The History of the Underworld
I, Roatka the Inquisitive, son of Felpara Hyperbole, Grand Historian of
the Exalted Office of Recorder of the Tepara-yi, have been commanded by
her Royal Highness, Immanence Sakraphia XXIII, Defender of the Budget,
Levier of Taxes, and Protector of the Treasury, to record for all
posterity the history of our great land for an accounting of all the great
peoples and enclaves who must, to perpetuate the sanctity of the Royal
House, be taxed.
Be it known that exclusion from said history is in no way to be
interpreted by the Courts, upon pain of death for all the principals,
witnesses, legal counsel, judges, all associated families and their pets,
as a reason for exclusion from the tax rolls. Upon first reading, any
excluded shall immediately present themselves to the Office of the Census
and Animal Control for inclusion, liable for all back taxes and whatever
penalties deemed appropriate by the Department of Castration and
Beheading. Verily, upon understanding of the above, I do set forth that:
Before the conception of time, the conundrum within the puzzle of
“being” prevented consciousness. And, without consciousness there could be
no structure or value. Within the inchoate pyrotechnics of chaotic mass,
a presence formed to look about for order. Seeing none, he resolved to
bring about “Perception.”
Perception visited itself upon the void of reality and saw
uniformity. Sameness. Not a single degree of differentiation among
anything it surveyed. As a result, Perception doubted itself. This was
the creation of “Doubt.” And Perception and Doubt, although intricately
linked, forever struggle against one another.
Perception and Doubt were sewn through the matrix of Chaos. They
visited every width, every height, every depth, and every sameness. These
visits created “Structure,” which Chaos forever fights against.
Perception and Structure sensed that they were kindred spirits,
and were drawn together. Each felt the embrace of the other and knew that
it was “good.” But Perception was also inherently tied to Doubt, and Doubt
grew jealous. To spite Perception, Doubt allied itself with Chaos. Chaos
was amenable to this joining as it also felt the void of Structure. And
Doubt and Chaos, whose foundation was jealousy, knew that their embrace
These embodiments created a tension in the universe, which
stretched it into a plane. The areas of the plane where Perception and
Structure ruled were good. And the areas of the plane where Chaos and
Doubt held sway were evil. Only in the precise center, where there was
absolute balance, was it neutral.
The universe, stretched along a plane no wider than a gnat’s
eyelash, was under tremendous strain. A tiny hole, smaller than a minnow’s
eye, ripped in the very center of the universal plane. From this hole, the
gigantic being who began creation with his wonder, stepped forth. The
being surveyed the universal plane and was pleased and displeased by what
he saw. One flickering thought, less significant than you or I considering
next year’s lunch, brought the four primary universal considerations to
lie prostrate at his feet.
At once, a name simultaneously escaped the exhalation of the four,
although they had no prior knowledge of any’s existence other than their
own. The universe shuddered at the name, and “Melkor” became known to
every molecule. Melkor examined existence and was amused by what had
transpired between the four. He laughed at their puny imaginations
regarding what creation entailed, and decided to show them what it could
encompass. And to chain them to it for all eternity as a lesson to any
Melkor blinked and reshaped the plane into beginnings of the
corporeal world we experience today. This world was unpopulated and empty
of life. Chaos and Doubt groveled before Melkor and begged to be allowed
to maintain their hold on evil. Perception and Structure more reasonably
put forth that if evil were allowed to exist, good must also. They argued
that evil could not be recognized if there were no good to compare it to,
just as we do not recognize ugliness if we have never seen beauty.
The ubiquitous Melkor decided that the grovelings and
protestations of the primary considerations were amusing, and allowed them
continued existence. He promised them that he would, in his own time,
provide denizens for them to rule, and that he would return periodically
to examine their progress.
As Melkor faded away in a giant, translucent bubble, all eyes were
on him - until Chaos noted the inattention of the others. Chaos nudged
Doubt as Perception and Structure ran down the road, waving and calling to
the receding Bubble.
Evil quickly made a grab for the newly created territory, and by
the time Perception and Structure were aware of their situation, they
found little land left. So Perception and Structure immediately laid claim
to the vast oceans and seas.
Evil controlled land, and Good controlled water. The balance of
neutrality hovered over both in air. After several millennia, Melkor
returned to see what his joke had wrought. He found that Evil spent time
guarding itself from the sun, where its blemishes and warts were open to
inspection. Evil had built vast systems of caves and canyons, ever deeper
and more hidden. The evil beings themselves were hiding in a vast abyss,
so deep and hidden that it sank into another plane of existence. Melkor
blinked, and reappeared at the bottom of the deepest ocean. He found areas
developed the length and breadth of the watery existence.
