Usilan Social Anthropological Project 0058 (Human)
Nomadic Northern Tribes of Escadia
Director Tamsien Rhondrite MA
The United Usilan Historian Council
Care of Barandar Fahlaren
Most Respected Colleagues,
Wonderful news! The research of Jhadrian Crondolar was not lost as we had feared. Several volumes of notes and scrolls were recovered recently by another field expert upon his visitation to a small Rinannian Temple in the far northern forests of grid area NH3491. The location of the newly discovered temple has been added to the catologue as per proceedure.
It seems he had arranged to keep much of his research with the Prelate, but in the period of unrest in the winter of 293, all items of learning had been carefully hidden to ensure thier safekeeping. As for the final disposition of Jhadrian himself, we still cannot say.
As we had predicted, the Oral tradition of the Barbarians has proven to be a rich source of information of the time before the Conflagration. It is with cautious enthusiasm that we have found many specifics of their lore coincide with what we already know. I have marked a specific scroll for your immediate perusal.
In Enlightnement and Knowledge,
Tamsien Rhondrite, Master Anthropologist
Director of Human Studies
USAP 0058.3 (Human)
Wolf Clan (winter encampment 4) Northern Escadia
Field Entry wc128 Lore of the Mutana'al
I have chosen to record the happenings of this evening in a less typical journal format to better capture what it was I observed and heard. It was a most interesting evening. -JC
The ice thickened wind threw itself endlessly against the outside of the gathering lodge, tooth and claw ineffectual against those gathered in warmth and relaxed kinship inside.
Many had put aside the thick furs and leathers that would protect them from the deadly elements of a Northern winter. The central hearth popped and crackled, sparks dancing upwards through the blackened metal of the lodge's vent hole, while burning logs glowed with radiant coals under a bank of snowy white ash.
The meal had long since been served and cleared, and many lay or sat in the central area speaking in low voices of the past week's hunt and the usual small gossips of a close knit community. As they spoke, weapons were cared for, clothing and furs were dried, and tribal artisans worked at thier crafts with casual skill.
Children sat at the feet of parents, sleepy eyed and attentive in turn depending on age and the words overheard from adults.
A little girl, not more than five lay half asleep in the arms of a tall broad shouldered man. His golden head was bent to the ear of the petite woman beside him, his lips brushing the coppery wisps curling across her cheek as he spoke quiet words for her alone.
A log crashed in the fire, spraying red-gold embers, startling the little girl awake, even as her mother reached out a soothing hand and smoothed back the hair so like her own. The wind outside howled, slamming the shelter with a frustrated gust of icy rage, causing many of the tribe to pause in thier occupation to look to the sturdy walls as they shuddered.
A carved mask fell from the rafters to the fur covered floor with a muffled thud, drawing the attention of a spindley limbed, ancient featured old crone. Her sudden sharp hiss drew many eyes, and she was watched as she painfully got to her feet and tottered over to the fallen mask. A young woman dogged her steps, trying to assist her, though her efforts were impatiently waved off. The crone snatched the mask from the floor and stared at it before hunching slowly back to her position by the fire.
The little girl sat up, suddenly looking wide awake, as did the other children. She clambered from her father's lap and moved with several of the smaller children to sit around the wisened one's form. She was respectfully addressed as Haduma, and a hot drink was brought to her by her young caregiver. Activities ceased in the lodge as the humans settled around her quietly.
Boney fingers clutched the smooth, aquiline featured white mask before she held it up for all to see. Something about it was disturbing, and many shifted uneasily as vacant eyeholes stared from the stark mask, seeming to peer at the assembled audience.
The Haduma nodded, cackling a bit before sitting the face shell on her fur wrapped lap, shadow dancing over its surface as the flames of the hearth flared and fell as if in excited breath.
"Kazda Eschtheta Zazpiat Amidora."
The ancient pronunciation of a lost language fell from her lips, calling the ancestors to gather and witness the tale, to give her the words dusted by time and rooted in the very begining of the Human race.
Her voice took up the cadence of the Human Tongue once more then, as she began to teach.
"Long, long ago, in the days before the burning sky, back when dragons swarmed in numbers so great, they blocked the sun from the sky and brought the first winter, before we learned to follow the ways of the Wolf, the Lion, the Hawk, the Dolphin or the Horse; Human Kind was one Tribe, greater than any nation that has walked the hunt trails since.
It was a time when the Gods remained hidden from the Created Ones, and they instead watched and waited for thier time to come, observing what They had wrought, and resting from Thier labors.
In thier absence, mighty dragons grasped and fought for the power to rule over all races, striving to mold the young world to thier desires.
