Realms of Aevernon: Puck's Annotation
A long, long time ago, the World was empty. And it was sad.
Out of nowhere, five creatures suddenly appeared on the surface of the World. They knew not where they had come from, but that did not worry them. Seeing this new World set out before them, they each went a separate way, journeying to find all the wonders this World had to offer.
Two of the creatures, Moradin SoulForger and Garl Glittergold, ventured to the north. After going to the reaches of the World, they found a great mountain, standing sturdy and rising taller than their eyes could show them. They studied the mountain, and found tunnels weaving about and underneath the grand summit. Feeling adventurous, the pair forged ahead into the tunnels. In front of his very eyes, Moradin found a wondrous thing: a vein of shining mithril ore. With the help of Garl, Moradin began to mine this grand material, stockpiling it, and slowly forming it into a creation of his own. He siphoned the ore from the stone, and day after day, month after month, hammered away at it, adding more here and there, making a fine and sturdy form. But, while Moradin was focusing all his energy on the metal, Garl found something that spoke to him more keenly. Sparkling translucent rocks that he found now and then while mining. As Moradin was finishing his work in the mine, Garl managed to find one of these rocks, an Emerald gemstone so large that nothing like it ever had, nor ever would, be found in the World again.
He clutched this stone in his hands, grasping it as tightly as he could. The gemstone slowly began to give way, heeding in on itself ever so slowly, condensing tightly and strongly. As Moradin stepped back to see his creation, a sturdy and stout creature as gruff as the ores he was carved from, which he named “Dwarf,” Garl opened his hands and gazed upon what had become of the gemstone. As sturdy as Moradin’s creation, but with a more curious and quizzical look on its face and brimming with adventurous curiosity, Garl had created the first of what is now known as a “Gnome.” Appreciating their works and seeing how fine creatures they were, each donned the form of their new creation, and set about teaching them the wonders of this sub-Terran land.
To the far east, a land full of tall and mighty trees, a great forest was sprawled out before Corellon, another of the travelers. He looked upon the trees and bushes and other plants, absolutely enamored with the beauty of nature. He spent much time in this forest, tending to the trees, making sure the flowers had ample water, and watched the forest bloom before him. He loved this place greatly, especially one particular flower, the only one of its kind, that grew deep in the forests. This flower seemed to call to him, and he could not help but put most of his time and attention into tending this flower. As the days and weeks went on, he saw the flower grow larger, slowly creeping out and taking up a bit more ground with each passing day. Still day after day, he tended this flower, did everything he could to make it thrive and grow. And, to his joy, the flower seemed to flourish.
One day, after watering the flower gently, the petals had finally decided to open, taking the flower into a full bloom. What Corellon saw before him was truly the most beautiful sight he could ever imagine. The first Elven female, tall and lithe creature, strong of will, with a fluid stride, paled skin, and a captivating presence, sat calmly among the petals. He loved this creature, as he felt it was a creation of his own, and taught her to tend to the forests as he had. As they worked, more and more of these flowers came into being, at full bloom each one releasing another Elf into the World. As Moradin and Garl before him, Corellon took on the guise of the Elves, feeling more at home here than he would have imagined before.
In the southern lands, the being that called herself Yondalla found her own personal paradise. It was a land of long, flowing rivers intertwined with bright and lush jungles. This land piqued her curiosity, and she spent much of her time on the water, rafting from here to there, letting the flow take her wherever it went.
Yondalla explored the jungles, saw the vibrant and colorful plants, found the berries and fruits that sustained her, and climbed trees so large, she could see the splitting and converging of rivers for miles around her. She mapped the territory as she went, a seemingly endless journey of discovery and intrigue.
While resting on the shore of a great and mighty river, Yondalla noticed an oddly-shaped indentation in the beaches of the shoreline. As she watched it closely, she saw the river shooting around a tight bend, water crashing upon the shore, and, drop by drop, it began to fill the indentation. She was fascinated with the water, and continued to watch this curious event, day after day. The water built, and the great jungle grasses fed on it. After time, they began to take shape, banding together, interweaving, and braiding themselves. More and more water from the great river fed the grasses, and they became thicker and stronger, their appetite growing daily. When the grasses had finally sated their great hunger, they quickly shriveled and fell away, revealing a small form — a creature with wrapped and braided hair, darkened skin, and a youthful appearance — beneath them.
