I. The Epoch of Creation

From the lessons of the Malan Denath Re`Gren, Myrad`il Cleric of Sythlia to his student Aron of Katak:

“It was during this next period in time that many of the so-called intelligent races came into being.  However you must first understand that not all races are created equal.  There are the Natural, the Touched and the Born.

The Dreg`n evolved naturally. They came from whatever existed before them and are the natural conclusion of time and evolution.  It is also natural that they perish and die off as a species.  But many believe they continue to exist as my story to you will show.

The Tengu were the most intelligent of birds before Sythlia wished them to gain independent thought. She altered their course of being and are now called `Touched`.

The `Born` is admittedly a poor choice of wording but the term existed long before I and therefore is used out of convention. These are the creatures born from a mating of a god and a material life. In the present, such creatures would be called demi-gods but in the Epoch of Creation, mortals didn`t exist as you and I know them.   For everything was born of gods.

Sythlia loved the flora that had sprung up around her world.  She saw in it possibility but wanted more.  She imbued one kind of tree with life so it may act as a shepherd to all others. But it was so tall it only saw the other trees (horribly far-sighted they were). Sythlia noticed other creatures starting to form and married the spirit of life with physical form from nature.   Thus the fae were born.

These nature spirits performed their single-minded mission of tending to Sythlia`s creation. Sythlia enjoyed their company but she wanted to see them be free of mind and not be a servitor race.  They quickly adapted to their varied regions and to this day the fae live a life very close to nature in all its varied conditions. In Evindale, the fae are very active but do remain very much out of sight.

One particular fae grew apart from the others and Sythlia noticed. It grew taller, stronger and more defined, more physical like Sythlia herself. She felt a distinct love for this creature — whatever its name is/was — and gave some of her soul to create more like it. From this the elves were created.  This is the beginning of the `Born`.  You can see now why the term can be confusing.

With heavy ties to the nature spirits, these first elves remained loyal to nature in some fashion. Some darted into the forests (Adri`il, wood elves). Others made their way to the southern sands on Erinnal and became the desert-based Myrad`il, such as myself. Others dug deep into the hills and mountains and became like their habitat, squat and powerful; these became tirfolk (halflings) and dwarves.  Of course, no dwarf will admit their life and mine are bound by common blood.  They believe they were formed from the very rocks themselves but as you will soon hear, this was not the case.  After all, The Spine of the World, that great expanse of mountains from which they claim their bones were first formed, did not yet exist.  No, my dear Aron, they were once elves.

The dragon-kin that had lived in these mountains found their millennial homes now invaded by dwarves.  These ancestors of the dreg`n petitioned Sythlia, claiming theirs was the right to these underground passages. Sythlia refused to get involved, allowing Her Plan (Nature) to take its course. Some dragon-kin went to the surface and adapted, they became the orcs and goblins over time.  They, too, are `Natural` creatures.

Those that remained under the earth fought against the dwarves.  With captives on both sides, new breeds were created.  The Slindar`il, or “black elves of the deep” are ashen gray dwarves mixed with dragon-kin blood. They retain characteristics of both races but are taller, more muscular.

War broke out. Nature was fighting itself. Sythlia viewed this war as no different than any other facet of nature conflicting and destroying all around it so something new may come of it.Volcanos erupted and destroyed with no more anger than an ant who carved tunnels and spew the contents of the earth around its mound. To her, the War of the Races changed the face of the land in the same fashion.

Her consort, the first elf, though he knew of the dangers.   He felt his kin dying in rage.   He claimed Her Plan had gone awry, that hatred and greed were not a part of nature. She nodded and allowed one of the sleeping Dreg`n (“First Born”, or dragon) to arise once more. N`galir stood as tall as the continent is wide. With one step it crossed half the distance of Erinnal and crushed much of the surface dwellers. Fearing for their lives, all manner of creatures banded together to fight against N`galir but it was futile.

One enterprising dragon-kin lord knew no weapon of stone or wood could defeat N`galir. He petitioned Sythlia to stop the world from being destroyed and allowed her consort to go with the dragon-kin lord for a great meeting of all races.  Sythlia commanded N`galir to stand by and wait.

