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01-14-2005, 11:06 PM #1
I'm starting this thread just to post what will be the intoduction part to the Atlas Aebrynis (I think).
It is written from an Anuirean point of view, by Chamberlain Maevous Dosiere who died in 1240 HC. He trained as a wizard in his youth, but eventually gave up sorcery to spend his life collecting and compiling the history of the Anuirean people. He became Chamberlain late in his life after several of his colse realatives died under unfortunate circumstances. He continued his work until he died of old age 99 years old. He might not have felt that his work was completed, but his work is considered the very best source on the matter for those few scholars who have access to it (it is generally considered heretical in nature by several prominant Anuirean chruches).
Well, that was just fluff, but I alwasy find it more enjoyable to write something for BR if I prentend it is the work of someone actually living in Cerilia. So I made up Maevous Dosiere for that purpose.
I'll spilt the rest into several post, since it is all very long and not everything is quite done yet. It will be divided into the following parts:
THE AGE OF DREAMS
Which is basically a creation myth.
THE AGE OF MYTH
Which speaks a little more about whay is commonly known as the age of monsters. There will be stuff both about dragons and giants, as well as the nature of the spirit wolrd and the Sie, and of course something about the emergence of the younger races (humans included).
THE AGE OF LEGEND
This is the part about the ancient hsitory of the Andu, what they did in the years before the Flight from Shadow and up until the Battle of Deismaar. It will also cover the old gods and such.
THE AGE OF HISTORY
This is the part after Deismaar, and will mainly focus on the early years right after Desimaar.
The first post will be the AGE OF DREAMS. Feel free to speak you mid about it (maybe this could have gone in the BArd's Tale forum, but since it's map/altas-related I'm putting it here).
“For more than seventy long years I have labored to bring this work to completion, and yet much knowledge still eludes me. I am an old man now, near enough one hundred winters, and my time on Aebrynis grows short, and I must complete the work as best I can, and hope that some of my descendants will take up the quill and resume the labor.
Herein I have penned what lore I have uncovered about out ancestors, the proud and noble Andu. Not only have I related their history, but I have also written about their beliefs and their most prized skill – warfare. I am afraid I do get a bit esoteric at times – it seems my years as a wizard’s apprentice finally caught up with me – and I have a bad habit of throwing in unsubstantiated claims (and a bit of educated guesswork as well).
There sources I have used are to numerous to mention here, but you will find them all in the appendixes. Yet I would like to mention a few – The Imperial College of Sorcery, the Imperial Libraries here at the Cairn, the High Mage, and the Emerald Queen (long did I vie for her grace, but in the end it was worth it). I would also like to thank Maester Kaleiman, for without his unflinching support (and sometime harsh words when I faltered), I would never have gotten this far.”
- as penned in the Anuirean Book of Days by Chamberlain Maevous Dosiere d. 1240 HC
01-14-2005, 11:08 PM #2
THE AGE OF DREAMS
From whence the World came and why it came to be, I do not profess to understand. Suffice to say that there was a time before time, when the world was not. This was the first age, of which there are of course no written sources, only the vaguest of legends and myths.
All that I know is that there existed only three beings, the goddess Aebrynis and her two brothers Ceremos and Selemos. Both brothers desired their sister’s companionship, but Aebrynis loved both her brothers and would not choose one before the other. In her heart she knew that if only she gave enough of herself to keep each of her brothers happy, they could live together forever.
Yet some was not enough for Ceremos, for he much desired to have his sister for himself, and was ever trying to gain her favor. He never left Aebrynis side when their brother was near, so that Aebrynis and Selemos could not be alone just the two of them. It was his own happiness that seemed the most important to him, and he did not see or care that he was hurting his siblings.
Selemos grew tired of seeing how his brother’s attempts to win Aebrynis’s attention were making his sister unhappy. He desired only to bring her joy, and if that meant that he could not have her, then he would let her go. So he told his brother that if only he could persuade Aebrynis to help him make something to fill the void in his heart, he would be content and leave Ceremos alone with Aebrynis. To him, Aebrynis happiness seemed the most important, for only by bringing joy to his love could he feel content himself.
