The Stareater (short story)

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This is a creative work set in the world of Elanthia, attributed to its original author(s). It does not necessarily represent the official lore of GemStone IV.

Title: The Stareater

Author: Highlord Starsnuffer Sunslayer

This story is a folktale and is meant to be exaggerated. The language is simple, as it is a tale told to Dhe'nar children at bedtime. Still, it holds some truth and is a great lesson to why magic is taught the way it is by our people.

Before I begin, realize that most Dhe'nar are forbidden magic of any kind.

Only those who live high on the mountain, and those chosen by the Warlocks' council, are allowed the study.

This is the tale of why that is. Of why only the chosen may use magic in Sharath.

Thousands of years ago in the Forest of Sharath, when the trees were still green and the skies blue, before the coming of the fire, before the forest of ash.... There lived the Dhe'nar nation.

The people of this time knew no gods. The priests on the Great Mountain had abandoned the teachings of Noi'sho'rah and proclaimed themselves gods over the Dhe'nar people. They ruled with might and demanded much of their God for themselves. They sought to control Sharath and their people and vied for power within the Great Council.

With an iron hand the Priests ruled from high, strengthening their armies and conquering all that stood in their way. The great Magi who feared the priest's strength studied dark magic, growing in power. They passed the knowledge on to everyone whom would learn. It was a time of power, and lies.

Among the magi was a powerful mage known as Shtaq Ti'shir. He was a strong mage but by no means the most powerful among the council. What set him apart from the others was his ambition. He wanted power and lusted for it more than any other, and among the Dhe'nar, that is a powerful lust.

Shtaq studied and prayed. He spent days and nights without rest acquiring knowledge. Learned was he in the dark ways, yet he could not seem to get the edge he needed to control the Warlocks council. He wanted to rule the magi, and his lust led him to black ways and deceit.

Many assassins were sent out from the shadows, only to fail time and time again. The magi on the council were powerful, and each had their own shadowy servants to protect them.

Shtaq grew furious from the failure, he tried by every means possible to gain power, and yet he could not sway the council. They still ruled over him and controlled him like a puppet. The council knew what he wanted, and used his ambitions against him.

Finally one day Shtaq went too far. He was debating with the council in the chambers over some trivial matter and Shtaq lost his temper when the council would not see it his way. Fire flew through the air and lightning arced from his fingers but the magi on the council countered it, and their combined powers almost struck the deathblow to the ambitious young mage.

In a moment of desperation, or perhaps he had planned it all along, Shtaq called upon the dark magic and summoned a daemon known as a Consumer, right there in the Council chamber.

The demon was bound by the powerful magic of the tower, and could not go back to his own realm. Part of the council tried to flee, only to be caught by the demon, their souls consumed never to meet the peace of the afterlife. The older members of the council fought the demon, attempting to regain control; there was chaos and death, it was a grim day for the Magi.

In the confusion and chaos Shtar slipped out of the chamber, horrified by the power he had unleashed he fled back to his own study deep in the Magi's halls within Sharath, it was there that his life would be forever changed.

While Shtaq was preparing his things, packing so that he might flee from Sharath forever, he was met by the Daemon on his way out of his chambers.

Stunned and frozen with fear, he closed his eyes and waited for the death...that did not come.

The daemon was amused at the mages ability to summon him, and intrigued by his lust for power. It was here that a bargain was struck that would change Dhe'nar history forever.

The daemon promised Shtaq access to the Dark Libraries, he promised him power beyond his wildest dreams. He promised that Shtaq would be the most powerful mage ever to walk the fact of Elanthia, but...there was to be a price.

In order to have this power, Shtaq would have to be imbued with the same soulless lust of the consumer, the two were to be bound eternally. He would retain his Elven body and mind, but his soul would be replaced by the lust to consume all life...forever.

Shtaq, knowing that if he refused the daemons offer it would mean certain death, agreed, and signed a dark pact with the consumer. To this day it is wondered if Shtaq would have made the same choice if he was free to decide; many say that it is what he wanted all along.

His lust for power was finally satisfied. He retreated into the pits of darkness for a time, learning dark secrets and practicing his art, until one day, the hunger for life inside him grew too strong, and Shtaq returned to feed.

Shtaq returned to the Sharath, his eyes wide with hunger and lust for souls. Every creature that crossed his path was slain by his infernal power, its soul consumed, never to find heaven or hell. Simply eaten. He made his way towards the city's gates, revenge guiding his way.

Village upon village was destroyed by the Mage turned daemon. Fire and Lightning fell from the sky, lighting his path to the mountain's peak.

The Great Council convened at the High Hall, the Warlord taking control in this time of great need. Every mage and priest, priestess and warrior was to gather to stop this aberration. If they were to fail, it would mean the end of their people.

Shtaq slowly made his way into the city, stopping only to relish in his newfound power. The Great Council gathered its strength, and they waited. They watched from afar as others were destroyed, watched as their families died in the wake of this Consumer.

Finally at long last, the moment arrived when Shtaq met with the group of defenders. Shtaq howled as power crackled through the air, Dhe'nar war cries filled the air as the army charged into action.

The warriors were the first to die. Their deaths were fast and painless compared to the villagers below. The next were those of the dark cavalry, their powerful steeds ripped to shreds by dark nether bolts. A wave of fire shot from Shtaq's fingers and made its way up the mountain, burning the hollow corpses and whatever was still left alive. For his power over magic merely complemented his new found strength that the consumer has brought him.

Stunned, the Warlock had his council retreat to his chambers. He knew what had to be done to save his people, yet he feared what it might mean in the long run.

Shtaq moved further into the city, here he met the holy guards of the High Priest. The priests and priestesses power was great, for Noi'sho'rah had not abandoned them yet; and they managed to stall the mad daemon. Their abilities stretched to their limits, they knew they could not hold the daemon for long. It seemed as if his power knew no end, he never grew tired, and his spells flew relentlessly with every counter of the guards.

It was then, just when the priests and priestess were about to be overtaken, that the Dhe'nar Warlock and his council of Magi returned to the scene of confrontation. Their eyes were closed and a deep, red aura surrounded them. They gathered in a circle and raised their hands to the heavens. Suddenly the skies were black and screams echoed from everywhere, then, a great silence fell upon the lands.

From the center of the blackness, a great, white light surrounded Shtaq. His eyes widened, and his screams were heard in the minds of those who survived every time they lay down to sleep eyes until the day they died. Then, slowly, as if a dark curtain was being lifted, the darkness parted. What they saw scared those who understood more than anything else they witnessed that day.

The Warlocks' council had bestowed Shtaq with a blessing that was only held for the most sacred of moments. A blessing reserved for the Greatest of the Dhe'nar. They relieved Shtaq from his mortal form, and granted him godhood. What they saw was Shtaq's spirit soaring up to the heavens, his screams turning into cackles of delight.

It is said that to this day, Shtaq, now known as Shtarshiru wanders the heavens in search of life from which to feed, destroying worlds and stars forever.

That is why, to this day, each Dhe'nar in Sharath is carefully selected and chosen before they are taught magic.

And why it is forbidden for any to practice without consent of the Council.

See Also