Long ago in Gaeleth's past, it's mages were powerful and primitive. Raw energies were tamed and unleashed on a regular basis, and energy storms occasionally escaped containment, ravaging the lands. The Council of Mages that gathered together once a year agreed to an additional expenditure – construction of great towers to regulate the energies of magic, and channel the power of Maroth into the Gates. (For more information, see the Towers entry.)
The Council of Mages had nearly completed its vast Gate project – a collection of permanent portals that linked many planes and even the other Sister Worlds. Interplanetary commerce was beginning in earnest, aided by the spelljammers of Brijanis. Jazed, a world of psionicists, was at a distinct disadvantage in terms of trade. Jazed undertook military actions to balance the trade difficulties, and a secret alliance with Brijanis brought all three worlds into war.
Gaeleth's Circle of Priests channeled their powers, and distorted Maroth's gravitic field enough to bring the Oddity and Gaeleth into collision. The Oddity was an unusual spatial anomaly that had long intrigued the astronomers of Gaeleth, and made the spelljammers of Brijanis wary. The Circle of Priests used the anomaly to create a vast and impenetrable planetary shield, giving Gaeleth a brief respite from the combined attacks of Brijanis and Jazed.
Unfortunately, Brijanis's powerful Immortals manipulated the Oddity/Shield so that it would permanently encase Gaeleth – and warped it into another plane of existence. Around a distant star on the edge of the universe, Gaeleth was thrust into an unstable orbit that was barely controlled by her gods. Many of the gods died, and those few that were left were weakened terribly, and bound to Gaeleth through strange Relics. Worse, Gaeleth itself began to die. It's core was warmed by the tidal influences of the vast gas giant Maroth; without Maroth, the world began to cool, and would eventually become a husk with no magic and no tectonic activity.
The creation of the Shield, the stock piles from the Sister Worlds War, massive tectonic activity, mass hysteria, the collapse of the churches, and the sudden changes in magic, all contributed to the Prizm Wars. The Prizm Wars saw Gaeleth torn apart into a thousand portions of the spectrum, and war ravaged the land. The demons trapped within the Shield went insane, further adding to the chaos.
Much knowledge was lost during the Prizm Wars, and the Goddess of Knowledge and mother of the Gaelethic pantheon, Agincoth, was severely weakened.
The world eventually recovered, continuing to orbit the new Home Star, alone in all that corner of the universe. People went about their business, and the Sister Worlds War was forgotten.
Nearly five millennia later, the temporal aspects of the spatial anomaly known as the Oddity became apparent.
A strange star was seen in the heavens, growing closer and closer to Gaeleth – even as mountains became volcanoes, and tidal waves washed away coastal cities. The Shadow Star, as it became known, grew closer and closer, causing more and more destruction and devastation. Even as the Shadow Star drew nearer, dark forces took advantage of the chaos, and put their own agendas forward. The Shaping Wars began, and the land was reshaped and retooled, further adding to the chaos of years to come.
The spatial anomaly that was the Oddity and the Shield was actually the Shadow Star. The image seen in the heavens was a temporal recreation of the moments leading up to the turning of the Oddity into the Shield, for the Shadow Star was no star, but the strange object that could only be known as the Oddity. The tectonic activity was also a temporal manifestation of Maroth's gravitic powers, before Gaeleth was sundered from its homeworld.
The priests of Agincoth began to suspect something was afoot, as they sorted through the information they had garnered in the midst of the Shaping Wars.
Five more millennia passed, and the Shadow Star once again was spotted in the heavens, growing closer each and every night. The powerful druids of that time knew that their world was dying, but did not know why. The priests of Agincoth began to suspect that the dying of the world was in some way linked to the Shadow Star, but too much information had been lost to the church. When the invasion of the armies of Nathel took place, all the church's resources were turned towards survival, and it was not until midway through the Storm Wars that someone successfully deduced what was happening.
One of Agincoth's priestesses, armed only with ancient legends, and the knowledge of simple mechanics, deduced the theory of orbital mechanics and inferred the power of tidal stress on keeping the world warm. The young woman died in the wars, but her notes survived, and the Church of Agincoth immediately leapt upon the information. (Some even believed the woman was Agincoth herself, made manifest in the flesh.) Agincoth's Chosen, the ArchMage of Gaeleth, was Vyrboth Liss. Vyrboth began to work out the original powers of the long-lost Towers, and managed to use the ancient Gate system to bypass the Shield, establishing contact with Maroth for small moments in time.
