Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Silvanus the Green Father

Few gods have stuck around as long as the Silvanus. He counts no other gods his superiors, seeing himself as an equal or better of Grimnir Blue-Cloak, and his power & influence are felt across just as many lands. Much like Grimnir he takes many forms and many guises, but his intent is always the same. While the other deity of earthly nature, Terra, is concerned with agriculture and the hearth, Silvanus is more concerned with the Balance of nature.

The church of Silvanus is persistent: wherever peoples walk in the shades of his trees, there remains worship or at least a passing acknowledgement of Silvanus by wise peoples. Non-worshipers have often found themselves at odds with his worshipers as they have obstructed expansionism into woodlands-- sometimes even resorting to violence. His clerics, druids and rangers serve as both shepherd and sheep dog-- protecting the forests, seeking out unnatural threats, and helping others to see the benefit of living in harmony with the wild.

Silvanus metes out times of plentiful bounty as well as famine and drought. To the worshipers of Silvanus, life and death are both sacred and cyclical: everything has its season, everything must live and everything must die. Balance is key.

The Green Father himself has a cyclical nature.

Every morning the Green Father is born when the first rays of the rising sun touch an old oak tree. He pulls himself free of the bark of the tree, breaking his way out with his might mallet, and standing fresh and new like an adolescent elf with small pronghorns. He then set about exploring the many forests of the world with an open heart.

For this reason, most of his faithful are wisest to propose new and unusual ideas when beseeching him.


By midday, surveying the land, Sylvanus has taken measure of a great many things, having counted every branch and leaf from east to west and north to south. He takes the form of a man in his prime with wild antlers and takes to more proactive engagement with the enemies of the wild.

For this reason, it is considered wisest for his practitioners to call upon him for strength and courage during the afternoon.


As the sun sets, Sylvanus has become a bearded old man with great wide antlers, often accompanied by bird and animal spirits, as he makes his way through the wood. During this time, his heart has grown weary of battle and he appreciates all life with the wisdom of his experiences.

During sunset, it is best to ask for forgiveness for failing to break his tenants and to seek to forgive those who have wronged the wild.

At nightfall, silvanus's body becomes covered in treebark and he more resembles a treeant with a might bushy green beard than an elf. It is during these hours that he visits each seed that will sprout a new sapling in the morning, imbuing in them a little spark of his power, until he has nothing left to give.

The night is a sacred time in the woods and it is best to give thanks for all it provides during nightfall


By the end of the night, silvanus's body has grown weary and he sets roots down in the earth and begin the cycle a new at sunrise.

The cycle continues...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Null the All-Seeing Automaton

The gods experience time and space in ways that are beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, able to see far into the past, present and future, but even they have limits. When looking into the future, it is important to remember that divination can, at best, predict the most likely future events. The mere act of looking into the future changes the chain of events that led to that point in time. When it comes to scrying the present or past, other powerful entities can hide or even distort specific events, time and space, from those attempting divination, preventing even most gods from being truly all-seeing and hardly all-knowing.

The closest being capable of all-sight was created from the Titan god, Mim the Whisperer.

Mim the Whisperer was a Titan god of knowledge, memory and secrets. He was said to bear forbidden knowledge kept even from the gods, as well as all knowledge ever written and to remember everything that has come before and able to foresee all manner of possibilities. Somehow he was slain in during the Titanic Age, perhaps in some dispute between the gods or by Grimnir himself, and beheaded. It is said that when his blood was spilled on Narya, it tainted all of the continent of the polar north, and since then the land has been in a constant state of chaotic flux, where whispering madness is carried on the wind and all manner of unworldly horrors are said to roam. The continent is named Mimia after Mim and Grimnir took the Titan's head with him to keep the knowledge contained within for himself. But the head can only see into the past.

From the body of Mim, Grimnir schemed to craft another useful tool.

Grimnir Blue-Cloak's magic is unmatched throughout the planescape and, of the highest and most powerful magics, he was a master of mirror magic. Mirror magic allows the mage to use all of the reflective and refractive surfaces in the multiverse to, not only multiply their power, but extend it to everything that those surfaces reflect. Due to the infinite nature of the mirror-scape, the strange plane of time and space and light that this power comes from, it is highly dangerous to use and even Grimnir Blue-Cloak dislikes the temptation. It becomes too easy to slip into the mirror-scape and too easy to be replaced by a mere reflection or, much worse, a refraction of yourself in the material plane. 

The ultimate use of this magic is in divination: through mirror magic it is possible to gaze into the destiny of the multiverse. Imagine space as an infinitely cracking mirror with time being the ever spreading cracks. Using mirror magic, it is possible to see the cracks and predict where they will go with more accuracy than any other form of magic.

To better utilize this magic and to create a guardian of it, and all-future seeing, Grimnir somehow obtained a piece of strange material, perhaps from the primordial age, and crafted a circular mirror that, when looked into, one could see all possible futures. Rather than keep it for himself, Grimnir combined it with the headless body of Mim, affixing it to his neck, and created a new being capable of seeing and knowing more possible realities of past, present and future. Grimnir named it Null, for it had no equal, no purpose, and no ambition. It was an automated deity created to do the bidding of the New Gods.

He set Null to three tasks: overseeing the similarly automaton angels of the Heavens left over from past epochs, being his neutral and honest advisor in all things with his unmatched omnipresence, and serving as the ultimate authority and guardian of time. 
 
Null is a god that asks for nothing from his worshipers but they ask a lot of him. The pursue knowledge and, ultimately and most often tragically, they seek to obtain or even surpass the all-seeing and all-knowing god itself.
 

