26 July 2007

Historia Antiquitatis - Part I

The following is an excerpt from the Historia Antiquitatis, one of the early masterworks of Ceorlinus Rectinarius, Sapienter Regalis of the Third House of Elvehelm in the reign of Alla’rychian Æyllian, Rex Regis Elvii (b 384 Dis, r 687 Dis, m 997 Dis, d 1299 Dis) and his son and hier, Sîarahalla Æyllian, Rex Regis Elvii (b 1141 Dis, r 1299 Dis, d 212 NH).


The universe began as an empty void, and long endured in this estate. At length, the void was broken by a light, and that light expanded and grew until it shone bright and clear; but the universe is endless and the light, great though it is, is not. And in the moment the universe knew light it knew also darkness. And in time the light came to know itself, and it was Anā; and in that same moment, the darkness became aware, and it was Ūru. Where the light met the dark lay a place that was neither; and it knew both Anā and Ūru, and forth from the union of the light and dark came the Powers. And the Powers were the Anari, the Bringers of the Light; and the Uruqua, the Keepers of the Dark.

The Anari were seven; three elder daughters, and four younger sons. Eldest and first among them was Bræa, the Brighest, whose name meant “Beautiful” in the Elder Tongue. And she was the vessel of Ana, and wielded all of the powers of the Light. After Bræa came Tian the Just, she whose name means “Order”; and her twin sister Vara the Compassionate, whose name means “Mercy”. They were all three of them tall, and beautiful beyond the reach of mortal word. Tian was stern and wielded a sword forged of the Light of Ana called
Vasatri, a fiery brand that none but she could wield; but Vara had a kind face and bore, in latter years after the forging of Anuru, a rod of the wood of the First Tree, which healed all living creatures, even unto calling the Children of the Powers, the Kindred, back from the halls of Tvalt.

The Brothers of the Anari were four. Eldest was Hara the Wise, whose name, in the Elder Tongue, meant “Wisdom”. He was tall and slender, with golden hair and eyes of silver, shimmering with the light of the stars that came after; and he bore a scroll given him by Bræa, upon which was written with all of the knowledge of the universe. Next came Esu the Brave, whose name means “Courage”, who was tall and strong, with heavy fists a ready laugh, and who bore a hammer of adamant; and with it in hand he, and he alone, had the strength to sunder the foundations of the universe. After Esu came Nosa, short and dark, quick of hand and of humour, whose name means “Wit”, and who bore a girdle woven of the light of Ana, that made him fleet of foot, able to outrun even Ana itself. And after Nosa came the youngest of the Anari, Lagu the Strong, whose name means “Indomitable”. Lagu was short, broad and mighty; and though stern and quick of temper, he was steadfast of heart, and proof in body and in spirit against all of the terrors and blandishments of the dark.

The Uruqua, the Keepers of the Dark, were likewise seven in number. Eldest among them, and in power a twin to Bræa, was Bardan the Slayer. Bardan moved in a cloud of shadow that none could penetrate, and that brought terror and despair to all he approached. The touch of Bardan was death, and his name, to the Elder Race, meant “The Ending”. After Bardan came forth Zaman the Deceiver, Sister of Death and Mother of Lies. She was the fairest of the powers, white of face and of sable locks, surpassed only by Bræa in her dark beauty, and none could resist her voice or the power of her words. Her name meant “Deceit” in the Elder Tongue. After Zaman came Tvalt, Keeper of the Halls of the Dead and Lord of the Afterdark, whose name meant “the infinite”. Tvalt had no aspect, for he was without form, a force incorporeal and yet implacable; yet unlike his siblings he was not marked by evil, but was absolute and incarnate, the overseer and the judge of all; but still evil things loved to serve him, for he was set in lordship over death. And although he had no visage, his hands were skeletal, and cold.

Kær the Thief was younger sister to Tvalt; she was lithe and comely, but cold of heart, quick of mind and of hand, and faster in stride than all of the Powers, save only Nosa. She wielded a whip woven of shadow that brought endless dreams to any it touched, and her name meant “Treachery”. After Kær came Morga the Destroyer, a giant of fire, hideous of visage, who wielded an immense sword forged of flame and darkness, and whose name meant "Armageddon." After Morga came his sister Ekhalra, called the Witherer, whose aspect was tall, dark and shapely, in the morning a beauty second only to Bræa, in the evening a shadow fell and loathsome to behold. Her mere glance brought weakness, her breath rot and decay, and her touch destroyed all. And the last of the Uruqua was Dæsuqlu, the Pestilent One, whose aspect was as of a scabrous cripple, horrible to behold; but whose true form was unfixed, mutable and changing, but immensely powerful, deranging to the mortal mind, whose presence brought vermin, debility and disease, whose name meant “Plague.”

