A/N: After rereading my chapters, I am stunned by my absolute lack of any true style whatsoever. I am thus going to REWRITE the chapters.
In the beginning, Anathon was Not.
In time, timeless beings, thirteen of them, who had been present when the Universe began, created together a world of magic, of power, a bright, shining star in a lifeless universe.
With one word, they brought in life.
With one word, a future was born.
With one word, the world began.
The word was simply…
And Anathon Was.
Anathon was a jewel in the setting of the grand darkness of space, a world which took the ideas of the immense creative forces of thirteen omnipotent beings and merged them in harmony, a world which shone like a pearl in the reflected light of a sun-star.
The Gods, flying over the world, observed it and were pleased. They enjoyed the raw beauty of the waters and waves as the double moons pulled the tide, explored deep subterranean caverns glimmering with veins of metal, and walked along the barren ground, exploring the lands they had brought forth together. They swam the fires of volcanoes, revelling in the luxurious heat, before plunging into the glaciers of the icy north to dampen their fires. Mountains were mere toys to them, places which they climbed with the least effort, becoming familiar with the faces and facets that graced the monoliths.
The world, in turn, knew them as its creator and was glad, and spoke to them in the rushing waters and the echoes of caves, in the explosions of volcanoes and the silence of the air. Many things it gave them, and gained much in return.
But after an interminable period of time, the Gods sensed there was something – missing. One of the Gods finally spoke.
"Brothers, sisters," he began, speaking in the silence of the mind, "What is missing is life. Life, not like the awesome lifeforce of our Daughter, but quick, mortal lives that burn brightly and fast; lives that we can touch and influence, to nurture and aid."
The Others assented gladly, and united again, bringing forth all manner of plant and animal life with one word:
Immediately, the World was filled with plants and animals, from the yawning lion to the buzzing fly, from the majestic eagle to the humble snail. For a long period of time, the gods wandered among them, learning their languages and conversing with them as best as they could. The animals spoke to them of the ecstasy of the hunt, of the freedom of the wind, while the plants related the warmth of sunlight on them as they turned their leaves to face the sun. They were content.
Yet, they found themselves becoming restless after another period of time, all save one. That one, who had first suggested the creation of the plants and animals, spoke again.
"Brothers, sisters," he began, speaking in the silence of the mind, "What we need is life. The world is barren, but can we not make life out of it? The World itself lives, but its life is slow, steady, elemental. Life, as we should make it, should be in the shape we see best, taking the forms that we find most relevant. We can populate our daughter, the World, and she will be glad for it."
Then the Gods gladly assented, and with one word, in one voice, thirteen Gods brought the races into being.
And the Thirteen Races were. Each was fashioned in the design of its creator, but all were blessed by the combined Will of the Thirteen Gods.
Men, Dwarves, Guardians, Spirits, Elves, and Dragons; each were fashioned one of both sexes, according to the desires of their creator. Only one final race, the Ascendants, was neutral, created by one God alone as the others were created in pairs. The races emerged in their favoured living habitats, where they settled down and began to multiply…save the Ascendants. The Ascendants, holders of the wisdom of the last God, moved among the races, instructing them in the crafts, devising languages, mathematics, and philosophies for them, guiding them along their path. In all of time, there were only six Ascendants, who existed from the beginning of all life.
In time, the races met, and to the utter dismay of the Gods, war ensued. Weapons were crafted and forged from the ironworking and smelting skills they had been taught. Magics were channelled into new, destructive spells of power and desolation, perversions of the healing magics of growth and life they had learned. All they had learned became perverted to the usage of War. The Spirits learned to kill with touch; the Dragons used their deadly breaths and razor fangs to attack while defended by their armoured hide; The Elves called up destructive magics of ice and earth, while Humans summoned the Air and Fire to fight for their cause. Other races forged weapons, with legions of winged Guardians issuing from their Crystal Sky-cities to assault the race of Men, who countered by launching great bolts of exploding fire and sending hails of arrows into the sky. Elves fought with the Spirits over the control of the great Forests. Dwarves collapsed tunnels, cliffs, using their strange innate skill over rock and natural hardiness to overcome many odds, primarily at war with the Men who attempted to storm their mountain fortresses.