Melkor turned, and was next far in the air, buffeted by the wind,
but only because he allowed it. The air was neither high nor low. It
permeated every vacuum, every hole. It was all the same - with perfect
balance. Melkor determined that the universal considerations were not
fond of each other, because he found neutrality, alone, hidden far in the
sky... so far that it also was on another plane. A plane of astral
The universal concerns of Chaos and Doubt once again groveled
before the omnipresent Melkor. They argued that their dominion needed
servants, as caves and earth needed to be swept and dusted. Melkor saw
through this argument even before it was presented, but was amused by
their brazen attempt at subterfuge. Melkor burped, and all the universal
concerns found themselves balanced on the tip of Melkor’s big toe. Melkor
then pronounced that he was granting Chaos and Doubt the power to imbue
life, so as to manufacture the needed servants to maintain the realm of
soil. Chaos and Doubt loudly celebrated, envisioning victory and rule over
all realms. But before Perception and Structure could even gasp their
dismay, Melkor continued. He pronounced, that in order to prevent skewing
the balance of the universe, he would bestow the same powers on Perception
and Structure. The celebration of Chaos and Doubt turned to groans of
despair as Perception and Structure smiled at Melkor’s wisdom.
When the four looked into each others’ eyes, they realized that
Melkor was once again gone. The frustration and jealousy of Chaos and
Doubt knew no bounds and exploded through the known universe. No thoughts
such as these had ever before been uttered, and physical violence was
introduced to the universe. The clash lasted many millennia before all
four realized that they had not gained or lost an inch. Each slowly backed
away and retreated to their former haunts.
But the universe itself did not escape the first clash unscathed.
The elements of the planets themselves had been thrown toward one another.
Land was now found in water in the form of islands. Water was now found in
land in the form of lakes and rivers. Land was in the air with the
creation of wind and weather, which blew dust and dirt. Water was in the
air in clouds, mist and rain. Air was in the water in the form of foam and
bubbles. And air was in the earth with the breakdown of rock into soil.
Melkor had orchestrated the setting for life.
The four universal elements sat for decades planning their next
step, each anxious to try their new powers of creation. They were unsure.
Never before had life been created. They knew not what bounds or
limitations might constrain them. They recognized that, although they
might like to create a being powerful enough to destroy their rivals, that
also meant that it would be powerful enough to destroy themselves.
Independently, they came to the decision to start small.
All sides were so intent in their plans that they loosened their
grip on their domain somewhat. Perception and Structure gained a foothold
on land, while Chaos and Doubt tentatively explored some of the watery
areas. Air continued to permeate all.
They wanted a life-form that was non-ambulatory, so it wouldn’t
leave if something went wrong. Thus, plants were created. Small plants
began to appear in the world. Evil created weeds, lichens, and moss that
stunk. Good created grass, seaweed, and flowers. Each thought that their
creation was a success, but knew that there were more exciting things to
do when creating life. They also discovered, much to their dismay, that
the plant forms were not nearly as immobile as they had hoped. Seeds flew
on the wind, which being neutral, blew them everywhere. Soon, all the
plant forms were mixed throughout the world.
The elements quickly became bored with their plants. They had
experimented with various forms, hoping to use the knowledge gained to
help them make other life forms to help them in their struggle with the
others. They made huge trees, trees that would grab at movement, and
entangling vines. They made mushrooms that could move, and bushes that
attacked. But all of the plants had one major drawback, and the four
elements all discovered it. The plants just weren’t sentient. The four
knew they had to take a step on the path of creation which would never be
able to be turned back. They gathered the energy from the universe, and
started to form it into beings. The universe crackled with sound as its
energy was diverted to nonnatural use.
Each side started small, not wanting to accidently create
something that got out of control. Rodents and insects were experimented
with in various sizes. They were mobile and had rudimentary intelligence,
but still could not manage independent thought - a prerequisite for and
army commander. Good knew that evil would try a war of conquest, and also
knew that they had to be prepared to defend themselves.
Evil started by making a race called the “kobolds.” These small,
lizard-like hominids were naturally vicious, much to Chaos and Doubt’s
delight. The kobolds were trained in evil, until they took glee in
creating havoc and pain. They honed their skills by attacking and feeding
on each other, until only the very strongest of their kind remained.
Perception and Structure began with a race they named the Ewoks.
These small, furry humanoids were inherently good. They built structures
to live in, and perceived the advantages of cooperation. They helped those
among themselves that were not as talented, harvesting what donations they
could. Soon, they had a settlement built, where they prospered; growing
and eating plants in the desire not to harm.
