31 July 2007

Historia Antiquitatis - Part III

Whoa! Things are entirely getting too lively around here. Time for another ancient history lesson.

Today's topic is the Age of Wisdom, brought to you - as usual - by that eminent, and long dead, High Elven sage, Ceorlinus Rectinarius.


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Aetatis Sapientiae

When he had finished with each of his vile creations, Ūru sent them into the world, and they gave their service and their loyalty to the Powers of the Dark. But while they had not free will, the fell beasts of the Dark were unruly, even disobedient; and so Bardan took them under his careful overlordship, for he feared that if his siblings, who were ever untrustworthy and jealous of his rule, were to gain their allegiance, with so mighty a following, they might one day challenge him for mastery of the Uruqu.

Thus, aided by his Seven Servants, Bardan undertook to instruct the new beasts in the knowledge and wisdom of Ūru. The mightiest of his servants, Gargarik, undertook the instruction of the Giants, while Penchriss, called The Wily, was given dominion over serpents. Mordakris, greatest of hunters, gained lordship over wolves and other seeking beasts, and Xanthanis, the Venomous One, was made king of spiders. Korkrynn, the Far-Seeing, blood enemy of Gemmo, Lady of Winds, became Mistress of Raptors, and was as queen to all fell creatures of the skies; and Borduru, the swiftest and most despised of Bardan’s servants, was given dominion over the vermin of Anuru.

Last came Achamkris, eldest and wisest of Bardan’s followers; and she was given lordship over the Dragons; for of all Bardan's creations, these were the wisest and most wilful of creatures. And Achamkriss was pleased with her overlordship; and she hoped that her charges might become even more powerful in time. And to this end, she struck a bargain with Gargarik, so that each aided the other; and so the dragons grew in strength and power, becoming mighty beyond all belief; and the giants grew in wisdom and lore, and those who could, learned the Art Magic from the dragons.

Still Acahmkris was not done; and in the guise of one of the Kindred, she he espied upon the Haradi, and stole from them the secret of speech, and gave it unto the Dragons; and thus the Dragons alone retained the words and potency of the Elder Tongue, in which the Art Magic was first born upon Anuru. And so too were the Dragons the first of Bardan’s foul creations to gain the power of the spoken word.

And this was a momentous decision, with far-reaching consequences. The Dragons taught the Giants to speak, and so the word spread among the fell creatures, and those who had wit to learn it, did so, and Bardan's forces grew mighty, and built great empires of evil. But where the speech of the Haradi was soft and musical, and suited even to the tongues of Dragons (for the Dragons had perforce taken the form of the Haradi to learn it), none other of Bardan's foul brood could mouth the Elven words; and so the speech of the evil creatures was harsh and foul. And each race of evil bent the word to its own uses; and so in time the foul races were estranged.

Under the tutelage of Acahmkris, the Dragons prospered and grew in lore and might, and they lived long years, and came thereafter to be the most powerful, and wisest, and longest-lived of all the mortal beings upon Anuru. Fell minions of the Dark quailed before them, and even the mightiest of the Avatars feared to contend with the Lords and Princes of Dragonkind. But the seeds of the deed of Achamkris were their own punishment and reward; and certain of the Dragons could not bear the corruption of the speech they had learned from the Haradi. And so they separated from their kin, who remained with their brothers, the Children of Bardan; and these exiles betook themselves to the distant places of Anuru, to find a new path. And in time, they found it among the Kindred; but that is a later tale.

Still, despite all of their might, the Dragons were outdone by the Children of Bræa, for they did not possess immortality of spirit; nor could they learn the Free Will that was the gift of Bræa; for that was hers and hers alone to give, a secret even the wily Acahmkris could not wrest from the Brahiri.

The creation and instruction of the fell creatures took Bardan an Age of Anuru, and during this time the Children of Bræa flourished and spread across the earth. The Haradi were slow to grow in numbers, but wise in the ways of tree and forest, and so formed families that became great domains and even kingdoms; and the woods and the hills were their domain. They contemplated the stars and were taught the mysteries of Heaven and of Earth by Hara and by Bræa; and they became mighty in lore and power.

The Esudi were the most fecund of beings, and courageous in exploration, and they spread rapidly across Anuru, founding cities and tilling the land, as they were taught by Esu and by Bræa; and while not nearly so long-lived as the Haradi, they were the most adventurous, and their empires grew and flourished; and ever the red sword shone among them.

The Lagudi, less fecund, but strong and wise in the lore of working stone and metal, found the high hills and cold mountains to their liking, and learned the arts of mining and of the forge from Lagu and from Bræa; and they crafted wondrous things in their soaring halls beneath the stone; and they remained ever the most observant and careful in their devotions to the Powers.

But the Nosadi, although secretive in person among themselves, were yet gregarious with others, and so sought out no lands of their own, but lived in harmony among their brethren; and they were taught, by Nosa and Bræa alike, to be quick of thought, eye and hand. And although, from time to time, they fell out with their brethren, yet they were hardy in time of trial, and feared no being, either in Heaven or upon the Earth.

And in time, each race of Bræa's children was settled in peace and prosperity; and all were content to live under the light of Bræadan; and their mother watched them from afar. But far from the light, in the shadowed places of the Earth, who brother Bardan wrought in watchful silence, and strove towards the destruction of all that she, and the Anari, had worked to build.

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That's all for tonight, folks. Next time we'll get into the really high-calories stuff: the origin of the Elves, and the ancient houses of Harad.

I can hardly wait!