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The Burning of the World

Hello, my friends. Flavian Duchas here again. It has been cold in my cell these past few days and my captors have been most gracious in allowing me quill and parchment to continue my work. I can hear the birds singing and children laughing from my perch so high in this tower, but alas the window is high above my head and I cannot see outside. I suppose I must be grateful for the little things I do have. When last I wrote of the history of our world, I had sketched out its beginnings by reviewing the story of the Origin of the World.

I regret that the Church took issue with my writing, but there is little I can do to change their decision now. So instead let us continue with the Burning of the World. The Ancients had a great deal to say about the issue, much of which the Church in its infinite wisdom has seen fit to censor or outright ban. However, in the lands beyond the Church’s reach, this practice is not so common and I had the opportunity to read a great deal about the Burning of the World that I had not known before.

The events surrounding the Burning of the World have been greatly colored by the Church so that it becomes almost something of a ritual drama. I’m sure you know the story by heart. The Titan returns to Deseray after countless eons and finds Its creation lacking. And so It begins to cleanse the world so that It may start anew. But the people of Deseray rebel, fighting the Titan rather than submit to Its wishes or repent for their perceived lack and proceed to destroy Its forces, casting It back into the endless void between the stars. Now It bides Its time, planning one day to return and reclaim Its creation. When It does, It will take the measure of every soul and judge who will live or die when It finally succeeds in shaping the world once more.

This is the dogma of the Church. Repent or the Titan will use your body and soul to fuel Its impossible machines as it remakes the world! But the story must be recognized for what it is. A ritual drama, not history. A play whose acts lead toward a moral which is hammered into the minds of the faithful. But it is important to remember that the story is based on actual events not parables, events which don’t always make it into the Church’s doctrine in the first place. So to get a fuller understanding of the Burning of the World, we must delve into the firsthand accounts of the people who lived it. Yes my friends, there are firsthand accounts. Many in fact!

Let us start with Lord Teconowan. Teconowan was a great warrior king who ruled in the lands of the Jibu, colloquially called the Dark Earth. Jibu by blood, Teconowan was wise in the ways of war and statecraft and ruled with a fair but firm grasp. The name of his kingdom has been lost to time, but fragments remain of his account of the event we call the Burning of the World. He says thus:

In my court, there came a great howling of despair as the wisest of the seers tore their shirts and pulled out their hair. Disaster, they shrieked! Now comes Titan of old! Three moons’ time before the Dark Earth burns under Its spiteful gaze!

I was greatly troubled by their words. The Ancient Shaper of Deseray, Somorat, coming to judge Its creation. What could be done? What should be done? I had no answers then. I still have no answers.

In this harried state, Teconowan sent a summons to the Kings and Queens of nearby lands and to his dismay, their trusted wise men had also had such visions. What was to be done? They convened on a mountain called Wukonda in the southernmost reaches of Teconowan’s kingdom. There they bickered and argued for a long time. No one had any clue what to do about this. Their Creator was returning. This should have been wonderful news. But the terrible visions of the seers! Rivers of blood and burning skies and mountains crumbling! What judgement was to befall them? We know what happens next. A Herald of the Titan appears to the gathered rulers on Mount Wukonda. The Herald, which called itself Deuterosyntax, came with a dire message. Here it is according to Teconowan.

The messenger came, in a light that shone brighter than the sun god. It descended from the belly of the sky to us, holding a rod in its right hand and a tablet in its other. Its face was obscured. Some claimed that it had no face but it was too bright for me know for certain.

“Do not fear me,” it said. “I am Deuterosyntax and I bring a message from Somorat. This world has changed. It has changed too much. Man has not done what has been asked. Skirminoan has not done what has been asked. Ether Beasts have not done what has been asked. This has gone on for too long. Now it is time for reset. Somorat will bring world designate: Deseray back to start setting.”

“What does this mean? What will happen to us when Somorat comes?” asked a consort to Queen Yelana. The messenger pointed its rod at the consort and vanished him from the world in a flash of fire.

“Do not interrupt,” Deuterosyntax spoke. “Somorat has made the decision. In the spirit of mercy, you will have three days to grieve the loss of your self-life and your world-life. After this, the reset will begin.”

Then the infamous Three Kings of legend arose. They were master warriors and expert spell casters and in their anger they challenged the Herald of Somorat to a fight. For the rest of the day, the Three Kings used every magic spell and divine protection they could muster and many died in the crossfire, but ultimately the Herald could not be killed. The bodies of the Kings were taken by the flying servants of the Herald back to the sky. It is from this passage that the Church has shaped its doctrine regarding magic and the forbidding of its practice. True power must come from Somorat, they say. Not from the petty gods of this world, not from the deep well of the soul, not from the dark spirits of the underworld or the void of the heavens, but from Somorat and Somorat alone.

Obviously this account is much different than the story as told to us by the Church. Teconowan and the other kings and queens leave the mountain and return to their lands and indeed, three days after the Herald spoke, the sky darkened and a light was seen in the heavens as if a great fire had been lit. The Titan had come. Very little survives from the time of the Titan’s return, but Teconowan and his contemporaries offer us glimpses. When the first waves of the Titan’s servants descended from the heavens, they brought with them flying chariots as large as palaces. With sweet voices they beckoned the people to come inside and join them in the light of the Titan.

This was the first wave of the human genocide. Many thousands were taken that first day. To where, no one knew. Even the seers dared not look for fear of what they would find. It wasn’t long before the fighting began in earnest. The most powerful kingdoms and empires of the world struck first, using every resource, magical or mundane, in their possession to blow the Titan’s servants out of the sky. The Titan’s forces changed from peaceful to violent all at once across the world it seemed. The palace sized chariots grew more war-like in behavior and appearance, destroying the potent defenses of the great empires of the world with relative ease. The Skirminoans were the next to rebel. They saw what the Titan was doing and knew they would be next in short order.

And so the great navies and sea-infantry of the once mighty but still formidable Skirminoan nations surfaced and took the fight to the Titan’s forces, landing in key locations all across Deseray. The wars, of which there were many, lasted for years. Many a great empire were dashed to pieces. Many great works of art and architecture were lost. Many great thinkers and scholars were killed or taken. This was one of the darkest times in all of history. It was not until the Wounded Saint herself appeared and offered us salvation from the Titan’s fury that the burning ended and peace returned. For a short while, anyway.

Even today the scars of the Titan’s return still remain. The Church urges us to repent, for the Titan will return some day. Then Its great work will be complete and Deseray and those that crawl on its new surface will be unrecognizable to us. This is a thrilling proposition to many who follow the Church’s creed, but to me it is a bit unpalatable. Not that my opinion matters all that much. No one will read this. Perhaps it is better, for if the Church got wind of it I’m sure they would come up with some new punishment to inflict on me.

If some day I behave well enough to receive more parchment, I will continue my work, detailing the Salvation of the World and the coming of the Wounded Saint Nerissa from the ocean depths. Until then, I will enjoy the sound of the birds and try not to think of the itch around my shackled ankles.

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