Saturday, October 31, 2009

Arandish Arcana Part I of III – Early History

Arcane and Divine Magic in Ara

Divine magic is assumed to have been around since the earliest days, for humans have always worshiped deities and received healing and other powers from them.  Witches and shamans still practice their own form of tribal clerical magic (see “Tribal Spell Casters,” DMG p. 40) in many remote regions of Ara, and clerics loyal to a wide variety of Arandish and non-Arandish gods proliferate throughout the Lands of Ara.  There is one specialist class of cleric found in Ara, the Sword-Cleric of Frey, which will be described in a forthcoming post.

The origin of Arcane magic in the Arandish region, on the other hand, can be historically pinpointed to one key event: the emergence of arcane powers amongst the Aldors, a tribe of ancient Noffel, in Old Calendar year 294 (see this previous post).  Although the Aldors themselves widely believed their magical abilities came to them through the will of Aldor, Goddess of the Wood, the Aldors’ ability to use magical powers not specifically granted via prayer frightened the other tribes of Noffel, and in time the Aldors migrated from the southern human lands to the northern forests now called Aldoria.  The Aldors have subsequently come to be called elves.

Awra, Arlon, Arlanni
The Noffellians who exiled the Aldors from Noffel were not to be rid of Arcane magic so easily, for around Old Calendar year 2219, a young-seeming woman named Awra came before the Noffellian council of elders and demonstrated that she could generate light spontaneously by speaking a few words aloud.  The members of the Noffellian council were amazed, and took Awra to be an unknowing descendant of the Aldors, though Sawith, Learned Scribe of Kaladar, has recently proven that that lineage is unlikely.  Apparently the council took no action against Awra at this time, and let her return home.

Awra lived most of her early life deep in the Great Western Swamp, and after her initial visit to the Noffellian council, she returned to the Swamp to increase control of her powers and to develop many of the magical arts we know today.  Sixty-five years later, by Old Calendar year 2284, Awra’s presence and activities in the swamp came to the attention of the Noffellian Senate; by this date she was probably over one hundred years old, and she had taken on Arlon and Arel as her two principal apprentices.

As was documented in a previous post, in 2288, escaping persecution by fundamentalist Noffellians, Awra departed Ara on the ship Tarandis, making landfall on the forested island of Suhl in 2289.  During and after Awra’s departure, anti-arcane sentiments and laws ran at an all-time high pitch in Noffel, prompting Awra’s apprentice Arlon to move out of the vicinity of the Great Western Swamp to the north.  It is believed, due to a later entry from Arlon’s journal, that Awra’s other principal apprentice, Arel, remained in the Great Western Swamp to develop and teach her own style of magic-use called White Path, an arcane art now considered lost.

By Old Calendar year 2331, Arlon resurfaced in northern Ara and began teaching the arcane arts, establishing formal schools of magic in Telengard and Achelon by 2342.  Arlon and his associates taught magical theory, spellcasting (magic-using), enchantment, and the basic principles of summoning.  By 2378, Arlon, satisfied that his schools were running well, left them in the hands of his students and retreated into the northern mountains to further his study of summoning and other esoteric arts.

Back in the Great Western Swamp, early in the year 2426, Arel gave birth to her son by Arlon—a son conceived during a visit of Arel’s to the House of Arlon between 2420 and 2425.  When this son was born, Arlon came to Arel’s dwelling in the Swamp and together they named the child Arlanni.  Once he was old enough, Arlanni began learning the Arcane arts from his mother Arel, whom he stayed with in the Swamp.  Arlon returned to the northern mountains

The Old War
The Old War between Telengard and Achelon started in 3002 as powerful magic-users who had learned their craft from Arlon struggled for magical dominion over northern Ara.  This was to be the most destructive and protracted war in Arandish history; it would last over ninety-seven years, from 3002 until  3100.  In 3098, a small group of  Telengardian magicians, led by a magic-user named Sarkon, set forth to find Arlon in the northern mountains, hoping that the great teacher will be able to help put and end to the war.  Sarkon and comapny found Arlon, and together they returned to the south.  It is believed that Arlon sent word to Arel, requesting her aid as well.  By 3100, with the help of Arel, Arlanni, and Arel’s White Path magicians, Arlon and Sarkon were able to subdue the most powerful Telengardian and Achelonian necromancers and summoners, imprisoning them in a magical tower of Arlon’s creation.  This black tower, called Mornlyn, is rumored to exist in a hidden location in central Achelon to this day.

Having neutralized the ringleaders of the Old War, Arlon established the White Council in 3101, to instill order into the practice of the arcane magical arts in Ara.  Furthermore, at this same time, the New (or Arlonian) Calendar was begun, signifying that the era when atrocities like those of the Old War might occur had passed.  After the establisment of the Council system, Arlon and Arel, the last living apprentices of Awra, set forth on their Last Wanderings.  They are thought to have journeyed together over the northern passes into Novellan, never to be seen again in Ara.

Arlon’s Council system regulates human arcane magic use throughout the Lands of Ara to this day.  Magic-users and enchanters are permitted to join the Council and use magic openly and legitimately in Ara (except perhaps in Noffel), while the Dark arts, including necromancy and shadrach, are outlawed completely (see forthcoming post on forbidden magics).  The original White Council consisted of eight magic-users (including Arlanni) and six enchanters, with Sarkon of Telengard as First Councilman.  In New Calendar Year 610, Sarkon of Telengard died or vanished (the historical records are unclear which), and Arlanni took over as First Councilman of the Arandish White Council, a position he holds to this day. 

Next installment: The Council System of Ara!

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