(a.k.a. The Golden God, Aszhaurus, Kronus, Chardoran, The Golden Serpent, Linomr)
The vision of those that stand in the way of progress is always so short-sighted... so pessimistic. In all things, I endeavor to be a savior and to do that today... I must play the part of the executioner.
Before the New Gods, before the Fang Crusades, before The Autumn Queen and her Shadow Court there was a simpler time. A time of tribal societies, nature's dominance and of Dragons. In these early days the tribal people of Tairos worshiped the spirits of nature, elementals and other strange entities that have long since passed on. These communities were fragile and primitive compared to the dangers that had long reigned over the land. Yet, no threat could compare to the one posed by Dragons. In most cases, dragon temperament toward the young races ranged from apocalyptic to indifferent though a significant minority enjoyed cultivating civilizations. Some as beneficent shepherds and others as megalomaniacal tyrants. However; to the mortal races the difference between a dragon's mercy and malice were often indistinguishable.
Azuras is perhaps the most famous or infamous of the dragons who chose to meddle in the affairs of the tribal races. His guiding hand has left marks that influence even modern Tairos though few today are aware of his story. Perhaps for the better.
Azuras was born only a few centuries after the Scorned One and his kin were banished from Tairos. The land was reeling from the conflict between Nuriel's angelic host and the maddening legions of the Scorned One. What was left over was a chaotic wasteland slowly recovering in the absence of the cosmic beings that had struggled over it. Dragons had only recently come to Tairos and quickly became the alpha predators of this devastated continent. Azuras' parents were among the first dragons to arrive. His birth was an unremarkable affair like most dragon pairings are. It was done purely for procreation and once done his father returned to his territory in the north and his mother went back to her lair near Lake Lunarch.
Azuras was fascinated by the mortal races even from an early age. Their lives seemed so fragile, short and aimless compared to that of his own kind. He reasoned that he could spare these creatures their tortured existence by molding them into a more ordered way of life. He experimented with different tribes, supplying them with resources, protecting them from danger, teaching them about the world they lived in but these simple peoples were in constant need and he could only help so many at a time.
Prosperity for one tribe means a death sentence to another. They hoard resources regardless of the bounty I provide, they demand my complete attention lest they slip back into barbarism, and in their short-sightedness they refuse to teach my lessons to their neighbors. They cannot see past the brief moment that is their lives. They cannot understand my vision for them.
The dragon, now firmly in his young adulthood, grew tired of the constant cycle of failure his efforts produced. Tribe after tribe would benefit from his teachings only to falter and perish as soon as he left to spread his gifts elsewhere. Or worse, future generations of certain tribes would twist his wisdom and use it as a means of slaughtering their neighbors before forcing him to return and exterminate these aberrations. In the end, he abandoned them all to their base nature. For Azuras, this was the moment of freedom that he so desperately needed. It was his first true joy in centuries. For those he abandoned without warning it was nothing less than an apocalypse. Those that relied on his magic for crops, starved. Those whom he protected for so long fell victim to whatever hungry teeth lay in wait. Their god had vanished and with him their entire way of life. Azuras felt no guilt though, as far as he was concerned they would not even exist without his efforts. They were his experiments in a study that had reached a distasteful conclusion.
With the burden suddenly lifted from him he was free to do as he pleased. Azuras set his sights on places beyond Tairos. The heavens themselves, the void between stars and the planes of existence. He craved the possibility they offered and using his magic he slipped through one of The Gates and began a journey from world to world, star to star.
On this journey he came across barren landscapes, dead worlds and ruined civilizations. What little life he did find was desperate, scattered and teetering on the edge of extinction. Among the planes he found turmoil and chaos. Uncaring elementals, alien intelligences, and warring entities gripped in an eternal struggle who's prize and purpose had long since been forgotten. He searched for centuries, trying to find somewhere that lived by the standards he tried to share with the tribes of Tairos, but instead all he found was desolation. Yet, in his wanderings he discovered something that peaked his interest. A glimmering, feint light... a power of some kind that seemed as aimless in its travels as Azuras was.
