I thought I’d share some fiction I wrote years ago in relation to a fantasy gameworld called “Soyl” that serves as the backdrop for a Neverwinter Nights game module I developed that I’ve taken to calling “Jason’s PnP” (it started out as an adaptation of an old “Pen ‘n Paper” game my brother created when we were kids).
1 In that time The One placed Man in the forest of Eternia, so that he might enjoy its fruitage and bask in its glory. 2 Only one provision did The One make, for he commanded the man “Of every tree and its fruitage thou mayest freely enjoy, but of the one tree by the river of life, thou shalt not eat of it. 3 For in due time, if thou wouldst eat of this river’s fruitage, thou shalt find not life therein, but thou shalt find pain and death.” 4 Man did just so, and lived in peace with the beasts of the field and the flying creatures of the heavens, together in a harmony no man since has ever attained. 5 Sadly, however, the peace of Man and beast was not to last long. 6 Long since planning in the depths of the world, in dark places unseen, Revelle conspired against The One’s newest creation. 7 So it was that two forest spirits came to Man and turned his will toward eating from the tree by the river. 8 Convinced that great power he would gain, Man ate of the tree in that day, sound of mind, but corrupted of heart. 9 And in that very moment, The One called out through the forest and said unto Man, “What is this that thou hast done?” 10 And Man said in return, “My Lord, what ever dost thou mean?” 11 And The One called out again louder, as the forest shook with great might, “Wouldst thou believest that thy deed has gone unseen?” 12 And to that Man said, “The spirits deceived me. 13 I was told of glory unbeholden, and joy beyond compare, but all I feel now is pain in my heart and great distress.” 14 And The One replied, “Yea, for the pain thou hast felt would be joy had thou not done bad in my eyes. And for the bad that thou hast wrought, thou shalt certainly die as has been foreordained.” 15 Then turning to the spirits, The One said unto them, “Because thou hast misled thy brethren in this terrible way, I will put enmity between thee and Man, between thy kind and his kind.” 16 With that, The One removed Man from the forest, and Man was forced to walk upon the cursed lands of the barren plains. 17 Beyond all grace imaginable, however, The One at last spoke unto Man again and said, “It has seemed fit in my eyes, to grant thou a blessing. 18 A companion thou shalt have, to soothe thy pains and bear thy burdens.” 18 And so it was that Man was lulled into a deep sleep. 19 And The One took half of the man’s heart, and with it made he a woman. 20 Upon seeing the woman Man said, “This is now flesh of my flesh, heart of my heart: she shall be named Woman, for the wounds of Man in the heart has this one lessened.”
21 Therefore shall a man go away from his parents and stick to his heart of hearts: and they shall be as one flesh again.
The Fairies’ Fall and the Rascal’s Ruin
A long time ago, when fairies were young and Man had just been born into the world, the rascal made a form just like a wolf. The rascal was fond of shaping himself into whatsoever his heart inclined. Long since falling from grace, the rascal’s heart inclined him to evil. Knowing that the fays were fond of Man, and wolves were friends to both, the rascal went out from his abyss a shadow in wolves’ clothing, so as to deceive The One’s children.
It was in that time that The One had set a prohibition on the Tree of Conscience. Although Man knew not what the tree was for, he trusted firmly in his Maker’s wisdom. It was thus the fays that the rascal approached one day. Dressed as the largest and most regal of wolves, the rascal looked off to the tree and said to the fays, “Is it really so that The One has kept Man from eating of that tree?”
In reply, the he-fay said to the rascal, “Yes, it is so. For if Man eats from it now, he will positively die.”
“Bah!” said the rascal, “He will not die. We all know that the tree will bring Man great joy in his heart. Once he eats from it, his eyes are bound to be opened, and he is bound to be like The One yet more, feeling all that is good.” This was a lie of course, but like all effective lies it wrapped itself in truth. In due time, when The One had seen fit, Man would feel great joy at all the good he set out to do. However, like men still feel today, his heart would turn against him if he set out to do bad. In great pangs of distress, he would suffer the sting of guilt, and while the guilt itself would not leave him dead, it would signal the greater pain he had caused to his soul.
Not knowing the full truth, the fays discussed what next they should do. It was in that very hour that The One called out to them, knowing the intention of their hearts. The One said to them, “Why have you hidden yourselves, here in the darkest corner of the forest? Has something raised your curiosity here, for which you might inquire of me?” The One’s last question was twofold in meaning…
It was at that moment that the he-fay decided in his heart to keep his thoughts hidden. He therefore kept his questions to himself, for his trust had faltered in his Maker. The One thus went away, knowing the fay’s thoughts, but leaving him with the freedom of choice.
After some time, the fays approached Man with great concern. Thinking themselves hidden, as The One watched afar in great sorrow, the he-fay told Man what the rascal had said. Everything Man knew told him that this could not be so. However, as is true today, his desire bested his reason.
Lusting after the tree, and the power it must surely hold, Man agreed to the fays’ plan. Thus, on the next day in the same hour, the she-fay crossed over the river of life, where Man could not go, and picked a single fruit from the tree. She then crossed back, and gave him the fruit with great urgency. Man at last hesitated, but at the insistance of the he-fay, Man quickly consumed the stolen food.
