Saturday, October 13, 2012

Myths and Beginnings Part 1: Deities and their Children

The lands surrounding the Aster Sea, including the Empire itself, are home to people who worship a number of pantheons, as well as the shadows and remnants of fallen deities. Following is an incomplete description of how these gods are related, revealed in a document found and analyzed by a young scholar of the Imperial Academy of Magic, circa the seventh month of ER 1109.

[Editor's Note]This transcription is to be brought for review before the High Council of Magi with the approval of executors Aerth and Amisa. This excerpt of a transcript, written by a Bevinan scribe around 350 ER, was only recently located, magically concealed within the Academy tower itself. It seems that, like so many other things, this knowledge was intentionally hidden, more than likely by a Nerenean mage or scribe. Why it was concealed is open to speculation, though I would imagine it was deemed unacceptable in that it shows a link between the Elven gods and our own, as well as brings attention to the Titans.

                                                      --Abigail, apprentice to Magus Aerth

[Handwritten note] Young Abigail has been tasked with unearthing concealed knowledge both within and without the libraries of our capital. This speaks greatly to her strengths, and she would be highly embarrassed were I to tell you of her greatest accomplishment of scholarship. Needless to say, expect more texts, and greater insight, from my young apprentice. 
                                              --Aerth, Magus Primus of the Imperial Academy of Magic

The story of our world is said to have begun some half a million years past, with its adoption by a goddess named Gaia. How long it toiled without the aid of deities before that is a question that will, I would imagine, never be answered. It is hard to say what the Elven priests themselves know of their prime deity, but from what has been passed down to mankind, we know that she joined with Aether to give birth to the oldest of the Titans. Aether passed away from this world, but Gaia chose to remain a mother to our world, rather than leaving it in the hands of her children. After a number of years, the Titans, who had now flourished in the world and its higher planes, expressed to her a desire to create life. Gaia responded by asking them to bide their time, and it was then that she brought forth the race of Elves, who were to be responsible to the world as a whole. They would inherit not only the justness and beauty of their deity, but they would also receive mysteries from her that no others would. The Titans were jealous, but knew better than to speak out against their parent, lest they be denied the right to create.

After the Elves had been allowed to flourish and spread, the Titans were permitted to create life of their own. These were, primarily, the giants, the goblinoids, and some say the orcs. Certainly there were others, though no one is certain of their nature as they no longer survive. During the time of these creatures' flourishing--and incessant wars with the Elven races--a god named Caelum came to Gaia, and together they birthed the pantheons of what we now prosaically call "gods". Caelum, it came to be known, was a child of Aether by another deity, and he brought with him his brother Zurvan, who chose to remain within Gaia's spheres and bring forth his own children. Zurvan, though of an older generation, is considered an equal of Patrus, the head of the Eracian pantheon, as he himself brought forth the more fractious Araden gods.

The inception of the human deities was not well chronicled through the first generation, and there is much debate on the parentage of Hespera, though the most agreed-upon scenario is that she was born to a Titaness of high order and a "wandering god" much like Aether. Patrus, son of Gaia and Caelum, went on to become the patriarch of the Aster Palace and as such the highest lord of the Eracian peoples. It is said that he had many brothers and sisters, though a great number of gods perished in the latter wars with the Titans.

Conflict began between the Titans and the gods when Patrus and Ahura convened to create their own race--humankind. Most texts record this as taking place roughly eleven and a half thousand years past. The humans themselves were far better at cooperating with other races, at using tools, and at governing themselves than the more chaotic giants and their servants, and within a mere millenium began to overshadow the older races. The Titans, and their leader Sol, responded by demanding that the humans give over a portion of their knowledge and land to the Titans' children. Ahura, embroiled in his own conflicts with his brother Ahriman, relented and sent his own people into the wastelands south and west of the Aster Sea, but proud Patrus flatly denied their request, saying that mankind's innovations had only begun, and that the races better able to adapt would be the ones to flourish in the company of Gaia.

The Titans' characteristically bombastic and furious response to this was a series of bloody wars, with the ultimate goal of razing the Aster Palace--an entire plane of existence--to rubble. At the same time they marched their children to war against mankind, and it is known that the Elven races rushed to intervene, displaying Gaia's displeasure with her older children at such bellicose action. The Aster Palace itself was assaulted by an immense number of Titans, yet the gods and their lesser servants were able, after much attrition, to fend off the Titans. This success was largely due to the assistance of the defector Alessi, whose sense of justice caused her to defect to the side of the gods when the giantkin began their massacres. Ultimately, the Titans themselves were slain, or perhaps exiled, and their lineage no longer has any noticeable affect on our world.

[Editor's Note] Little else of the rest of this treatise is of any use in our research, as it goes on to detail rites and sacraments which are largely known today. What remains striking is what is omitted--there is no mention of Fianna, of the Besens, or of the gnomes' god or gods or lack thereof. More importantly, the existence of the Spires was clearly unknown by the ecclesiastical class during this time period, but at the same time far more was known of the elves than in recent generations. We were certainly aware that misinformation had already been spread by the Nereneans by this time--after all, it started immediately after colonization--but this gives us more hints as to what had been obscured when, and to what extent. With perseverance, many more such documents will find their way into the hands of the Academy.

[Neatly printed note] Dear, this old text is most enlightening, if not particularly well-written! When this came to my desk I did some further analysis and came to the conclusion that this text was obscured around 450 EC, around the time that relations began to sour permanently between Eracia and the Elves. I spoke directly with Aelethindra herself in Terescu last week, and she confirmed for me that it was around that time when a great deal of hostility began being directed toward the Elven enclaves in general, and the Dipolomatic corp in particular. In the meantime, I've passed information down the line to Evenard that the agents of the Imperial Corp should all be briefed on Nerenean cipher language, and be trained to recognize such code out in the field. Keep up the excellent work, Abigail, and remind that old goat Aerth to bring you something nice to eat every once in a while!


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