Ashra-Daith: The time of the Keeper's Terror in Arclands | World Anvil

Ashra-Daith: The time of the Keeper's Terror



  During the Age of Perfection, when the Celestial Realm was bathed in the energy of the light of the Keeper and the one god with his creations, the Athervannir and their craftsmen kin the Lotharvannir ruled all of existence the Keeper was certain that he was the central organising power in reality. This certainty was shattered by The Coming of the Tralanvannir  new Graces who had not been created by the Keeeper and were not the products of his mind. He grew fearful and suspicious at their presence and raged that his position as the great creator of all things was challenged. The Keeper wished to create the bare minimum of life in order to manage the reality he had brutally created by casting the Astrogon into Damnation, and he could not see a purpose for the Tralanvannir. However, he presented himself as their creator nontheless while he thought how best to control and exploit them, realising that as they were the products of the Athervannir (who had not intended to create new life, but that life sprung from their energies regardless) and that the Athervannir came to love their offspring, simply destroying them was not an option. The Athervannir for their part, beings of pure order and truth, were forced by the Keeper to go along with the lie and the strain of this deception began to corrupt and distort their minds, leading to madness amongst the seven. As the Athervannir dreamed terrible dreams, dark storms for the first time came to Celestium and their ability to control Damnation (their central role) weakened. During this period, the Legion of Damnation, creatures that had been created through the torments of the first Astrogon as they were flung into the darkness, began to escape into the Celestial Realm to once again bask in the Light of the Keeper, which they forever craved. In this light they were able to transform themselves from evil mishapen beings into the seemingly fair and noble Iskravannir, and they used a great device, the Seeing Waters of Locaris to discover the Keeper's deception by reading the mind of the weakened Grace Damophereon. They tricked the Keeper into believing that they were the next wave of children of the Athervannir, and because of the chaos in the minds of the Athervannir themselves, the original seven servants of the Keeper were unable to answer him, though they knew the truth in their hearts. The Iskravannir craved the Light of the Keeper but hated the creator god in their hearts and sought to sow further discord in the Celestial Realm. They whispered rumours of a great deception to the Tralanvannir and led them to the clues that pointed towards the Keeper's great lie.  

The Creation of the Shuravai

  The Keeper, who had begun to enjoy the adulation and adoration of the Tralanvannir, had grown inatentive and vain. He was far more interested in the unconditional love that they bestowed upon him than the task of ruling that his realm required of him. When he heard of disquiet amongst the Graces he became ever more suspicious and resentful of any hint of dissent. The Keeper, in secret, created new servants, the Shuravai. These beings resembled the Graces and walked amongst them, listening to their words and thoughts looking for dissent or treachery. The Keeper permitted them to kill any Tralanvannir that came too close to the truth, and over time the numbers of Graces that had vanished or who were found with their throats cut began to grow. The horrified Tralanvannir did not understand what was happening and feared that that Celestium itself had been breached. Some of the Graces that manned the mighty defences of the Banthakh and who had become skilled warriors returned home to the Celestial Realm, believing that it was time to protect their brethren from this hidden threat. The Athervannir debated between themselves whether to expose the truth of the Iskravannir, but they knew that in doing so the Keeper would blame these interlopers from Damnation and allow the presence of the Shuravai to remain secret. If they revealed the Shuravai, they knew that they would end up in open war with the Keeper. One by one the Athervannir came closer to considering the overthrow of their creator as they watched their children die. They knew that such a move risked Celestial anarchy, but to live under the rule of a tyrant for much longer was unthinkable.

