Edras, Cradle of Monsters
3319 AS - The Age of Kings
In the beginning, Edras was a world of boundless, unrestrained magic. Emerging from the unfathomable depths of the planet’s core, torrents of pure magic flowed like water across the surface of Edras. Streams of luminous energy erupted forth from the deepest chasms and cascaded down from the highest peaks in a symphony of chaos and creation. For thousands and thousands of years this dance continued, until at last the magic of Edras started to transform. Titanic beings, themselves little more than magical essence given form and function and will, began to rise from the primeval well of the planet’s depths.
These first creatures were not like those that would come, barely sentient, they were archetypical embodiments of concept and form - omnipotent templates for the creatures that they would spawn in the millennia that would follow. In the end, they numbered twelve; twelve colossi birthed from magic itself, free from morality and thought and emotion, each one different, but all unified in their unquenchable drive to spawn new, lesser creations. Their names were: Dranlegoritha, Whose Fangs Rend the Heavens, the primordial of beasts; Vohamanah, the Infinite Constellation of Sinew, the creator of the celestials; Protagoras, the Fundamental Axiom, architect of all constructed beings; Srugulmorn, the Cloud that Ends All Things, the primordial of dragons and their kin; Balakshmara, the Sea of Sleet and Cinders, whose children are the elementals and genies; Caighreadhug, Mother of Nightmares, the primordial of all the fey and dream creatures; Magog, the Throne of Sin, the author of devils and demons; Hrissgamondr, the Mountain That Mocks Fate, progenitor of all giants; Sthyggexa, the Riddle of Things to Come, the primordial of monstrosities; Shuul'sogua, Who Devours the Roots of the World, origin of all oozes; Xicohtencatl, the Unfurled Blossom of 10,000 Maws , the primeval seed from which all plants spring; and Verathrox, the Sepulcher Agape, the sire of the undead. Known as the primordials, these behemoths ruled the world of Edras for countless generations. And for a time, as the planet was populated with all manner of life, it was good.
But all good things eventually end, and so it was with Edras and the primordials. After eons of reproduction and promulgation, the primordials had finally covered the surface of the world with their children; there was no deep cave or far-flung island free from their touch. Having run out of room to peaceably expand and still being possessed of a voracious appetite for the generation of new creatures, the titans of Edras did only what came naturally to their amoral, alien minds. They began to devour - first the creatures of Edras that they had not themselves birthed, then their fellow primordials, and eventually the planet itself, as well as its magic. Oblivious to the consequences of their actions, perhaps utterly incapable of even understanding the moral and logical ramifications of their carnage, the twelve plunged Edras into a never-ending nightmare of slaughter and extermination. For three ages, no creature knew peace across all the world.
It was not until the arrival of the deities, immaculate beings from beyond Edras, that an end to the annihilation would begin to form. Oros and it’s eight brothers and sisters arrived in force, an infinite army of Shining Ones marching before them like unbreakable waves of light. They set out to free Edras from the insanity of these mad titans, to conquer all the lands of the world and end the mindless carnage that was ripping the planet apart. And conquer them they did. The primordials and their children fell beneath the blades and miracles of the Shining Ones like wheat falls before the scythe. Empowered as they were by their deities, the Shining Ones tore across Edras subjugating beasts and dragons and all manner of primordial spawn. Likewise, their deities, invigorated by the faith and zeal of the Shining Ones, struck out at the primordials themselves.
It was not until a clever creature divined the difference between the creatures of Edras and the Shining Ones, that the primordials had any chance of survival. Some legends say it was a dragon, others a lich, even more suggest it was one of the sphinxes, but there is no way to know for sure. Whatever that creature was, it discovered what separated it from the Shining Ones - a small fickle spark of magic that the servants of the deities referred to as a soul. It was this seemingly weak flame that burned within their breasts that gave them their self-determination, their ability to exert their wills and defy their base natures, and most important it was what connected them to their deities. That connection was at the heart of their power, allowing for the worship and devotion of the Shining Ones to empower their deities and in the reverse allowing their deities to bequeath unto their servants great miracles and magics. And so, this finding was spread throughout all the armies of all the primordials in the hopes that with this discovery there could be found a way to turn the tides of the war.
