The Champions of Ethera Myth in Astaeria | World Anvil

The Champions of Ethera

Written by Gillymaya

’The Champions of Ethera’ is a popular parable on the continent of Elvara. Considered to be the creation story amongst followers of Ethera, it is an old favourite told, time and time again, by priests and bards. It teaches the importance of morality and righteousness in a world ruled by chaos.


According to Elvaran mythology, the world came into being when Ethera, the eternal mother, defeated the trickster god and demon lord Zenykul who had corrupted one of her creations. She purified the world with flame and built a new world from the ashes.   According to the legend, the champions were originally twelve mortals rewarded by Ethera for their unwavering loyalty, and their defeat of the shadow’s monstrous and chaotic creation Dracona.   Ethera gifted the Champions with immortality in return for their servitude. She gave them immense power to hold jurisdiction over aspects of the realm and collectively they protect the new world from corruption and chaos. She named them her Guardians and in return they named the world Ethera in her honour.

The Legend in Full

Legend has is that before the creation of our world, another world stood in its place.   The Eternal Mother, Ethera, had created this world, known as Mel’aneth, and she watched over her creation with a benevolent eye, guiding its people on her path of righteousness which had ensured peace and cohesion among Mel’aneth’s people for generations.
But the Eternal Mother had other worlds, or ‘sky children’ over which she needed to take care of, and the time came for her to leave Mel’aneth for the first time.

  Before doing so, she entrusted her precious creation to Zor’ya, one of her most loyal and dependable servants. Zor’ya was to act as the ‘Guardian and Protector of Mel’aneth’ until the Eternal Mother could return to the world once more.   So the Guardian kept watch over the Mother’s creation and for a time its people continued on the path set out by the mother. But Zor’ya grew complacent. Her complete faith in the Mother’s power and ability to create a pure, uncorruptible world had left her blind to the danger that would befall Mel’aneth.   For the Mother’s power was rivalled by some of the most villainous beings in the known realms, and in her absence, a dark shadow took hold of Mel’aneth’s people. This shadow belonged to Zenykul, son of the demon god Baelor and a Lord of Chaos in his own right. Zenykul was a cruel being, who delighted in the infliction of violence and treachery upon the mortal plane. He was a trickster god; a purveyor of destruction, who often masqueraded as a champion of free will and self-sacrifice.   Long ago, the ancient gods had foreseen the danger that Zenykul posed to the structure of material reality. With the combined might of the heavens, they banished Zenykul to an arcane prison, in the blank void between existential planes. The gods believed that whilst Zenykul remained imprisoned, his power could do little to threaten the existence of life itself. But the gods underestimated Zenykul’s power, and the Lord of Chaos bided his time, rebuilding his power over thousands of years. With a fraction of his dark power recovered, he created a shadow. A shadow made in his likeness as a reflection of his own wicked nature. Unlike its master and unfettered by arcane chains, the shadow escaped the confines of Zenykul’s prison with an order: to seek the material realm and reap revenge on the gods who had wronged its master. The shadow obliged, and it set to work on its plan to corrupt the youngest of the Eternal Mother’s sky children, Mel’aneth.   The shadow was cunning. It sowed the seeds of revolution, presenting itself as the enlightened ‘Savior’ of Mel’aneth, twisting reality until the people perceived the Guardian Zor’ya as a cruel dictator.   They believed the Guardian existed only to cripple their freedom, to prevent them from obtaining power, and to subject them to a life of slavery. With this new found belief, they turned away from the Mother’s teachings and towards a path of violence and blood magic.  

Imbued with power ‘gifted’ to them by the Lord of Chaos, the people advanced against the Guardian, and Zor’ya was slain. Her broken body used in a ritual of blood sacrifice to Zenykul himself.   From the remains of her flesh grew a monstrous beast, with naked, jagged bones in the place of flesh; translucent skin stretching taut over spiny wings; and a breath of pure fire which burned with the heat of a thousand suns.
  The Lord of Chaos, bound in his prison, was delighted with his creation. His monstrosity had spawned from a world that was once a beacon of purity, and he regarded this as a tremendous victory. He called his new creation Dracona, the Harbinger of Chaos, and the people of Mel’aneth rejoiced. They revered her as an omnipotent goddess who they hoped would free them from the chains of the Eternal Mother. Instead, the opposite came true. The shadow used Dracona to enslave the people of Mel’aneth. She inflicted great pain on them and with each soul claimed in sacrifice for the Lord of Chaos, Dracona grew more powerful.   But the trickster god’s triumph was to be short lived. For Zor’ya the Guardian was a talented seeress, and she had foreseen the vision of her downfall. She knew, however, that her death must come to pass if Zeny’kul and his shadow beast were to be overthrown. This vision enabled her to forge a plan.   Before her demise, she had chosen twelve talented individuals who had remained loyal to the Mother. She bequeathed unto them the gift of her knowledge, and in time they came to understand the fundamental laws governing the workings of the material world. They understood the secrets of magic, how to bend the elements to their will, but more importantly, they understood the truth of their creation and their role in the events to come. These twelve individuals became known as the Champions of Ethera. Armed with the Guardian’s knowledge, the Champions sort to bring an end to the chaos and the monstrosity that was Dracona.   They sought a mineral from deep within the highest mountain of the land: ‘the Pinnacle of Hope’. The mineral was a bright silver elixir, infused with the purest magical essence of the Eternal Mother herself. They named it ‘Ethera’s Will’ in honour of their creator. The champions rejoiced, for they had what they needed to bring about the downfall of Zenykul.

