Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for the Faerie War

F is for The Faerie War

After the universe was cast into the Void by the Father came a period known as The Banishing. As the universe flew through the Void, it attracted the attention of powers better left ignored. And so it was, when the universe finally came to rest, that these powers which lived in the dark became aware of Haume, and the creations of the Mother, the Father, and the Child.

After the Banishing, the elves of Haume knew that the time had arrived for them to seize their destiny, and to take over Haume. The elves began to organize the races of Haume. At first, all was well with the world. The dwarves helped the elves rebuild the world, using their skills and the elves’ magic to make many wondrous cities and other marvels of the world. The Halflings were content to dwell in their woodland abodes, singing songs of the great wonders of their Faerie brethren. Only the races of Maan were not welcomed into the circle of life. While some of the races of Maan were accepted by the Founders (as the races of elf, dwarf and halfling came to be known), and even began to learn the secrets of arts, culture, magic, and crafting, many more races were not accepted because of their passionate, warlike nature. So it was that these abandoned races came to find camaraderie with the only ones who would accept them – the Voices of the Void. While some of these Voices were well-intentioned, most we bitter and twisted by their isolation in the Void, or jealous of the gifts given the races of Haume by the Faerie Queen and the Great Maker. As the races of Maan fell under the sway of the Voices of the Void, they learned terrible secrets Maan was not meant to know. Over time, these races of Maan were corrupted by the influence of these evil spirits. Over time, these races became as twisted as their dark masters. Driven far from the civilized realms by the other races of Haume, these races dwelled apart, in societies ruled by strength and violence. They came to be known as the Forked Ones, for their decision to branch away from the other races. Over time, they became even more twisted in the dark places, gaining strength. The greatest of the Orcs (as their name eventually became corrupted) were known as the Overgrown (which would be corrupted into Ogre).

The other races of Haume ignored the Forked Ones, thinking of them as misbehaving children in need of correction, until one day, when the whole of Orc society showed up on the borders of the Civilized Lands, in numbers greatly outnumbering the other races. Within weeks, their savage forces had slaughtered all the encountered, driving back the Founders, and those races of Maan who stood with them. It came to pass that a great conclave of the Founders was held, where they discussed what should be done. The debate raged for many days, but at the end, the elves convinced the other races that, with their magic, they could make an army even mightier than the Orcs, using savagery to defeat savagery. Great was the opposition to this plan – many felt that it was dangerous to put their faith in savagery, and in magic, which only the Elves and Halflings had mastered. However, the Elves convinced the other races that there was nothing to fear, and that they would be able to control that which they created.

And so it came to pass, that the elves took other elves, as well as halflings, dwarves, and even humans, and worked their great magics upon them, to create even mightier warriors than The Forked Ones. For many days, the night skies were lit with unnatural fire, and the earth groaned in protest. And when they were done, the elves stood back and marvelled at what they had made.

But it soon became apparent…. that the elves had failed.

Where they had tried to create swift, cunning scouts by altering the brave halflings, they instead created the crawling darkness of the Goblins (so named for the mewling, gobbling sounds they made) and Kobolds (whose name was a corruption of “cold-blooded”, for they were merciless, cold-blooded killers). Their attempts to strengthen the races of Maan into great leaders instead twisted and corrupted them into the savage warrior-races of Bugbears (the “ugly heirs”) and Hobgoblins (the “human gobblers”). The steadfast, indefatigable dwarfs became Trolls, twisting their unbreakable spirits into unkillable bodies. And their fellow elves, who secretly sought to rule the other races under their thumbs, were twisted into the races of the Giant-kin.

The other races were horrified at the failure of the elves. The dwarves, furious with the failure of the elves, vowed to destroy whatever abomination they could, swearing a blood oath against these corrupted races. The humans, horrified at what their brethren had become, and terrified at what the elves might do to repair the situation, fled into the wilderness, isolating themselves from both sides. The elves, secretly ashamed at their failure, vowed to try again, refusing to accept failure. The Halflings were so horrified at what had become of their brothers, that they abandoned magic, for they saw it, not the elves, as the great failure. It was eldritch forces that had corrupted the Forked Ones, and it was eldritch forces that the elves had use to corrupt the Founders. The halflings begged the elves to reconsider their reckless magical experiments, but the haughty elves, convinced of their own superiority, refused to believe they could fail again. And fail again they did. This time, the elves tried instead to alter the beasts of nature with their magic, not understanding that they were tampering with a fundamental force. This time, their failures created the abominations which became known as gnolls, lizard-men, snake-men, and other horrors. The dwarves, seeing the nightmares the elves created beginning to work alongside the Forked Ones, gave up on the Founder brothers, and retreated into the darkness, where they were the undisputed masters of their realms. The halflings, finally realizing that the elves would never be convinced that failure was an option, simply disappeared, returning to live in the deepest, most untouched parts of the land, overcome with grief and regret. They vowed to never tamper with forces of magic, instead preferring to live in the moment, conscious now of how quickly life could change. The elves were chastened, but unrepentant, continued to believe in their own superiority, and continually dabbled with forces best left untouched, trying to atone for their secret shame.

For the humans, besieged now on both sides, and no longer trusting any of the Founders (for they had been abandoned by the dwarves and Halflings, and no longer trusting of the elves) struggled to survive, at the same time continuing to study the paths of magic, either in hopes of finding a way to repair what the elves could not, or power to harness what the elves had created. The only thing the humans had which the others races lacked, was faith – faith that things had to get better. Faith that things WOULD get better. And it was from this faith that the humans found something the other races never have… the healing power of magic.

However, by then, the damage was done. The world of Haume was ravaged. Where once, the Founders had created great cities, temples, and other wondrous places, now there was only dead, abandoned ruins… destroyed not only by the ravaging Forked One, but by the elves’ own failed creations. The dwarves lived in darkness, keeping only their own council. Their lives revolved around constantly trying to rebuild what they had lost, and fighting to destroy what had been created. The dwarves had little time to rehash the failings of history. The Halflings, grieved by what had become of their beautiful world, lived only for today, unencumbered by the past. The elves chose to ignore their past, in hopes of expunging from history the record of their failure. And the humans, with the shortest lifespan of all the races? Although they tried to remember, as time passed, it became harder and harder to accurately remember history, as pieces began to be missed, and fall victim to the sands of mortality.

Today, the Faerie War is mostly forgotten. Some say that the dwarves have carved the history into the walls and pillars of their great city, but none have time to read them. Others say that there are some elves that have kept the history of Haume, although it is unsure whether the history they have kept is how it happened, or how they want the Founders to THINK it happened. It is said that the Halflings remember all, and spend as much time trying to forget all. Of the Forked Ones, and the other degenerate races, there is little likelihood that they remember anything other than violence, fear and death. Of the humans, there exist bits and pieces of history spread out across all of creation. If it could all be brought together, in one place, then perhaps there would be a history, but for now, the story remains incomplete. However, the oldest and wisest of all the races say that there are some great watchers who have kept a history of the world, through all the days of light and darkness….. that the trees, and the few Faerie creatures composed entirely of magic who dwell amongst them, still hold the truth; that in the deepest pits, where dwell the dragons, the most powerful of the creatures of magic, the knowledge of all the Founders successes and failures is still held; and in the highest of mountains and amongst the clouds, where those of the giant-kin whose spirits were uncorrupted by the elves dark magics dwell, a record has been kept with the knowledge that there will come a day of reckoning….

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