The following are a pair of my guild's lore stories, written immediately following the Bael'Zharon saga,
in a time where the complexities of the Hopeslayer's true identity were first being revealed, and
many struggled to incorporate the sympathetic nobility of Ilservian Palacost's (the Hopeslayer's human
name before becoming the shadow demon) into their Derethian philosophies. My guild took on the
role of those who would suddenly become allied with the Shadows, BZ's followers, realizing the errors
of having so quickly assumed Bael'Zharon to be so inherently evil.
The first was written by my vassal, Mirakh, in contemplation of my latest character swap, and choosing
to combine these two events thematically, as if the revelations of Bael'Zharon's inner decency
had forced my change. We both had a bit of fun with our own dramatized game personas.
The second was the response I, as "Vellayn," wrote in Mirakh's book, which we copied and gave to the rest
of our monarchy, in the hopes that they would also contribute. Only these two have survived.
These were written some time ago. I don't even begin to promise any sort of quality.
It's just fun to see the "lorebie" fanfiction in action.
"Light or Darkness"
Reader, know this:
I first began my life upon Dereth an archer under the leadership of Vellayn Ka'las. I arrived on Dereth with only the notion of honing my skill with the bow. I'd known in my time another archer named Rachna; he was a very dedicated archer, but he lacked the teaching wisdom of others' experience. I set out with a heightened awareness of myself than Rachna, but eventually I myself fell victim to ignorance, and I began to relearn my weapon once more, from the beginning.
Even as I began heeding a new school of instruction, another who shared my goals arrived upon Dereth.
Vellayn Seraph, the angelic figure, and warrior of the light.
Vellayn Seraph progressed so quickly as to seem to have the wisdom of several at his disposal . . . but for the beginning of his career, when he stepped onto the field of battle, he worked his skills alone. To some he almost was an angel, striking down the beasts of Dereth with a determination that never faltered.
It was after Vellayn Seraph had progressed far beyond myself that he began to turn his attention to the greater scheme of things. He found stories of a time far before either of us had arrived on Dereth, and began absorbing its knowledge. This was the time of the persecution of the Dericost, and of the revolt of Ilservian Palacost. Then, he began to consider its content. He then arrived at a very strange, very definite conclusion.
He knew he belonged with the darkness.
Before this radical change in allegiance, I had served in the monarchy of Vellayn Ka'las, and inherently fought subject to the Code of Pwyll. I followed the Code, but I never really found myself very strongly aligned with fighting for the light . . . or the darkness.
Curious, I researched the same texts that Vellayn Seraph had read. Though I must admit, upon first glance I found them a bit confusing, I found that there was no black-and-white difference between the forces of light and darkness; nothing was as I expected. . . .
But one thing was certain. I knew that I had to choose a side and fight in its name.
Fight as I have before, under the Code of Pwyll, and the light, alongside the forces of Asheron Realaidain.
Or, fight for darkness--for Ler Rahn, caretaker of the Shadow Children, and for Ilservian Palacost, the hero who fought for the injustly starved of Daralet.
Both bear witness to causes worthy of fighting for, but it would be impossible for me to be divided between the two for all time. One who swears allegiance to another must be aligned with their ideals.
Therefore, I have made my choice.
Henceforth I shall fight in the name of darkness, alongside my elder Vellayn Seraph!
May my new master accept my loyal service to him in eternal darkness. Let no light be cast upon us. Let none of the light stand in our way. We are as Ler Rahn underlings, we are children of the
darkness. . . .
For now . . . and always.
by Vellayn Seraph
Indeed, my life and journey through the lands of Dereth has been a strange one.
When I first arrived upon this world, I immediately developed a very strong affinity for the noble figures of my Isparian predecessors. Among these stood the preeminent figure of Thorsten Cragstone--the warrior who defeated the True Queen of the Olthoi and freed his people, bringing them into the light of day once more.
I immediately wanted to fight as he had fought--loyal to the throne of Pwyll.
As Mirakh had here noted, before departing this world, I found the Code of Pwyll among the texts in the city of Cragstone , and subjected myself and my followers to its rule.
So amusing to me now... There were those who would follow me then, despite my ignorance. Perhaps I deceived them with my illusions of enlightenment.
But the road was far from traveled yet. Indeed, I had taken only my first steps.
In time, I grew and learned more of this strange land, taking on the proud name of Vellayn Ka'las. With my experiences came my greater aspiration for enlightenment.
