History of Dertalriosh Endaertheal'a, Volume 1 (book)
Chapter One: Dragon Priests
I am not a Bard, with a gift for weaving stories into tapestries of sound. Nor am I a Lorethew, with knowledge reaching back into the far mists of time.
So I will tell this tale as it was told to me by my father, as his father told him. The tale of Dertalriosh Endaertheala, Spear of Sun's Flame Descending, now called Stormwill by men.
When Corik, called the Black Cloud, first built the city of Shard with the aid of the elves of Morganae's mountain, a spire of white marble arose in its midst, on a night filled with magic and power. Our finest Stone Mages molded the very earth into a tower unlike any other in Shard. The walls seemed to pulse with a beat like that of the world's heart, and the floor hummed with the earth's silent song as it traveled its way through the Void of creation.
As the sun's rays fell behind the mountains surrounding Shard, they would strike the marble of the tower with their glory, making watchers marvel at its golden-red beauty. Many would remark on its resemblance to a spear of fire rising from the earth in defiance of the encroaching night. And so the tower received its name. A name filled with pride and triumph and defiance of the darkness. The same pride which filled its creators, and their people.
For no matter what our Guild has sunk to in these recent years, the Elemental Mages of that time, the time of the Empire's fall, were brave men and women, filled with determination and spirit. It was this very spirit that would be their downfall.
Though Corik remained apart from the War of the Dragon, as the dispute between Lanival and Teiro was called in Shard, it filled his heart with rage that he must sit idle while the men and women fighting Teiro's oppression died by the score.
The Council of Three advised patience, and that Corik follow the peaceful nature of the Elotheans. But that peaceful nature was not Corik's nature, and something inside him died when he learned of each death, as though he could have prevented it had he been there. As though the small portion of the army he did send was not enough.
But when the Dragon Priests rose to power, and began to march against Shard, Corik became enraged. He could suffer in silence while people died in far-off wars, but Corik would not suffer to remain peaceful while his home, the city he had built from nothing, was attacked.
Corik gathered together his armies, what few soldiers would follow him, and marched from Shard. The streets of the city were silent with mourning. Mourning not only the loss of life they knew would come, but also for the loss of the peace they had known for so long.
Many refused to follow. Their ideals were greater than the need to defend our home, our city. Many cursed our lord, our Ferdahl. They called him a beast, and a monster. He was not. He was a man who loved his home and could not bear to see it destroyed. A man who felt that life itself was more precious than the principles of peace.
The warriors of the House of the Grey Storm, the Mages of Dertal- riosh Endaertheala, marched in the vanguard of Corik's host. Their pride was too great to allow them to surrender to the darkness of the Dragon Priests. Too long had they, and their tower, stood as the last remaining light against the darkness. Too long had they been warriors to again accept the tenets of peace. But under their pride lay a darker thing: arrogance. They had created a tower in a single night, and a thing of beauty it was. They wielded powers greater than those of the Gods themselves. Or so they thought.
It was this arrogance, this blindness to the world around them, that would cost them the very thing they fought to protect. While the warriors of Corik's host marched valiantly into the mountains, seeking out the armies of the Dragon Priests, Shard lay in flames.
The Dragon Priests, led by Dzree's scrying and the cunning of their scouts, had circled around Corik's army and attacked Shard in the night. Women and children were slaughtered in their beds. Those who woke from their dreaming, woke to a nightmare. The Dragon Priests rounded everyone up into the central square of Shard and drove them from the city. Many fought back, not wishing to leave their homes. They were branded upon the forehead with the Dragon's Claw, the symbol for those slated to die as sacrifice to raise the World Dragon.
As they were driven to the south, into a great meadow, Shard was consumed in magical flames hot enough to burn stone. The black rock quarried from Morganae's mountains was turned into a liquid darkness upon the ground. The only building that survived the flames was Dertalriosh Endaertheala. Protected by some of the strongest wards ever created, the flames could do little damage before they died out.
It was the tower's burning that alerted the Ferdahl and his armies that they had been duped. The flickering light of the flames was a brilliant signal in the night, a signal that called to the hearts of the Mages, and enflamed them with rage.
Corik led his men towards their defiled home in a massive charge, later ennobled by Bards in song and tale. They covered the distance of three days march in a single night, reaching the smoking ashes of Shard as the sun's rays breached the horizon.