The Gods would have put forth their power to stop the war, but the last God, the one who had Spoken, the Lord of the Ascendants, restrained them. Among them, his power was greatest, along with his insight and understanding. He stopped the other Gods, saying:
"Brothers, Sisters, we cannot interfere. Our power, used to bring Life to the world, would destroy it if used for any other purpose. Our daughter, the World, cannot resist the forces that gave her life and being, and will unravel at our touch. For the sake of all life, you must desist."
The other Gods, looking upon the World, saw the truth in his words and cried, "How then, may we stop this? We cannot interfere, yet our children kill and slaughter each other without pity or mercy!"
The Lord of Ascendants replied. "My Ascendants, being only six, cannot interfere. Although immune to the ravages of Time, they may be slain with steel and magecraft, and dare not interfere. If they managed to succeed, any result they may bring would be temporary and will not last. No, my siblings, this is up to you. You must raise up great leaders from your Chosen Race, beings of peace and reason, and imbue them with power and knowledge beyond all others of their race. Only in this way may our powers reach the World safely, without unravelling the fabric of our Daughter. In time, I will send my Ascendants to them, to make things clear, and then a lasting peace may prevail."
The other Gods, being unable to discover any other solution, did so, and in time, the Chosen of the Gods reached their majority and became great leaders of their race, blessed with hardiness, strength, reason, and skill. Then, the six Ascendants who had been in hiding and hoarding their powers took the native forms of the races and challenged the Chosen.
The Chosen, who were then proud in their power, found themselves overwhelmed and utterly crushed by the Ascendants. Ka'belas, the Chosen of the Dwarves, fell under a frenzy of blows and the strength of the earth-moulding powers used by one. Hopparis, Chosen of the Guardians, fell under the mighty blows of another. Sylbaril, Elven Chosen, found his powers at the native Water and Earth spells of his race fall under the tidal waves of power an Ascendant launched. Shyrasis, the Chosen Spirit, was locked in her own life-tree, her abilities at melding with the woods nullified. Thrak'thom, Draconic Queen, was defeated in a challenge of breath, tooth and claw by an Ascendant who hurled her to the ground. Endan, the Chosen of Humans, was unable to pierce the barriers erected by the Ascendant, exhausting his power before the Ascendant he was facing smote him with lightning that melted away his shields like ice in a fire.
Having been defeated at the arts at which they considered themselves supreme, the Chosen closeted themselves with the Ascendants. After a day, they emerged and ordered the fighting to cease.
It took time, but their wills prevailed, and opposing forces settled where they were, neither making any hostile movements in an uneasy truce.
Then, the Chosen met.
The Chosen, meeting for the first time, were stunned as all the Ascendants dropped their guises and shone forth in all their splendour. Formless beings of light and power, they settled to watch over the proceedings which began in the small castle.
After the Chosen had debated for a month, they forged a treaty, binding to their entire race.
And thus, the Creation Wars ended.
The details of the treaty were many, but one stood out paramount above the rest, in what came to be known as the Union.
Dragonkind had been able to hold their own since the beginning of the war, until the Humans discovered the awesome Spells of Slaying that knocked dragons out of the sky, causing them to explode or crash to the ground, breaking their necks. Some even were able to reach out and stop the hearts from beating in a flash. As a result, the Draconic race was no longer able to survive on its own, requiring many centuries to regain their original numbers.
