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User:PanSola/The hidden history behind the One Year War and the Exodus

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It's been said that history is written by the winners. Sometimes, however, it is also erased by the winners. After Varesh's Nightfall, a new generation of winners has emerged, writing their history. I would like to take this privilege as a winner to explore a different segment of history, a segment which those we call Gods erased when they won a war hidden from our knowledge.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Gandara archives, Prince Mehtu the Wise and the entire staff of the Holdings of Chokhin, the Great Library of Kryta, the Imperial Archives of Cantha, the Order of the Sunspears, the Order of Whispers, the Order of the Sky, and the Sea of Sorrows Scuba Diving Guild. Each of them has kindly allowed me access to ancient manuscripts (or fragments of) in their possession to piece together what truly happened eleven hundred years ago. A few of the Forgotten who wish to remain unnamed also helped in recounting some stories, even if some parts of their memories were foggy.

I do not claim everything I write here is fully accurate. There's too little primary sources that survived from that era, and many often contradict each other or cannot be deciphered. I simply do what I can to put forth a coherent picture. Only the Goddess of Truth would ever know what really went on.

- Sourea of Vabbi, independent scholar

The hidden history behind the One Year War and the Exodus[edit | edit source]

Margonites: The Original[edit | edit source]

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The old Margonites were a highly advanced seafaring civilization. They had extensive knowledge of astronomy and mathematics, second only to the Custodians. They even independently developed the study of ethereal numbers (they called it "imaginary numbers") before magic and ether were bestowed upon the world! A number of mathematical theorems and astronomical claims from ancient Margonite texts are still being studied by the Order of the Sky even today. These knowledge gave the old Margonites an upper-hand in the open sea, and their fleet controled the Unending Ocean without contest.

It should not be surprising then, that just as we Vabbians are devoted to Mistress Lyssa and the House zu Heltzer pays patronage to Dwayna, that the Margonites should be devoted to the then-God of Water and Knowledge, Abaddon.

Magic: The Bestowing[edit | edit source]

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After the Custodians have retreated from the world of men, and became forgotten, the Margonites were left unchallenged as the most advanced civilization. Since their sole concern was the sea, the Margonites only established scattered colonies along the coasts of Elona, without challenging the rules of the land-based kingdoms and empires of that era.

Being the most advanced civilization led the Margonites yearn for an even loftier goal. That's right, they attempted Ascension, much as our own hero, Turai Ossa had done at the peak of his glory. The Margonites set sail for the Crystal Sea, the precursor of today's Crystal Desert. In the shallower regions of the sea, the Margonites took the greater of their ships that would have stranded in the sand, and erected mighty towers out of them, hoping to climb their way into the heavens and achieve Ascension.

Unfortunately, the Margonites did not realize that Ascension is achieved by overcoming trials to prove one's worthiness, as opposed to physically climbing their way to the heavens. The gods sent their trusty servants, the Forgotten Ones, to test the Margonites.

Perhaps the Margonites were crippled by the loss of converting the greatest ships in their fleet into towers. Perhaps they were caught off guard. Perhaps their advanced civilization was simply still not a match against the wisdom and knowledge held by the Forgotten Ones. In any event, the Margonites were overwhelmed and scattered, and for each direction a surviving group of Margonites scatter to, two fleets of Forgotten warships pursued. The Margonites who sailed for their homeports simply ended up leading the Forgotten there, so that even those who stayed behind and did not attempt Ascension became involved in the Gods' trial.

Jadoth was one Margonite who lost his home to the Forgotten, and ended up sailing into the Crystal Sea for refuge. As all the original Margonites had already been chased away, that was perhaps indeed the safest place anyone could hope to hide. Unfortunately, it was still not safe enough. On the fifty-first day into his hiding, the Forgotten fleets discovered him. In absolute despair and hopelessness, he called upon the patron god of his people, Abaddon, to grant him the power to smite his enemies.

Abaddon heard Jadoth' his prayers, and granted him magic powerful enough to overcome the fleet of Forgotten warships. Jadoth was the first of Abaddon's Chosen, and was later regarded to be the first of the real Margonites (not only was he a follower of Abaddon, but Abaddon also acknowledged him). Jadoth's brethren soon also received Abaddon's gift. The new Margonites, with their powerful magic, were able to resist and beat back the Forgotten. However, not understanding the purpose behind the trial the gods set for them, the Margonites lost interest in Ascension, and instead reveled in the magical powers their Lord Abaddon bestowed upon them.

