Fel (James Galloway)

The Questing Game

Prologue

The Blood War

It was a war that shook the world. It was a war that destroyed gods, and a war that created new ones. It was a war for the survival of the world, and it was a war that changed the entire world that it saved. It was called the Blood War, and it was a war of survival against the creatures of darkness that existed beyond the boundaries of Sennadar.

Creatures called Demons.

They had appeared not long after the first of the Outworlders began to arrive, humans and other strange creatures that hailed from places not of their world. They called themselves Wizards and Mages, and they commanded a mighty magic. A mighty magic that was initially scorned by those that they had tried to impress. Sennadar was a world of powerful magic, a magic of tremendous power that was wielded by enigmatic beings who were a natural extension of their power. They were called Sorcerers, katzh-dashi, and it was their task to serve mankind with their powers.

But the magic of these outworlders was a curious one, and it quickly began to gain a foothold within the world. The main reason was because the powerful magic-users of Sennadar, the Sorcerers were wielding a magical power that was a natural gift. Only those with the gift could be Sorcerers, but anyone with the intelligence to grasp the magical concepts of their order could command Arcane magic. Because of this, many who had always wanted to learn magic began to train under these outworlders, learning the powers of magic not native to their world.

The gods themselves did not object to this influx of new magic. It created new windows, new opportunities, and it did not interfere with the Balance of things that the Elder Gods were charged to maintain. If anything, it enriched the world, and the world prospered because of it. And so it was permitted to remain.

It began from a single man. He was named Val, and he was a native Sennadite highly trained in the outworlder magic. He was a dark man, sinister and ruthless, and he hailed from the prosperous merchant kingdom known as Rauthym. Val aspired to conquest and rule, to control vast lands and their wealth. To this end he began raising lesser creatures of darkness, Wraiths and Poltergeists, Haunts and Wights. The peoples of Sennadar proved to be vulnerable to them, for the natives of their world had no intrinsic defense against the extradimensional entities. Val learned this lesson well, and through his power and cunning, he carved a kingdom for himself on the eastern steppes of the continent of Sharadar. He named his kingdom Valkar in honor of himself, and it grew in power and importance.

And then the hordes of Valkar, both mundane and magical, attempted to invade Sharadar. The great Sorcerers of the Realm of Magic, Humans and Sha'Kar, rose up and smashed the invaders, utterly destroying them. They further reached over the InnerSea and crushed the fledgeling nation, scattering its hosts across the Sea of Glass to the Wild Jungles of the far off continent known only as the Dark Lands. The displaced army found the Mahuut natives to be easy prey, and the nation of Valkar rose once again. But Val was bitter and enraged by his defeat, handed to him so decisively by the normally passive and docile katzh-dashi. His creatures, which overwhelmed nation after kingdom, had been utterly defenseless against the might of the Sorcerers. Val tasted defeat, and he found it too bitter to withstand.

And then he heard a legend of a mysterious artifact, a magical staff which within was trapped the power of Creation. He understood the power of such an item, and sent his minions across the Known World in an attempt to locate it. And locate it they did. Val researched the powerful device, and came to unlock its secrets. On the appointed day, staff in hand, he rose it to the joined moons and bade it to give him the power of a God.

It responded, and Val was transformed into a divine being of awesome power. Full of his newfound power, he again raised his army and its minions of nether creatures, and froze the Sea of Glass. They marched across that icy platform and again invaded Sharadar.

But when he arrived, he discovered the Elder Gods there awaiting him. Combined with the mortal powers of the katzh-dashi, the Elder Gods smote Val, destroying his army, and confronting him with certain death should he attempt to use his divine power to attain victory against the katzh-dashi. Again defeated, Val retreated to his temple complex, and there he brooded.

He achieved a solution some years later. The peoples of Sennadar were defenseless against the nether-born creatures of beyond, but Sorcery could affect them. What he needed were the most powerful of their ilk, mighty monsters known as Demons, who would be immune from that power. He conjured forth only one, one of the mighty Demon Lords, and offered it a proposition.

The Demon Lord was interested in the bargain. It supplied Val with Demons to overwhelm the native defenders, in return for the right to take the souls of the defeated.

For a third time, Val crossed the Sea of Glass and threatened the magical realm of Sharadar. But this time, a horde of raging Demons stood behind the god, a power not even the katzh-dashi could challenge. But again the Elder Gods rose up, joined this time by the Younger Gods, and their combined might banished the extradimensional beings from Sennadar. They challenged Val to battle, a battle Val would surely lose, and the god fled once again.

But the Demon Lord was not so banished. The banishment only freed it of the bargain it held with Val, and unleashed it upon the world. It appeared in the continent then known as Draconia, and its Demon minions quickly overwhelmed the entire continent.

