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by Bard
Rated: ASR · Preface · Fantasy · #1272624
History of the Six
On the first day in Aeliad a great cry went out, the birthing cry of the world, and the gods heard it; but it seemed to them that the cry came from Eden, and they were compelled to its point of origin, nowhere in the shapeless waves of gray. There they all arrived and saw for the first time each other in their true form and splendor. A great moot was held in their camp, for each had much to say of the world, of each other, and of themselves. There was a great reverie, and all retired. On the second day it was proposed by Lycanon there should be made a great meeting hall and home of the gods, and so soon there would be. Malenfere was bidden give Harbolin the Fire of the Forge, and with it Harbolin forged a great mattock of the gods and began to carve out the Halls. All labored in the effort, and ere long was the Home of the gods thoroughly fashioned and glorious; six great Halls there were, which stretched on for ever, and each was the domain of one, and each Hall joined into a seventh, great in width and height, the great council chamber of the gods. They were greatly pleased in their work and rested in their Halls, and for while all was well.

In the early days upon the Earth Aixania took on a long journey. A chance steered her towards the great lake in Aeliad, where she gazed upon the surface and saw as in a vision the form she wished to take while walking upon the world, and so she did. Soon after she came upon a woodland glade and a dwelling, and there she met the Elves, who bore the semblance of her own self now. She saw this as no coincidence and made patrons of the Elves; and she loved them and shared with them the nature of the world. They wished of her to show them her home in Aguos, but she could not take them. Instead she gave to them her tome, and the Elves learned much from it; and from knowledge their great magic flowed into them. Aixania was to take her leave of the Elves, and they were grieved of her leaving. So Aixania went to Spiria and professed to her sister her love for the Elves and the beauty of Aeliad. Spiria was joyed for Aixania and her discovery, and white birds were sent from their perches to sing to the Elves and live upon the waters. Aixania wished Spiria to accompany her and meet the Elves, but Spiria thought better of it, and instead her thoughts turned to her own journey in Aeliad.

Soon afterwards the Elves were besieged, and Aixania heard their cry, and she returned. She saw the offenders, who were tall and broad, with skin as sand, and they had come up from the southern plains. And so began the long grudge against the Elves and these creatures who had trespassed against them, and Aixania cursed them and named them Hainari, the Hated Ones. She cast her gaze as shards of bitter ice against them, and from her they fled; but her gaze then was drawn to her dying children, and she wept. Her tears fell upon them and by her tears they were sustained, and they rose again and had a love even greater for the goddess of Water, their Lady, their Mother. Aixania turned her thoughts towards her children and their kingdom, and this new event had disturbed her greatly. The king of Elves was named Vaêr, and he took counsel with Aixania. She gave him a blade which the sea birds brought from Aguos, which gleamed with a cold fury, and with it came the knowledge of the sword. With tome and blade in hand as well as the fate of his people she left him. It would be a long while yet until the enemy of the Elves dared trespass into the Elven lands once again.

Under an evil cloud the Hainari again approached. The Elves had made ready with sword and shield and spell to drive the Hated Ones back, but Vaêr was slain and the tome of Aixania stolen ere the battle ended. Aixania, enraged by the arrogance of the theft, came into the lands again. The Elves feared her. She called up from the lake a great spear, keen and broad, and stole after the fleeing Hainari horde. A long chase they led her on, and after coming into their kingdom she fought with their chieftain who was named Arhk. She ran him through and with his blood began the great rain that flooded the plains for half an age. The torrents fell endlessly and the river burst forth from its bed and ran over the fields. The Hainari were driven further south, where they sought refuge in the fiery mountains. The Elves started their kingdom anew; atop great flats of trees sat their dwellings, and the first ships they made and learned to swim and love the waters besides, but some fled to the north where the river would not reach. Aixania labored long with the Elves as they enjoyed their peace, and Aixania first taught them to write and scribe great tomes of their own.

It is said that the rivers had swept over and seeped down into the roots of the eastern mountains, and slowly they carved out the enormous, sprawling caverns beneath them. Some Elves had been about ere the battle and the flooding and were lost to the waters, and some reckon that they were swept deep into those caverns and were trapped there in the wet and the dark while the rain fell. But they struggled and survived. Slowly they lost their love of the sun and the wind and the tree, and the dark became their home in mind and in body. So when the waters had receded, they did not return to the over-world and their brethren whom they shunned. They had a jealousy and envy and hated the Elven goddess for forsaking them. But they were not without guilt; these were the Elves who of all the others on the lake showed little love for Aixania and had only wished power of her for their own gain, and they had not done their part in defending their land from the Hated Ones. And Aixania knew this and did not grieve at their loss.

