My dear Vicomte,
Thank you for your letter. I am most happy to hear of your studies concerning the adaptability of druidic magic to our arcane ways. Your dedication to learning and discovery for the sake of enlightenment and education and not petty ambition and power is most commendable. This virtue is also the reason I have little hesitance in answering your request. Though I do not believe the Sorcen to be the source of your mystery, purely on grounds of the grove you write of patently not pre-dating human times, I shall nonetheless comply with what little I know of the Sorcen, albeit quite a bit more than most.
The Sorcen, as you suspect, were indeed one of the four mythical Elder People, along with the Dragons, Phoenixes and the Phaerie. They were created by Miran the Moon Lady and infused with the raw energy of Laulas the Sun King. This, along with the gift if immortality bestowed on all the elder races, gave the Sorcen the power of change first and foremost, and to a lesser extent, raw power to fuel this, the very opposite of the dragons who were given unrivalled raw power but limited mastery of the world around them. Reflecting this power, the Sorcens were at heart changelings, always taking on new forms according to their own whims. If they have an original form, it has never been recorded. When magic was introduced into the world, this mastery of change quickly translated into an extraordinary aptitude for magic.
The Sorcen were quite literally, the first sorcerers to walk Theras. It was they who first ritualised the use of magic and indeed their mastery of it was so profound it may not have been equalled since those ancient mythical times. So powerful were they, they subjugated the other elder races, even Theras itself, to their will. They grew so powerful even the young gods began to fear them and decided to strike out against them before they could grow powerful enough to defeat them. Though the gods could strike at their nature in many ways, stripping the entire race of fertility, striking them with disease and age, the Sorcens were so powerful, they succesfully held off the charge of the gods themselves, walking unrestrained in all their power on Theras, until the dragons allied themselves to the young gods and managed to turn the tide of the war that in some legends have been referred to as the Godswar or the Divine Conquest of Theras.
The Sorcen were nearly wiped out following this struggle. Unable to reproduce, the only surviving Sorcens that exist today are thus in fact all creatures so old they predate the existence of the mortal races, belonging to a time where the mastery of magic was so profound it could challenge the gods themselves. I don’t have to tell you that this makes the Sorcen possibly the most powerful creatures alive today!
Of the ones that survived, some may have entered deep timeless slumber to awaken in times where they can act freely again, others remain active but in hiding even today, I am sure. Their changeling powers are so potent, I believe even the gods cannot find them all, as I have reason to believe some of them fled to the godlands of Edras hiding under the very noses of the gods that sought to destroy them! Of how many survive today on Theras, I can only speculate. It may be a dozen, it may be less than a handful or perhaps two scores! Anything from one to a hundred is possible, I believe. I suspect the reason these Sorcen have been allowed to exist unchallenged by the young gods is that they have since the Godswar adopted an attitude of non-interference with the world and generally seem content to keep to their own private affairs or observe the affairs of others. It is also not impossible that the gods might find it quite difficult to destroy them even if they wanted to.
Although there is little known for sure about this race who remains enshrouded in legend and mystery, I have been able to come across a few mentions of them in various historical annals. Some of the Sorcen definitely took a certain interest in the Isan archwizards and they likewise were not entirely ignorant of the nature of the Sorcen. In my studies of the long history of the lost empire, I have come across little less than a dozen instances of powerful Isan archwizards seeking out these creatures to learn from them or defeat them and all but two ended in spectacular failure. There is even one known instance of a Sorcen having joined the ranks of the Isan sorcerer kings although it seems to have been out of a desire to watch them more intimately than for the ambition and lust for power that drove so many of Isandor’s arcane masters in their pursuit of knowledge. I have reason to believe the Sorcen were most active during the semi-legendary Abomination Wars predating the arrival of humans in Éran, when the blackfolk were said to have come into existence. It seems some of the Sorcen took a special interest in this war and may even have started it. Perhaps there is a connection between the blackfolk said to be created from Miran just as the Sorcen originally were.
As for where the Sorcen might be active today, it is impossible to say with any certainty, but I have nonetheless a few theories of possible instances of Sorcen activity that I should like to share with you.
The Hermit of the Olwood: In the northern forests of Alderan known as the Olwood, there are tales of a hermit living in a tiny hut in the depths of the woods said to have mastery over the forest. I have heard of no one who have seen his face or been able to identify his race, but nonetheless he is a figure greatly feared by the resident blackfolk, elven and barbarian populations alike. Even in the oldest Nenda legends, the hermit is spoken of as an ancient being, suggesting he is several millenia old, if this legend has the same kind of durability over the ages as other Nenda oral tales have shown to have. His reclusiveness, disinterest in mortal affairs and apparent power to control his domain as he pleases, suggests to me that he may indeed be one of the ancient Sorcen.
The Iron Tower of the Storm Peaks: This is one example where I am fairly sure that we are dealing with a Sorcen. The Iron Tower sits on a desolate mountain, a demonstration of almost impossible architecture, sitting on such a steep cliff as it does. Furthermore, there are no entrances or windows allowing access to its interior. Any attempts by wizards to teleport inside or divine the nature of the tower have all met with failure. Of the few that may have met with success, none have returned. It is mentioned in the earliest Isan records and they even refer to dwarven legends supposedly speaking of the tower as being ancient even by dwarven standards. Its defiance of any magic known to man, its age seemingly predating human, possible even dwarven times, and its status as being entirely uninvolved with its surroundings all indicate that this is the home of a sorcen, perhaps even several. Alas, I doubt I shall ever be able to verify this theory, but it is one I find compelling nonetheless.
The Erron Wanderer: In the Erron Valley, one of the oldest surviving legends is that of the fabled Erron Wanderer. Stories of this mostly benign, but nevertheless enigmatic, wanderer have been found in the lands of the Erron Valley since the Age of Darkness. He generally appears unassumingly to guide others towards events that later on turn out to be of significance to the region without directly intervening in affairs. In such a manner he appears in the tale of Karl Rowenstad, the first king of Errion, in his quest for the legendary sword Vanguard before he fought against the forces of Brennèl at their height to secure independence for the people of the Erron Valley and during the epic campaign to retake the city of Amenor during the darkest days of the Third Magewar. In the Erron Valley, he is believed to be an incarnation of the god Elonis, the patron deity of Errion or a powerful spirit bound to the Erron Valley. My guess is that he is a Sorcen who has taken the Erron Valley in his care and seeks to protect and develop the valley within his means without drawing to much attention from the powers beyond.
This concludes my brief survey of this most ancient race of beings. I hope you find it elucidating, Vicomte.
Jasper of Lakehold