Evil soon discovered that if they did not intervene, their
creations would make themselves extinct through infighting. The kobolds
were small, but belligerent, and fought themselves continuously. Evil
decided to let them know of the creation of good, thereby giving them an
outlet for their hostility, and striking a blow against Structure and
Perception at the same time.
Chaos planted the idea in a kobold leader’s small brain that there
was another race. A race that valued structure, and tasted delicious with
mustard. The kobolds, unfamiliar with independent thought, immediately
rallied around their new leader and set off for the Ewok encampment. The
Ewoks were unaware of the kobold’s intentions and had not learned the
bellicose arts, preferring to share and live in harmony. When the Kobolds
surged across their village, they were caught unawares and almost
slaughtered. Ewoks were not without inherent intelligence, and immediately
found the will to defend themselves. Luckily for them, the Kobolds had
already decimated their own ranks by all of their previous infighting.
The epic battle among the smallest warriors ebbed and flowed. Many
casualties from both sides fed the earth with their blood. After both
sides were decimated, survival instincts forced them to withdraw. The
kobolds retreated to their caves to lick their wounds and replenish
warriors for their next attack. The Ewoks moved their entire encampment up
into a giant tree, as it gave them a far superior defensive position, and
attack was not part of their nature. The four universal elements examined
each second of the contest to evaluate gains and losses, so they could
press home the next battle.
It was obvious to them that the two races were too evenly matched.
Chaos, being the more devious, declared that they must continue creating,
only bigger and stronger races to smash the Ewoks. However, Perception
perceived that Evil would attempt this, and knew that Good must
reciprocate if balance would be maintained.
After many attempts, Evil managed to create more races for their
quest for universal domination. They created Goblins and Bugbears, beings
a bit larger, stronger, and more fierce than the Kobold experiment. Good,
aware of Evil’s plans, created beings of their own. They made races that
were larger than the ewoks, but not necessarily as big and strong as
Evil’s answer. But, in a most important development for the universe, they
created races with intelligence to overcome the drawback of less strength.
Good created Man, Dwarves, and Elves. And so it came to be that the
creations of Evil lived together in the caves below the ground, while the
creations of Good found solace in each other’s company in the forests.
After the trials among the beings of learning to get along with
themselves, they began the plans to dominate, or protect themselves,
whichever the case may be, from the others. The Ewoks tried to convey the
ferocity of the evil beings to the Elves and Humans. But, not having
experienced it for themselves, they remained innocent. They believed their
small brethren, but had no way of realizing the seriousness of their
predicament without having had battle themselves.
The Kobolds, on the other hand, related stories of battle and
blood to their new cousins, inflaming their bloodlust. Goblins and
Bugbears joined their diminutive tutors around war fires, planning the
desecration and devastation of their rivals. After a week of war parties
and deathvows, they set out to wipe Good from existence.
However, the Ewoks had learned from their experience with the
Kobolds, and vowed to perpetually watch for further attacks, so as to
never be surprised again. And these capable sentries saw the approach of
the oncoming evil army, as they were not subtle. The Ewoks called down and
warned their fellows, who tried to mount a defense.
The fight was horrible and drawn out. It ranged over miles and
days. The humans and elves had used their brains to forge weapons
beforehand, and somewhat evened the balance. But at their deaths, the Evil
forces picked up the weapons and used them themselves. Sword to club, mace
to log, tooth to nail, hand to claw... the battle raged. The cries and
moans of the dying excited Evil more, but also made Good more resolute to
protect their comrades.
Now, since the inherent nature of Good was cooperation, many
friends had been made among their troops. When Evil fell, their cohorts
simply ran on, trying to find more to kill. There were times, in their
bloodlust, that evil even killed evil, simply to taste the blood. At other
times, the forces of Evil were weakened in numbers because the
participants would be distracted by torturing the wounded. When dark fell,
making more fighting difficult, the Evil troops would find rest, and eat
the dead for sustenance. It mattered not whether the dead were friend or
foe, as long as there was blood left.
This, of course, was not the case with the forces of Good, who
valued life. They fought to protect themselves and their friends, not to
destroy others. Even when a foe fell wounded, they would kill quickly and
mercifully, and dwelled not on the victim. As such, the deaths of their
comrades affected them terribly. Each friend fallen was like a blow to
themselves. Our oldest legends record this battle, and the man most
affected, although his name has long since fell through the dust of time.
He is simply called “The First.”
This hero was in a troop at the forefront of the fighting. He had
survived three days by using his wit and strength. He and his comrades
found it easy to lure the foe into ambushes, and were decimating their
opponents. The men would jump to the front and engage as the enemy came
into range. The elves dance at the edge of the foray and jump in to impose
a strike at any opportunity. And the Ewoks, small in stature but not small
in bravery, would come from behind to slice hamstrings and tendons. But
each ambush also cost the Good a few. And each of the few played on the
minds and conscience of those remaining.