Great was the rage of Corik's armies, and even greater the shame. Many who were there spoke in later years of the expression on Corik's face as he gazed upon the defiled land where once his city, his great creation and gift to the Elothean people, had stood. It was as if someone had shown him all the light of the world, then snuffed it out the second his hand reached out to grasp it.
The Ferdahl's soul died that day. Died beyond the power of any Cleric to reclaim it from Urrem'tier's grasp. His body lived to lead one last battle, that which freed the Dragon Priests' prisoners. Most survived, though a few had already been sacrificed upon the World Dragon's altar.
Corik was never seen after the battle. His body was not counted among the dead, nor among the living.
Few mourned him.
Chapter Two: Alec the Phoenix
Many years passed until the Elothean people were once again free. During that time, the Mages of Dertalriosh Endaertheala lived apart from the rest of their people. They were blamed by many for the destruction of Shard, and for the great loss of life.
The Mages could not deny their accusations, for they were true. If they had not followed Corik, if they had not been filled with pride and the glory of their powers, Shard would not have been left undefended when the Dragon Priests came. The city would not have been taken. The people would not have been slaughtered like sheep upon the altar of Dzree's madness. And the Spear of Sun's Flame Descending would not have been broken.
The Dragon Priests made periodic raids into the lands surrounding the ruins of Shard, and the temple they had built there. The Mages tried to defend their people, but they were so scattered that it was impossible to save everyone. Each person taken only widened the breach between the Houses of the Elotheans and the Mages. A hard lesson was learned in those days, one that many still have not learned.
The duty of the Elemental Mages, the Warrior Mages as they are now called, is not to wage war. It is to prevent war. And if they cannot prevent it, it is their duty to see that the horrors of war do not harm the innocent. In both duties, the Mages of Dertalriosh Endaertheala failed: by following Corik, they sought glory for themselves. By following Corik, they failed those they were supposed to protect, leaving them defenseless. It was a shame they lived with for many years until one came who lifted them from the ashes of their despair and gave them new hope for redemption and life.
Alec, who claimed to be son of Corik, came to the disparate Houses and united them once again. Filled with peerless drive and charisma, he healed many of the wounds our people had nursed for so long. He taught us how to work together again. Not in war, but in peace.
Dedicated to peace as his father had been to war, Alec did not lead us into battle against the Dragon Priests. Instead, he counseled patience, that their power could not last long.
When word came upon the wind that Dzree had fallen, and the viper of the Priesthood was headless, Alec united the Houses. He led them in a triumphant march to the Dragon Priest's temple, and in the only battle of his life, led his people against the Priests and their dark magics. Alec himself wielded neither sword nor spell in the battle. True Bard that he was, his songs inspired his armies, filling them with even greater strength and conviction than they had felt before.
When the last Dragon Priest lay dead at the last soldier's feet, Alec burned the temple to the ground. Its ruins can still be found to the south of Shard, on the road leading to the Dark Hand. The city of Shard was built again, though Alec learned much from his father's mistakes. He made peace again with the Mountain Elves, but never trusted them as much as Corik had.
For many years, Alec supervised the reconstruction of the city he had never known, but was still home to his people. In a gesture that did much to heal the breach between the Mages and his people, the Ferdahl asked for their aid in rebuilding. Grateful for the chance to aid in some way, the finest of the Stone Mages gathered around Shard, and in a night filled with magic, returned the black stone to the earth.
The rising sun shone upon a barren field and the twisted, fire blackened form of Dertalriosh Endaertheala.
The mages, with Alec's permission, had left their old home standing as grim reminder of the costs of pride. Once a symbol of the light against the darkness, it now stood as a reminder of the darkness within.
Though twisted and warped from its former beauty, the tower was still habitable, if slightly damaged. The mages, those who wished to remain in the tower, all swore that Shard would be completely rebuilt before they reconstructed their own home.
Many of the Mages of Dertalriosh Endaertheala chose to leave the tower, unable to dedicate themselves to the lessons of peace many had learned in the time before Alec's coming.
Once the House of the Grey Storm, now the Spear of Sun's Flame Descending had no place among the Elothean peoples, and was weakened by that lack of direction. With the Ferdahl's permission, they accepted the aid of a Human Mage, named Arhat in honor of his famous ancestor, and the leader of the newly-formed Guild of Warrior Mages. With his aid and guidance, the Mages of Der- talriosh Endaertheala began walking the path of the senka'i neir.
By my hand,
Guildmistress of Dertalriosh Endaertheala