While there a number of groups, like the Great Societies, that work to make the world a better place, there are also those forces that strive for altogether more terrible possibilities. These next few posts will explore the most prominent of the forces of darkness. They are the more commonly known evils that mothers and fathers warn their children about at bedtime. Collectively the are known as the Great Evils, though they are philosophically pretty diametrically opposed. Most people don’t know the difference and, frankly, don’t care. Most people don’t engage the Great Evils about why they try to murder us all in our sleep. They just want them stopped.
The Great Evils are usually categorized as follows:
- The Sorrows, powerful beings trapped in the shadows of the world. The only thing that truly keeps them at bay are their own infighting as they each work to claim the world,for themselves and remake it in their own ideal.
- The Dul Ah’gallan, who strive to serve the Sorrow K’ui the terrible beings trapped in The Twain in hopes of securing power when WaitsBeyond and her brood come pouring back into the world.
- The Fiddler Knights who serve the Sorrows Hsii and work to see mankind subjugated beneath their hateful might.
- The Enders who see the world around them as anathema that is strangling everything into a static, noisome, existence. They seek to unravel the very fabric of the world and return all to the quiet.
We will begin our exploration with the Sorrows. The Sorrows are powerful beings left over from the War off Sorrows. These creatures are ancient and insane. They were the assistants of the Companions of Ljosa-Unkhte. They were to be her direct hand in the world (part man, part spirit) with which she would shape the world into her own liking. It was her purview to bring change, but something went wrong and she could only sow corruption. Because she could not create anything that wasn’t corrupted or perverse, her own children (which came from seed she forced from the Spinner, came out twisted, broken, and conniving.
Each had a part to play in the conflict, but as time passed they each began to dream of a world of their own rule. The resulting infighting caused the war to escalate even more. When they heard the Mover coming they abandoned their dark mother and most hid in Shadow.
When the withering was invoked they found themselves weakened. Part of their power was inherent in their mother and when she was cast into the Twain they were diminished. One was caught in the Great Flash of the first Withering and destroyed outright. Others stepped out of Shadow when the sun had set, only to find forces allayed against them. This is how J’hola was imprisoned. Those that remained gathered their forces and hid from the world of men and begin to plot ways to regain power.
Opportunity presented itself when the Woe first awakened and the shivers were loosed upon the land. Many of them began gathering shivers to them and built new armies that stormed the new found cities of men in the night. Others used the opportunity to create strongholds where they could gain a better foothold in the world. The Watchers were busy helping the people against the Woe so there was little opposition to them.
Unfortunately for the Sorrows, the Woe were not controllable by anyone, including them. These colossal horrors brought ruin to Sorrow and man alike. There were Sorrows who reveled in the chaos of the Woe. Others were striving to find ways to steal their power for themselves. Each time The rampages of the Woe came to an end, what remained of mankind could see that the Sorrows grew stronger as they found ways to use terrible magic to bind new breeds of shivers to them. Soon men were constantly fighting against the newborn shivers of the Woe as well as bred shivers from the Sorrows.
The Sorrows would have long ago conquered everything were it not for the intervention of the Watchers and the great societies. They realized their greatest weakness and used it against them. The jealousy and greed of the Sorrows is as inherent to them as heat is to fire. With the assistance of K’ea the Wise, the Jays embarked upon a plot to get the Sorrows more focused on each other than on men. This worked superbly. Now no Sorrow dares to March outright against the lands men for fear that another Sorrow would catch them while their guard down. Over the generations since the Still came some have managed to form uneasy alliances.
The most successful of these alliances was that of B’lohra and Uhr R’Maahn together they were able to stave off their adversaries, and the Watchers, long enough to enact a powerful rite that filled the sky over a vast portion of the eastern Shil with ash. This area, now called the Shiver Plains, is now a land of what seems like perpetual darkness and filth. At the last moments of the rite, Uhr R’Maahn exposed B’lohra to the Thunder Brothers who attacked and nearly slew her. She retreated to the Shiver Depths below the plains leaving Uhr R’Maahn to complete the rite at the last moment giving him dominion over the area. She now licks her wounds and wars with her ex-partner. The Shiver Plains are now their personal battlefields.
The recent discovery of the Mic’ Talan, an entire tribe of man thought lost after the upheaval has stirred things up yet again. The Mic’Talan began raiding the eastern shores a generation after the Still came to be. They are warlike slavers who apparently are wholly devoted to the dark songs known as Miktlan, Garu’Mkai, S’apel. They’re cultrual goal was the destruction, or subjugation, of all that their dark gods deemed weak. Thought there is no evidence that these three dark songs survived the purging of the Mover, some Sorrows see the Mic’Talan as the greatest single power in the lands and work to find power with them. Some believe that the 12th Sorrow, Amisha, long thought destroyed, might actually be the force behind these ravenous people.
Other Sorrows, ignore the infighting and pursue their own goals. At least one, K’ui, is still loyal to WaitsBeyond and strives to break the pale and usher in his dark mistress and her hordes. It is the source of more Dul Ah’gallan (also known as barrowlords or headsmen due to the flying heads chained to their headless stumps) than any other sorrow or breaching horror.
Hsii, the Black Fiddler, has taken an altogether different tact and works to sow discord among men in hopes of watching them bring ruin to themselves. His forces, the Fiddle Knights, are to be discussed later.
In the shadow of all of this the peoples of Man continue to try to pull together and build new nations. Some say the Time of Gathering is close at hand. If only the Sorrows can be kept at bay long enough for the people to unite as one and call WhatMoves back to the world. Then the land can be healed and the shadows made quiet.