Azrai » The Lost

Ancient times bring with them ancient mysteries. One of these is the little known and certainly unlamented legends of the Lost, the near mythical First Disciples of Azrai. In a time when the world itself had turned asunder and it seemed that the heavens would rip themselves apart, the rapidly growing forces of the Shadow required leadership, and boundless were they who would betray all they held dear to gain the powers granted by a god. If one were to look deeply enough into the ancient histories surrounding Aduria, long buried and oft forgotten though they be, one would find records ancient beyond belief if lucky enough, ancient rumblings that give hint to the structure of the world during the Flight from the Shadow, and before. Perhaps counted as the ramblings of a madman, a scrap of work remains from an author almost unknown that speaks of the old gods, and in particular it speaks of Azrai.

The first hints of this incredibly ancient work speak of the Keeper of Power, and Loremaster. They also title Azrai the Boastful, and the Prideful Youth. Another work, this but a scrap, two pages from a tome show drawings of the interior of a cathedral focusing on a graven image of a young man and extreme beauty that appears to view the world at the length of his nose, and text that declares this the image of Azrai the Beautiful 'whose glory nearly outshone the Light of the World'. Little more can be pieced together of these works, but together with compilations of other small sources indicates that Azrai was not at all times the Shadow and Cursed of the Light, but perhaps something less (or more?) than the incarnate evil he represented at Deismaar.

The truth that all these hint at is perhaps unguessed by most mortals, and certainly not of import to the immortal Sidhe, tricked as they were by the Oathbreaker. Azrai was for a time the keeper of the Adurian peoples, the most secular and least pious of the races of humanity. Rather than seeking the glories of their god in the life of simplicity favored by Reynir or in the endless pursuit of the seas as Masela, the Adurians glorified Azrai in the building of monuments and cities. Industrious, devoted and innovative these peoples grew to such an extent as to nearly outnumber any of three of the other 'tribes' together.

In this endless chase of graven perfection, the Adurians crafted wonders to stun the world. Grand bridges of huge rivers, cities with towering monuments and incredible structures rising high enough to make a man senseless, and in some cases harnessing the powers of the elements to create works of power whose existence is scoffed at by modern era scholars, for surely modern Aduria does not boast these awesome feats, does it? And yet, some point to the towering monolith that is Kal-Saitharak and say "There is one of their contemporaries, see what he has done?"

Beyond all of this, Azrai the Knowledgeable, the Beautiful became infatuated with himself, for what other perfection could there be than the perfect god. And was it not the perfect god's right to have all worship devoted to him? And should those worshipers themselves not be made more perfect? So did Azrai begin the slide to evil, first becoming vain and malignant, and slipping downward from there. Over the coming centuries Azrai would slowly begin introducing a new power to humankind, a power that could surpass the godless creatures of this world and the servants of other gods. Thus was there born the first Sorcerer of humankind, Atar, a Vos chieftain and devoted of Vorynn who was seduced by the lure of new magic. Atar soon convinced many of his people to abandon the weak teachings of Vorynn and turn to the worship of Azrai, it is believed that the first gnolls were shaped by Azrai from Atar's tribesmen.

Until this time there existed only one form of human magic, that being the power of the magician. Rumors abounded of the Land of Monsters far to the north where strange Faerie dwelt, wielding power the likes of which had never been seen by human eyes. In fact, some superstitious tribesmen of the Vos at first thought that Vorynn had taken form before them, and so the rumors spread of powerful elves and their otherworldly magic.

[top]The Gods and Power

An outsider's perspective excerpted from a work by Tannith Annul of Sigil (editor's note: this material will seem fragmented due to the editor's desire to remove much of Annul's ravings and obviously outlandish speculation from the text presented)

At this time, perhaps a brief primer on the relationship of the gods (or the powers of Aebrynis) to their people is best given. In the ancient world on the home of humankind, the mother land now called Aduria, the peoples of the gods existed in careful balance, neither truly sharing lands and resources, but not truly competing at the same time.

Their gods likewise lived in a semi-balance. In a convention since disbanded by the new gods, and unheard of in the multiverse, the gods knew that to compete so openly would be to destroy the fragile balance of the southlands. Unlike any other sphere in the Prime, in Aebrynis the gods walked openly amongst their peoples. Unfortunately the truth of their birth is lost to history, but the strongest and most likely speculation, heathen and blasphemous though it is, is that the gods of the tribes were the first beings of each tribe, the initial creations of a much more powerful entity. It is speculated that with this unlikely and strange origin would account for what observers from Sigil say is impossible, for the gods to manifest their full powers openly on the prime material.

