There are many conflicting ideas surrounding ‘what came before’ during the first age of Ayl’gard and that is all they can be. Ideas. For no one, no man or farling alive can claim to know for there are none who walked the realms at the Dawn of All that live today. These tales, legends of an era that have been passed down through generations, conflict wildly from culture to culture but one thing they all have in common, the one aspect of this era that appears in all the old tales, is the notion of the Dawn Wars.
The mithylfar of Sollistar, who claim the sun god Mithron as their patron, say that the gods were once not so different from ourselves in all but might and majesty. One Archon in particular even believes himself to be a direct descendant of the gods but fortunately for him, his boasts are quickly dismissed. I’m also sure there are few alchemists with the means and the coin who would eagerly attempt to secure such an ‘illustrious ingredient’ as god blood for themselves. They say that they walked amongst us as members of a race that simply defied logic and true understanding. Whatever the truth of it, there was no doubting that they were the unquestionable power in Ayl’gard at one point in history but they were not infallible however with some harbouring dark thoughts and even darker intentions toward those deemed to be lesser than themselves. And why not, the younger races were burgeoning, spreading uncontrollably and more quickly than anyone could have anticipated. It is said that it was this fear of the unknown, of what they may become if left to roam unchecked, that hardened the hearts of they who were considered guardians of the realms and their inhabitants. Simply told, these god folk waged war upon each other to determine what would become of the emerging races – the inventive dvergar in the north, the curious humans in the east, the beast tribes of the south and the noble ayl’far to the west.
At first Mithron stood alone to proclaim that the emergence of these so called ‘lesser’ folk would pose no threat to his kin and so he fought with his brother Moloch, who feared them and would see them destroyed. All manner of ancient creatures fought in a first war that covered all the land in chaos. Great serpents of the sea. Mighty giants from stone and shore. Winged beasts with breath of the elements. All of Ayl’gard’s wonders came to war on behalf of the god race and it is no coincidence that there are only myths remaining of these legendary beings. Almost every major city has a story claiming to have in their possession a relic of such a creature that has been extinct for eons. They were not enough to stem the tide of war though. So, it came to be that the devious Moloch turned his sights elsewhere. He respected only one other race above all others that dwelt in the realms of Ayl’gard and that was the drohken. Today, what few remain are a rare sight, content to stay within their borders in the distant eastern shores of Terraden and far from the troubles of a world in disorder. In the beginning however, they were ferocious, war hungry and utterly believed in their superiority as the rightful rulers of a pitiful world, a race of ‘monsters’ who came close to defeating the enemies of Moloch through sheer force of savagery and will. The other gods would come to choose sides. Some to oppose him. Others who would join Moloch, who believed as he did and joined his campaign to decide the fate of all. He was able to convince the war gods Kohnar and Morrighan to fight for him, not for the hatred of others but for the purity of battle and a love of conquest. Maellor, the Winter god and elder brother to his warring siblings, would unite the tribes of men to join his brother Mithron, who himself led the ayl’far clans in defiance of their prideful younger brother along with Samaia, now known as the Lady of Life, who was said to have taken great pity upon the many who could not fight. Countless scores of unfortunate folk who were being slaughtered in droves. Ysana and her sisters shielded the beast folk as best they could, bringing a unity to the forests with wolf, stag, bear and owl fighting together like they never would again. Dveron and Aodhan stood defiant against their enemies to defend the dvergan race, teaching them how to forge weapons from fire and erect structures built of steel and stone. As a result, the realms would come to known centuries of war and many gods whose names have faded through the ages would fall during this time.
For an age, no one born in Ayl’gard could know anything but desolation and strife, not while the hordes of Moloch continued to ravage the realms with bloody abandon. Eventually Samaia, along with her sister Ashyara, the goddess and Lady of Death, who had not been seen since the beginning of the conflict, created the force of magick and gifted this to Mithron and Maellor to use against their enemies. This act would prove to be nearly decisive as it became a turning point in these dark days. This gift was taught to both the ayl’far and the humans and so emerged the first mages, wielders of the elements and masters of the arcane who gained the ability to finally turn the tides of war in their favour. The mages used the power of fire and water to drive the drohken back and vastly reduce their numbers in a short time.
Moloch was losing and in his desperation he turned his sights to the ayl’far. With rousing words and a deceptive tongue, he attempted to convince those of them abandoned by their fellow clansmen to join with him to fight against the ‘tyranny’ of his brothers. Before Mithron could intervene, Moloch succeeded in corrupting thousands of ayl’far into a dark race that he would proclaim as ‘His Ayl’loch’. The ayl’loch were a vicious corruption of a once peaceful race now bereft of sorrow or mercy. And with them, his forces were renewed. A darkness covered the land for days after, a long and bitter night that wouldn’t be broken until Mithron, Maellor and their followers galvanised what remained of the unified races to meet in a battle worthy of the legends spoken of thousands of years later.
In the end Moloch was defeated, slain in battle and his corrupted followers were cast out of Ayl’gard. His body was said to have fallen with such a blow that the very earth was sundered creating a great ocean at the centre of the realms upon his destruction. In the middle of these bleak seas today lies the Bloodwater Isles, home of the savage dothylfar who themselves have a dark and troubled history. It is almost as if the savagery of this era had seeped into the very stones of the land likely doomed to never know true peace. Some scholars claim the dothylfar to be descended from the corrupted ayl’loch though this has been almost unanimously refuted. It is more commonly believed that the remnants of Moloch’s deceptions are the faen, the demons who dwell where the veil between the realms of Ayl’gard and the Hollow Plane remains thinnest in the Fell Vale of Sollistar.
In any case it is a tale that has fascinated scholars and tavern goers alike for ages, most coming to the same conclusion that those gods whose names are celebrated and revered today are they who fought to preserve the realms as best they could. In all history that descends from tales told instead of indisputable truth though there are opposing viewpoints. There are folk who prefer a more pessimistic outlook as they claim that these same beings of eons past are they who sought to purge the world, that countless scores of the emerging races were annihilated by Mithron and his brethren and that they would have succeeded entirely had they not expended such vast amounts of their power upon the endeavour resulting in their withdrawal from the realms as we know them. These dreary ideas are often cited when discussing the early histories of Ayl’gard with some proclaiming the evidence of the latter being the utterly dismal state that the realms find themselves in today. There is always conflict, whether it’s a scuffle in the streets or rulers going to war. Peace is too often cast aside to wain in the shadow of ambition, to make way for the machinations of those incapable of quenching their need for power and the dominion of others.
Ultimately what remains of this era are the tales. There are no memories, no records of an age long since lost to the passage of time. Not everyone believes the in the legends with some thinking the god folk and their influence as nothing but myths, figments of a simpler time and examples set forth to either follow or refute. The only aspect of all of this that we can certain of though is that no one, no descendant of they who lived and died during the Dawn of All, can really know for sure.