The New Gods and the Abominations
History of Cerilia » The New Gods and the Abominations
The survivors of the battle on Mount Deismaar were, with few exceptions, those who best exemplified the qualities the gods strove to uphold. Yet the champions for the gods were conspicuously absent. Standing so close to the gods, they had taken the brunt of the divine essence washing across the land--and the champions, closest to the ideals of the gods, took the place of the vanished deities.
The new Gods
The new gods were: Haelyn, the noble warrior; Erik, the druid; Sera took the place of Brenna as the goddess of fortune; Avani took the mantle of Basaïa, and became the matron of the Basarji; Kriesha and Belinik absorbed the energies of Azrai and became the Ice Lady and the God of Terror; Nesirie absorbed the power of Masela and controlled the power of the sea; and Ruornil felt the magic of Vorynn flow into his bones.
Others who did not so perfectly mirror the old gods still absorbed some of their energy. Power flowed through them and about them, reflecting the natures of the gods who had given it to them. Abilities they had never possessed before were suddenly at their fingertips, aching to be used.
Of course, certain members of this group were anxious to try out their new abilities, and they did this promptly on the other dazed survivors. A brief but bloody battle ensued as Azrai's chosen fought their way free from the children of the other gods. In doing so, they discovered that they could rip the godly power from the dead ones and make themselves that much stronger. They called this bloodtheft.
Some of the minions fought, but most of them fled the battle field and either returned to dominate their homelands or escaped to remote hiding places. They emerged occasionally throughout the following hundreds of years to kill those who bore the bloodline of the gods' chosen, using the power this provided to keep themselves alive and twist themselves ever further from their former humanity. Among the early Awnsheghlien were the Spider, Rhuobhe Manslayer and the Kraken.
The elves were the first to notice the change, and to realize the cause of it. They called the abominations the awnsheghlien (aun-SHEY-lin), or "blood of darkness." over time, only the uneducated came to refer to these creatures as abominations.
The mightiest of the awnsheghlien was the Gorgon, the remnant of humanity that once was Raesene Andu, the half-brother of the god Haelyn and Roele, the man who was destined to unite Cerilia. The Gorgon's hatred of his brothers drove him to acts of destruction far greater than his fellows, and thus his power increased more rapidly than theirs. Even so, the other awnsheghlien were not to scoffed at--their power still came from Azrai himself, and they knew how to use it.
However, they were not the only ones who learned of the power of their gifts. The children of those who'd been infused with divine essence also grew in stature. They, too, gained vitality from their fallen foes--provided their enemies were also of the blood of the gods. The children who used this power could make themselves into powerful giants, but even as they grew in power, their appearances changed to reflect this. The power came with a price. Those bearing the blood of gods other than Azrai who chose to shape their bodies to properly channel the power of the gods became known as the Ehrsheghlien, elven for blood of light.
Most of the blooded did not however change their forms, preferring to remain human. Those of the blood who established themselves as lords learned that they could also gain even more might from their populace and the earth itself, as well as increase the power of their kingdoms by pouring the blood power back into it. Those with native intelligence, brute strength, or a combination of the two learned how to increase their power through wise rule and the knowledge of when to pound their neighbors into submission.
So it was that the next struggle for domination of Cerilia began. Would-be conquerors now sought the takeover of a kingdom and the death of the previous king, both to ensure the legitimacy of their claim to the throne and to consume the bloodline. The land was torn asunder yet again, this time by power-hungry people of the blood seeking the ultimate power--rule of Cerilia by absorbing the blood of the gods. This time was called the Years of Chaos, and ended when Roele Andu formed the Anuirean Empire to either bring peace to the land (Anuirean folklore) or subjugate it (The Brecht view amongst others).
It was also around this time that the Shadow World was first found by human explorers. Its landscape was eerily similar to Cerilia's, and what happened in Cerilia was mirrored in the Shadow World. The main difference was that the landscape was fluid, mountains grew overnight in places, in other places rivers flowed uphill, time flowed slowly or raced ahead and other peculiarities abounded, the more stable areas were populated by fiends or undead creatures, with ghosts, skeletons or zombies taking the places of peasants laboring, while ghouls ran towns and liches controlled whole kingdoms. It was discovered that there were "weak spots," places of death and destruction that allowed the Shadow World to press in on Cerilia. At these weak spots, undead could travel through to wreak terror on the living--or the living could stumble through to a land of terror. Still, the Shadow World posed little threat to those who knew to avoid its dangers, and no one could find a way to bar access to the strange realm or to destroy it, and so the rulers continued on their quests for domination.
- See Also: List of Awnsheghlien