He followed this light to a distant star deep in the void and beheld a world that was different from the others. It had intelligent life and more importantly it was blossoming rather than tearing itself apart. This is where Azuras found his greatest and only friend. Jyskal.
In the Company of the Divine
Enter the Infinite by Terese Nielson
It is here that Azuras discovered the one thing he'd never encountered before, something more powerful than a dragon. He found a god. This world was tended to by a being named Jyskal. Like the New Gods that would eventually come to Tairos, Jyskal was a remnant of a halcyon era long gone. Azuras sought out the architect of this peace; obsessed with learning how he managed to maintain order among these mortals. Jyskal was equally fascinated by the dragon. It had been ages since he had seen one of their kind.
Jyskal was a reserved, contemplative and deeply intelligent being that the people of this world worshiped as their singular god. In return he protected their mortal existence and guided their souls into the afterlife upon death. He gave them what they most desperately needed, assurance in life and a promise of safety beyond death. Jyskal taught Azuras that this was the key to bringing peace to mortals. Their lives are too brief and wrought with constant danger to be capable of considering the fate of future generations, especially when death is so present a threat.
Azuras learned everything he could from his friend. He learned of ancient disasters and long dead gods who perished at each other's hands or fell to the hunger of Oblivion. He was taught about entities far older than gods, about beings who have achieved a level of enlightenment that made their powers indistinguishable from divinities and he was shown how empty and dead the universe truly was. All of it was because of the ambition, arrogance and avarice of those who were supposed to be the shepherds of mortal life. And finally, Azuras was told that his friend was ready to move on to whatever came next. After spending centuries with him, Jyskal said his farewells and vanished into nothingness. Together, they had raised the small civilization on this world to a point where war, violence and greed were things of the past. They were reverent scientists and philosophers fully prepared to carry on without their god.
Azuras left as well, taking with him all the secrets, magic and knowledge that Jyskal had taught before returning to Tairos ready to share with them all that he had learned. Finally ready to bring the peace he had always striven for.
Six hundred years had passed since the Gold Dragon's departure. He first wanted to checked on his most promising experiments to see if by some chance they had prospered in his absence but he found them to all be gone, victims of their nature. This was expected, of course.
He sought the ideal region to begin his work. The land to the south-east was largely free of other dragons and populated only by tribes of humans and nearby centuars. Azuras began by killing the two dragons that did reside in the area. While both had largely been indifferent to mortal life in the region he could not risk their presence interfering nor could he negotiate with them to leave and possible draw others of his kind looking for easy prey. Making a bloody display of their deaths was the only logical way to send the message he intended. This was his kingdom now.
He then chose to appear to the masses of humans and offer to them the gifts they so desperately craved, safety and the promise of immortality. He showed them the process of Entombment and how it could be used to permanently preserve the dead until they could later be returned to life. Azuras knew very well the type of resurrection these humans sought was incredibly difficult to achieve and potentially destructive if they did manage it. Instead, he wove a fitting veil for the truth. He said the process would preserve their bodies while he took their souls into his divine realm until a means to put soul and flesh together once more was discovered. This, along with the destruction of many of the dangerous beasts that had preyed upon them was enough to sway almost all the human tribes to faith.