Harbolin saw the flood and the anger of Aixania, and he saw drowning the race of the Dwarves. They would not survive the rains ere long, but Harbolin determined them worth saving. Then the very earth rose as he willed it; and the Dwarves were placed high and safe upon the mountains, but those blue peaks did not enclose about the plains and create a massive lake. Rather did they break before reaching the southern range, and the waters swept through that pass and seeped into the lands and created the marsh and the bog that is there today. Harbolin had returned to the halls in Eden, and he chastised Aixania for the rain, but her hatred of the Trall would linger in her for ever, and she would not halt the flooding yet. So Aixania said nothing, and she left soon after to tend the Elves, and Harbolin took inspiration from her. He took to watching the Dwarves and he found his decision to preserve them a fine one indeed in his eyes.

The Dwarves had rejoiced for their rescue and praised the miracle and the very earth that had saved them. They grew to love the earth and its wonders and delved into the mountains, and there they began the first great kingdom of the Dwarves. Soon after the Dwarves unearthed a marvelous gem of gleaming amethyst, and its size and beauty entranced them, and they made it the heirloom of kings and a symbol of their civilization. And so awed was Harbolin, for of something so wondrous he had never known in Aeliad. He would offer his patronage to the Dwarves. He gave them the hammer and the forge, and they crafted him many marvels; arms and jewelry, and marvelous works of stone; and Harbolin was pleased. But Harbolin let slip the nature of the flooding from his lips, and his resentment of his sister for it, and it was said that henceforth never would a Dwarf have love for one of the children of Aixania.

The early beginnings of the Patronage marked a decline in the peace of Lycanon. After Aixania’s patronage of the Elves was known in Eden, the news of the races in Aeliad excited the gods all. Morodrum, locked in his Hall, was to call all those of patronage into the Great Home upon their deaths to dwell with the gods and not to wither and lose themselves in the shapeless wastes in Eden, but it seemed to him that they were overeager to leave his company, and his jealousy overthrew him. He did not tell his siblings of this, and he sought to keep the dead with him in the dark; so the cries of the dead filled his Hall, for the Elves had no love of Morodrum, and rather they feared and began to loathe him and were bereaved in the absence of the Water and their Lady. But Morodrum did not care. The first true conflict among the gods arose from this when the others discovered the actions of Morodrum. Aixania hammered fiercely upon the door of the Hall of Obsidian. She was soon joined by Lycanon, and Morodrum was drawn out of his domain to answer for his actions. It was decreed by the council that those worthy of patronage should dwell with their own and their deity as they wished, and Aixania wept with joy and she was reunited with her children of old. Morodrum was shamed and angered, and he slammed shut the door of his Hall with a force that echoed in the council chamber for a day, but it would open again and allow the dead to pass through.

Lycanon also ventured into the West, unclad, and his journey was a long one, for he had in turn visited each of the races and looked upon them all with an appraising eye, and much of the land of Aeliad besides. At last he rested on plains that had shone golden in the sun, west of the Azure Mountains, and the long grasses swayed around him in the breezes as the evening drew on. There was a light, and it seemed to him also that there was laughter, and a great warmth that drew him, and he found that those plains were adorned with many humble homes and fertile lands that stretched out beyond them, and many green things were planted there. These were the lands of the Halflings, whom Lycanon named Mitlanden. They seemed quite similar in their manner and their appearance to the Humans who dwelt in the North, and they spoke the tongue of Men. He came upon many of them as they were embracing the end of their harvest, and there was a great celebration after their ways, much feasting and reverie among them. Lycanon left soon after, for there were tasks that called to him regarding this people. He had no great design for their glory or his, but rather feared for them. Lycanon saw that they were a simple folk, whose joy was great in the pleasures of the land and each other and not in wealth of gold or jewels or dominion over other lands and creatures. They had made some talk with the other dangerous races in Aeliad and did not grieve at their leaving. They simply loved their peace and quiet; and therein lay a problem, for Aeliad was and is a dangerous place, and Lycanon knew this. So he sought the aid of Men, and he went before Spiria to ask for her blessing in this. Spiria thought well of the idea, for the Halflings amused her, and she was joyed for their discovery. There were great warriors among Men, yet still humbled and willing. Lycanon appealed to many Men, and many were drawn to his ways and the path of peace. They visited the Halflings on the plains and made great friendships and dealings with them, reluctant though the Halflings were. The Humans did not settle with the Halflings, but instead started their own nation to the north. And so began the kingdom of Mynoren. The first Man of Lycanon was named Eros, and he was made king and called the Lightbringer, and he began the protectorate about the Halfling lands that has survived until the Third Age. Mynoren would swell in size and in glory, and became a great nation in time, the largest kingdom of Men in Aeliad.

