:: Chaos ::
:: The Collaborators ::
:: Interview with a San ::
:: The Darkness of Heart ::
[This article was originally presented in the October 17, 1996 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "Chaos" by Oryn Runestone.]
Torrents of rain slashed through the cold night air and pounded into the ground. Upon a wide, open field, thunder echoed through the air, resounding against the ancient trees of the surrounding forest, as lightning danced and flickered among the dark clouds. No merchants wandered about selling their wares this night; adventurous souls were found to be nestling in front of a blazing fire; and even the immoral rogues had ceased stalking their unsuspecting victims this dark and stormy night.
The storm continued to rage on, seemingly venting its anger, almost as if it were a living thing. And indeed, the incessant howling of the wind caused everyone, even those sheltered safely within their homes, to think that the dead themselves had risen up from their tombs to walk the world again. That event was of itself possible, for the world had not been the same since the abrupt departure of the powerful deity, Death. A dying loved one's last breath could very well be prolonged so that it might never come. A tormented companion's fatal wound might torture them forever, for what other outlet is there to end unspeakable pain, other than the eternal peace of death? But now, Death has ventured into the void, and as of yet has not returned to his fellow deities and the peoples of this world. With the call of Death no longer certain, the world is no longer balanced.
And it is among this imbalanced world, this turmoil, where Chaos can thrive. The wars, the hatred, the infamous "Unmagick" of the Penthanians, the racial prejudices, are all ingredients that can be stirred into the pot of turmoil. Perhaps the storm is simply an expression of the confusion upon the world today. Or perhaps there is a purpose to the storm...
In the storm filled sky, an arc of lightning jumped from cloud to cloud, never seeming to dissipate. All at once, dozens of tiny arcs of blue-white lightning appeared and began to coalesce onto one single cloud, forming a brilliant circle of light. And in the center of this circle, the focus of the arcs. They seemed to pulse and writhe, their energy seemingly flowing into the focus of the circle. A bulge begins to form, the result of the amassing of such terrific energies. Thunder now rocks the open field continuously, sending reverberations through the ground. The bulge of energy grows larger, apparently preparing to release its pent up force. And finally, it does.
From within the bulge, a tremendous bolt of lightning bursts out and smashes into the ground, sending streams of lightning in all directions upon the ground, forming the image of a brilliant wheel and its spokes upon the surface of the field. The entire, engulfed in shadows just seconds before, is now bathed in a blue-white brilliance. And within the center of the field, the "hub" of the wheel, can be seen the silhouettes of three forms. Appearing to be insubstantial and ethereal at first, the silhouettes eventually begin to grow in definition and gain substance. And in the blink of an eye, it is over. Every bolt of lightning has vanished, the ground left unscarred by its ordeal, the skies quiet, even the clouds gone, revealing the tiny, twinkling dots that were known as stars. A full moon hung in the sky, shedding a pale white light down into the field. And there within the beam of moonlight, were three figures. Two of these were standing about, apparently staring at each other. The other form seemed to be a stone.
Alone in the field without a stitch of clothes on, the two figures continued to examine one another. Each seemed to have depthless black pits where their eyes should have been, and hair to match that. Their skin was dark as well, suitable for blending into the shadows. But, the shorter one had strange shapes and figures scrawled all over his well-muscled form. Runes. The markings of a runemage.
The taller one abruptly broke off his gaze and looked at what he could now see was an egg. Turning his
gaze once more to his companion, he smiled broadly, turned his back, and fled into the night. The shorter figure
shrugged slightly as his eyes followed the running form of the other, then shifted to the egg. Reaching out his hand, he felt the leathery surface of the large egg. Hmmm, a dragon egg. And apparently born of that storm, he thought. This one's going to be a powerful one. I wonder what will become of this one. A shrug of his shoulders caused his black hair to rise for an instant, then fall to his shoulders again. As for the rest of the world, lets see how it handles Oryn Runestone...he inclined his head downward...after he acquire some proper attire... After whispering the spidery language known to the rest of the world as magick, a shining halo of runes coalesced above his head, and the runes upon his body gleamed slightly. He raised his right hand to his head, the index and middle finger touching his forehead, and the night swallowed him.