NULL
 
Title(s)
The All-Seeing and All-Knowing, The Automaton God, The Clock King, The Lord of Looking, The Mirror Master

Pantheon(s)
New Gods

Power Level
Intermediary Deity

Alignment
Lawful Neutral

Symbol
An eye in a hexagram or an eye in a pyramid

Portfolio
Time, knowledge, past, present, future, divination, mirrors

Domains
Arcana, Knowledge

Worshipers
Scholars, magic users, divine magic users, historians,

Favored Weapon
Staff

Holy Day(s)
None

Monday, December 26, 2016

Faiths of Narya: Lady Tsuki-Hime of the Lunari

 
It is not known if the bright elves are an earlier tribe of the elves of Saesun, perhaps their ancestors, or if they in fact are another offshoot of the original tribe, like the iaurdin, but they are mentioned in tales of the Wyrd Wars. Some of their legends have been passed down through the ages and can be found in libraries and around campfires in Sublanarya. Strangely, in their own most important legend, they claim a different origin altogether from any elves of Sublanarya. They had many strange gods and customs alien to Subalnarya but one character is intertwined with them and goes back to their origins in the Titanic Age:

Lady Tsuki-Hime of the Lunari. The legend begins in a very humble place. It begins in a bamboo grove.

A bamboo cutter was walking on a night in which three moons hung high in the sky, rather than the two typical of the time, and cast an eerie light on his path. Wind buffeted the bamboo, making it creak and chatter like old bones, and sent a chill over the bamboo cutter. That was when he saw a mysteriously shining shoot of bamboo in the middle of a clearing. The bamboo cutter cut the stalk open and, inside, he found a small glowing baby girl. He and his wife had been praying to the gods for a child for years and, being good and simple folk, took this as a blessing by the gods.

The bamboo cutter and his wife raised the child as their own, naming her Kaguya-hime, a name meaning "bright night princess", after the night that the bamboo cutter had found his precious daughter. It was not the only blessing. The bamboo cutter soon found that, whenever he cut into a shoot of bamboo, gold coins would spill from them. They became wealthy, but were careful not to be too greedy with their gift, and Kaguya-hime grew into an extraordinarily beautiful young woman with skin as pale and bright as the moon, eyes like gem stones, and hair that twinkled like a starry night.

Princes fought for her her hand in marriage but she rebuked them, sending them off on impossible errands, and making them look like fools. Eventually, she became afflicted be an unassailable suitor, a young Prince named Mikado, who she would not dare to burden with such impossible trials and, worse yet, she fell in love with him. And they married.

But all was not well. Kaguya never felt right in the palace, none more so than she had felt right with her adopted parents, and she would often be found sitting and looking the moon with sad eyes. Even after bearing children for Prince Mikado, she still suffered from this longing.

Then, one night, it came to her in a dream:

Kaguya felt out of place in Narya because she was not from Narya. She was from a kingdom of one of the moons. Her people were immortals called the "Lunari". She was the crown princess of the Lunari kingdom, which had fallen into a terrible war, and, to protect her, her people sent her to Narya to hide as a mortal until the war had ended.

After awaking from her dream, she left a note for her husband and children and fled the palace on foot. She ran home to her parents, where she told them the truth, that the gold that fallen from the bamboo her father cut was the moon people's way of repaying him and his wife, and insisted that, while she loved her family on Narya, she was needed in her home kingdom but, that once she had achieved peace and balance, she would return.

 Until then, she promised to listen for their prayers and to help in times of great need.

With that, a third moon appeared in the sky and a great procession of strange moon folk appeared and took Kaguya, who revealed her divine form and who's true name was Tsuki-Hime, back to their moon kingdom.

Prince Mikado had the land searched, from the bottom of every lake to the tip of every mountain, before he relinquished his beloved. He built a shrine in her honor on the top of the highest mountain, naming it Kaguyama, and there his children would some day settle. Her children resembled their mother and, with her parting, seemed to take on her divine features:

Her children had pale skin of the moon, pointed ears, silver hair and eyes, and bore strange markings on their foreheads. Her sons and their descendants bore a single circular mark in the center of their forehead into their hairline and her daughters bore two circular marks above their brows. They also bore other markings and later descendants had more exotic markings and hair colors. They were beautiful and blessed with supernaturally long lives. They had many divine gifts and blessings, that they attributed to the Lunari and their mother, and they were grateful.

The children of Kaguya would establish a new and powerful kingdom around the forested mountain of Kaguyama and their descendants would become known as the tirikujin or "bright elves". They would conquer and unite the surrounding kingdoms, each of her children becoming the heads of noble houses and, like their motherly ancestor left Narya to do in the kingdom of the Lunari, they created order in the region.

The bright elves established the kingdom of Kaguyama.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Skao the Ice Queen

Skao's story begins with Delphina the Queen of the Sea and a mortal king who lived high in the mountains of the world.

The story goes that Delphina grew sick of her home in the waves and asked Soffia to help her a new home for Long-Night (Winter). Soffia usually discouraged her sisters incorrigible impulses, trying to sway her and direct her towards the best path, but seeing her sister sulking so much forced her to ignore her own better judgement. Soffia guided Delphina as sea water up into the clouds and let her fall with the snow in some high mountains.

It was there that she wandered along the glaciers and pointed peaks, enjoying the landscape at first, but finding herself rather lonely. Where were the sea birds and the schools of fish? Compared to her home, which was filled with the citizens of the shallows and the denizens of the deep, the mountains seemed so barren.

Eventually, she found a kingdom nestled by a lake and made her way there in mortal guise. It was close to the Year-End festival and the town was abuzz with preparations for a dance at the palace. Delphina cloaked herself in a gown of purest snow that drifted into the deepest blue of the darkest depths of the sea and made her way into town. The townsfolk were aghast at her beauty as she drifted between them; her presence sent a ripple of gossip that turned into a tidal wave of excitement at the presence of such a mysterious but undeniably noble lady. That night, at the ball, the young king himself was quick to vy for her attention and he won it.

