NecroBios, Volume II: Lyras (book)
NecroBios, Volume II: Lyras
By Zamidren Book
In this series, we shall attempt to chronicle the history of various famous and infamous Necromancers that have lived throughout the ages. By understanding those Necromancers that have made the craft what it is, we can better know those that live today and we can better understand where our profession will lead us in the future.
Who is Lyras? Many have heard her name -- as the Prydaen and Rakash refugees fled from the west to the safety of Kermoria in the year 357, they uttered her name with ghastly terror, telling a tale of hordes of undead pursuing them, chasing them from their homelands. With tearful eyes and panicked breaths, they would all utter one word: "Lyras."
They would, with a palpable horror, recite how their mothers and fathers rose from the ground at Lyras' beckoning, to strike down their brothers and sisters -- and how then their brothers and sisters would rise as well, to continue the slaying. They would tell of how their towns and villages and forests burned to the ground at undead hands. They would tell of how their greatest fighters slew Lyras, only to have her stand right back up and begin her carnage and slaughter again, stronger than ever. And they would tell of how they ran.
With these stories in mind, there is no doubt at all that one can surely classify Lyras as one of the great "Undying Threats."
Unfortunately, we know little of the woman called Lyras, however, despite the fact that she is one of the most notable Necromancers throughout history for the acts she has carried out -- this in stark contrast to our vivid knowledge of Necromancers such as Lasarhhtha, Sidhlot, Emuin and so on. We know little today of her life, her past, or the events that led to her war with the Westlands. Why is this? Simply because she wrought so much damage, inflicted so much chaos on the lands she came from, that there is little to tell of any sort of history at all.
Some basic facts can be ascertained through educated guessing, however... which is how we will shed some light on what we can tell about her.
Lyras is a Human. Basic fact number one. Humans and Halflings both reside in the Westlands, though not in any significant numbers -- although they once did. Here we enter into the realm of ancient history.
There are three elder races recognized by history -- those races that came before all others, and built empires where none existed, and ruled unchallenged. These three races were the Elves, the Dwarves, and the Luethra. The Luethra ruled over the continent of Albaria and the Qi Archipelago, while the Elves and Dwarves ruled over Kermoria jointly -- the Elves ruling southeast, east, central, north, and northeast Kermoria, with the Dwarves ruling south, southwest, west, and northwest Kermoria. The Humans, who would become a dominant force in later years, were not yet here in Kermoria at all -- or anywhere, for that matter. Working off the religious cannon presented in the Origins of the Realms text, the gods would not create the Humans until later.
When the Humans and Halflings did come to Elanthia, they existed in the Westlands, where they remained for many a century. During this era, the Elves and Dwarves continued to rule Kermoria uncontested, though they bickered amongst themselves and fought a number of wars in attempts to shift the boundary dividing the continent in half. Their rule was uncontested, I should note, despite the emergence of other forces on the continent... the S'Kra Mur, who came to occupy the islands off the coast of the continent, and the Elotheans, who eked out an existence as peaceful nomads in the Elven lands.
A series of problems for the Dwarves and the Elves in the coming centuries would cause their Empires to slowly begin shrinking in on themselves, so that they did not control the entirety of the continent. This, fortunately for the Human population, helped pave the way for their entrance to Kermoria. Had the Elven and Dwarven Empires not decreased in size, the Humans would have had a difficult time finding a foothold in the continent, and may well have never become the true power that they did.
Disasters in the Westland... unfortunately, we cannot say for sure of what sort, be they natural disasters, war, or something else entirely... eventually drove the Humans, and their small Halfling companions, east. As mentioned, at this time, they lived in the Westlands, along with the Prydaen and the Rakash (the werewolves, as the Humans called them then -- even after the Rakash as a people were long forgotten by the Humans, tales of cursed Humans who transformed into wolves remained passed down through the tales and the legends, even making their way into the religious text, the Immortals). So, some sort of disaster happened, which resulted in a mass exodus from the Westlands by the Humans and the Halflings. They came here, to Kermoria, where the Humans began building their own kingdoms which would go on to challenge Elven rule of the north and central regions of the continent. But our concern lies not with them.
Our concern here is on the contingent of Humans and Halflings that remained in the West. Though the bulk of those races' populations traveled west, some refused to leave their homes despite the troubles, and they remained where they were. For centuries, as history passed on Kermoria -- Empires rising and falling, wars being fought, and so on -- these Humans lived side by side with the Rakash and Prydaen. They were never very populous, and never very strong or advanced, but they were there. While here on Kermoria, Humans became the dominant race, in the West, they were a distinct minority. The best lands were controlled by the stronger Rakash and Prydaen peoples, and the Humans and Halflings lived as weak nomads.
Which brings us to the purpose of our story, which is Lyras. It was these conditions into which Lyras grew, and we can only speculate that this sort of life played some role in her transformation into a Necromancer of great power. Perhaps it was the weakness of the Humans, coupled with the strength of the Prydaen and Rakash, that caused her hatred of those people to be established. Some things about her past we may never know.
We also do not know from where she received her training as a Necromancer. Certainly it rivaled anything she could have received from groups here in Kermoria, such as the Bone Elves. Many of the Humans in her tribe, she convinced to follow her as apprentices. When Lyras began her war against the Rakash and Prydaen, they assisted her.
The Humans were largely outnumbered, so Lyras recognized that in order to have any chance of victory, they needed to create their own army. Thus it was that the necromantic horde was borne. Those Rakash and Prydaen the Humans killed were transformed into undead warriors for Lyras -- indeed, even her own Human followers that died were transformed. Every death, no matter which side the death occurred on, only increased Lyras' strength.
It was with that army that she devastated the Rakash and Prydaen peoples. They were no match for her power. While the Kermorian peoples have oft had to deal with mighty Necromancers, individuals of her calibre were unheard of in the Westlands.
Lyras, though, was not simply powerful in her magic -- she was also a Necromancer of exceptional intelligence and cunning. She knew the powers at her disposal, and she knew the appropriate times to use them. It was when Rakash and Prydaen warriors raided her camp and attempted to kill her -- actually dealing what would have been a deathblow to any normal individual -- that Lyras unleashed the ultimate power a Necromancer has: the Descent into Undeath, a last resort used at the ideal instant. While they thought they had killed her, her cunning ensured that their attack only made her stronger. She became undead herself, vastly increasing her strength and her control over the undead army.
In her new form, Lyras renewed her devastation of the Westlands, forcing the Prydaen and the Rakash to flee eastward -- toward the land the Human legends spoke of from so long ago, a land where the Humans had been forced to take refuge. Those who had remained behind never knew if the refugee Humans made it to a better land, to some sort of safety, or if they had all met their doom attempting such a journey. But Lyras was determined to chase his prey to the ends of Elanthia if necessary, to ensure her ultimate power, and their destruction.
It was an unknown magic that created the mighty spiritual Barrier which sealed Lyras in the West. One can rest assured she waits on the other side of that Barrier, waiting to cross over and continue her rampage. One wonders, though, what her reaction will be should she encounter Necromancers of a level with herself, such as the mighty Sidhlot. Will she choose to ally with them, or view them as an even greater threat? And are the Necromancers of Kermoria prepared to deal with an entire army of undead outside of their control? Would they be willing to take the ultimate and final step which Lyras took, that of the Descent, in order to counter her powers? History awaits the answers to these questions.