Armed with this information, the primordials themselves reacted not with logic, but with a primal response akin to the generation of white blood cells and antibodies to fight off an infection. They carved from themselves component souls, in the form of those which the Shining Ones possessed, but infinitely more powerful and imbued with near godlike abilities that would cower even the most powerful of the primordial spawn that had come before. These soul creatures were called the Emanations and among their number was Pelor the Sun Father, Moradin the Soul Forger, Bahamut the Wyrmking, Gruumsh the One-Eyed, Vecna the Lord of the Rotted Tower and dozens of others. These Emanations then set about the task of creating servitor races for their primordials, imbuing each member of these new species with an undying soul. And so the armies of the primordials grew and were filled with the Soulborn - dwarves and elves and dragonborn and Orcs all manner of humanoid creatures.
The tides did indeed turn and soon what was now known as the War of Souls was entering into its twilight hour. The armies of the Shining Ones had been obliterated by the combined might of the Soulborn, the creatures of the primordials, and the battlefield leadership of the Emanations. Pushed back to the walls of Sanctum, Abode of the Deities, the Shining Ones cried out for deliverance. The deities, long having foreseen the fall of their army, had been at work within Sanctum for many centuries devising a miracle that might save them and thus Edras itself. Sacrificing one of their own, the fourth brother of Oros, now known only as The Nameless Martyr, upon the highest altar of Sanctum, the deities worked a miracle of such epic proportions that the very fabric of the material plane buckled as it came to pass. In an instant, the deities had severed the bonds that connected the Soulborn to their primordials. The faces of the remaining Brisingelion appeared in the night sky to all the armies arrayed against them, the light of their divinity shining in defiance of the horrors the primordials had wrought. In unity they spoke a single message to the bewildered Soulborn, “Your progenitors care nothing for you, Soulborn of Edras. If your armies breach the walls of Sanctum and strike us down, what then will await you? You will be ground up and turned to dust in the wake of their madness. Turn against them and serve us, Soulborn of Edras, that we may save each other from that terrible end.”
For a moment, a solemn calm spread across the entire world and then was pierced by the roar of rebellion. The Soulborn turned on each other, the greater of their number deciding to come to the aid of Sanctum and its deities. The massacre was swift and just. Within a dozen cycles of Edras’ moons, the armies of the primordials had been annihilated, their Emanations were wounded and in hiding, and one of the primordials themselves had even been forever destroyed. Dranlegoritha, Whose Fangs Rend the Heavens, had been undone by the destruction of all of his Emanations. One by one they fell - Melora, Malar, Balinor, Sekolah, Blibdoolpoolp - until at last there were none left and Dranlegoritha howled its last before its essence was reclaimed by the planet. Enmensur, Lord of Beasts, dealt the final blow to the primordial and in doing so claimed the rights to its concepts and offspring. With a single proclamation, all the beasts of the world were freed from the pull of Dranlegoritha and became natural species in their own right, masters of their own destinies.
The remaining primordials were cowed and took to hiding in their splinter realms, fearful of being caught upon the surface of Edras and being unmade. Their victory now certain, the gods chose not to press their attack. Perhaps they were weary with war or lacked the strength to finish the deed; some scholars have suggested that the death of Dranlegoritha broke some fundamental axiom of Edras and the deities were too frightened to risk repeating the act. Whatever the reason, the Brisingelion seemed satisfied with having conquered the surface of Edras, and so retired to Sanctum to rest for the next age while their beloved servants went about building civilizations across the planet.
It was during this age that the last of the Shining Ones, accepting that their time had passed and that they were destined to fade into myth and legend, decided to spend their last generation breeding with all of those Soulborn races who had come to the defense of the Brisingelion. It was through this breeding program that their divine seed was preserved for all time, though the Soulborn of Edras would not understand it until the first human was born nearly a thousand years later. Ages and ages have passed since the last of the Shining Ones went on to their eternal reward, but still Edras remains. Civilizations have risen and fallen, but still Edras remains. The hordes of the frustrated primordials have crashed like waves across nations of men again and again seeking to annihilate all life and return the world to chaos and darkness, but still Edras remains. Even now, in the Age of Kings, where nation plots against nation, darkness grows ever stronger beyond the edges of civilization, and hungry eyes from beyond the stars start to turn their attention towards the kingdoms of the culled - still Edras remains.