Ceremos approached Aebrynis, and told her some of their brother’s words. That he had grown weary of his siblings, and wanted other companions to fill his heart with joy. Aebrynis was disheartened, for she did not want to loose Selemos. She could not quite believe that Selemos wanted other companions, for had he not told her that he loved her? Yet she loved him too dearly to deny him, for she could plainly see his grief, and with Ceremos words weighing heavily on her heart, she eventually agreed. Clever was Ceremos, for he has used his siblings love for each other to break them apart. Yet in doing so he had told a lie, and helped make pain where there should be love and grief where there should be joy.
So in the end Aebrynis told Ceremos that it would be as her brother Selemos wished it. But she also told him that if she were to help make new companions for Selemos, she would first have to give herself to him just once. Ceremos did not like it, for he’d rather not share her at all, but if it was the only way then he thought he could bear for her to be alone with Selemos this one time. From the union of Aebrynis and Selemos did many great and wondrous things spring. Aebrynis found such joy in their single tryst that she gave birth to the sun, the moon and the stars. Now Selemos would not be alone, even if he would not be with her, for although he would not have his sister, at least he would have all this to occupy himself with.
Now Ceremos had his sister to himself, and for a while he was content. She was his – now and forever – and they should never be apart. Yet the fact that she had not always been his alone gnawed at him. Once she had shared her love, could she not be tempted to share it again? Had she not even given herself to another first? It occurred then to Ceremos that he had been cheated and betrayed. His sister had cheated him and given herself to another, and his brother had betrayed him by stealing Aebrynis’ love. Indeed, had not his sister given Selemos something wonderful and pure as a parting gift as well. The more he though about it, the more convince he became that he had been tricked. His heart grew dark as love turned to hate and joy became jealousy.
Aebrynis was also content for a while, for she knew Selemos was not alone, and she still had one brother left to her whom she still loved and who loved her. In time, however, she noticed that a change had come over her brother. He never spoke of Selemos anymore, and even forbade her to do so. He also took to leaving her alone in favor of visiting her gift to Selemos – briefly at first but then for longer and longer. When he was gone she felt miserable, for she had never been alone before, and loneliness was hard for her to bear. It then occurred to her that is Ceremos preferred the stars or the sun or the moon over her, and then he no longer loved her as strongly.
Desperate in her loneliness she sought out Selemos, for deep in her heart she still believed that he loved her. So great was their joy when they finally met again – alone for the second time – that they fell into each others arms like they had done that first time so long ago. Yet again their happiness was short-lived, for she could hear Ceremos retuning home, and had to hasten back to get there before him. She dared not tell him of her meeting, for a veil had been lifted from her eyes, and she could now tell love from hate. She came to see what a wicked man her brother had become, and realized he might do her and her brother harm if he grew wrathful.
Afterwards Aebrynis would sneak away to be with Selemos as often as she could when Ceremos was away exploring. To avoid detection she turned herself into a pebble of rock that hid away her blazing desire form Ceremos’ sight. Her brother Selemos would take the form of an invisible wind when she came to him. When they met he would embrace her in his strong arms and cover her with his love, and she would let her desire warm his cold limbs. From their unions many new things sprang – land and sea came into being, followed by mountains and lakes and rivers, then plants and trees and animals. Thus the world came to be, born of love and sown with the seeds of good and light.
But Ceremos was no fool. Once he had returned home to find his sister gone, and realized that his fears had been proven true. Not only had he been tricked and betrayed in the past – for the stars had proved better companions than any man could hope for – he was even being tricked now! He hid, and waited for Aebrynis to return, and when she did he pretended to know nothing of her meeting. Later he made to leave again, and made a show of telling Aebrynis he would be gone for quite a while. But he didn’t go far, but instead he waited for her to go to Selemos once again.
As soon as she had taken the form of the pebble, Ceremos followed her and witnessed for himself her passion and her love for their brother Selemos. Ceremos grew wrathful, for though he loved himself the most and his sibling less than the stars, he could not bear to watch them in their happiness. Fleeing home, he sat there for an age brooding, waiting for his sister to return. If he could not have her love, then no one would.