Delphina fell in love with the mortal, overwhelmed by the warmth and cheer of the ball, and together they were soon married. She soon gave birth to a beautiful demigod daughter, Skao, who she loved dearly. Delphina kept her mortal guise for some time, though she began to long for the sea, and there were other problems:

When spring came, the local farmers complained that their crops would not grow. It seemed, with Delphina, came a salted snow that spoiled the arable land for miles and thus the town fell into depression. Between her own longing for the sea and the increasing desperation of the people, Delphina decided she must leave the mountains. She packed up, took for the sea, and left her husband and daughter behind. She was too heartbroken to tell them she was going and they searched for her all around.

Her husband grew ill from catching pneumonia, for he searched far too long and hard, and passed soon after. Dephina and the king's daughter was all alone.

The young newly crowned Queen Skao's heart grew colder and colder, locking herself away, and before long it turned to ice. The snow fell harder, freezing rain struck the mountainsides, and a harsh winter threatened her people. Skao realized she was responsible and fled into the mountains. When she did, the winter grew even fiercer. Soon legends were told of a frost giantess that lived high in the mountains and attacked anyone who entered her realm.

That winter, the peoples of the kingdom were desperate and the future seemed grim. They had no queen or king, they had no harvest or stores, and yet they still had hope. As they had for year after year, perhaps in memory of their beloved royal family, they set about preparing a Year-End festival in their winter-locked village. As they did, they felt a warmth between themselves and the harsh winds of Long-Night subsided. The snow fell lighter and lighter and the night sky cleared.


And, at the ball, they saw her.

Their young queen had returned, at least for one night, and she seemed filled with a joy that reminded them of the night that her parents met. She shared with them the ball and left before the sun was risen. The cold winds were calmed and the village survived the winter.

They were saved by the love of their Ice Queen.

To this day, high in the mountains of the world, a seat is usually left empty at any Year-End celebration in case Skao decides to pay a visit.

Faiths of Sublanarya: Puck the Prankster Prince and Darkheart the Shadow Prince


The tragedy of Puck is worthy of note:

Born of some long lost gods, defeated by the All-Father, the young god was a small child when he was found by Grimnir and, in a show of remorse and compassion, the All-Father took in Puck as his own son, raising him and trying to guide him, and treating him like his own flesh-and-blood. But the other gods did not share in Grimnir's kind-hearted ambition, at least without Grimnir prompting them to try, as they found the boy an unsettling and awkward addition to their pantheon. Furthermore, those that tried to show him patience had their kindness returned to them in jokes or, worse, what the boy considered pranks and tricks. To Puck, nobody seem to be able to take a good joke.

Puck stole treasures and artifacts from immortals and mortals alike, often "borrowing them", as part of his greater schemes to humiliate his kin and nobles, preferring to target the prouder and nobler most, but often going too far in his japes. He accomplished his feats with shape-shifting, magic and the ability to separate and control shadows from their owner's. His schemes resulted in unnecessary misunderstandings, accidental deaths and even wars between furious monarch. His wicked sense of humor and disregard for the laws of man, nature and gods are legendary.

A great smith was building an impenetrable wall for the New Gods with the promise that he would be granted dominion, power and protection within the wall. He also wanted Kleeona as his bride, the Sun and the Moon. The gods took council and Puck created special conditions: If the smith could built the wall with only help from his horse, in one winter, he would be granted his prize. After all, the smith had said it would take years and, under these conditions and if he failed, he'd build the wall for free. The smith agreed.

The gods had underestimated his horse though and, with only a few days left in winter, he seemed on the brink of success. The gods demanded that Puck fix the situation, scaring him into action and fix it he did. Without his horse, Puck knew the smith would fail. So, he took the shape of a mare, luring the smith's stallion into a chase, throwing the smith from it. The smith died before he could finish the wall and, more disturbingly, the stallion caught Loki in mare's guise. The mare gave birth to the Six-Legged Horse of Legend.

The smith was a friend of Skao and demanded retribution in the form of laughter or the life of Kleeona. None could make her smile. Save Puck. Puck managed to make her smile, saving the life of Kleeona, but no one was thankful after he had ruined the wall they needed.

Puck was also responsible for the creation of Fenrir and other horros. But it was his part in the death of a son of Kleeona and Grimnir.

So, the story goes, that Puck wished for nothing more than to be the favorite son of Grimnir Blue-Cloak. He was not the best or strongest or brightest but he was capable of playing the gods against each other. He sought to prove himself the most cunning and to diminish the standing of rivals for his father's approval.

Grimnir Blue-Cloak had twin sons: Baldric and Hodric.

Both were beautiful and kind gods, of light and life and hope, and were perfect. Save Hodric who was born without eyes. They were both beloved by their mother and the other gods. Except for Puck, who was annoyed with them, especially Baldric.

As if sensing Puck's intent, Kleeona saw no love in Baldric's future. She hurried to protect her son, using her spells to make him immune to all animals and plants. She overlooked mistletoe. And, overhearing Baldric boast he was save from all save the plant, he made a scheme.

After all, Baldric' invulnerability meant that gods would often attempt to strike him down for folly, failing of course, but trying again. Blind Hodric was bullied into playing a game in which he tried to shoot arrows at his twin brother. Puck handed him one. Made of mistletoe.

And it flew true. Baldric was struck in the heart. And he fell dead by his blind brother's aim.