The Dragonkind in the beginning were relatively small creatures, without the use of magics other than their instinctive abilities, such as breathing fire or frost. Their armoured hides and powerful wings, however, enabled the race to thrive and survive-for awhile. Endan had discovered, in the course of the Creation Wars, had discovered that the size and capabilities of the dragons could be enhanced. Curiously, the enhancements seemed to require a constant sharing of energies with a human, so as to maintain the inherent stability of their bodies as they underwent the changes. If the dragons would consent, Endan, Hopparis and Sylbaril, the three who possessed the most magical power, would build one such bond between a young, newly-hatched dragonet and a young human child to see what would happen. After a minimum of conference, it was agreed, and the three Chosen created the first pairing between Human and Dragon.
The results of the pairing were more amazing than anyone could imagine. A human boy of around nine was bonded to a newly-hatched dragonet, and allowed to grow up together. Both reported that the magical bond was more than that, that feelings, emotions, and even thoughts could be shared through the bond. The physical changes also took place: that dragonet was able to master the use of magic and grew to what had seemed an astounding size, with the mere torso being slightly larger than a horse. He also developed a limited skill of shapeshifting, to everyone's great surprise, and walked among them often as what appeared to be a human with hair the colour of his scales. The human boy's changes were not so obvious, but still present; he was found to reach his maturity more quickly than most, and was generally more intelligent. He was also able to master the usage of simple spells and grew talented in many skills.
It was quickly agreed by both the dragons and humanity to rapidly bond as many of their young to each other at once. The once-complex process that had required three High Adepts to cast had by then been simplified to a spell any lowly Master-ranked could do.
It was then, that as they looked down upon the World, that the Gods were satisfied, and the Ascendants withdrew. For the Gods needed to rest, although their 'days' were measured in centuries and millennia, and believing all was well, they each went into their rest, leaving the Ascendants to watch over mankind in their stead. The Ascendants became known as the lesser Gods, the twelve who created the Six Races known as the Greater, and he who was Lord of Ascendants was named Eldest.
By the time the first boy who paired with a dragon died, the two races had become interlinked an intermixed to an astounding degree. Even Endan had been able to bond an orphaned female dragonet and raise her, becoming the first adult to bond a dragon. It was quickly discovered that a bonded dragon could not live without his partner. Without that magical bond of sharing, the Dragon lost their very will to survive, dying in a matter of days from grief. Still, the shortening of their lifespan seemed like a small price to pay in return for the wondrous joy and abilities that the bond between the races gave.
This status quo remained in place for a long time, through the founding of the Nations and the great Divide, the Corruption and the Alliance. It was only until after the Demon Wars when the nature of the bond was changed.
The Demon Wars were started when an errant cult, attempting to summon up a minor Demon, accidentally opened a tremendous Rift into one of the Nether Planes. The Demon that they had called indeed came, but he arrived as part of a tremendous army that flocked through the Gate, hungering and slavering for the delicious life-force on the Mortal Plane. They quickly overran the unprepared and stunned defenders of the areas around them, even managing to capture one of the Crystal Cities of the Guardians. After the initial shock, however, the many races united and presented a united front against the Demonic threat.
For many years the war raged, with mounting casualties on both sides. Knights trampled down and ground the Demons into dust, lancers speared their winged abominations out of the air before turning to wreak havoc on the ground forces, stern warriors and axmen cut swathes through advancing hordes as inhumanly accurate arrows plunged all around them and mages sent spell after spell into the Demonic ranks, striking them with all the forces of the elements. Yet, the Demonic horde seemed endless, streaming forth from the Rift in an endless stream, while they devised tactics and bred creatures designed to kill the soldiers of the Allied Races, even animating dead mortal warriors to serve their cause. For a long period of time there was a stalemate while the two immense forces warred, laying waste to large stretches of land.