San elves, according to their cousins the Usil elves, are not even relatives of the Usil and Fir elves. Instead, it is said that the Lords of Chaos created the San to wreak havoc upon the world. That, of course, is not entirely true...
The San were not created by Lords of Chaos.
They are Chaos.
In the middle of the field, a crack formed on the dragon egg...
The Collaborators ....
By Madjia Darkmist
On the Sanene Isle, there is a community of Muatana-al, that the Sanene deal with on an on-going basis. Between the two neighbors there have been great pitched battles, small skirmishes and prolonged guerrilla warfare. Every type of imaginable conflict has arisen at one time or another between them. The following, however, is not about warfare. It is about those Sanene known to their brethren as "the Collaborators."
Most Muatana-al consider having Sanene servants and slaves as more than natural: They consider it their birth-right. According to their lore, the Chaos Lords first created the Sanene as a servitor race for the Muatana-al. They needed servants that would not wander far from their masters, so they created the race with a strong aversion to sunlight. They needed superior soldiers that could guard their masters during the day, so they created the race with great strength and a propensity for destruction. They especially needed a race with the ability to endure and even welcome great horror; a race that would not go mad living among their life-draining masters. What the Chaos Lords failed to infuse in the new race was a sense of servitude. As a result, over the millennia, Sanene escaped their masters and established their own sovereigns. This is the lore of the Muatana-al.
The Sanene, on the other hand, have a different version of history. Their lore-books tell the tale of a Sanene isle free of all other races. They tell of a great Muatana-al fleet sailing out of the seas of Chaos to invade. The Muatana-al established their place on the isle by waging a bloody war on the Sanene. In the Sanene histories the Collaborators make their first appearance by betraying their kind during this great invasion. They lead Sanene hordes into death traps, murdered generals, and caused havoc among their own ranks. This is the lore of the Sanene.
Whichever version of history one chooses to believe, the fact remains: the Muatana-al have never been without a servitor race. A fleet of Muatana-al alone could never have crossed any sea: They would have needed sailors that could tack and trim a sail with the sun high overhead. None have ever found evidence of a servitor race other than the Sanene that may have made such a crossing with the Muatana-al. Indeed, all known facts point strongly in favor of the Muatana-al histories.
The Collaborator Clans
The Muatana-al refer to the Collaborator clans as "domestic breeds," and to the free Sanene as "wild breeds." Over time, the Muatana-al bred their "domestic" Sanene to better suit different roles. They bred great strength, and stoicism for heavy labor; strength, ferocity, and magic ability for their armies; and grace, beauty, and artistic sensibility for their house servants and entertainers.
The Collaborators' skins are notably lighter than that of other Sanene. This is, most likely, the result of numerous illegitimate births of mixed parentage (i.e., Muatana-al and Sanene). It also serves to assure Collaborators of receiving no welcome from their "wild" kin, as their skin marks them instantly for death. Further isolated, they have little choice but to follow their masters, and to live or perish along side them.
There are a total of twelve Collaborator clans living among the Muatana-al. A Sanene Baron heads each of these twelve clans. The freedom accorded these Barons and their immediate families is great, although they owe direct fealty to their Muatana-al lords. They receive a small holding, consisting of a manor house and several acres of farm land that they hold in fiefdom from their lord. The other members of each clan serve as Battle Thralls, Court Servants, or Laborers. They are, essentially, slaves and their Muatana-al masters may use them as they wish.
Below the barons' families in rank are the Battle Thralls. The highest ranked officers among the Battle Thralls are accorded almost as much privilege as a baron; and they receive a small piece of property in fiefdom upon which to build a house. Although only the Muatana-al actually command whole armies, they are dependent on the Sanene Battle Thralls to defend them during the day. As a result, Battle Thralls are perhaps the best treated of the Collaborator servants.
The rank of Court Servants is ambiguous. The title includes all from scullery maids and food servers, to musicians and dancers. A Court Servant's fate depends entirely upon their master. There are some Muatana-al who so delight in pain and suffering, that assignment to Court Service is akin to being sentenced to death by torture. Serving a master whose interest turns to the arts is far better. Many lords have formed dance troupes, acting troupes, and orchestras from their more talented Court Servants.