There were some that did not embrace his vision though. These outliers were violent, barbaric warbands intent on keeping to the old ways. Others had embraced nature spirits, sleeping entities or denizens of the nearby underwater kingdoms. Azuras would not suffer these seeds of malcontent to take root again. Quietly and quickly, those who did not kneel to the Golden God were set upon by his followers or laid waste to by the dragon himself. This age of fire and faith was to become the first page in the founding history of The Empire of Skyrir
The Empire of the Dragon God
What Azuras took from Jyskal's lessons is that mortal life needs to be shaped, directed and ruled. It will always act against its own long term benefits for short term gain. He saw the ease in which his divine friend guided his chosen people but the difference between Jyskal's world and Tairos was population. Tairos was host to a countless number of growing populations all with different and competing versions of prosperity. This diversity would not be possible to support. To that end the Golden God of Skyrir sent forth his growing holy armies to expand the empire, preach his word and scatter those that stood in the way of progress. The Centaurs were the first to go. Their druidic ways and bonds with the nature spirits in the region was in direct opposition to the resource needs of his growing empire. It is by Azuras' command that Centaurs were driven to extinction in Tairos.
Ambassadors and missionaries from Skyrir traveled to every corner of land. Those who could be converted to the faith of the Golden God were welcomed and enjoyed all he had to offer, those that refused became victims and their settlements turned to cemeteries. The borders of the empire spread far and wide and every territory gained served Azuras' ends in two key ways. First, he sought to bury the Gates to ensure that threats lurking in the void between stars could not easily access Tairos. And two, Jyskal had taught him that other nomadic gods still wandered the realms looking for followers to feed on their worship. Disaster and ruin would follow in the wake of these wayward gods and they must be cast out quickly. By destroying those that did not convert to his faith he was cleaning up the crumbs that might otherwise draw in these starved and verminous gods.
He became known all across Tairos during those early days. To the human tribes of the frozen north he was the dreaded Linomr. Skyrir and the tribes of the south knelt to the god Aszhaurus. The tribes of the Balmoral plains fled from servants of the Golden Serpent. The early elves of Lake Lunarch knew him Kronus while the dwarves spoke of Chardoran and his cult from the south. Though Azuras' name varied from culture to culture they all chose one of three paths he offered. Kneel, flee or perish.
Azuras' dominion was unchecked. He grew stronger, having learned from his friend Jyskal how to temper the worship and souls of followers into divine power. His priests could draw on that strength for clerical magic and he would use it to forge his own demi-realm, a paradise known as Aaruzaquat the Golden Home. A single functional gate was brought to his temple in Skyrir to connect Tairos to the realm of its god. From here, Azuras would watch over his perfected project. He would protect his hoard of worshippers feverishly and watch with delight as other divinities withered and faded, starved of worship. For thousands of years would the reign of the Golden God continue unchallenged. Yet, nothing in Tairos lasts forever.
The reign of the Golden God would come to an end from the most unlikely of places. Not by another divine challenger or cosmic disaster but at the hands of a curious embalmer's apprentice named Zharkhaddos. The young magician had discovered a secret that Azuras had been holding back the Skyriran people. The resurrection through entombment that their god promised had always been possible but he was withholding it from them. Life and the soul could both be restored to the bodies waiting in their sarcophagi.
Azuras did not believe the gift of a Perfect Resurrection would do the mortal condition any good. Had he showed them the true methods for restoring life fully he believed that the lesser races would have no reason to embrace an existence of order and peace. Mortal races were not truly capable of putting eternity to good use and would instead go mad in the pursuit of constant self satisfaction. They would destroy themselves and those around them.
This true immortality that Azuras feared was not what Zharkhaddos discovered. It was something else, something darker. The magician tapped into a source of limitless entropy. He found that this energy could bind the soul and the body together and restore them to the living world. However, the return from Entombment was not without consequences. The entropic energy that fueled them also consumed and withered both the body and the soul. They required a constant supply of new life energy to stave off decay. Zharkhaddos had created the first undead and within only a few short years the Empire of Skyrir turned on their Golden God and flocked to a new savior.
Azuras would have purged Zharkhaddos and his cult immediately had he known but the magician was adept at hiding his work from their god until they were ready. Zharkhaddos had helped hundreds of his followers transformer into undead, he himself became Tairos first and most powerful Lich, one fueled by the very realm of negative energy itself.When the time was right Zharkhaddos and his followers stormed the Grand Temple of the Golden God in Skyrir. They slew his high priests and entered the gateway to Aaruzaquat itself.