For Man’s great sin, he was thrust out of the forest, ever seperated from his former kin. The two fays sobbed in sorrow, while the rascal laughed in his lair. Nothing goes unseen from The One, however. And so it was that the rascal was brought forth from his dark abode to pay for what he had done.
The One layed a curse upon the rascal, that whensoever he might take form in the world, that form would be his own and no other’s. Thus, the rascal could dress only as the wolf. However, according to his own disposition, that form changed over times and seasons to a vision most dreadful.
Despite his terrible appearance, the rascal was still able to charm some wolves into his dark lair. It was thus in the dark places of the world, that the rascal did great evils upon The One’s creatures. He raped the she-wolves of the land, and destroyed them when he had his spawn, discarding his bitches like pelts. Then, with his dark pups he twisted the forms of any others that might fall to their charm.
Thus the dark wolves of shadow, their appearance being not much more than raiment, came to be known as werewolves. And for their deeds in the forest, the she-fay came to be known as pixie, and the he-fay known as trixie.
Of Dungeons & Dragons
When The One made the world, He brought it into being without form and void. And out of the void He brought forth a great mist. The One then divided the waters. Amongst the waters above He set His throne. He then sent down His faithful servant to serve as lord of the waters below.
The One set His servant to the task of bringing forth from the waters a swarm of creatures. For many days The One’s servant crafted a menagarie of beasts. He toiled long and hard, but always in quiet joy and contentment.
The One’s servant then set to work on the greatest of his creations. Through many seasons, The One’s servant set to work crafting the forms of large slithery beasts. These great serpentine beasts slept in the watery abyss for their birth into the air.
Finally the time came and The One rained down fire from His heavenly abode. The fire called out the beasts from their slumber into the air where they met up with the fire and burned with life. They then flew out into the world toward the dry land of their calling.
Although The One’s servant knew this time was to come, he grew wrathful in his watery abode. The One’s servant reasoned in his heart that the time was too short. As he watched his creatures fly out toward the dry land, he longed to pull them back into the seas.
The great serpentine beasts quickly set to work when they reached the land. They were called to prepare the world for the coming of The One’s children. In that vain, they tore down mountains and built up hills. They burned down deep dense forests and spread seed elsewhere. Through all their great works, they softened the face of the land and made it abound with great beauty.
Meanwhile, in the depths of the waters, The One’s servant grew embittered and cold. Knowing all things, The One called out to His servant through the waters and asked, “What troubles you my faithful servant?”
“Nothing troubles me, Lord. My troubles have been taken from me,” The One’s servant replied with sharpness, his stabbing wrath kept just within his mouth.
“Fear not, my faithful servant. You will have plenty to do in times ahead. I will have greater and ever more joyous work for you,” The One explained with all tenderness.
The One’s servant rejected his Master’s love and replied, “My work was completed. I only desired to bask in the fruitage of my hands for a little while longer.”
The One then withdrew his voice, for there was nothing more to say. The One’s servant had grown possessive and it blinded him to the truth of the matter. While all his thoughts screamed “Mine!”, he had not come to realize his true place in the world. He was not master of the seas and all within, if not for The One. The beast forms which he cherished were nothing more than shells. Their true nature was that of fire and star light. That light was nothing, but not for The One. No light would penetrate his dark abode now, however.
The One’s servant then withdrew into the deepest darkest pit of his watery abyss and over times and seasons he schemed. Long had he trod along this dark path. From before the world was sung, he had pulled away from The One’s light. And in the depths of his abode, he reached the bottom of his own wickedness.
In the deep waters of the seas, The One’s servant crafted the most glorious and majestic of all the serpentine beasts. The One’s servant crafted this last of his creations with such glory, that the entirety of his own flame was embued within the shimmer of its scales and the flash of its wings. The One’s servant then took that form for himself and walked out from his abyss onto the dry land.
When the great serpents caught sight of this new creature they were struck with awe. Never had they seen such power and such beauty in one of their fellow creatures. It was for this reason that they called this new one Leviathan, for in their tongue the word meant “Glorious”.
Leviathan, as The One’s servant now took to be called, flew out through the world and observed the many works of the great serpents from afar. Never did he share in their works, but he simply observed.
One day, a group of serpents finally approached Leviathan and asked him why he would not share with them in their works. Leviathan had long planned for this day, and so with much eloquence he quicky replied, “Why must we toil long and hard in the world as we do? When our work is done, will we enjoy the fruits of our labor? What special privlege do these new ones have, creatures of whom we may never even see ourselves?”
With his cunning response, Leviathan led many to question their calling. As they looked around at the paradise they were making, some grew prideful and possessive. Leviathan reasoned with them that the land was of their making, and they decided that they should enjoy what they felt was rightfully theirs.
As time went on, Leviathan’s numbers grew. At first they left off from their work and wandered about the land, doing with it as they pleased. Finally, when he had all that would follow him, Leviathan roused his followers to battle.