When Aebrynis returned, she saw Ceremos waiting for her and she grew afraid, for she realized that her secret had been discovered. She tried to flee back to Selemos, but Ceremos was too fast and too strong and he caught her and bound her against her will. Ceremos told her that he would keep her bound forever and that he would kill their brother while she lay there helpless. She cried then, for it seemed that her love would be undone and only grief and loneliness would remain.
The Ceremos made ready to find and kill his brother, but in this he did not succeed, for Selemos had heard his sister crying and knew something was amiss. When Ceremos came for him he was ready, and with strength born of love her wrestled with his brother and won. He could not bring himself to kill his brother, even tough he assuredly deserved it, for despite Ceremos’ wickedness her was still a kinsman. So Selemos broke his limbs and shattered his face and cast him into darkness. Then he sped to his sister and freed her – now they could be together forever without having to hide their love.
Ceremos lay in the darkness for a long time, his body broken and his courage fled. Only his hate and his envy sustained him, but even that was not enough to let him return to the light of the sun and the moon and the stars. Ceremos lay there for the longest time, so long that he forgot the meaning of love and the memory of light faded from his mind. Then the darkness spoke to him…it spoke to him about destiny and power, and about his birthright that had been denied him. It told him that if only he willed it enough, he could have his vengeance – the darkness would show him the way. Ceremos accepted without hesitation and was restored and remade in the image of darkness.
Aebrynis no longer had to hide her love, so instead of a pebble she took the shape of a boulder larger than any other, and her passion raged freely inside her. Selemos no longer took the form of an invisible wind, but choose instead the shape of the sky, blanketing all of Aebrynis with populated the world with all manner of creatures, large and small. This was a marvelous time, a time when death and misery did not exist, and all living things lived lives of happiness and love.
Little did they know that their brother was plotting their downfall. Ceremos waited until they were spent from their lovemaking, then he slipped unseen through the arms of his brother and into his sisters womb. Seeking to undo her from within he let darkness and cold suffuse her being, trying to snuff out the fires of her love. But Ceremos had fooled himself, for just as he was no match for his brother, he was no match for his sister. Instead of killing her, he only managed to cool her passions and in doing so he trapped himself within her bowels. So trapped he decided to try and free himself, but when he did it only caused Aebrynis to respond in kind – holding him fast with the warmth and light meant for his brother.
As Aebrynis became cold and limp in his arms, Selemos realized something was amiss. Yet there was little he could do, for just as Ceremos was trapped inside so was he shut outside, and try as he might he could no longer find a way in. All he could do was stay with his love and cradle her in his arms as she fought to contain the darkness within…
Thus it came to be that Aebrynis the Earth Mother fights her eternal struggle with Ceremos the Deep, cradled in the arms of her brother Selemos the Sky Father. Thus came about the end of the Age of Dreams.
We can feel this struggle even to this day, when the earth heaves and the ground spits forth flame and smoke, when death come to us in many guises, and when foul beasts crawl forth to wreak havoc among the children of Aebrynis and Selemos. We can feel it when the evils of the Shadow World drawn near, and only good deeds and the rays of the Sun can keep the darkness at bay.
01-15-2005, 08:35 PM #3
AGE OF MYTH
Well, this part isn't ready yet, so I will return and edit this post once the work is done.
01-15-2005, 08:38 PM #4
AGE OF LEGEND (PART 1)
Little is know of the earliest history of our Andu ancestors, from whence they came, where they dwelt, and what their culture was like. We do, however, know that they once were a semi-nomadic tribal people that conquered a settled people that lived in great cities along the coasts and valleys of a land far to the south. They did not destroy their enemy, but instead established themselves as the ruling elite, abandoning their nomadic ways in favor of a more civilized lifestyle.
Dating this period is next to impossible. It seems that the proto-Andu came into contact with the city-dwellers in the later part of the 3rd millennium BD or in the early part of the 2nd. From whence they came, or for how long the two cultures co-existed is not known. Even magical attempt to divine some sort of date has failed.
Of the war of conquest we know virtually nothing, except that our ancestors possessed two things that the city-dwellers did not; iron and chariot cavalry. Hard as it is to imagine today, there was once a time when men did not know how to work iron, but instead relied on bronze to craft their weapons of war. While bronze weapons can be just as deadly as iron ones, they are far more costly to make and do not have the same strength and resilience. Iron weapons, cheap and easy to produce, enabled our ancestors to provide superior armaments to their warriors, even though they had far less wealth than did the enemy.
