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A note from TK523

The shout-out today for Peculiar Soul by TMarkos. If you enjoy the slower paced progression and world building of Dear Spellbook, I think you will enjoy this one. 

Reminder: Interludes are all books, notes, journal entries, etc. that Tal found and put into Spellbook between the events of the story and the time of writing the Forward. 

Translated excerpts from an unknown dwarven tome

Creation

Before the creation of the world, the Realms, or even the gods, existed the creator who we call Oaan. We know not from whence he came or where he has since gone, but before time he came and created. He brought into existence four beings before moving on. These beings were like him in all things but in the scale of their power; each an equal blank slate, identical, or so it seemed. The four existed in harmony, and like their progenitor before them, they created.

Through their labors each discovered their own unique sense of self. This identity would one day lead to the end of their harmony. Their first works were ephemeral things of great beauty that existed but for a moment before fading away. One of these beings, who named himself Torc, soon grew tired of these temporary creations that served no purpose. He craved to build something enduring, like their creator had, and set out to do just that. All his attempts led to failure, and eventually he sought out the aid of his sister Waas. Waas had proved herself to be the most imaginative of the four, the beauty of her creations shining the brightest, if but for a moment. Together they tried to create something that would not fade, but even together they failed.

Once more Torc sought out the help of his siblings. Together all four worked to create something that would last. Each brought a part of their identities to the work, digging in to their beings to find what separated them from the ephemeral. Torc found his determination, Waas her creative ingenuity, Faust his passion, and Aurial her patience. The poured of themselves, together and at last they succeeded. The first creation of the four acting together was the Font of Perminence.

Emboldened by their first success, Torc urged his siblings on to further creation. From Perminece, they pulled nuances, spinning them into Fonts of their own. Perminece bore Time, Substance, and Potential, and from each of those more flowed. Together they worked tirelessly until they had formed the building blocks that would one day be used to create the Material Realm. The more of these they created, the more avenues opened to them for further innovation. Every concept, while a smaller part of the whole it had come form, was itself a deep pool of posiblities. After a time, they found they did not even need to all work in tandem. Now instead of all four working in concert, using the Fonts as tools they could create lasting creations in pairs.

Once they had exhausted their creativity in pairs, each set out to use these tools to create something enduring that was just their own. Each sought to capture their own essence and identity in their work. Torc desired to build something strong, enduring, and stable, so deep in the desncents of Substance, he wrought the Font of Earth. Waas desired to create something free and flexible, so high in the tree that sprung from Potential she created the Font of Air. Aurial sought something powerful, yet patient and malleable, and so too drew from Substance's children to create the Font of Water. Faust hungered to better harness his passion, and so he created the Font of Fire from the tree of Potential.

For eternal beings, even the creation of the building blocks of reality could only hold their attention for a millenia. Eventually, they had wrung from Perminence all that could be tweezed out of its infinity depths of possiblity. While they had replicated Oaan’s ability to make creations that lasted, they fell short of creating beings like themselves.

They grew lonely.

The four longed to create others like themselves. But no matter the ways they tried to combine the Fonts, all their creations fell short of their goal. It was only in a fit of whimsy and inspiration that—while working with Aurial—Waas tried placing a bit of her own being into the work. Sensing what Waas was doing, Aurial did the same and out of their work came Riloth. Spurred on by their success the gods, save Faust, worked together to create more like themselves. Faust suspected what the others would soon learn. To give a part of yourself in creation was to lose that part of your power. As they created more gods, their power waned, and Faust had no desire to give up his power. Torc joined with Waas and Aurial, and together they made Assuine.

Faust saw that each new god was less like himself and more like his siblings. Desire to create warred with his miserly hold on his power. He did not want to give up his own power only to create a being that was tainted by the influence of his siblings, but he also did not want to be alone. He began to plot and wait.

Eventually, an opportunity presented itself. Torc fell in love with his new sibling, Assuine, and sought to give her a great work to show his devotion. Knowing that his works tended toward utility and not beauty he sought the aid of his sister Waas. Before he could find Waas, Faust took the opportunity to offer his own help and set his plans into motion. Together they created a beautiful crystal as strong as Torc and with Faust’s passion burning inside it. When Assuine took hold of the crystal, the fire inside leapt from the stone and started to consume her. Torc was able to save her but in the struggle, the stone—covered in the soot and ash of Assuine—was recovered by Faust. In secret Faust took the stone and, using Assuine’s power that now resided in the crystal, he created two new gods Erebog and Bilieth. They were born of his power and Assuine's, but molded solely by his own will. Erebog embodied the end of all life, while Assuine embodied its beginnings, and Bilieth was a twisted version of Assuine’s aspect of growth.

