Origins

Embrace

In the beginning there was the Void, a powerful cosmic entity whose nature cannot be grasped or comprehended by mere mortals. For reasons still unknown to us, it created the sphere of Amelor. Initially the sphere was almost as small as a glass marble, but with each heartbeat of the Void, its size quadrupled. Finally, after a moment of eternity, it reached its current proportions.

Then the Void hugged the new realm, kissed it four times and entered an eternal slumber. Moments later, Amelor gave birth to the first Gods.


Firstborn

The firstborn was Nekethitzemarilius, the All Seeing Dragon, progenitor of the whole draconic race and seer of immense intuition. The second born was Mhortai the Noble, loyal protector and Judge of the Living. Then came Dandrak, the Green Father and with his first cry nature flourished and his first tear gave birth to seas, rivers and lakes.

But the early days of creation were barren, and there was nothing to see but the recently sprouted nature. Days passed and the godlings were growing bored, until the sound of giggling broke the unbearable silence. Amelor had given birth to yet another young deity, this time a breathtakingly beautiful goddess. Aalis, the Seductress flew gracefully towards her siblings and after she curtsied like a master courtier, she passionately kissed them one by one and whispered sweetly to each of them promises of eternal love and devotion.


Divine Hunger

The era that followed was one of competition and constant bickering among the gods, in their attempts to gain, or retain, the favor of Aalis. Before long, however, their contests and challenges grew out of proportion, and the world itself was beginning to feel the strain. The sounds of their struggles woke up the Void, who decided that a lesson needed to be taught.

With just a single thought, a rune was inscribed on the forehead of the young gods, who immediately felt their powers fade away and a hunger growing until it was unbearable. Dandrak provided the best fruits he could harvest, but nothing seemed to sate their appetite, which seemed more one of spirit than of body. Aalis burst into tears and shouted to her father that she was not to blame, and the Void, for reasons unknown, decided to remove her rune, and thus the Divine Hunger, from her.


Shards

The young gods received a lesson, then, and were informed that, if they wanted to survive, they would have to put aside their differences and work together. Neketh was the first to comply with that advice, recognizing the transcendent wisdom in it, and invited his brothers to do the same. Dandrak bowed with respect to his brothers and apologized for his misconduct. Lastly, Mhortai, the Noble, agreed to join forces with his brothers but he informed them that after they find a way to sate their hunger, he would challenge them in a duel for the heart of Aalis.

The day after the gods reached an agreement a new breed of creatures appeared on Amelor, presumably a gift of the Void. They were quickly named Shards by the gods, because they felt incomplete as entities; they were spirits with no other purpose than to serve. They were incorporeal, so they had no need for food or rest, they had no passions, no goals, and no ambitions; their whole existence was an endless prayer that sated the Divine Hunger of the Gods and empowered them by heightening their divine abilities.


Imprisonment

Aalis, who had a vampiric relation with her brothers, thrived by filling them with lust and then draining all their emotions. In the time after the appearance of the Shards, where divine power was more tangible than before, she slowly became more and more powerful, until, in a moment of unspeakable arrogance, she attempted the inconceivable: to seduce her Father.

The Void, an entity so far beyond mortal or even divine ken, regarded his daughter, then imprisoned her in the Womb of Amelor.

Aalis screamed and cried, but eventually understood she would not convince her Father like she had assumed she had done with the rune of the Divine Hunger, so she pleaded with Him calmly, but she was only met with silence. Eventually, she turned to her brothers, and they also attempted to negotiate her release with the Void to similar results.

In the end, she was imprisoned for ten thousand years.


Divine Murder

When Aalis was released she was but a mere fragment of her former self. Her power had diminished greatly, her expression carried a twist of madness, and she wanted, she needed to feed.

She seduced Dandrak while they had a walk in the Garden of Talasta and during their passionate embrace she drew Heart's Ache from her hair, a dagger gifted to her by Mhortai. The blade drank deep, and the blood of the Green Father sprayed the soil, instigating a series of cataclysmic events as the planet became aware of the treason.

With that first murder, with that first extinguishing of a divine flame, volcanoes covered the land with fire and the sky with ash, earthquakes leveled mountains and the sea swallowed islands whole.

Aalis, inspecting the results of her actions, fearing a renewed punishment from her Father, shucked the weight of her actions like a bloodstained sheet, and put the blame in the delivering weapon. The dagger, now carrying the weight of that sin, being the point of that much damage, blackened and twisted, and as she hid it away, she realized its name had changed; it was now Heartbreak.


Duel

Neketh, horrified by Aalis' actions, the loss of his brother, the destruction she had wrought to the world, turned to her and managed to entrap her in a never-ending maze. Mhortai, blinded by his passion for her, assaulted his brother, but Neketh was the All Seeing and had predicted his sibling's betrayal. The battle ended seconds after it started, with Mhortai, the Noble One, on his knees before the Dragon Lord, begging for an end to his heart's torture by death. Neketh did raise his claw to grant that wish, but as if it had been a gesture of acquiescence, the earth around them gave birth to animals, and then more exotic beings of profound beauty, like unicorns, pegasi, and nymphs. Their dead brother was sending them a message.