This new creature rose, and with a nimble gait, made its way to Yondalla. She took the creature with her, down the strong and raging rivers, climbing the heights of the trees, plotting courses by the flowing rivers, and through it all, she felt the creature’s size was only half as great as the courage it possessed and exuded. Fondly, she dubbed the new creature a “Halfling.”
To the farthest reaches to the west, the fifth and final of the greater beings, known only as Gruumsh, journeyed forth. He found a land of great open plains and quick, gusting winds. How he enjoyed running through this grand open area, the wind in his face, the smooth grass and dirt beneath his feet. He spent days on end, simply running to and fro, basking in the great freedom that this land granted him. He camped under the moon, gazed at the stars, and spent as much time dreaming of his wild run as he did actually enjoying the event.
After months of travel, Gruumsh found himself on a high bluff, overlooking a plain of some of the tallest and most lush grasses he had seen yet. Greener and taller, whipping around in the winds briskly. He enjoyed the sight greatly. With the wind at his back, he sat on this bluff, watching the graceful and unending dance of the grasses. He watched, chin in his hand, thinking of how he wished he could share this sight with another. He took in a breath, and let out a great sigh, and saw before him the grasses whipping about even more frantically as he exhaled. He suddenly shot up, looking over this curious plain, and decided to test it.
Gruumsh took in another breath, and blew the air from his lungs in a long blast. As he had suspected, the grasses below bent and danced in tune with his breath. He laughed at this, finding great fun in jumping about, blowing in one direction, then turning and blowing the other way. He finally decided to test the limits of this area. He took a deep breath, drawing in air for what seemed like minutes on end, held it for a moment, then closed his eyes and blew as hard as he could. He could feel the wind blasting strongly at his back, almost threatening to tumble him from the high bluff.
When finally Gruumsh opened his eyes again, he looked down on the plain, the wind stopped completely. He could see that the grasses were flattened over, some even torn right in half, such was the strength of his gasp. And, as he looked down, he noticed something else. There was something down there, rushing and running about. A tall creature, skin as green as the grass itself, with tight and powerful muscles lacing around his body. In time, Gruumsh named this creature “Orc” and ran with him across the plains, sharing the freedom and elated to have someone to share his fun with.
After each creator found his work complete, one by one they returned to the very spot where they had came to be so very long ago. The Dwarves and Gnomes working together had built a great city beneath the mountain they named Coldpeak; the Elves worked hard to raise a tree that grew greater than all others, which they named the Mana Tree, building great fortresses amongst the tall branches; the Halflings worked hard mapping the land, damming rivers, and creating small floating villages on the very waters they used for travel, particularly on a wide and slow-flowing river they called Riviera; and the Orcs to the west, not able to tether themselves to any single spot, spent every day running and roaming and enjoying themselves, camping wherever they happened upon dusk, on the grand open fields of Solace. And even amidst all their work, other creatures sprang forth from the World. Deer and bears, snakes and frogs, insects and all forms of other creatures gave rise in the World, filling it with life. And the World, at last, was happy.
When the great creatures, gifted with the title of Gods, met once again in the central point of the great World, they were each eager to tell the others of their creations and discoveries, fighting past the curiosity that was each one’s new form.
“Ye would not believe what I found beneath the stones to the north. A substance stronger than any other, that gleams like the sun on a bright day, but is as malleable as the grass itself!” Moradin was the first to start, bragging of the ores that he forged into strong armors and nigh-unbreakable tools.
“Bah, those petty metals of yours are nothing compared to the marvel of the gemstones. In the torchlight, they twinkle and shine and fill the entire room as stars fill the night sky!” Garl was the next to interject, eager to share his finely-cut jewelry.
“You both must be jesting. Finding something that is there and making it into something else is one thing, but taking nothing and growing from it a thick tree or a beautiful flower… now that is a true marvel!” Corellon put forth, proud of his work at growing everlasting plants where there was but open ground before.
