There were no ill-stars during the days or nights of Hy-brasyl. Fruits were plentiful, and fulfilling, and beasts and men alike followed their nature.
Elements were unchained. The elements danced out escapades on the night sky, or buffeted young souls on sweet zephyrs, waves, rising hills, or warm gushes of harmless fire. Humanity lived in harmony with all that was. Whether out of goodness, or lack of need, no one was tempted to lose his soul for wont of power.
Elders heard an angelic voice when it was their time. They parted from Hy-brasyl fondly; without regret. Who could regret the golden streets, towers, or unspoiled fruits and meats. On their hill, or in their home, they awaited with a patience known today only in Aosda. Death came gently, creeping as a slow, silky sheet over their eyes. The elders simply slipped beneath the waves of Hy-brasyl and drifted on fond memories in Grinneal.
A millenium passed. Some would say it was too short; yet it was the memory to last through all the ages. A man was found in the street, dead, cold. He had lived across the river Cionta. Hy-brasyl mourned his death, but wondered why he had died suddenly, violently, with a pale look across his face.
Thus began the investigation into the nature of the world. Elements were no longer partners for play and imagination, but were tools for discovery. Those that began the discipline, though, found no peace in the answer. Human magic was born; along with it men gained a fatal glimpse of the nature of things outside the local harmony.
Hy-brasyl split. People horded nature; for the power found therein. A few harnessed magic and ruled thereby. The new rulers ground stones into potions and advanced the art of war into more deadly swords. Agricultural flourished for the purpose of supporting armed assault; all to horde the power locked in the elements.
The first ill-star was recorded. A star was seen streaking the sky, and it was noted as a herald of doom. Perhaps such stars had scribed the sky before, yet never was one watched intently for signs of good or ill fortune for one’s neighbor. Hideous altars were built toward the stars and toward the north, Kadath, where it is said resided the worldly home of the Gods.
Priests arose and foolishly succoured those of Kadath. Fulfilling their own prophecy of doom, men acquired, for the first time, the notice of that which dwells in Kadath. The priests whose prayers toward dark north were answered, went mad. Others may have, we shall never know, for they disappeared into the dark north forever. Wise men left Hy-brasyl, now corrupt, avoiding the corrupt men and the things with which they dealt.
Meanwhile, the magician’s balance of nature was destroyed. Elements were employed to war with others. Air, Water, Earth, and Fire assaulted neighbors. Thus, Hy-brasyl drowned. Shadows crossed over the day, and all became as night. People turned to look but could not find light of day or star. A rumble emerged, as waves climbed higher, the water flooding the streets, the cities, and the tallest towers.
Only the fastest that fled the drowning city survived. They scored the land with their labor. Some stumbled onto or sought out the wise men who had left earlier. The people ignored the cause of chaos and sought the comfort that was Hy-brasyl in its glory.
A few of the less wise of the men became kings. Three lasting civilizations were born. Finach, presently known as Mileth. Sarnath, presently known as Gear Inbhir, and Niara. Crusades against neighbors arose, from which only the few in power or seclusion escaped toil, disease and death. Conquest became their religion. Elemental magic scattered the mountains and rained stardust on the heads of enemies.
Out of an obscene understanding of the elements was wrought a fifth element: darkness. From it, atrocious creatures were born. Some which died or vanished with only a lingering sense remaining, and others that the foolish summoner would wish that they had vanished. Their towns, too, would be eaten by the monstrocities.
Magic outside of the King’s courts was generally prohibited thereafter. Kings, however, used the magic in their wars and in the imposition and sustenance of their luxury. The creatures became threats to neighboring enemies and internal opponents that challenged the throne.
The hideous creatures prospered under foolish reigns. These creatures were different from monsters known to the world. There was no orc or goblin that gripped the mind, and tore it like these beings did. The dubhaimid, as the were fearfully called, went through maddening motions, as if dancing to an obscene god. The dubhaim knew the secrets of life and death; which meant death for all mortal races. They created and stocked the underworld, land of terror and darkness. This was nothing like the final resting place, Grinneal of Hy-brasyl. Souls screamed without rest in the underworld of the dubhaimid.
