Birth of the Dark Elves (essay)
The text that follows was retrieved from an archaeological site in the Southron Wastes. In my studies of the Dark Elven religious fanatics of the southern wastelands, it has become increasingly clear that not only is there a cult of the Ur-Daemon, but that some among them spread or even "seed" texts with willfully misleading knowledge for the purpose of corrupting or seducing others toward the forbidden. It is my opinion that this scroll fragment was meant to be a parable for children, however unnerving the thought may be of the surrounding conditions for such indoctrination.
What little has been discerned for certain about this cult so far suggests that no sincerity whatsoever is placed in the truth quality of knowledge. Knowledge is nothing more or less than a weapon. It is highly unlikely that the author of the text believes its contents in the most literal sense, nor would such considerations likely even seem relevant. Its purpose is undoubtedly to poison impressionable minds so that they more totally accept more sophisticated doctrines later. The horrifying quality of this point is that of all possible intents this would be the least disturbing.
- Val Lys'aen'fel Illistim
Scribe, Library of Biblia
4753 Modern Era
Many thousands of years ago, there was only one race in the world. They walked upon two legs, and were as gods in the form of lesser men. Whispers through the dark ages speak of lordly masters of essence, who wielded the flows with such artistry that they held immense power over form and matter. But they were immortal only of their flesh, and they were nothing when returned to dust. For no matter how great their techniques had become, they would never have inherent might over reality. The flows of essence were still greater than them, and they laughed at these masters who could not rule them.
The primordial mages were no longer content to stand apart from the Essaence. They started to seek ways of rising beyond the limits of their flesh. Of their own stock, they forged many new races of intrinsic power over the flows. These were enchanted beings of life, fantastic constructs of artifice, and hideous incarnations of the utmost darkness. They searched the worlds beyond our own for things that would reveal the hidden secrets of the cosmic, and they brought forth slaves from beyond the Veil. And as they fashioned these dark powers toward their own ends, they too were fashioned by the darkness. It was said that they called those other realms “the Pales”, for all else in existence paled to themselves.
In time they were divided by this great abyss they had sought to master, for they had believed it would be possible to rule over a pool if only they first became lords of the sea. They turned upon each other with great violence, destroying most of what had been created over many years. The world itself was shattered in their warfare, the seas boiled and continents sank into the molten wastes. But ours is a world that stands on the edge of many others, overlapping and crossing within higher dimensions, thus immersing our own with exotic powers without any origin in the forces of matter. The flows of essence became chaotic. The very fabric of reality was torn apart, and our world was opened to all beyond.
When these terrible mages sought to become the true masters over the world, they created new forms for their own being. Some believed the greatest power was to be held with truly uniting the flows with the enchantment of flesh. Others believed the secret was the conscious manifestation of Essaence, which could focus itself into a physical form at will. And then there were those who believed they had not gone far enough, that the weaves of this world were nothing compared to the endless powers of the Abyss. It was not enough to be the masters of this world, but instead they must have an arbitrary power over all possible worlds. These were the Old Ones. The Dark Lords. They were the lust of the Void.
The cataclysm had destroyed the world, and only those most powerful incarnations were able to survive in the wreckage. Of the first lords few, if any, still lived in their original form. Some were local gods whose nature was formed by the surroundings; intensely powerful, but bound to limited domains. There were the dragons who were deeply enchanted, from their blood to their bones. The most difficult of all to slay, but the ones most vulnerable to the true death. And last were those who were akin to those incorporeal deities, but as incarnations of power that emanated from beyond the Veil. For these entities, Essaence had no greatness in itself. The flows of essence were only there to be destroyed, for they were bred by a darkness that hungers. They fed upon the flows that had mocked them with endless rapture.
As their rivals fell before them, they grew ever more powerful. When killed, they rose again. It was impossible to strike at the true source of their power so long as those vast rifts in reality remained. They were as one with the many terrors that followed them through the great chasm, and sought above all to bring the world itself into their higher reality so that they could become absolutely ascendant. For a time it seemed as though this was inevitable. Their old brethren had not chosen wisely, for as soon as the world was bereft of the flows of essence all magic would cease, and when thrust into the Abyss they would be as mortal as the most pathetic of lost souls. The Ur-Daemon would become the true gods.
But there was a secret that none of the essence lords had ever known. They were never the true masters of the Flows, for they were not alone on this world. For many aeons there had been great powers hiding quietly on the largest moon, having first come there long ago through some forgotten cataclysm. These were extra-planar entities from some other realm, and they were true beings of the Essaence. Nor did they care about what was happening on the world below, so long as they were free to maintain their indifference. When the great war began, however, they were faced with the first threat to themselves in longer than anyone could possibly understand. And they knew fear. The Old Ones knew too much.
These were dark powers that were one with the lands, reaching through the Void into our world as a black hand grasps for your throat. They channeled themselves through vessels that were capable of wielding their power, with material entities serving as heads of a great hydra. Their forms were without limit, and the ancient beings on Liabo saw the danger in allowing them vessels. Of those things that had been mutated from common stock, most were hidden away on the moon so they would be useless. The cowards kept silent on their invisible moon, so that the true masters of all things could not find them.
