The Fall of Jagoduun

Eleven thousand years ago, the world was very different than it is now. And in that time, the first contact between men and the elf came to pass, a moment that would haunt them ever after. To describe these events we refer to the words of the Åelf seer, Qan-af-årael1.

But for you to understand why you must not search after the one who committed the murder of the Patriarch and your friends, I must tell you a story that is very old among my kind. Before there was an Ecclesia, and before the Suielman Empire even existed, when your kind first arrived on the shores of our land. The two continents were joined at that time, in a place known as Jagoduun. A beautiful palace of spires that challenged the very sky, much like our own Ava-shavåis I am told. From that place, we looked upon the works of your kind to the south, still living in tents and fighting amongst each other, and found it debasing that a species so lowly as your own might resemble us.

But, something happened in the Southlands that changed that. Your kind discovered magic, and truly began to understand power. The Southern continent was transformed with its use, mages controlling the lives of the rest, leading them in their personal quests to dominate the land. Slowly, the more talented destroyed the rest, and seeing no others but each other, they turned their eyes North and saw us. Jealousy smote them, and filled their hearts as they looked upon our ways and our customs. They saw our cities that touched the sky and glowed brighter than the moon.

And in that jealousy they sought to drive us out and take what was ours. This transformation swept the Southlands so quickly that my kind did not understand what was happening. Within a matter of ten to twenty years, your people rose from among the beasts and demanded their place at the banquet table, determined to have cities of their own that challenged the heavens, songs to extol their glory and their victories, fine clothes to dress themselves in, exquisite foods and wines to sup so that they might pretend to refined taste, and scores of servants, that they might have dominion over others. Truly, the wizards of those days aspired to be like the false gods they worshiped themselves.

And so, they set themselves to taking Jagoduun, the only city that they could attack via land. The rest were beyond across the Splitting Sea. Armies were marshaled, weapons forged, banners lifted, and the wizards united, agreeing amongst themselves that if only they could share in this victory together, that they might divide it between themselves, the treasure, the knowledge, and all that lived there. Oh yes, in those days your kind aspired to keep us as slaves, and in fact, a few were taken, but with their spirit crushed they quickly died. My kind is not meant for the life of a slave, for we are born too high for that, too free.

And so it was that while the mild months of winter came for Jagoduun, the nine wizards assembled and planned their attack, bringing with them eldritch forces the likes of which have not been seen in any age since. But by now, my own people had become aware of their intentions, and were preparing their defences. One among them, Yajakali, the son of Jagoduun's King, Kaerbashyia, who is spoken of as the fairest Åelf to ever trod this world, turned to the magical arts as well to repel what the nine would do.

Yajakali was loved by his people and by his father, and with equal measure he loved them in return. Yet, the threat of the human mages preyed on him ceaselessly. He did not content himself with what Kaerbashyia's own wizards planned to keep their people safe, but sought out the same knowledge that the nine had mastered, desiring to use it against them. Days and nights he would spend in the dark halls beneath Jagoduun, collecting all that he needed, gold and jewels that had been formed under the crucible of their walls for millennia.

Even while the armies of the nine wizards marched only days from Jagoduun, Yajakali worked in the forges beating sheets of iron into shapes that he had envisioned. Around the iron, he placed the gold and the rubies, fixing even the last in place while the walls about him trembled from the power of the nine. Kaerbashyia pleaded with his son to abandon his fruitless crafting, gazing in horror upon what was being fashioned. Yet Yajakali would not give it up, for it would be the doom upon all the humans, and bring an end to their pretentious siege, as is said he likened it.

Yet, even while his own kind quailed in fear, for the nine wizards possessed great power, and the hordes of men swarmed at the walls like ants, Yajakali became a spectre of his former self, devoting all of his time towards the crafting of three objects. The first of which was a large platform, a dais, whose base radiated in nine directions, arcane symbols etched into each face. At each corner, a tall pole stood erect, with a gem set at the tip, dull and colourless. Though the largest of all of his endeavours, it took him but a week of ceaseless hammering and carving to fashion it.

The second, designed to be placed in the centre of the platform, was a censer bedecked in jewels and carvings of all sorts of monstrosities being perpetrated against the men that he hated. At the base of the censer, those same nine symbols were etched in relief. Though the stories are not clear on what lay in the basin in the centre, it is known that there was a place for at least one candle to be lit. It is said that in his days, Yajakali used a candle and wick of purest obsidian that were rumoured to have been fashioned from the substance of the night itself.

The last of his endeavours was a great sword, fashioned entirely from gold. Of course, Yajakali had no intention of wielding it in battle alongside his brethren, gold is too soft for that. The hilt was fashioned with nine sides, and on each, barely large enough to see, were those same symbols. There is a slot inside the base of the censer's basin that the sword hilt sinks into, but only if the symbols are aligned in just the right way. Of its use, only that I know. Of all his creations, the sword took the longest, for the blade was marred by his own enchantments, lines that drew inward, absorbing power so that he might channel it directly into the censer and platform themselves.

As you may have surmised, those nine symbols were intended and specified to the nine human mages, one for each. After a month of the siege, the sea of humans outside the walls dwindled, though hardened and relentless as ever, the people of Jagoduun began to despair. Where was their fair prince to fight at their side? He was dwelling in the cellars, a thing forgotten of light and of joy, devoted to his creation, unaware that it harboured powers that should never have been called upon.

Even his father, King Kaerbashyia, had fallen into despair, convinced that his people were doomed. The other Åelf were stunned at the news that came to them about their brethren in Jagoduun, and their own people and mages were dispatched to help. And in another week, they would have arrived and overwhelmed the remnants of the human army, or so we would like to have believed.

Yet, Yajakali's plan came to fruition first. Upon this very night, the Solstice of winter, when the sun shines not in the lands of the north, the world's natural flows of magic reach an apex. The human wizards understood this as well, and had planned a ceremony of their own to tear down the walls of Jagoduun. So, both our prince Yajakali and the human wizards summoned forth great powers, exerting their wills in that moment when midnight was reached. Yet neither could have guessed what it truly would accomplish.

For Yajakali had devised his plan to take the wizard's power from them, and leave them as the beasts he knew them to be. The nine gems he had placed atop the poles on the platform would burn brightly with their energy, able to be unleashed by the sword if ever there was a need. They drew more power than they could possibly possess though, and there was more to his own creation than even our fair prince understood. The wizards all died that night, their bodies being consumed by the power they had drawn upon. The human camp was obliterated, and the remnants of their forces scattered back to the lands of the South. My people were free from the threat of those humans, for nearly ten thousand years more.

Jagoduun was destroyed as well in that moment. The lives of every one he cared for were drawn through that blade and into the censer, blasting a hole through the very fabric of reality. Something was touched in that moment that never should have been woken, a power so terrible and evil that it cannot rest until it has consumed everything upon the face of this world. Not even your Ecclesia would dare claim this realm for its Hell, as your Eli cherishes the sinners too much to subject them to what waits in that dark place. It is known among those who share faith only as the Underworld.

Also in that moment, the land North of Jagoduun cracked and fell into the sea, casting the thousands of Åelf who had travelled to rescue Kaerbashyia and his people to their deaths. Forevermore the two continents would be separate, as they are to this day. Of Jagoduun and Yajakali, nothing remained above the ground. Beneath it though, it is said that the chambers where the fair prince worked his magic still exist, though cracked and warped by the power that channelled through them. The land became cursed, clustered with swamps and decay. No more was it a place fit for any life. Indeed, all who approached in the first few years following died terrible deaths, though not before they were driven mad, seeing things that were not there, screaming of terrors only they could know.

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