Bello Dominatii

For eons the Anari and the Uruqua strove between light and dark, each to gain the ascendancy over the other, without ever taking physical form, for there was no firmament upon which to stand to do battle. After an age, Hara consulted with Bræa, and the Anari met and reached agreement with the Uruqua that a place to contain and circumscribe their battles should be made. So the Anari and the Uruqua together wielded the powers of Light and Dark, and from the void brought forth Anuru, the World of Light and Dark.

At first, the Heavens were the province of the Light, and the Earth was the province of the Dark. From the Heavens came forth the Avatars of Light to serve the Anari; and from the Earth, the Avatars of Dark, to serve the Uruqua. And each of the Powers chose some from among Avatars to be their greatest assistants; and these became the Servants of the Powers. But Bræa and Bardan, the mightiest of the Powers, took no Servants, for in truth, they needed none. And after Anuru was formed and the Avatars come forth, Anā and Ūru bespoke them, and they together wrought a place in the void to contain Anuru; and that place was the Ether, and all of Heaven and of Earth were contained therein. And Anā and Ūru, and the Powers, and their Servants, and the Avatars of Light and Dark took shape and substance in the Void beyond the Ether, but travelled freely therein, throughout Heaven and Earth. And Anuru, woe betide that small and misbegotten mote of Evertime, became their battleground.

Once the Avatars had come forth from Heaven and from Earth, and the Servants had been selected to lead them, the Anari and the Uruqua recommenced their battling for the supremacy of all; and mighty were their struggles. The earth was torn and rent with their lightnings, and the heavens burnt by their fires. Waters were cast up, and mountains hurled down in ruin. At length, the treachery of Bardan was made manifest, for at the height of the battle, he tore the foundations of the Earth, and from the gash in Evertime he wrought, poured forth as a mighty torrent the Minions of the Dark, the spirits of which had been sown in the earth by the Uruqua, and that had lain in slumber, and in ambuscade, for the Anari and the Avatars of the Light. And the Minions of the Dark were legion, and the Anari and their Avatars were pressed backwards in battle, near unto defeat. But as the end approached, the wisdom of Hara told, for he had conspired with Bræa to sow the spirits of the Minions of the Light in the heavens; and they fell upon the Minions of the dark, as bolts from the skies; and though the Minions of the Light were fewer in number, their power was far the greater; and they slew, and were slain, in great number. And the slain Minions of the Dark became the rocks of the mountains, the stones of the hills, and the grains of sand of the beaches of Anuru; but the Minions of the Light slain in battle became the stars of the sky.

And it is said that one of these slayings wrought the greatest evil in Anuru. For Balcocheth, an Avatar of the Dark, one of the Servants of Zaman the Deceiver, met in battle with Tian the Just; and although he was supported by hordes of his Minions, and Tian stood alone, yet she remained one of the Anari and a mighty Power of the Universe, and strove against him with her sword Vasatri, forged of the Light of Ana. In the battle, she sore wounded Balcocheth, and he fell to his knees and begged for mercy; and Tian stayed her hand, and called for her sister Vara to aid the stricken Servant of Zaman.

But his pleadings were treachery, for Balcocheth was not mortally wounded. As Tian stooped to his aid, Balcocheth seized Vasatri and cast the mighty sword to his mistress Zaman, who lay hidden among the stones; and Zaman seized the sword, and smote Tian through the back; and the great Sword of Light passed through Tian and pierced Balcocheth, and slew him as he stood. And so, in the way of his kind, he became in an instant one of the great mountains of Anuru.

Although Tian lived (for even the power of Vasatri was not great enough to slay its own mistress, one of the Powers of Light), she lay in agony, pinned to the evil heart of the stone; and because she could not reach the hilts of the great sword, and because none else had the strength to withdraw it, she could not be freed. And so, it is said, she remains unto this day, the Justice and Order of the world laid low, unmoving and ineffectual, betrayed and brought to naught by Treachery.

But Zaman, wielding Vasatri, had awoken the Light of Ana to her foulness; and the might of the sword struck her even as she flourished it, burning off the hand that wielded the eternal glaive, searing her visage fair, consuming her left eye, and deforming and disfiguring her; and from the loveliest of all beings after Bræa, she became the foulest and most hideous of hags. And so, ever after, walked she the varied paths of Anuru.

Even before the battle between Tian, and Balcocheth, and Zaman had ended, still another treachery of Bardan was revealed; for he had broken his oath to Bræa, taking seven of the greatest of the Avatars of the Dark as his Servants. And into them he poured the Power and Might of Ūru; and such was their hideous strength that they equalled, and nigh surpassed, the Uruqua in their wrath. And so the Anari, with the defeat and imprisonment of Tian, found themselves at a great disadvantage; and for them, the War of the Powers turned to ill.