While horses were known to the city-dwellers, they were little used in war, being mostly relegated to the role as beasts of burden. There are some texts that hint that the city-dwellers had some light cavalry; javeliners mounted on small horses. The use of chariot cavalry opened up a whole new dimension in armed conflict; try imagining a battle in which one opponent lacks heavy cavalry completely and little light cavalry, while his opponent has plenty of heavy cavalry.
In this way, the proto-Andu’s use of iron cancelled the city-dweller’s strategic advantage and their use of cavalry checked the enemy’s tactical advantage of greater numbers. Still, I imagine it must have been difficult for a tribal people to wholly defeat an organized urban enemy. How did they manage sieges and logistics? We’ll never know, but we can still admire the skill and courage of our most distant ancestors.
The proto-Andu believed in a complex and volatile pantheon of gods and spirits. The distinction between god and spirit was blurry, as powerful spirits were easily as powerful as some of the gods and some gods were little more than household spirits.
The creation of the Realm of Dreams had perhaps made it more difficult to interact with mortals, but not impossible. Unlike today, both gods and spirits were free to manifest and roam the land of the living, provided they had the will and power required.
Herein also lies a major difference between gods and spirits; the gods could dispatch their avatars to the lands of the living, while spirits were forced to appear in their true form (which of course made them susceptible to influence and even destruction). Another meaningful distinction seems to have been that one asked of a god and compelled a spirit. Even here the difference is not pronounced, for one adept might compel and another ask, depending on the circumstances.
One of these gods was Anduiras, god of chariot warfare and patron of the ruling elite. The seed of every other major god may also have present in the pantheon, but were neither more important nor more powerful than a myriad of other gods-spirits. For instance, there were several other gods competing with Anduiras for the portfolio of war and combat, and at least one other god of rulership. Likewise, Masela, who was later to become primarily a goddess of the seas, was know by the proto-Andu as the goddess of wells and lakes (we believe that the proto-Andu were not initially a seafaring people).
Adepts were the norm among these primitive peoples. No god had the power or inclination to empower mortals as clerics. There is little evidence of the use of arcane magic, but this might not mean anything in particular. Still, I interpret it to mean that magic was primarily the province of these adepts; indeed this type of magic still abound among primitive races to this day, and by nature it has much in common with both divine, primordial and arcane magic.
01-15-2005, 08:40 PM #5
AGE OF LEGEND (PART 2)
For how long the Andu dwelt as lords among the city-people is equally uncertain. Whatever the length of the Andu rule was, the period was not a peaceful one. The noble houses of the Andu warred incessantly against one another and against neighboring peoples. Sometime one house claimed ascendancy, sometimes another. The land was never unified, at least not for any meaningful period of time, with city-states constantly warring and scheming against each other.
Dating this period is fraught with difficulty. It likely spanned multiple centuries, possibly beginning between the 26th and 27th century BD (Before Deismaar) and lasting into the 23rd or 22nd century, depending on when one places the creation of the First Empire.
There is relatively little information on the conduct of war during this period. We can assume that many of the tribal traditions were carried on, since they had proven so successful in defeating the city-dwellers. We must also assume that much of the former enemy’s doctrine was incorporated into the proto-Andu military lore. The tribal nature of proto-Andu warfare must quickly have proven inadequate to deal with the challenges of running a city-state.
We do know is that the proto-Andu adopted some of the weapons and tactics of their former enemies. It seems that the city-people was used as infantry and as light cavalry. Infantry was of two types, spearmen and skirmishers. The spearmen was used in masses formations, while the skirmishers acted more independently, harassing the enemy as the battle lines closed, then circling to engage the flanks and rear but never entering the melee. Light cavalry seems to have taken on greater importance, with units of mounted archers replacing the javelin-using mounted skirmishers of the earlier period.
The proto-Andu remained aloft as heavy cavalry, riding in their chariots, encased in iron armor and bearing iron weapons. We also have evidence that the transition from chariot cavalry to heavy horseback cavalry began early in this period, though we do not know the reason. Whatever the cause, elite regiments of mounted riders were soon present in every army, although the chariot remained the mainstay of the heavy cavalry for quite some time.