<small>The Champions take their last stand at the Pinnacle of Hope.</small>

The Champions take their last stand at the Pinnacle of Hope.

From the summit of the Pinnacle, the Champions called forth the monstrosity Dracona with a tumultuous shout from the Warrior Champion Dunitrias. With the terrible beast in sight, the Champion’s Mage, Mathonir, shot forth long, arcane chains from his staff. The ethereal chains wrapped themselves around the body of the beast, rapping her wings and sending her plummeting into the valley below. Dracona struggled against her bonds and her thunderous wails boomed, shaking the very mountain itself.   It was now the turn of the most gifted archer among them. The huntress Elvara stepped up to the ledge of the abyss and fired a single, golden arrow from her bow straight into the nostril of the magnificent beast. But the arrow was not just any old arrow. It was a coated with Ethera’s Will and the substance was ignited to produce intoxicating fumes.   The substance overwhelmed Dracona’s senses, and she stopped struggling against her bonds. Stopped wailing even. The twelve Champions watched her from their vantage point above the valley. Her eyes, once gigantic, blood red orbs, had clouded to a misty grey. The creature was alive but docile.   The Eternal Mother had heard Dracona’s wail and interpreted it as a herald of chaos. It pierced her ears and filled her with a sinking dread concerning the fate of her youngest sky child. She returned to Mel’naneth with great haste, only to find that her once perfect world was a picture of debauchery and brutality.   At the summit of the Pinnaccle of Hope, she found her champions standing over the body of Dracona, the beast now mewling in the valley below. She shrouded her champions with her protection, and the Champions watched as the Mother erupted into a tide of bright light as she poured her life essence into the monstrosity. When the light dimmed, the Champions could truly grasp the omnipotence of the Mother’s nature. For Dracona was transformed.
Where jagged bones once protruded from the stomach of the creature, shining scaled flesh now wrapped around the beast like satin ribbons. Where translucent skin once stretched taut over skeletal spines, frill-like wings folded at the beast’s side. Its once skeletal face fleshed out and anointed with golden spines. She had been remodeled as a creature of great beauty.
With an almighty roar the Golden Dragon pushed itself upright onto its talons, with a graceful beat of her wings took flight. She landed at the peak of the Pinnacle, where it lowered a wing as an invitation for the Champions to climb aboard. The champions obliged, and the dragon took flight once more.   Dracona and the Guardians climbed higher and higher until the guardians could no longer see the Pinnacle or any detail of the land below. The Mother sang into Dracona’s ear and the dragon drew a long breath before unleashing a tide of purifying flame onto the world below.   The Lord of Chaos had underestimated the Mother. For though she was a nurturing and benevolent goddess, she was also a fierce warrior who was no stranger to sacrifice. Alas, the Mother knew that for her sky child to be saved, Mel’aneth would have to succumb to a death of purifying flame and be reborn anew from the ashes.
  The Guardians observed, eyes wide, mouths agape as their world exploded from the heat of Dracona’s flame into a thousand pieces scattered throughout the dark space.   The Mother’s light exploded once more, and from the rocks a smaller planet formed. It was a genuine reflection of the Mother’s own beauty.   Zenykul’s shadow was defeated. His hold on the Mother’s creation, destroyed. Dracona had been absolved and her nature overhauled to one of benevolence. The Mother renamed her Dracona the Redeemed and gifted her a home on the world below.

Mel'aneth Destruction.jpg

  As for the Guardians, the last twelve souls who had remained true to Ethera’s path were rewarded for their loyalty and service. They were each given two gifts. The first was that of eternal life. The second was a domain of their own in the new world, but in return they would have to serve and protect the new world to ensure that evil would never prevail as it did on Mel’aneth.   To Solas and Lunaris, the twins as alike as they were different, the mother gave the sun and the moon. To Belanir the balanced, she gave control over the elements. To Elvara, the Huntress, she gifted the forests and to Elvara’s daughter Silvana, the gift of nature and wilderness. To the warrior, Dunitrias, as stoic and solid as the Pinnacle of Hope itself, she gave the mountains and the hills. To the free spirited Brigantis, she gave the river and the streams, and to the brooding Maranaan she gave the the oceans and seas. To the learned scholar Ogarr, she gave the gift of unlimited knowledge of the universe and to his wife Daghda, the gift of fertility and new life. To Arawyn the gentle, she entrusted the souls of the departed and to Mathonir the mage, she gave the knowledge of divine magic.   Together the twelve named the world Ethera, in honour of the Eternal Mother, and together they would stand guard over her creation until the end of time itself.


According to some variants of the legend of the Twelve, Ethera appointed a thirteenth Guardian. A champion named Nocterra who became the Guardian of the night. The existence of Nocterra is rarely disputed although the Congregation of Ethera view Nocterra as a servant of the Demon Lords rather than a Guardian in her own right.   Nocterra does, however, have a a decent following amongst the criminal classes and even amongst some schools of Magi who revere her for her celestial magic. Nocterra is thought to be the Mother of the Shadow Pantheon.

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