ORLD FFECTING VENTS
HISTORY & LORE
The Darkness of Heart ...
[Note: This story first appeared in the Volume 3, Issue 9 DFC on the 4th day, 12th month, of the 96th year in Spur (Nov 1st, 1993), titled: Tavern Tales: The Darkness of Heart, as told by an anonymous storyteller.]
Many weeks had past since the mysterious storyteller had suddenly appeared in the Rose Eternal's taproom to tell of the Great War and the birth of the gods. The occasional nervous glance, towards the corner he had sat in, told that the event still unsettled many of the regular customers. Til one night, as storm clouds gathered in the night sky, the hauntingly familar voice drifted from the shadows...
"At the end of the Great War, Van'los the Wanderer and a handful of Sanae departed the lands to travel deep into the earth..." the voice began.
Several individuals, who had been here weeks before, jumped to their feet at the sound. "Who are you? And how do you know so much of our past?" came the collective shout.
"Before I can speak of myself, I must first tell you of Van'los and the elves of Dark Home" came the response, "Dark Home..."
As the stranger paused in reflection, the seriousness of his words penetrated the minds of those gathered and with scarcely a whisper, they returned to their seats to listen as he continued.
"Dark Home... A land of vast evil and hatred. When they left the battlefield after the Great War, Van'los and his followers found refuge in the deep caverns beneath the lands. To prevent others from following, Van'los used his magick to construct a mystic portal to seal the entrance from the surface.
Van'los was a Chaos Lord of great power and magick. Second only to T'aril Xrath, he was gifted with the power to possess the bodies of others and to use them as his own. It was through the use of his power, that he became known as the Wanderer. An interesting side effect of his power was that upon leaving a Sanae host, due to their close ties to Chaos, the host remained completely loyal to Van'los. At the end of the Great War, Van'los gathered his loyal followers and retreated underground to plot his revenge on all things of Light.
Settling in one of the larger caverns, many years were spent increasing their numbers and insuring their survival. As time past, the Sanae discovered that they were not alone in their underground kingdom. Others had sought safe havens under the earth as well. There were clans of Hithual and Flerians, as well as others no longer seen in the lands (due largely to the acts of these Sanae). Raids against these new enemies became commonplace and many forms of tribute, from gold to the finely crafted items of the Hithual to sacrifices, were given to the Sanae's leader and 'god' Van'los.
Yet even Chaos Lords must age and die in body. Though some say he continues to live in the bodies of others, after centuries in the underground the Sanae were leaderless. In the bloody struggles that followed, five families rose to form a ruling council and Dark Home was united once more. Under the leadership of the Council, the Sanae began to rebuild their shattered lands. The other races took advantage of the weakened city and came close to defeating Dark Home once and for all. Only a concerted effort and chance prevented the Sanae's final defeat. Years past and Dark Home again rose to power, although the Council could not restore the glory it had experienced during the time of Van'los. But with more organized foes, new caverns for expansion became harder to gain. And after a time, overcrowding and disease threatened to do what the other races could not.
This might have spelled the end of Dark Home had not the mages stumbled on a fantastic discovery. Through experimentation, the Sanae were able to re-open the barrier erected by Van'los to block access to the surface. However, the Chaos magick that created it was of such magnitude, that it could only be opened but once a year and even then chances of survival were but slim. Still, it offered new hope to the Sanae and upon reaching the age of twenty-one, all Sanae were given a choice: to attempt passing through the barrier to spread Chaos throughout the surface lands or remain below and fight for survival against the other races and among the Sanae themselves. It was considered a great family honor to have a member attempt the gate when he or she reached the Age of Choosing and many brought new honor and status to their families... Most died.
The few Sanae that survived the annual ritual found life on the surface strange and filled with difficulty. The surface world had undergone many changes during the millennia spent beneath the ground. Old races had died out and new ones rose to fill their place, while others had experienced vast changes. However, one thing had not changed over the years: the hatred. If anything, it had grown stronger. Even the surface Sanae were held in contempt, as those from Dark Home felt those on the surface lost their true link to Chaos by not following Van'los to the underground. To ease their struggles on the surface, the Sanae scattered across the lands, blending in with the others and spreading Chaos throughout the land. Once a year, they gather at the portal to help their surviving brethren and gain news of their lands. For twenty years this has been happening... ten to fifteen a year... sometimes more, sometimes less. And the news is always the same, the mages are closer to completely opening the portal and unleashing an evil horde onto the surface..."
Pausing for a moment, the storyteller waited for the question to be raised...
"Again I ask... Who are you and how to do you know of what you speak?" came the query from a follower of Odarous as he rose to his feet with his hand on his sword.
With a sad shake of his head and a pass from his hand, a shimmering translucent wall rose between him and the crowd. Rising to his own feet and stepping forward into the light for the first time, the mysterious gentleman eased his dark hood back to reveal delicate features black as midnight with eyes like black diamonds.
"I am Vanderlosse Korynthanis... a elf of Dark Home..." came the reply, "But it grows early and there is much to do...".
As if planned, the clouds broke and the morning sun began to stream through the windows. Blinking back at the sudden brightness, the patrons turned back to the corner as the wall began to fade. Gone was the storyteller, but as the sun glinted off the silvery shield, with its' engraved dragon, left suspended in the air, all knew he would return...
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