Neketh spared Mhortai's life, and they sat down in discussion. What was said is not known, but Mhortai agreed to Neketh's wisdom, and moreover vowed never to harm a dragon again. Together, they traveled to the maze that held Aalis, informing their sister of their new plan.

Why Neketh could foresee Mhortai's betrayal but not Aalis', or, if he did foresee it, why he did not act before Dandrak's murder, is a question that was never answered.


Wheels of Power

The three Gods would use their blood to give the Shards a corporeal form and free will, so they would have a people to observe and direct - the two had concluded that their boredom was the source of most misfortunes. The Seductress listened to her brothers' plan calmly, displaying no emotion, and at length agreed to help them, if only to gain enough time to weave her next plot. When Neketh mentioned that this plan would not work without the blood of all four siblings, Aalis regarded him with suspicion - Heartbreak was likely the only place where their dead brother's blood could still be found, and she feared it was a ploy to have her reveal the murder weapon.

Taking pains to avoid being followed to the dagger's hiding place, Aalis retrieved a drop of Dandrak's blood and returned to her brothers, who had began the process. It took longer than most of them had anticipated, and much more effort, but in the end, the Shards were granted bodies of flesh and blood.

The three Gods observed the newly manifested Shards, but were quickly disappointed; they lacked spirit, imagination, creativity. They had no skills, they could not craft... they would surely perish in these new, harsh lands. Dismayed, Mhortai proposed the unthinkable: they could give them a portion of their own divine powers, give them a means to survive and prosper. But he did not know how to do that, and neither did Neketh or Aalis.

That was when the Void appeared to them again, bringing with him three stone discs that stood hanging in the air, one in front of each God.

The Void turned first to Aalis, who seemed fascinated by the disc in front of her. She moved to touch it but paused, glancing at the Void for hints of disapproval. Seeing none, she went ahead and touched the disc, which started glowing with her divine essence. She marveled at the process for a bit, but as she noticed that she was getting weaker she tried to pull back, only to realize she couldn't. Her surprise gave way to panic as she realized her Father was doing nothing to stop this, and she screamed as her divine force was being taken. Falling to her knees, hand still stuck to the wheel, she burst into tears, and kept sobbing until the last motes of her divine essence were gone. Only then did her body fall to the ground, finally free of the wheel, which now glowed with contained power.

Mhortai protested throughout the process, but received no notice. As soon as Aalis fell, he knew he would follow her. He didn't merely touch his wheel, he punched it, his fist, as well as his jaw, clenched throughout the process which seemed - and felt - more forceful. He did not utter a word, under the studious gaze of both Neketh and the Void, until what was left of him was an armor-wearing hust that fell to the ground lifeless, next to his sister's body.

After the process was complete, Neketh reached out with a claw and touched the wheel without hesitation, but nothing happened. He looked at the Void, puzzled. He received, in reply, a single word. "Patience".


Dragon Gods

For the first time in his life uncertain about what to do next, Neketh closed his eyes to think, descending in a state of deep meditation.

He thought of Mhortai first, and his strength; not only his physical might, but also the strength of his will, which would let him sacrifice his life to follow what he loved. Who he loved.

He thought of Aalis next, with her beauty and her charms and her wiles, and all the benefits those could reap if only she had been wiser. If only she hadn't murdered her brother.

Thoughts of Dandrak came next, naturally. His close relationship with the land, the importance of the plants and the trees and the animals he spawned. The importance of his cause.

Finally, he thought of himself, and he kept thinking for a long time.

When Neketh finally opened his eyes, he saw four small dragons, mere hatchlings, around him. The red one was strong and proud, and by far the larger; he named him Pabschakri. The white one was pretty and lithe, and had impressive eyes; he named her Evorthrae. The green one was curious but serene, and where she walked grass grew and flowers bloomed; he named her Edartabor. The cyan one was the smallest, and quite shy, but she remained curled near him and he could see a familiar spark within her; he named her Naixen.

And as he stood, the four dragons opened their wings and embarked on their journey.


Divine Source

When the four dragons had disappeared from the horizon, Neketh turned back to the Void.

"I think I am ready," he whispered.

"There is one more thing," was the answer, but the Void was not there anymore; near Neketh, a small spark had appeared.

Neketh glanced ahead, and saw new gods ascending and needing power, and he understood. Then he placed a claw on the final wheel, and closed his eyes; the end of what he could see of himself was approaching fast.

When the dragon lord's body fell, all three wheels glowed with unsustainable power, but in their midst the spark ignited, creating a giant, golden flame, which ascended to the sky.

In the process, the red wheel cracked into five pieces where Mhortai's fist had hit it. The other wheels, separate but one, mirrored the crack, and by the time the golden flame departed and the wheels only held a distilled power that was possible to be wielded by mortals, they had broken to five parts each.

And then specks of the wheels' power began scattering, seeking hosts, and finding them in the mortal bodies of the Shards.


That is how the Era of the Four ended and the Archaic Era began.

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