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The Creation, and the Coming of the Kin – Midsummer Sermon in the Temple of the Star God Edit

In the midst of Void, of nether-substance between the twinkling motes of the Star-God came the Cradle, forming from nothing and begat by the universe itself. The Star-God had no hand in its making, no part in its creation, suddenly it was simply accompanied by a realm of substance and life.

And the Star-God watched.

First it was Fire, almost the same as the Star-God’s motes, and then it was joined by Air, forming a conflagration of chaos and noise. Then Water becalmed the raging inferno, forming patterns and lines, creating the channels through which fire and air could run and dance. Finally, Stone coalesced into existence, and the Cradle had its form and its many wrinkles and depths.

And the Star-God watched.

Things arose upon the Cradle’s skin, green things that took water from the ground and thrust up to the air, things that moved and swam in the depths, things that flew through the sky and trod upon the earth. The first Kith were born from the elements themselves, creatures whose eyes twinkled with intelligence and wonder.

And the Star-God watched.

After many, many years, the second of the Kith arose, the creatures of the earth and sky and sea standing on two legs, rising above the ground to look out at the world with fresh eyes, and they populated and spread across the cradle.

And the Star-God could no longer just watch.

The Star-God reached within itself, gathering its own essence, splitting it with thought alone. It reached down into the substance of the world to gather materiality and make a home for its essence. From these twin materials, he made the Kin, and sent them to the Cradle to learn and see as the Kith did.

The Greenkin, to walk upon the land and speak with the creatures of the Cradle, to learn of the things that grew and ran and flew.

The Bluekin, to sail across the vast oceans and learn of the things that swam and touched the water, and of the water itself.

The Deepkin, to delve into the stone of the Cradle and study the wonders that lay beneath its skin.

The Highkin, to look to the force of magic that crackled between the great mountain peaks.

The Greykin to explore the dark corners where the Cradle touched other places, utterly unknown to the Star-God

And the Starkin, to look back up to the heavens and look upon the Star-God itself with a new perspective.

The Kin spread across the Cradle, befriending the Kith and learning from them, sharing their own knowledge of the Cradle and beyond, forming bonds that they believed would last forever.

And the Darkness Watched.

The Invasion of the Snake-Lords – Common story in Kith Mother-circles Edit

The Long Story tells of a time when we Kith and the Kin worked together to explore the world, when we sung to the trees alongside the Greenkin and learnt of the heavens from the Starkin. But few of the Kith ever ventured alongside the Grey ones, for their duty was to darkness and hidden things. The Cradle is full of wrinkles and holes, for Grandmother made it to touch all things in creation. Even the parts that looked back at the Cradle with envy and hate.

The Grey ones found passages out from the Cradle, into the Lands of Infinite Reflection, now the Grey Lands, and into the Crackling Expanse, where the magic of the Highkin came from. They touched the Wyld and spoke to the Laughing ones, and even caught glimpses of the Star-holme and the Burning Lands of the Dragons. They learnt much, and gave some of that knowledge freely. But darker knowledge they kept to themselves.

There came a time when the Greykin, exploring the Lands of Infinite Reflection, came across a pit, girded with stone and metal, that did not seem to have a place. From the pit came whispers, and those kin who went there came back changed, minds filled with darkness and greed. For the pit was the gateway to the darkest of all the realms in the universe, a place that Grandmother wanted us never to see. 

The Stargod spoke to the Grey Ones ; “I Warn You Not To Listen, Nor To Visit This Pit, For It Is A Place My Light Cannot Shine.”

And the Greykin feigned agreement and obedience. But their hearts had already been snared by the desire for knowledge the whispers promised. They said to one another: “We have been asked to find out secret knowledge – the Star God has made us to do this. Surely it cannot be wrong for us to follow our nature?”

So they continued to make pilgrimage to the pit, to listen to the words the pit gave them, and learnt of dark things. Slavery, Domination, Conquering, and bade the Greykin to bring flesh and bone to the pit, to widen it, and to build a link. All across the cradle, Kith vanished, taken to the places Grandmother could not reach, that the Star God could not see. And there, at the pit, they were put to work.

The Long Night came on the day of a Full Moon, for that was there the greatest portal to the pit could be made. Bursting into the Cradle came monsters ridden by Greykin, terrible creatures not of Grandmother’s making, whose breath turned life into decay. Behind the Greykin came their new Lords and Gods. The Snake-Lords, the “Naga”, their bodies long, twisted and terrible, covered with armor no creature on the Cradle had seen before. All, Kith and Kin, fell before the Greykin onslaught, many dying, and others taken into cruel servitude, their bodies made simple playthings for the Greykin and the Snake-Lords.

The world fell into Night.

