History of Elanthia
History of Elanthia is an Official GemStone IV Document, and it is protected from editing.
Drawn from the Collected Libraries of Illistim by Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore Published: 9 Ivastaen of the year 5100 Modern Era
In the beginning...there was nothingness.
And then, a tiny spark of tarnished silver light lit the nothing, blinding it and eventually killing it. Nothingness had been driven to extinction in a single moment, to be remembered in the songs of bards and the hearts of melodramatic lovers sure to never love again. The light shone on, gaining in luster and argent hue, cutting through the places that the nothingness had cloaked.
Out from under the wings of oblivion drifted small particles of something-ness. These bits of pieces flowed towards the light, for while they could not remember a beginning, and could not remember the fear of not existing, they did know that the light was the catalyst for everything to come. They drifted to the light, and into the light. They came together, swirling and tumbling until they were no longer bits of pieces. They were the light. They were One.
The One looked out over the dead remains of nothing, and reached out to lift the corpse. Now free, a thousand thousand motes of something-ness drifted up, floating aimlessly in the void left by the death of the nothingness. The One shone brightly, and in the shining commanded, "Come together and Be." The motes found that they knew obedience, and they came together in six separate but not different Be-ings. They were not One. They were Many.
The Many turned to the One, unsure and curious. The One shone again, and stated in the shining, "We are One and we are Many. We are all that Is, but the nothingness left so much that Is Not. It is our responsibility to fill the empty spaces." The Many filled with the purpose of the shining, and it was what they were.
To honor the One who had freed them, they created balls of raging flames to give off colored light. To represent themselves, they created other existences to reflect that light and give it purpose and meaning. The void was no longer void.
The One observed all of existence and shone brightly in approval. But as the light flowed through the creation, the One saw a corner that the light did not reach. The One peered deeply into the lightlessness, and saw another. The Other looked back, and in that gaze the One saw a diametric opposite. "What are you?" asked the One. "I am all that you are not," replied the Other, "and together, we are All."
The Other darkened then, and called together more motes of something-ness into six separate but not different Beings, although they were different from the six called by the One. The new six joined the Many, and they too were Many. The Other reached out to the One and said, "The Many are mine and the Many are yours." And the One reached out to the Other and said, "Let us make one that is both, for without balance, All is for naught."
Using the last of the motes of something-ness, the One and the Other shone and darkened, and called together the last of the Many. The Grey was different from the rest of the Many, but did not seem bothered by this. Instead, the Grey stood with the Many, and the Many accepted the Grey into their fold.
The One pointed down to a ball of blue and green and shone brightly, and in the shining suggested, "There is a place that is beautiful and growing. It needs other Beings, ones not like us, but smaller and more limited, but possessing great capacities." As the Many nodded, the Grey spoke and said, "It needs Life."
The Many started, but nodded in agreement, for there was not anything that had been named in such a fashion. The Grey smiled. "The One and the Other are All. We are Many, and I am Grey. In these names, we state on many levels what we are, but those that we create will not be able to comprehend so deeply. They will need a way to refer to themselves." The One and the Other nodded to themselves. In the Grey, they had done well.
First sculpted were giant creatures, each different from the other. In these creatures, the Many invested great power and nearly limitless intelligence. They looked to the Grey, who said, "You have created Those Who Rule. It shall be their purpose to watch the different places in existence."
Next came other giant creatures, not one the same as another. The Many also gave them great power, and intelligence almost without end, and looked to the Grey for their purpose. "These shall be Those Who Oppose. They shall be the opposites of Those Who Rule, keeping the balance preserved."
Knowing this, the Many made a number of beings, mostly the same but with different qualities. These beings had power, and intelligence, and more than that, they had desires. The Grey nodded. "Those Who Help. In them, Those Who Rule shall find servants and assistants, and other things that their own greatness will not allow them to attain."
The Many looked down upon the teeming ball of blue and green, alive but without Life. They looked at each other, and at the One and the Other, and created tall beings, broad of shoulder and abundant of muscle. The Grey named them The Skyfinders, for they were closest to the firmament.
In balance, the Many made some of shorter stature, also broad of shoulder and filled with a stalwart strength. The Grey called them The Stoneshapers. The mountains would be their home, and the rocks would be their livelihood.
Elegant beings of sweeping form and musical voice followed. The Many endowed them with powerful minds but a serious nature to better utilize their mental acuity. They were called The Graceful, for in each aspect of their being, a profound delicacy could be found.
Their opposite came in a tiny package with bright eyes and a happy smile. Good humor and sweet nature were their hallmarks, and thus the Grey named them The Merry. Happiness would follow in their wakes, bringing existence a much needed levity.
The Many looked at their creations and nodded, feeling that now Life was complete. The Grey called bits of Life together, sculpting beings that were neither tall nor short, thick nor thin. They were not as strong as the Skyfinders, nor were they as beautiful as the Graceful. Instead, they were some of each of the strengths of the other creations. The Grey called them The Median, for in them was the essence of balance.
Life would grow bored and stagnate without challenges, and to that end, the Many created creatures of varying shapes and sizes. Some would regenerate their flesh if wounded, others would overwhelm with massive size, others would present challenges only guessed at. The Contenders were born, and given the purpose of granting opposition that Life might flourish.