The dawn of the fourth day was blood red. Contestants from both
sides drew themselves to their feet, beginning their search for their
foes. The man and his comrades dreaded the coming day, knowing that more
would fall. They set a new ambush, hoping it would be one of the last. But
they suspected that all would continue until no more came forward. The
small ewok sentry gave the signal that Evil approached. The signal
continued, and continued still... the force was large. The small band
braced themselves. They knew there was no retreat. It was a stand to the
death, more than likely their own.
The Evil force entered the killing fields. They had no strategy,
no leaders, no plan. They simply surged forward like the tide. The small
band of Good had no way of knowing, but they were among the last of their
kind. The fight was terrible. No quarter asked or given. Each time a
warrior of Good fell, a pain sparked brighter in the mind of the human. He
stood astride a rock in the midst of battle. He alone pushed Evil back.
The cries and screams of the fallen filled his brain, feeding the spark.
The man went through the motions of defending himself, and Evil fell all
around him, but he was not cognizant of what he did. The few remaining
Good gathered around the rock, desperate to make a final stand. “The
First,” high on the rock in view of all, was shrieking with the pain of
the dead within his head.
At that moment, his fast friend fell from the blow of a bloody war
axe. The friend, whom he loved, filled the man’s head with his anguished
scream. It pierced the heart and soul of the man on the rock, overflowing
his brain and body with the terror of the past days. The man dropped his
weapon, to the amazement of all, and held forth his arms. Tension gripped
his body as he wailed his sorrow at the loss of his friends. A glow
emanated from his body, and encompassed his friends, protecting them from
the blows of Evil. At the same time, fire and lightning flew from his
fingertips, smiting the foes around him!
The Evil troops immediately around the man were incinerated, while
his friends were untouched. The Good forces stared in amazement at the
dead and wounded. The Evil troops on the periphery of the fight also
stopped and stared, mouths open in wonder. As if at signal, they all
immediately turned and ran from the field of battle. This was no orderly
retreat, but a dead run from sheer terror in any direction, as long as it
was - away! The man on the rock was no less surprised than the rest, and
stood staring at his own hands. His friends helped him from the rock and
led him staggering back to the encampment. They told the others from
pockets of survival the tale, and the whispers and murmurs filled the
night. Thus, magic was introduced to the world by “The First.”
The forces of evil retreated to the depths of their caverns,
amazed and confused about their loss. They had been on the verge of
complete victory, only to have it snatched away by fear of the unknown.
Chaos and Doubt berated them for many years, but secretly were intrigued
by this unexpected development.
The troops of Good rallied their spirit at the feats of “The
First.” He tried to explain that he did not know what he did, and had no
conscious control over this mysterious power. But they would have none of
it. They threw festivals and parties, and gave the protesting man no rest.
Time and time again he was asked to recount the events that he had no
recollection of, with helpful friends filling in the details.
The man grew extremely weary of these events, and desired rest and
succor. He avoided the parties whenever possible, pointing out that they
had better get ready for the next foray by evil. But the others were too
caught up in their joy. A few people knew that the man was right, and
tried to reinterest the group in defense, but to no avail.
The man finally had an epiphany. He knew that he could not, at
this time duplicate his feat at the rock. He also knew that somehow he had
developed a special power within himself, he could still feel its
presence. He further knew that nothing was getting done while he was
present, presenting too big of a distraction for the others. So he
gathered a few of his closest friends and told them of his strategy. They
agreed, and the small group left.
Those remaining were devastated upon the discovery of the absence
of the man and his small group. They had unfairly counted upon him to
defend them once again, and hadn’t prepared for their own survival. The
forces of Good were extremely vulnerable at this time. If Evil had but
known, Good might have been wiped from the planet once and for all.
But Evil faced their own problems. They were seriously hurt in the
discovery of magic, and magic robbed the survivors of their bravery as
well. They frantically tried to figure out the secret of harnessing the
natural power unleashed at the rock. But alas, they knew not what had
transpired, and weren’t the brightest stars in the sky to begin with.
Chaos and Doubt learned much by their examination of the battle.
They knew that their scions had much to offer in ferocity and brute
strength. But they were lacking in strategy and brains. They set about
trying to fix this situation by creating more races. They added to their
arsenal of strength by creating ogres and giants. These fearsome creatures
towered over their comrades, but were still not intelligent. Evil strove
to remedy this situation by stealing the ideas of Good. They created evil
versions of Good’s successes. There were Dark ewoks, and Drow elves, and
even humans without their humanity.