The time was fast approaching when they would be called to leave the land, and the only way they could stay is if their work was never done. Leviathan and his vast army worked against the loyal serpents. Where the loyal ones would build, Leviathan and his followers would tear down. Where the loyal ones would soften, Leviathan and his followers would harden.
After much hardship and battle, Leviathan’s forces were defeated. The defeated beasts were gathered together into the vast valley of Shellow to be judged. The One thus called out from the heavens and laid upon them a curse: “For the reason that you have forsaken the light of your true calling, you all shall come to despise the light of day. It will serve as something rotteness to your bones, and it will singe your flesh with the condemnation you have laid upon yourself.”
With that curse, the rebellious beasts howled in agony and immediately withdrew into the dark caverns of the world away from the light. There in the great bowels of the land, Leviathan gathered his rebels together. The loyal serpents above were then called into the light of the heavens, as was their destiny, while their fellow brethren were cursed to drag on in the depths of the world.
When Leviathan had rallied his defeated troops together he called out to them with much vigor and vim, saying, “Fear not, my brothers! We have what we desired! This is not a curse, but a blessing! For it is better to reign in the bowels below, than to serve in the heavens above!”
Further and further they descended into the bowels of the land. Along the way, they came across the dwarves, strange creatures whom they had never seen before. As they witnessed the vast mines of these small creatures, the beasts enslaved as many as they could to suit their own purposes. With fear and trembling these dwarves served their large overbearing masters.
In the great caverns of the world, the dwarves whom the beasts had enslaved built vast dungeons for their lords. The great beasts gathered around the great lakes of fire within the bowels of the world. The serpents’ sought warmth in their dungeons, for their flame within was nearly extinguished now, and their very soul was left cold. Many dwarves were able to escape with time, their strong will proving too powerful for even the largest of the great serpents. These escaped dwarves rejoined their kin in other mines throughout the world. The unfortunate dwarves that remained enslaved became twisted with time. Their appearance was corrupted and dark. Their very flesh charred and reddened with the fires of the serpents’ lair.
Leviathan finally left the beasts and ventured forth in the world. He had told them to await his return, while he went forth to endure the pain of the day light. With that, Leviathan returned to the seas and left his serpentine shell in the dark abyss for safe keeping. The One’s servant no more, Revelle, as he was now known in the heavens for his deeds, returned to the dry land as a creeping shadow. There the great rascal found The One’s children amongst the forest set aside for them.
After his foulest of deceptive deeds toward Fay and Man–Revelle the Rascal, Dark Lord of the Seas, Leviathan of the Dragging Serpents, was thus cursed to never take form in the world again as any of his most cherished creations, until the Time of the End. Ever awaiting their dark lord to arrive, the dragons (as they became known to Man) remained in their dark dungeons of flame, continually growing more twisted and cruel.
The Flood of Vaela
In the waning years of Man, the father of all his kind, there lived a certain one of his children named Vaela. Now Vaela was not a son of Man directly but through many generations, for in those days men lived much longer than they do now.
Vaela was a blacksmith by trade, but a bard in his heart. He often sang and played his lute at night, musing on songs of warmth and light, even as the world grew cold. Vaela was a man of The One and oft would he seek his face.
All of Soyl was filled with violence in those days. The mischief of Revelle plagued the world, and no end was there in sight. Yet the Rascal worked not alone…
High above in the peaks of the mountains dwelled great spirits of ancient times before the world was prepared for Man. These spirits had assigned to them the task of overseeing the airs as lords and guardians of mid-heaven. Enticed by the Rascal in counsels unseen, save but to The One, some of the spirits forsook their dwelling places and descended into the valleys.
Long lusting after the delicate daughters of men, these mountain spirits forceably fornicated with them in dark pits of perversion. The result was a terrible sin against natural order. Powerful beastly men, if men they could be called, tore their way through their mothers’ loins.
Thus the fellers, as they would later be called, were painfully born into the already too cruel world. Their jaws were long like dogs, with teeth as sharp as fangs. Their ears were pointed back, their hearing sharp the same. Tall and fearsome, even with their bent beast posture, they stood higher and wider than all the sons of men.
The nights were filled with fear in those dreadful days. Werewolves and dragons, along with their dwarven slaves, would wage war against unwary men in the gloom of deadly darkness. And evil men, in league with the dark, would use the cloak of night to their own cruel endeavors.
Soon all the world was at its own throat, man against man, and beast against beast. Lacking in natural affection, they were misled by selfish longing. Malice and cruelty was the rule of the day, and Revelle was its dark ruler.
Meanwhile, the fays remained relatively safe in the eternal forests. In those days, the forests were still in the realm of men, along the western shores of what is now called Kinmonia. While men would not approach these woods, fouler creatures had no such curse of enmity to withold them from their evil endeavors…
Thus it was that the werewolves and the slavodrac started to leave their dark caves and venture into the fey forests. The terrible violence thus touched even the apple of The One’s eye and He would tolerate it no longer.
The One thus put a call forth from The One. The celestial choir answered the call and journeyed across the great heavenly road to the temple of all present light. There all the host of heaven came before the throne of The One.
“Why is it I have made Soyl? For look how she pains me so!” The One called out to the choir, and all attention was turned to the face of the world where the shadow grew.