It was the beginning of the Blood War. Demons raged to the north and east, spreading across the great pangeal landmass of five continents like a tidal wave of destruction. The gods called together all the peoples of the world, Humans, Sha'Kar, Fae-da'Nar, even the Vanished races of Hobbits, Gnomes, and Dwarves, and the Gods supplied them with weapons that could harm their enemies. Even Val joined ranks with those he had called enemy, for he fully understood that should the Demons prevail, there would be nothing left for him to rule. The peoples of Sennadar, human and non-human, warrior and Sorcerer, priest and Arcane Mage, gathered together and marched, and they met the host of demons on the plains of Nyr.

It was the greatest battle the world had ever seen. Titanic magical forces clashed even as sword met claw, as the hosts of Sennadar challenged the Demonic horde. In a battle lasting ten days, the peoples of the world won a decisive victory, turning aside the advance of the Demonic invasion. It was ten days full of magic the world had never witnessed, as the gods themselves joined in the struggle against the extradimensional invaders, and turned them back. Several of the Younger Gods perished on that field, and their loss weakened the resolve of the gods who had survived. But there was no room for quarter in this war, and they pressed their advantage.

It was a war of two years, as the peoples of Sennadar inexorably pushed the Demons back, back across the arid savannahs of what was now Yar Arak, over the desert which would shelter the Selani, back into the forested western reaches of the continent of Draconia. They were pressed all the way to the coast, as the Demon Lord's minions were destroyed faster than he could summon them, until they held only one stronghold. A grim fortress known as the Citadel of Ice, which overlooked a cold lake in the tundras of the continent's northern reaches. The cost of this advance was staggering, as a man died for every step the army made against their enemies, paying dearly in blood for every span of ground they claimed, often having to pay for the same ground over and over again. Younger Gods faded and vanished as their entire sects were destroyed, and the entire races of Hobbits and Dwarves were exterminated, their proud races fighting to the very last man to destroy the hordes threatening their land. Sorcery and Arcane Magic pushed the Demons back, called the very land itself to rise up and attack the invaders, bringing horrific weather and devastating earthquakes to lay waste to large segments of the Demonic army, to weaken it in the face of their advance. Until they had managed to surround the last stronghold of the Demons, the Citadel of Ice, surrounding the depleted monsters on the cool tundras of the icy region.

It was a battle of wholesale destruction. The hosts of Sennadar pushed the Demons back, pushed them into the keep, where they holed up. A thunderous charge led by Dragor the Industrious, a mighty warrior and general, opened the front gates at the cost of the mighty general's life. With their defenses breached, the Demons fell quickly to the swords and spells of their human and non-human foes, until the Demon Lord himself was challenged by the Sha'Kar Sorceress known only as Spyder, a Sorceress who had been imbued by the gods with the power to destroy the Demon Lord. She defeated the great monster in a duel of spell and steel against power and claw. At the end of that battle, Spyder turned and struck Val, striking with the granted power given to her by the Elder Gods, and Val was cast down. Val had fallen, but not completely. Stripped of his status as an Elder God, he nevertheless held the powers of a god within him, but without the powers of an Elder God, he became dependent on the mortals who revered him. His was a tiny following, and he faded in ability in heartbeats, and the Elder Gods imprisoned him for his part in starting the war which had so devastated the world.

And then it was over. The cost to the peoples of the world had been ghastly. Entire races had been wiped out by the incredible struggle, and other races suffered greatly. The peoples of the world had been horribly depleted, and the entire continent of Draconia was abandoned to allow it to heal from the scars of the horrendous war. The survivors fled south, to Sharadar, one of the few lands untouched by the war, where the magical realm could feed the refugees, stave off famine and plague, and help nurture the survivors back to health. But the scars of the Blood War ran deep, and many races and people did not wish to remain and remember. The Gnomes, who had been nearly exterminated in the war, simply vanished. Some peoples struck out on ships, sailing into the vast reaches of the unexplored Sea of Storms, never to be seen or heard from again. Some turned east rather than west, vanishing over the SkydancerMountains to lands unexplored. Some crossed the Sea of Glass to repopulate the eastern continent, which would forever be known as Valkar. Over time, as the peoples who had sought shelter in Sharadar multiplied and strained that ancient land's resources, the ravaged continent healed under the tender care of Elder and Younger god alike. The continent was restored, most of its horrible scars healed, and this restoration brought the humans back. The continent was again recolonized, from the first kingdom of Draconia to the mighty kingdom of Yar Arak, and from there in all directions. The people built, they spread out, and they again began to thrive and prosper.

And as time passed, the memories of the great war were lost over time, until only legend and myth remained.