On the Age of Chaos

On the Age of Chaos

With the Second Era of Collisions starting in the Spring of 450, the Age of Chaos officially began. Nearly on top of each other came the Myr of Issul (hereafter referred to as Dark Myr) near the Ogres of Broken Maw in what would become the continent of Reignfall, and the Archai of Roa to the south, in the realm of Whitethaw and nearest to the Dwarves and Khadassa. In what would become the first fruits of their peculiar, distant rivalry, both the Dark Myr and Archai lay claim to arriving prior to the other, though it has never been dutifully determined (and let not either sway you it has). The following “Cursed Frost” winter of 459 saw the Humans of Vas Demith planted against the Roan Mountains of Kingsreach, mercifully close to the Elves and Faerthale. These were altogether the original Sacred Six, though the title was some time in coming.

In the doomful year of 470, the tremors of the Age of Chaos broke through the surface. Plainly named the Year of Outbreak, the pregnant inertia of the approaching Deicide War came full term when the Revenant erupted from the Sathe and overwhelmed the Ginto posted on Olem’s Hill. This they renamed Baaka’rrn, or “Black Flame”. Aside from the gross magnitude of their numbers — an attribute that would come to define their reckless and relentless method of warfare — the despotic Lord revealed a shrewd and devious act of cunning. For the pantheons of the foreign nations had evil members whose appetite for iniquity was starved by the Celestial Boundary. Having benefited from Descension himself, the Ravaging Lord set a unique card before the near-dormant immortals, enticing them to High Mortal status in exchange for rule, ruin and revenge. This recruitment seduced to his side a few fallen deities, most notably Ossari “He Who Rages” of the Humans and the “Dead Heiress” Haethus-Krevgejl of the Archai.

With these mortal but immensely powerful warlords infused into his newly formed and massive army, the Ravaging Lord turned his eye to Terminus at large. In the subsequent years Kinosai (471) and Lost Sidryth (472) fell under their storm, while forces such as the Sidryth Vespers (472) and the earth mages of the Madjen Kii (473) allied with the emerging military titan. But a strange fuel burned within the ruler of the Revenant, and as soon as his might was great enough to be divided he broke it into three armies, one for each continent of the Sacred Six. Ossari was to lead the assault on Kingsreach, Haethus-Krevgejl would attack out of the snows of Whitethaw and the Ravaging Lord himself would strike upon Reignfall (though this was not yet its namesake).

Yet neither the Remnant nor the Six had been idle during this time. In fact, the former had managed a deft campaign of sabotage and diversionary combat against their heinous brethren, most successfully in the critical year of 475. This served two ends of vital importance. First, the obvious benefit of forestalling the Revenant and frustrating their otherwise ravenous advance. But secondly these tactics cast a fog over the delicate union that was forming at the insistence of the Remnant and between the six. At the Summit on Vesu, a mist-soaked island in the midst of two converging oceans that nearly disappears for months at a time, the breadth of consequence behind the Revenant threat was unfolded to the leadership of each attending race. It was from this historic council that the decision to undertake the Sanctum Edict was made. For the Ginto carried these many years a belief that Ittero’s power and vision were so great, he would indeed turn the world to darkness as he had prophesied. But before her sacrifice, the patient divination of Ginavi had peered even farther beyond his furious gaze and perceived a moment in the midnight of despair, when the flooding tide of battle “Would break beneath the Suns of Terminus”. This cryptic impartation was not at first enough to bring the Six into one accord, but after days of fervent deliberations each member planted the herald of their people in the crimson sands of Vesu, swearing fealty against the Revenant until “The Tide Consumes or the Suns Avail.”

Therefore did each pairing begin immediate preparations: The Burning Sanctum would be constructed in the Petrified Forest of Ka’Kelhar; The Silent Sanctum, nestled behind a natural choke point the Mountain Roans; The Frozen Sanctum, buried in the storm drifts of Tenebrous Tundra. Each megalithic hulk was conceived with the aim of housing the races for as long as necessary, once they had bled as much attrition out of the Revenant and High Mortal armies as possible. In short, “Coffins to outlast the night”.