That this speculation exists throws new light on the debate of the powers of the Outer and Inner Planes, and on why it is that the powers do not walk the prime freely, and perhaps is contradicted or supported by the events known as the Time of Troubles on the sphere of Faerun (editor's note: Annul goes into a long and obviously fevered connection between sweet Aebrynis and a forgotten backwater of the multiverse, see his works for further pursuit)

In the unique state of being on the sphere of Aebrynis, the powers of Aduria (editor's note: Annul differentiates between the human and noni-human powers, noting that he believes the human powers were NOT responsible for this sphere's creation, and are merely caretakers) held relations to mortals in a very similar manner to the powers of the outer planes. Like their brethren, these beings also chose proxies and servants whom they chose to bless with certain auspices and abilities. In some cases, proxies became lovers, and I speculate that the subsect of the angelic branch of seraphim in the triumvirate of Haelyn, Cuiraécen, and Nesirie are a result of such a union breeding true. This can be seen in their superior status to low order devas, while they remain quite subservient to the high order solars. (editor's note - solars also serve Avanalae)

Further speculation of the nature of 'magic' on Aebrynis shows that this energy is particularly more potent than on any other sphere. The sheer raw power that springs live from the depths of Aebrynis and flows across the surface is astounding. In a hazardous journey through their Shadow World, I broke through and happened upon a particular valley in the Gorgon's Crown where I saw a quite active volcano of immense proportions (see my maps, named Shaitan). My specially altered detect magic spell near blinded me with the immense power flowing from its peak. I caution any who try to acquire the secrets of their "realm magic" to not even think of attempting the channel the magic's of the active volcanoes, and stick to the safer wellsprings in forests and vales.

I also suspect a hugely secret connection between the elves and the magic of this sphere, for the magic of this world flows freely about them and sustains them beyond the frailties of mortality. (editor's note: more of Annull's ravings)

Anyway, after prolonged exposure, it seemed that certain entities, particularly proxies, were quite open to the energetic outpourings of the land, particularly that the huge wellspring of Cerilia. I think that before the cataclysm caused by the powers of Aduria on the shores of that island, that a very small group of beings was quite able to tap and manipulate that power, largely due to their intense alteration by the gods. Certain legends point toward one god's manipulation on a much grander scale than the others, that being their shadow brethren, Azrai.

After some time, these manipulated beings were able to wield the potent magic of this sphere and the first humans of this strange union of godly essence and human spirit were his disciples. I believe that their legends call these beings the Lost, though they hold quite a different significance in the south lands.
(editor's note: from here Annull's speculations turn very wild, but the core of them indicates that he believes Azrai manipulated these "Lost Ones" with his essence, thus allowing them access to the magic of the elven peoples, though twisted by his dark imagination)

[top]The Brotherhood of The Lost Ones

The Nine Disciples of Azrai, The Chosen of the One God
Atar the Viper, ShadowlordFighter/Sorcerer19th/23rdVosMaleNE
El-Sheighül, The Lord of GhoulsPriest/Sorcerer17th/19thMasetian/UndeadMaleLE
Allustriel, the Lady of PleasuresPriest/Sorcerer9th/20thAnduFemaleNE
Kirgaa the PaingiverPriest/Sorcerer17th/17thRjuvenFemaleCE
Nesterix, the Striking ShadeFighter/Sorcerer10th/17thAdurianMaleNE
Ysmalla, the Honeyed OneThief/Sorcerer18th/25thBasarjiFemaleLE
Koll the NightbringerFighter/Priest/Sorcerer20th/6th/11thThrannishMaleCE
Gelsdimall the GoldenGuilder/Sorcerer19th/15thBrechtMaleNE
Annishall the RavenFighter/Sorcerer15th/21stAndu/VosMaleCE

