The savage desert nomads of the Malakim had never seen an elf. Yet, when a group of hunters happened across a nearly-dead elven man wandering the wastes, they inexplicably decided to tend to his injuries rather than kill him. When the elf awoke in their care, he explained that he was Varn Gosam, and that he had fled from his homeland. The aura of Lugus, Lord of Light, surrounded Varn and suffused the Malakim with the holy spirit. The tribe allowed Varn to live among them.
Varn built a shrine to Lugus and began spreading his newfound religion across the land. The words of the prophet spread quickly throughout the tribes. The former elven prince soon found himself a leader of men. Accepting that role, he set forth to lead the Malakim through the hard years of the Age of Rebirth and into the light of Lugus.
1% Rock Gnome
< 1% Other
70% Neutral Good
6% Chaotic Neutral
3% Chaotic Good
~ 1% Other
Adult population Lvl 1 or higher: 4%
Other: < 1%
During the Age of Ice the dark elf (Svartalfar) followers of Esus took refuge in the Shadowed Vale created by their deity, a demi-plane shrouded in perpetual twilight by a thick mist obscuring the border between the Vale and Creation. In the 15th year of the Age of Rebirth, a young Auric Ulvin and his companions found their way into the Shadowed Vale and were accused of stealing by the elves. Varn, a prince among the dark elves, believed Ulvin’s denials, although his fellow elves did not.
When Varn tried to sneak them out of the vale, his brother led an elven warband to catch and kill the companions. Auric was just growing into his affinity for sorcery at the time and as the elven warband set upon them he reached through the vale for any source of wild magic he could use. The faint source he discovered was the sun. When he drew upon its power the barrier between the worlds was destroyed. Blazing light flooded the perpetually dark Vale.
The elvish warband was blinded, but Varn underwent a transformation. Lugus appeared in the light and anointed Varn as his first high priest and prophet of the new age. Varn fled from the Vale to wander the cold wastes of Creation on whatever path Lugus intended. Forty years later the prophet arrived in the desert lands of the Malakim.
I forgave her, but she couldn’t forgive herself.
It wasn’t unusual for Talia to worship at dusk. She revered it as I revered the dawn. She said that as the world slept the spirits came out to wander across it and often slipped into bed late, warm from the magic she channeled and smelling of flowers that covered the small shrine she kept in the temple. Despite her devotion to the old pagan gods of the Malakim, she was beautiful and I loved her.
I arose one morning to find that she never came to bed. It was three days since she told me about her affair and through many tears, both in anger and sadness, we worked through it. I promised myself that I would forget what she had done, that I would trust her again. But in seeing the empty bed my mind leapt to suspicion.
I found her body laying before her pagan shrine. She had expended her spirit entirely in casting some ancient spell, let her life flow from her for no other reason than to give it up. There was a short note with her, it read simply “I’m sorry.”
There was no salvation for her. And I shed tears once again at the altar of Lugus. Angels tended to me, brilliant compassionate beings who cried along with me. In time we divined Talia’s last hours. She hated the pain she caused me and prayed for some relief. But the druidic spirits worshipped by the pagan Malakim could recommend only time and patience to heal those wounds. Another voice had offered a more immediate solution.
That was the demoness Lethe, Queen of Sorrow. She whispered to Talia as she had thousands before, bading her forget the past and enter the abyss to escape her pain. And Talia followed it, killing herself at the shrine, believing somehow that she was making it easier for me.
Now we sail towards an idyllic beach. The tides beat regularly against white sand that rises smoothly to a thick ridge of mountain. It’s hard to believe that the Fane of Lessers, the place where Agares dwelt during the Godswar, where the souls of the damned are drawn, lies beyond those mountains.
It may be madness to assault the stronghold of evil with only the few volunteers willing to join me on this galleon. But the spirit of Lethe is somewhere within that twisted hellish terrain. I will make sure that her voice and those of the demon lords that dwell with her are removed from Arcanearth.