Campaign of the Month: October 2010
Wyrmshadow Campaign Setting
Wyrmshadow History: The Age of the Demons
The Age of the Demons
ca. 50,000 – 20,000 years ago
Asmous had a hand in much of the turmoil of the past millenia, his agents secretly insinuating themselves into the various societies and cultures that developed over the Age of the Lost and the Age of the Dragon. All this was in preparation for the wayward Ancient’s return to Materia. Asmous was incredibly powerful, unaffected by the Legendary Wyrm’s doctrine removing power from all the Ancients, as he had been on his journey through the Void while the Wyrm slept and his brothers and sisters tore apart its great works in their vanity. Upon his appearance, the Wyrm bade Aos, Nus, and Phi accompany it back to Materia once again to deal with this new threat to creation.
However, Asmous had not been squandering the past 500,000 years in his absence. He had not only the powers bestowed upon him by the Legendary Wyrm eons past but, in that time, he had developed his own source of power, an Aether, much like the mana drawn upon by the elves, but far more volatile, far more caustic, and far more corrupting. While the Ancients of old begot Humans and Elves and the other races of Wyrmshadow, Asmous begot the demons, children of his Ancient blood and the tainted influence of Infernal Aether.
Those children, the Archdemons of Infernia, began to develop monsters for use as weapons of siege when the time came for Asmous to declare Materia his sovereign right. In the Legendary Wyrm’s long absence, Asmous had come to believe that his creator had fallen into oblivion. Sending agents into Materia through the use of infinitesimal tunnels connecting Materia to Infernia through the Void, called Hellryfts, these agents of Asmous sowed the seeds of chaos upon the unsuspecting world. All this was in preparation for the coming invasion, a massive Hellryft opening in Materia at the end of the Age of the Dragons, when all the races of Wyrmshadow were tattered and exhausted from war. Thus Asmous arrived to conquer a world wholly unprepared to offer an adequate defense.
Some few heroic figures rose out of this period of history, one of the earliest to be documented in written texts from the time, though much of these manuscripts would not survive the tests of time. However, one particular tale was that of the return of the Legendary Wyrm, its titanic battle with Asmous the Foul, and the time of darkness that would grip the world in the aftermath of their battle.
Much of the elven race was destroyed and scattered by the Infernal forces in the early years of the invasion, and the race would never be the same again. Future generations of Elves would evolve separately from one another, including the Wood Elves of Ilras, the Dark Elves of the Underworld, the High Elven remnants of Quae, and the Sea Elves of Anda Lusia.
The nation of Idrahaal was reduced to smouldering ruins, despite the valiant efforts of Thoron and Reignyth to aid in its defense. Taking up residence in the deserts of Muhar, where the oppressive heat was most in common with the torrid wastes of Infernia, Asmous had the local human tribes enslaved and forced into labor, building great monuments to the demons. Massive pyramids and monoliths were erected by the dune dwelling Sarazi, fire-breathing humanoids towering twenty-feet in height, now slaves to the Infernal oppressors. Thus the desert city of Muhar was built.
In the skies over Ruin, the shattered remains of the Ancient’s temple in honor of the Legendary Wyrm, a great conflagration of energies amassed in a tremendous, terrifying storm of roiling fury. From within this storm emerged the Legendary Wyrm itself, its shadow once again cast out across the world of its making, its three-voiced roar so loud as to shatter glass the world over. Asmous heard the call of his creator and rang out from the North with a roar of his own, the very sound of his rage calling his forces to arms against this new threat to his dark dominion.
Aos, Nus, and Phi were looked upon by the denizens of the world, ancestors of their Ancient brethren, as divine beings. What remained of the history of the world glorified their arrival, sparking the hopes of the people. The three Elders became capable of feeding off of these hopes, the very faith of the people lending them a strength previously unknown to them. In the coming millenia, they would learn to rely upon the power bestowed upon them by the faith of the children of their Ancient kin to aid them in restoring the balance of this world of constant change. However, the Infernal threat had first to be dealt with.