Thus in 481, the Deicide War — or “War of Gods” — came of age on Terminus. After years of smaller conflicts that felled countless nations, cities and peoples, some forcibly joined with the Revenant, others devoured into extinction, the direct assaults on the three continents of the Six officially consummated in total war. The defense of each was longsuffering, grinding and acknowledged to be futile. For, aside from Khazas, there was no equal to the High Mortals on the field of battle, and certainly no accounting for the mass of Revenant and their allies. What is clear is that Haethus-Krevgejl faired the worst, and found the teeth of Tenebrous difficult to overcome by itself. (At Vesu, Khazas was asked “But what natural defense shall the Frozen Sanctum have?” To which he famously replied, “Tenebrous, and Tenebrous alone.”) The Archai and Dwarves waged a choreographed campaign of elusiveness in shrewd tandem, denying the Dead Heiress an open field to fit with her numerical advantage. The effectiveness was great. Enraged, Haethus-Krevgejl was finally given an opportunity when word came that the Frozen Sanctum itself was located amidst the blinding squalls. At this news, she ordered the Madjen Kii create columns of infernal black flame to burn constantly, slowly encroaching upon the refuge from each side of Tenebrous. This forced the Dwarves and Archai to face a traditional battle, which they deeply prefer but could not endure to the degree of their war of shadow. Eventually the Sanctum was entered by nearly all.

Kingsreach did not fare as well. The island has only the Roans as a natural defense, and while both the Humans and Elves made their hold around and on it respectively, there was little choice but to meet Ossari’s vast forces on the field of battle. (Assistance in this came from the Mos Cag warriors and the Elvonnen Giants, as well as the enigmatic assassins of the Red Raven). But despite their valor, beautiful Havensong became the last bulwark of defense, with the Silent Sanctum hidden in the Roans behind. In perhaps the most mournful episode of the entire war, Havensong fell along with the Human King Amensol, and the betrayer Ossari demanded the entire city be wiped from the plain and carried off. Halting his army from any pursuit into the Roans, Ossari personally verified that every last timber, stone and hinge was removed from the scorched landscape and dropped off cliffs, into the sea miles away. This took three days, and it was not until the effort was finished did he march on the Sanctum.

Reignfall hosted the most brutal fighting. At first there was something of a valiant return to victory for the Ogres. The legendary army of Broken Maw attacked the Revenant in their own camps as they marshalled on the banks of the frigid northlands. After this ambush, the Dark Myr waited patiently beneath the icy surface for an armada of Revenant transports and set upon them with murderous glee, sinking, burning and climbing on the decks of the silent convoy as it passed through the night. So fierce was their zeal that the Ogres assembled on the shoreline (expecting some ships to pass through) watched in astonishment until their allies finished the fight. Not a ship survived. It seemed an easy victory, which under normal terms would have perhaps granted these two members a total triumph (which they likely would have not announced to the remaining four). Yet this was the army of the Ravaging Lord, and the only terms were his own. He unbound ancient monsters of the deep against the Dark Myr, and soon their unparalleled advantage was forfeit. According to the Ogres, he enticed the hounds of Wos Che to assault Broken Maw from the north, while a Revenant force marched up from the desert of Khaga in the south (the Wos Che vehemently refutes this account, which became the initiator of the Seventh and Twelfth War between the two nations). Unable to defend the twin (or lone) assaults, the Ogres withdrew across Reignfall to Ka’Kelhar and the Burning Sanctum.

Thus Ittero’s long-standing prophecy was becoming manifest with each scorching victory. In 484, Havensong fell, Rel-Cirin of the Archai was slain after sealing himself outside the door of the Frozen Sanctum, and the Ravaging Lord found a means to stop the magma moat flowing around the Burning Sanctum. It seemed that midnight was drawing nigh.