To Kill a God
I would be deeply offended by this discourtesy little... well... whatever you've become. Yet,I would be lying if I said I wasn't delighted at the opportunity to get away from my work and indulge in some sport.
Zharkhaddos' invasion of the Golden Home was swift and brutal. Azuras had amassed many extraplanar followers and servants all who would have flocked to his defense to crush the undead incursion but there was no time to marshal these forces. Even Azuras himself was caught by off guard by the sudden attack.
The Lich and his coterie were shrewed, calculating and possessed none of the arrogance that the dragon god did. In fact, they were fueled by resentment and hatred for him. They knew that despite their ascension to undeath they would pose little threat to Azuras. Instead, Zharkhaddos chose to tap into the realm of negative energy that he discovered and open a vein into Aaruzaquat. He had no intention of surviving the encounter. For him and his allies this was a suicide mission against the deceitful entity that had denied thousands of generations their immortality. A tidal wave of inky darkness spilled forth into Golden Home erasing everything it touched. The ravenous entropy satisfied its hunger by consuming everyone and everything it touched. The age of the Golden God had come to an end.
The Hour of the Golden Sun Draws Near
Those who know their history know that Zharkhaddos survived his endeavor and returned to Tairos steeped in the power of death. They also know that in the end he would be the undoing of Skyrir. What none know is that Azuras' survived as well. He wrapped himself in a cocoon of brilliant, blinding divine light, forging a small sanctuary of safety adrift in infinite decay. This little fragment of Aaruzaquat endures though with each passing year more and more of it crumbles away. Within, Azuras slumbers to conserve his energy while casting out his mind to search for a means of escape into the material universe.
In his slumber he also dreams. In these dreams he sees his return to Tairos drawing near. In these dreams he is the savior of thousands and forges a new eternal empire of peace. To those that are not part of his plan he is the executioner of hundreds of thousands of lives and this new empire is built upon the corpses of the old kingdoms. In these dreams he sees a golden sun rising over world of ashes and he smiles.
Knowledge and Light
Studied under the tutelage of one of the last true gods/enlightened beings, Jyskal.
Accomplishments & Achievements
Mastering many divine arts, enlightened talents and secrets of the cosmos. Creation of the Empire of Skyrir.
Failures & Embarrassments
The betrayal of Zharkhaddos and Skyrir
Arrogant, intelligent, logical, callous, superior
Morality & Philosophy
Order is paramount to survival. Lesser races need the direction of higher beings because their nature is to embrace chaos. Individual life is trivial compared to peace. Knowledge is the most precious treasure.
Bring lasting peace to the mortals of Tairos
A solid read, and an interesting backdrop for your world! It does well to create that ever important "golden age," when magic was more magical, lives were more worth living, and everything was peace and prosperity, at least for those who keep the history. There were a few small typos I found, which I'll detail below. If you'd like me to remove or edit this comment after you correct them, please let me know and I'll be happy to! 1> https://gyazo.com/7d23bd970adf7e95f891f90c20e61bc8 2> https://gyazo.com/1cb851c1745bf87f334c7377862f848a 3> https://gyazo.com/11e883151852314e51faa5a5c604f312 And then just a couple of tiny things which I feel might help the reader or improve the flow. You can feel free to ignore these, but I hope that they're helpful and not annoying. 1> You mentioned his father went to the north in ( https://gyazo.com/edd54546537c2c8304745f4e2ff4eb57 ) this section, so it may make sense to mention where on the world his mother remained. Example: "... his father returned to his territory in the north and his mother back to her lair in the south, in the region that would one day be Melanthris." I hope that you don't mind me putting on my editor's hat. The read itself is easy, it flows well, and the formatting helps with that. This article seems like a great addition to your world. :)