Mental challenges were not overlooked by the Many. Creatures of scale, creatures of feather, creatures of all and neither, all massive in size and intelligence came into being, there to stimulate the mind. More importantly, they would feed the dreams and imagination, for nothing else was like them. They were called The Unique.
The whole of this new intelligent Life, the Grey called Potential. The One and the Other looked upon it, and the One shone in approval. But the Other pointed into the corner of existence where the light did not reach. The One stared deeply into it, and knew that Something was there, but could not see what It might be. "What is It?" asked the One.
"It is The Mystery," said the Other. "It is that which cannot be known. From that will come things no one, not even we, will expect. It is that which will ensure that our creation will grow as it deems that it should, without our interference."
The One nodded, for the Mystery was a good thing. And when Those Who Rule sought to destroy Potential, it was to the Mystery that the One pointed when the Many sought to stop them. "Although this was not the purpose originally seen for them, we must watch and see. Just as we, All, did not stop you or step in as you spun creation into being, you must not step in as creation takes its own direction, outside of your whims."
When Those Who Help stepped in, stopping the destruction of Potential, the Many nodded, and they understood. The Mystery was indeed a good thing.
The One, the Other, the Many and the Grey stepped back and watched creation unfold.
I. The Age of the Drakes (100,000+ years ago?)
"Of the first age, little is known, save for one thing -- the dragons ruled all Elanthia. There are no written records of this time, but paintings on the walls of caves, carvings on petrified trees and glyphs found in the Southron Wastes all convey the same desperate messages, of flight, fear, and starvation. Above all, the mighty wings and claws of dragonkind."
- Linsandrych Illistim, First Master of Lore, House Illistim
I. A. The Rule of Dragonkind
From the dawn of time, none challenged the dragons. Intelligent, savage, and with powers beyond what men now name as gods, the drakes called all of Elanthia their own. The lesser races huddled in caves, hid in the deepest forests, or wandered as nomads. The drakes did not permit civilizations other than their own. So it had always been, and so it would remain.
It was only the intervention of the drake's servants, the Arkati, that allowed the lesser races to survive at all. As old a race as the drakes themselves, the humanoid Arkati were lesser in both powers and numbers. But they aided the drakes, and in return, the drakes suffered the lesser races to live.
I. B. The Ur-Daemon War
All this ended with the coming of the Ur-Daemons. Now believed to be extra- dimensional intelligent creatures, the Ur-Daemons somehow opened a portal to Elanthia approximately 100,000 years ago. They fed on mana, both that contained in the land's natural mana foci and that bound around all life.
There are no real records of the titanic battles fought between the Ur-Daemons and the dragons. Given the nature of the antagonists, it is doubtful that any histories could convey the scale of such a war. It seems to have lasted for at least several generations, as such were counted by our own ancestors, a span of at least a thousand years. In the end, the Ur-Daemons were driven back, making a final stand before the portal leading back to their own dimension. This final battle blasted the landscape for hundreds of miles, leaving it barren and lifeless.
The drakes had won, but they had also lost. Most of their number had been slain in the conflict, and many others had been driven mad by an emotion none had known before - fear. Drake rule was shattered forever.
Though lesser in number and weaker than their ancient brethren, the few dragons that survive today have not lost their appetites, and are still the most powerful and feared creatures on Elanthia.
I. C. The Coming of the Arkati (100,000 years ago?)
The land recovered slowly from the war. The Arkati worked to heal it. Long the dragon's servants, they had themselves learned how to manipulate mana. With most of the dragons dead, insane, or hiding, certain of the Arkati began to mold the land and its lesser races into their own likenesses. They who had been servants now played the part of master. These Arkati are those whom we today call gods. It is said that, in these early days, they walked the land as teachers, leaders, and guides. Imaera took the people of the forests, and taught them to be one with the land. Eonak showed the folk of the stone how to mine riches from the mountains. Oleani adopted the smaller folk of the valleys, instilling in them a joy for life and a special gift for growing things.
Others of the Arkati chose not individual races, but seasons, emotions, or tasks to be their own. Kai accepted warriors of all sorts, and Lumnis embodied wisdom and learning. Ronan controlled the night, the time of dreams, while Phoen's was the warm sun of summer. Imaera chose the autumn, while Lorminstra reigned over winter, the season of death. The raging seas were Charl's domain. Jastev's followers celebrated visual arts, and developed a gift of prophecy, while his twin Cholen became the god of festivals and performing arts. Tonis, remarkable for his speed and determination, became the messenger of the gods. Over all of them ruled Koar, with a firm but gentle hand.
Not all of the Arkati chose to help rebuild the land. Some had a different vision. Without the dragons controlling them, they began to strive against the others. Eorgina, Goddess of the dark, became their leader. Aligned with her were Ivas, mistress of seduction, Fash'lo'nae, master of the arcane arts, Andelas the Cat, whose joy is others' pain, and V'tull, the dark warrior. Also joined with Eorgina were Sheru, bringer of terror and nightmares, Mularos, who twists love to control and destroy, and Luukos, he who feeds on souls.
The two groups grew further apart, as it was clear each regarded the land in a different light. Koar's faction saw it as a trust which had befallen them, the lesser races as children to be taught. The others saw the land as a stage for their own desires, its inhabitants as playthings, food, or worse.
Strangely enough, the Arkati never came into open conflict. Some say that neither side trusted its strength to win the day. Others believe they simply await the appointed time.