“Your trees may be beautiful, but they hold nothing over the bright and colorful plants that I know, made even more so by the fresh and strong waters that separate them. There is nothing quite as delightful as the freedom of putting a raft on the waters, and allowing them to take you where they will.” Yondalla spoke, matter-of-factly, as if it should be obvious that hers was the greatest place on all of the World.
“Ha! You call that freedom? Giving up your will to that of the waves, having no control over where they decide to take you? No, that is not freedom. True freedom is having the wide open spaces, great plains where you can roam about wherever you wish, with nothing to impede your travel, nothing to stand in your way of going where you will!” Gruumsh was the last to jump in, shouting a great boast to all the others.
They all went back and forth, arguing over whose dominion was the greater, and why, and how they would prove this. Day after long day, they continued sleeplessly, not willing to concede the point until each had proven to the others that they had found the truest paradise. Never-ending, ceaseless arguing that put even the World itself on edge. “How could they disrespect the land so?” the World thought to itself. “Before they came here, despite the loneliness, there was only peace. They came forth onto the land, and it provided for them, gave them all that they desire, even the ability to create that which they could not create on their own. And now, they bring tumult and turmoil, looking down upon all that they do not see as fit for their own! Enough is enough, and I will put a stop to it!!”
The World, furious at these creatures for being so incredulous, acting as if the whole World was theirs to own and command as they saw fit, set forth to change that, to bring them out of their egotistic power. As the Gods continued to argue, great and dark storm clouds rose into the sky. At first the Gods did not even notice, until the winds kicked up and the rain began. The Gods looked about, utterly frightened, for all the time they have spent on the World, they have never seen an event like this before. And then, seemingly to provoke them even further, the thunderous rage of the earth rose as that — a great thunder storm, with bolts of lightning streaking through the sky. The Gods cowered in fear, holding fast their argument. With each bolt of lightning that struck the ground, a great tremor rose, a splitting and shaking of the ground. Far away, the Gods could see the earth cleaving cleanly, opening thick trenches that filled with water, creating the oceans of the World where once there was nothing. The gaps split their territories from the land where they now stood, each new island floating off and away, separating them all to prevent such fighting from stirring in full between all the peoples.
Before them, the land shook with such quaking that the ground just collapsed at their feat, sinking inwards and creating a great divot in the earth. The rain waters fell, filling the divide with water. As quickly as they could think, the grasses grew over the water, twirling and wrapping into a grand cocoon. A thick, dark ichor rose over the cocoon, carried by all manners of insects and vermin. Then, as a growl rose in the heavens, a grand bolt of lighting fell, striking the cocoon squarely, setting it aflame. As the wind kicked up, it fanned the fire, spreading it to engulf the grand divide fully, and stopping right at its edges. When at last the fires died down, the heavens moved again, spreading wide and letting a great light shine down upon the divot. There, lying within, was a creature not like any they had seen before.
At a glance, they could see the creature’s superiority, even to them. It was a beast many times their size, with a skin thick and layered with scales, much like the fish that the Halflings harvested, but much grander in size. These scales glinted and shone in the light, sparkling even more beautifully than the gemstones the Gnomes cherished so, but with a hue and tint that reminded the Dwarf of some of the strongest ores he had been able to harvest from the deep tunnels beneath the earth. Its muscles were corded more tightly and bulged larger than any Orc that had ever walked the plains. And it had great wings on its back, looking more controlled than even the most nimble Elf.
The creature rose, and with a great leap, kicked off from the ground and took to the skies. Hovering above the Gods, the creature spoke in a deep and resonating voice, putting fear into the Gods like to which they had never known before.
“I have been given life by the World itself. It has created me to be its ears, its voice, and its fist. It has granted me a name; The Platinum Dragon, King Bahamut. You who have disrespected the World will do so no longer. Your peoples have been separated from each other by grand oceans, never to feud again.” Bahamut now looked down upon the Gods, letting a patronizing glare fall over them all. “The world has also given me the power to see to it that you do not interfere further.” With a swipe of its great claw, Bahamut allowed the Gods to see his infinite strength, sending a gust of wind so powerful that it knocked them to the very ground. “I control all that is this World, for I have been created as such. And as its voice, I have one final message for you: Finish your business with your peoples, and begone from this land. Let them live and do as they will, and find more harmony in the World than you have.”