Long before reconsidering the teachings of Pwyll, however, I now followed it more zealously than ever.
For every subject that would come under my leadership, the whole of Infinity's Edge--the name for my ragged band--would gather at Cragstone's majestic falls, and swear their loyalty both to me and to the throne of Pwyll, King of Aluvia.
For a while, it all seemed so clear.
But clarity was an illusion created of ignorance. The world, as I saw it then, was a thing of absolutes--there was light, and there was darkness. It seemed only logical to follow the light.
It was during this era that I did the most of my dealings with Nyxa Darkangel. However leery I was of her strange tendencies towards the darkness, I needed her guidance and her instruction. In time, with the wisdom and the instruction, so too did I glean a new philosophy.
I remember the grim scene so well...
One day, in our travels together, we came upon a statue of the Hopeslayer, Bael'Zharon. I shuddered to look at it, deifying the winged creature as it stood amidst a mountainous pile of gore and human remains. Indeed, the sky itself seemed aware of this ghastly scene, and reflected its unease with the rumbles of thunder and the flashes of light.
What Nyxa did then both appalled and intrigued me.
Unafraid, she walked amidst the bones, right to the base of the statue, and knelt before it.
Wild with fear, I urged Nyxa then away from this place. I tried to escape the realizations that were coming over me, and hide amidst my denial that she, truly, served the darkness.
"My master," she had whispered to that horrific statue.
At the time, I spat upon it, driven to anger from my fear.
But I knew then and I know now that that scene had changed me--awakened within me some driving curiosity.
Ever eager to push on and forget this event, I continued for months, swinging my sword and muttering back the statutes of the Code of Pwyll. The words had lost all meaning within my mouth.
I wonder now if my followers could sense this change within me. I had started to withdraw from them, helping however I could, but interested only in returning to my thoughts and my solitude.
I tried to occupy my mind with exploration and questing, but it was to no avail.
Soon after, however, I found the pastime that finally satisfied my aching mind.
I traveled from town to town, visiting the libraries, buying up whatever ancient texts I could find, conversing with their translators. I asked my friends and allies to share with me any books or parchments they could find. In a state of preoccupied reclusion, I sat and I read--for weeks.
I read about the world around me, learning that there was more to Dereth's history than Olthoi and dead Isparians. I learned that there was more to Auberean than simply Dereth. What I read astounded me.
Many of the texts began to stir in my mind the same sensation that I had felt that day at the statue. I knew what that sensation was then--it had been longing.
I read about the Zharalim, an order so intriguing, despite its troubling history. I read about the Shadows, and the things they had done upon this world before my arrival. I read with a newfound avarice as I came upon the texts telling of Shadow Spires and the dark temptation of my fellow Isparians. It was unsettling to read, truly, but somehow so intriguing!
Then I read of poor Hamud. His story would not have been so troubling had it not been for the rather heartbreaking note he left behind for his daughter as he faded away into madness. He, a former member of the Zharalim, was becoming a shadow! I had never known such a thing to be possible...
Though I was deeply enthralled by all that I read of the Shadows and their past, I could not have possibly been prepared for the tremendous epiphanies that were still to come.
Before I tell of these epiphanies, however, allow me to briefly preface them with the story of my past dealings with Bael'Zharon.
My arrival in this world coincided with his release from his captivity in the soulstones. I heard that black laughter on the wind, rushing from Ithaenc. I felt the shudder that went over the world as he was pulled free. I felt the fear that all of my fellow Isparians felt in that moment, and I felt it doubly as the world was still so very new to me. Quickly and with rather great ignorance, I accepted Asheron as my protector and Bael'Zharon as my enemy.
My youth afforded me no ability in combating this nemesis, but I did what I could to help organize my fellow Isparians into groups to defeat him.
I remember seeing the Chosen of Asheron appearing on that beach in Cragstone, and seeing it as the messenger of God. Foolishly, I deified Asheron.
I ran as fast as I could from that place, holding as many of Asheron's Missives as I could carry, distributing them to anyone who was willing to help in the fight against the "Hopeslayer."
I joined with the large fellowships, speaking with authority to their leaders, hearing their orders and relaying them to their groups. Despite my youth, my spirit was firm and I commanded the fellowships to their quests.
I remember looking on with wonder as these horrifying alliances were formed. The Shadows--Bael'Zharon's own followers--had lost a faction to treason. The Virindi sought to remove this dark catalyst. And the Undead strove to put down once and for all the foe they had once tried so hard to contain.
