The Sundering

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The Sundering is an apocalyptic event that took place early in the history of the Prime Material.

The Republic

In the lands of the Republic of Earendam and the lands of the Dantaron river valley, they pass down a simple cautionary tale.

In the beginning, were the gods. Some to create, some to destroy, some to taint, others to bring hope, others to simply be. The gods, though, were alone in the universe. Seeking a canvas for their essence, they created the world of Avendar. And, edged along ever so carefully by the gods of creation, they created the alatharya, First Children of the gods.

To the alatharya, the gods gave their greatest gift - Magic. Magic to create, magic to destroy, magic, some portion of each of the god's essences was sent to swirl through the prime material, creating the ether from which mages drew.

As time passed, the alatharya waxed mighty. The gods, pleased, began plans for other creations, each mighty in their own way. But the alatharya were not pleased with the god's plans to make others - jealous of the thought that other children might bring the god's attention away from them, and coveting the quintessence, they sought to steal the power of the gods. With their mighty pyramids, and strange rites, their priests and scholars came together one fateful night for a grand theft. In their hubris, they sought to steal the power of the gods for themselves, and make of themselves creators.

But, alas, 'twas not to be. The gods knew of the theft, and instead of invoking the power of the gods, they invoked their deepest and darkest wrath. All across Avendar, the great cities of the alatharya were rent in blood and fire - their libraries burned, their pyramids turned to rubble, their homes driven to the four winds. The revenge of a god is not a small thing, and the revenge of the combined might of a pantheon can level entire worlds. So it was that the alatharya were cast from their pinnacle as the mightiest of races. No more would the minds of the alatharya follow the intricacies of magic - nor would the alatharya do nought than strive for balance in their day to day life, fearful of retribution for their ancient crime. And, lastly, the gods sundered Magic from its pure form into its elemental components. Water, Spirit, Wind, Fire, Void, and Earth did it break them, and forever shatter the mortal dream of attaining the divine through mystic arts.

This sundering of the Magic released cataclysmic storms of magic over the surface of Avendar, changing and altering all that they touched. Of the god's new children, vast changes were wrought, some for good, some for ill. The aelin were granted flight, and the gift of keen reason. The caldaran learned wisdom, and were turned from the night. At the same time, the brutal srryn were born, spawn of languid swamp and foul hearts. Beneath the earth fled the shuddeni, blind minions of pure darkness, driven mad, some say, by a love of much knowledge.

The centuries after the Sundering of Magic were dark ones. It was not until some hundreds of years that civilization began anew, with the proud aelin and their cities in the skies. Striving, perhaps, for a memory of things past, they collected the artifacts of the ancient alatharya, and built cities that at least faintly echoed the glories of ancient days.

The ethron

Of the time of the Sundering the ethron recite and sing surprisingly little, given the age of their people. There is only one myth of theirs said to come from that time.

The world was young and the skies were bright with sun
And Nariel ranged beneath the spreading trees
Her wit was sharp, her arrows swift, her step was
  ever-sure and true

Now Elar the Mother grew much concerned for
Her daughter dared places even she knew not
But a child leaves in order to grow so she
  tended home alone

In her garden the ethron grew strong and green
Under the Mother's care. Her water was love,
Her food was the sun, her soil her gentle arms:
  thus her ethron bloomed

Some chased Nariel 'cross the forest and
She taught them secrets her mother would not share:
To stalk a deer in silence, to sing with birds,
  string an ashwood bow

In silence did Lielqan dwell, beneath the
Sunset sea. No ethron sought her words or
Sang songs in her name. She knew this and did
  not sorrow, and yet--

No one is pleased to abide alone. She sang
To the coral and taught whales to breathe the air
But sharks she loved best of all: for they do not
  end but by their will

But Lielqan's touch is needed at times of
Beginnings and of ends. Thus she leaves her seas
And ventures onto shore. The ethron feared her
  summons dire, but--

She took them into her arms and held them close
She sang them songs as they died and shed no tears
While Elar watched and sorrowed for her children's ends
  Lielqan left them.

One day it happened that Nariel saw her come
And walk amongst the ethron who loved her not:
Lielqan stopped and lifted a sickly girl
  while Elar stood by

Now Lielqan took the girl away with her
Without a glance behind her, forward to her
Watery home. Around her the ethron sorrowed and
  Nariel called out:

"Why do you do this, ven'rable grandmother?
Return that girl to her home. Her mother loves
Her and her sisters weep. Do not steal away
  that fam'ly's dear child!"

So Lielqan stopped but did not turn around
She looked instead to Elar, who fell silent
at this call. "She has been remiss," said Sunset's
  living hand, and turned.

"This is a thing which you all should know: there is a dragon in the Void,"
  she sang in the voice of whales. The sun now set around them.

"Because It sleeps I may stand in a place between this life and the end.
  I take her because I must. Without me, the Dragon reigns."

Lielqan left, the girl carried in her arms.
Nariel remained, disturbed. She looked to her
Mother and asked, "Does she speak the truth? Is there
  this dragon lurking?"

