History of Fash'lo'nae
The History of Fash'lo'nae is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
There is a certain method to the madness of collecting the various scraps of history, lore, and accumulated myths from innumerable sources over the countless ages. I regret to report that this method eluded me completely during my studies, hence the exhaustive notes and amendments to the final text.
I, unfortunately, have numerous other research projects ongoing, one particularly vexing one, which is taking up far too much of my time, so I am glad to see this one finally finished.
What follows is the modern legend condensed into what we know today - it is written in the typical fashion of Loenthran lore, wrapping dramatic storytelling around some bits of truth. The notes following the legend offer a comparative study of older texts and provide some insight into the legend.
"Action. Consequence. Results." - The Grandfather
There was no flock of birds to herald Fash'lo'nae's birth. There were no drakes clashing and battling in the dead of night. Most say there were just the quiet scratching sounds of a primitive elf dragging a piece of white stone across a dark boulder to create a simple mural. The sounds would pause, periodically, as the author would stop to consider their design - and then resume, faster, more confident in each swipe of the stone. Days would pass before they would be finished, an astonishingly consistent, orderly effort in an ancient, chaotic world.
As the painted boulder neared completion, Fash'lo'nae simply appeared, as if he'd been there all along. He observed, curious about what was before him. He did not disturb the author in the slightest - indeed, the author hadn't even noticed his appearance - but when the design was done, he stepped forward, considering what had been done.
The author was momentarily startled by the Arkati's presence - while our ancient, simple ancestors surely could not understand what Fash'lo'nae was, there is always a palpable sense of power among the Arkati. The author did not run, however, and merely watched as Fash'lo'nae picked up a similar piece of stone and began to make several adjustments to the design - crossing out things here, adding a detail there. It only took but a few minutes, but when the Arkati stepped back, the author considered the changes, and then nodded silently.
He turned to speak to the stranger, the one who had helped him solve that which he worked on for so long, but Fash'lo'nae was gone.
Weeks later, the author would come back to the site, to teach their people the simple glyphs and symbols that formed the ancient roots of written language.
Many strange, extraordinary things happened during those days. Another tribe suddenly deduced the secret of fire, thanks to the technique of a tall stranger. A group of giantmen, hidden in mountain caves, would learn of the razern deposits deep within their home and summarily flake off spear points stronger and more deadly than any had ever seen before. A tribe of gnomes discovered a breakthrough in trapping techniques, yielding to larger kills and bigger food supplies. Countless other groups of every race and creed would see some sort of enhancement to their lives that day. All of these minor breakthroughs pointed to one source - a tall stranger with odd yellow eyes.
However, they would see him again shortly after these little miracles. The tribe who discovered fire also discovered that it spread easily with fierce winds, and their entire village was nearly wiped out. The giantmen who had discovered razern would find that such a precious commodity that formed such a deadly weapon would lead to bloody infighting that sundered their large tribe into splinters. The gnomes, emboldened by their catches, began to tinker with their traps, leading to a horrible slaughter by a herd of carnivorous beasts thanks to an ineffective pitfall. Others, in turn, suffered minor catastrophes, and all would again see the tall stranger who had so freely given them his gift of knowledge - this time, however, he did nothing. Nothing but observe, and then he was gone.
Fash'lo'nae continued wandering the savage environs, making mental notes to return to retrieve an interesting specimen. He had an insatiable wanderlust in those early days, refusing to settle down for long as new things were always on the horizon.
It was somewhat of a surprise, then, when Fash'lo'nae encountered a drake for the first time. He had been drawn far north, his senses tuned to the flow of mana in the world - and it was there that it pulsed strongest - after all, the peaks of Nagothrym were shaped by the massive powers of the drakes themselves, and their power echoed out like a silent beacon to Fash'lo'nae.
The drake had watched him for hours as he ascended the peaks - thinking it odd that this strange being would stop to study a seemingly random rock every now and then, occasionally pocketing a few. The world was very young then - most drakes were not even aware of Arkati in this dawning age, and Fash'lo'nae was among the first Arkati to awaken.
The drake let out a keening shriek and lifted off. It flew in a swooping arc and landed before the mildly surprised Arkati, its posture clearly not a welcoming sign.