In those months, anything seemed possible to me. The Virindi, the Shadows, and the Undead, I reasoned, were probably not so bad of creatures. Little did I know of the complexities in each of their motivations.
I rejoiced as he was defeated. I sent my congratulations to Bael'Zharon's slayer, and lamented the distance that Asheron would once more take from the world. I had spoken to Elysa's Advocates so many times, begging to speak to Asheron--to swear my allegiance to him--to become one of his pupils. Asheron, my sort of god, had defeated the Hopeslayer, and saved us all.
And that was all that Bael'Zharon meant to me then. A sadistic demon who roamed the land in the name of destruction.
So many assumptions I had made...
...All of them were torn asunder by my research in those weeks.
Suddenly, I learned of the true story of Bael'Zharon. I learned of the man he had once been.
I wanted to weep as I learned the story of Ilservian Palacost.
I hadn't understood why Asheron seemed so quick to excuse Bael'Zharon. He told us all not to hate him, but I had never known why.
It was only now that I understood. All that I knew came reeling around until, full circle, it all stared at me, having finally clarified.
Ilservian was a man transformed by his hatred. His hatred, I learned, was almost completely justifiable. He was a father, a proud man amongst a people who were being robbed of all their dignity and all their civil liberty. He was struggling in vain against a hideous oppression that was shaming and starving his people. Oppression that was starving his children.
I realized that Ilservian was a man who had watched his own son die--so innocently and so nobly. The tale was heartbreaking. I nearly wept to read it all.
As I learned of the tragedy that had befallen him, however, I was suddenly able to appreciate the hatred that had swept over him.
I felt that hatred along with him, as if hearing the echoes of his tormented cries even this long thereafter, begging for his son's life.
I felt the anger swelling, slowly maddening me as I read of his expulsion from Daralet, to the words of the nobles saying "You brought this on yourselves," and "It is for your own good."
I felt all that he felt, reading of his coming times and transformations. I felt the bittersweet chills of the friendship displayed by his lieutenants, Ferah, Isin Dule, and Ler Rhan.
And, most certainly, I felt all of the anger swell within me as I read of his screaming in anger into the darkness of night. In that moment, I screamed along with him
Along with him, I became the shadow. I became one of the brethren of this darkness. I smiled grimly to read of the Yalaini's gruesome death at Ilservian's hand.
"The proud," he wrote upon their walls, with their blood, "shall know damnation."
It was all so clear to me now.
Despite the madness of Bael'Zharon, within him had lived a proud, noble, and tortured man. Asheron himself said it perfectly in his words to the Isparians:
"Think kindly on Ilservian, if you can. Who among you can claim that your grief should be less?"
And I empathized with the black madness of that demon. I recoiled in horror upon remembering the name of Isin Dule as one who opposed him. I shuddered at the captivity the Undead had placed upon him, furthering his frustration unimaginably. And worst, worst by far of all...
...I wanted to weep upon learning what it was the wretched undead had used to weaken Bael'Zharon.
"The skull of Avoren Palacost, the son of Ilservian. The skull of a child of Daralet."
At this moment, upon this final infuriating and heartbreaking epiphany, I was born into the darkness. I hoped then that my anger, my sorrow, and my sheer will could be felt resonating across the land just as Ilservian's once had.
And thus, I was made into Vellayn Seraph, studying both combat and philosophy under Nyxa Darkangel. I was now an angel of the darkness as well. A seraph dedicated to the memory of Avoren, of the Dericost...
...of Ilservian, the noble redeemer.
My withdrawal from my group was now nearly absolute. I did not expect them to follow my absolute reversal in ethics. I did not trust that they would be able to look upon this world's past as I had, and see the tragedy and beauty of its darkness.
I felt that no one would understand this darkness, and that I should not expect them to. I held no malice for my former followers, but I knew that we would no longer be the idealistic band we had once been.
This transformation, truly, marked the end of Infinity's Edge.
I thank you now, Nyxa, for teaching me in these ways...and I thank you as well, Mirakh, for standing by me during the greatest of my fears and uncertainties.
Though the greatest events in my tale end here, this does not mark the end of the trials of this soul.
No, the journey then was far from over, and would still come to be shaped by people and things that I could never have imagined.
I now drop the pen so that others might pick up where I have left off