Age of Dread

Age of Dread

Now, in those days the Powers That Be moved among the people, and were seen, and were known and were treated as if they were just one of us, merely mortal, and at first none knew otherwise for it was different, but as the years stretched and the council did not change, did not age, did not pass into the great cycle, people began to suspect and worry and fear.

Paramalus declared himself to be the One God Above All, and demanded the Ancients heed him, serve him and his will and his lieutenants, and they were the Five.

They began to enslave others, often with pretext and simply desire, and gave to them shackles and chains and made them lesser, and we know their names. We know Parabellum the Warrior, Paragon the Leader, Paramour the Beauty, Parafel the Beneficent, Parascient the Sage, Shavan the Rogue, Paranoir the Hunter, Parastrea of the Storms, and Paragnis of the Forge. We know them because they are the Nine, and they were enthralled to the Five, to Belial and Pallor and Dusit and Timur and Trundle.

They had children in these many years, and those children were never like what they had expected. Like their parents they came into the world with great powers, and they were often headstrong and capricious, cruel and malicious. These children were many, and often the product of things best left unspoken, for Paramalus has desires and tastes that even Pallor could not sate. They tortured those who would become the Bright Host. They gave them children and stole those children away to become the Devils and the Angels. They twisted these children, and they went back for more, until all was despair and grief and trauma.

We know as well that in secret, and over many lives, the first to whom the Ancients turned to Worship was Paramour, Mother of Peoples, called today Kybele, and so she gained greater beauty and more splendor, and she was bounteous, and peace reigned.

Seeing this, Paramalus grew jealous of her, and desired her even though she was Mansa’s, and would compare her to his Pallor, and find Pallor wanting, which in turn sparked Pallor to twist him, and cajole him, until finally he planned, and he schemed, and he devised, and at last, he acted. For patience has ever been one of his greatest gifts.

This was the era of Belial’s Reign, and this is how the time of Mansa’s Labors began. We do not forget the old names of the Powers, from when they were Gods. We do not always use them, for we will not forget the betrayals that would one day come, though we knew it not then. But this, Pupils, is why we always use them.

Paramalus sent Mansa away on a series of mighty labors. The lifting of mountains, the caring of seas, the arranging of stars, the shifting of winds, the building of lands. And as he was away enjoining them, Paramalus snuck upon Kybele whilst she slept and took her to his dungeons. There, he ravaged her, he beat her, he punished her and forced her to reveal the secrets of her power, so defiling and obscene were his actions. It was not an easy task, for mighty as the Powers are, it is known that they require worship to become ever more powerful, and among the secrets he learned for the Fairest, was that they were neither alone nor the only Powers, for she had met and as was her nature, befriended the Old Ones, and learned the blackest truth: without worship, they would begin to fade and become twisted and revealed, their forms becoming as obscene as those of the Old Ones, whose time was so long past that they were barely memories.

And he feared, and so it was that Paramalus became Belial, and so it was that the shadow passed over Kybele, who was, as then, the most beloved of the people. And he demanded that the People worship him, and commanded temples be built, and sacrifices made, for he, too, spoke to the Old Ones, and even today he has secrets and knowledge that few others have, stretching back through time and space and moments unknown to long before this world was.

At long last Paragon, to become Mansa, the Bright One, the Sun incarnate, returned to Ackyu and there he found Kybele, The Wonder, The Star of Heavens, hurt and battered, and he vowed retribution, and rebellion and recompense. He confronted Belial, Lord of the Heights, and I tell you my pupils that the land shook and great monuments fell from merely the words that were traded, and that Belial unmoved and enraged by all of this, and so he stuck Mansa with the back of his hand, empowered by the forced worship, and denied Mansa all that he sought.

Some say the silence that followed that lasted three days. That so shocked was Paragon that his friend had betrayed him so deeply that he could not at first believe all of this, though not once did Belial deny it. Yet he did come to it, and as he did His fury rose, and with it the power that was his by right, and he returned the blow, stronger and more vitally. It was this moment that began the God’s War.

Now, know this, pupils, for it is important. In those days, there was no magic. In those days, only these great powers had anything akin to it. The mind powers some show did not exist. There were no rituals, no spells, no Words of Power, no Runes. There were, to our knowledge, no planes or dimensions. Mortals had the thing some still seek to restore, the fabulous and fabled Teknogy. Tamasin says that we lack certain things to ever make it rise again, and that such a lack is intentional, for it was that which led, in part, to the events that came before.

Devils and wraiths, hags and Valkyries, fae and Shadowfell were all part of this world. Yet there were only the Ancients. No Elfin, no Tritons. No Goblins and no dwarfs. Just the Ancients and the Powers. They had vehicles that flew in the sky of their own power, they had vast ships we can only imagine and then poorly at that. They could move across the world in the shortest of time and despite all these wonders, they still did not have magic. They had almost no weapons, and they had much metal and other things that were far more useful. They were not only on Avilon, our beloved home, they were throughout the world, in so many numbers that we do not even have true words for the number of them.

And know this, as well: the world then was not the world today. The shape of the lands, the rise of the mountains, the falls of the seas, the winds of the storms – all of it was different then than it is today.

And as Mansa destroyed the great Temple to Belial, Belial and his closest, alongside some of who would later become the Bright and Shadow Hosts, they pulled their might and they tore all of Wyrlde from the firmament in which it had begun, and they fashioned a new way for the world to be, and all that is said is that for a hundred years there were no stars in the sky save seven, and the tides and the moons and very days themselves were changed.

And in that time, it became known for true and certain, that those who had long ago been merely the council of chosen were now Gods, and that they would have their due. And with that, I must rest. Return tomorrow and we shall continue.
Goddess of Change, Mystery, Wonder, and Fun
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