Even without magic, the forces of Evil trained for the next
battle. They had the brute strength, but now also had leaders of
intelligence to try and both strategically and tactically map out the new
campaign. This however, worked better in the planning stages than in the
field. For as all know, the best laid plans of drows and ewoks sometimes
go astray. The regulars, because they weren’t smart enough to buckle their
armor without help, had a hard time understanding the instructions. The
leaders downplayed the magic, building their lust with speeches of glory
Evil was busily training and preparing for the next great battle.
The forces of Good finally had it dawn on them that they had chased away
The First magic user with their selfish desires. They desperately figured
out that Evil would not wait for them to gather strength, and would attack
at the first opportunity. Their leaders analyzed that one thing holding
Evil back was their fear of the magic, and that the one advantage they
held was that Evil did not know that The First had left.
But, the leaders were equally confident that sooner or later, Evil
would again attempt their annihilation. Men and elves were not as adept at
living in the trees as the Ewoks, but still desired more adequate defense.
They knew that certain natural formations provided better defense. Huge
rocks provided shelter from projectiles. Dense forests provided spots to
hide. Rivers and lakes provided barriers to invaders.
The elves, being more in tune to nature, decided to use the
natural elements themselves. They found natural burrows. They dwelt in the
forests, and even the sea. Their woodcraft became legendary among those
who came in contact with them.
Dwarves loved the feel of the earth and rock. They also knew that
the natural elements provided strong defense. Although they did not tower
over anyone in height, the elementals had imbued in them strong and mighty
limbs. They turned their love of the geologic forces to their advantage,
and mined down into the earth for defense. In the course of their mining,
the dwarves became stonemasons of renown, and some of their earliest
structures survive even today.
A byproduct of these endeavors was the minerals needed to produce
even superior weapons. Dwarves had also noticed how the tough hides of the
Evil forces had provided them some protection. They discovered that some
of the minerals they mined were malleable enough to pound into different
shapes. The other Good forces were astounded and delighted when the
dwarves showed up to a war council wearing these pounded shapes about
their bodies. They immediately saw how the plates would provide protection
from blow by sword or claw. The magnanimous dwarves also brought materials
needed to make armor for the others. Thus, the first smiths were born.
Men, on the other hand, were not as comfortable exposed to the
elements. They felt the need to cover themselves and their belongings.
They had not the wood or stonecraft of the other races, but they had an
inherent ingenuity for manipulating materials into other objects. They
improved on the armor and weapons. They took lumber from the forests and
built shelters. They took stones from the fields and cliffs and built
walls. These not only kept livestock from roaming, but they instinctively
knew they would also provide for defense.
The races of Good met regularly to speak of the coming war. They
discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each other’s attributes.
Each knew they would prefer to stay in their own element of comfort, but
that for an integrated defense, that might not be possible. Remembering
the last stand of “The First” on top of the rock, they decided to help man
build a structure where they could have a last defense, if the need arose.
They all spoke and laughed about it being an unnecessary precaution, but
deep down knew that the jokes rang hollow.
A site was selected midway between the forests and the mountains,
so no race would have to drag materials further than any others. Dwarves
brought rock with great toil. Elves brought timber from the mighty
forests. Men dug, bound, stacked, nailed and fastened. Each helped the
other in the world’s greatest display of cooperation. When they were done,
they had seven wooden buildings inside a stone wall almost six feet tall.
The wall even had a gate. Two wooden towers had been built for observation
and defense. The entire structure was built next to a swift river to
prevent invasion from one side. They named the mightiest structure in the
known universe “Midgaard,” a fortress midway between allies. Our capital
Throughout the endeavor, the forces of Good had honed their
muscles and weapons. Leaders continuously updated plans. Families
perpetually laid in supplies. They felt they were as prepared as they
could be. But all...ALL... wondered and prayed for “The First” to return.
“The First” and his small band had wandered into the desert. They
strove to stay alive by shaving roots and compressing them for the
moisture. They ate small sand beetles for nourishment. They covered
themselves from head to foot in rags to protect themselves from the sun.
Those who prayed for their return would not have recognized them as
fellows if they had seen them. They went to the desert to escape the
ungrantable demands of their comrades. But the life in the desert purified
their bodies, and their minds. Their minds went blank of memories. They
forgot friends, families, events. They were only filled with survival. The
sun baked them, the lack of water dehydrated them, the lack of food
starved them. All save one: “The First.”