It was then that Revelle came forth from the throng and laughed in delight. “And now what will you do, oh great Lord? Will you end your pain and mine? Will you close the book of time?”
The One then said to Revelle, “Have you considered my friend Vaela? There is no one on Soyl like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears us and shuns the shadow.”
“Ha! Does Vaela fear The One for nothing?” Revelle replied. “Have you not blessed the work of his hands and given him peace? Were this man to face real peril, he would quickly come to see the wisdom of my ways. He would no longer seek your face, but spit in it and curse you.”
The One gazed toward Revelle, and the shadow shuddered at the light. “Vaela shall face real peril. He shall face the end of the world itself and come safely through. All of his land shall be swallowed by the sea, and none shall survive save he and his own.”
The Rascal marveled at The One’s words and in his creeping cowardice he quaked. Attempting to hide his fear, Revelle spoke out once more. “Is that all? The sea is my domain, and so I know it well. And yet I know of stronger powers in this wretched world of yours. The calling fire falls quicker than any rain, and it tears through earth swifter than any stream. It stole my beauties away, and I shall see that it steal away your precious man just the same.”
“My servant Vaela shall be tested with both fire and water. We have ordained it. He shall descend the depths of your dragging serpents’ lair. The most precious of your beasts Vaela shall face. Your dreadful ‘beauty’ shall fall before Vaela’s feet and nip at his heels. In the end my faithful servant shall smite his head.”
With that the assembly was dispersed and Revelle left the presence of The One to creep amongst the dark places of the world. Meanwhile The One sent forth his name.
In the middle of the night, while Vaela was fast asleep, The One appeared to Vaela and stood before his bed and called out, “Vaela! Vaela!”
Quickly awakening, Vaela said, “Here I am. Speak, for your servant is listening.”
And The One said to Vaela, “Behold, I am about to do something astounding: something terrible and wonderful. I am going to put an end to this wretched world, for the land is filled with shadow and corruption. But I shall make a new world, and you shall be its father.”
Vaela was astounded. When he came to his senses, now standing before The One he inquired, “When will these things be? And how will you bring them about?”
“It is not for you to know the times or dates the Old has put in his own power. But you will recieve power when the Light comes upon you. He will lead you where you must go.”
When The One had finished speaking with Vaela, he left, and Vaela returned to sleep. The One continued to appear there in the land of Loshyai-hemshiah, and there he revealed himself to Vaela through his name. There for several days the two spoke long and often. If everything there said were written down, no single scroll could hold the words contained therein.
As promised, the Light of The One came when it was time. One day when Vaela was out in the woods collecting kindling for the fires of his kiln, he saw in the distance a ball of light not unlike a will-o’-the-wisp hovering, as it were, over a bog yards away.
He approached the light with caution, keeping close in mind the possible peril. As he drew closer, however, the light grew only brighter and shined amongst the bushes though it was day. Suddenly, a voice called out from the midst of the light…
“Be not afraid. I am no spirit of deception, but I am a spirit of truth; that is what I am.”
The voice was strangely familiar, and Vaela felt great joy and awe in the presence of the light. As he listened to its words, he heard them not so much from without, but within. Swelling from his heart, they rushed to his head and rang in his ears.
The One thus guided Vaela for many days north from his land to the barren plains. He then led him for forty days and forty nights through that land of empty fields and dusty winds. Vaela suffered not those days, for his hunger was abated in that time by the light, and his thirst was quenched by a constant mist.
Finally, Vaela came west to the edge of the eternal forests. There was a river; Yar’don it would later be called. Having reached its glowing waters, the Light departed from Vaela.
“And here you come to the edge of destiny,” The Light said. “I will now depart for later times. Fear not, however, for my voice shall remain within.” With that He went away to shine in the darker mists of future times.
Vaela then fell fast asleep beneath the stars, drifting into a deep slumber of quiet serenity. The grass was warm, the forest was tranquil, and the water quieted his fear with its light. Trusting his safety, his sleep was long and sound.
When he awoke Vaela rose to see a truly astonishing sight. A glorious figure like that of a woman was coming toward him from across the river. She floated above its waters delicately, like the pedals of a rose, but yet her feet never touched its surface.
When she came to shore, her feet touched earth and she walked toward him solemnly. Her countenance shone brilliantly, and she strolled with an air of confidence, yet within her eyes was a well of sorrows upon which no man could bear to look. Vaela immediately bowed his head and bent his knee as she approached.
“Rise, oh son of man,” she commanded with gentle nobility.
“My lady,” he replied, “you must certainly be blessed with such power and glory for you to cross this river so. I am not fit to stand in your presence.”
“I am not blessed, but cursed,” she explained, “for ever since I crossed this river my fate has been bound to it.”
At that, Vaela lifted his eyes and beheld her beauty. It was then that he noticed her doe shaped ears, the fey twinkle in her eyes, and the radiance within her very skin. This was no woman, but rather a she-fay.
Staring in awe, Vaela rose to his feet and the she-fay continued, “I come hence to thee by The One as messenger. All the power of this river has been invested in me, and by that authority I grant thee consent to take of its waters with liberty.”
