History of Aetaltis: Part III

Behold the wonders of the Age of Magic, gasp at the tragic destruction of Ellor Nyall, and witness the birth of evil in the terrifying fall of Endroren. Discover all of this and more in this installment of the History of Aetaltis.

A scribe copies the Adventure's Guide to Aetaltis for an aspiring hero. (Art by Mitchell Malloy)

Click here to read the previous installment of The History of Aetaltis.

The Age of Magic

With the ability to shape essence to create magic, enari civilization advanced at a rapid pace. Enchanted crops grew faster than their mundane counterparts, putting a swift end to hunger. Magic elixirs cured all but the most virulent of diseases. Mystic portals transported people instantly from one point on the globe to another. Life on Aetaltis went from one of primitive hunting and gathering to one of comfort and cultural sophistication almost overnight.

All the while, the Enaros slept, and with each passing year the enari mastery of magic grew more complete. Soon they were building mighty cities with crystalline towers that touched the clouds, fortresses that flew through the air, and Deepland highways that connected all of the dwarven kingdoms.

The Fall of Ellor Nyall

It seemed that there was no limit to what the enari could accomplish with magic, but the fate of Ellor Nyall proved them wrong. After overcoming an invasion from the southern courts, the queen of Ellor Nyall felt such pride that she declared herself High Queen over all the fey. None before her had dared such an audacious act, but they soon discovered that this was not the limit of her hubris.

The queen revealed that she believed it was her destiny to become one of the Enaros. She commanded her sorcerers to create powerful spells to help her accomplish this lofty goal but gave them just one year to complete the task. The sorcerers worked feverishly, for they knew too well the cruelty of the queen’s punishments for those who failed her. The sorcerers explored many theories and even had some minor successes, but in the end, every effort ended in failure.

THE BOOK OF ETERNITY

The queen’s sorcerers never discovered how to turn the queen into a goddess, but some believe that they discovered the secret of immortality. Time and again adventurers have plunged into the Elliyen Wilds to seek these lost spells.

One of the most intriguing legends refers to a tome called the Book of Eternity. The tales claim the book contains notes made by one of the queen’s sorcerers, and it lies somewhere among the ruins of the old elven capital. Many have tried to retrieve the book but all failed and many were never seen again.

At the end of the year, the queen returned. The sorcerers, too afraid to tell her they’d failed, lied and claimed success. They told her to return in three days to allow Numos to reach its height. At that time, they would begin her transformation.

Over the next three days the sorcerers took everything they’d learned and constructed the best spell they could craft. It was imperfect, and none of them expected it to work, but it was all they could do. On the third day the queen returned, and the sorcerers cast their spell.

The idea behind the spell was to draw as much essence into the queen as possible, giving her access to magical power far beyond that of any mortal. Their hope was that the queen would wield so much power that she'd perceive their efforts as successful. As the spell took effect, they watched in awe as the queen’s spirit shone like a newborn star. For a brief moment they thought they’d succeeded, but only when they attempted to end the spell did they discover how wrong they were.

Try as they might, the sorcerers could not stop the magic. The sorcerers used every power at their disposal, but essence continued to pour into the queen. It was far too much essence for any mortal soul to contain, and the sorcerers feared that it would burn her spirit away to nothing.

The greatest danger, however, was to the land around them, for as every scholar knows, Fey queens are bound by essence to their lands. As the wild spell swelled the queen’s spirit, the arcane power also flowed into the forests, plains, and swamps of Ellor Nyall. Trees went from seedlings to hundred foot tall monsters in a matter of minutes, and newly grown forests swept across the countryside like green waves of leaf and wood. Spreading vines whisked through cities and tore buildings from their foundations. Roots burst through the ground, toppling the graceful elven towers and shattering fortresses.

The people of Ellor Nyall fled. They left everything behind and raced for the nearest harbors and roads, hoping to at least escape with their lives. Some did; most did not. Within a week, the entire eastern coast of the Amethyst Sea was covered by a nearly impenetrable forest. Today, this land is known as the Elliyen Wilds.