With a few flaps of its great wings, the Dragon took off, to finish its business of shaping the land as it saw fit. It separated the islands cleanly, with the greater portions forming their own continents to each direction, and several smaller islands splitting off in the process. As Bahamut finished what he had set out to do, a great mist rose from the seas. A thick cloud of fog that set about the oceans, dividing the land, and dissipating not.
The Gods, feeling their work at its end, took off to the Heavens, to watch their creations from afar.
Thus, Bahamut was left alone with the other creations of the World. He flew about as he pleased, reforming the World as he knew it in his mind’s eye. He had been granted power over all that was in the World. And yet, he felt lonely. He was the only of his kind, and the power started to become a burden upon him. So Bahamut, King of the Dragons, took to creating servants for his kingdom. He took a portion of his power, and brought forth another Dragon. Not nearly as large or as grand as he, this new Dragon had scales that had a glow more akin to soft gold than the sturdy mithril his scales had been compared to.
Bahamut, wishing to gaze more clearly at his first creation, willed the clouds to spread and light to beam down more brightly. Alas, as he soon found out, when he formed his creation, a part of his own power was taken away. The new Dragon, gazing up at the sky, created a rift in the clouds herself, and basked in the bright light of the sun. To Bahamut, she was a being of perfection. And so he granted her a name, Tiamat, and made her his Queen.
Tiamat was not satisfied, however. She viewed all other creatures inferior to the Dragons. So, in her vain quest to spread the domain of the Dragons, she cooed and coerced and bent Bahamut to her will in a way only a woman can. She convinced him that their kind must be spread further. So Bahamut, wishing to satisfy his queen, birthed another Dragon. After creating this Dragon, Bahamut felt his power waning a bit. It took a toll on him, but seeing Tiamat’s elation was enough for the King. This new Dragon, with scales neither Gold nor Platinum, but still with an unwavering shine, rose forth. The first Silver Dragon, with wings greater and stronger that Bahamut’s own. It summoned up a great gust to test its wings, and Bahamut was both perturbed and delighted to learn that his newest creation had a speed unmatched by any other being, himself included.
And yet, Tiamat’s vain thirst was not yet sated. Again and again, she urged Bahamut to spawn another. Three more Dragons arose, and as each before, these three new Dragons had colors unakin to their elder kind. The first of the three, a Dragon of great green scales, like a full forest in spring, arose. And, with a swipe of his paw, he created a mountain where before there was only open plain. The second of the three, with scales as deep red as a great bonfire, rose up, and all around him heat spread forth, withering the plants and causing leaves to set aflame. Quickly, he placed his power in check, so the whole World would not be engulfed in mighty fires. And finally, the third Dragon, with scales the color of the clear blue ocean, came forth and brought a light spring rain. And, just as before, after the creation, Bahamut could feel his power waning even further. He felt spent, drained, and exhausted… but he was proud of his work.
But then, the great Blue Dragon, youngest of the six, walked forward. “I understand the power that we all possess. We are higher beings than all others, gifted with the power of the World itself. But, there is something you all must realize. The Gold Dragons have power over light. They can bring it forth or banish it with little effort. This, you all know. The Silver Dragons bring forth the wind, and can silence the breeze on a whim. This, you all know as well. My brothers both Green and Red can cleft the earth and bring forth the greatest of heat or banish it at will. This we all know.” It is then that the Blue took a short pause. “The absence of light can weaken and kill many, but there are those that live without light, even thrive in the darkness. Many creatures rely on the wind, for it is the air they breathe that gives strength to their muscles. Yet, many do not require air to survive. The earth is a great and strong thing, stable and sturdy to support all that stands upon it. Yet, just as many — nay, more — live in the great seas and oceans and need not the earth.” Again, the Dragon paused. “However, every creature on this earth, living and breathing, intelligent or not, requires water to live. Without water, all, even my mighty brethren, perish. So, you must all recognize my power is so much greater than yours, as I control the lives of all on this World.”
