The Beginning of Something Great
April 9, 2012
This is the first part of my history of Royan, and it is the killing of the gods.
Royan is a specifically atheistic world where the gods and their religions are snuffed out because of their danger to the world around them. It is a classical fantasy world where the magic is separated into scientific Schools and the wizards are accorded positions of power as trusted instructors and engineers of the threads of reality.
The first part of the story of the death of the gods centers on the Dwarves, the oldest of the many races.
Once, long ago, Royan was not a peaceful place. The races of the world warred with one another, the land was raw and unfinished, and the gods made sport with those who served them. Each peoples had an ancient and powerful intelligence that inspired them, that caused them to have religion and fervor, that caused the zealots to whip the peoples into war and avarice against their friends, their cousins, their families. These times were dark and fraught with danger for many, especially those who rose to lead the many peoples of Royan for they rode at the forefront of their Gods’ dark wills and were compelled onward to battle, bloodlust, and death.
It was in these dark days at the grand wizards first convened their conference. It was Jorta of the Orcs, the great sorceress and seer, who first told a prophecy of dark tiding. If the Gods were Slain, then peace would settle upon the land. If the Gods were left to their own devices, however, the threads of Form would fray and become undone, magic would seep from the world, and a crack would appear between That Which Is and That Which Is Not. From there, the world would fold and flounder and collapse, dragging the great bulk of the universe into Nothingness.
So the grand wizards came to a decision. Each would return to their kings and leaders, each would cause them to bend ear and listen, and each would inspire their nations to war against their own creators, their own gods, and cut the shackles of madness and power once and for all.
The story of their triumph was encoded for all time in The Fall of Fire’s Edge, one of the first great songs of heroes. This, however, is the story of what came about and how the Gods fell to the blades of their people, how those people learned to kill their own creators, and how the curses and blessings of the many people came to be. We must start, however, at the god that was most consumed by power, the Fire-Lord Faldazor, creator of the Stone Legion, and he who fashioned the Dwarves from the still-living rock.
The Gods were brother and sister in the time before memory, given custody of the world of Royan by the forces of Creation. The oldest of the men among the Gods was Faldazor, who had a taste for fire and for stone, who made his home in the great volcano Azzarak and crafted servants from the rock who were stout, strong of body, hard of mind, and practical of nature. Since Faldazor was not clever like many of his siblings, the Dwarves were like the stone they were cut from. they could not heal like many of the other races and had to be stitched together again like rent cloth. Every Dwarf would carry with them thread and needle so that they may fix tears in their skin and to hold the body together until the magic within them could knit together again the small parts of the body that must be joined for the mind and limbs to function together. They were not made of meat or plant or light or life, so they did not feel the pain of many of their cousins in the other races.
It was long before the Dwarves found their way to the sciences of magic, long before they discovered the intricacies of the Art Arcane. Their Grand Wizard among the many races was the youngest in training, though the oldest in age as Dwarves never grow old. Though they may procreate, it is with much difficulty and great care. Dwarves are not men nor women in the senses of other races, but instead living statues of flesh and bone, without an understanding of sex or division. This is the reason why the Grand Wizard of the Dwarves was known among the people as Ashlen Rosewind for urt (that is, the word for Dwarf among the Dwarves, which means “of us”) thought the name was beautiful in form. The leader of the Dwarves was Ashlen’s life-partner and was known among the other races as Rotherak Axe-Eater and took great delight, in what fashion Dwarves can, in being morbid and dramatic.
The day that Ashlen returned from the convocation and told Rotherak Axe-Eater of the plan for deicide, Rotherak thought the other races mad. Urt was convinced, though, that the gods were capable of dying, of falling to the earth and not rising again, but it would require great power and weapons fashioned for the gods’ hearts alone. Faldazor, on his molten throne, would need to be halted. He was of formless chaos so the blade could not bite deep enough, nor the point pierce far enough, to kill the raging fire within him. Instead, it would have to be beat out, flattened, utterly smashed.
Ashlen and Rotherak set out, then, to a second convocation held to discuss the fashioning of the weapons that would be needed to slay the gods and bring to the world of Royan.
This is the story of those unlikely heroes, those who would rise up and become the overseers of the world, and those who would set in motion forever the destiny of Royan.