Elar did not answer, so Nariel knew
It for true. She turned away and went apart
And the stars fled the skies for three days with her:
  alone she brooded

When Nariel emerged, she took up her bow
and her sword and a necklace wrought with starlight
and she kissed her mother good-bye. And she said:
  "I'll go to the Void.

"I fear no death, and I fear no dragon's call.
I will steal this death that troubles us all, and
take it from this world. I go; fear not for me."
  Thus the maiden left.

Elar did grow much afraid, for she knew what
dangers the Void did hold, and what power the
Dragon did bear. For her childrens' safety she
  told them not, but now--

Now she took to the skies and sought Kyana of
the stars. "Beloved," she said, "our daughter runs
into the greatest of peril. She seeks the
  great Dragon to rip

Death itself from Its jaws. Cold Lielqan told
Her of Its 'gift'. I fear Nariel will not
Return from her dread errand. I've no power
  'gainst it. I beg you,

Sweet Kyana. Can you call her back? I fear my
Heart will break without her by my side. You might
Yet be able to reach our dearest daughter.
  love, you must be able."

Kyana fell silent, and turned her from the
Stars. She said at last, "I have no more power
over death than you. Nariel is headstrong
  and will not heed words.

Not yours, not mine, and you know this too. But do
Not despair, my dearest. There may yet be a
Way to draw her back. You will not care for it.
  but my sister is

Not so cruel as you name her. Lielqan has
Some power to stand in the face of death. She
would go if you asked it of her, for it is
  not Nariel's time.

She does not say such things for the sake of harm.
A painful truth might be what is needed to
Grow: a forest fire for the soul. I take no
  joy in it, yet still..."

Elar knew to hear it what cost it was to
Say, for Kyana feels all pain as her own and
Sorrows every cut. Elar could not bear to
  add to it, but had

Done all the same. She kissed the tears from Kyana's
Cheeks and said, "Then your sister Lielqan it
Must be. I will bid her go and return our
  daughter to our home."

And Elar left the night behind and wove her
Way past the dawn. She chased the sun through the
day until its time was done. There at sunset,
  Lielqan waited.

"Your forgiveness I must beg," said Elar
to the witch of the sunset sea. "I must beg
a favour of you: fetch Nariel from the
  dark and endless Void."

Lielqan merely watched in silence as Elar approached her from the day;
  she was not unmoved, but she well knew the cost of what was

Asked. The Void welcomes no one; it wreaks the end of all. To go there is to invite
  doom upon yourself and all that you love. But that itself

Is reason enough to enter at greatest need. Nariel cannot hope
  to face this foe; not here and not now. She is quick and brave

And daring but death comes to all things. Lielqan spoke at last, her whale's voice
  an endless winding song. "I will go in to the Void for you,

For her, for all your children who yet endure. If Nariel still lives, I
  will bring her back to you. Dawn still returns after darkest night."

So Lielqan prepared herself not for war
But for stealth, and it is no mean thing to hide
The very sun's light. But clouds her cloak drew 'cross
  the sky, and rain fell

Veiled, she went into the Void. Now Nariel
Is trackless, and leaves no trace behind. But the
Necklace she brought to light her way is indeed
  akin to the sun

Lielqan could feel, as none else could, the warmth
of forgotten stars. Their light was gone, their scent
was dead, but Lielqan knew her sister's tears.
  the stars' memory

Was her guide. But after a time even the
Starlight died, and Lielqan found herself in
darkest Void. There were no arrows, no steel hiss.
  perhaps Nariel--

But far away Lielqan heard a lone voice
Raised in fading song. Lielqan set after
It, for only one would be so bold as to
  sing out in this place

She trekked forever, chasing that foolish voice:
For if it woke the dragon, it would be the
Song of the whole world's end. But Nariel was
  a huntress and she

Moved faster than the aging sun. Only that she
Did not truly know what she sought kept Sunset
On her trail. Desperately Lielqan pursued
  her, chasing that song.

When exhaustion nearly claimed her, Lielqan
Finally found a camp, made out from the lonely
Void. There, at last, Lielqan found Nariel,
  amidst endless night.

Now Nariel grew angry, for she would not
be dissuaded. Her cause was righteous and she
would not have Lielqan somehow protect death.
  she opened her mouth

And Lielqan spoke words to her which never
have been revealed: neither she nor Nariel
have ever said what happened between them there
  but Lielqan led

Nariel by the hand: reluctant, angry
Still, but together they traveled from that dark
And endless plane. Lielqan took off her cloak
  and Nariel her

Sword and her bow. The stars her necklace had
Since dimmed, but brightened in the noonday sun. But
They parted when they emerged, and said no words.
  some rifts do not heal.

Lielqan took no offense, for she is not loved. Why should she expect
  thanks for so thwarting such a scheme? But she returns those whose time

Is yet to come. She needs no love, she needs no thanks for she always gets her
  due. The sun rises; the sun sets. Lielqan remains for all.