In the Beginning
In the beginning, there was nothing. Nothing except The Highfather. His power roamed the Void for untold ages, searching for anything that was not of himself. After failing in this quest, his sanity was shattered to the core when it led to the formation of his first real thought: "Why am I alone?" Everything that ever was or shall ever be, from beginning to end, passed through his mind in that very moment. The very Void itself responded to his query and answered.
Within that instant, the The Highfather experienced all things, and as a result, a semblance of himself was put into the world he envisioned; for what good is creating life, if one is not there to enjoy the fruits? This new being called himself Uniithren. The Highfather's insanity was put into him, and just as the Highfather's insanity created all things, Uniithren's insanity created two new Gods who were given other traits of the Highfather's shattered mind, Peace and Deception. Only they and the Highfather know their true names. Immediately after this, Uniithren created a place where they could gather together, and populated it with even more creatures to escape his ever-present fear and anxiety of being alone.
While Uniithren set himself about the new world creating and changing things, Peace and Deception, who have since come to be called Monist and Svast in the Common Tongue of Mortals, began enacting their own plans. Whereas Monist held a great fondness for life, Svast enjoyed puzzles of logic and trickery. At first, they were not entirely at odds with one another, but Monist would occasionally show up when Svast, who lacked the same love of mortals, went too far with his games or experiments. Though he was lacking in one area, Svast had something that Monist did not have. He had ambitions and desires for himself, where Monist was selfless. Each game, every experiment on the mortals, began to have a singular purpose. He twisted and mutilated some of them, creating new races. Others, he wiped out and destroyed, erasing them from history entirely. The mortals, though they couldn’t have stopped him regardless, didn’t even try to defend themselves. Fighting was a foreign concept to them, who all loved one another freely and openly through Monist’s guidance. Monist’s instincts were to protect, however. It was for the very reason that her nature was rooted in Peace, that she found herself compelled to make a stand for those who could not defend themselves against Svast. Thus, ironically, it was the Goddess of Peace who initiated the first fight in Miithronia.
At first, they were unsure how to even proceed with the fight. They didn’t know how to harm one another, or even if it was possible at all. Monist did have the power to stop Svast from harming mortals, though. It was through no small effort on Svast’s part that he remained like a constant plague and threat in the world. He wasn’t sure if he could be killed, or if Monist was capable of doing it were it possible, so it was not as though he was free from risk. It was simply that his ambition drove him forward and allowed him to overcome his own reservations about what he was doing. Every last part of him needed and craved his end goal like it was an addiction. Though he would have it at any cost, even gods have their limits. Dividing his attention between Monist and the various things he was doing to the mortals pushed him to those limits, and slowly but surely, he began to wear down. As Svast required more and more of his power to stave off Monist’s attacks, he became less and less active in the day to day lives of the lesser beings. Over time, they began returning to a state of peace. Finally, there came a time when Monist began appearing to all of the mortals and proclaiming victory. Svast had been defeated, and retreated away from Miithronia into a new realm he had created. From the throne of his new world, however, he could still observe the old one. Though his nature was to deceive others, he himself was immune to deception in those days. His defeat had been a calculated risk. Now, here where he was safe to regain his strength, he saw the truth of Monist that was still invisible to the others. Though her actions had been selfless, his defeat had made her feel pride. It was at that very moment her selflessness began to wither away. These new feelings would eat away at the very thing that made her whole. By the time he had gathered enough of his strength to return to that world, her flaws would make her easier to deal with and control. The world as a whole would suffer for it.
Miithronia experienced a second age of peace in those days. Right after the fight was ended, Monist required rest the same as Svast. She had a little strength left in her, however. She saw that she could not leave the mortals unattended while she slumbered. She toiled away at her new work while years and years swept by in Miithronia for the mortals. When she was finally finished, she breathed life into her creations. They were more than mortal, yet less than Gods. The first two Immortals had been born. The first called itself Romech, Immortal of Life. The other is said to have been called Kyphar, Immortal of Truth. Monist retreated into her own realm the same way as Svast had. While part of her remained awake and alert, the other part slumbered for a time. The two Immortals acted like sentinels over the mortal races, teaching and guiding them in the ways instructed by Monist.
