present, a division of Fey against Fey, murderous and without mercy.
The Fey of the Kinslayer Wars were similar to their descendants in this: they were divided into houses. The Kinslayer War was one of extermination between houses throughout Anwyll and beyond to the Westron Islands and the far reaches of Mahdi. The Fey, both men and women, fought, and even children took to the field, for women and children who hid in their weakness and did not fight were shown no mercy by their enemies. So great was the lust for blood among the Fey that they turned away even from Jakoba, honoring only the Brothers in their desire for glory and death. A few Houses, however, did not turn from Jakoba. Instead, they turned towards her and pledged themselves to her, if only she would save them from death, dishonor and annihilation. This was the Dark Passage of the Fey during which they learned their own mortality and the perils of their pride.
Jakoba took the few who were true to her, who pledged themselves to her without bargaining over the price of their devotion, and took them to her heart. She saved them, but salvation had a cost, a cost some think was too great for those who paid it and those who did not. Jakoba took them into the darkness of Mahdi’s heart, where Belier’s Company served the Mountain King, and from her brother gained liberty for her Chosen, that they could live safely in the depths, tied to the fate of Belier’s folk, though apart from them. It was a dread argain, for in the depths they were separated from the Veil and lost the ability to step through it into Jakoba’s world, and now, so long separated from the Veil and the rhythms of its passages, they cannot pass, even those that live in the light.
Jakoba marked her chosen that all the gods would know them, and know of her affection for them above all others, and so that Belier’s Company would not mistake them for their above-ground kin, unwelcome in the heart of Mahdi, although privileged on its surface. She remade the Chosen in her image, black of skin, quick and slender, with hair like moonlight and eyes red with wrath and the blood of their slain. These are the Kindred, meaning those born Jakoba’s Chosen, her Houses in the depths of Mahdi, and her Chosen in the light.
The descendants of the Fey are strong in magic yet, but they are not strong as their ancestors were before the Choosing and the separation of the Chosen from the other Houses of the Fey. Jakoba has not removed all her gifts from them, but she has diminished their power and does not trust them, nor love them, as she once did. On the surface, the Houses of the Fey were shattered, and they, though to a lesser extent, grew different from one another as the Kindred were made different from all. The Kinslayer War was a lesson for Jakoba, too, and perhaps she has learned the perils of pride as well as her people. Although it is possible she has learned the lesson as poorly as they, having learned, after all, only to know the trouble pride brings after it has fallen.