The Council of Thaladican

  The Tralanvannir warrior Y'Thaladican had served as one of the great captains of the Dread Watch, the decicated and noble Graces that stood on the borders of the Celestial Realm and Damnation. In the earliest moments of the Keeper's rule, the one god discovered that Damnation, no matter how hard he tried to stop it, kept growing. The Banthakh fortresses, created by the Lotharvannir were placed along its edges in order to prevent its endless growth and to fight back the many hideous and twisted beings that emerged from its shadows. Thaladican and his comrades were accustomed to living in the shade of Damnation's darkness with the Light of the Keeper always at their backs. When they heard that their brothers and sisters were being murdered in Celestium, these Graces returned home, abandoning their posts to the great stone sentinels of Damophereon who then tried to hold back the darkness. Sensing that there was something more to the deaths of his comrades, Thaladican called a council of the Tralanvannir at his fiefdom of Malakhand and the Ovrathe (lords of the Tralanvannir, chosen by the Graces), debated what to do. It was in this moment that Skythar, the most cunning of the Iskravannir, revealed to Thaladican and the Ovrathe the truth of the Shuravai. He drew his blade and slew one of their number in front of the council, watching its writhing metallic blood pour from the wound. This showed Thaladican and his comrades the extent of the Keeper's deception and was their case for war against their master. While the council of Thaladican was happening, the forces of Damnation laid seige to the Banthakh fortresses, sensing the weakness of the Keeper and one of the forts, Apraxasus, came close to falling. At the same time, the Lotharvannir, becoming ever more suspicious of the Keeper and resentful of the tasks that he set them (though blind to the creation of the Shuravai, who had also infiltrated their ranks), began to create new worlds and realities that they hoped to hide from their master. 

The Storming of Asavaa Tao

  Thaladican drew around him a war council of Graces who believed that the Keeper's falibility showed that he was not the divine creator of all things but a fraud who could be overthrown. They believed also that this could only be done with the aid of the Athervannir. If he was deposed then a new council of Celestium could be established that would rule the Graces justly and the Shuravai could be exposed and cast out. The Iskravannir encouraged Thaladican, believing that they too would have a place in this new order he hoped to create, one that would slowly tie Celestium and Damnation closer and closer together. When an army had been assembled at Malakhand, the Graces summoned the great Stormbyr eagles of Aucas (see sidebar for more), to transport the assembled army to the Keeper's throne at Asavaa Tao. The Keeper had been informed of the impending assault by the Shuravai and waited for the assembled army of rebel Graces to arrive. He sensed that the loyalty of the Athervannir stood on a knife edge and knew that his downfall could easily be at hand. The Keeper was nothing if not patient and cunning, however. When Thaladican led the Ovrathe to the foot of the Keeper's throne and demanded that the one god answer for his crimes, the Keeper feigned shock and outrage at the fate of the murdered Tralanvannir and had several of the Shuravai executed before them, claiming that the Shuravai had only ever been intended to discover Legion who might have crossed over into Celestium. Amongst the rebel Graces were several Iskravannir, whose real identity was still unknown to the Keeper, who knew this to be a lie. Thaladican looked to the Athervannir to help finally depose the Keeper, but at the very moment of the Keeper's greatest peril the skies above the Celestial Realm began to darken and and flash with  a terrible, burning red light. A being called the Devourer had arrived to destroy both the Celestial Realm and Damnation. Realising that this was his opportunity to survive, the Keeper called upon all the Graces to unite and to set aside their disputes. He sent emmisaries to Damnation to gain the support of its rulers, and in the back of his mind he began to think of how he could use the great war ahead of him to annihilate his enemies into the bargain.

A Fire in the Heart of Knowing

  Our debut Arclands novel is available here. Read A Fire In the Heart of Knowing, a story of desperate power struggles and a battle for survival in the dark lands of Mordikhaan. 


  Mighty birds called Raptors were created by the Grace Y’Therian during the Hidden Age. Y’Therian and other Graces rejoiced when the Keeper granted them the power to create life and he dreamed of filling the skies of the Celestial Realm with majestic winged creatures. He first created a host of mighty eagles, vast in size, called the Stormbyre, who circled the Celestial Realm endlessly; a tribute to the Keeper himself. The vain god had little interest in the creations of the Graces and merely saw granting them life giving powers as a way of distracting them from his crimes. Y’Therian sensed this and realised gradually that the Keeper would one day sweep away all he had done (along with the creations of other Graces). He secretly pleaded with the Athervannir Damophereon to create the sanctuary of Aucas as a hiding place for the Raptors and eventually, as the Sundering loomed, the Athervannir agreed. Y’Therian later joined the Thaladics and fled to the Mortal Realm, leaving his creations behind.


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