The First Age

The First Age was a time of abundant life on Shard. The whole of its surface was a paradise of co-existence and unparalleled joy. As The Light Mother dreamt, her charges moved without a care for The Great Night that surrounded them. They did not know of war, but also did not know of peace, all they knew was of how things were. ­There was no need for heroism or aggression, simply the cycle of nature taking its course. The central seas and the outer seas fed each other and were full of life. The Fey created seasons with The Light Mother’s breathing, in-and-out, and these seasons brought new life to Shard and regulated its growth.

Life existed like this for thousands of years. Slowly, the Nudayin found homes in which to settle. Those of earth buried themselves deep into Shard, those of water took to the seas and the lakes, those of fire found homes in the burning heart of Shard, directly beneath Aelid, and those of air took up the space above Shard, nestled into the Celestial Breach. The new Fey took up the mantle that those who gave their spirits to the lands gave up and began to breed and create new creatures, of which the Light Mother had never dreamt. The Maeid continued to delve in the mountains and the earth and began to build the first structures beneath the mountains and on the lands that would act as temples to The Light Mother to help to feed her in her eternal sleep and counteract the deficit of their ongoing theft.

Then came the first refugee from the world before. Shia’Na’Turuk, the great dragon. They, who had first begun the war, it was said, that had destroyed the world before. Shia’Na’Turuk had flown for millennia through The Great Night and, where it had been wicked and capricious before, its time in that black abyss had turned it into the greatest of evils.

Shia’Na’Turuk saw the sleeping form of The Light Mother and fell upon her, but the faith of the world she protected would not allow her to be harmed. Just as she had protected it from The Great Night, so they in turn gave her strength to resist the mad dragon in its weakened form, its body depleted and its mind gone after its travels in The Great Night. Shia’Na’Turuk then set upon Shard itself. It boiled the seas and razed the forests. It chewed the mountains and it crushed the temples and it killed a great many on Shard.

Shia’Na’Turuk took hold of Shard and enslaved those upon it, feeding like a leech on the love of The Light Mother and weakening her ever still. Shia’Na’Turuk made her dream of draconic creatures, who began to populate the face of Shard in the harsh regions near the outer seas and began to wage war on the Fey and the Maeid. Together with Shia’Na’Turuk, these new creatures began to enslave and destroy all across Shard.

This, then, could have been the end. But one of the Maeid, Basal, stood atop Nyaraleth, what was then the highest peak on Shard, and pulled the dragon from the sky as it flew across the surface of Shard. Basal had been watching Shia’Na’Turuk and had seen the madness in their eyes. Basal had watched as they flew across the skies and called to the Nudayin in the air for aid, but none would aid Basal. Next, Basal called to the Nudayin in the waters, as Shia’Na’Turuk made them boil and steam, but they would not listen and wished to be left alone. They had watched a world die before and would do so again. Basal turned deep beneath the earth, calling to the last two hopes that Shard had amongst the Nudayin, to those of earth and those of fire.

Those of fire reached out to Basal in voices that flickered and spat with burning heat and offered to protect Basal from the flames of Shia’Na’Turuk, but asked that Basal give them children to raise in the hottest depths beneath Shard, for they were alone and wished to burn with the light of life. Basal agreed to their terms.

Those of earth spoke up as well, in voices that shook the lands of Shard above, and they asked of Basal but one thing; that Basal bequeath to them all of Basal’s children to be buried in the ground upon their deaths, and for those spirits to belong to the earth Nudayin. They asked this of Basal, offering in return, to turn the great dragon Shia’Na’Turuk to stone, if Basal could ground them. Basal thought upon this and spent many days beneath the earth, the slow moving rocks around Basal whispering and offering. Basal could not refuse their help, but Basal could not give up the spirits of all those children to come so readily. Basal offered, instead, Basal’s own spirit to the earth Nudayin. Basal told the Nudayin of The Light Mother’s power within Basal and of how it would sustain the Nudayin for a great many aeons, far more than the children of Basal. The Nudayin agreed and the bargain was struck.

Basal stood atop Nyaraleth as Shia’Na’Turuk flew overhead and reached up a hand, warded from the dragon’s flame by the fire Nudayin. Basal’s fist reached down into the throat of the dragon and grabbed its heart. Basal tore the beast’s heart from within it and flung Shia’Na’Turuk’s corpse to the edges of Shard. Shia’Na’Turuk landed in the outer sea, the waves from its landing extinguishing the fires across the face of Shard and there the Nudayin of earth reached up and out. They turned the dragon’s body into a great range of mountains that encircled the outer edges of Shard, splitting the outer sea in two and completing their pact with Basal.

Basal went to the Fey and told them of the first pact, and the Fey took creatures from the face of Shard and sent them to the fires below. They moulded them and changed them to stand the heat of the fire Nudayin’s home, and gave them as gifts in boats made of gold, which floated through the earth to their expectant parents. They gave them, too, the draconic folk who had spawned from Shia’Na’Turuk and bid the fire Nudayin to teach these creatures of the ways of Shard above, that they might one day return, their debt paid for Shia’Na’Turuk’s violence and malevolence.

Basal then spoke to the other Maeid and told them of the second pact. They sang songs and wrote poems and built new temples, where the broken ones to The Light Mother had stood before, and promised to remember Basal. Basal laid down in the earth at the roots of Aelid, the giving tree and stared up at the stars of The Great Night and the circling sun of The Light Mother’s light and was taken by the Nudayin of the earth, to be theirs forever more. Before this, though, Suli, one of the Maeid, unbeknownst to the Nudayin, cut off a piece of Basal’s hair and, with it, made a kite, which Suli flew into the skies above Shard and to the Celestial Breach itself. So a shard of Basal took its place above Shard as the first of the new gods.

Thus came to an end the first age and Shard was changed forever. The Light Mother’s essence had waned somewhat after the passing of Basal and the ravages of Shia’Na’Turuk, but still her spirit burned bright above. The land itself was much changed, and many of the old spirits had been burned and destroyed by Shia’Na’Turuk, but Shard continued its voyage through The Great Night and Basal watched over the world from below and above, two shards within The Light Mother’s domain.