The Birth Of Light

Many believe the Age of Silence ended with the return of the gods. Their return to Awlidan heralded a new Age, the Age of Destiny. Some prophecies were proven true while others were disregarded as lies. The new Age will bring change to all but what will that change be? There was another event that foretold the end of the Age, an event that strengthened the side of justice.

A remote village in the plains of an island kingdom known as Tharphatia brought together a group of individual heroes. These heroes came together for a common goal, the defense of the weak and the defense of Tress. This band of heroes saw the need of the village and with disregard of their own safety they took up the quest and defended the village. Not only did they right the wrongs done to the village, they also created a highly unlikely alliance between the village and its oppressors. This group of heroes saw in themselves a flicker of light and realized what they could accomplish together, hence the Birth of Light.

The Heroes born from Tress continued their quest to defend the weak and right the wrongs against the people of Tharphatia. The group foiled the plans of an invasion from a sister island that has been an enemy of the kingdom for decades. They cleared an ancient ruined city called Alglen and removed the threat of the Ring of Reality so a military base can be built on the location to improve the kingdom’s defense against its enemies. The heroes also entered a strange vault built to hold powerful supernatural beings and undead left behind from the Age of Legends. They recovered some ancient artifacts and resealed the vault, never to be opened again. All of their prior adventures were mere tests to prepare them for an achievement that will mark them in Awlidan’s history and change the world forever.

The group of heroes learns of an organization called the Black Monk Society. A society dedicated to the eradication of all races except the superior race, humans. This organization has survived the Ages, rumored to have been created during the Age of Legends. This time Society’s efforts were against the elves of the world, a race both ancient and magical making them immune to disease. The Black Monks created a magical disease to match their immunities. This disease became volatile to elves, spreading through their race like a plague. It threatened to kill every elf on Awlidan in all their variations, making them extinct.

Once again the adventurers from the small village of Tress were called in to help with this matter. The elves ability to trust anyone but themselves was waning. They did not believe these strangers would help them, nor did the elves believe they could help. The ancient race thought their only hope lied in their own extensive knowledge and magical abilities. Nevertheless the adventurers set out immediately to find the cure.

The brave heroes were given clues to what they needed for the cure but it would test their mettle to the limits. They needed to find magic almost as old as the world itself yet still it had to be mortal magic. They went out in search of Dragon Magic, some of the oldest and most potent magic throughout Awlidan. This was thought to be impossible since the entire island was protected from dragons, how could there possibly be dragon artifacts in Tharphatia?

The heroes from Tress dug deep into the bowels of Tharphatia to find the answers they were seeking. They delved into ruins that were of empires from before the Cataclysm, ruins from a time before there was a Tharphatia, before there was a barrier against dragons. With their dedication and their perseverance the group found what they were looking for. They found the rituals of undoing, the rituals of purification, and the only magic strong enough to remove the plague from the elves. They found the ancient book of dragons, the Dragon Manual.

Unfortunately, the heroes would not hold on to such a treasure for long. After reciting the rituals necessary to free the elves from their final doom, a faction of dragonlike humanoids called draconians siege the ruins where the heroes were held up. The dragonmen were numerous and powerful and the heroes were tired and weakened from their journey and their ordeal with the rituals. The draconians stole the dragon artifacts and with a quick ritual brought certain doom upon Tharphatia. The ritual of undoing was quickly spoken and the Dragon Shield was shattered. The island was no longer protected from dragons, no longer hidden from their eyes.

The heroes returned to the capital of the elvish people. They felt defeated and robbed of their victory. They brought back nothing but bad news but returned to find an amazing surprise. The celebration of the elves was proof of their success. The dying was healed and the plague stopped spreading. The adventurers had succeeded after all, the elves were saved.

The elven council could not believe this strange band of adventurers, true heroes to the elven people, succeeded where all else had failed. The elves of the world were forever in their debt, and the heroes were honored friends forevermore. The elves gave this group a name, a name that meant Harbingers of Hope, henceforth they were dubbed… the Lightrunners.

The elves did not know what they brought about. They did not know that these adventurers would be the heroes mentioned in prophecy. The elves, with but a simple name, brought forth the Light that Shines above the Darkness.

The Birth of Light will shine forth and illuminate a new Age, the light that will foretell the Dawn of Destiny.”