[top]The Surviving Lost

The Magian is the ruler of Pipryet on the east coast of Khinasi. He arrived in Pipryet six years ago, claiming to have come from Djapar far across the Sea of Dragons. Despite having no allies beyond the mysterious Riders of the Magian who had accompanied him the Magian dominated Pipyret within months of his arrival. Now his neighbors quake and wonder which realm will next feel his wrath, and how they should deal with this terrifying new regent. The Magian's sheer magical power has led him to be considered one of the Lost, for how could the ignorant barbarians across the vast seas number so extra-ordinary a wizard amongst their number, when the Khinasi, most enlightened of all peoples and most welcoming to wizards had no such paragon amongst their number?
The Raven came to Ust Atka seventy five years ago and possessed the body of the regent Pyotr Tusilov, 10 years ago he threw aside the facade that he was the Warlord Tusilov and renamed Ust Atka the Raven's Realm. So far none have challenged the Raven?s dominance for in the 64 years he ruled as Warlord Tusilov he decimated the nobility of Ust Atka, conquered half a dozen provinces of Zoloskaya and Yeninskiy, built the army of disparate Vos clans into a single unified force and built a solid agricultural and technological base to support his realm. The Raven openly declares himself one of the Lost, indeed often describes himself as 'the son of Azrai'. Given his power and clear ties to the Shadow World few doubt his claim.
El-Sheighul, the Lord of Ghouls and secret ruler of the Black Spear Tribes in the Zhainge Valley of Khinasi also has a presence in Cerilia, however his ability to manifest in Cerilia is sporadic at best and never long lasting. El-Sheighul is typically able to take only one domain action a round due to his condition and in truth has yet to escape the Shadow World. El-Sheighul's close ties to the Shadow World and utter lack of sayim proved him one of the Lost long ago, so far the wizards of the Khinasi have feared engaging him in a grand magical battle in case they free him from the Shadow World rather than condemn him to it.
Rumors amongst the Khinasi suggest that El-Sirad, master of Mour El-Sirad is one of the ancient Lost, however such rumors tend to circle around any powerful spell-caster with a shadowy past and there is reasonable circumstantial evidence linking El-Sirad to a pretender to the position of court mage to Ariya who was exiled two decades ago for his ambitions.
If other members of the Lost survive then they have either hidden better than their peers (although powerful sorcerers with a deep-seated desire for world domination are rarely overlooked for long) or have yet to escape the Shadow World.

[top]Other Lost

Historically, the following were, or were believed to be amongst the numbers of the Lost:

Atar, the possibly mythical Leader and firstborn of the Lost, Atar was said to shape the bodies of his troops into those of brutes to make them better warriors and mold the forms of slaves into playthings and prey. Atar is believed to have been killed by Tuar at the battle of Deismaar, and the death of the greatest of his wizards is said to have been one of the reasons that Azrai was forced to manifest at Deismaar.
A being called the Lich invaded Aerenwe on the Eve of the Dead only a few centuries after Deismaar according to legends of Aerenwe and Ilien, this being led an army of undead and shadow beasts to conquer the Erebannien but was defeated and alternatively imprisoned far beneath the earth (according to the legends of Aerenwe) or cast out of the world (Ilien mythology). Only High Mage Aelies could say for certain which, but he ignores such queries.
Other names attached to myths of the Lost include Irogor Kortov, Ian le Fau and Maccius however these could simply have been mortal wizards who meddled with powers best left undisturbed or other names for one of the ?known? Lost ? all of whom were skilled at misdirection and used many names over their lives ? and thereafter.

[top]Purpose of the Lost

Some scholars question why Azrai created the Lost, his other servants were generally great warriors and leaders of their people whereas the Lost were said to have won power using Azrai?s gifts. They also question why Azrai would risk employing such wizards ? stories of the magic?s wrought by the Lost echo the spells used by the elves of Tuar Annwn to defeat the Vos at the battle fens and such magic?s used indiscriminately surely risked tearing the evanescence ? the barrier between the Shadow World and Cerilia - beyond repair. These scholars tend to consider stories of the Lost as the fabrications of priests bent on traducing all wizards by equating arcane magic with the gifts of Azrai.
That said there are several records of the Lost delaying the advance of their armies to perform mysterious rituals, delays which the holy books of Belinik place squarely to blame for the defeat of the Vos at Deismaar, the God of Terror's priests argue that the Vos of Aduria were repeatedly held back or diverted from their rightful conquest by the whims and rituals of the Lost.

[top]Source of their Power

Scholars also question how Azrai is said to have empowered the Lost, some point to the surviving great beasts such as the Kraken and the Leviathan which hold strong bloodlines of Azrai despite having been several miles from the battle of Deismaar (both are creatures of the deep ocean, not the coasts). These scholars note that without a bloodline no human can use true magic and accordingly the Lost must have been blooded scions of Azrai.
Their opponents note that the great beasts could have become blooded after Deismaar like all other scions, some of these scholars insist that the Lost were somehow connected intimately to the Shadow World and that their powers were simply a manifestation of the Seeming in Cerilia, or that the Lost were simply powerful magicians taught spells beyond the ken of their peers. A few suggest that Azrai had formed ties to his favored servants, and that when he died these ties channeled his bloodline directly to them - if this last theory is correct then even his servants in far off Aduria or across the Sea of Dragons could have gained powerful bloodlines after his death.

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