- "Why are you here?" The drake asked.
- "I wish to know," Fash'lo'nae replied simply.
- "You wish to know? Know what?"
- "All that I am able."
Amused by the Arkati's presumption, the drake led him up the peaks of Nagothrym. They conversed on the way, Fash'lo'nae querying the drake on all manner of things, to which he received cordial, if not entirely whole, answers. The Arkati piqued the interest of the drake, and he in turn asked many questions of Fash'lo'nae and his rather extensive travels throughout the world, which was of course, happy to share.
While Fash'lo'nae was still quite new to the world, he got a sense that the drake was also quite young - he seemed rather enthralled with the tales of the Arkati's travels, thoroughly intrigued at the little marvels discovered beyond the borders of the drake's only home. The drake became rather quiet when he spoke of what he had taught the little man-creatures who inhabited the world, however, and as they ascended the final craggy peak and entered the blissful paradise of Nagothrym, he would know exactly why that was.
His companion, whose name he learned was Vel'Athorre, accompanied him to his reptilian brethren. At first, they welcomed him - but when Vel'Athorre spoke of his transgressions, of his uplifting of the man-creatures in so many ways, they became quite enraged at what the Arkati had done. They considered the paltry little races nothing more than a plaything at best, and a pestilence at worst.
Fash'lo'nae was dispassionate regarding his actions, and spoke of them plainly, admitting that he had certainly done the things he said he had did, explaining that he merely wished to see what would happen in certain situations.
This only served to enrage the drakes further, as he did not seem the least bit interested in their outrage, nor did the Arkati seem to take his actions seriously.
When he was accused of being little more than a lackadaisical child who wielded his power indiscriminately, Fash'lo'nae showed a spark of offense - he quickly replied with a most passionate argument, speaking of the variables in the situations he induced, the numerous branches of possible and impossible outcomes, and yet still the myriad branches of the hypothetical consequences for all parties in the situations he involved himself in, tracing long lines of hypothesis and brilliant conjecture - soundly echoing that he was acutely aware of everything he was doing, and to insist he was not was to be the uninformed child.
This statement sent the assembled drakes into a seething, boiling anger - in the mere blink of an eye he was a ragdoll in their claws, his body a burning ball of pain and rapidly spreading wounds. It was a brutal feeding frenzy, a wholly pure demonstration of the drake's complete and cold rulership. Fash'lo'nae could feel his life slipping away, until someone intervened.
It was Koar who spoke on his behalf - his words were invaluable at this time, soothing over the drakes' immediate wrath and ultimately staying their hand in ending Fash'lo'nae prematurely. While the two never grew close, Fash'lo'nae always held a slightly higher respect for Koar due to his actions that day. While we can only guess at Koar's motives, one might assume that his ideals of justice were tested by the onslaught of the drake's seemingly unreasonable scorn.
While Koar's words may have spared Fash'lo'nae a rather grisly fate, it certainly did not enamor him to his newfound benefactors. Unlike most Arkati, Fash'lo'nae had no patron drake, no trusted teacher or guide, which he could lean on for support and advice. He did speak with Vel'Athorre a scant few times after he had recovered from his nearly fatal punishment, but soon discovered that he had left for distant lands, apparently inspired by the Arkati's lust for knowledge. The drake would not return to Nagothrym for ages.
The countless years after Fash'lo'nae's rather scandalous arrival were spent mostly in solitude. The power of Nagothrym was palpable, and it allowed for the most intriguing of experiments with mana, which Fash'lo'nae quickly began to delve into with an almost insatiable hunger.
Occasionally, Fash'lo'nae would venture out from the peaks of Nagothrym while being incredibly careful to make his trips short - a drake's anger never tempered, even with long years, and his past transgressions were well known. He would observe the burgeoning civilizations and the descendants of those he had once influenced, and occasionally make a small, tiny tweak here and there - nothing as drastic as his previous actions, but he recognized the curiosity in these creatures - a small spark, however tiny, of the force that drove him toward unraveling deeper and deeper mysteries.