The new group known as the Lightrunners did many great things and performed heroic deeds that will be written and sang by bards for many years to come. They traveled north to petition the Council of Wyrms to restore the barrier around Tharphatia. Even though this quest failed, they are among a very select few mortals to ever see the Council of Dragons. They met up with a pair of Bane priests that were not traditional followers of the God of Destruction. They actually worked together to destroy a Temple of Bane and one of the Lightrunners took up the call of the God of Death and became an Acolyte. They found a powerful wizard known only as Pifolus that was using an island of inhabitants as his personal test subjects. In a drawn out battle against Pifolus’ powerful magic, the Lightrunners defeated the wizard and freed the villagers. They even cleansed an entire continent of evil and closed a rift that was allowing demons and devils to spill forth onto Awlidan, all this on the behest of the God of Death himself. The Lightrunners did many great deeds, but none compares to the series of events that would carry their name on the winds of time and mark them as Legendary Heroes.

During one of the Lightrunners’ trips north through the main land of Kantolus, the heroes discovered an out-of-the-way farm owned by a simple family. The farm was inhabited by a middle-aged farmer, his wife, and their daughter. Everything appeared quiet but something was just not right, in fact, something felt terribly wrong. The farm was invaded by a group wearing gray robes and wielding simple blunt weapons. The heroes saw the bandits moving ever closer to the farmhouse in a stealthy manner, the little girl was out getting water all alone and at the mercy of these intruders. The group decided to interfere on behalf of the helpless family. The Lightrunners did not know this would be the event that catapulted Awlidan into its Age of Destiny.

The battle between the Lightrunners and the gray robed bandits was fierce; it appeared the robed attackers had the superior numbers. When it was all over and the dust settled, the little girl was gone, and she was not in the house. During the battle a small contingent of bandits were able to secure the child and escape. The parents were distraught, Celcia was their only child and they had not been able to have another. After learning the robed men were zealots from a group called the Gray Brotherhood, the heroes were in pursuit.

The Lightrunners pursued the brothers into Brae’Grull and across the Plains of Heath. Finally they came across a large monastery, home of the Gray Brotherhood. The threat was clear and the heroes did not stand for the kidnapping of children. The group infiltrated the monastery, fighting their way to the inner sanctum of the order. Before there was any more blood shed, the leaders of the order requested a parlay with the Lightrunners. It was uncertain why but the heroes felt it necessary to talk with these people.

The Gray Brotherhood was a monastic group dedicated to bringing about peace to Awlidan without war and strife, without blood shed of any kind. The order believed the little girl named Celcia to be a supreme being that will decide the fate of the world. They explained Celcia was actually a deity born of mortal parents and will one day ascend to the Heavens and lead man to the stars and victory over their own shortcomings. They called her the Celestial Modanna.

With all the magic at their disposal, the Lightrunners could tell the Order was telling the truth. It was hard to imagine, but the Gray Brotherhood had good intentions. The Order went on to explain the Celestial Madonna could bring about a new Age of peace for all the people of Awlidan, or she could be the harbinger of destruction. She needed to be prepared and ready for when she decided to ascend. The heroes agreed to let her stay and be taught by the monks, a hard decision but the right one… for now.

The heroes continued their adventuring careers with Celcia only at the back of their mind. They won a keep hidden among the Plains of Silence in North Kantolus. Though the castle was not occupied, its guardians had to be dealt with before it could be acquired. They ended a demon threat rising from the Hole of Blood. In addition, there was more trouble from the mysterious Black Syndicate. Eventually though, fate would lure the Lightrunners back to the defense of the girl they have grown fond of.

The Lightrunners learned not all the members of the order of monks believed in helping Celcia reach her destiny. One of the grand members led a secret sect of monks that believed the Celestial Modanna was the destroyer and must be sacrificed to the gods to appease them. The group went to her aid once again but when they got to the monastery she had fled, her room a site of a massive battle.

The Lightrunners were able to find the child and defeat the Black Host that wanted to sacrifice her. However this posed a bigger problem, is there someone that could protect her. The scholars in the group went looking for answers in some ancient texts. After a rigorous search they found evidence of a Guardian. The writings mentioned the Guardian would pave the way for the Celestial Modanna to take her rightful place among the stars. Strangely the texts mentioned the Guardian would be ready and waiting for the arrival of the Celestial Madonna.

The group learns they must free the Guardian so he may protect the Madonna while she moves toward ascension. They then learn in order to do this they must find the Guardian first and there was no evidence of his resting place. The group does learn that ultimate wisdom will be the key to his location. The ultimate wisdom turns out to be the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, a talisman that can be used as a powerful compass able to find the path to what the wielder seeks. This was proving to be more difficult than what was first expected.

Honor, righteousness, and dedication to their goal all drove the Lightrunners forward as they began their quest to find the Codex and free the Guardian. A being known as a Titan of Life, a servant of the gods themselves, held the key to the Codex. The Lightrunners must prove themselves worthy of such a prize by passing the tests the Titan put forth to the heroes. Their hearts were tested, their souls were tested, and the tasks showed the Lightrunners who and what they were. They came face to face with their true nature, and passed. The heroes proved once again they were deserving of their title as Those That Will Light the Way.