Humankind was closest to the Gods in the Firstdays, and in our ancestors was the power of Creation, and in thier minds Knowledge. These things were our gift from Them, and in pursuit of thier mastery, our ancestors forgot from whence the gift had come. Our ancestors had mastery of a magic that has long been lost, and with it they took the raw things of the world and molded them into fantastic creations.
And so as our people were turned inward in the persuit of this magic and our own affairs, their attention away from the world, The Dragons achieved a place of power.
The world suffered under the uncontrolled rampage of dragon vanity, greed and lust. The other children of the Gods turned to the Council of the Human tribe, beseeching them to intercede.
The four Great Chiefs of the four Cardinal Paths, answered the Need, and gathered the powers of the Gift in a labor so great, that even the sleeping Gods stirred and opened thier eyes to watch.
When they were done, they found what they had wrought perfect in every way. With their work, they had wrought beings of energy, radiance and simple purity, capable of great feats. They took thier first breath under the eyes of the First Children, and were named Llhumior, becoming grandchildren of the Gods.
In the aspect of the Llhumior, the best of all the races met; the mind magics of the Psycians, the mastery of magic of the Frontacians, The love of all things scholarly from the Usil Elves, and a mastery of nature as keen as that of Fir Elves. More, they had the adaptability and the Gift of Human kind, and the heart of an Imperial dragon.
Here the story fades, the strands of the tapestry snarling and unraveling. Some said one of the Gods was displeased with the creation of Humankind when he looked upon the Llhumior and created in them a flaw. Yet others maintain, that in thier creation, the ancestors failed to heed the first law of creation, that for every light in this world there must be a dark, else the weight of the one side could collapse the foundation of Life, and destroy the world.
And so with the first breath of the first Llhumior, something stirred in the afterbirth of God wrought and human wrought life, coalescing and creating itself from the cast off remnants of labor, becoming all that was opposite of the Grandchild race.
The Gods watched as Abomination drew its first breath deep in the bowels of the darkest cave, its first cry of blackest rage, calling to its side the darker children of the Gods. Goblin-al, Oog-ra, Arachnian, and San Elf were drawn to it, and came under its dominion. It's corruption found its like in them and twisted and warped what had been in ballance, changing these races forever. And the Gods watched.
Centuries passed in the falling of a star, and the Children of the Gods tamed all the lands of the world. As they had been intended too, but in a way even humankind had not forseen, the Llhumior indeed defeated dragonkind. Something in thier nature calmed the menace of the great beasts, and brought forth in them the nobler qualities that had lain dormant. Yes, even the great Wyrms loved the Llhumior.
Because of the Grandchildren, dragonkind united and the Dragon Imperium was formed and accepted by the peoples of the land.
But in the places beneath the world, away from the light of the sun, another empire grew. Driven by its nature and its innate hatred of the Llhumior, the Abomination built an army the like of which had never been seen. It grew in strength, and bided its time.
When it emerged, dread filled the hearts of the races, for one of its abilities was the Knowing of each opponents greatest fear, and in fighting IT, they faced their own demons.
The battles began and lasted hundreds of years, the Foe poisoning all it touched, the land destroyed beneath its feet. Famine, plague, and pestilence followed in its wake, its corruption twisting all it touched.
The Llhumior fought beside humankind, dragonkind, elvenkind, Frontacian, and Psycian, a beacon of hope and unflagging champions, though always the price they paid in battle was heaviest. As much as the Foe was drawn to them, they were to it, and thier conflicts shook the world.
Weakened by the sickness of the land, the Fir Elves turned from the centuries of battle in a desperate effort to heal the poisoned land.
Those elves of learning, the Usils, were nearly destroyed when the Foe tricked the armies of the Dragonlords, and turned instead on thier vast civilization, destroying thier cities and all their institutions of learning and all their great libraries that housed the knowledge of the races.
As the elves left the fight, the Foe pushed its advantage. Rivers flowed with blood and the seas grew red from its taint. Finally, in one tremendous effort, it seemed the Foe was defeated. The cost was dear, for in this conflict thousands of Llhumior were lost, reducing the race to near extinction.
But the centuries had taught the Foe well. For this time, instead of crushing its twin, the Ancient Enemy captured and imprisoned those of the Llhumior it could and returned with them to its lair beneath the earth.
It cannot be said what suffering they endured. But as with all things it touched, the Foe corrupted the incorruptible. It found the single weakness, the one flaw and in doing so at long last saw victory within its grasp.
The Foe made the Llhumior aware of the Gods. It taught them the truth of thier creation, and nurtured in them a great sorrow. It told them they were souless, and lifeless, and fostered in them a resentment for thier creators, and those that had been wrought by the Gods.
Some, it is said, died of broken hearts. But those that remained, pledged thier loyalties to the Foe, for he promised them the secret of Life. Thus were the Betrayers born...the Mutana-al.