The great exception was the truest form of their avatars, what they had designed of the old flesh to wield their immense power. Where the others would be to them like the six arms of Ivas, the avatars would be their autonomy made flesh. Born of the black power of the Ur-Daemon, they emerged as the demonic transformation of a destroyed soul. These were what we call the Elves, who in their pure form were of black skin with fiery eyes and silver hair. And they were the most dangerous thing that had ever existed, as they were the channels by which all of the powers in the pales would become acts of will.
These were a threat that terrified all of the Abyss. The Old Ones had made many enemies on the higher planes. Most important were a breed of extra-dimensional entity resembling enormous kraken in their natural form, levitating themselves along as travelers amongst all of the worlds. These were the greatest scholars of esoteric knowledge in all of existence. They answered to no one. One such creature traveled through the disturbances of our veils to see what was happening here, and sought out the Liabo enclave to offer them his advice. When Koar asked who he was that he was able to find them, he called himself “the Spirit of the Past.” Lumnis was the most suspicious of this dark traveler, for she knew how dangerous any such being was who walks between worlds looking for the things best left forgotten.
Fash'lo'nae offered them a deal with a high price. He would show them how to forge artifacts of such immense power that the Flows themselves would be humbled before them. The Essaence barriers between realities would be greatly strengthened once more, and as the rifts were sealed these dark gods would be severed from the demonic nature of their power. With the essence of their power being forced into this world, it would become possible to vanquish them into a kind of deep sleep. It was not that the Old Ones would be rendered permanently discorporate, but rather that they would be unable to channel themselves through their vessels. And those vessels would remain, but would be almost powerless.
The price was that he would be allowed asylum in this world to do whatever he wished. All of the races they had hidden away would have to be returned, and even the most dangerous of the avatars would remain in a walking dream. He would be free to experiment on all things, opening as many gates to other worlds as he desired. And if that meant other foul gods of any origin residing on a dark moon, they would have to suffer with it. The enclave reluctantly agreed to these conditions, and that would in time lead to such things as struggles over the fate of souls and occasional flare ups short of total war.
When the dread lords of darkness were suddenly weakened, the field of battle was reduced to a simple equation of incorporated might. The dragons held the advantage, and slaughtered hideous beasts who were no longer rising again. Countless portals were sealed, dark gods were made impotent, and the nexus of dark power was eventually smashed so that the Old Ones had become utterly unconscious. For long years the dragons had to fight the demonic powers that remained, so that they would not open any new portals or reinforce their numbers. The lesser races were once again present to see these last stages of the struggle, and the dragons were unable to keep control with the rapid breeding of the mortals.
Most of the forces of darkness had been pushed out of our own reality, and those that remained were fragmented without any relation with each other. But the shadow of the Old Ones slumbered now in the Southron Wastes, and their most true avatars remained in a state of disorientation. These did not remember who they were, but always with a drive for pulling their identity back together through all of the ages. When they went to the forgotten places of the Ur-Daemon, the moon gods were disturbed to find that they were somehow bound on a subconscious level with the Old Ones. The Black Speech was born again, and so were they. When the one called Amasalen became ascendant, the gods were horrified.
Fash'lo'nae was amused, and offered to help. There would be no price for it this time, because it would pay for itself and give him a kind of twisted satisfaction. He devised a curse that perverted these Elves from their intrinsic nature, binding them more fully to the limits of their corporeal existence. The curse would blight their appearance, and make it far more difficult for them to harness the full extent of their power. These pale vestiges of higher beings would never truly be servile to gods, but they would be deeply misdirected from their ultimate calling. And as they put the kind of magic that can be written down onto a high pedestal, Fash'lo'nae would have much of his work done for him. There would be no risk of new “gods” emerging from the Fair Elves. They would only be focused upon manipulating the energies that they should have devoured, and thus embraced a self-limiting approach to knowledge.
But he was a wise one, a trickster and great extortionist. Their curse would only hold as long as the Elves were kept away from the Shadow. Without that separation, the curse slowly breaks down and their inherent powers become more unlocked. They would regain the immortality of reincarnation, and in appearance would become ever closer to their demonic roots. A deep instinct has always drawn them back there, some latent awareness that they are not truly some unified race. Only slaves are a race. The more they struggle with the pursuit of power, ignoring what was regarded as forbidden knowledge, the closer they come to purifying themselves of their curse. When we have finally woken the Old Ones the world will be returned to the dark ages, and the Ageless shall become the harbingers of the Abyss.
This was written by the player of Xorus in 2013 as a simplistic theological document for an unofficial Ur-Daemon cult. Its depiction of the Age of Darkness is not necessarily what the cult believes, nor is theological consistency likely to even be important to them. Its purpose is to manipulate the reader (or listener) in various ways, such as subverting orthodox theology and history or respect for life.