Yet the Suns of Ginavi’s vision would rise, and with them came a morning which broke the Revenant into utter chaos. These Six Suns of Terminus were warriors of godlike power in physical might and arcane discipline, one from each pantheon of the Sacred. More commonly called WarWizards, they are most easily described as High Mortal beings of nearly pure supernatural ability. I confess their existence is contested by some today, so strange is their origin and decisive was their merit. With no warning of any kind, the dual terrors set upon the Revenant High Mortals with furious precision. Haethus-Krevgejl fled before her assailants, and is since so rarely seen she is thought perished. True to his namesake, Ossari raged in ferocity and managed to wound one of the WarWizards. But his might could not overcome the relentless heroes, and he fell dead on the very earth he had wiped Havensong from, as if he had merely prepared his own grave.

The Ravaging Lord himself was not so easily countered. In a turn that should have given the Six great pause, he chose not to face the WarWizards smiting loose his grip on Reignfall. While his twin armies on Kingreach and Whitethaw were reeling, he withdrew to the volcanic Mount Ka’Druhorr in the north. Now utterly leaderless, the Revenant and their allies were chased off each continent, save for the Lord and his army teeming in the volcano foundary. In these conflicts Avendyr, the young heir to Amensol’s throne, showed himself a leader of battlefront fearlessness. In 485, he and Khazas led the armies of the Six, and with the six Suns of Terminus they marched on Ka’Druhorr as one host, intent on extinguishing the Black Flame forever.

Yet in even this short time, the Ravaging Lord had grown in power — and depravity. Too slowly it was understood that he cared not who survived, setting loose rivers of molten ore across the jagged terrain of Ka’Druhorr once the armies had entered it. The forces of the Six were divided and trapped, easily ensnared by the expectant Revenant. Yet with their supernatural fervency, two of the WarWizards moved directly to the Ravaging Lord, knowing his death would avail all threats. But after a furious melee one lay dead, while the second was in desperate peril.

Yet these were not all the mighty warriors to arrive on that day of days. Suddenly the earth shook, and one side of the volcano burst forth in thunder and spray. Out from the rupture flew Rhy’Kafiros, the Reignborn dragon whose dominion was over this very continent. Setting herself between the Ravaging Lord and the Sun, she clutched the Pillar Ka that towered in the middle of the battlefield and roared a declaration. (These Pillars are believed to be the signifier of Reignborn authority on each continent, for there is one to each major realm). Rhy’Kafiros blew thick flames over the two armies without regard for division. Her fury was awesome, yet before she could face either warrior, the Ravaging King made his final move. With every malevolent fiber of strength, he impaled the head of the beast upon the Pillar Ka, even as she loosed billows of fire. This moment was only surpassed by the next, to which I relent my narration in favor of an actual witness, the Human Signal Barrer, Marthos Bosamir —

“After this an even more deafening roar erupted, shaking the foundations of the planet and silencing the entire war on all of its lingering fronts. In this quiet, only the immeasurable wings of yet one more beast were heard as they dipped below the ceiling of clouds that hazed over the battlefield, miles above us. This was the Dragon King, Rok’Nhilthamos. In a flash his monstrous head pierced the clouds of storm and ash. He crushed the Ravaging Lord in his mouth, but gently enough to flip his pierced body into the air, incinerating it with a blast of molten flame.

Rok’Nhilthamos lifted his wings but once and the entire veil of cloud dispersed. His size was peerless, yet his form and color were majestic beyond compare. I knew him to be the king of beasts, but there I saw it. His claws dug into the peaks of the mountain range and it dawned with clarity that he was about to act further. Even as our armies attempted to flee, the Dragon King drew in a massive breath to scorch all he surveyed in flame.

Yet there was a crack and roll of thunder across the sky. A small glint catches in the pool of Rok’Nhilthamos’ eye — and the colossal dragon hesitates! Faster than his lid can blink, a creature like no other I had seen — though small in comparison — with one hand closed over the mouth of the Dragon King! There was a howling from one corner of the battlefield, but I could not tear my eye away from the sight above. Hovering thousands of feet in the air, it speaks:

‘Blood for blood, King. There is no breach.’

The Dragon King’s growl reverberated as he replied in kind, “Blood for grace, Emissary. Yet in the future, there will be only blood.”

Drawing the clouds over his ascent, Rok’Nhilthamos soared into the skies, cast one shadow over all the scattered armies and forever disappeared. The creature that stopped his anger and saved us all was never seen again.”

Such was the end of the Deicide War.


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