The Foe gave them command of its armies, and a century after its retreat to its lair they reemerged in renewed strength.
This time there was a systematic destruction that before had been random. The first target, was Human civilization. When the darkness lifted, all that had been made by human hand was lost, save for what remained of the Llhumior.
In a last great effort, the survivors of the races gathered for one final ploy. The Frontacians had spent a century devising a trap of great cunning. As with any trap, bait was needed. Heeding the call once more, the Llhumior answered as one mind and heart, vowing vengance for the destruction wrought on Humankind. They entered the gargantuan structure built by the Frontacians to the last man and woman, and awaited the inevitable appearance of the Foe and its armies.
A festival was announced throughout the lands, whos purpose was to commemorate the victory of a hundred years past. Far and wide tales of the banquet hall were told...a structure shaped like an Octagon. Knowing well the greatest weakness of the Foe, it was also publicized that the Llhumior would be the guests of honor.
The Octagon stood at the bottom of a great valley, surrounded on all sides by sheer unscalable cliffs. Only one way was known into the valley, and it was here the armies gathered for the Final Battle.
Alone in the Octagon waited the Llhumior where the other races thought them safe, only a number of Frontacian mages gathered in hiding around them for protection, waiting to spring the trap. The Foe would be allowed to gain the valley, then be drawn into the Octagon while the Llhumior left it via a portal hidden inside. For within moments of the Foe entering, all other doors on the structure would disappear.
For two days they waited. On a night of no moon, while the armies slept, the Foe came. Its army attacked at the mouth of the canyon and battle raged. Too late, they saw its final cunning, for the valley did indeed have another way in, and it rose from beneath the earth with its dark servants at its side...the Mutana-al marched in its dark calvacade, and the sight broke the hearts of Frontacian and Llhumior alike.
Soundlessly the assasins entered, the Betrayers taking guard outside the entrance while thier Lord gained its prize, howling and capering outside the door. The sound of its voice raised in triumph, reached even those miles away in battle, and desperately the defenders turned to come to the aid of their beloved Llhumior.
The Frontacians blasted the creatures of the Foe with mighty magics, but were filled with dread when the Mutana-al turned upon them. Where before thier race had powered magical energies, they now drained life with a touch. Too look into thier eyes, once filled with the gentlest of souls, was to find Free Will taken away.
Victory in its grasp, the Foe turned from the waning attack of the Frontacians and entered the Octagon. In the same instant the beat of wings was heard, and a flight of Dragons arrived, carrying troops from the front. With them was the greatest Battlemaster of the Dragon Imperium, a giant gold beast called Reginorak Drakinor. In an instant he saw what had to be done and entered into the Octagon the moment the doors were sealed.
But the combined might of a single dragon and all his magics, and all his terrible claws was not enough to save the fight. In a display of power never before witnessed, the Foe felled all he touched as he realized the the Octagon for the trap it was. In a final act of the courage that was an innate part of thier makeup, the last band of living Llhumior collapsed the portal that was thier escape, locking themselves and the Foe inside.
With heavy heart, High Mage Sinar gave the signal, and incantations were spoken from a hundred Frontacian throats choked with emotion. In a prismatic flash, the Octagon and all inside were gone, a final lingering howl and the roar of a dragon echoing in the void of its existance. The Llhumior, and the Foe, were gone.
All was still in those moment before dawn, centuries of strife come to this final moment. Then from the Human ranks stepped the Keepers of the Four Paths, and from the Mutana-al ranks a tall, pale general who had been known as Parsithanor, and three of his aides.
It is said that between Grandchild and Children, words were spoken, that even then the races sought to save what was left of thier beloved Llhumior. But the taint was in them and they rejected those who had loved them, vowing that one day all the Children of the Gods would serve them. As those words were spoken, they struck, turning thier twisted powers on the Great Leaders before thier allies could act to save them. As the four Keepers died, they pronounced a terrible curse on the Mutana-al. As they chose dark from light, never again would they walk beneath the sun. For the rest of thier days they would be cursed as creatures of night.
The Mutana-al broke from the valley and fled, the weight of the curse settling around them as the sun's first rays pierced gray skies. Those who had not been fast enough to regain the darkness of underground caverns burst into pillars of flame, incinerating in white hot agony."
The old crone ceased her tale and looked around at her rapt audience, aged fingers tracing the features of the mask, before she stood and carefully replaced it. She then turned and spoke once more, and it seemed even the blizzard outside had quieted to listen.
"Xanacta esqaluna borradoras en vashta. Sasqualah mordredor bayyone."
Translation- 'Remember what is said and give the words to the children. In forgetting is the greatest sin commited.'