Of course, the drakes did not object at all when he began experimenting on the little pests that plagued the countryside with his newfound skills in mana manipulation. He would bend and twist the flow of mana around these hapless individuals, causing them to fade away, or explode, or any number of rather unnerving things. Each result was quietly documented and filed away in what was now becoming a massive library.
The library was the one indulgence Fash'lo'nae allowed himself in his many years of countless study. It was an immaculate chamber, carved from the pristine peaks of Nagothrym, its architecture mutely austere in design, function giving way to aesthetics in the core of its planning. It was said to be completely labyrinthine, its winding corridors of shelves filled with tomes and studies penned by Fash'lo'nae himself, that anyone save the Scholar would surely get lost in.
Other things happened, of course - while Fash'lo'nae was one of the first Arkati, he was certainly not the last. He was already considered quite old when most of his brothers and sisters appeared. He would occasionally see a new face when he ventured out of his library, some he found rather bothersome, and others he would occasionally speak with, finding that they too, had come to some rather fascinating conclusions about the workings of the world.
As the valleys of Nagothrym became more and more populated with the Arkati, some drakes became more sociable than Fash'lo'nae had previously known them to be, and he found himself playing the role of a rather specialized consultant. His studies on the growth of the various civilizations were of particular interest to the drakes, and he had no qualms about sharing them.
He, in turn, would ask the drakes of the planes beyond this one - he had pierced the veil several times before but his rate of success in maintaining a stable gateway had been marginal.
Eventually, he would gain access to these outer planes - there would be times when his colleagues - Eorgina, and a young, petulant Arkati named L'Naere, who never stopped asking him about his planar studies, would find his library locked. No matter how long they would pound on the doors, there would be no answer. The frontiers Fash'lo'nae explored harkened back to the days when he first walked the world, free of all restrictions save for what he wished to inquire about at the moment.
He would, of course, return frequently, always cautious of the drakes who were curious about his activities.
When he was not cataloging the oddities of a new world, he would again walk the lands of his home - and it was here where he would encounter the Arkati known as Lumnis. He had heard of her, of course - he was never uninformed about the comings and goings of his brethren, but he found her methods rather ineffective and her resolve far too soft for his tastes.
They met, of all places, at the ancient boulder where he had first witnessed that breach of the unknown and the catalyst of discovery - his birthplace, essentially. The writing was faded, but still the glyphs that he had corrected or added shone through the ages. Fash'lo'nae had come to observe a rather powerful warlord who had been rampaging across the countryside, cleaving a trail of blood and ashes in his wake.
Fash'lo'nae had seen some of the creatures with a natural attunement to the mana flow of the world, and he had quietly observed some of the most primitive, first workings of magic by elven hand - a spark from a finger here, a whisper of conjured air from a shaman there - things so paltry they could barely even be considered cantrips in our day and age.
He wondered, then, what this warlord might do if he possessed the ability to conjure a storm of burning fire. The drakes barely noticed the workings of these little pests, and as he knew better than to discuss his own workings on the world these days, he thought it no real risk - after all, there were countless examples of those who manipulated mana on a tiny scale, this would simply be thought of as a natural step forward, if his largely absentee overlords would even notice at all.
Touching a mortal's mind was quite easy for him, and he was quite steadily on his way towards instilling the necessary knowledge into the lowly creature's mind when he was interrupted, his link broken so violently that he was slammed against the rock, the force of it splitting the stone down the middle. As he rose to his feet, he saw the source of the attack - a raven-haired Arkati - Lumnis. She had taken him completely by surprise, and his dispassionate golden eyes regarded her coolly. She had always been the epitome of patience and grace, but the expression she wore was neither of these.
She was rather angry, he could see - he knew the reason why, as well - the creature he was about to empower had already nearly destroyed a sizable village of budding artists whom he assumed Lumnis had an interest in. With the savage possessing an advantage such as this, it would most certainly spell the end of her little project.
He supposed that she was only growing more incensed by his lack of response, judging by how she had launched into a tirade moments after he became aware of her presence. He, on the other hand, found it rather droll, boring, and only a touch offensive that she had presumed to lecture him. His time was far too precious to be wasted on a rather petty conflict, so he chose the most expedient way to deal with the matter - with a mere thought, the warlord disintegrated into ash, an act which rather effectively silenced Lumnis.