“I thank you for your most generous offer m’lady, and I shall remember it when thirst comes upon me.”
“That is not all I have to say, oh son of man. The One hast spoken unto me a message to give henceforth to thee. Thou shalt take unto thee three vials from this river. Two shall sustain thee as thou journey hence to home. One thou shalt use to craft a mighty sword. With thy sword thou shalt travel yonder to the valley of Shellow, yea, to the very dungeon of Sedah. There thou shalt smote the great dragon Harmartia with thy mighty blade.”
Vaela stood in awe at her words. He could give no reply other than a nod. After a proper exchange of parting the she-fay left back across the river as Vaela looked on in quiet wonder.
As he was commanded, Vaela did just so. With the three vials he departed from the forests, albeit not without reluctance. Long would he stay in those majestic woods, if the choice were his alone, but something stirring inside pushed him forward.
For many days and nights across the plains, Vaela endured. His hunger was abated by the few supplies he had managed to gather in the rich forests bordering the river. His thirst was fully quenched with every drop from the vials. He used no more nor less than that which he was given; he did just so.
When Vaela arrived back at his home, he was greeted warmly by his twelve sons and their wives. He then related to his family over several days what had transpired in his long sojourn. His family was astounded at all that had occurred, but their joy was not to remain long.
He told his sons that they were to accompany him east to the valley of Shellow. First, of course, he was to forge the blade with which he was to slay Harmartia. Once he was done, however, he was to be off at once.
With that, Vaela set to work in his forge. He called his sons together and they helped in the construction of great bellows like had never been seen before. He was not to forge his blade out of copper or bronze, but The Light had told him many days before to gather together iron. With the iron he was to make a blade of steel, the first of its kind.
Once the forge was complete, Vaela worked long on forging his blade. First his blade was too brittle and shattered to pieces as soon as it cooled. He melted down the shards and tried again, but the blade was then too soft. The third time his mind was then called back to the vial of water. He decided to cast it into the furnace with the iron. When he did, he noticed that the water did not turn to steam, but rather remained as it was, as though it were quicksilver.
When Vaela drew forth the blade from the stone cast, he found it magnificent to behold. It seemed to glimmer in the dark and shine from within. The water had seemingly merged with the blade, with patterns of ripples though the blade was smooth to the touch.
The blade now cast, Vaela assembled his sons together and they journeyed east. Through treacherous swamps and barren fields they traveled into the very land of shadow and ash. As the sky grew dark, their hopes dimmed, but Vaela pressed on, even as his sons grew wary.
Finally they came to the edge of the valley of Shellow. Draped in silent darkness, the jagged walls of the valley grew from the ground as foreboding monoliths of quiet doom. Vaela’s sons quaked at the sight of the ancient valley.
“I am going where you can not follow,” Vaela explained to his sons. With that he left his sons alone, as he made his way into the very heart of darkness.
Several days passed, while the twelve young men awaited Vaela’s return. Creeping sounds encroached upon their camp during the pitch black of night. Finally, on one rare bright night, the sound reached the very edge of the camp and long dark shadows passed over in an icy wind. A loud unhuman screech, like the crowing of a dying bird, ringed through the men’s ears.
Dazed and confused, as though bewitched by an evil spell, Vaela’s sons left the camp and scattered into the night. Meanwhile, Vaela continued his long trek through the dead valley of shadow that was Shellow. In that long wide corridor of darkness, his shining sword was his only light as he pressed forward.
Vaela came to the mouth of a large dark cavern at the end of the valley. Although he had never set foot in the dead lands before, he immediately knew this was none other than the entrance to the dungeon of Sedah. He looked long into that void before he resolved himself to enter.
As he descended deeper and deeper into the cavern, he started to notice a dim light in the distance. As he drew closer, he realized the light was shining from the nearby river of fire.
Suddenly without notice, Vaela was then ambushed by a group of slavodrac. The dwarves lunged at him with ferocity, and he fought back with all his might. The group’s overseer whipped Vaela with his scourge, while the others came at him with their axes. Vaela swung his blade swiftly and powerfully and, in time, slew them all. But he was not without injury…
The flesh upon his back was torn nearly to shreds, and his face was severely beaten, when the battle was through. Vaela knew he must continue, however. He strapped his large sword to his terribly sore back and slowly made his way deeper into the dungeon.
The weight of the sword was almost too much to bear, and he nearly toppled over as he marched forward in pain. Every step forward felt like nails being driven through his tired trembling feet. With the light of his sword behind him, he had to feel his way along the wall, tearing his hands on the jagged surface.
Finally, he came to a large cavernous room. Within was the great dragon Harmartia. His dark red scales shimmered in the dim light of the great lake of fire that burned behind.
“So this is the servant of whom was whispered… Or have my shadows been deceived?”
“I know not what the shadows speak, but I am a servant; that much is true. I am Vaela, servant of The One; and I have come to slay you.”
“Have you no idea the foe you face?”
“I know enough, dread serpent. You shall be slain. It has been ordained.”