Techniques for siegecraft were likely improved on, and the size of armies deployed seems to have increased, probably prompting better logistical procedures and perhaps development of infrastructure to support the movement of men and materiel. Much of this knowledge was surely inherited from the city-dwellers and further developed during the years of inter-city warfare.
Iron was gradually introduced to every combat arm during this period. It seems that the proto-Andu initially kept the secret of iron to themselves, but it is likely that the temptation to equip ever more troops with cheap arms was simply too great. Once one city-state gave their infantry body armor, helmets, shields and iron axes, they would have a significant advantage, forcing the other states to follow their example or risk defeat. This, and the introduction of heavy chariot cavalry, is two of the earliest and most pronounced examples of developments affecting the nature of warfare.
There is another observation that must be made. The defense seems to have increased in power compared to the offense during this period. The presence of numerous fortified cities and strongpoints, and large financial and manpower bases seems to have limited the impact of victory and defeat in battle. Additionally, the battles themselves seem to have been less deadly. It is possible that the inflexible spear formation did little damage to other spear formations, and that the proliferation of cheap iron body armor increased battlefield survivability.
The city-dwellers seems to have worshipped mostly the same gods as the proto-Andu, even if under different names and sometimes with divergent portfolios. Anduiras for example, seems to have been known as Aiiros, and was counted as the god of horses and horse-trainers. The proto-Andu did have some gods unknown to the city-dwellers and vices versa, for both cultures encompassed things that the other had no need for. The city-dwellers for example, worshipped Xeros, god of walls and fortifications; hardly a god the Andu had any need for in their pantheon. Still, both cultures had basically the same pantheons, a story that seems to repeat itself wherever one looks at history; gods seem to be ubiquitous and not limited by such trivialities as culture, race, names, time, and distance. Indeed, some philosophers argue that this is part of what makes a god a god, as opposed to spirits who can be exceedingly powerful but much more closely tied to a particular time, place, or idea.
The difference between spirits and gods seems to have become more pronounced during this period. There were still powerful and weak gods and powerful and weak spirits; and the later may still have held more power than the former. The difference seems to lie primarily in the amount of worship accorded gods as opposed to spirits. While both may have had followings, only gods seems to have had true portfolios. A spirit could be placated or compelled, but didn’t actually hold dominion over anything in the manner of a god. Also, a spirit and its worshippers clearly benefited from their association, but not to the same extent as the gods and their followers.
Over time the pantheons of the proto-Andu and the city-dwellers merged, although there seems to have been some individual differences between the ruling elite and the subjugated lower classes, as well as between individual city-states. Each city seems to have chosen one god as a patron, and placed that god higher in importance within its own interpretation of the pantheon. It might be interesting to note that during this mergence, many gods were worshipped under different names and with different portfolios. Anduiras and Aiiros were both worshipped for a while, but were clearly the same god. Eventually, the gods either merged and/or shed excess portfolios. Anduiras continued as the patron of mounted warriors, but the rest of his horse-related duties were passed on to other gods.
Despite these differences, most developments were mirrored everywhere if not in equal amounts. During the process many lesser gods disappeared, some spirits seems to have been elevated to god-hood, and some gods demoted to spirit-status. This is the first, but not the last time; evidence such changes to have taken place. I can only speculate to the reasons, but if the gods and their followers are interconnected like I believe them to be, then great social upheaval and change could perhaps spur such a process. Later, this would also happen during the Flight from Shadow, and following the Battle at Deismaar.
I have also contemplated the emergence of other great civilizations; such as that of the Masetian and Vos peoples, but the scarcity of my sources make this little more than guesswork. If the gods that grew powerful were truly ubiquitous, then the religious life of other civilizations would also affect the evolution of the Andu religious life.
Adepts were still the norm it seems, and they fill some of the key positions in the priesthoods while lay clergy make up the rest. There were few, if any, true clerics, although some of the larger temples begin an unprecedented buildup of their spell-casting priests. The true cleric can be glimpsed, as the adept evolves from an intuitive vocation to one taught at the temple.