In this state of nature, “The First” felt his power growing,
rather than receeding. He grew more withdrawn from the group. They
followed him, but he rarely communicated his wishes. He watched his
comrades starving before his eyes, yet he grew stronger. The guilt of this
situation played on him, but his group never flagged. One step in front of
the other, they trudged the desert. The group grew weaker and weaker, and
finally began to fall in their steps. “The First” could not bear the guilt
any longer. He whirled around and threw out his arms to his friends. A
soft blue light emanated from his hands, encompassing his followers. The
immediate effect was that the group no longer felt hunger or thirst, they
Once more “The First” became the object of amazement. But it was
also different this time. This small group was his closest intimates and
followers. They did not make demands of him, but gave respectful thanks
and even more devotion. “The First” responded by declaring that he wearied
of this tremendous burden, and wished to unload it. He sat in the middle
of the desert and preached for twelve days and twelve nights. He spoke of
the nature of magic. He spoke of the differing types of magic; healing
magic, offensive magic, mental powers, and imbuing inanimate objects with
it. He spoke of studying it and its different levels, and passing it
along. He spoke of creating “guilds” to pass this knowledge along to those
who were worthy and declared their life to its study. The followers were
held in such rapture that they forgot they hadn’t eaten or drank. “The
First’s” words were etched into their souls forever.
Then, “The First” changed the world forever. He spoke unto his
followers and said that he was going to die. A great hue and cry arose
from his followers, demanding that he use his magic to cure himself. Their
love for him knew no bounds and they could not bear the loss of their
friend and mentor. But “The First” only held up a hand and said the
immortal words “I shall never leave your hearts. As you shall live, I will
always live among you.” He then directed that upon his death, the group
was to eat his body and drink his blood. Amid the gasps of astonishment
and protest he explained that this would give them all the power of magic,
and that they had been chosen to be the guildmasters of the various forms
of magic through eternity.
The followers frantically looked at each other, pleading looks in
their eyes. When they looked back to their leader, he had quietly laid
down in the sand and died. The howls of sorrow from the small group filled
the cosmos. Sobs wracked their weakened frames and they collapsed in grief
where they sat.
Slowly, the grief was entrapped within their souls, never to
leave. The group silently looked at each other and their fallen leader for
a day. Not a word was spoken between them. Nature froze out of respect to
their dilemma. Finally, without a word, the dearest friend of “The First”
took his knife and cut a small piece of their comrade, and slowly put it
in his mouth and chewed. One by one, the others followed suit. The clear,
night sky split in a deafening clap of thunder, and Chaos, Structure,
Doubt and Perception looked up in surprise as Melkor laughed while his
temporary mortal body was eaten.
The group, now Guildmasters for all time, wearily started their
journey back to their families and friends. They traversed the entire
length of the journey speaking of the principles of being guildmasters.
They set up criteria for learning new knowledge, and decided that all,
regardless of affiliation would be taught if they met that class’s
They were amazed at the difference upon their arrival at Midgaard.
A real town had evolved. It was still a clumsy attempt by today’s
standards, but the denizens were all proud. Stores had been built and
commerce was developing. A spirit of cooperation filled the air. Profits
were made, but prices couldn’t rise beyond what people could afford. One
enterprising human named Willy set up a service to auction goods. Across
the road, an Elf named Silverbow put his repairing skills to good use. A
wise human named Kranton would answer questions about unknown objects -
for a small tip. The Market Square was the hub of activity, with actual
streets branching off from it. To the north of it was a temple, and an
Inn. The spirit of helping was so prevalent that a room was set aside to
drop off unwanted equipment for those who needed it. A temple had sprung
near the center of the town, and the walls had grown to almost seven feet
tall! Residents volunteered to help guard their new town, and a system of
city guards became the militia.
The new Guildmasters were greeted with enthusiasm and awe. They
had almost given up hope about the lost group. They mourned the loss of
“The First,” but praised his selfless nobility. The town immediately
provided the Guildmasters with quarters, although a few preferred being
outside the town. Almost immediately numbers of prospective students lined
the streets, and lessons began. Before long, novice practitioners roamed
the area showing their arts.
The atmosphere in the areas of Good had been so uplifted that they
almost forgot about the threat from evil. But Evil had not forgotten about
them. During this time they had been increasing their numbers as much as
possible. They too had discovered armor, and smithing. Spies informed them
of the wondrous new development of a city, and Evil decided that it would
be better to strike sooner rather than later.
The fields blackened with the numbers of the Evil army. Crops were
trampled without being eaten. This army craved meat and blood, not
vegetables. The forces of Good in the outlying areas tried to hold back
the horde while others ran to the town to warn them. The delaying tactics
were only barely successful, as they were overrun by sheer numbers.
Panic gripped the city. Alarms were set off and families and
livestock were pulled in from beneath the city walls. The cityguard and
virtually every being that could hold a weapon came to the defense of the
new capital, but confidence in the city’s walls diminished as the vast
army came into sight over a hill. The mighty host came to a halt out of
arrow shot, and examined their options. Troops nervously stood along the
parapets. Insults flew back and forth.