The Lightrunners win the Codex but only a special and very rare priest can command its power to show them the path to the Guardian. They learned of the One Above All, a being of supreme Justice that sat above all other divine beings. The Codex would only answer to one faithful to the Tribunal. The priest in the party gives her undying loyalty to the One and was finally able to use the Codex.

The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom showed the heroes what they needed to see, the path they were to walk was illuminated by the artifact. Like a beacon, like a sunbeam spraying forth from the talisman, the way was shown but only the wearer could see. The new High Priest of the One led her companions across the Sea to the Maelstrom known as the Great Oceanic Barrier.

The Barrier was a massive storm or maelstrom in the middle of the ocean. Its relentless and merciless nature made the waters uncharitable. It was measured as hundreds of miles across and covered the skies. It was as if the gods themselves were stirring the ocean like a cook pot. Even the sturdiest and hardiest of seafaring vessels could not navigate those terrible waters. It was avoided by all those sailing the sea, even by the most veteran ship captains, until now.

The Codex led the group straight to the Great Oceanic Barrier and did not stop there. Their task took them to one of the deadliest areas on Awlidan for they had to enter the maelstrom to reach the next step of finding the Guardian. The storm was ruthless, tossing the ship too and fro, threatening to sink the heroes to the bottom of the ocean. Rain fell sideways in the hurricane winds and waves battered at the ships hull, but they drove forward, their task was clear and nothing but death would stop them.

The Lightrunners continued to follow the beacon as best they could. The ship was falling apart with one mast already collapsed and disappeared in the storm. Just when it felt that all was lost and their mission was a failure, the storm began to break, the waters began to calm. A ship approached from the darkness, its captain and crew made up of creatures known as Daemons. Their elemental nature gives them the power to create the maelstrom and thus the Barrier.

The Daemons guarded the Lost Continent; a land mass hidden in the center of the storm. Their rule was a simple one, only those worthy may pass through the storm unharmed. There was no exception, all were to be driven back or destroyed. The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom was presented boldly from the new High Priest. The captain of the daemons, a lightning daemon known simply as Elf, was startled upon seeing the holy relic. Elf bowed his head, knowing that the time had come for he who waits beyond to take his rightful place in the world. The heroes continued, sailing safely to the continents edge and continuing their journey in a brand new land.

The Lightrunners came to the Lost Land expecting to find a clue to where the Guardian might be, or possibly find his tomb. The truth of it was a complete surprise. It turned out that the Lost Land was actually inhabited by a group of highly developed humans. Their elder was a wizened man called the All Father, the leader of these people. The All Father was a middle aged man with a salt-and-pepper beard with more gray hairs at his temples. Other than that he was a perfect human specimen, as strong in body as he was in mind. This man was King Brandor, last king of an ancient Empire dating back to before the Cataclysm.

King Stalin Brandor was the warrior king that led the human race into battle against the abomination that caused the Cataclysm. He was also the man who demanded help from the gods and his prayer was answered. His words brought about the gods defense of Awlidan against a foe that seemed to be invincible. This man was over 2,000 years old, yet here he stood, an immortal, a demigod among men.

The Lightrunners explained the situation to the King, the All Father and his face was alight with surprise, wonder, and finally despair. The King’s return to the world was late. It was explained that he was to return before the birth. He was to pave the way for the Madonna’s ascension. He gathered up his closest advisors and returned to the main land with the Lightrunners.

The King had returned to the world. The greatest warrior from the Age of Legend and the Commander of the forces at the Cataclysm had come to bring peace back to the world. Celcia was found and brought up to the Lightrunner Castle in North Kantolus for protection now that her Guardian had finally arrived. Finally all things were made clear to the heroes. Celcia would bring peace to the world or she will destroy it. She will create an Eden or a wasteland. It all depended on mankind’s position at the time of her ascension.

King Brandor declares a World Union must be created. This Union will bring all the countries of the world into a single nation and will be governed by a series of laws and declarations that will make everything equal. The King promises to unite the world into a single utopia and he will do this by force if necessary. All humanoid life will be free and seen as equals. The Free Nation of Awlidan was created; the King begins his new Crusade.

The Lightrunners were faced with a tough decision. Do they follow this new King on his crusade to conquer all of Awlidan, or do they defend the rights and freedom of everyone? Is his goal a righteous one? Is this what the world needs, someone to bring every one and every thing into one people? The ideal is a good one, but the path the King wished to take was questionable. The Lightrunners deem that all beings must choose for themselves to bring peace to Awlidan or the quest for it means nothing. They decided to oppose King Brandor. The Coalition of Freedom is born and the Age of Destiny is begun.

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