The Summer Heroes
Creation of Illuviѐn
Well over 3,000 years ago, an anchorite of Auravandil named Ri’Cerun wrote The Jewelsong in northern Orem. Very little is known about Ri’Cerun, and The Jewelsong is her only work which is known to have survived. It languished in obscurity for several centuries before being discovered in a library in Bel’Thedas around -1700 UEP. It was quickly embraced by many of the religious orders in the city as a genuine work of religious epiphany, and within a century a copy had reached Darrova. From there The Jewelsong was spread throughout Orem, and its status as the definitive account of the creation of Illuviѐn, the birth of the Valraen, the Godswar, and many other events prior to the First Age of Mortals became deeply entrenched. Today it is embraced by the vast majority of religious authorities, though certain textual disagreements do remain.
What follows are several selections from The Jewelsong.
The Jewelsong of Ri’Cerun
Translated by Ko Pynthis
The First Chord
When first there was nothing there was Ahn, and Ahn was all.
As there is no form in the empty sea, so there was no form in Ahn; as there is no seam in the open sky, so there was no seam in Ahn.
Ahn was formless and edgeless, for Ahn was a single syllable made real. In ageless calm Ahn sung of itself, and the note Ahn sang filled all that was and could ever be, and the note was Ahn.
And Ahn was so for time without knowing, until there arose a second note. This note came from within Ahn but it was not Ahn, an interruption in the endless song too brief to hear. But as a grain in a clam begets a pearl, so this second note begat the world.
And so the grain became a pearl, and when Ahn resumed its song it struck the pearl so that it hummed its second note. Fissures broke through Ahn from the pearl, and as these cracks spread they birthed new grains, and each new grain was struck with Ahn’s note and sang its own, until Ahn was filled with a cacophonous harmony beyond hearing.
At last the harmony reached its crescendo, and Ahn was shattered. And so the world was given form, and with it the void in which the world hangs. For in Ahn there could be no void, for the void is emptiness and in Ahn there could be only fullness. But when Ahn was broken its shards were flung outward like the sea’s spray, and where there were no shards there was void.
The Second Chord
Such was the chaos of the void that the shards of Ahn swirled and crashed upon each other with terrible violence, and in this maelstrom the shards began to cling together. Slowly they began to form together, but each shard carried within it the note of Ahn, and thus in joining together did the shards grow in power.
And from this joining sprang forth the first of the Archon, Atein, who is light. Atein knew himself, and in knowing he illuminated the void, and thus the void was given name, which is Gnót.
The light of Atein brought forth Olven and Alver, which are the hard and the soft, and these were the children of Atein. But Olven and Alver could not abide together, and they crashed upon each other in hatred. And Atein saw this violence and wept, and the tears of Atein were named Erun, which is the air. And Erun filled the void and surrounded Olven and Alver, but still they were not calmed, and still they crashed upon each other.
Atein saw that there could be no peace between Olven and Alver, and that so long as the war between them continued there could be no peace at all. And Atein spoke to Gnót, and Gnót wrapped herself around Atein and Erun, Olven and Alver, and she held them together as a mother might. Olven fell to the center, and around Olven flowed Alver, and together they formed Illuviѐn, which is the abode of the living. And around Illuviѐn was pressed Erun, and Atein filled Erun and illuminated her, and this was the sky.
The Third Chord
And thus the world was made: the four Archon of Ahn held together by Gnót, each with its other. But the offspring of Ahn desired the freedom they once knew, and they chafed under the confinement of Gnót. United for the first time, Alver and Olven knew each the other’s mind and, looking inwards upon themselves, they divided themselves into countless parts until, as many buds from a single branch, they re-emerged from their own bodies.
Thus on Illuviѐn were born the first gods, each bearing a seed of the mind of Alver or Olven, which were themselves born of Ahn. These first gods were beyond count, each born of some small part of Illuviѐn, and each ruling over its own part. But some of the gods ruled over a larger part than the others, and these gods claimed dominion over the others, and thus did the Primals come to power.
First came Eidothea, who was the goddess of the great sea. She gathered around her the many gods of the streams and small waters, and they flowed to the sea, and from the dry land they left behind arose Bourlon, who was the god of the land.