The dragon then raised its head tall and erect, its eyes beaming down from the tower of its long neck ascending to the very ceiling. As it chuckled deeply, its laugh boomed throughout the cavern, rumbling as though the walls themselves were cackling. Vaela’s heart nearly lept out of his chest, but he stood his ground and gulped down his fear.
“I am Lord Harmartia, servant of Leviathan the Great. As I await my master’s return, I have been appointed steward of his mighty realm; and I have expanded it wide and far. No son of man can oppose me, even if he is a servant of the dreaded One. Though heaven itself may oppose my reign, there is no heaven here to be seen. And even shall The One Himself descend unto this place, I will fight against Him all the same, His very Name I’ll face.”
Suddenly words stirred inside Vaela, and he called out to the dragon with confidence and power, “The Name is with me, though He left, for He hast sent His Light! And that One has born witness to me; through me The One will fight!”
With that, the great dragon Harmartia grew wrathful at Vaela’s words. He drew back onto his hind legs and let out a deafening roar, both at once a piercing shriek and a thundering rumble. Doom was in its voice and Vaela knew his death was certain if he did not act quickly.
As the dragon reared back in its wrath, it exposed its vulnerable underbelly and Vaela knew at once what he must do. He pulled forth his mighty blade and lunged forth at once with all his might. He leapt nearly the height of a man, and pierced the heart of the beast firmly and deeply.
Harmartia looked down at his demise and roared all the more in pain and anger. As it writhed about in defeat, each pump of its heart poured blood like a fountain from its gaping wound, covering Vaela from head to toe in the fluid of its life. Vaela dangled in the air, gripping his sword tightly, as the beast whirled about in the throes of death.
Finally satisfied, Vaela withdrew his blade and fell to the ground and looked on as the beast collapsed to the floor. The beast was not dead yet, however. With its final breath Harmartia burst forth a cloud of flame that filled the entire cavern with its menacing fire.
When the blast was over, Vaela opened his eyes and beheld he was unscathed. The blood of the beast had spared his life from the flames. He felt it then heal his wounds and strengthen his weary limbs.
It was then that The Name appeared to him in a blinding flash of Light. Vaela fell to his knees and worshipped Him.
“You have done well, my faithful servant. You are truly a child of The One, and your sufferings have been ordained as a sign of that which is to come,” The One explained, “But now you must endure a little longer, for the end has not yet come.”
“Now what would you have me do, oh great Lord?” Vaela asked.
Pointing to the dead dragon, The One told Vaela “You must take this husk and glorify it. Fashion it into a boat, for behold, a flood is coming, one like none the world has ever seen before, nor shall ever see again. And Soyl shall thus be cleansed. We have ordained it.”
In utter awe, Vaela simply nodded, and The One then departed.
Vaela at once grabbed the corpse of the great beast by its tail and dragged with all his might. No such feat of strength had ever been performed, nor has such ever been done again. His limbs empowered by the blood, Vaela marched forward from the depths of the dungeon to the surface of the valley of shadow. From there he continued unceasingly to the edge of Shellow.
The wives of Vaela’s sons were out looking for their husbands when they caught sight of Vaela dragging the great beast. They could scarcely believe their eyes, but believe they felt they must, for here he was before them. The women thus ran to their husbands and told them of what they saw.
When the men heard what the women were saying they would not believe it, and felt for sure their wives had grown hysterical. Their doubts vanished when they saw their father in the distance dragging the serpent as the women described.
With tears in their eyes the men and their wives ran to Vaela shouting and leaping for joy. Their father was alive and clearly triumphant. Vaela’s children took turns embracing him as they all excitingly chattered at him with a cacophony of voices.
After they had all exchanged news with one another, Vaela and his family set to work at once on the corpse. They worked for three days turning the great beast into a vessel. On the third day, as soon as they finished, the flood began.
On the third day the neck of the great valley of men was broken by the arm of The One, as the very world was bent. As He refashioned the world, He drew up the forests of the fays to preserve them from His wrath. They were thus taken up from the realm of men to remain separate until the end times.
As the waters rushed in through the strait of Herokles, the sky was darkened as rain fell from the heavens. All the while, Vaela and his family waited inside the belly of the beast as it was lifted up from the earth by the waters.
For three days and three nights the rain fell as the dragon boat was carried south. At the beginning of the fourth day, Vaela emerged from the bowels of his vessel and looked out upon the raging sea.
At midday the rain ceased and following the fourth day, the waters receded for three more days. On the seventh day, Vaela’s vessel came to rest on the shores of Naykin.
In the morning, Vaela and his family came out and beheld the land which they had never seen before. The land was rich with verdant fields and fruitful forests. Above were milky white clouds. Below flowed golden streams that glimmered like honey in the morning light.
And so Vaela and his family built a new world. His twelve sons and their twelve wives had untold scores of children. Thus they became the twenty-four archons of the ancients from which all men came, and upon which the world was founded.
Vaela lived a great wealth of years. He saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. He remained The One’s faithful servant all of his days on Soyl. And so, when he died, his sons set his body in the dragon vessel and pushed it out to sea. It passed through the strait of Herokles and came to rest in E’davlan where the fays buried him with great honor.