Three generations of mortals came and went before Monist reappeared in Miithronia. Some things were the same, and other things were very different. Though she had rested, it was impossible for her mind to fully stop. She had watched the world from afar, and knew within the fibers of her very being that something was missing from her existence. Everyone in the world, from the lowliest of mortals to even the Immortals she had brought to life had someone to share their existence with. The Immortals had taken to loving one another so as not to upset the natural balance of the mortal world, and the mortals all found spouses, mates, and lovers for themselves within their endless numbers. Monist, Goddess of Peace, Savior of Miithronia, Destroyer of Deception, was alone. She did not retreat from the world as she had before, but instead set about creating something new. Several more generations went by while she worked. Romech and Kyphar both came to see her occasionally, quite interested in what she was doing. Their visits were always brief, however. As much as they loved their creator, they had duties in the world that required their attention while she was distracted like this.
By now, the shortest lived mortals had only ever heard stories of Monist. She seemed like a mere story or legend to them. Their only evidence of her existence had been those she had created to guard over them. Romech and Kyphar were very active in the world. They did not have the power that Monist did, however. They had encountered Uniithren a few times in the world, but he mostly confused them. He had power like Monist, but he only ever used it for the very strangest of things. They truly had nothing to struggle against. They simply went from place to place helping however they could, whether it was curing sickness and disease or making sure the soil was rich with minerals so that crops would grow. One day, in all of their wandering, they felt Monist call out to them. They traveled to her kingdom with haste that only those touched by a God could have. When they arrived, they found Monist beaming with delight. As they entered the palace, they saw why. A man was floating in the center of the room. Though his basic appearance was that of a human, they could see he was much more. They could see he was more than either of them, too. He floated down to the ground before them when he saw them enter. He was tall and seemed powerful, but the warmth and vigor in his eyes and the loving smile he wore on his face made it hard to stay focused. Monist circled around behind him and popped her head over his shoulder. She wrapped her arms around him and nuzzled against his cheek. “This is Akyros, Immortal of Love. He shall be my King.” She reached up and ran her hand across his forehead as she spoke, and a crown made of light itself formed around his head. Romech and Kyphar were joyful for Monist’s happiness and they welcomed Akyros unquestioningly. There had been another watching the events unfold as they had happened, however. Svast had watched the world since his defeat, from the smallest events to the largest. He knew the names of every last mortal that had lived and died since his retreat. He knew of Romech and Kyphar, and he knew of Akyros. This was the moment he had awaited. He saw that his ultimate and crushing victory over Monist was at hand. For the first time since he had arrived in his own realm, he stood up from his throne and unsealed the gateway that led back to Miithronia before hurling himself through it.
After his introduction to them, Romech and Kyphar took Akyros around to the different lands to introduce him to the various sights and peoples that populated the world. Though he appeared to each race in a form that matched their own, he had originally been made in the image of Humans, and he seemed most fond of them. His love for all things was most apparent above all else in him. He delighted in the people of Miithronia, and most enjoyed helping them build things, from buildings to crafts. Sometimes Monist accompanied him in person, but most times she remained in her palace. The world was less dependent on her now, and most of the mortals held greater love for her Immortals than they did for her, due to how long she had kept to herself. Svast took full advantage of this. His presence in the world this time was subtle yet constant. The Immortals for their part had all been created after his defeat, and so none of them were able to recognize his influence in the mortals. Akyros himself, though greater than Romech and Kyphar, was not immune to Svast’s power. He began to daydream about the mortals more and more, becoming lost in thought even while he was with Monist. His love for all things fueled him, and it was his love that Svast would harness to enact his final plan of gaining control over Monist and Miithronia.