The other Dragons all knew he was right. So Bahamut, looking favorably on his greatest creation, granted it the name Odomet, and made him a Prince among the Dragons.
Yet, the greed of the Queen was not yet slaked. She nudged and seduced and made Bahamut relinquish the last bit of his powers for yet one more child. This one, taking the last pieces of power that rested in the deepest reaches of Bahamut’s soul, came out as black as the deepest night. He who could control the venoms and toxins and creeping crawling insects in the World, he who commanded everything that the most insidious nightmares are made of, was granted the mantle of the Black Dragon.
And so, with all of Bahamut’s earthly powers spent, he felt himself empty and useless… until he came to realize, when spurred on by one of his own spawn, he still had the power to command absolute obedience from every single one of his kin.
They, still fearing a bit the power of Bahamut, decided to spread apart, finding their own personal paradises amongst the World, to raise their own kind, as the Gods did before them. And Bahamut, their father and king, gave chase, so that he might teach each in turn the subtleties of the greatest powers they had been granted.
And so, with the birthplace of all greater beings in the World, the center continent, being left to its peace, the focus of the World was laid with the other creatures. The Elves, the Dwarves, the Gnomes, the Halflings, and the Orcs. As each and every race blazed on, they eventually became masters of their domains. They gained complete control over all they had come to know over the eons and eons, and they wished to see what else was in the great World about them.
The Halflings, being great water-travelers, were the first to build grand ships. The elves were soon close behind, allowing the trees to aid them as they had with their great forest homes. Then the Orcs, and finally Dwarves and Gnomes followed suit. They each in turn set out onto the grand oceans, braving the eerie mists that consumed the waters, and each found themselves on the very ground where their Gods had started an immeasurable amount of time ago.
The fogs indeed proved a mystery at first. No matter where one departed from their isle, they always came out of the fog in the same place. More mysteriously, a phrase instantly became embedded in their minds, and when spoken aloud, returned the speaker through the mists to wherever they cast off from. Whether or not it was a message from their Gods or some strange ability of the mist, the races knew not, and chose to continue on to the mainlands as they originally intended.
Indeed, as if being whispered encouragements by their creators themselves, the races slowly found their way to the very spot where all Gods were born — the great divot that gave rise to Bahamut, which was placed upon the ground where the five Great Gods came before him. And, in finding this place, the races stumbled upon something truly curious: a new race of creatures.
Taller than the Halflings, Gnomes, and Dwarves, yet shorter than the Elves and Orcs. They were not the strongest, nor the weakest. They were not the most intelligent, yet their cleverness outweighed that of the Orcs. They were not the most nimble, nor wise, nor charismatic, but they were not the least of which either. In essence, they were the one missing race in the World. They were the middle ground. They were a part of every race, yet something completely independent.
The other races, curious of these creatures, went forth and asked. “Where hast thou come from? What greater power placed you on this land? Whom do you call your first and greatest father?”
The newest race, looking just as curiously at the other creatures, answered quite simply. “We known none of this. We know not where we are from or why we are here, only that we are and we exist as such. We farm the land, we hunt our game, we feast and fight fearsome creatures. We do a bit of everything, for that is all we know to do.”
The other races were completely baffled. They had never heard of such a thing. Each and every other race knew from where the had come. The Gods themselves had passed down the stories of how the races first came into being. And yet, these creatures knew none of that. They did not even know their own name! And so, the other races, eager to bring these curious beings to light, gave them a name. “Ume,” a mixture from each of their personal languages. A word that meant “something strange and new.” The “Umes,” as they were called, took the name granted them. Though, without the same control of tongue, they took it and made a word of their own, “Human.”
After some time of studying the Humans, the other races went back to their homelands to report to their kin what they had found. This left the Humans, once again, quite alone.
However, something had changed this time. They looked above, and saw great creatures of claw and scale and wing flying over them. They saw their control over the World; the way they bent it to their will. The Dragons had come back to the midlands, and with them, they brought yet another curiosity to the Humans.