Atein saw this and was jealous, for though he had ordered the confinement of Gnót, still he remembered the freedom that came before. And so Atein followed his children, and he withdrew from Erun and was reborn as the many lights that hang above the sky. The greatest of these lights was Tohilai, who was the god of the sun, and he shone down upon Illuviѐn and made it warm. His sister was Kusah, the goddess of the moon, who follows her brother across the sky. But where Tohilai is fierce and scorching, Kusah is gentle and cool. In the intensity of his youth Tohilai burned the other lights of Atein that were around him and consumed them, but Kusah nurtured the lights around her as though they were her own children. These children of Kusah are the stars, and they are numberless, and only Kusah knows all their names.
When Atein withdrew from Erun into the sky above, Erun was left alone, and she wept and raged and broke herself upon Illuviѐn. Erun’s rage was so great that it consumed her, and she died, and from her remains were born Hadaad, god of thunder; Veyu, goddess of wind; and Tajen, goddess of rain. Born of their mother’s grief and death, the children of Erun raged upon Illuviѐn as Erun had done, and thus began the Great Storm, which lasted for many ages. The children of Erun could not reach Tohilai and Kusah, for they resided far above the sky, and so they spent their grief upon Illuviѐn. The Great Storm churned the sea and broke the land, and the dominions of Eidothea and Bourlon appeared to be at an end.
But at last did Tohilai summon all of his fire, and the fire of the lights he had consumed, and with it he pierced the storm and broke the union of the children of Erun. The Great Storm subsided, but the children of Erun remained jealous and suspicious of the other gods, and they resided alone. And though they still mustered their storms together, never again could they cover all of Illuviѐn with their fury.
Together these are the Seven which came before aught else lived in Illuviѐn: Eidothea and Bourlon, Tohilai and Kusah, and Hadaad, Veyu, and Tajen.
The Fourth Chord
In the joy that followed the breaking of the Great Storm, Eidothea and Bourlon fell in love, for though Eidothea was born of Olven and Bourlon born of Alver, they did not recall their parents’ enmity. Their daughter was Sothara, and she was born in the gentle rains of Tajen that followed the Great Storm, and she nursed upon them. Thus did Sothara bring forth the countless plants of both sea and land from the milk of Tajen, and Illuviѐn was made a fertile place by her hand.
Sothara grew close to her nurse Tajen, and so also did she grow close to Tajen’s sister Veyu, but Hadaad remained jealous and isolated and allowed none but his sisters to approach him. But Tajen and Veyu came to love Sothara as both daughter and sister, and thus it was that Sothara came to them with her dream. For though her gardens had grown ever more beautiful, Sothara saw that the fruit was spoiled upon the ground, and she yearned that this fruit should feed new life rather than burst and rot in the soil.
And so Sothara gathered the waters of the sea together and molded them, and asked Veyu to breathe into them, and the first fish awoke and schooled into the sea. And again did Sothara gather together the earth and mold it, and again did Veyu breathe into it, and the first animals awoke and thundered across the plains. And Bourlon and Eidothea saw what had been done and they knew that it was good, and they embraced Sothara’s children as their own.
But Bourlon and Eidothea knew, too, that Sothara alone could not care for all that she had made. So they cast her into a deep sleep and drew a portion of her flesh from her belly, and from it they formed a new body. And Boulon and Eidothea each placed a portion of their own divinity into it, and again did Veyu breathe into it, and thus awoke Talauo, god of all that walks and swims upon Illuviѐn. And when Sothara awoke she embraced Talauo and took him as her lover, and together they brought forth all the great multitudes of life in Illuviѐn.
Together these nine, the Primals, ruled over the countless smaller gods of stream and tree and stone, and they walked upon Illuviѐn and formed it into a place worthy of their habitation. And Illuviѐn flourished under their dominion, for even the fierceness of Tohilai and the rages of Erun’s children brought forth great bounty by Sothara’s hand and Talauo’s. Thus did many ages pass in the harmony of the gods.
The Fifth Chord
At last, though, the Nine desired companions, for they had created a blessed habitation and they wished to share it. But they saw that Sothara’s creations were not suitable companions, and so they called all the gods both great and small together in council upon their desire. Both Tohilai and Kusah descended from the heavens to Illuviѐn for the council, and so too did Hadaad end his solitude and join with the others. And the council of the gods lasted an entire age, until at last Bourlon spoke.