Upon returning to Eden Aixania was loathe to discover her sister gone and in her place in the Hall of Mithril another figure, which seemed to her to be one of the Hated Ones; but it was Malenfere taken form. In time, the Hainari grew desperate and weary of the mountains, and the mountains, it seemed, had grown weary of them, and became restless and belched forth fire; but the Hainari dared not venture into the flooded land, the sea that Elf maiden had created. Therefore the horde turned south and saw yet another sea, but one of great dunes and plateaus of rock; but beyond there lay a wild tropic land, and thither did they venture. Long they marched, until all hope of salvation was forsaken; but a vision appeared to them, one of their own apparently, who kept ahead of the march, and they followed him unto an oasis in the sands. There he vanished, and all were bewildered in his wake. At the pool they gathered their strength to march again, and at last they reached the river and there settled, claiming the river and the desert as their own. Many had perished along the way, but they were enough. The Hainari had proven their worth; they were strong. Then the strange one appeared to them again, and he revealed himself as the god of Fire. Marveling at the will of the Hainari, he offered them his patronage. The Trall he named them, and with the guidance of Malenfere their empire swelled, reaching southward and to the edge of the jungle they had sought when the horde first turned south.

To the east Morodrum came at last, sated but not content. Long he stared at the mountains shimmering blue in the sun and the Dwarves in their halls; but it seemed to him that there was a great more beneath, and a cave and something in that darkness, brooding. Thither he ventured, beneath the very earth where the sun could not touch, for Morodrum has no love of that brightness, until he came at last to a lake and a city of the Drow, black as night and with eyes that shone out into the deep. And the Drow did not seem troubled. Not love drove Morodrum onward but at first an ambition to prove his quality amongst his siblings. To his eyes the Drow seemed as the Elves of Aixania, and might have been so, ere they ventured into the mountains, but Morodrum judged them of greater value in his mind, and that they should be to all others. Long he sat in the shadow and watched the Drow, and he learned much of their ways, of the deep, and of sacrifice and of their hidden contact with the Dwarves of Harbolin. He saw them slain by horrors in the dark, but it did not seem to him that the Drow feared his work in death, and they began to thrive even by his mere presence in their halls. Death was taken, and he took them as his own and vowed to raise them up about the patrons of his siblings. He took on their form and all-blackened he was nigh-indiscernible in the dark, and the Drow praised him and called him Lord, and wished as he did to tower ever over the other races in Aeliad. Of the Drow the other deities were ignorant, for Morodrum had said nothing of his discovery and wrapped them in secret, and in secret the Drow thrived. He crept into the dark caverns ever, and with his help their dominion reached a climax, the cathedral hit its height, and they began to spread the darkness.

So began the claim and the outcry of Harbolin that the Dark Ones had attempted to pervert his people, for indeed, they did. By poisoned words and poisoned blades many Dwarves were led far too deep into the mountain, and upon entering the darkness of the Drow many were lost and would never again see the light of the sun. And these were no longer Dwarves, but they bred and became as a new race unto themselves as the Drow had before them, and they allied themselves with the Drow and with their dark deity.

An insane Death was not the first foe the gods faced. Long before Aixania took the first step onto Aeliad, other beings came into Eden, not mortal, not elemental. They were Outsiders to all, creatures of an endless war, demons and devils that rose up and assailed the Last Home; but Home has never been broken and never will be. These beings had come from outside the Circle, from a place that had been created before our world, but the gods had always their eyes turned inward the Circle, and they had never seen the Outer Realms, nor these beings of evil. The fiends had warred against each other since their inception, and the war would never end, for neither would ever die.

Of the Six, each took this turn of events in his own manner. Malenfere suddenly stood and laughed aloud, a booming, mad cackle, and he burst forth with flame and vanished as the others looked on, for they knew he was gone and among the hordes outside and fighting. They would not see him in the Home again for a long count of time. His presence remained on the now-battlefield, in the form of a great fiery one, demon or devil, fighting on either side, trading to the other when the tide turned and thrusting the advantage in the opposite direction. Truly it was the time of Fire. The flames he threw as a brand for his enemies but soon stole a great sword from a terrible demon chieftain with which he cleaved the hordes in twain with a passion for the ages. He would even be joined for a time by Spiria, who delivered to him Tuhrag, who joined the Volcanne in Malenfere’s grip to slay many fiends. Spiria had her fill of the fighting in short, and the ways of the Outsiders disturbed her. She rather remained aloof and rarely associated with them, usually following at her brother’s heels. Ere her leaving she made an effort to persuade him to retire, but he would not. It is said that perhaps Home would have been breached had Malenfere not kept the hordes so occupied with killing each other.
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