The Shadow's Arrival
For a time, the humans were free to do as they would in this new land. Though there was still the ever-present threat of elven retaliation and humanoid incursion, the humans found themselves mostly unopposed in their efforts. Kingdoms rose and fell as everyone sought to earn the right to rule. It was a vital, dangerous time, when the land was still relatively untouched and it was said anyone with the courage to wield a sword could forge themselves a legend and a kingdom.
And then the Shadow came to Cerilia. Following the trail of the fleeing humans, the god of evil made his way to the new land. When he found that they had prospered in the new land, he realized that it would take more than simple battle to destroy them -- it would also take subversion and deceit. Of course, these things came naturally to the Shadow.
First, Azrai took his teachings to the goblins and gnolls of northern Cerilia, in the land called Vosgaard. By inclination, they had always believed in the power of the Shadow; now he granted them priestly abilities to prove it. Naturally, those of greatest evil inclined toward Azrai's priesthood, and they rose to power quickly among the tribes of humanoids.
Next, the God of Evil went to the Vos, the humans of the area. Not realizing that Azrai was the Shadow from whom they had fled hundreds of years ago, they took his words of strength and power and made them their own. In the land of darkness in which they lived, the Vos had little reason to appreciate the niceties of divination and illusion; the creatures around them understood the way of the mace and the sword far, far better, and so the Vos fell to the wiles of the Shadow and took to the bloody path of might.
When the Vos had been thoroughly corrupted by the very teachings they had escaped to Cerilia to avoid, Azrai traveled to Rjuven seeing them as similar tools as the Vos, however the druids and huntsmen of Reynir held tightly to their kinfolk and Zrai found few amongst the Rjurik who would turn against their clansmen, spurned Azrai went to the elves and dwarves, whispering to them of revenge against their enemies, the destruction of all things unclean, and the restoration of Cerilia as it had once been. He sought out the demihumans in dreams and omens, signs and portents, and spoke to them of the excellence of the past, when no humans defiled the surface of Cerilia.
The dwarves, having lost little to the human tribes found nothing in Azrai's words to provoke them, and so they steered clear of his temptations. The elves, on the other hand, had been burning with the desire for revenge ever since their exile to the deep woods. They took to the teachings of Azrai and prepared for war.
In the meantime, the southern emperors of Aduria had been busy. Their armies, after conquering the lands vacated by the five original tribes, began the arduous march toward Cerilia. The kings of the new nations saw their danger and marshalled their forces to combat the evil growing on all sides of them.
As the power of the Shadow grew so did the closeness between the world of Aebrynis and the Spirit World, strange beasts were sited throughout Cerilia and bizarre omens grew in number as the War of the Shadow grew near until the learned throughout the land urged their leaders to raise armies and seek out the terrible threat that they realised must be drawing near.
- See Also: The Flight from the Shadow
- See Also: The War of the Shadow