For Bourlon knew that in the very heart of Illuviѐn, deep within his own breast, there burned a clear shard of Ahn itself, which had not been consumed by the other shards but had been pressed to the heart of Illuviѐn by Gnót. And so together all the gods brought forth portions of their dominion, of soil and sea and fire, and they formed from these portions the bodies of the first speaking race, the Valraen. And Bourlon drew forth the shard of Ahn, and together with the other Seven he broke the shard and breathed its fire into the bodies of the Valraen. And the Valraen awoke to the chorus of the gods, and were welcomed into Illuviѐn.
Thus began the Age of Immortals, when the first speakers walked together with the gods, and all were without death. And in this time a great many more gods came into the world, flamed into life by the shard of Ahn that birthed the Valraen. Among them were the God Who Knew Too Much, whose name is now lost, and Cambrai, the divinity of love, as well as many others.
The Sixth Chord
But at this time came also the Hellbard, who was then called Oarlin. He came not from the spark of Ahn drawn forth by Bourlon, and indeed none now or then knew truly from whence he arrived. It may be that he emerged from Gnót herself; or else he may have been the shadow of the life created in the Valraen. For in truth his form was naught but shadows writhing, though he cloaked himself in shimmering raiment beyond all beauty. In this raiment did he approach the Valraen, and they embraced him and welcomed him to their hearths, and so the seed of the end of the Age of Immortals was sown.
For the Hellbard desired above all else to sing the Allsong, which is Ahn, and in singing to bring the world back to the uniform stillness in which it began. For he despised multiplicity and the chaos of creation, and longed to reside again in the calm uniformity of Ahn. But he knew not the Allsong, for the last shard of Ahn had been breathed into the Valraen, and only by freeing the Ahn from the living breath of the Valraen could he hear and so sing the Allsong. …
At first the Hellbard lived with the Valraen as a friend, and he taught them song and brought forth great music from their joy. For the bounty of Illuviѐn was great, and the peace of the gods seemed everlasting, and there was much to sing of. But in these harmonies the Hellbard could not find the Allsong, and his mind grew dark. Then at last the Hellbard took a Valraen who was as a brother to him and brought him to the deepest caverns of his abode. And there the Hellbard began torturing the Valraen with his voice in the hopes of breaking the Ahn from him. But he failed in this attempt, and though he stole many Valraen from their homes under cover of night and tortured them thus, he could never break the Allsong from them. All that remained were the ruined husks of his victims, which he kept alive with his own shadow to be his servants, and these became the great demons of whom none now speak. …
The Eighth Chord
Meanwhile, when the Valraen were first born, they saw the gods who had made them and loved them, and in the following age the Valraen worshiped the gods who walked among them. And this worship made the gods more powerful still, for the Valraen contained Ahn within themselves and in worshiping they breathed Ahn back into the gods. And so the gods drew power not only from their domains in Illuviѐn but also from the worship of the Valraen, and the power of the gods waxed full.
The Hellbard saw the Ahn flow from the Valraen unto the gods they worshiped, and thus he determined to break the connection between Valraen and gods to release the Ahn from their worship. But the gods loved the Valraen and would not forsake them, and so the Hellbard began planting the seeds of rebellion against the gods in the hearts of the Valraen. He walked among them in his shimmering raiment and bent his voice into great and gentle tones, and over countless years he opened the eyes of the Valraen to their power.
For the Valraen were immortal as the gods were, and containing within themselves Ahn itself they were nigh as powerful unto the gods. And the Hellbard spoke these things to the Valraen, and slowly did the Valraen begin to believe, and they wondered at their own worship of the gods from which the gods drew such power. …
One of the gods born at the dawn of the Age of Immortals was Viatica, whose domain was the hearth and home of the Valraen. Viatica came to love the Valraen deeply and sought their happiness above all else, and she reflected the power of their worship back unto them as a hearth reflects the fire’s heat onto those gathered round it. Viatica saw that the Valraen were changing but she knew naught of the Hellbard’s plans, and so she mourned as the Valraen began to grow distant from the gods. …
The Tenth Chord
At last did the Hellbard bring Turol Taryg, who was the great king of the Valraen, to his side. For Turol Taryg desired power, and though he loved the gods as a son loves his parents, so too was he convinced by the Hellbard that he must emerge from the gods’ shadow as a child from his parents’. Turol Taryg gathered his army to himself, and with the Hellbard at his side he stormed the gates of Bourlon’s abode in the deep caverns beneath Illuviѐn, and thus he began the Godswar.