(Incidentally, those small bypasses in the Shield allowed for the god Arpelos to enter the Shield and establish himself on Gaeleth.)
Vyrboth determined that the Towers were powered by the magical energies derived from Maroth, but could be attuned to energies from Gaeleth. He also determined that several powerful blasts on the surface of Gaeleth would slightly change its orbital mechanics; coupled with a slight punch in the Shield from the Towers, Gaeleth could escape the Oddity, and return to orbit around Maroth.
The powerful blasts would require so much energy that they would require years to sap that energy from the Towers. As well, the Towers themselves would require years to cycle up enough to disrupt the Oddity and the Shield. Vyrboth realized that nearly 450 years would be needed for the Towers to build up enough energy for both tasks. Worse, the spells necessary to build up the energy and provide Gaeleth with enough of a punch to change its orbit, would require nearly 100 years of work.
Unfortunately, Vyrboth died not long after these discoveries were made. His son, Karl, had wielded the Godslaying sword Giran Howel for too long, and the power had driven Karl mad. Seeking to destroy all gods and their churches, Karl sought out his father as the Chosen of Agincoth. Karl would eventually be subdued, and the Godslayer taken from him – but he swore vengeance upon all the world.
The Church of Agincoth allowed its next Chosen, Lul, use the Godslayer in such a fashion that all churches – even Lul's – became convinced that Agincoth had been slain. The subterfuge was necessary, if the Church of Agincoth were to begin its spell preparations undisturbed. Lul used the Godslayer to elevate himself to godhood, taking over many of Agincoth's responsibilities, and freeing her entire church for the massive undertaking of the spell – a spell that had to remain a secret from everyone, for fear the knowledge would be used for evil purposes or by evil gods.
When the spell was nearly complete, in 867 Avard, the Church of Agincoth realized that the spell would be sensitive to outside influences. If too much magic drew energy from the land, then the timing of the Towers' abilities would be off, and the spell would falter, and fail. Because so much time would elapse in between, a drastic solution was necessary. Agincoth's second-in-command, and father of the pantheon of Gaeleth's gods, issued a decree: The mages would remain silent for five centuries, or else the darkness would descend again – forever.
(There was a slight translation error, as most scribes attributed this to mean the Dark God, Nathel, would return, and plunge the world forever into darkness and terror. The 'five centuries' bit also has thrown Gaeleth for a loop. Five centuries have not yet passed, but the need for 'the mages to be silent' has passed.)
The Inquisition began, spearheaded by the Church of Yatindar. The Inquisition-aligned churches had a distasteful job to do, but it had to be done. Few in the churches ever understood exactly why, and the secrets escalated out of control. Though most of the Church of Agincoth voluntarily gave up their magic, they had been so secretive for the last century than few even knew they existed. Most mages resisted, not knowing why they suddenly had to give up magic, and the Inquisition took on a terrible pall.
In 1311 Avard, Karl Liss was still alive.
His son, Demik Coruth, discovered the Book of the Dead. The artifact was a powerful part of the Church of Galanus, when that god had been the God of the Dead. As all knew, Galanus had given up that portion of his title when the world became awash in dead during the Storm Wars. What few knew, was that Galanus hid his most powerful artifact from even his successor, Curiss. The Church of Curiss searched high and low for the fabled artifact, and finally found it in 1310 Avard. Before the Church could retrieve it, Karl Liss sent in his son – a necromancer – to steal the book from its hiding spot near the ends of the world.
The Book of the Dead lay inside of a solitary mountain, guarded by the avatar of a fallen god. Karl Liss, having been affected by the Godslayer, was able to beat down the avatar long enough for his son to make off with the fabled artifact. That mountain was Mount Rilan, located in the heart of modern-day Rakore. This is why Lok Giran – the Fortress of the Soul – was built on Mount Rilan, and why the War of the Undead began in Rakore.
As Demik began to unlock the power of The Book of the Dead, the Great Spell was nearing completion.
