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Saii

History of the lands: final edit

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Part 3: Unolas and Selain

 

After failing to destroy the three greatest of his captors, Mortos had to find another way of securing his freedom. His knowledge of the limits of his prison had grown yet further over centuries of effort invading the minds of the five, and he was not long in coming with a second attempt to destroy our world.

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His chance came with an Elf, perhaps the most brilliant child of that race to have walked these lands.

 

Unolas was, by many of his kin's standards, a heretic, delving too deeply into areas of the world long avoided. In some ways he was more Dwarven than Elvish in his outlook, craving peace for his experiments with the nature of the Gods' work, and he gave less regard to the beauty of Aluwen's nature. He was more interested in how and why we came to be, and in the possibility of gaining those powers the Gods clearly possessed.

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Mortos worked hard to help Unolas in his quest, and over the course of three centuries, the two of them met in dreams that became more vivid and lengthy as time went by. The two became friends (insofar as Mortos is able to befriend anyone), and they learned much from one another, with Unolas writing down their nightly conversations and his daily experiments in a series of massive books.

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Twelve thick tomes of knowledge and lore were accumulated, as Unolas' gifted mind leapt the intellectual chasms that divide God and mortal.

 

Finally, one fine spring day, Unolas stood on the shores of the Second Continent, and pronounced the forms of the essences to a congregation of his Elven kin from every corner of the lands.

 

He demonstrated each essence in turn, drawing gasps of astonishment as he manifested both creation and destruction around him for several hours, before retiring to his bed, exhausted.

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The Elves too returned to their homes, spreading word of a mortal who wielded the power of the Gods, and the world grew ablaze with rumour and fear. Other races, fearing the threat of a mortal Elf wielding immortal power, appealed to the Gods to pass judgement on Unolas.

 

Seeing the very foundations of their great work revealed, the Gods responded. A court was founded, to judge this Elf whose studies had caused so much concern, with the four Gods Elandria, Gaia, Glydoc and Aluwen sitting on the highest of thrones.

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It was thought they would find Unolas guilty of heresy and destroy him, yet Mortos pre-empted this, furnishing Unolas with three unassailable arguments:

 

First of these was his motive. Unolas had caused no harm to others and used his knowledge responsibly.

 

Second was the mere fact of his dedication, which was not evil in itself and indeed was the only way for the races to grow and evolve as their creators had wished them to.

 

Third, and most important, was that killing him would not stop others from learning as he had. A line had been crossed. Surely it would be better, given his obvious good character, to elevate rather than punish him for his achievements?

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The four Gods were slow to decide, debating for over a decade the various arguments as an already aged Unolas grew frail with time.

 

Glydoc argued in favour of execution, seeing the use of magic by mortal creature as an invitation to cowardice and a betrayal of honour. His view was overruled. The others felt that to try and keep magic from their creations would be unjust. Instead they took into account Unolas' restraint in the use of the powers he had, and the potential harm that these powers could do, and decided to elevate him, to render him immortal so that he could watch over the essences of the mortal realm.

 

So Unolas took a place among the Gods themselves, and Mortos gained an ally in his quest for freedom.

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Mortos had not been idle in the daylight hours, as Unolas toiled down those long centuries. He spoke also to a second being, an Orchan known as Selain.

 

Selain was altogether different from Unolas, uninterested in pure research, driven only by dreams of greed and power. Mortos came across Selain almost by accident, drawn to the Orchan's childish diggings in the darkest pits of the Underworld.

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Barely a teen, Selain already had a dark and ruthless cunning, and a wicked gift for the arts of alchemy. He dug in the great depths of the deepest caves for new and powerful ingredients to add to his potions, so he could by stealth dominate his village where he could not by force of arms. So close did he venture to the true realms of Mortos that the dark God heard his scratchings, and invaded his mind.

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Mortos was taken with what he saw there. Selain was utterly amoral, and more so than Unolas, would not simply provide help for his plans to escape, but could cause great anguish to the other Gods in doing so.

 

Mortos poured every once of the power he had accumulated into the vessel, and in doing so, created a God who would ravage the Eternal Lands and begin the Great War.

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Selain did not immediately return to the surface of the earth upon gaining his stupendous powers, but continued to travel beneath it, seeking out rare items to further his long term aims.

 

The unearthly strength and power he gained from Mortos lent him immortality, and as Unolas gained a knowledge of essences Selain built up a vast horde of potions, ingredients and items, hidden in the underworld he had come to know so well.

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lol, saii, we certainly have to give you credit for persistence. Anyway, just to let you know I'm still following the story, and I still like it.

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Thank Christ for that, thanks Grum :)

 

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Over the long decades and centuries, as Unolas grew closer to Mortos, Selain plotted and schemed, taking all he could from his mentor, promising nothing. For this Mortos respected him and far more than for Unolas, gave of his strength to the new God.

 

While Unolas wrote the last three tomes of his great work, Selain moved to the surface for short periods, calling on Minotaurs, Humans, Dwarves and Elves to enslave them with trickery and blackmail. He created a network of worshippers and unwilling servants within every city and town, a secret army feeding more money and influence to him with each passing year.

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On the day Unolas demonstrated his magics next to the sea's sparkling waters, Selain drank blood and made alliance with the Orcs, helped by Mortos. Over the next decade he enlisted Ogres to swell their ranks and trained them into a regimented army equal to any challenge the other races could muster.