When the New Gods realized that Puck was to blame, though he claimed to only want to hurt Baldric's pride, they were quick to punishment. They weighed this crime with all of Puck's other crimes, quickly, and in their fury they set to work. They beat him down and bound poor Puck to three stone circles imbued with rune magic to keep him from changing shape. They then set a poisonous serpent above his head so, as venom dripped from its fangs, it would strike his face and cause him intense agony. His most faithful lover, Syg, took it upon herself to hold a bowl, catching the venom, but, when it becomes to full and she must tear it out, he has to endure the venom in those moments.

But that is and was not the end of Puck.

Perhaps related to the gods of his heritage or created by his own hatred or even from another realm, Puck's madness spawned or was spawned by something unusual. As Puck lay in his prison, he heard a voice. A familiar voice. Like his own but different. It was his old shadow.

It begged to be released from him. That it would help him. Puck quickly agreed. But the shadow betrayed him. It abandoned him.

Not even Puck knows what it was. It had been his shadow. But, at least after that, it was something else. It had its own motives. It called itself Darkheart.

Darkheart wants nothing less than to wallow in the suffer and hate of the world, to see it come to chaos and ruin, as it moves from host to host, and sets unknowable plans into motion. Its ultimate goal is unclear but, a prophecy says that, in the end times, Puck will finally be reunited with his shadow Darkheart and, with his progeny and an army of all the enemies of Narya, will defeat the gods, destroy the world, and a new world will take its place.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Yollo the Angelic Herald

The story of Yollo begins with a young inventor being trapped in the Tower of Rowa, a prison for one set upon a  island, by the cruelty of his king. He had been trapped there until he devised a new weapon of war for the king. Yollo was a brilliant but foolhardy young man and attempted all manner of escape from the tower only to be rebuffed by the prison guards, vicious waves, sharp rocks and sea monsters surrounding the small island prison. He managed to escape the confines of the tower many times but always found himself back in the tower. Eventually, Yollo looked to nature for inspiration and saw gulls flying from island to island, safely, and nesting in the rocky outcroppings between.

Quickly, he set about searching the tower for the supplies he would need. Yollo was a terribly clever inventor, having used the meager supplies within in all his escapes, he set about a grand design: he built a mechanical harness and, taking feathers from the birds he found along the shower and weaving them together with wax from the tower's candles, created a pair of gorgeous wings that he could control. He had watched the bird's long enough that, without a trial, he put on his makeshift wings and leaped from the tower. His genius design worked and Yollo took flight.

Yollo felt freedom and power that he had never felt before, soaring and gliding and rising and falling at his own whim over the waves below, as a great hybrid of bird and man. As naturally as an angel, he flew higher and higher, up into the sky and broke through the clouds above. He saw the sky before him, a domain untouched by the likes of mortal men, and was overwhelmed with a desire to embrace it. He saw the sun, flying towards the warmth of it, and wishes to catch Aurelion himself. Unfortunately, in his hubris, he forgot the wax of his wings. As he flew higher towards the sun, the wax of his wings began to melt, feathers fell away and, when he realized he was losing control, it was too late.

Yollo fell from the heavens.

When Yollo's body struck the sea, his bones were broken and he began to drown. The gods had seen his ascent and, in their mercy, they saved him from the sea. They had witnesses his ingenuity and wished to reward him. They fixed his wings and made him an equal to the angels of the heavens, Aurelion himself putting him in the service of his daughter Iris, where he became a messenger in her service. He became a favorite among the gods: he flew faster than any of the angels, performing his duties with impressive timing and without fail, and his pleasant demeanor, mixed with his quick-wit and cunning, allowed him to become a staple companion to the gods of good.

His true test came in the war between the New Gods and Titans.

While best known for his good humor, Yollo had little sympathy for evil, using his speed to cut down villans and, in the events that brought about the Wyrd Wars, Yollo rose to the status of godhood by showing great courage and capability, helping the New Gods in their struggle, and helping to banish/slay/imprison the Unnamed God.

Since the Wyrd Wars, Yollo has continued his work as a messenger and companion to the gods, often found in the company of Aurelion or Iris, if not playing some game of skill against the other trickster gods like Reynardo the Fox, and is the patron of free passage throughout Narya-- whether it be the free trade of ideas and merchandise or in the safety of travelers or in the freedom of the good and innocent.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Erys the Pink Lady


Erys is a goddess of mysterious origin: some say she is the descent of Nyx, the primordial goddess of the night, others say she is a wayward daughter/sibling of Grimnir Blue-Cloak or Puck Goodfellow or Pyrra, and others say she was born of the immaterial lies of mortals. Perhaps the goddess of discord prefers things this way. Confusion is her forte.

But, among the clergy of gods opposed to her wickedness, there is a theory that she is none of those things but instead she was a mortal witch who tapped into a higher power and rose the status of a goddess. The theory goes on that the witch preferred the freedom of her mortality and the challenges present in it. It is documented that there have been many Pink Ladies throughout the history of Narya, evil enchantress who use their magic to conquer and destroy, and it is believed that each one is a reincarnation of the goddess. It is believed that Erys seeks out a particularly attractive host who seeks her power, then takes over their mortal body, and reincarnates generation after generation into the descendants of that host until the host body is destroyed, she regaining her divinity, and starting the cycle once more. Perhaps she enjoys this more direct and mortal existence, where her powers are magnitudes greater than most mortals instead of being outshined by her immortal rivals who seek to keep her in check. After all, her pride, jealousy, and cruelty are legendary.

She takes pleasure in bringing ruin to all: from the young, fair and beautiful to wise, old and powerful kings, and especially to those that would deign challenge or insult her, even if they did so by accident or not at all. It was one such petty revenge that resulted in an entire country falling to ruin.