Akyros loved the Humans and their cities. He loved their settlement of Karyr above all others. It was just a village in those days, but the people there had drawn his attention above all others. The day that signaled the end of peace was at hand at last, as Svast neared the small town and observed Akyros at work. The Immortal was helping the Humans there to dig a new well on the outskirts of the city limits, so that the city would be able to expand. Svast marveled that Akyros had it within him to simply wish the well into existence, and yet he chose to use tools and do the work by hand, working alongside the men of the village. Women and children were bringing a steady supply of food and refreshments to the workers, and everyone seemed in awe of Akyros. A young woman who Svast knew was named Leryn approached the Immortal to offer him food and water. He didn’t need food or water, but he graciously accepted and sat down on a nearby rock to eat. He only did it because the others were compelled to continue working while he did, so through resting, it made them comfortable to rest as well. The woman who had given Akyros the food smiled shyly at the Immortal, and Svast saw his opportunity. Svast did nothing more than give both of them a small push of his influence. It was all he needed to do. Akyros forgot entirely about the well and seemed absolutely enamored by the woman. They sat and talked until long after the sun had fallen behind the horizon. Akyros accompanied her home, and Leryn gave him a brief kiss on the cheek when he bid her farewell. The Immortal didn’t know how to feel guilty. It had been put into him to love all things, and this was no different. Akyros returned repeatedly as the years passed by, and eventually Leryn bore a son they named Thros. They didn’t give him a family name, because Akyros had no family name to give. Shortly after the boy was born, Kyphar became aware of what had transpired and raced back to Monist. It was written that the sun didn’t rise for three days after Monist found out about Leryn and Thros. Akyros was confused at her anger and sadness. He himself did not feel sadness until Monist banished him from returning to her palace. Romech and Kyphar were tasked with making sure he did not go near the palace from that point onward. Kyphar vowed to reside near the palace, while Romech set out to Karyr in order to speak to Akyros about what had happened. Already the mortals were becoming restless in the world. Svast’s influence on all of them was growing, yet Monist was blinded to the outside world by her sorrow.
Romech could tell something was different with the mortals when she reached Karyr. The mortals gave her hateful stares. They weren’t entirely sure what had happened, but with Svast’s effort, they had all come to the decision that Monist, Romech, and Kyphar had turned against their beloved Akyros. Karyr became a ghost town of slammed doors and stares through windows as she walked towards the home of Leryn, where she hoped to find Akyros. She was stopped dead in her tracks when she heard a scream like no other. She had heard shouts and yells before, but never with such anguish as now. Light and shadows carried her towards the sound, which had come from her destination. She was there within seconds, and the sight she happened upon was shocking and disturbing, as she had never seen violence to such a degree before. Her creator, the Goddess of Peace, stood over the twisted and broken body of Leryn. Akyros was slumped to his knees in disbelief. Tears ran down his face while he sobbed. In that moment, he understood the pain Monist had felt when she knew she had lost him to a mortal. He let out another feral scream while he drove himself to his feet and hurled his body toward the divine being without a single thought or care as to what might happen to him. Monist jumped easily out of his way. She caught Romech’s eye for only a moment, but that was all it took. Romech understood what had really happened. The Monist that had done this wasn’t really Monist. Stories of Svast’s deeds flooded into her mind, but when she opened her mouth to shout to Akyros, a great power seized her and kept her from saying anything coherent. The vision of Monist winked at her before it blinked back out of sight. Akyros cried out again and threw himself at Romech before she could recover. Seconds later, Akyros was covered in the shimmering blood of the other Immortal. He held her head dangling by the hair as he also blinked out of sight the way ‘Monist’ had.
Kyphar was uneasy while he stood guard near the palace. The entire world hadn’t felt right since Monist had sent Akyros away. He had never felt anything beyond her Peace, and now the world was changing. He wasn’t able to contemplate it much more before a mass of light and shadow swarmed out in front of him, leaving Akyros in its wake. Kyphar stood a little taller than normal, “You aren’t supposed to be here,” he dutifully told the other. It was at that point he saw the blood on Akyros’ chest and took notice of what was in his hand. He had never seen anything like it. Romech had been his lover, and now she was no more. He didn’t have words for what he felt. Tears fell from his eyes and ran down his face. Akyros didn’t say anything in reply. Instead, he tossed the head which bounced once and landed near Kyphar’s feet. The Immortal of Truth sobbed and jumped away from the thing that had once belonged to the object of his affections. It was all the time Akyros needed. Within mere moments, Kyphar’s lifeless body fell alongside Romech’s head. The last Immortal stalked silently toward the palace. His rage wouldn’t be turned away until the one who had committed this wrong against him was brought to justice. He never once hesitated, even in the face of standing against a God. He would either succeed or he would die. There was no other option. Svast blinked into sight just after Akyros reached the palace. He looked down at the dead Immortals and let out a laugh as he ran toward the palace as well, hoping to witness the moment he knew would break Monist for good, when she had to destroy the very thing she loved most.