The Godswar raged for many years, and in time some of the lesser gods joined the side of the Valraen against the Seven and their allies. And when the first Valraen died, the Knight Alabaster sprang from his blood to take his soul to the beyond where none may follow. So too were the Knight’s sisters born, and together they swept across the battlefields of Illuviѐn in their glory and despair.
Many Valraen died in the Godswar, and so too did some gods, but ever on did it rage. For the Hellbard could not hear the Ahn amidst the clamor of death, and so he spurred the battle on in his rage, and Illuviѐn became saturated with the blood of both Valraen and gods. …
The Thirteenth Chord
… Until at last did Hadaad, surrounded by a thunder that deafened all but him, see across the fields to the Hellbard, and he knew what the Hellbard sought. For Hadaad had spent the ages of his isolation listening, amidst thunder and silence, and he alone could hear the Ahn behind the veil of the world, and when he saw the Hellbard straining to hear above the clamor of those dying at his feet he knew what the Hellbard sought. Then Hadaad rushed across the plain with a roaring bellow that fell all those who stood, and he swept around the Hellbard and cloaked him in his rage.
The other gods saw, and as they watched the Hellbard slew Hadaad. But still Hadaad’s thunder raged around him, and it grew from a chaotic roar into a groaning harmony, a music so profound that it threatened to shatter the minds of the Valraen. And the remaining Seven joined together and opened Illuviѐn, and they cast the Hellbard down into the cavernous heart of the world surrounded by the prison of Hadaad’s thunder. The gods sealed Illuviѐn over this prison, and so the Hellbard remains below, silenced by a thunderous harmony from which no voice can escape. …
The Fourteenth Chord
And thus did the Godswar come to an end. Tajen and Veyu were overcome by the death of their brother, and they withdrew from the battlefield and raged together above the sea until they brought forth thunder of their own. But the thunder they made was a mere shadow of the voice of Hadaad, and it was full to breaking with grief, and all who heard it shook with sorrow. …
The Sixteenth Chord
… Only Four of the Seven remained, and these Four drew together to lay judgment upon the Valraen who had made war. Together they agreed to destroy the Valraen utterly, and remove the Ahn from their hearts, and wipe away all sign of them. Hearing this Viatica wept, for she loved the Valraen still, and she had watched the war in grief and despair. And Viatica offered herself to pay for the sins of the Valraen, that she may suffer so that they might remain upon Illuviѐn.
And so it was that Viatica was wrapped in chains and torment, and cast into Gnót to watch Illuviѐn from afar and suffer for it. But to heal the world the Four removed a small portion of the shard of Ahn from the Valraen’s souls, and with it they brought life back from the desolation around them. Thus were the Valraen shattered into the many speaking races, of elves and dwarves and halflings, and they became mortal, for this was the price of healing Illuviѐn’s wounds. …
The Eighteenth Chord
… And finally did the Four reflect upon the sins of the Hellbard, and they knew that gods could no longer walk with the speaking races, for the risk to Illuviѐn was too great. So the Four withdrew from the world, and with them came many of the gods both great and small, and they returned to Gnót where they could watch and protect Illuviѐn. Their connection with the form of Illuviѐn was broken, and they could draw no power from it; the gods’ only power was now the spark of Ahn that flowed from their worshipers.
Some gods chose to remain in Illuviѐn, but they were much diminished. These were especially the gods of streams and glens and hills and so forth, who loved their homes and clung to them, and are now called the Small Gods. The Four allowed them to remain in Illuviѐn but commanded them not to grow beyond their small domains, under penalty of utter banishment beyond sight or knowledge of Illuviѐn. …
And so began the First Age of Mortals, when the gods were withdrawn and the elves alone had dominion over Illuviѐn. Soon would the first men awake, though none know who set them to sleep on the shores where they first saw the stars. And the Ages of Mortals continued, and many things came to pass, though none are told here.