The Seven Great Naga Lords – Rhyme for Young Greykin Warriors Edit

The Naga share with us their minds

And break the chains of ignorance that binds

We thank the Lords for their guidance

And call their names above the silence

Lanxus, the Shield who built our walls

Tithul the Just who wrote our laws

Atrox the Savage, who honed us as a blade

Letum the White, who taught us Death

Ater the Black, who taught us Life

Fovea the Wise, who gave us the Shadow

And Falmak the High Lord, who rules above all.

The Dark Times – Extract from Dal’ilu’s Histories, from the Grand Library of the Highkin Edit

The rule of the Greykin under the Naga Lords lasted for an extended period. The Greykin themselves claim it lasted over 10,000 years, although the evidence we have would indicate a period closer to 2,000. During the first century, the armies of the “Empire of Serpents” spread easily across the known world, and the populace of the time had very little that could resist them. Soon the whole realm was under their rule, save for a few key places. Three of the seven Highkin Cities stood, reaching an accord with the Naga Lords for peace in return for their absolute isolation. The Deepkin by and large were unaffected by the empire – the Naga Lords did not seem to have an interest in them. Lastly, the Starkin, for reasons still very unclear, seem to have had no contact with the Naga, nor have any conflicts with them.

Life was harsh for the non-Greykin within the empire. According to the law, any creature not Greykin or Naga was property, with no rights or recourse. In practice, the empire allowed small villages and even towns to continue unmolested, as long as they paid tribute in food and slaves. The slaves themselves were terribly mistreated in most circumstances, as the Greykin experimented with their ‘Black Magic’, twisting lifeforms into more useful forms. The outcast races, the Orcs, the Gnolls, the Wylks, all emerged from Greykin academies.

The first major challenge to the Empire seems to have come from the Orc rebellion, approximately nine hundred years into the empire’s history. The Orcs, trained in warfare, and nigh-impervious to the Greykin’s magic, felt that despite their privileged position and power within the Empire’s society, they were unfairly limited. The rebellion wrested large parts of the northern continent away from Greykin power, and weakened the empire’s hold there. While the advance was stopped, and the rebellion formally defeated, Orc Warbands continued to destabilize power structures within the northern continent. It was after this that the first Naga’ko appeared, a method of taking potential rebels and turning their talent into leadership for the entire empire, while continuing the concept of racial superiority that had been a part from the beginning.

The absolute ruler of the Greykin Empire was formally Falmak, and this based purely on magical might. However, in practice, individual Greykin nobles were kings in their own right, ruling over assigned lands and reaping the benefits.

What is remarkable is that the Greykin had the foresight to maintain and keep a strong army, even to the point of setting up small wars in rural regions to allow for greater training. This is partially what led to the empire’s longevity.

It could not last forever, however, and the liberation of the Cradle by the Kind occurred roughly 1,800 years after the start, a 200 year war that saw the Naga defeated.

Extract from Song of the Firstkind – Epic Dating From The Dark Times Edit

Oh Muse, who hast placed upon this humble bard
Such a burden of ancient recollection
A task to leave mind and soul Scarred
I beseech thee, grant my voice perfection
As I tell the tale of our coming.

The Cradle was wrapped in terrible darkness
Trapped in the cruel fangs of Scaled tyrants
No hope could rise above the world’s starkness
Songs once sung were crushed by silence
And evil stalked the land freely

For ten times ten score years evil had reigned
And cries of pain had sunk into the ground
Until eventually ears pricked and strained
In the Eyrie, where Dragons could be found
And their hearts broke at the pain.

The Kind had no home, it was long gone
The Greenlands where we were born
The Firstkind sailed with their king Adom
And came upon the black shore folorn
Where they were met by the Dragons.

Long did Adom with the Dragons Speak
And he learned of the Cradle and it’s woe
He said “Sisters, brothers, this is what we seek”
“A home, a cause, and a life to grow”
“It is worth fighting for!”

“We Kind, we women and men”
“We have survived the Greenland’s death”
“We have fought monsters foul and fen”
“And come through with fire in our breath!”
“Join me and we shall win!”

The Wars of Liberation – Extract from Dal’ilu’s Histories, from the Grand Library of the Highkin Edit

300 years of war leaves a particularly powerful imprint on the landscape, and the “Kind War” was perhaps the most poignant example of this. Not only for the physical destruction of the southern lands and the creation of the Waste, or the raising of Dragonmount, or even the start of the maelstrom called Falmak’s Eye, but for the stories and psychological trauma that lasts until the modern day. For example, the Greenkin tribes, who prior to the war, even under Greykin rule, had been gentle and pacifistic became vicious, barbaric, and the dangerously arrogant group that we see today.