 

His abilities as a spymaster and God allowed Selain to conduct himself with complete secrecy. None on the surface, even those enslaved to his will, knew what would be coming.

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K been away in London, so will post two for next few days to catch up.

 

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Finally a momentous day arrived, when God and mortal sat in one court to elevate Unolas to the ranks of the immortals. In ranks twenty deep the nobility of each race stood before their creators on a floor of polished silver.

 

No walls would surround them, they had been summoned to a realm beyond our world where infinity rushed ever outwards from the bounds of their meeting place. Upon four golden podiums sat the remaining Gods, and upon a fifth, made only of wood, Unolas stood with his head bowed.

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Glydoc spoke first, his deep, melodious voice shaking the very bones of the nobles around the hall.

 

"YOU ARE AN INSOLENT AND UNTRUSTWORTHY CREATURE. YOU DO NOT DESERVE THE POWER YOU HAVE FOUND." His words caused the Minotaurs of the hall to fall to their knees, begging forgiveness, and Unolas hunched forward slightly in submission.

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Gaia smiled, and with a voice that sighed as the wind, continued.

 

"YOU HAVE LITTLE GOODNESS IN YOU. GIFTING YOU AN IMMORTALITY SUCH AS OURS WOULD NOT BRING JOY TO THIS WORLD." The Satyrs could not help but drop to the floor and cry with shame, Unolas nodded helplessly.

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Elandria fixed him with a stare that seemed to freeze the universe, with eyes as fathomless as the depths of the ocean. She spoke in a thousand voices, alike to the rustling of wheat fields in summer. The humans of the hall stood rooted to the spot, entranced.

 

"YOU SHOW GREAT PATIENCE AND INTELLIGENCE. YOU WOULD BRING THESE VIRTUES TO THOSE WHO FOLLOW YOUR PATH." Unolas stood tall while the humans rejoiced hysterically.

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Finally Aluwen came to speak, and the Elves braced themselves. Her voice was that of the truth. It was not loud or coarse, neither smooth nor cultured. It was just a voice - yet it filled the minds of all those who heard it, and bellowed into infinity until the universe itself seemed to creak with the strain.

 

"The mortals have discovered a great gift through you, yet it is a danger beyond their comprehension. We shall trust to your neutrality and better nature to help them in the ages to come. You are to be one with us."

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With that, the wooden podium of Unolas began to change, rising and growing until gold began to shine from it. It shifted slowly to stand beside the others, and a throne grew from it for him to sit at.

 

His form changed, lost its frailty, and he slowly raised himself straight to look down upon his former fellows, the mortals. He spoke with a voice that tasted of the elements, rumbling and rushing in thunder around the hall.

 

"I... AM A GOD."

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Elandria, Gaia, Glydoc and Aluwen looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Aluwen was the first to speak.

 

"He's got the hang of talking like a pompous ass then."

 

"HE'S GOT A BIT OF AN EGO."

 

"IT'S ONLY TO BE EXPECTED, NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN SAY THEY'RE GOD MATERIAL."

 

The four seemed almost to have forgotten their audience as they started to discuss their newest member in a strangely chatty way, until a disturbance in the great hall caught their attention. A voice emerged from the crowd, slimy and rotten and accompanied by an acrid stench of chemicals.

 

"I can."

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On cue, a sixth pillar began to rise from the marble below, a throne of blackest Jet was mounted upon it. A tall, wirey Orchan lounged across it, insolently staring at the Gods as they regarded him in stunned silence.

 

"I am Selain, and I come to you as a son of the Ebony throne, to tell you I will be king upon the Eternal Lands. I shall suffer none who oppose me and call upon the new god Unolas to follow me, in payment of his debt to Mortos."

 

There was more stunned silence from the Gods as they turned to the Elven God of Essence and saw a look of understanding spread across his brow.

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"Mortos has spent three long centuries helping you to learn your craft Unolas. You shall honour your bond."

 

Aluwen was the first to regain her voice. In a tone breaking with hurt she whispered: "Unolas is this true? In your dreams did you listen to the voice of Mortos? Is this how you gained your power?"

 

Unolas, shamed, looked to his feet. "IT IS TRUE."

 

Shouts of anger rose from the floor as the Minotaurs, so close to their creator, reflected Glydoc's thoughts, yet the Gods remained still as Unolas rose from his throne and flew to the throne of Selain to sit by the usurper's right hand.

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Selain bared his yellow teeth, daring the other Gods to attack him. None did. "You no longer have power enough to cast us into the pit as you once did Mortos. You have lost both Centau and Dvar from your ranks."

 

Selain smiled thinly. "Unolas and I have the powers of magic and alchemy to hand, and we shall spread these among our followers. The power they wield will destroy those few mortals who stand with you."

 

Now he grinned broadly. "You have sown the seeds of your own destruction. For your naivety in elevating Unolas, for allowing the essences he has discovered to be used by all, you will be broken."

And with a clap of thunder, they were gone. War had begun.

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Part 5: The Great War

 

It should not be entirely surprising that the Humans are the only ones with anything approaching a complete record of the Great War. They and Elandria kept out of the fighting, refusing to leave their walled cities and abandon the permanence they loved for the death and desolation of the lands around them.

 

For this they were hated by Glydoc, who bears a grudge to this day for Elandria's refusal to help, and loved by Selain, who saw in Elandria's neutrality the key to his victory.

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