Akyros moved in a direct line through the palace as he headed to Monist’s throne. He broke through walls of stone and doors of metal alike. At last, he reached the throne room. Tears mixed with the dust, dirt, and blood on his face as he approached Monist. In his anger, he didn’t even see the cobwebs indicating that the Goddess hadn’t moved since she had told him not to return. Her eyes were blank and stared slightly down at the ground. Svast entered the palace quietly and remained a good distance away, while allowing himself to observe. Akyros stared at the Goddess and waited. Finally, she became aware of him and stirred. The webs broke and hung around her face as she stood up. She stared intently at her creation, knowing what he had done. His anger faltered for a moment, and for the first time since he had been created he knew shame. Monist motioned towards the blood of Romech and Kyphar upon Akyros' hands clothes as she spoke, "I see that you have become far more than I created you to be, Akyros." The man said nothing, and merely broke eye contact. "You have done things I myself could never do. If I had been able to bring myself to kill my brother Svast when I had the opportunity, perhaps none of this would have happened. His presence has returned, however, and I have proven to be inadequate in stopping him. His influence lingers even here, where my power is greatest," she said, thoughtfully.
As if on cue, Svast emerged from the wreckage of the walls Akyros had destroyed. Rage was evident in his eyes, and he pushed this emotion back into Akyros. Akyros howled into the air as he charged towards Monist with renewed anger. The Goddess was more than a match for Akyros, and before he could lay a hand on her, he froze in place, unable to move any closer. Monist turned her head toward Svast and nodded slightly. "Goodbye, my brother. I wish everything could have been different," she said, her voice suddenly filling with great power. It sounded like the music of a thousand wind chimes by the time she turned her attention back to the Immortal. She took several steps in his direction, stepping within his outstretched arms and placing a hand along his immobilized cheek. "Akyros, the fate of the world now lies within your grasp. I see now that I was mistaken. More than they need love and guidance, the mortals need the strength to stand up to horrors and nightmares. For this, I now give the world my final gift," the melody in her voice became a thunderous roar with her last words. Light swam about her that was so bright even Svast had to look away. The remaining palace walls buckled from the magnitude of her power, and finally began to crumble and give. In the last moments, Svast himself was hurled so far he left the region of the Everleaf Forest and crossed over into the region of Paerori Vel. The most he was able to see before he tumbled down near the settlement which would become Fort Akkis was Monist and Akyros embracing one another in a final kiss.
Akyros wasn't entirely sure what was going on anymore. He had heard Monist's voice, but he couldn't make out what she was saying. His focus was shifting entirely beyond his control. Where before he had only perceived the world before him, he now saw the entire universe all at once. He saw everything as it had happened before his creation, and occasional glimpses of the future. Before he could make sense of what was happening, his attention was drawn back to the present. An old, haggard woman was kissing him while the final parts of Monist's palace fell around them. He pushed her away, but before he could ask what was going on, she spoke first. "Akyros, God of War, you are all that stands against oblivion for this world," she said. As she was talking, Akyros could see that she was growing older and withering rapidly. Light was leaving her body and forcing itself into his own.
Despite all of his anger, it had never occured to him that Monist would actually ever go away. He cried out as the last of the light entered into his body and Monist started to fall. "You can't leave!" he shouted as he reached out and caught her. As soon as he touched her, the spark of life began to return. Color rushed into her hair, eyes, and skin as she took a breath of air.
Tears ran down her cheeks as she slumped into his arms, "You have to let me go. You have everything you need. If you still have it in you to love, then respect my final wish and succeed where I failed."
Akyros protested, "You're almost mortal now. You can still have a life like they do."
Monist shook her head weakly, "Svast would never let that happen, and you will have bigger things to do than protect me. I would be your downfall." While she still lived, she commanded her own power. She reached up and ran her fingers along the crown of light around Akyros' forehead. Finally she whispered, "Goodbye." As soon as she did, she pushed Akyros' rage back to the forefront of his mind. He dropped her and stood up, breathing heavily as he struggled to regain control of himself. Monist's body fell against the ground and gradually disappeared.
With the rage still in his heart, Akyros returned to Karyr after that, vowing silently to himself that Svast and the entire world would suffer as he had suffered. His son had survived, half mortal and half Immortal. Akyros trained him and the men of Karyr in the ways of violence. He taught them to make swords, shields, and armor. Most important above all, he taught them to kill. They became his devout followers, and after a few generations of growth, the city of Karyr built mighty walls. His son, while terribly stronger than the average man, had the lifespan of a man. However, his descendants, who are forever called the Children of Thros, went on to become legends in their own right, but those are different stories. Soon after, soldiers marched out from the great city in all directions and committed unspeakable acts against the other races, which over time learned to respond in kind. The Immortal of Love had embraced his path as the God of War. Waves of misery swept across Miithronia like an inescapable plague. The world was never the same again.