Song of the Firstkind talks about how Adom and his three sons, Artus, Toral, and Fir’thul emerged onto the cradle in the cold reaches of Awyrmyl, where the city of Landing is today. They were, according to the epic, followed by three great dragons and numerous minor drakes as well as many thousands of Kind, male and female. Almost immediately, the invaders took up arms against the Greykin Empire, each of the sons bonding with a Great Dragon. Artus with Vol’anoth, “The Fang of the Storm”, Toral with Callon, “Talon of the Earth”, and Fir’thul with Koma, “Wing of the Fires”. Later, of course, Fir’thul and Koma would, according to legend, merge to form the Komai deity Fir’koma. Adom, on the other hand, refused to be linked to a Dragon, arguing to his sons and the three Great Dragons that he was already linked to his people, and could not abandon them.

Having appeared in the far north, where the Greykin Empire was at its weakest, the ‘Firstkind’ as they came to be known swiftly managed to liberate vast amounts from the clutches of the Naga. Aside from the martial might of dragons and drake-riders, the Kind had a closer link to their Gods and a better understanding of magic than most Kith or Kin, as few had intruded on the Highkin’s area of expertise before. Their success inspired other groups in the Empire to rebel, and soon the Naga were dealing with rebellions in almost all provinces save for the Southern lands around Falmakis, the capitol.

Extract from Song of the Firstkind – Epic Dating From The Dark Times – “The Battle of the Neck” Edit

Oily smoke covered the once-blue sky
Where the north and south came to touch
The victory of the Naga was almost nigh
O’er the Kith who to freedom did clutch
And all appeared in despair

Then from the north came a roar
And the sound of beating wings
Callon did over the water soar
Bringing with him the Firstkind Kings
To fight for the Kith’s freedom

A thousand thousand arrows flew high
Tipped with vile poison and magic black
But Callon’s powerful voice let fly
And the assault crumpled and fell back
Striking the beasts who fought for the Snakes

Swooping low over the ground came the Mounted
Sat upon the back of drakes and armed with spears
They tore through flesh, destroying evil uncounted
Turning the dark army back, filled now with fears
And they thought the day was won.

But from the south came a rumbling noise
And evil power burst forth from opening crack
Up rose Atrox, the Fang that Destroys
And alongside him Greykin warriors, ready to attack.
And battle true was joined

For three days the slaughter stretched
Atrox the Butcher holding a high hill
On the sky words of death were etched
And for Toral his losses were a bitter pill
But for freedom it was worth it.

For on the fourth rising of the crimson sun
Atrox and Toral met on shattered ground
The Naga smote him to the earth and believed evil had won
Until a burst of white light did surround
And when it faded, Atrox had a blade of light in his neck.  

And Toral was no more.

The Folly of Toral – Extract from Komai Poems dealing with the war Edit

 
Toral of the Earth
Strong, and wise in his tactics
Was worthy of praise

Yet a foolish hope
Would bring him down to ruin
Along with the world

His love for the Kith
Blinded him to their treach’ry
And he could not see

For the Greykin’s slaves
Could not be liberated
And set free like Kind

For beasts are still beasts
And will stay loyal even
To a cruel master

And so it would be
That Toral came to the Neck
Hoping to find friends

Instead he was caught
By simpering well trained Kith
Loyal to the Snakes

Tortured and broken
Twisted and broken for them
While the Kith just laughed

Toral and the Kith – Extract from Dal’ilu’s Histories, from the Grand Library of the Highkin Edit

One strong point of contention and even danger for historians today is the Komai Dominion belief that the Kith as a whole betrayed the Kind in the last few years of the war. According to the Komai narrative, the Kith sought a subservient, but independent position under the Greykin in return for helping them to crush the invasion. There is little to no evidence of this, and the sources available from Tir sources indicate that on the contrary, the bulk of the liberationist forces were Kith.

Kin Lies and Lies – Official Response of Komai Dominion to the 9th edition of Dal’ilu’s Histories Edit

The Kin lie. They have always lied, from the moment their demon-god spawned them to infest this land. After all, it was the Kin who unleased the Snake Lords by delving for knowledge they had no right to. It was the Highkind in particular who hid behind strong walls and made deals with the Naga while allowing the Kith beasts to become corrupted and feral beneath the thumb of their Grey siblings. Do not listen to the lies that come from their Fire-damned mouths. Dal’ilu, the coward hiding in the Highkin’s temple fortress to the west claims that the Kith were the ones who fought back the Naga scum. This is only an attempt to play down the valiant sacrifices of our ancestors, and particularly those of Fir’koma, the greatest warrior and the perfect being, May He Find The Darkness And Destroy It.

The doctrine of the Kind is simple – we are the ones who liberated this world, and we did so because we alone have the capacity for purity and power. That is why the Dragons came to us, why they chose to bless some of our people with great power. The Kith are not evil, but simple – their minds cannot cope with choices of morality, and so need a strong hand to keep them pure.