All the races gathered, all were present except Sythlia who kept N`galir at bay. Her consort (now simply called Evin by we Myrad`li, or `beloved host`) attended and asked representatives to ponder their actions, to compare what they had done to how the rest of nature resolves its conflicts through selfless action, through give and take. It was the lord of the dragon-kin who took action first and foremost, however, and had the Lord of the Slindar`il craft from the bowels of the land a weapon of mortal-fashioned metal, the first iron weapon. Tired of the lack of action Evin had taken he slew the great consort. Evin`s blood was the essence of natural magic and seeped into the ground, imbuing all natural life with it. His breath was the essence of creation magic and imbued all intelligent creatures with the power of molding it to its will.  This is how magic came into being; we each have a touch of Sythlia within us.  She created Evin.  From him magic was made available to us.  This is why some exclaim, `Bloenbreth!` when they see something extraordinary.  It means, `the Blood and Breath of Evin` or `all that is possible`.

Nonetheless, when Evin was murdered Sythlia immediately felt the disconnect. She released N`galir to destroy everything but the newly created metal and magic wielders focused their efforts on the ancient Dreg`n. It fell and crushed the ground beneath, forcing up huge mountains. Where its body lay, a great depression was formed and the ocean to the south poured in.  Thus was The Spine of the World created.  Back then, however, it was called the Spine of the Wyrm and time (or some fool) changed it to Spine of the World.

Where was I?   Ah, yes.

Gone was Evin and Sythlia mourned his loss. She created Evin`dale, or `Home of the Beloved Consort`, a group of islands to the west where she would keep her memories of Evin. She asked Death for control over that natural process within her realm. Death knew this was for selfish ends for she wanted to reverse Evin`s murder. The neutrally-aligned Death was now divided and so divided it became: Fayan and Fayer, sister and brother, murder and natural death. Fayan spoke quickly to Sythlia and took advantage of her grief. She granted Sythlia the ability to grant the dead life once more in exchange for allowing others to do so as well. Sythlia didn`t care and agreed. Evin rose from the dead and joined his beloved in Evin`dale. But now those so imbued with magic could also raise the dead. For the selfless, they could Raise Dead or Resurrect. For the selfish, they could create the Undead. For Sythlia, a new race was born, the Revenant. But Sythlia`s sacrifice for this was that her newly created Evin`dale could only be reached by the dead; no living mortal will ever see its lands.

Fayan saw the possibility of cults within all of Sythlila`s land, now inappropriately (and possibly mockingly) called Evindale. The goddess of murderous death slew three kings of each of the elven races. Their blood dripped in the Pond of Lament. Medres, goddess of plague and the undead, crept from the blood of the Slindar`il; Urthes, goddess of perverted truth and lies, grew from the blood of the noble Myrad`il; Zelres, goddess of insanity, was born from the pure blood of the Adri`il.   Into the mouths of scavanger animals did Fayan pour these vile liquids. Thus was born the harpies, the children of the Sister of Discord.

So it continues to this day that Death is split, the dragon-kin and Slindar`il remain at war with the living, the Cults of Discord worship the three Harpies, and Sythlia remains in Evin`dale awaiting the arrival of her recently demised children, the mortals of her world.

Where did the humans come from you ask?  True, I did not mention them.

All of the races — the tengu, elves, tirfolk, dwarves, dreg`n and their dragon-kin offspring and their orc and goblin cousins — existed before humans came to be.  Even the revenant existed before humans.  As a matter of fact, the other races evolved according to Her Plan long before the Children of Desire came to be.

Do you remember your first lesson?  When the Tirsar created and became the Adrihar?  Drenathis was the first of the gods, the will of creation itself made into entity.  A deity of New Beginnings.  Right, keep that in mind.

Soon after the clans of dwarves united into the Empire of the Spine in 243 DA (Dwarven Annal) under the great King Ekli they encountered a new breed of dragon-kin, the Strin`gith.  The baleful creatures were of demonic origin, products of unholy unions between the Sisters of Discord and mortal dragon-kin or worse, Slindar`il.  War erupted once more and the lands of Sythlia were once again in chaos.

Enter the next age, the Epoch of Desire, which I will save for our next lesson but I will give you this:  Drenathis had a strong following in those days and Drenathis was powerful because of it.  The desire for a New Beginning was strong in Sythlia and this was made manifest: one human — born of all the races in all of Sythlia and neither male nor female — stopped the war.  Humans were created to bring balance to the chaos that existed.

But this was before the reawakening of the Great Lich.”