The Oldest of Legends in the Oldest of Languages


     In the beginning, before the ages of man and mer, chaos reigned supreme. All of existence was pure, unbridled energy, without form, direction, or purpose. By chance, these energies began to collide and shape themselves into thoughts, into consciousnesses. These consciousnesses came to be the Ancestors, the beings that took it upon themselves to tame the chaotic energies of the universe. Nyrnwyn, the first of the Named Ones, as she came to be known, saw it fit to create the physical realms. By doing so, the many chaotic energies could ground themselves, and manifest. Still, they were without form, or life. Nyrnwyn and the other Named Ones sacrificed small portions of their own essence to breathe life into them, and shape flesh around their souls. These beings were called Humans. Taurien, the second of the Named Ones, then created all manner of beasts, fish, and birds, and the humans were made to be their caretakers. 

     Meanwhile, the benevolence of the Ancestors had created a disparity in the balance of the energies. Conciousnesses of malevolence formed themselves as well, Zhalgo being the first. He then formed more like himself, to aid him in his mastery of the chaos of the universe, Moghul and Abythine being the first. Zhalgo sought to reduce to universe to its pure and unadultered chaotic state, and his right and left hands helped him. He launched a vicious attack against the physical realms, unleashing hoardes of his corrupt servants to lay waste to all that the Ancestors had made to be. Nerevane, the third of the Named Ones, gave the mortals a portion of her power, and showed them how to tap into its source. By doing so, she gave them magic, and the mortals used it and their own might to vanquish the forces of Zhalgo. Together, the first three of the Named drove Zhalgo deep into hiding, and his Hands fled to the furthermost corners of the universe. Some of Zhalgo's forces remained, and still remain to this day, scattered across the globe, and descend upon the unwary when night falls.

    Nerevane looked on the mortals with fondness, and envied them. She chose to make mortals of her own image, and thus shaped from her own essence the first of Merkind, the Sonmer. When she had done so, she caused a great rift to separate her chosen people from the humans, to keep them pure. When all this was done, she deigned to dwell amongst mortals, where she was worshipped and awed. From Nerevane came the word 'vanity', for she thought very highly of herself. And from Nerevane, the land of Nerevale was created under her benevolence and guidance. This was the first mortal empire, and she was its queen.

     Taurien saw all that Nerevane had accomplished, and crafted from his essence the Orichai, and taught them to commune with nature and the elements. He showed them the merits of community and comradery, as well as the art of the hunt. He descended to walk amongst them, and guide them. The Orichai then shared this knowledge with the Humans, and they mutually prospered. However, true to their nature, the humans eventually warred with the Orichai, turning them from their peaceful ways into savages. In their bloodlust, the Orichai were cut off from their understanding of harmony, and thereby cut off from the elements. Taurien, not to be swayed so easily, tried his hand at creation once more. He studied the handiwork of Nerevane carefully, and when he was confident, he created the Kynmer, the forest people. He taught them all he had taught the Orichai, but he also instilled in them a bitter resentment for all who were not Mer, to protect them from desolation. Unbeknownst to him, he was becoming greatly weakened by his continued effluence of his own power. Nyrnwyn saw this, and outstretched her arm to restore him to his rightful place amongst the stars. Taurien then saw the folly of his zeal. 

     Nyrnwyn and Taurien both agreed then that the Ancestors were not meant to mingle in the realms they had created. Rather, they were to tend to them from beyond, only to manifest when necessary. With some coercing, Nerevane agreed to leave her kingdom in the hands of one of her chosen, and she returned to the Aetherial Realm. They saw that the world was volatile, and would surely destroy itself without their careful guidance and care. And it was so for many centuries. Under the watchful eyes of the Ancestors, the mortal realm was preserved. Its people warred with each other, power was won and lost, but the Ancestors maintained balance throughout.

      During this time, Nyrnwyn thought it prudent to introduce an agent of change and progress, and from the stones of the ground, she formed the Dwarves. She imbued them with an insatiable hunger for knowledge and innovation, and left them to their own devices. Over the centuries, they made many advances in diplomacy, science, and technology, and shared their knowledge freely with the nation of Nerevale. The nation became the highest power in the land, and consequently, an object of envy. 

     And where there is envy, there will surely be hatred. It wasn't long before the other nations of the world began to conspire together to take Nerevale's secrets and power for themselves. These were proud empires in their own right, and forces to be reckoned with. The southern mountain tribes of Orichai banded together under the banner of the great Cavalian kingdoms. The warriors of the frozen north joined as well, and lent their might and numbers to the cause. Finally, the great riders of the plains joined their ranks, and they began their siege against the Nerevalian Empire. Though the power of the Nerevalians was great, they could not withstand the sheer numbers of their foes. At least, not for long. Though they were overwhelmed, the fighting raged for decades. It was forgotten who was in the right, and who were the aggressors, and what was once a great war became outright chaos. The cycle had once again come full circle, as it was in the beginning.

     Against the council of her fellows, one of the younger beings amongst the Ancestors abandoned her status to enter the mortal realm to try and put an end to the mindless destruction. Though she was young, she was wise, and knew what had to be done to save the realm from itself. What had to be sacrificed. She sought out the sage of the North, and the sage of the South. Together, they performed a ritual that lasted a full lunar cycle--a ritual of banishing. And so Nerevale was banished, cast deep into the Void. The young Ancestor that sacrificed herself became the first of the Unnamed, the first of the Ancestors to die. 

     The mortals that remained struggled to rebuild, struggled to forget. It took eons, but Nerevale became all but legend, a whisper spoken about the hearth, a faint ringing in the ears of the discerning. The world as it was had opened a new chapter of its history, amongst countless more to come.