At the theft of Assuine’s power and the creation of the new gods, the others decided that Faust could no longer be trusted and they began to exclude him from their work. Torc seethed with anger, but was not one to strike quickly out of emotion. He did what he did best, he planned a great work. He began a new project, to create a new realm, separate from the realm in which they had worked till now. He invited all his siblings, even Faust, to join in its creation. Together they made a realm, a new splinter of reality, that did not contain the Fonts, but was made from them. The task was the family's greatest labor yet and took more work to complete than the sum total of all their labors before it.

When the realm was complete and populated with wonders, they all gathered to celebrate the completion of their greatest work. Torc used this moment to strike and take vengeance. He had hoped that Faust had forgotten Torc's anger towards him and thought that in this realm of his own devising he would be a match for his brother, but he quickly found that he was not. When he realized neither surprise nor location gave him the edge needed, he changed tactics from destruction to containment. Using his own being for power he sought to seal Faust away so he could do no more harm. He succeeded in creating a mass of earth around Faust but due to investing his being into it, he became trapped as well. Yet even with the full focus of Torc’s power containing him, Faust was still able to break out.

Seeing the conflict, Aurial grew angry, for she too loved her sibling Assuine and hated Faust for his act. She decided to aid Torc in his quest for vengeance. Using her own being as power, she created a shell of water around Torc’s prison of earth to further contain their brother, but his power was greater still, for Faust had only created two gods and had used little of himself to do so, instead using the stolen power of Assuine.

Waas realized that after this attack Faust's anger would not be stopped if he broke free. Her siblings' efforts would be in vain if she did not assist, and remembering her love for Assuine, she too chose to use her own being as power. She covered the prison with air and with all three of their elements combined, infused with their beings, they were able to imprison Faust.

When all had settled, out of the chaos created by the battle stepped a new god. Without meaning to, the battle in which they each wielded their beings as power had created another sibling. Illunia was the only god to be the creation of the original four and the last creation of Faust.

With Torc, Waas and Aurial now trapped in this new realm, the other gods did not wish to leave them and the prison world became their new home. The people of Torc named his last creation Kaltis[1]. Assuine was moved by what her siblings did for her, and decorated their new world with her creations to show her appreciation. She created plants and creatures of every kind to fill this world and the Wardens lent her their powers in the work.

[1]Translator’s note: Kaltis is composed of the Torcish word Kal, for justice, and Tis, for met or completed. Kaltis means justice’s completion in Torcish.

Dragons

At her birth, Illunia knew little but possessed a burning desire to learn. While the other gods were born into the void that became the Arcane Realm, Illunia was born into a world rich with wonders to explore. She explored all the Realm before returning to Kaltis, for here the gods still labored, creating new wonders each day as they kept the Wardens company.

Intrigued by the creatures that Assuine created on Kaltis, Illunia asked if she could assist in birthing more. While Assuine had created the plants and animals of Kaltis all on her own, with the aid of Illunia she was able to create something greater and more powerful. Illunia was new to creation and in her excitement gave a small portion of herself into the creature. What was meant to be a simple, but beautiful creature, instead grew to be what we now call a dragon. Instead of being distraught by her mistake and loss of power, as small as it was, she was thrilled. For the creatures she helped create possessed something that no other creatures save the gods had. The creature was intelligent and could speak.

This breakthrough showed the gods the key to the creation of sapient races, but that is a different story.

The dragons spread out over the world, exploring the wonders the gods had made, and when the gods followed the creation of dragons with the creation of the races of men, the dragons acted as shepherds and guides.

As the races grew and prospered, the dragons grew in knowledge and power alongside them. Like their mother Illunia, the dragons had a hunger innate to them, a remnant of their connection to Faust through her. Some hungered for knowledge, like her, others for power or wealth. Eventually this led to strife amongst themselves and between the dragons and men. The dragons did not seek to do harm, but they could not remain with the races without doing so. With heavy hearts, they retreated to the far reaches of Kaltis to live in isolation and conquer these strange new urges.

After the gods left Kaltis, as the races spread across the world, men and dragons would meet once more. At that time the dragons had learned to rein in their hunger, and they began to interact with humans once more. The relationship was not the peaceful cooperative one it had once been, and there existed a distance between men and dragons from then on.