Arcane magic is still in its infancy, but for the first time we find indications that are some developments. The distinction between divine, primordial, and arcane magic is becoming more pronounced. So as the adept journeys toward cleric-hood, he also evolves in other directions. Perhaps the more civilized and learned nature of the new city-Andu enabled the art of arcane magic to be studied and perfected; it does seem likely, knowing the way magicians and wizard teach and learn today.
01-15-2005, 08:42 PM #6
AGE OF LEGEND (PART 3)
ARKHELAN THE INVINCIBLE
The land of the proto-Andu remained fractious until the time of King Arkhelan. A great warrior and priest of Anduiras, he led the citizen-soldiers of Kalah, the City of Dragons, to victory against the other cities. By right of divine proclamation and the might of his armies, Arkhelan united the land under his own rulership. Ruthlessly crushing all opposition, especially that supported by other religious orders, Arkhelan made sure that those who opposed him were not only defeated, but were eradicated from history.
He also did much to abolish the caste system prevalent in the city-states, rewarding ability and dedication higher than lineage. Thus came to be the First Empire, which is generally known as the Empire of the Dragon by contemporary sources, probably a result from Kalah’s position as the capital and the strong draconic iconography that is said to have dominated the city.
It is difficult to pinpoint in what years King Arkhelan lived, but it must have been at some point prior to 2000BD. Most probably he lived during the later half of the 23rd century and the beginning of the 22nd century BD.
The reason for Arkhelan’s success lies partly in the organization of his armies, of which written records exists in the library-chambers of the Orthodox Temple. Like every contemporary army, Arkhelan relied on spear-carrying heavy infantry to form the center of his line. The long spear, the sarissa, was employed by massed infantry formations to form nearly impenetrable units, called phalanxes, of armored men bristling with metal spear points.
In addition, the phalangite (as the infantryman was called) was armed with shield, the large round hoplon, and a curved slashing sword called the kopis (the kopis is unlike the swords of the Khinasi in that one struck with the inside of the blade, not the outside). Armor was relatively light by modern standard, consisting of a breastplate, helmet and arm and leg protection (all iron by this time). The unique nature of phalanx combat meant, however, that the armor and shield together offered quite adequate protection.
It was not in equipment, but in employment that Arkhelan's infantry differed from that of his contemporaries. Since the heavy cavalry was made up of Andu warriors, it was by far the most prestigious of the arms, and Andu tacticians generally thought cavalry to be the decisive fighting arm. Battles were characterized by a short skirmish action, followed by the opposing infantry phalanxes clashing together. While they struggled, the heavy cavalry would seek to break the flank of the enemy, to allow a subsequent oblique, flank or even a rear charge of the infantry. The army that managed to do this first would emerge victorious, for a flank attack would quickly disrupt and shatter the phalanx. Thus, battles were largely decided by the number and skill of heavy cavalry employed.
Instead of using the infantry phalanx merely to hold the line, Arkhelan turned it into part of his combined arms concept. Heavy cavalry remained the primary striking weapon; heavy infantry was elevated in status to equal that of heavy cavalry. Andu warriors served alongside the citizen-soldiers, usually occupying the first three and the last position of each file. The phalangites were also more extensively trained in maneuver on the battlefield, and were evidently capable of quite complex formations. In this they differed greatly from their contemporaries, who were hardly able to shift formation at all - once committed they fought on until one or the other broke.
Linked to the infantry center by a specially trained and equipped group of elite heavy infantry, the cavalry would deploy on either flank as usual. The linking infantry was similar to the regular infantry, but were composed tough Andu veterans who had one task only – to act as a hinge between the main infantry phalanx and the cavalry. This innovation enabled the cavalry to operate without becoming separated from the main fighting force – something that when it happened resulted in it becoming surrounded and destroyed.
Light infantry was also given more serious thought. Archers were the most common type of missile troops. Bows seem to have been quite limited in power, and they were probably not very efficient against heavy infantry. Slingers were also used as missile troops, being quite effective against other light troops. A second type of light infantry was the skirmisher - a citizen-soldier with no armor and only a wicker shield and armed with javelins and a sword for backup.
