[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
"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
"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'
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
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