The legend goes that many of new gods were invited to the extravagant wedding feast of a powerful ancient king and his new blushing bride. Left out of the invitation was the Pink Lady, Erys. The invitations, most likely, were offered to the greater dieties as a token of respect but, when the gods obliged and sat in the garden of the mighty king, Erys took her lack of invitation as an insult and quickly grew jealous of the party that the gods and goddess were enjoying. She turned her eye to mischief and revenge, looking for a possibility for trouble, and found it.

The Four Sisters were taking turn admiring the handsome princes at the feast and, in particular, their attention fell upon a particular young man. Seeing her mark, she crashed the party and made her way towards the sisters.

So, the story goes, that Erys cast a spell upon the apple tree that the prince was sitting under so that a golden apple would fall, hitting his head, and roll to the floor. The Four Sisters rose to help the boy to his feet, he picked up the apple, and read aloud the rune inscribed on the skin: "For the Fairest of Them All".

The prince looked at The Four Sisters, who were too bewitched by the object, and the Four Goddesses asked the prince to give them each the prize. He could not give each of them the apple, so they pushed further and made it a contest. Each offering him a prize for his pick in turn: Delfina offered him safe passage on the seas and the sea's bounty, Soffia offered him wisdom and skill in war, Pyrra offered him passion and creativity in art, and Terra offered him patience and years of great harvest. The young man did not wish to insult the goddesses. In desperation, the boy thought he had solution that would not disrespect any of the goddesses.

He walked past them and handed the apple to the bride. After all, it was her wedding day and, at a wedding, the bride is "the fairest of them all". And, in truth, this may have pleased the goddesses and freed the young man from his impossible task if the apple had not been bewitched by Erys. Upon handing the apple to the bride, it had two immediate effects: they fell madly in love and the wedding party fell into a stupor.

By the time they were stirred from their relaxed state, the prince had stolen the bride away onto the fastest ship to his homeland. This bride's new husband demanded justice and the kin of the prince begged for mercy. It didn't take long for both sides to be in a civil war that would rage for years with the fate of the prince and the bride in the middle.

Erys may not have been invited to the party or been awarded the prize of the Golden Apple, but she had the last laugh.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Evolving Timeline of Narya Part I: Ancient History of Narya

As I develop Narya, I have to think hard about world history. I think an important element to grounding a fantasy setting is to give a sense of scale of time and to ground the past in a meaningful series of events. This means that a historian should have a pretty keen idea of how many years have passed between events and it gives context to the motivations of the characters, both individuals and cultures, in the narrative. But that doesn't mean things have to be so concrete.

For perspective, Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and life on it is about 300 million years old. The universe, for that matter, is 14 billion years old. The scale of time on a cosmic level is baffling to comprehend. This might help you get how life fits into the greater scale of time:


With fantasy worlds, you have to couple the laws of nature with magic which, frankly, bends and breaks these laws. With that in mind, we have to assume that a fantasy world is not completely natural. It may have evolved from or evolve into a more natural world but, for the sake of simplicity, let's assume that Narya was created by a god.

Narya or "The World" as we know it is just one world in an an entire universe. It is safe to assume that it is part of a solar system, which is part of a galaxy, which is part of a universe, which is probably part of a multiverse (if you buy into that theory). This opens up all matter of infinite possibilties but let's focus on just this world.

There are multiple creation myths in Narya and, arguably, part of the fun of having so many cultures is that the gods may know the truth about creation (or not) but the mortals probably don't. Heck, the only one who really knows the truth is the in-real-life creator of the setting.

My goals for the history of Narya are: to set a baseline series of major events and to create a scope of time from the beginning of the world to current events. The history is very much from a Sublanaryan perspective and understanding. This means it leaves out details about unknown continents across the sea and on the other side of the world.

An important note about this article and every other article on this blog-- this is all a work-in-progress. I am still developing the multiple continents of this world, the cultures on them, and therefore everything is in flux. That in mind, if you're familiar with my worlds and history of dungeons and dragons, you will find I am trying to fit my best ideas into this setting. It is gonna be jam-packed.

This article is Part 1: Ancient History and covers before and during the first Epoch. The next article, Part 2: Modern History will cover the rest of history, or at least the history of Sublanarya, up to the default or current setting. In the future, I will probably add additional articles about the history of other lands of Narya.

Before Epoch I: Chaos and Creation
 
Epoch I: Ancient Narya
1st Age: The Mother & The Clay People 
2nd Age: The Primordials and the Old Ones
The Rise of the Titans
The Creation of the Elemental Planes
The Creation of the Heavens, the Underworld, and Oblivion
3rd Age: The Creation of the Twilight Realms of Dusk and Dawn
The First Empires of Man and Monster
The Fall of the Titans and Rise of the New Gods
4th Age: The Wyrd War
Ends with Grimnir Blue-Cloak Closing the Planar Gates

Here goes:

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Mal-Dorig the Dread Conqueror


Among the gods, there are mortals who rose to prominence and challenge the dynasty of Grimnir Blue-Cloak for dominion of Narya itself. The story of one such god, a god whose name and story inspires ambition, cruelty and tyranny, began in the Wyrd Wars of the First Epoch.

Not much is known from the first epoch, as much of the history and lore were lost and the gods that reigned are either dead or do not linger on the memory of it, but the final era is known to have been a time of endless war. Empires rose and fell, conquering and destroying each other, mortals became gods and even immortal gods met their demise, the landscape was torn apart by magic and the bones of men littered the and, eventually, human civilization was left in cinders. The greatest conqueror was Mal-Dorig.

Mal-Dorig was born a slave of an old serpent empire that once covered southern Sublanarya.