The Races of Men

For ages untold the gods worked across Kaltis, creating wonders great and small. Even the presence of Erebog and Bilieth was tolerated in those happy days following the battle. They filled the world with wonder and beauty. Eventually, they discovered the secret to creating lesser beings capable of thought like themselves. Illunia and Assuine discovered the trick, and in the discovery made the first dragons. Soon after, the other gods desired to create a thinking race of their own, but they quickly found that without Illunia and Assuine’s aid, the creations failed. It was in these trials that many dangers were created that still roam Kaltis. Learning their involvement was required, Assuine and Illunia approached each of their siblings and with them created one or more of the races of men.

With Torc, deep in his earthen shell, the three created the race of dwarves. The dwarves were made to be a strong and enduring race, like their progenitor. Torc was happy with his creation and allowed them to reside within him, but felt like he needed more from his people. While the dwarves embodied his enduring nature and passion for building, Torc saw that they did not share his passion for progress. While the dwarves could plan and build, they never strove to innovate. Trying once more Torc created the gnomes. In the gnomes Torc found the capacity for invention that the dwarves lacked. Where the dwarves were stout and strong, the gnomes were nimble and weak. The two races, ever pragmatic like their God, found they complimented each other and together filled Torc's body with wonders of strength and cunning.

With Aurial, deep in her waters, they created the race of seafolk. The seafolk were a race content, like their god. They did not long for wealth or power like the races that were to come after, but lived simple lives beneath the sea, which provided for all their needs.

Riloth, with the help of his sisters, created the humans. Humans embodied the storms of Kaltis that Riloth created and loved. They had the capacity for great power but left destruction in the wake of their passions. Eager to see what else he could create, Riloth asked his sisters’ for another try, and this time the orcs were born. Like humans, the orcs were a people ruled by their passion, but the orcs were not as covetous of wealth as their siblings the humans. Instead, the orcs hungered for glory, driving them ever towards conflict.

Waas created the elves, who shared her love to craft beautiful works, but the elves were too serious for her liking and she asked if she could create once more. With her sisters’ aid, she created the halflings, a whimsical folk who better embodied her playful nature. The elves, a prideful people, felt betrayed by this, though she meant no offense. Believing their god had spurned them the elves turned their back on their mother and worshipped Assuine instead as their god.

Bilieth and Erebog, while tolerated, were not loved. Not approached to make a race of their own, in secret they performed experiments to uncover the missing piece. They created many horrors in their pursuit before realizing their goal was beyond their abilities. From these experiments the Feralkin were born. Ever crafty, they captured the races of the other gods and began to warp them. Through these defilments, many more horrors were brought into the world, but they succeeded in their goal and created the races collectively known as the forsaken.

Corruption

When Faust gained control of the Primordial of Fire, and the Avatar of Faust broke free, the dragons sought to aid humanity in fighting it. But as the Avatar rampaged across Kaltis, the dragons grew crazed. The control over their hunger they had fought so long to control was broken. Furthermore, they grew vicious and angry at all. The corrupted dragons would follow the Avatar, amplifying the destruction in its wake and reveling in the violence. Where the Avatar was a tornado of destruction, terrifying but aimless, the dragons were ruthless, leaving none alive in their wake. Eventually it became clear that the dragons were being corrupted by Faust’s influence through the Avatar. As the gods had learned, which ultimately led to their departure, all things created on Kaltis had a touch of Faust’s taint on them, for through Illunia Faust had a hold on the dragons and men of the world. He was able to use that and twist the dragons to his will. Having so large a portion of Illunia’s being in them, Dragons were more susceptible to Faust’s corruption than most.

The remaining dragons fled once more to the far corners of the world to keep their minds intact, forced to watch as the world burned. It was not until the gods created and sent Bild to the world to seal Faust’s prison once more that they were safe. Though Bild sealed Faust from escaping or growing the Avatar further, he could not contain it. Bild granted the remaining dragons a gift and a task. He tasked them with the protection of the races in the absence of the gods and in return he gave of his own power and self to provide a protection from Faust’s corruption to any dragon who would accept his task. Not all accepted, but those that did had their scales transformed from the dull colors they bore to shining scales of metal that shone in brilliant hues of gold.

The protector dragons rushed to the aid of the remaining races, now immune to the corruption. Together they helped devise a plan to contain the Avatar, but that too is another story. Since that time, dragons both good, evil, and in between have been a rare sight. Some that refused Bild’s call eventually succumbed to the Avatar’s power, but still, others found ways of their own devising to protect themselves.

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TK523

  • United States

Bio: Aim for perfection, but don't try too hard.

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