A wicked gleam entered the eye of the Evil leader as he noticed
that a lot of the defenders along the walls stood unarmed in robes.
UNARMED! With a mighty roar of victory the Evil horde descended upon the
waiting walls. Showers of arrows fell upon them as soon as they were in
range, but the numbers hardly noticed. The invaders were so intent on
breaching the walls that they barely noticed the robed figures raising
their arms as they came closer. When they reached the base of the city,
they looked up to their horror as fireballs descended upon them. Chains of
lightning cut through the forces like a scythe. Some were caught in sticky
webs, and others felt unnaturally slow. The defenders were fighting faster
than any normal being could move, and what damage the Evil horde did
inflict only seemed to do minor damage. But that damage was soon healed by
others in robes coming to their aid.
The invaders fell back as quickly as they could. Pandemonium
gripped the troops and the leaders weren’t any better. Gasps of shock and
dismay traveled through the ranks. Good had harnessed magic! The Evil
troops immediately fled for home, and nothing the leaders could do stopped
them short of death.
The defenders of Midgaard had prevailed in their first great test.
A celebration of the victory lasted twelve days and twelve nights, but
there was plenty to eat and drink. The few who fell buying the town
precious minutes were entombed in the temple, and regarded as heroes for
Evil retreated to lick their wounds and wonder what the next step
was. Infighting became rampant and there were many deaths at their own
hands. Those who didn’t want to face magic became pariahs and were
shunned from the groups, leaving to wander on their own. The Evil forces
had seen the dramatic advantages of a city, however, and some vowed to
build their own. The Drows were the first, building their mighty city and
its temple deep beneath the ground. Some wanted to escape to the sea, and
the Deep Ones built their town along the shore and under the water.
And so it came to pass that Evil divided its paths. Some became
sequestered and lived in isolation, dreaming of the day when they could
defeat and devour “Good.” Others wandered the landscape, preying on
isolated settlers. But Evil always dreamed of attaining magic.
One day, a family of Evil wanderers came upon the road to
Midgaard. They stood for many minutes, simply looking up and down the
road. They were hungry and tired, and didn’t have the heart necessary for
fighting or hiding from the forces of Good. Being so close to Midgaard had
not been in their plans, and they weren’t sure how they ended up there.
Without a word, the leader of the family led his charges toward the city.
The rest of the group was frightened, because although they were not
cowards, they knew they’d be outnumbered thousands to one.
But a strange thing happened. As they approached the city, they
received many curious looks from the settlers, but nothing more. They
walked right into the gates of the town, and no one stopped them.
Dumbfounded, they found a cleric in the temple and asked for shelter,
which was readily given. The group could not understand what was
happening. They finally asked the Lector of the temple, who kindly
explained that the forces of Good do not kill within this town unless they
were defending themselves. As long as the Evil beings remained
non-aggressive, they would not be harmed.
The Evil beings could not believe their ears. They stared at each
other with mouths dropped wide. A quick stroll through the streets of the
town confirmed the Lector’s words, they remained molested. The
opportunities filled their imaginations. After a quick conference, each of
the group immediately went to a guildmaster to see if they would be
accepted as students. The Guildmasters long ago had proclaimed that anyone
would be taught, and they began their studies.
After the beings learned enough to be useful, they departed for
their original haunts. By this time Evil settlements had taken root in
many locales. Any where they stopped they were met with awe and wonder.
Evil beings who knew magic! As their story filled the legends of Evil,
their brethren flocked to Midgaard. As long as they never attacked anyone,
they were treated fairly and with respect. This was a new experience for
the Evil forces, who had always been abused by their own leaders. Only
rarely did someone’s thirst for blood take them down the path of
destruction. As soon as they attacked, the Midgaardians flocked to the
defense of those in need.
The result was that magic was no longer the domain of Good. Evil
and Neutral beings learned it as well. Magic was available to any who
desired to learn it. The guild system seemed to be working, but there was
a danger of overburdening the few Guildmasters. The pressures of
population also lent credence to the desire of the adventurous to strike
out on their own.
Soon, new towns were being established. Thalos was among the
first. The disciples of the original Guildmasters went to the desert to be
in the area of “The First.” They built an opulent city with gardens and
pathways, with a huge domed temple in the center of town. A second tier of
Guildmasters set up practice there, teaching more advanced knowledge.
For a time, Evil, Neutral, and Good intermingled without mishap.
Thalos was a model of efficiency and appreciation of the arts. But old
hatreds die hard. And Evil had been nursing their jealousy for many years.
The sting of their defeats festered in the dark hearts of some, and they
secretly vowed to have their revenge. They studied hard to be the most
adept at magic in the town.