The Wound of Falmak – Extract from Dal’ilu’s Histories, from the Grand Library of the Highkin Edit

The death of Toral sent a shockwave through the Kind invasion that would have far-reaching consequences. The Kind split their forces, those who had followed Toral and Artus retreating back to the north, behind the Stenan Wall. With them went most of the ‘Firstkind’ – the highly familial tribes of the first Kind to come through, and a good number of Kith, though by far a minority. The remnant were the most zealous followers, behind Fir’thul and Koma, now mistrustful of the Kith, and elevating their war of liberation into a holy war. They began to hit the Greykin hard, using overwhelming force, made incredibly mobile by virtue of the Dragons, to strike at weak points. Atrox was soon joined in death by many of the other Naga Lords, until only Lanxus, Fovea, and Falmak survived, the Greykin forced back to two strongholds - their central province, centered on Falmakis, and the peninsular to the east of the southern continent. The natural mountain barrier in addition to thick swampland meant that the peninsular Greykin were able to harry the Kind enough to be left alone while the army focused on Falmakis. The capitol of the Greykin Empire, with its magically-enhanced fortifications, held out for years against the besieging Kind.

The Empire attempted to continue to rule despite Falmakis' dilemma, relying on the Greykin knowledge of Planar Travel to maintain sites all across the southern continent, though none more significant than a small town. The result was that while the bulk of both forces were bound to the Capitol, small conflicts flared up all over the continent. It would be one of these 'minor' conflicts that would, ironically, end the war.

Extract from Song of the Firstkind – Epic Dating From The Dark Times – “The Whirlwind of Snake and Dragon” Edit

The fell walls of the snake-lord’s hold
Stood firm against the Kind’s great might
And while dark rites stained chamber floors cold
Fir’thul continued his family’s fight,
To finally destroy Falmak’s grip.

‘twas upon the now sea-covered shore
of old Star’s Landing
where, in great ages past before
there was a temple regal standing
for the Star-God’s home.

The sea lapped against black-sparkled sand
and icy mist enrobed the stone
when a great crack echoed wide across the land
and foul lights to the sky was throne
announcing the Naga Lord’s arrival.

Falmak sought power above all things
and the temple ground offered plenty.
He had brought riches fit for kings
and slaves for the sacrifice, four hundred twenty,
to steal the God’s power for himself.

Almost too late did noble Fir’thul hear of this deed
and called to Koma, in urgent shout
to the north did they fly with true speed
along with the one hundred, the full drake’s rout,
to stop the evil before it could begin.

The scene was horrific, the stuff of nightmares
blood spent in mile-wide circles
the stench of evil filled the air
and at the centre, in profane ground fertile
stood the Naga Lord, drinking in the power.

The stars themselves were pulled down
dragged to the ground in wicked rite
the greatest brought down and fixed like a crown
to the Naga Lord’s brow, no longer bright
but stained dark with innocent life.

The rout fell to their knees, spirits fallen
to know that they had failed.
The power of the Star-God was stolen,
 entrapped within a foul body scaled
and the Cradle was surely doomed.

Fir’thul stood, feet planted upon Koma’s back
fury in his eyes and sadness in his heart
he raised his blade, gave the command to attack
and with a thunderous sound, did his last battle start
for he knew he would not survive this fight.

The Lord of Scales rose, becoming a great storm of shadow and hate,
lashing at the rout with spears of venom
a rain of death which did not abate
And the riders fell, amid the cries of heaven.
Leaving Fir’thul alone, unaided against the darkness.

Hope was gone,
Light was gone,
Life was gone,
and Fir’thul had nothing left save Koma.
All was lost.

Falmak grew to blot out the sky itself,
fangs as glittering meteors,
and claws as wicked as death.
The land buckled, putrid waters rising
hissing laughter filling the ears of all mortals.
They fell to their knees, knowing this was the end.

Then within the darkness, a spark of light rose.
Fir’thul, atop Koma, his hands buried in the shadow
flesh burning away to bare bones
as he tried to take the star atop the Naga’s brow.

Fire burst, tearing the Prince apart,
as the star began to rip and tear away.
Dragon and rider were engulphed in light
and when it faded, there was a god.

Golden scales, wreathed in light
a Dragon’s head with human eyes.
It spoke in Fir’thul’s tones, with Koma’s power
and announced its birth to the universe:

“I am Fir’Koma. I am the Bulwark against your corruption, Falmak. I recognize you. And I defy you, servant of Tipoteshin.”

Fir’koma drew back, starfire roaring in His maw
the ground trembled and cracked.
Falmak drew away, red eyes wide in terror
but too late as golden chains wound around his back,
binding him to the Dragon-god.

The Cradle shook as titanic power did rage
no trading of blows between the Gods,
but a struggle of hate against outrage
and the universe protested,
cracking open above the pair.

Then they were gone, Naga and Dragon both
leaving behind the storm unending
and so this tale ends, fulling this bard’s oath
Another story is no doubt impending,
But it is time for this to close.