Lament of the Fays
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. Of Esmos.
a time long ago
when the world was young
and it hadn’t grown cold,
there were forests with fays
and they never grew old…
The trees shined green,
and the beasts were all tame.
Elwayae blessed all,
kept the fays in His Name.
But the peace wouldn’t last,
for trouble soon came…
Kin of the forests!
Why did you leave us?
Why did you go?
Kin of the meadows!
Why did you leave us…
for the world below?
When shadow had filled
the whole of the world,
the wrath of the sea
had at last been unfurled.
The One saved us all,
but the shadow remained…
Maedb plann’ed and plotted
in the depths of her lair.
She turned the land cold
as her silver-white hair.
Above schemed Soon,
and poor Lunadain…
Kin of the summer!
Why did you leave us?
Why did you go?
Kin of the spring time!
Why did you leave us…
for the world below?
The Elven and Gnomen,
the folk of the two,
pulled way from Elwayae,
The One whom they knew.
With chanting and carving,
they saw their task through.
Before The One’s time,
they came to join Man,
or at the least
that was their great plan.
Slowly they died,
as they left E’davlan.
Kin of the forests!
Why did you leave us?
Why did you go?
Kin of the meadows!
Why did you leave us…
for the world below?
Messengers: Dispatched from Sky, from time to time celestial spirits will appear unto men either blazingly in vision or discretely as other helpful men. That kind wise stranger who meets you on the road and gives you some profound and helpful advice might actually be a messenger…
Shadows: Turned from The One’s light, these fallen spirits serve to spread darkness over the face of Soyl and are involved to that end in the endeavors of men, dwarves, elves, and all else who might become entrapped in some dark corner away from the light. Truth is their enemy, and the Lie their weapon. Chief amongst them is Revelle the Rascal, though not in the sense of “leader” as it understood by sons of liberty. The Rascal seeks only to enslave and destroy, and all that serve him seek the same. Consumed with self, each shadow longs to be The One. But without the Light, the shadow has no substance–a dim pitiful fate the shadow does not realize.
Daemons: Daemons were once muses (See Muses) that followed after the shadows, forsaking their calling of inspiration and instead serving only to mislead. They whisper lies in the ears of men and terrify them with dazzling displays to secure their deception and feast on man’s fear. Like shadows, daemons cower in the dark corners of time and space, making their attack on the spirits of free people in times of stress and vulnerability and places of isolation and darkness.
Muses: Muses were made with Soyl as ministering spirits. Like messengers from Sky, muses serve as messengers of Soyl. Muses were made with the children of Elwayae in mind. The One formed them ahead of time to eventually serve to inspire, educate, and entertain men and fay alike as they share the joy of The One and His creation. Sadly, as the world has fallen into shadow,some of the muses have become daemons (See Daemons) and muses have had to serve as warriors and guides in the ongoing war between the forces of light and shadow.
Sentient Creatures of Soyl
Beasts: On rare occasion, for the most curious and mysterious of reasons, some of the oldest beasts in the world gain the power of speech. In the same way that some legendary men have demonstrated the ability to perfectly commune with nature–as perhaps Man did himself in Eternia, these legendary animals have shown their mastery over one or more of the tongues of men. Typically this linguistic power is accompanied by equally impressive physical abilities–as well as what some might call magic… These particular beasts may be friend or foe depending, and–considering the great power these legendary beasts exhibit–any adventurer is wise to hope for the former when encountering these creatures.
Dragons: Dragons or the “Dragging Serpents” are those particular beasts that forsook their place amongst the stars and were subsequently cursed by The One to “drag on” in the world. While their outward form was crafted in the watery abyss of the lord of the sea, their true nature is that of the “falling fire”–the starlight of the heavens. Dragons have long forgotten their destiny and seek only to serve their master–Leviathan–as they await his return. This master is none other than Revelle the Rascal, but dragons know not this name nor the true nature of the one who bears it. Lords of darkness, dragons are pitifully deceived themselves.
Dwarves: Crafted by Volcund the muse in his forge of Soyl’s deep fires, dwarves were made out of Volcund’s great love for the children of Elwayae as sung about in the celestial choir. Working from memory, Volcund made his creations dilligently with care, but his work was done without seeking the will of The One. Elwayae came and then asked Volcund to destroy the creations he so dilligently crafted, but when the dwarf Asimaf cowered before Volcund’s hammer, Elwayae showed mercy and held Volcund’s hand. The One then breathed into the dwarves and took them unto Himself as His own children. Thus the dwarves became the oldest of The One’s children though not by His Hand.
Elves: Elves are the descendants of the ancient fay Elvalar. Elvalar’s son Lunadén (also Lunadain) along with Gnomekos’ son Sún (also Soon) betrayed their fathers, murdering them in a dark magic ritual. The two sacrificed their fathers upon the Stone of Sorrows (as it is called now) in the center of Tholanthier. The ritual harnessed the powers of darkness to draw E’davlan away from the light of the aether and back into the sphere of the realm of men. The isle was thus bent and fractured, and the two treacherous fays left across the sea to return to the realm of men. When they arrived, they were subsequently cursed by Elwayae for their treachery. The two fays with their pixie wives (who were complicit in the whole affair) lost their immortality and were cursed to ever “diminish” in the world. Thus their descendants grew smaller and smaller, explaining the short stature of elves and gnomes today.