She stood there, mouth agape, shocked by Fash'lo'nae's ruthless actions. His lips curled upwards in a wry smile and he bid her farewell, leaving her there in silence.
He knew that her witnessing such an act could complicate things and had already prepared for a series of possible outcomes - so he put aside most of his studies, briefly, to confer and socialize with the myriad Arkati that he had so often ignored. He was aware of the odd politics among his brethren, but was mostly a stranger to them - it was here that he came to know a young Arkati named Luukos, a rather charismatic individual, whom he was genuinely surprised to learn was the student of Vel'Athorre, a now ancient drake. Coupled with his existing fellowship with Eorgina, the three helped to form a rather tight-knit group of like-minded Arkati. Most of those in this original group would come to be known as the Lornon Arkati, only a few defecting at the time of banishment. He also used this time to confer with Luukos about the outer realms, gleaning gems of knowledge that amplified his own studies.
While he was unaware of whether Lumnis had informed the drakes of his actions, he was never again at the receiving end of their collective wrath. While there had been a quiet dislike yet a modicum of respect between the two prior, when he encountered her sometime after, she said nothing - she looked upon him as if he was no longer her brethren, no longer an Arkati, but something of wholly different, terrible stock. It mattered literally nothing to him, of course, and finding himself comfortable in his position with his fellow Arkati, he once more became embroiled in his obsessive studies.
He had just pioneered several breakthroughs in planar studies when the news arrived that the Arkati were being banished to the moons. Fash'lo'nae wasn't fazed too much by this - he had visited the moons before, and found the isolation peaceful. There was only a single complication - while he had memorized nearly all of his written works, he had a rather strong connection with the library, and suddenly began to lament the loss of his life's work.
Fash'lo'nae was not one to be unprepared, however, and while his studies in the field of the outer realms were rather new, he had already begun working on a solution. It did not take relatively long, but Fash'lo'nae was able to move his entire library into one of the innumerable planes he had explored on his exhaustive trips. While surely under any other circumstances, the drakes and his compatriots might have noticed a missing mountain, the current circumstances clouded their perceptions.
Fash'lo'nae joined the contingent leaving for Lornon. He had found that it greatly aided in planar studies on the few short trips he'd made, and would use the time wisely.
He was able to freely travel back and forth between his library, summoned only by Eorgina and occasionally Luukos, though he would often seek out the younger Arkati himself for long discussions about the planes, particularly the ones Vel'Athorre had taken him to - he was determined to find them, eventually, as he hadn't encountered them. Luukos, in turn, was quite interested in the inherent processes and associated catalysts of death, and spent long hours among the Scholar's library, searching out the minutiae of his passions.
Eorgina, on the other hand, was someone Fash'lo'nae understood quite well.
He found her wholly agreeable on a variety of subjects, and recognized their similarities immediately - while he sought knowledge simply for knowledge's sake, she did the same in turn, except her interest lay in power and power alone. He found her respectable, and enjoyed their conversations together.
Fash'lo'nae's work on Lornon was largely conducted in his library - after all, he had everything he needed there, as well as the complete seclusion of an entirely different plane of existence. He had just finished conducting a fairly routine planewalk and was quite pleased with the outcome - he'd been able to pierce the veil and visit one of the planes Luukos had spoken of traveling with Vel'Athorre.
He had spent the rest of the evening cataloging his explorations and preparing a barrage of tests to be conducted on the samples he'd gathered, but an unexpected guest would soon interrupt him.
The Ur-Daemon's arrival was not a silent one - a great, bleeding gash of shadow suddenly split his library floor, and he almost didn't react quickly enough before the malevolent presence pulled itself through the rift. He made the necessary adjustments to the flow of reality and closed the seal just as the presence reached the cusp of the ragged portal.
Fash'lo'nae stood in his library for a moment, considered the otherworldly horror which had almost broken into this realm and quietly pondered on one of the more interesting aspects of the thing: it was, without a doubt, quite a bit more powerful than himself.
Ultimately, he decided he'd like to have a conversation with it.