His people, the Mal, were enslaved long before he was born and trained as foot soldiers for the reptillian's endless conquest. The reptillians usually preferred their slaves docile and transformed, but Mal-Dorig's people were valued for their ferocity and cleverness and were resistant to transformation. Mal-Dorig was the result of generations of breeding to create the perfect warrior but the yuan-ti created their own end. Mal-Dorig noticed his masters, naturally cold and calculating, had become fat, decadent and lazy, and, when a slave of Mal-Dorig's caliber notices that those who wield the whip and lash have grown weak they make their move. The serpents were recovering from the celebration of Mal-Dorig's latest victory when he led the Mal to raze the imperial capital and slay their old masters.

Mal-Dorig then led his army of slaves, of the Mal and all the others freed from the serpents, across the realm. He conquered most of Sublanarya and beyond, freeing slaves from their inhuman monsters but also enslaving/slaying all who resisted, razing cities to the ground. Many temples and libraries were annihilated.  It was the latter act that destroyed many records of this age. In place of the worship of the old gods and histories, great monuments were built to the conqueror. His arrogance grew and his designs on the world did too. He gathered power, conquering enemies, and sought to conquer the world. Eventually, he came to blows against enemies he could not surmount and was wounded in battle. He lay dying on the battlefield and feared an end to his conquest.

That was when he was visited by the worse half of the trickster god Puck, his beautiful and terrible shadow, Darkheart. Darkheart schemed, endlessly, to defeat the gods and bring about the end of the world. It was to this end that he helped Mal-Dorig to achieve godhood and to repay him as a general in some divine war to come or in the end-times.

He led Mal-Dorig to a dark forge in the bleakness of Hades, where he had taken Brigid the Smith hostage, forcing her to pour her talents into building a helm and suit of armor the likes of which the world had never seen. It was made from the void shadows itself. Mal-Dorig donned the armor and was changed. His cruelty, malice, cunning and strength multiplied.

He became a god.

With monuments already built in his name and legions of warriors at his beck and call, his return was given divine recognition by his armies and they followed him without question. His armies redoubled their efforts and the last of his enemies fell before him. It seemed none could touch the conqueror as his army swelled with new followers, picking up demons, devils, giants, elementals and all evil beings who wished to follow his conquest over the forces of good. Thanks to the armor built by Brigid the Smith, it seemed that Mal-Dorig was unstoppable, and his forces overwhelmed countless heroes and gods alike. He was unstoppable.

Eventually, Mal-Dorig led his army to the gates of heaven itself and laid siege to the home of the gods. It seemed all was lost but, even in darkest times, there is hope. A light in the dark. For as Mal-Dorig and Darkheart concerned themselves with conquering Heaven, they left their dark forge in the underworld unguarded.

A young hero, Zyghardt, mentored by the hero god and the godling sons of the fire goddess Pyrra, Strata and Nimb, made their way to the dark forge. There they freed Brigid the Smith, the sister of the twins, and she set to making weapons that could harm Mal-Dorig. For her brothers, she finally crafted for them great bolts of lightning to smite their foe and the brothers became the new masters of the storm. And, for the young hero, Brigid the Smith forged a sword called "Dawnbreaker".

The storm twins first set out against Mal-Dorig. Nimb threw lightning bolt after lightning bolt and Strata shook the dark Armin with his thunderous voice. Their onslaught set the army into disarray and forced Mal-Dorig to enter the fray. He tore the brothers down from the sky and would have slain them a moment later if not for the intervention of the Zyghardt wielding Dawnbreaker.

The hero swung his blade, the light reflected from it shining in Mal-Dorig's eyes, causing him to stagger back for a moment before turning his attentions to the hero. The two fought, brutally, before Mal-Dorig knocked Zyghardt to the ground, placing his foot upon him, and demanding his submission. He offered the hero a place in his court after he conquered heaven.

In defiance, Zyghardt struck Mal-Dorig's foot, piercing his armor, even as the dread lord crushed him beneath his boot. Mal-Dorig was crippled by the blade, his armor pierced, and for a moment he was vulnerable. The brothers renewed their attack and their blows tore his armor apart.

The battle recommenced for seven days and seven nights, but eventually the forces of good won the day and the Mal-Dorig was defeated.

Before they could take him prisoner, Darkheart whisked the injured villain away and Mal-Dorig vowed that the next time he lay siege to heaven that it would fall.

As long as there are those wishing to rule their world, Mal-Dorig will inspire cults and temples across Narya. They pray to him for guile to outsmart their rivals and strength to defeat/conquer their enemies.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Tyr Grimjaw the One-Handed God and the Fenrir the Wolf, Devourer of the Sun


Long ago, perhaps in the Age of Wonders or perhaps before, Tyr Grimjaw was a mortal man.

This was in a Narya incomparable to the world today: demons and devils walked in out of the world as if through a curtain, the gods fought alongside men in wars against villainous threats and magic was a song taught to all. In these dangerous times, it is said that great heroes rose to meet the danger and, among these heroes, the Wolf Clan was renowned for their courage. They faced off against armies of giants, angled great sea serpents out of the seas, and faced off against the Old Ones without blinking an eye. Their leader was man named Tyr. He was not just an impressive warrior and commander of men, he was known to be a merciful and even-handed judge who demanded appropriate adjudication in all things. His seriousness is what earned him the title of "Tyr Grimjaw".