The One Year War[edit | edit source]

After Abaddon granted magic to the Margonites, the other gods were worried that the balance of power might be destroyed. The other gods pressured Abaddon to make magic also available to the other sentient races in the world, so that all may benefit.

Abaddon was very displeased with the other gods busting into his domain (as he also became the God of Magic), but could not withstand against the pressure of the other five gods. To protest and to spite the other gods, Abaddon handed out the gift of magic without discretion: from the Forgotten to the barely sentient, from wise rulers and selfless healers to ambitious bandits and murderous lunatics.

While the balance of power was preserved as no race or nation had an upper-hand in magic, the result was not determent, but rather mutual destruction. The overly ambitious and the fanatic do not worry themselves with the potential of retaliations, they just need to strike hard and fast. Families, factions, nations, and races with blood feuds cared not for their own causalities, as long as they could strike a critical blow at their sworn enemies. Soon skirmishes, battles, and outright slaughters of devastating magnitudes erupted throughout the world.

Within a year, the human race found themselves on the brink of total annihilation. The other races were not faring much better either. And so it came to pass that, as was prophesised in the Scriptures of Dwayna, Doric V. made the long journey to Arah, and asked the gods to intervene, less all became destroyed. Dwayna took pity on the weak, Balthazar was enraged at the dishonorable slaughter taking place, Melandru was saddened by the desolation wrought by terrible magic battles, and Grenth was grouchy with the sudden explosive increase of workload he had to deal with. Abaddon argued that the mortals should live (or die) with the consequences of their own actions. Mistress Lyssa furrowed her brow, stared into the south east, lost in thought.

In the end, against the dissent of Abaddon, the council of gods decided to divide up the power of magic. The gods gathered up all the magic in the world, trapped it inside a tall stone, and smashed it into five pieces. Four of the pieces embodied the four different schools of magic: aggression, denial, destruction, and preservation. The fifth piece is a keystone, required to reassemble the other four. The powers of magic still emanate from those stones, but the powers are divided, and nowhere near as powerful as before. This event was also known as the Great Magic Nerf. The stones were furthermore sealed with the blood of Doric V., then they were dropped off into a volcano named after the disgruntled god of magic, Abaddon.

With the devastating power of magic greatly diminished, the pace of war slowed significantly, often reaching a stalemate. Soon fighting ceased almost world wide (except for occasional minor skirmishes), and what became known as the One Year War was considered to have ended.

Margonites: The Next Generation[edit | edit source]

Before the Exodus, on the shores of the Crystal Sea in northern Elona, there was a pocket of water, a bay of sorts, that had some mystic properties. The details were lost to time, but the Pocket, as it was called, was a very spiritual place, and the old Margonites constructed a temple dedicated to the six gods there.

After the gods forced Abaddon to share the gift of magic, Abaddon gathered the Margonites at the Pocket, and presented himself as a victim of the other five gods. Abaddon told his followers that the other gods feared the Margonites might wield their powerful magic against the other civilizations in the world, and if the Margonites achieved world dominance they would then be able to threaten the gods. And so, Abaddon said, the gods ordered him to share the gift of magic with all the unworthy civilizations in the world, even though it was originally intended as a special gift to the Margonites. While the Margonites at that time lacked ambition of conquests and expansionism, they were proud and their ego easily inflated, and felt slighted by the other 5 gods after hearing what Abaddon had to say.

During the One Year War, the Margonites kept a low profile, and stayed out of direct conflict with their neighbors. Most of the time they just sailed away when somebody came looking for trouble, and quietly return to their homes when the enemy left to fight someone else. They bade their time and savoured their strength, in preparation for an upcoming conflict prophesised by their Lord Abaddon.

The Margonites no longer had an edge in the use of magic. Additionally, the god of knowledge had a good idea of how the metagame of the world would soon be balanced. He instructed the Margonites to stop depending on magic, but to train their bodies instead. Then beginning with Jadoth, he began giving the physically trained Margonites a new gift: fusing their flesh with the essence of the Mists that crystallized in the Pocket, and transforming them into a new race! Not all Margonites were strong enough to survive the process, but those who did gained tremendous power with their new bodies. This marked the beginning of a totally new generation of Margonites, redrawing a distinction after magic were granted to other sentient beings in the world.

The War in the Pocket[edit | edit source]

After King Doric made his petition in Arah, Abaddon was summoned back for council. And while the other gods overruled his objection against splitting the schools of magic, everything was actually going according to how Abaddon had expected the gods to act. Without waiting for the Bloodstones to be dropped into the volcano named after him, he left and gathered up his transformed Margonites. Citing that the other gods has once again crossed the line and stepped into his domain, Abaddon used it as an excuse and led the Margonites into war against the five gods and their followers. At that time the Margonites were in the middle of one of their mini-exoduses to avoid conflict with other races, and the first step of their campaign was to recapture the Pocket and the temple that resided there.

