Floating upon the endless waters of the Eversea, Arune is a verdant land, made by the One in a pleasant mood, a place for young gods to mature.
Two breeds of the Sacred called Arune, the Verdant Cradle their home, different yet same, both fed by their flock through flesh, blood and love, the Daimon and the Avernan. Was the serenity to last? Certainly not.
Wild and primal, chaotic and emotional, the Daimon fell to their more structured and level-headed brethren when the conflict erupted, and were forevermore banished, into the tartarean depths of ergamoth and Acheron, deprived of the care of their believers, forced to feed upon the sordid energies of those nether realms, and upon each other.
Eternal and final vengeance the Daimon swore that day, to unmake all what the Avernan held dear, while the victors feasted upon twice their fill, laughing at the impotent shaking of fists from far below.
This was to last for a time too long to measure.
Meanwhile, in a place far from the blooming waters of the Eversea, people were on the move, people without gods for of their own number, the divine could spring forth, ancestors of power or speakers of deep philosophy: the dwarves of Duergond and the elves of Alvandor; both left all they knew heading for a gate of shimmering gold, a leap of faith into a brighter tomorrow.
The world they came into was strange indeed, abundant in both life and magic, nourished by three tender suns of golden hue, much unlike the searing orb of blue they were used to.
The kings of this land were of a different breed than their subjects, be it the feral orcs, the laborious humans or mellow halflings; shaping their bodies as they wished, their appearance was one of awesome splendor and regal radiance, alabaster flesh, sparkling gems and gleaming metal.
Within the head of the emissaries of the newcomers, the voice of the first god-lord they encountered thundered in their heads: “Approach, newcomers! You will be allowed to worship and settle in our magnanimosity.”
The reaction surprised the divine ruler to the extreme, as the visitors stared with blank faces, asking: “Worship…?”
Anathreon the Spark of Morning, Blessed Protector of the Lush Fields of Tallarn, explained with great benevolence: “You will be allowed to pray and sacrifice, one tenth of your produce…” the Elves and Dwarves nodded “...and one of ten youths, upon maturity” the god-king added, recieving blank stares in reply once more.
“I will not be disobeyed!” were the fatal words that started the second Godswar.
Let us move on today, to the current staus quo. Unyielding, the Elves have not ceased their assault on the god-kings, carrying the fight to the banks of the blessed Varraine, the greatest of rivers.
From the depths of the Pits, they called the forsaken and the banished, and they heeded every call for destruction. Twisted by their long confinement they were, warped by their unforgiving prison, and wreaked havoc with little regard to the consequences and hatred for the creation they have been denied for so long. Many of them still roam free, danger for all that lives.
To the humans, their elven liberators spoke of freedom of choice, yet use them as front-line troops, their silk-gloved hands goading them against their former masters.
For one thing the Elves have learnt well - the gods of Arune need sustenance, be it love of the people, reverance, or more literally, their body and soul, for so they are made: the humans with bright souls that shed eneregy until they can sustain the body no more, abandoning it to the ravages of old age, while divine souls are as vessels for the love and life the worshippers offer.
This is link is the one the invaders seek to strike, with guile and might.
It is a war for survival, pure and simple.
Renegade gods, having taken the side of the conquerors, have been set up as new deities for the liberated people, not in flesh but spirit form, with temples for palaces, and prayer for sacrifice, yet still, they long…
It is a hard time to be human, or god, for that matter.
Shall we examine the actors? Yes?
To the north, four Avernans and their realms stand adamant:
Trephron Tanodeu, the master of the Skyborn Flame atop his black dragon and his realm of Terephal, the mountain forts and foundries a single machine of war; the monarch worried whether his daughter, a tiny infant, yet still taking up all the room in his heart, will have a realm to preside over, and worshippers to whisper her name…
Malharod, atop the Table Mountains, with its iron flying ships and Dythria, the Forged Goddess, facing the brunt of the Elven aggression, intent on its spired cities lasting forever…
Xarthas, the Misty Realm, and Amhar, the Lord of the Arcane Founts, he who brought the teaching of magic to man, upset at the havoc the invader has wreaked with the ley lines the xarthan mages used to tap…
And of course Terenaas, the High Sanctum, overseen by Cordara, the Stalwart, who cast down the mightiest of the Daemon into the depths.
To the south, the fledgling nation of Lyra seeks to mature, bereft of a divine lord yet guarded by four new deities: Ayathwah, the lady of Flame, Atrah, the Lord of the Earth, Alivanah, the Mistress of the Winds and Avathi, the Master of the Seas; the young king, Mordred of the house of Siger, ruling a steaming kessel of turmoil.
While the help of his elven ‘allies’ is valuable, His Royal Majesty would like nothing more than to let the god-kings do whatever they are up to, and send the elves home, much unlike his enthusiasic and overly agressive sons, all thirteen of them.
An the Daemon? Sensing their confinement nearing an end, they’l do all in their power to burst open the gates that hold them, and torch all their Avernan foes hold dear.
Where do the players come in?
Why, they could be Elves, posh and aloof as they get, don their Cloaks of Elvenkind and Boots of the Silent Woods, grab their Composite Bows of Accuracy and Nymph Hair Silk Shirts… and go either sabotage a deity’s doings, or lure away the faithful.
Of course, not to forget are the other Elves, for while you are away, earning renown, your fellows are at the court, plotting about who recieves the next conquered land to turn into.. whatever you wish. Private fish pond? Sounds like worth ruining a religion or two.
As agents of the Avernan or lesser celestials, they will brandish a flaming sword and holy symbol to purge the faithless, and restore order as it was meant to be, while as agents of the Powers Below, they’ll shun no deed to release what has beed locked away for so long.
Again, being human may be the most difficult part in the giant stage play we call life, with no understudy and no training runs. Mordred of Siger will have to come up with all his wits to send the Elves home and avoid the wrath of the world-bound deities, find every possible and impossible ally and retain his sanity and soul to make one place in the world safe to live.
If you, aspiring PC, side with him, yours will be breastplate and pike, or cloak and dagger, and great joy at the end of every day you managed to survive.
The Lyran Four, while given their post by the Elves, hate their guts, and would see nothing more gladly than every pointy-eared head rolling in the grass, or flushed down some giant astral drain; to gather humanity benneath their banner is their goal, to walk the world again in flesh.
There is no right side, just a lot of opportunities to die a gruesome death. May you live in interesting times, a curse indeed.
Safe in their crystal-domed cities or floating citadels, the Elves plot a treason far greater than any could concieve. Tied to the land and feeding on its magics, the Elves consider humans and other races but ants running across the perfect pie that is a land of green. Once the Daimon and Avernan are dead, one and all, the greatest archmages and philosophers plan the ultimate cleansing, to purge all that walk the world, to remove the stain, by fostering conflict until there is no instance strong enough to resist the fiendish plan.
Expanding the scenario
By moving the timeline forward, you can easily think of a strong Lyra, risen of the ashes of the Avernan empires, having reunited the last Avernan and the Daimon to fend against the would-be conquerors of all, Alvandor be damned.
Should the gates of the Abyss be thrown open unchecked, all may find that their previous enemies were but nuisiances, buzzing gnats, for the forces from Below are far less civic than their Avernan counterparts, and angry as hell.