Fairies: The first of The One’s children, these mysterious people were created in the forest of Eternia, where Man was later made. When the he-fay and she-fay deceived their kindred spirit Man at the behest of the Rascal, the fays were cursed to ever have enmity with Man. From thenceforth the children of the first two fay have been cursed with an ethereal barrier that keeps them from fully materializing in the realm of Men, and Men from theirs. Thus fays mostly remain on the isle of E’davlan (which contains the eternal forests) and only rarely leave. When they have, they have appeared as ethereal wisps amongst the forests of men.
Fellers: Born shortly before the flood of Vaela. These terrible creatures are the offspring of mountain spirits and the daughters of men. As is told in the tale of that flood “Their jaws were long like dogs, with teeth as sharp as fangs. Their ears were pointed back, their hearing sharp the same. Tall and fearsome, even with their bent beast posture, they stood higher and wider than all the sons of men.” It is a bit of a mystery how any survived. Some traditions hold that the mountain spirits preserved their offspring from the deluge–at least some of them–by holing them up in caves. And it is in some of these caves where fellers can be found today.
Giants: The exact nature of giants is a mystery. Some believe they are the physical offspring of mountain spirits, like fellers. However, they are certainly larger than fellers, which is why others believe they are the physical incarnation of mountain spirits themselves. Whatever the case, these rare folk are incredibly large and intimidating. And few have ever been known to be friends to the children of men. Like dragons, they seem to be mostly malevolent…
Goblins: Before the flood of Vaela, the shadow spread cross the land and touched even the eternal forests. It was there that some of the fairies became enticed and deceived by the Rascal and pledged allegiance to him. These dark servants of Revelle became known as the Shadow Fays. When The One bent the world, all of the loyal fays were drawn up with E’davlan, but only the few of the Shadow Fays remained in Undrehel (Maedb and her minions). The rest remained in the dark places of the world and were further twisted in cruelty by Revelle into the mockery today known as Goblins. Filled with nothing but malice and hate, these violent monstrous beasts have fallen far from their noble origin.
Gnomes: While gnomes are largely of the same race and origin as the elves (their “fay kin”)–See Elves–there are some notable differences. While elves tend to stay in the woods and concern themselves with the celebration of nature and the study of the stars (who they mistakenly worship as “gods”), gnome culture tends toward the study of how nature can be manipulated. Gnomes take a much more proactive approach to their sciences, crafting wild and weird devices to aid them in their ongoing inquiry into the boundaries and limitations of the physical world. They are much more intrigued with men and their affairs and it’s not entirely rare to see one sneaking into a shoe shop or spying in an alchemist’s laboratory. It is largely for this reason that men often confuse elves with gnomes if they ever manage to run into an elf in the woods, for most of the time they have seen or heard about such fay-kin it is usually of the gnome variety.
Kobolds: [See Slavodrac]
Men: The pinnacle of The One’s creation, these are the last of the children of Elwayae. The first man was made shortly after the first fay and she-fay were created. After Man was enticed into eating of the forbidden fruit, he was banished from Eternia and only then was Woman formed from Man’s heart.
Shadow Fays: Those known as Shadow Fays are the ancient fairies that were taken up in E’davlan when the rest of Revelle’s dark servants remained in the realm of men to become goblins (See Goblins). While the Shadow Fays share some similarities in their appearance with goblins (their skin being darkened by shadow and tinted blue by the warmth-less cold of evil), they are drastically different in other ways. The Shadow Fays retained their immortality, while goblins live shorter lives than men. Besides their darkened appearance, Shadow Fays retain the regal features of their fairy birth, while goblins are monstrous mockeries of their ancestors. Between their intellect and their dexterity in battle, Shadow Fays serve their Ice Queen in Undrehel as powerful warriors and a constant threat to their peace-loving kin on the surface of E’davlan.
Slavodrac: As told in the tale “Of Dungeons and Dragons”, the Slavodrac (also known as Kobolds) are the descendants of those unfortunate dwarves that were unfortunate enough to become enslaved by dragons in ages long ago. Creatures of malice, these red-skinned dwarves are just as cruel to their own kind as they are to any adventurer who may stumble into one of their dens. They serve as miners and warriors for their dragon masters, building ornate halls and storerooms while guarding their dragon’s hoard. Some of the Slavodrac have been known to serve giants instead of dragons, but this is more rare.
Werewolves: As briefly mentioned in “The Fairies’ Fall and the Rascal’s Ruin”, werewolves are the dark offspring of Revelle Incarnate and wolves. These powerful beings are no ordinary wolves. Like their father, they are extremely adept at deception and influencing the minds of men and fay alike. Terribly powerful and fiercely dangerous, werewolves pose an insurmountable threat to all but the bravest of adventurers. On an interesting side-note, some legends hold that the most powerful and ancient of the werewolves were born of Revelle and a great sentient she-wolf (see Beasts) named “Lilith” who was Man’s dear companion before the Rascal convinced her to leave his service.