While still secondary in importance, Arkhelan nevertheless invested considerable time and effort in training and equipping his light infantry. Light infantry was also trained in cooperation with the heavy cavalry. Infantry would frequently double with the cavalry for rapid tactical maneuvers, then disembark and provide missile support and or during combat with enemy infantry. This proved a very clever tactic, as cavalry alone tend to get overwhelmed by massed infantry during a prolonged melee.
Light cavalry was also used, mostly as scouts and for flank security. During battle, they provided mobile fire support with their bows and javelins. Light cavalry was also used as transports for smaller units of heavy infantry; much like the heavy cavalry transported the light. This ability to quickly redeploy his reserve of heavy infantry won Arkhelan several battles.
The centerpiece of Arkhelan's army was his famed heavy cavalry. Armed with the long spear, which could be used as a lance, all cavalry wore iron armor and carried the kopis. Arkhelan cavalry fought in a delta formation, with a single man at the front. This was different from the usual tactics of the day, which generally attacked in a square or sometimes diamond formation. This formation was ideal for rapid wheeling and withdrawal, and made penetrating other cavalry formations easier.
Arkhelan's army was qualitatively superior to the armies that stood against it. While outwardly similar, it was a composite force of various arms acting together in concert instead of a static force relying on the power of cavalry alone. Combined with the tactical brilliance of its commander and the support of the war god Anduiras, Arkhelan was able to win every battle in which his army fought.
In addition to being a warrior and a king, Arkhelan was also the High Priest of Anduiras, god of war and rulership (although several other gods had overlapping portfolios). Anduiras was, not surprisingly, the patron god of the City of Kalah and was later made the patron of the First Empire.
The proto-Andu took the name "Andu" to honor the god of their great leader. The worship of Anduiras became the state faith for the new Empire, and Anduiras reached a level of importance to the Andu that no other god has ever had. The link between the Andu and Anduiras is forever cemented by his ascension to greatness, and the Andu's great progress in the lands of the living. Anduiras’ ascension is perhaps the first instance of any god achieving such great power and status; evidence points to him taking an increasingly important role in the pantheons of other cultures as well. For instance, the Basarji may not have know of him at all until Arkhelan, but within a few centuries he is well-know as the General-Consort of Basaïa, the chief goddess of the Basarji pantheon.
The pantheon is becoming much more stable and more orderly. Most gods have clearly defined portfolios, and the portfolios do not overlap as frequently as during previous periods, at least true among the great gods. The lesser gods seems to have fewer restrictions. Anduiras, while the single true war god of the age, must still share dominion over battle prowess with Gillamis and Tarshaan over horse-archery.
The gods are also becoming more differentiated in power. There are a small number of great gods, of which Anduiras is one. Each great god heads the pantheon in one culture, just as Anduiras do among the Andu. The great gods are well known in all cultures, even those far away. There is a large pool of lesser gods (of widely varying levels of power and importance), some of which are know in all cultures, but most are specific to only one or a few.
Spirits continue to lose importance, although this doesn’t seem to affect their personal power as much as loosing worshippers do for gods. Only the most powerful spirits have followings of their own; the rest are reduced to independent entities or become agents of the gods. The principal difference between gods and spirits is still the avatars and the ability to grant powerful spells to their worshippers.
Clerics replace adept among the ranks of the priesthood, although some still stay on in supporting roles. Their power is directly derived from their patron god, and their actions are much more focused towards accomplishing the worldly and spiritual goals of their god.
Adepts with a penchant for the primordial magic of the wild have existed since the earliest times. Now druids have begun walking the earth, worshipping no particular god, but paying their respects to all living things, gods and spirits. Theirs is an ancient craft, carried on from the age of myth on the shoulders of countless adepts, but refined to another level altogether.
Arcane magic is still of secondary importance, at least among the Andu. There are adepts who have delved into the arcane mysteries, but true magicians are becoming more prolific. Yet they seem to have had no special place in society, other than as masters of a highly esteemed craft.
There may have been some true magic practiced as well, even though bloodlines were non-existent at this time. I have long suspected that any supernatural heritage, not just elven blood or divine blood, can enable man to wield true magic. If my sources are correct, the clerics of Kalah regarded such sorcerers as foul beings in league with demonic spirits and wicked dragons – which may well be true as far as their heritage goes.
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