The Humans saw the power of the Dragons. They craved it. They lusted for it. They wanted it for their own. So the humans studied and meditated and pondered over this power. The other races returned, wanting to spread themselves about more. They saw what the humans were trying, and they spoke simply. The Dragons, like the Gods, were higher beings. They controlled a power that mortals never could know. They continuously told the humans they were wasting their time. Yet, the humans listened not. They studied and pondered and meditated for days, for weeks, for months, years, decades… generation upon generation marveled at the Dragons and continued to work at it, long past the other races giving up on persuading them otherwise.
Just when the humans had started to give up on that feint glimmer of hope… it happened. In a burst of anger, one man summoned forth a great explosion nearby. For another, a ray of light shot from his hands, withering a great and mighty tree to nearly nothing. These powers, though not unlike those of the Dragons, were soon found to be something else entirely. A power all on its own. A great strength that even the Dragons could not wield.
Though the Humans were first to learn this power, the other races soon started to devote themselves to it as well. Some, such as the Elves, took to the power more quickly, taking only a few years to hone the basic techniques. For other races, such as the Orcs, they still struggle to this day in trying to perfect the art. But, all races, in seeing the human audacity and unwillingness to give up, found the same strength in themselves, and learned this power. And it was only then that the Humans were finally known for something that none of the other races had: their tenacity.
The power of the Arcane was upon the World now. The Gods looked down upon the World and saw this, and also knew the extent to which these abilities could grow. So the Gods, in defiance of Bahamut and the will of the World, once again intervened. They told the races of the World of the danger this Arcane power held. The power had limitless potential for destruction. If it grew too quickly in any one individual, they would have the might to level entire cities with but a handful of words. And so the Gods went to their most devout, huddled close to them, and whispered the secrets of the powers of healing and repair into the ears that would listen. To counter the destructive power of Arcane, the Gods themselves granted the World the curing power of Divinity. Those that would follow the will of their God with utmost impunity traveled the lands, healing those in need and fixing what was wrought of destruction. They were named the first Clerics.
The Gods, already interfering too far to turn back, decided to share more of their knowledge with those of the mortal World. They explained to the mortals about this new-found power, named Eternal Magic, for the power in essence is merely the ability of humans to channel the mystic forces already present in the World — the thick and eternally flowing fog that separates the lands, among other things. Forces that are neither created nor destroyed, that do not merely appear out of thin air. Rather, this Eagic as it was come to be known, is merely the ability of one to shape the mystic forces of the World to their will, causing them to mimic whatever effect the wielder desires.
The World was angry with the Gods, but it understood their plight. They interfered, and even though for good reason, the World still could not sit idly by. It used its power once again to dispel the Gods, but not as fully as before. It allowed them to stay in distant contact, so that, at the very least, their followers could channel the great gift of the Divine Eagic.
With the World having said its piece, the Gods removed themselves back to the Heavens. Slowly, the races came to view the World as it was, most distancing themselves from the Gods as well. They lived in the moment, conquering one piece of their lives at a time. Branching out to new villages, making their homes, defending against creature and invader alike… these challenges began to assault the peoples of the World on a daily basis, and pulled many away from the Gods. Such is the way of the World, after all. But, the Gods still looked down upon the World and their creations, watching over them, keeping a sharp eye on those with promise. For the Gods, even so far removed from the World, kept a piece of their grand power tethered there.
The Gods found their Champions — beings who possessed traits that were most valued to the Gods, beings who devoted their lives to a cause far greater than many on the World. The Gods smiled on these individuals, watched over them closely, and granted them great favors when they could. Whether these Champions know it or not, they play a grand part in the destiny of the World. They are not game pieces or actors on a stage, as many of the peons of the World are seen as. Rather, they have a hand in fate itself. They exude an aura of courage wherever they walk, and an air of change always follows wherever they roam.
These are the events that have been set into motion. This is the reality that has been sought, and a reality that you have found. This is the adventure you have been waiting for. This is where you will prove what you are truly made of. The question is, will you lie down timidly and prostrate before the greater powers, or will you make those greater powers tremble in your wake? The path is yours for the choosing.
Welcome to the World… of Aevernon.