At the same time, they communicated with old allies back among the
hills and caverns. They told of how soft the forces of Good had become.
How they let their enemies walk among them and didn’t care. All they had
to do was not attack, and they were left to their own devices. Those back
in the original Evil settlements cackled with glee at this news, for they
had never given up a taste for revenge either. Slowly, as per their
agreement with the agents within the town, small groups of Evil travelers
arrived at Thalos and took up residence. Over time, their numbers grew
substantially. Evil had learned patience.
One unexpected day a horde of Evil beings attacked Thalos. As the
alarms were sounding and guards were running to their posts, the Evil
beings within the city attacked at the same time. The gates were kept open
and warriors poured through. The magic from the Good fighters was balanced
by the magic of Evil. Between the forces within and without the walls,
Good was seriously outnumbered. Evil finally won a complete victory. The
carnage of their victory celebration tore down walls and buildings, and
the beautiful city ceased to exist as it was known. The forces of Evil
left one mighty Beholder and a host of lamias to guard their new ruins.
The force of occupation quickly ate the surviving settlers and let the
desert reclaim its prize.
But Good remained undaunted. Midgaard was growing into the mighty
city we know today, and expansion was continuing. Good held fast to its
philosophy of allowing anyone who was not aggressive to have free run of
its areas. But they weren’t idiots either. Guards were always on patrol
now, and communication remained open between all areas for assistance if
needed. To show that they wouldn’t be intimidated, but to also defuse the
tense situation caused by the pillaging of Thalos, the beings of Good
raised another great city, near the site of Thalos. This magnificent city
rivaled even Midgaard, and was named “New Thalos” in honor of their fallen
Expansion went in all directions with Rome and the Shire to the
west, and Mordilinia to the southwest. The home of many druids, Paramour,
was established right outside Midgaard. Westward along the river, the Roos
chose to make their homeland. An entire mighty civilization grew far away
in the form of Graecia, with huge roads paved with gold. In the other
direction, their rival Troy grew near Kataka, the home of mighty samurai.
Some of the elves built a vast city beneath the sea, and made it their
home. Castles holding Roogna and Camelot were among the outlands. Far, far
away a beautiful castle made entirely of crystal sat by itself. Good also
preserved animals so all could enjoy. They placed these noble beasts high
above to help protect them; in the land of Narnia. These were among the
holding of the followers of good.
Evil had noticed the success Good had with its expansion, and
vowed not to be outdone. Evil expanded because of fear, for even though
Good had sworn not to attack if not provoked, Evil couldn’t believe it.
Beyond Drow and the Deep Ones, Evil strove to establish their own
dominance. Many smaller Evil beings, like Orcs, Goblins, and the like kept
to their original caves of Moria northeast of Midgaard. The giants almost
universally hated association with littler folk, keeping mainly to caves
and dark passageways. One group did build a strong fort from gigantic logs
by a river, however. An entire city was built through slave labor, with
guards antagonizing the miners below ground. Ogres built rudimentary
shelters in far away places like swamps and forests, hoping to not be
disturbed. The enfans occupied the deserted ruins of Orshingal, a city
deserted for no admitted reason, but what was the reason?
Evil also tried to stay close to the settlements of Good itself,
having learned a very valuable lesson in the battle for Thalos. The
Quicklings volunteered to settle near Midgaard, and the Dark ewoks stayed
close to their brethren. Evil beings inhabited the dungeons of Paramour
and the Crystal castle. Tombs and dungeons were often occupied with Evil,
from Moloch to zombies, Good had to heed where they tread.
Melkor twitched and the four universal elements balanced on his
fingertip. Chaos, Perception, Structure, and Doubt stood in a daze. They
had given up trying to control the multitude of beings they had loosed on
the world. There was too much, too many. Sweat poured from them at the
thought of their failure. Melkor laughed, as he had foreseen this end many
millennia before. He explained to them that once beasts are given free
will, control by beings such as themselves is futile. He further explained
that now that the expansion had begun, it could never be curtailed by any
less than he. With that, he held up his finger and inhaled the four
universal elements. An enigmatic smile played on Melkor’s lips as he
faded from existence, knowing he would check on his new toys now and then.
I, Roatka the Inquisitive, son of Felpara Hyperbole, Grand Historian of
the Exalted Office of Recorder of the Tepara-yi, do hereby state upon
penalty of tripled taxes, that the history set forth is accurate to the
best of my meager and fallible knowledge. I beg her Royal Highness,
Immanence Sakraphia XXIII, Defender of the Budget, Levier of Taxes, and
Protector of the Treasury, to have mercy on my miserable life. My cup of poison stands ready.