Eventually, their paths crossed with the gods themselves and Grimnir Blue-Cloak himself. The god came to them in his guise as an old man, accompanied by his son Puck as a lame and dull boy, on the eve of a blizzard. Grimnir offered counsel and guidance of an elder in exchange for shelter against the cold and a good meal for him and his lame son, and while another Wolf Clan member would've chased the beggars off, Tyr was magnanimous. Grimnir spoke cryptically, as he tried to give them aid in a coming battle against the Old Ones, and the other Wolf Clan members scoffed. But Tyr was grateful. Tyr Grimjaw took Grimnir's advice and, on the next battle, though many of his clansmen lay dead, he was victorious. Grimnir was so impressed by the courage, wisdom and strength of Tyr Grimjaw that he made him his blood brother from that day forward.

But the son of Grimnir was jealous of his father's new compatriot. Puck Darkheart, also known as Robin Goodfellow, was known for his trickery. It is said he had some hand in the theft of fire by Prometheus. He might have overlooked Tyr Grimjaw but, when his father began comparing the grave and serious leader to his son's frivolous behavior, he decided to try to put the god in his place. Puck gathered up all of the bodies of the deceased Wolf Clan and brought them to the Witch of the Ironwood. Using her dark magics she created from their broken bodies a great wolf called Fenrir and set the wolf upon the world.


Fenrir was said to be such a great beast that even the gods feared him.

The wolf was so fast that none could outrun him and his senses so keen that none could. His howls shook mountains and instilled fear in even the Old Ones. He hunted giants, tearing down the walls of their fortresses, and savaging their armies. He preyed upon dragons, tearing off their wings, and feasting upon them scales and all. His ceaseless hunger was only topped by his pride and cruelty, taking pleasure in instilling fear in all, as he challenged mortal and god alike to dare cross his path. After all, it was easier if his meals came to him.

The gods tried traps, they tried great chains and spells, and even tried to trick him into leaving the world but the child of Puck Darkheart and the Witch of the Ironwood was impervious to all their attempts to stop him. He took pleasure in escaping their traps, breaking their chains and runes, and using brute strength to return from whatever realm they attempted to banish him.

Eventually, Grimnir and Brigid the Smith worked together to create a simple scheme. Brigid fashioned a golden ribbon Gleipnir. Brigid herself, along with Grimnir and Tyr, invited the great wolf to a feast in his honor. They told him they would induct him into godhood, admitting their defeat, and pledged to cease their attempts to stop him. Vainly, the great wolf came, gloating and smiling, speaking with the voices of all the fallen he had devoured, as he fed and drunk into a stupor. It was then that Brigid presented the ribbon to Grimnir as he latest triumph. She claimed that it may look like a pretty thing but, in fact, it was stronger than any chain. In fact, it was so strong, only Fenrir could break it. The wolf could sense some trickery as the gods suggested they test it on their powerful guest. She explained she had tested all manner of magic and weapon it and all had failed. When Fenrir feigned disinterest, she teased "if Lord Fenrir is afraid of my pretty ribbon, why should we be afraid of Lord Fenrir?"

The wolf agreed to let them bind him in it but that, in good faith, one of them must agree to place their hand in his maw. They all knew this meant sacrificing their hand. It was the goodly mortal Tyr Grimjaw that stepped forward and offered his hand. The beast took it in his maw and allowed them bind him. He laughed, biting off Tyr's hand and tried to leap forward to finish him, but instead tumbled. The binds worked and, with Grimnir and the other's work, they were able to protect the world from the beast. They banished him and, for his sacrifice, Tyr was granted godhood.

This is the tale of Tyr Grimjaw become the One-Handed God and of one crime of Puck Darkheart.

It is said that, when the world ends, Fenrir will escape his binds and devour the sun, ending the world, before he and Grimnir will slay each other. It is said that Fenrir's son, Garm, will be the one to kill Tyr Grimjaw.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Nation Building: The Free Kingdoms of Thule

FROM THE ASHES OF WAR RISES...

THE FREE KINGDOMS OF THULE:
FENBERRY, HAUSBERG,  PHILLIPDOM, THESSIA, 
THE LAKELANDS, RAVBRAT, & THE HULDERLANDS

Thule is the largest continent of Sublanarya and takes up the majority of the northern realm. Unlike the paradise of old Saesun, Thule has been in a constant state of political upheaval for thousands of years. Between invasions by all manner of monsters, colonization from across the sea, and the proclivity of the natives toward war created a constant landscape of change.

It is believed that the first human inhabitants of Thule have either been native to the land or migrated there by navigating a bridge of ice across the polar ice cap from an undiscovered native land (theories among academia vary wildly). The indisputable facts are that when the iaurdin first "discovered" old Thule, there were tribes of primitive humans from the hills of modern Albyon, hunting primitive halfings, to the frost-bitten coast along the Dead Sea where the battled great white walruses. During these primitive years, elves avoided much contact with them but there is evidence of dwarf tribes trading with early humans and, less nobly, using them for slave labor. This all changed when the Dark Age sent catastrophe after catastrophe into motion.

The Giants of the Hold enslaved the civilized races of Thule, the iaurdin colonizers and the native dwarves and hulderfolk, but treated humans as they had since time memorium: as targets for rock throwing contests, prey for wild hunts, and food for their giant hounds. With the giants more preoccupied with trying to build a small, burgeoning empire, humans were forced to migrate away from the east but avoided much of the conflict. It was during this time that the earliest villages and towns began to sprout up, some of which still stand today, though they have been razed and raised back up many times over the centuries. But, as the giants were overthrown and the humans of Thule's society began to thrive in their own iron age, a threat nearly wiped them off the map.

