Jump to content

Footsteps From Diarazad

Recommended Posts

The following text was retrieved from a stasis box during the purge of Sucia Isle. It appears to have been written by a historian exploring the connections between the native ruins of the island and present-day Shaper culture. It expresses many dangerous theories and borderline rebellious tendencies. Were the author still alive, this inspector would recommend he not remain so for long.



In the time before the ringing of the bell, there was Sucia Isle. Fertile and plentiful in the south and treacherous but rich in the mountains of the north, the island presented a gleaming opportunity to the simpler folk of its day. The vast forests of the southwest housed their people, and the black, rich soil fed them. It was a bountiful time, one of calm nights and hardworking days.


They were a cultured and learned people, but they were shamanistic and spiritual. Writing and art rubbed shoulders with the spirits of their ancestors and the bones of the earth. Interestingly, there were many among them who had some talent for the art we call magic. For most it was simply a tool, another hand they used to till the earth or a community ritual to call the rains. Indeed, their connection to nature was impressive; from it they took the name of the Shaped Folk, as the world around them shaped them into people. Those who would come after would take the name as a bitter penance.


As with many cultures, years of prosperity led to conflicts. The wooden halls of the forests became a cradle the Shaped quickly outgrew, reaching outward with grasping fingers for expansion. The black soils that had fed their people were tired, and the woods were thinned. The shamans heard the groaning of the earth and warned that they could not stay. Instead, the Shaped looked northward. The north was drier, more prairie than forest then, but the game was rich and the foothills of the looming mountains provided them with stone for houses.


Even now, though, the Shaped paid homage to their roots; their stone halls were as straight and angular as the log dwellings they had built so many years before. Their shamans were still raincallers and crop healers and midwives, but a select few began to ponder how the Shaped themselves had taken the bones of the earth and shaped them in turn. It was not a large change, but a change that fell like a raindrop into an over-full reservoir, stretching and rippling out toward the inevitable.


It took one man, as these things often do, to send the water bursting from the dam. The story is not fully clear, but one shaman (who had pondered the stone over the earth perhaps overmuch) grew discontent. Perhaps if he had not been who he was, none of what would later transpire would come to pass. This mage was charismatic, ambitious, and talented. As many know, the confluence of these traits leads to great power- and great sorrow. He gathered followers and supplies, many livestock and seedling plants, and in his great challenge to the earth began to build the great City of Stone in the high peaks of Sucia Isle.


The years after his departure were wary, but peaceful. The Shaped grew their crops, learning from the shamans when to let the land lie and how to intermingle the fields to preserve them. Their stone dwellings remained humble, but happy.


In the northern City of Stone, the Mage and his followers vaulted themselves into glorious advancement. Tunnels under the mountains unearthed brilliant crystals, glowing with raw energy, and in their depths the Mage saw power. It took many long years, but what had been a rabble of shamans started on the path to unearthing true magic, energy instead of spirits, manipulation instead of existence. Some argue that their efforts marked the first true awakening of man to his potential as an agent of change. Others contend that it was the beginning of the end.


In an interesting aside, even now the Stone People hearkened back to their traditions. The wood could not be spared for pyres, and the soil was not deep enough for ground burials, so they took to constructing mausoleums and cairns and tombs, hewn out of the mountains around them. The poorer would be interred in mass halls of the dead, while more affluent individuals might have family tombs. For the leaders of the Stone City, including the Mage himself, the people wrought one of their most lasting works. In a secluded, quiet, shaded valley, they cut with pick and spell the first chambers and sarcophagi of their great necropolis. The legend of this place lived on in memory for millennia: the great halls of Diarazad, meaning “place of rest.” But I digress.


Nobody knows when the first living thing was Shaped in the sense we know it today. We are aware of some things. For example, due to their immense refinement, we know that fyora are the far-flung descendants of these Shapings, and we know that even the earliest records make them out to be at least two centuries older then them, but what we don't know is when exactly Shaping was discovered. Many believe it was the cunning of the leaders of the Stone People, or perhaps a bored apprentice, or a bolt of inspiration. “How” and “when” are nebulous, but “what,” what happened after, is a gruesome certainty.


The bountiful food and land of the south they had abandoned began to call to the people of the Stone City, with their thin soil and scarce game. More importantly, the power began to call to them, the knowledge that they were superior, that they in all their might could descend from on high to sweep the lesser beings from their holes in the dirt. Their desire grew, hiding behind imagined slights and hateful jokes. And then, one summer evening, it broke loose.


They came like a storm from the north. Their delvings had armed them with bronze and iron, and their studies had armed them with something even deadlier- magic. When they descended upon the soft peoples of the plains, the carnage was unimaginable. Within hours their largest settlement was looted, sacked, and burned under lightning and magefire. The atrocities of that day are too terrible even for me to convey.


That would have been the end of it if the Shaped Folk had retreated. Unfortunately, that was not to be the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...