His preparations were easy enough. He had summoned lesser creatures from other planes before - his library even contained a zoological wing - this was just the same process on a larger scale. As Eorgina had an extreme interest in power of all sorts and held quite a bit of it herself, he spoke to her of his intentions - he had no idea if he'd be able to contain what he was going to summon and preferred to have some extra aid in this endeavor.
He activated the numerous wardings with a few idle thoughts, and cast the spell. Reality warped around them, and that familiar creeping darkness filled the binding circle, and as it took shape, it is said that Fash'lo'nae uttered one word, barely a whisper in the massive chamber:
Fash'lo'nae could instantly feel the power of the Ur-Daemon pressing against his numerous defenses - thankfully, they held for now. The creature before them smiled as realization settled in.
It told them its name - not its true name, but a name they could comprehend.
Its name was Marlu.
What was spoken of during that meeting varies from culture to culture. Some say that Eorgina bargained for the removal of the drakes, others say it was Fash'lo'nae, curious as to what a world would be like without its ever-present masters, and perhaps still resentful of their treatment of him. Others still say the meeting never occurred at all.
Regardless, it was agreed upon to loose the Ur-Daemons upon the world below. Fash'lo'nae was ruthlessly efficient in his preparations - in order to anchor the portal to the Ur-Daemon's home world, he used the significant and ageless power stored in his library as an amplifier for the spell. He knew there were risks involved, but for Fash'lo'nae, there were always innumerable risks, winding pathways of consequences and possible outcomes he'd considered for every action he'd ever taken.
He accepted them fully, and completed his spellcraft with zero hesitation. Two things happened immediately after that: the world around him exploded, and as he narrowly escaped the tumultuous onslaught of cataclysmic energies, he found that his library had borne the brunt of the damage - he arrived to find it fractured, its shelves scattered to the planar winds, fragmented like a shattered mirror.
The risks, again, were already accounted for, and he joined Eorgina shortly after to witness what they knew was to come. As they stood on her elegant balcony and gazed at the world below that would soon boil over into chaos and blood and fire, Fash'lo'nae uttered one word to himself.
The world burned beneath them. The previously unbreakable rule of the drakes was utterly shattered.
The thousand year war was quite a fruitful time for Fash'lo'nae, as he had always been quite adept at viewing things from a distance - in addition to the myriad of telescopes he had built over the years, he also was able to scry quite discreetly, and he would quietly watch the titanic battles raging over the countryside, cataloging what he thought was relevant.
While the fracturing of his library was somewhat of a concern, he managed to gather most of the pieces up and reassemble them into what he had known as his haven for all his life, though Eorgina did complain occasionally that she could not find several things when she would visit him infrequently.
Fash'lo'nae had made countless contingencies in the event the Ur-Daemon did prevail during the war, and had been working on a number of them when the news arrived that the war had ended and the portals of the Ur-Daemons had been closed.
He drifted down to the broken world, to the shattered peaks of Nagothrym and surveyed the paradise that was forever lost. It is said that he spoke one word after fully absorbing the breadth of the destruction and the realization that the drakes were gone forever:
His grand experiment coming to a close, Fash'lo'nae would retreat back to his studies, free to touch our world as he wished - though his nigh-invisible hand would rarely be glimpsed in the midst of the inevitable chaos they would wreak upon the world.
Thus concludes the modern legend, as written by Lorellas Aiv'thyline of House Loenthra.
We can see the source of many of the modern rumors regarding Fash'lo'nae and Eorgina's involvement in the Ur-Daemon wars start with this document - however, these are based in the oral storytelling traditions of our forest-bound ancestors. While I have amassed ridiculous quantities of the literal transcriptions, there are only a few verses regarding this particular event; it comes from the tales during the days of rebuilding - the supposed source of the rumor appears to be Fash'lo'nae himself:
"The old one spoke of the moons, of how he called down the great darkness from beyond the heavens and broke the world so we could rebuild it."
Of course, the earliest transcriptions of said oral traditions date back to beginnings of House Illistim, at which time the Arkati were clearly established in the consciousness of each culture - especially our people. Beyond the fact that the founding of House Illistim happened roughly 50,000 years after the Ur-Daemon war, such transcriptions and retellings of the history could've been tainted by countless biases and misinterpretations over the years. It's very possible that the stories may not even have a foundation in such an ancient time and may have been fabricated during the founding of the Houses.