While the three Elders did battle with the armies of Infernia, joined in their efforts by Thoron, Reignyth, and the rest of the dragons left behind on Materia in the age long since past, the Wyrm itself saw to its wayward son, Asmous, and his treacherous intents for its legacy, Wyrmshadow. The battle that ensued between these two tremendous forces would once again have a tremendous effect on the world surrounding them. Great chunks of land in the east and west were torn from the continent and sent deep into the sea, the islands of Shidi Ma, Paradisla, Nou Gravai, and Freel forming due to the tremendous forces at play in the skies over Wyrmshadow.
Even as the battle raged, Aos realized that the presence of such potent opposing forces was too traumatic for the Legendary Wyrm’s creations to withstand. This was the very reason why such powers were removed from this world hundreds of thousands of years before. This world was no place for the demons, and no place for the Elders either. The three Elders agreed to follow in the footsteps of the wise Dragons of old. They pledged, once the Infernal threat was dealt with, to create their own sanctuary realm, an Arcadia from which to observe and aid the peoples of Wyrmshadow from afar.
In the final throes of their battle, both the Legendary Wyrm and Asmous were dealt catastrophic injuries by one another. Asmous’s injuries were so profound that only retreat and eternal exile in Infernia would save his life. Leaving behind throngs of followers in a bid to maintain a foothold in Materia, Asmous fled through the massive Hellryft in the heart of Imperia, sealing it until such time as he was ready to try once again to take Wyrmshadow as his prize.
Some demons would continue to reign in scattered areas of Wyrmshadow through most of the following age, however, the Age of the Demons was over. The Raksha, Infernians who, like demonic versions of Weren, could take the form of sphinxes and hybrids of sphinx and man, maintained a bitter and cruel empire in the oppressive dunes of Muhar. On the recently formed island nation of Shidi Ma, insidious Oni (seductive illusionist demons who could take the form of massive dragon-like hellfire-breathing wolves) insinuated themselves into Shidi society and culture, intermingling with the bloodline of the humans of that land until nearly all of the Shidi people bore the taint of Infernal blood.
Three Archdemons were left behind to coordinate the efforts of these demons and others left behind in the wake of Asmous’s retreat. These three archdemons, Orius, Fa’zael, and Testament, would plague the world for ages to come, a legacy of the demon’s constant thirst for conquest of all Wyrmshadow.
The Legendary Wyrm’s injuries were far worse than it could withstand, and would prove to be fatal to the creator of the world. Even as the peoples of Wyrmshadow forgot about the creator and began to worship the three Elders, Aos, Nus, and Phi, these three children of the Legendary Wyrm mourned for its loss. The Wyrm was buried deep within the Wyrmscar Caverns in which it slept a half-million years ago, hidden away from all who would come in search of it’s body, and the being responsible for all life on Wyrmshadow would never be seen or heard from again.
The time of the wyrm had ended, but its shadow still cast itself across the world once a year, during what would come to be known as the Duskreign, though that term would be used again in the future for a far more dismal purpose. Though there were still demons left behind, the effects of the Elder’s presences on Materia were beginning to once again cause the balance of reality to tilt into chaos. Weakened and battered as they were in the war against the demons, the three Elders decided it would be best to follow through with their plans to create a new realm, Arcadia, from which they could look down upon Materia and aid the people from afar.
So it was, at the end of the Age of the Demons, that the Elders came to be known as Gods by the peoples of Wyrmshadow, a covenant formed between the Gods and the mortals below, the favor of the Gods would smile upon those who lent the Gods their unwavering faith. Thoron, who had befriended the gods during the war against the demons, returned to Idrahaal to begin rebuilding it anew, pledging to spread the message of the Gods to the far corners of Wyrmshadow.
The Age of the Gods was at hand.