Dwayna and Mistress Lyssa were the quickest to react. The two goddesses swiftly led armies of Forgotten troops (who for the most part also stayed away from conflicts during the One Year War) to held the temple. However, it was right after the Great Magic Nerf, which nobody except the Margonites had expected, and much of the Forgotten were running caster builds that were no longer viable. On the other hand, the Margonites had advanced insider information regarding the balance changes, ran melee-oriented builds that no one would have bothered to bring counters for before the nerf, and possessed bodies toughened by the essence of the Mists. The combined forces of Dwayna and Mistress Lyssa were badly routed by Abaddon's Margonite army.

The reason Abaddon wanted the Pocket was because the walls between this world and the Mists was the weakest there. If he could tear down those walls, he would be able to lead his Margonites into the Rift, and if he gained dominance in the Rift, then he would have sufficient power to overthrow the other five gods and claim supremacy for himself. While Abaddon readied himself with the ritual, his Margonite army went on a rampage in the region around the Pocket, defacing statues of the other five gods, slaughtering every other living being in their way, while performing live sacrifices on the rest to give their dark lord more power. Perhaps, with their physical transformation, their minds and souls became distorted in the process. The humans, centaurs, nagas, and other races had barely begin to recover from the devastation of the One Year War, and stood no chance in opposing the onslaught. The Margonite army became known as the Horde of Darkness to the Forgotten, for the absolute destruction that followed wherever they go.

Eventuallly, the retreating forces of Dwayna and Mistress Lyssa met up with Melandru, Grenth, Balthazar, as well as the mightiest host of Forgotten that ever slithered the earth. To compensate for their physical weakness, the Forgotten used their arcane arts to enchant lifeless suits of armor to fight alongside them. Finally, five mighty dragons completed the retinue of the five gods.

What followed was probably the greatest battle this world would ever see, and things happened so quick it was over in three days. Entire landscapes changed simply due to armies marching over it. The entire Crystal Sea turned into desert, new mountain ranges were formed where there used to be valleys, rocks were ground into sand, and sand were stomped into earth. Finally, at the very location where the Temple of Pocket stood, Balthazar smote down Abaddon. There was so much hatred in Abaddon by then, that as Balthazar dealt him the final blow, the malevolence overflowed out of Abaddon's being, poisoning the land around it, and created the Desolation.

With Abaddon out of the picture, the host of the gods soon defeated the remaining Margonite resistances. To prevent any legacy of Abaddon's evil from corrupting the world, the gods quarantined any survivors who had been tainted by Abaddon's influence into a location in the Mists, near where Abaddon was imprisoned. Balthazar, god of fire, personally forged the great chains that bounded Abaddon in place. Finally, the gods erased all monuments, scriptures, and other references of Abaddon in the world that they could find, leaving just an obscure volcano that housed the Bloodstones.

And so ended the War in the Pocket.

The Exodus and the Aftermath[edit | edit source]

After the five remaining gods had covered up the remaining traces of Abaddon, they grew weary, as well as having been alerted to their vulnerability living in Arah in this mortal world. And so they departed in what we called the Exodus of the Gods.

The poison that Abaddon left in the Desolation could not be cleaned up, and it ever tries to spread itself. To its north west, the purifying powers of the Crystal Desert keeps it at bay, burning away the evil. The mountain ranges east and west of the Desolation also confined the movement of the poison, and the Desolation has already claimed as much as it will ever be able to in those directions. However, to its south east there is nothing blocking its way, and in a few hundred more years, it may seep into the heart of Kourna. We can only hope that with Abaddon truly destroyed, the will that drove the malice will be no more, which may still the expansion of the poison, or even allow it to dissipate.

It was easy to remove traces of the War in the Pocket, as the Horde of Darkness left no survivors to tell tales, except for the victorious host of the five gods. However, for the gods to remove all traces of Abaddon's existence, and to even prevent those who had always known the existence of the outcast god from passing on that knowledge, showed that the gods at that time had very tight control over the theology taught by the churches. It was also an indication of the extent of devastation wrought by the One Year War which greatly disrupted the teaching of knowledge, and allowed a new generation to be easily taught something quite different from their parents or grandparents (most of whom are dead).

And so, for the better part of the past eleven hundred years, details of the history surrounding the Exodus of the Gods have been successfully kept away from us.