Perhaps they screamed too loudly, or perhaps the thoughts of the living were too strong. The eighth aeon of Temuair was known. Wise men described it by the being that was born: Chadul, the ruler of the third realm: the underworld. The wise returned to the worship of Danaan, goddess of the light.
A war rose up of light and darkness, the armies amassed under Danaan or Chadul. Danaan convinced the other beings aid to her, and Chadul was defeated in three days. Chadul was held at bay at the darkness. Not without casualties. The mortal world was ravaged by hail, earthquakes, floods, fire, and the fingers of the dubhaimid.
The beings realized what was done and wept for mortality. Mortal spirits wandered the land, and slipped into the darkness of Chadul’s realm. Darkness spread.
Survivors gathered and balkanized. The wisdom wars should have taught them did not survive. Hungry for a memory of Hy-brasyl glory, without the discipline to its creation in their heart, they used more of the darkness for conquest. Lord Tenes arose from them, forming a foolish alliance with six other lords and one inhuman thing. They called their alliance the League of Darkness.
They formed a pact called the Anaman. It was a foolish agreement between themselves and an agent of otherworldly chaos. They gained a thousand-year lifespan and the unification of Temuair. The pact was not purely evil. It allowed fresh souls to escape the realm of Chadul.
The League and outsiders divided Temuair into ten kingdoms, beginning the Dark Ages. Kings and Lords were tired of war. They gathered to try to create a pact of peace. They could not agree, out of greed. Tenes, though, got what he wanted.
A new lord stood against Tenes: Ainmeal. Ainmeal worshipped Danaan, and had the favor of the goddess. He swept through battle gracefully. Though not of the courtly upbringing of Tenes, Ainmeal exceeded in grace of wit and temperament. The sidh, the faerie races, were said to converse and aid Ainmeal in battle. A glow stood about him in battle. And a woe befell his adversaries.
The kings’ magic power and armies came from ancient civilizations, and the territories they founded their kingdoms upon. No one wanted to give up their territory. Ainmeal gathered with three kings to found the new capital, Loures on the great plain: Ardmagh. Tenes, the ruler of the city, and his allies went to war. His notable allies were: Suomi, Massai, Feasgar, and Glaic. Allies dominated the beginning of the war. Ainmeal, however, did not back down. Ainmeal divided the allies against each other. Then Suomi joined Ainmeal’s forces, ending the war. Now Loures ruled the empire, and Ainmeal was King of Ardmagh.
Originally, Ainmeal renamed Loures, to erase the memory of it’s previous reign, but it soon regained it’s older name when he left the throne to his son. Loures had achieved its might and craftsmanship from the artisans that had worked under Tenes, not Ainmeal. When Ainmeal’s son died, a shaman-empress was elected. This lineage was a puppet to the spirit that had existed before Ainmeal.
‘Twas not till the fourth empress, Ealagad, the “Steel Swan,” took power. She gathered the other nine kings. She was stronger than the dubhaimid. The dubhaimid dreamt of resurrection. It created many hideous monsters; which sought the ancient civilization: Aosda.
Seven beings led the spirits of Aosda to Temuair. These beings were determined to protect mortals. Thus they began the 100 years war against Darkness, for the sake of the light, and to complete the unfinished empire. It was the Shadows War.
Those united under Ealagad suffered defeat in the form of plagues of madness until magicians of Rucesion discovered the sixth element: light. The creatures of darkness, the dubhaimid, were defeated after another generation of war. Rich towns filled their streets with lamps containing a tear of this element to keep the darkness at bay.
Yet, every light casts a shadow. …
(Excerpted from Seanchas Temuair, Vol. 1, in the Library of Loures)