The legends of the creation of the world have been long lost in the mists of time, and only the oldest of the Eyes of the Mind (the orbs of consciousness that exist in fixed points of the world, watching and gathering information and stories of the world from their particular vantage point) can still tell that story. But it is common knowledge that the elves came first, birthed from a union of starfire and pieces of the physical world, (earth, wood, stone, fire, air, sea, river, metal, etc.). And it is from those ancient and unchanging elves that the stories of what happened in the rest of the world can be found.
The continents rose from the sea, creating the world (which does not look like earth, but that doesn't really matter), and the First Men and Dwarves were crafted with it, with soil or rock for flesh, and saltwater and magma flowing through their veins.
From there, the records get hazy. It is known for a fact that the Firsts began to spread over the world, they discovered that they were not the only species to have arisen from the creation of the continents. Other creatures, trolls, goblins, and orcs, had been born from the deep, dark rock of the underground caves, the cold deep-water rivers in their veins, supported by the strength of the roots of the old trees.
The Men and Dwarves could see no beauty in the deep ground creatures, for they were creatures of the underground, while the Men and Dwarves were of the surface. Thus they dubbed these “deformed” creatures evil and dark, and began a war for their extermination.
Thus began the first war, the Great War, and of the heroics and tragedies, the wars and loves, the exploration and hunts, there are many stories (which I shall be polite, and not delve into too much, except for the important ones, and those mostly came late).
But the war went on, and the numbers of all the species fell, until all realized that there would be no recovering from the damages. Their world was coming to an end, but the hatred was so deep that they could do nothing to stop the final extermination of all. They could only hope to find ways to preserve some traces of themselves from the future.
Here beings the story of Syrien, the youngest daughter of King Mauverex, and Jaheacis, the greatest of the giant eagles that watched from above. Jaheacis, seeing Syrien captured by a hoard of Orcs, and falling deeply in love with her beauty, spirited her away to safety. Their relationship and interactions were long and complex, but the final result of their union was the Aerix, the graceful bird-people. (Nowadays they have developed their own intricate culture and have established their position in the world. We can go into more detail on that later, should you care to hear, or I can summarize in a sentence or two. Maybe a paragraph for safety.)
Each of the cultures also went to one of the Eyes of the Mind that they felt the most associated with. The Men went to Dormendal, the Eye of the Highest Peak of the World, Evenskie. The Dwarves to Sadrengarn, the Eye of the Center, resting on a spire in the center of the largest continent, where this war had begun, the Trolls to Modelen, the Eye of the Wide Forest, its name long ago lost and known today only as the Green Mountain Forest, the Orcs to Quemensak the Eye of the Deep, hidden in a shadowy cave of the Grand Canyon, and the Goblins to Resdecon, the hardest to reach of the Eyes, located on a small island in the middle of a giant underground lake. There, each race told their stories, of their triumphs and failures of their race, of their beauties of construction and their terrors of combat. The Eyes took it all in, as is their purpose, and created a database of information for any who should take the perilous journey to tap their vast reservoir of knowledge.
Here also lies the story of the Dwarf Thone, a storyteller who got lost on his great journey to Sandrengarn and plunged into the great river Kalenim, and believed lost to all of his companions, and his great wealth of stories with him. But the river itself took mercy on him, flooding his very being with the fresh sweet water of its tide, and from that union was the Zati born, a creature of the water, graced with an unexpected mixture of grace and power, and little seen in the surface world. Their existence has passed almost into legend now, but still there are those who claim that they have seen their flowing bodies, or had their lives saved by the surprisingly gentle hands of these creatures.
Finally, in desperation, the last of the first species were able to call a brief treaty. Together, the last from each species journeyed to the original home of the Elves, and there pleaded for a chance to right the wrongs of the past. The Elves told them that there was nothing to be done to save them, but one final sacrifice might offer them a second chance. And so it came to be that each of these final members of the First Species spilled their hear-blood into the soils of the Elvenhome, condemning the last of their species to death. But this final sacrifice was not in vain, for the very soil rose in the places where the blood of the species had been spilled, and they grew once more from the soil. These people were lesser, for no longer was their soul of pure water and fire, but rather only of the blood of those who came before. Only in the Elvenhome was the blood and soil resurrected into people with the True Blood of Kings.
And so the Great War ended, not all lost, but the Firsts truly gone from the world.
There is a story in this time, one that is known not even by the oldest and most watchful of the Eyes, and would not come to be discovered in full until many thousands of years later. (I bet you can guess what a part of the plot will be, now).