Karl Liss sent his minions after the Cache Vaults of the Inquisition. The Cache Vaults were where the Inquisition hid all of the magical items it had confiscated from mages in over four centuries of pogroms – and included in the Vaults were the components of the Godslayer, Giran Howel. Broken into eight pieces after the Storm Wars were concluded, each piece was placed in a different Vault, and each Vault was carefully hidden and secured. The vaults were so secure, that any unauthorized entry would activate powerful self-destruct mechanisms – strong enough to vaporize everything within miles of the Vault.
Entry into the Inquisitions Cache Vaults required the use of Karasenth Bracers, constructed at the onset of the Inquisition, and keyed to each of the Vaults. Only clerics could open the Vaults, and the race began between clerics in Rakore, and Karl's own clerics, to find the Vaults, open them, and obtain the portions of the Godslayer.
Karl Liss' foul plan finally became clear in 1318, the same year that half of the continent of Nabrol was vaporized by the Great Spell, nudging Gaeleth just a bit in its orbit. Karl Liss intended to fulfill the misconstrued prophecy, and resurrect the Dark God Nathel to do his bidding, through The Book of the Dead. The race became even more desperate, even as it became apparent that Demik Coruth was always one step ahead of the Rakoran clerics – and finally obtained all of the components of the Godslayer.
The Rakore Clerics found out something rather interesting, however, in 1319: there were two Godslayers. Apparently, when the Chosen of Agincoth, Lul, elevated himself to godhood, he somehow duplicated the original Godslayer. There were sixteen components to reassemble into Giran Howel, and not just eight, as everyone had suspected. As the Sea of Kiriath expanded, and the Second Detonation nudged Gaeleth even further in its orbit, the moment of confrontation came nearer and nearer.
Unfortunately, the energy required to power the final use of the Towers was being drained into Demik's millions of undead, and into Karl Liss' slow but steady raising of the Dark God, Nathel. (Demik Coruth raised over 2.5 million Hit Die of undead – and that's not including the undead raised or created by his own undead followers.)
The final battle took place on Galth Island, in the northern Sea of Kiriath. The Chosen of Arpelos stepped forward to wield the second Godslayer, even as Karl Liss was literally buried under a mountain. Demik Coruth's raising of the Dark God was complete, and Nathel turned his dark gaze upon all the world, ready to destroy it once again. The Chosen of Arpelos surprised the entire world, as he slew Nathel for a second time, releasing all of the Dark God's energy – and the fallen Karl Liss' energy – in one massive backlash that shattered the Church of Nabrol, and gave that last bit of energy to the Towers.
Gaeleth tunneled through space and time, and reappeared in the skies above Maroth, nearly ten millennia after she had escaped the Sister Worlds War.
The citizens of Gaeleth were confused, as a great red shape rose in the sky. The gas giant of their homeworld was unfamiliar to them, and hysteria swept the world, as all thought that Maroth was a harbinger of Nathel's resurrection, despite the relief of the gods at the Dark God's second death.
The Chosen of Arpelos and his church helped reestablish order among the Circle of Priests; the Circle of Priests, in turn, reestablished order among the many peoples of Gaeleth.
A new order had arisen. Everything changed overnight.
Tides would flow in for miles under the influence of Maroth, and then flow out again as far. Volcanoes long dormant erupted into life. Tidal waves wracked random shores. Earthquakes shook the land at irregular intervals.
Elsewhere, the Immortals of Brijanis had had their astronomers watching the skies for countless millennia. They remembered. When Gaeleth reappeared in the skies, they knew that their old enemy had finally returned. The Immortals restarted their ages-old breeding projects. They had two generations to build up an army of their 'barbarian' humans, and they would send them in to retake Gaeleth, and all the riches she held.
Jazed's spies within Brijanis shall eventually discover that Gaeleth has returned. The Second Sister Worlds War is coming.
There is hope. Agincoth is aware. Through her, Brigain, the God of Destiny, has begun preparing the world for the strife it is about to endure. The message cannot simply be put out for all to know, though the knowledge will, eventually, get out. Tempering is required. The Master Plan that Agincoth has set up to prepare Gaeleth is under way. Chance and fate still have their places in what is to come, but they are welcome companions on the road to Destiny.
For more information on Giran Howel, the Godslayer, or the Karasenth Bracers, consult the 2nd Edition version.