THE GREENMEN OF THE ELLIYEN WILDS

The fey who did not escape Ellor Nyall were consumed by the rapidly expanding forests, but it isn’t clear whether or not they survived. Explorers travelling in the Elliyen Wilds often return with stories of semi-intelligent creatures that are half-fey, half-plant. They say that these strange creatures are sensitive to fire, but impervious to nearly all other forms of harm.

No one is sure what happened to the queen or her sorcerers, but eventually the forest stopped spreading. The clerics of Grethken claim that Grethken used his power to put a halt to the forest’s unnatural growth.

The Trial of Endroren

While the fall of Ellor Nyall struck a terrible blow to the elven courts, the disaster had far more serious ramifications. The wild magic of the queen’s spell awakened the Enaros, and they immediately discovered that the enari could shape Essence.

They summoned Endroren, and he came. Showing him the disaster that had befallen Ellor Nyall, they demanded he explain why he gave the enari magic. Endroren calmly stated that he did not need to justify an act he had every right to take. He further explained that while the disaster was tragic, it was no more terrible than the many deaths of those who were burned by fire or drowned while sailing ships across the sea. Should those gifts be barred from the enari as well?

The Enaros were unmoved and declared that Endroren should be punished. He had expected this, but he was not prepared for the severity of their judgement. Endroren was to be stripped of his seat among the Enaros and banished forever from the Golden Halls of Lensae.

At first Endroren reacted with disbelief, but when he realized how serious his siblings were, a deep fury replaced his surprise. In a murderous rage he threw himself at his siblings. It took all their strength to restrain him. “Betrayal and treachery,” he cried, but the Enaros did not listen. Calling forth all their power, they cast him out.

With Endroren gone, the Enaros now had to deal with their brother’s gift. Magic once given cannot be taken away, but some manner of limitation had to be put into place to prevent another disaster like Ellor Nyall.

The Ritual of Limitation

Under the direction of Toletren, who was the most skilled in magic after Endroren, the Enaros wove a powerful spell. Aetaltan scholars have named this spell the Ritual of Limitation, and it permanently altered the way magic functioned on Aetaltis. After the ritual, some applications of magic became extremely difficult while others became outright impossible. Most magic simply ceased to function in the way that it used to, making the old techniques unreliable at best.

Exhausted by the expenditure of power required to enact the ritual, the Enaros performed one final act before returning to Lensae yet again to recover their strength. They commanded their avatars to locate enari with deep religious devotion and grant them the ability to channel divine essence straight from the Enaros. This ensured that the enari, who had come to depend on their magic, would not be left completely without magical aid. Unlike Endroren’s gift, however, with divine essence the Enaros and their avatars could carefully monitor and control the use of magic by mortals. It was by this act that the first clerics of the Enaros were born.

THE AVATARS

The avatars are immortal beings of incredible divine power that act as the hands, will, eyes, voice, and swords of their masters, the Enaros. There are more than 300 named avatars, and some avatars are even worshipped as lesser gods. Theologians disagree on the origin of the avatars, but there are two prevailing theories:

  • Enlightenists believe avatars are ascended mortals. According to this theory, a person who lives a pious life in service to the Enaros has the potential to become an avatar when they die.
  • Eternalists believe avatars are ancient servant spirits that have existed from the beginning of time. They reason that the Enaros summoned these spirits to aid them in their work in the same fashion that Endros and Aros summoned the Enaros. Eternalists believe the enlightenist point of view is blasphemous, and at times the debate has descended into violence.

The clerics were a great aid to the enari, but the Ritual of Limitation had grave implications for the people of Aetaltis. In their cities, the magic that held the cloud reaching spires aloft failed, and these monumental edifices crashed to the ground. In the sky overhead, the great flying fortresses faltered and fell. Everywhere in Aetaltis, the enchanted items that had become a staple of everyday life either ceased to function or began to behave in strange or unexpected ways.

The fey felt the greatest pain from the change. They’d entwined magic into every facet of their lives. They tried to compensate for the loss with clever inventions and clerical magic, but their society relied too heavily on the old spells. So it was that the once mighty fey courts began their slow decline.

Coming next....The Dwarven Age!

 

Holy Symbol of Toletron, Enaros of Knowledge (Art by Ashley MacKenzie)

 

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