The Great War was ended, and the species, new and old, claimed their second chance to the fullest. Led by those who came of the blood of those who had gone to the Elvenhome, for many hundreds of years there was relative peace. Wars still occurred between the species, but none so long lasted, so bloody, or so vengeful. It was a time of creation, for many of the techniques in crafting of the past had been lost, and those who found them discovered that they were no longer capable of performing the incredible feats. They still found relics of the past, but never again was anything crafted with such beauty and simultaneously such utility as the crafting of old.
But still they built, men and dwarves creating grand cities above ground and in the high reaches of mountains, the trolls, goblins, and orcs, thriving underground metropoli, the aerix comfortable homes in the high reaches of cliffs, and the Zati deep in rivers, lakes, and oceans.
While digging, one group of Goblins discovered a deep cleft, as old as the earth itself, and they followed it out of curiosity. Deep within the bowels of the earth, deeper than any had gone before, they found a civilization that had never risen above the surface of the world. They were strange, disgusting creatures, built like men in general shape, but lacking any sort of defined features. Their entire body was bubbled like melted wax, their fingers long, crooked, and grasping. The Goblins, terrified of their discovery, dubbed the new species as Worms, and then fled, sealing the cleft behind them as they went. It would be a long time before the Worms were encountered again, but those below were still of the First Blood, as of the Elves and other First Species, and thus remained unaging so long as they were not killed by dagger, sword, or arrow. And on the strange visitors they has tasted a breath of fresh air, a taste that would haunt them for many thousands of years to come.
And then the peace was once more shattered, but it was shattered not by the acts of any of the species, but rather the actions of those they could only dub the Gods of this world.
The first to come was Skaldreg, a viscous creature that gained pleasure from the pain and destruction of others. Many of the grandest cities of the world did he destroy, uncaring of species, and none seemed to be able to stand against him. His dark wings became the ultimate symbol of fear, and even the bravest felt their hearts fall when cast under his dark shadow.
For the first time, the Elves rose to fight. But even against their fierce grace his Shadow seemed unstoppable. And although the old enmities were not forgotten, all of the species (except the Worms, which is almost a shame. They are a fascinating people, who I will go much more in depth for at a later date. Maybe only once they show up in the actual role play) joined together to fight.
Still everything would have been lost, had the second of the Gods, the beautiful lady Jiskastya (haha, sorry, but I really do like the name) not descended to fight on the behalf of the word. She was so bright as to not be seen, but when one closed their eyes, the afterimage of her light glowed in the inner eye. (I have to include a picture here, because I don't want to try and find the adjectives for this, although I will need to at some point Jiskastya)
Their battle was fierce but short, and Skaldreg was locked away, hidden in the very core of the world. With his defeat, Jiskastya too left the world, but in her wake came the last three of the gods. The first was Aselia, the Goddess of Healing. She assisted the species in repairing the world, and helping those who were hurt, both physically and mentally, in recovering from their loss. The second was Koromain, a funny man, expert in music and tale, and a god of celebration. He served to all as a reminder that there was still the potential for joy and laughter in the world. The third and final of the minor gods was Elksyx, a master craftsman, builder, hunter,and farmer, who taught the species some of the crafts that had been lost with the First Species, and helped them to rebuild their cities. Never had such grace been seen since the days of old, and those cities that were touched by Elksyx still stand, seeming untouched by time.
And so the last god came and went from the world. Never again would they touch the world in such a profound way, but the priests tell all that all five gods find their way to touch our soul, guiding those who listen to their whispers.
Knowing now that there were gods in the world, some of the people in each of the species created other gods, ones that related to their culture personally. But the greatest of the Religions worshiped only the Five. It is centered in one of the most beautiful cities built by Elksyx, which also is the home of the spire of Sadrengarn, the Eye of the Center. This city is also one of the only places in the world where all the species (except the worms, again) live together in relative peace. This is only obtained because the high priest declared it to be so, saying that the gods had helped each of the species equally, and thus they must all be equal in the eyes of the gods. The peace is a bit uneasy, but the punishment for breaking it is quick and severe, and those who break it are banished from the city. This has earned it some enmity, but the walls of Elksyx have always held firm against any attack.
There is still a distrust, bordering on hate, between the species of the surface and the species of the underground, and the Elves still remain above it all, but the world healed from the attack of Skaldreg, and once more entered into an age of relative peace.