A witch-cult to the hag goddess Skoraxia led by her son the reborn god Kalibos led a horde of cruel and barbaric raiders that attacked settlements all throughout the land. The peoples of Thule were forced to fight off this new threat and forced it back into the lands to the east. As part of some final plan or perhaps in desperation, the witch cult transformed their horde into horrible and dangerous beastmen. The fecundity of this new race allowed its numbers to swell and when let loose across Thule razed every settlement across the continent. The old Hamutian Empire and the Zafarians were only able to stave off the beastmen by their command of the seas and control of impenetrable fortifications. Thule became an abattoir with the beast-men hunting men for food and sport and the witch-cult rounding up victims for mass sacrifices to their monstrous gods. Many Thule peoples in the western lands escaped by seeking amnesty in Saesun and elsewhere. It was only the arrival of the Holy Imperium that the tide turned. The results left the eastern land, called the Hold, unlivable but Kalibos and his horde were defeated. Humans of Thule returned to reclaim their ancestral lands and used their knowledge gained from abroad to create kingdoms of their own.

By the Age of Restoration, it was called "the Land of a Thousand Kingdoms" by scoffing elves. The territory map was a complex map of over-lapping lines, color-coding and shading that would leave any cartographer or historian either drooling or in tears at the task set before them. Between the many wars and complicated monarchical lines of succession, the land became embroiled in many civil wars between neighboring lords. And yet, when the elves conquered the western most lands of Thule, a push for unification changed the landscape to something far more stable than that of the Land of a Thousand Kingdoms. Today, there are seven kingdoms that make up the league of small nation states called the Free Kingdoms of Thule.

The Free Kingdoms of Thule are made up of seven nation states, from west to east, Fenberry, Hausberg, Phillipsdom, Thessia, the Lakelands, Ravbrat and the Hulderlands.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Faiths of Sublanarya: Aurelian the Golden Sun and Fiona the Lunar Huntress

The Four Sisters are not the only children of Grimnir.

Famous among the core pantheon, are the representatives of the Sun and the Moon, the twins, Aurelion and Fiona. Born of a trist between Grimnir and a missing titan goddess Lotus, their existence was hidden even from Grimnir in a cave beneath an ancient temple on an island hidden at the bottom of the sea. It is rumored that the Four Sisters witnessed the birth of these new gods, not knowing their true identities, but drawn to their place of birth. Upon seeing the divine creatures born, radiant and gleaming, the Four Sisters knew they were destined for greatness, but had no idea that they were, in fact, their half siblings. The titan goddess begged them to keep their location secret and they swore to protect the beautiful and blessed twins.

When they were but a few days old, Aurelian was playing by the river in the cave when a great monstrous serpent came crawling out of a crevice. The serpent was the serpent god Python who, sensing the power of these children, intended to eat them up to wound heaven. Aurelian begged his godmothers for a weapon to slay the beast and, hearing his cry, Soffia told Pyra to fly to the sun and retrieve for him the bow of the primordial sun god Hyperion.With the flaming bow, the boy wounded the serpent and sent it slithering back. His failure to slay it may doom the world as it is said the serpent will one day return to end the world with the aid of the other serpent gods.

The next threat was another titan, Tytyos, sent by the titans themselves to find their mother Lotus. Tytyos had been a spurned suitor of the twin's mother and intended to take her back as his bride. When he saw her with young Fiona, he flew into a rage and attacked her viciously. He was a brute so large that to save his mother's life, he was transferred to and birthed from the earth itself, creating a great wound still in the sea. Aurelion was too far away to help so Fiona begged for help from their godmothers. This time it was Terra and Delphina who heard her cry, Delphina diving to the bottom of the sea to retrieve the bow of the primordial moon goddess Luna while Terra attempted to drag Tytyos back into the earth. With the bow in hand, Fiona made quick work of Tytyos and Terra dragged him broken body back into the earth from whence he came. But it was too late for Lotus, who, as she lay dying, told the Four Sisters that her children were the true heirs of heaven.

The sisters feared for the child gods, that their mother may grow wrathful at the existence of the sweet twins, and tried to hide them from her. But their efforts would be in vain.

Grimnir discovered them by the grim prophecy of the god Null, who he had created from the body of Mim, when Null told him he saw two futures: the sun and moon sitting on the throne of heaven and the sun and the moon slaying each other. The prophecy at first confused Grimnir as the titans of the sun and moon were long dead. So he asked Mim the Whisperer. He was told that the sun and moon had been born and that his children hid the secret. Grimnir felt betrayed and, gathering his might, summoned his children to heaven. It is said that upon seeing their father's face, so full of disappointment, his daughters remained resolute. Save poor Terra. Terra fell weeping not at her father's feet but at her mother's. She pleaded that she not kill them. Kleeona was flummoxed. The other three revealed the truth that they had hid their half siblings from Grimnir and Kleeona to protect them. Grimnir was stunned this time. He looked to his wife. Kleeona stood up from her throne and demanded to go to the cave. The daughters pleaded for her to show mercy but she was firm in her command. Grimnir was already gone.

He went to find his children and protect them from Kleeona. He went to the save, searching for them, but he was barred from entering the cave as his daughters had used their spells to prevent all men and monsters from entering after the attacks of Merrshaulk and Tytyos. This did not stop Kleeona. Inside she would find the twins still mourning over their mother's body.

Grimnir waited by the cave entrance for his wife and when he did he cried tears of joy. For Kleeona did not leave the cave alone. She came out holding the hands of each child and became the stepmother of her husband's twins from that day forward. 

There are many stories told of these children who took up the mantle of the sun and moon. Aurelion would become the radiant master of the Sun and all the beauty it touches. He became the patron of music, poetry and the arts. He would know many lovers and quickly became the favorite son of his father. Fiona instead chose a more aesthetic life, vowing chastity, being the protector of women and enemy of men who would abuse them, and occupied herself by hunting beasts (not just beast-like men). She is often depicted with a torch as she, like the moon, provides light in dark times.