Among the duties of fealty owed by both Baron and Battle Thralls; a number of Court Servants from among their own family must be supplied to their master. It is believed the practice originated as a method of ensuring the loyalty of both Baron and Thrall by holding hostage members of their family. The degree of familial attachment, or rather the lack of it, would seem to reduce the value of such bonds, and yet the practice continues.
he Laborers are little more than cattle. When not working they are often kept under lock and key. They are allowed out to work only with the supervision of a Muatana-al master, or a Battle Thrall. Even so, the life of a Laborer is preferable to that of Court Servant under a cruel master.
The Thirteenth Clan
The existence of a thirteenth Collaborator clan has been rumored for ages. A clan that secretly serves their Muatana-al masters while hidden among the free Sanene clans. Often, this rumor has been used to denounce a rival clan; and many free Sanene clans have perished after being denounced as "the Thirteenth Clan." Time has, in each case, exonerated these victims; and no hard evidence to support the theory of a "Thirteenth Clan" has yet found.
Traitors or slaves, there is little doubt that this portion of the Sanene race will never find safety among their own kind. Indeed, the Collaborator clans are so infused with Muatana-al blood, that it may be inaccurate to refer to them as Sanene. They are perhaps the first half-breeds of history; and, like many other half-breeds that have followed: They are detested by both sides of their heritage.
Interview with a San ....
By Fessor Dulligo
[This article was originally presented in the October 31,
1996 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "Interview with a San" by
I had the pleasure of intervuing the current Guildmaster of
the Fighters, one Kilmaron Macduff. What follows is my conversation with this self
proclaimed creature of chaos.
Fesor(me): 'Can you tell me a little about your race?'
Kilmaron: 'hmmmm. Yeah. We are
secretive. Mainly we are creatures of chaos. We take pride in causing others
frustration. Some of the more drastic of my race will actuall attack just about
anything in sight. While others..like myself, will just do what we can to pester
people. We particularly like pestering other elven races. They are just
jealous of us because of our greater abilities. Most of us take up the position of
Thief or RuneMage. But I chose the way of the warrior and use my better then average
magick abilities to back up my physical prowess. I am the head of my guild at
present, so I guess I did not make too bad a choice.'
Fesor: 'I know this might sound weird, but rumor has it
that San Elves were created by Chaos. Is this true?'
Kilmaron: ' Hmm..not sure i can answer that. It's
more like we are Chaos. That isn't to say that all my race is evil, but evil is a relative
term that holds no meaning to us.'
Fesor: ' People say that you(San Elves) are related to
Fir and Usil Elves, but I have heard that you deny any relation to them. Why?'
Kilmaron: ' Hmm. I think they more or less tend
to refuse to acknoledge us, but if we are related, then certainly we are the dominant of
the three.We share similar appearances and that is all. I have no blood relation
with any Firian or Usil elf. That I know. If there is one thing about my race
that stands out, it would be that we can't take what we give. That is why we usually
tend to be loners and very rarely in the company of our own kind unless of the same
Fesor: ' What would you do if a Usil or Fir Elf came, and
asked you for help, putting aside cultural differences?'
Kilmaron: ' Well depending on my mood at that very moment, I
would either aggrivate this person to the point of provoking an attack, and then leap at
them with intense ferocity....or I would possibly assist depending on the request thus
proving further my superiority over thier off shoot race. And he/she would never
live it down.
Fesor: 'I've seen San lves who are friendly to others,
including other Elves. Is this bad? And if so, what would the other San Elves
do to him/her?'
Kilmaron: ' Well I can't speak for all of my race as
all of us have our outcasts. I would speculate that most of these Sanene are either
young and not set in their ways, or that they are setting these others up for even more
severe acts of chaos.
Fesor: ' What would happen if a San Elf went to a
temple of another alignment?
Kilmaron: ' Ummmm...that will never happen. That
can't happen. We are not given choice of which alignment to follow. We are
chaos and Chaos is us.'
That concludes my intervue with Kilmaron. My conlusion
is that if you are to trust a Sanne, then you would be well advised to do so from a
Fesor Dulligo of Leuia
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
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
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
"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...
February 08, 2000
Copyright © 1995