We also see the first allusion to Marlu as an Ur-Daemon, which has always been a veritable hotbed of debate among scholars. This again comes from a few scant verses in the transcribed oral traditions of our most ancient ancestors. From the texts:
"The blackness spoke. It spoke of the moon, the cold moon where it was in shackles and was told to burn everything by an (unknown word, has similar roots to 'ancient' and 'eldest') and the (unknown word, similar roots to 'chief' or 'leader')"
One does not have to think too hard to see where the idea came from out of this. Again, the same disclaimers need go before this fragment as well, as we simply have nothing concretely from those ages and most likely never will.
Unless we actually speak to Fash'lo'nae himself to fill in the gaps - a thought which I've idly entertained with little sleep and my mind exhausted from reading over thousands of pages of tales written from the storytelling - but I severely doubt that's a fruitful avenue of research.
In regards to the stone of Fash'lo'nae's supposed birthplace - it exists, and is somewhat verified as factual in that Fash'lo'nae did indeed confirm making it at one point. It is called the Grandfather's Stone and resides in the inner wings of the Library Aies - though it is only one half of the original stone and is heavily scarred in some places. There is indeed proto-language written on the surface with oddly distinct and smooth markings that were seemingly burned into the stone itself. There have been many papers written on the various magical properties of the stone, so I'll digress from into going into detail regarding its magically divine properties.
It is rumored, however, that the other half of the stone is kept by a subset of Erithi in secret somewhere - but that's an entirely different project we're pursuing.
The library aspect is borne from a number of differing legends, all pointing to a library "between spaces" as it is often described - these legends date back to the formation of the Elven Empire, namely a few lost Faendryl texts referenced in reliable publications from the early eras, and a few pieces of a very ancient and simplistic carving which is believed to depict the unleashing of the Ur-Daemon onto the world. In addition to the flames and meteors raining from the sky, there are a few oddly shaped pieces of rubble - several distinctly square in appearance with odd scratches spanning their gaps, akin to common shelving we're all familiar with. It's again rather easy to infer where the rumors came from here and certainly could inspire a Loenthran to spin such a tale.
These legends seem to corroborate with odd myths of all libraries in the world somehow being connected to The Grandfather's, most of them citing the 'fracturing' of his original library in the legends as grounds for its plausibility. While there are no verified factual claims and proof of this, the numerous stories can seem quite believable when one is wandering down the near infinite and timeless halls of the Library Aies - several of its past head librarians swearing they'd ended up somewhere completely different for several days, only to somehow make their way back and find only but a few hours passed.
These tales have even inspired serious research efforts, as they only seem to validate other stories of 'ghost libraries' appearing to people of differing cultures throughout the many centuries since the time of the elven empire - it also lays the groundwork of yet another legend regarding the original source of Despana's Book of Tormtor - describing instead that instead of a single book, she had found a ghostly, otherwordly library long forgotten in the wastes of Rhoska-Tor.
Modern scholars have often given it serious study - Augustin Vespertinae followed a trail of rumors and legend to the western side of the DragonSpine. His obsession lead him to conduct some rather striking experiments with elves and bats, creating the vesperti - beings which, in addition to absorbing mana, can easily pass through the barriers between worlds. It was thought he wished to use these creatures to find a legendary library in the area which had been spoken of briefly in local lore.
Lastly, we have seen Fash'lo'nae's influence in recent events - though it has been quite subtle, and certainly, we've likely been unaware of most of these experiments. A few of major note also seem to have a planar bent - in 5102, the world was plagued by vishmiir, extraplanar beings intent on "filling the world with cold", in their words. While they had plagued the world prior during the Elven Empire, they had been previously banished. It would seem Fash'lo'nae may have loosed them upon the world for an unknown reason, as when they were banished again, his constellation was seen to fluctuate briefly, and an inquisitive sigh was heard across the world.
In closing, we find some interesting additions and clarifications to the legend - while legends are often the results of clever embellishment, I've been happy to trace back to the roots of some of the more infamous rumors among our people and beyond.
Watcher of the Eternal Eye
12th day of Jastatos, 5108