The true turning point in the war occurred when a number of human sorcerers came up with a way for a man to be bonded to more than one dragon at a time. This process, they claimed, involved certain sacrifices on the part of both parties, but would not in essence affect any of the skills that Dragons gained from the bonding. However, one who had undergone the 'full binding' could not take part in this 'partial binding' that had been discovered. This change in the bonding was gladly accepted and acclaimed as the saviour to many problems, with the numbers of dragons, which had before been held to the same numbers as the humans, able to swell to numbers far greater than that of the human population. With the help of the significant increase in available power, the Alliance was able to drive the infernal forces back through the rift and shut it down.
The war, however, took a terrible cost, and almost all of the full-bonded people died. This was later explained to be due to the dual nature of the full bond, when both human and dragon were enhanced by each other's lives, becoming intertwined to the extent that one's death destroyed the other's will to survive. On the other hand, the half-bond was only one-way. If a dragon died, the human partner would not feel it as any great loss, merely the sudden absence of emotion and contact from the other. Only if the human died would all the dragons bonded to him die out together. The human suffered, too, in a small way: they did not gain any of the added strength and resources the full bond gave to them. Thus, a common tactic was for men to stay and work while their bonded dragons went out to fight –and die.
In the aftermath of the war, the nobles who made up the council, and indeed, most of the population as well, were largely partial-bonded, and had been raised so. This was because the older generation, bonded to a single dragon whose they tied their life too as well as vice versa, stood an extremely larger chance of dying than a half-bonded one. If a full-bonded dragon died, so would the human, but if a partial-bonded dragon died, the human would still live on. As a result, they did not have any of the characteristics of the full-bonded humans, such as the physical and magical enhancements. Thus, like small, petty men, they became fearful that ambitious full-bonded sons and peasants would rise up and take their places, usurping them.
A similar faction existed among the Mages, who suffered similar losses and had a similar situation. Collaborating together, they released a massive, pulsing wave of energy, creating a sort of 'field' that spanned the whole continent and indeed, the world. The energy attacked and destroyed the full bond, thus killing off both parties involved. Simultaneously, the mages who may have opposed the action were discredited and assassinated.
Within a week, all of the full-bonded humans had died, as well as the last of the mages who knew the secret of the full bond. The event became known, simply, as the Disjunction.
The mages and nobles set up what was to be known as the Silver Council, who hunted down and destroyed all the remaining books and Tomes containing the secret of the full bond. Then, they settled and began to keep a wary eye out for any who would try to resurrect the 'old order', thus threatening their power.
It was around 450 years after the Disjunction when the Greater Gods reawakened and the news was reported to them by the Ascendants. Worried, they wanted to interfere, but was again restrained by the Eldest.
"No. Do not." He told them. "Our power would still wreck the World if the two touched. Instead, let us try again to raise Chosen from among the races to further our cause."
Yet, when they tried, they found themselves unexpectedly opposed.
For one of the Ascendants had been corrupted during the sleep of the Gods, and now exerted his strength to stop the Gods. His power had even grown, such that the Ascendant was able to successfully repulse his fellow Ascendants; and he had based himself on the World Anathon, where the Gods could not touch him without destroying the World.
Angered, the Eldest himself tried to unmake the Ascendant, but found that he no longer could. Indeed, he found himself weakened, and realised that the errant Ascendant had drained off some of his power while he lay unguarded.
The Gods together focused their power, and was able to break through the opposing Ascendant's will. However, they were only able to affect a few, and as Opponent's power grew, he was also able to search out and destroy the New Chosen. The Gods tried many times, but their Chosen were always crushed, until...
In a large palace in a Human land, a boy-child, born to a High Lord and Lady filled his lungs and screamed for the first time...
On a doorstep in the slums of the High Capital, a shawl-wrapped woman furtively left a bundle in a basket on a doorstep, rushing away after rapping a door...
And several years later, around the same time, a little boy and a little girl gasped as a Mage linked the minds of two new-hatched Dragonets with theirs...
The start of the following story is set 852 years after the Disjunction. Read on to find out more.
A/N: Guardians look like angels.
How was the new one? Better? Please Review!