Thousands of years have passed since the Gods came to earth, and even the descendants of those with the First Blood have passed through the generations. Only some of the Elves that are not in the Elvenhome still remember those days. In that time there have been great battles, strange and fascinating stories of adventures and romance, and life has gone on. The tension between the surface and underground species has waxed and waned, and no real peace has been made, and nor is it likely to.
The sun rose slowly, casting a golden touch on the highest spires of The temple of the Five in the city of Sadrenhone. Slowly it spread down the length of the Temple, but in the city below the morning bustle of people had already begun. From the temple itself the high graceful notes of the morning choir had already begun, a sweet, heavenly song that still caused the passing inhabitants to pause for a moment and listen, even after all these years.
Beyond the high walls that surrounded Sadrenhone, stepping out of the forest like a ghost or shadow, a man appeared, tall and thin, face hidden in the deep folds of his hooded cloak. He walked slowly towards the gates of the city, only now beginning to open as the light of the dawn touched their highest reaches. And, as the gates soundlessly opened, so to did the man soundlessly enter, slipping right under the noses of the morning guard.
His feet made no noise on the cobbled street, and he slipped among the morning crowds, seeming to pass unnoticed through the slowly increasing throng. His steps led him, slowly but surely, towards the temple, which now lay fully illuminated by the sun. He too paused for a moment when the first notes of the choir reached his ears, the slow tide of people parting around him. It had been a long time since he had been in this city, but it hadn't changed at all during that time. The streets looked still the same, the exact same spots on the temple were hit by the strongest sunlight. And the uneasy tension between the people was the same to, everyone being careful not to make eye contact and risk starting a conflict that would find all involved banned from within the city walls.
Guards were posted regularly, uniforms neat, sliver clasps gleaming, and sabre clean and unused in its sheath. The guards were nothing more than peacemakers anymore, it had been many a year since anyone had dared to try and breach these towering Walls of Elksyx.
He slipped into the church as soundlessly as he had entered the city, but now he finally pulled back his hood. His hair was long for a human male, almost touching his shoulders, and it reflected an almost bluish black in the light that came in from outside. His face was pale, but no unnaturally so, and his white-blue eyes calmly surveyed the flying reaches of the main Sanctuary.
For the first time, he was noticed by the people in the temple. A young male dedicate walked up to him hesitantly, asking if there was anything that he could do to help. The strange man shook him off gently, and sat down in the back reaches of the church. He was not a religious man, but there was still a deep, almost holy reverence about him as he sat there, head bent forward, and eyes lightly closed.
It had been a long, long time indeed since he had been here, but this had never changed.
One of the priests walked down the rows quietly in light slippers, a candle held in his hands. He walked all the way to the front of the church, where there were five recessed sections, four on the floor level, one centered above the rest. Each one held a large statue. On the far right was a statue of a well-muscled man, tall and strong. His hair was long and wild, his hands large and strong, but there was a kind strength to his face. There was a knife in his belt, a quiver of arrows on his back, and a hammer in his hands. The priest bent forward, lighting the candle at the man's feet that had been placed there earlier in the day by one of the dedicates. "Elksyx, guide my hands in craft," he murmured as the flame doubled briefly and lit the candle. He moved on to the second recess, where there was a young woman, grateful, with thin and dexterous hands and long flowing hair. "Aselia, guide my hands in healing." There was a healers belt around her waist, and she wore long but plain robes. He lit the second candle as well. To the third statue he moved. "Koromain, guide my hands in music." This statue was shorter than all the rest, but his was the only one that interacted, his head was bent forward, hands lovingly cradled around the small harp in his hands, and his mouth was open in song. His hair was short and neat, and he has a round, warm face.
To the last recess on the level of the ground the priest stepped, and he paused before a statue, the only one made of black marble. The priest bent forward, and mercifully whispered, "Skaldreg, may you one day find peace in your earthen prison." This man was tall and thin, but still he gave off an aura of power. His eyes, jaw and mouth were hard, and his black wings were partially unfurled behind him.
Finally, the priest looked up to the statue above, and his face seemed to glow. This statue was of a woman, tall and incredibly beautiful, with wild long hair and a long dress, that seemed to almost flow about her like a waterfall. Of all the statues, hers was the closest to a pure, almost glowing, white.
The priest lit four candles on the alter, then placed the fifth at the top. He then turned and kneeled on the ground before the five. "Jiskastya, guide my soul to grace."
The bells high in the church began to ring, rung by a young aerix whose primary duty consisted of working in the high reaches of the temple. The morning service would begin soon, for those in the city who wished to attend.