Discover Worlds of Adventure
The history of Myrrah spans creation, wars, peace, and discovery. The story in the Rise of the Fifth Order trilogy hints at some of it and Games of Fire will touch on it more. Because rectifying the wrongs of the past often shapes the future….
Is there a better way to be introduced to a world than through the voice of those who live there? For this journey, I will let a chronicler from Solaire be the guide. If you’ve read the books, you know to tread cautiously. The Church of Four Orders has been known to abuse a few facts…
Temple of Solaire
Our history says that the Goddess Mhyrah came down from her home amid the stars and created this world. That is why we named it Myrrah after her, for she is our mother and we are her children. When Mhyrah finished creating all that was on and in the world, she had some of the essences that had been used to shape it left over. She formed these into four small spheres, each holding the pure power of the element of which they were made. Because they were powerful and separate from the whole, Mhyrah placed the spheres at the corners of the world, lest one overwhelm another.
The sphere of water rested in the basin of a waterfall along the River of Turcot, far to the north. Its dense watery surface shone pure lavender to azure-blue, sometimes forming a crust of ice which would disappear the next moment. To touch it was said to cure stiffness and infirmities of age. To drink from it could give the gift of speech to those who had none.
The sphere of fire sat in the caldera of an isolated volcanic island, which lay towards the rising sun in the Ocean of Ilaiya. It glowed like a star and at night its light could guide the ships of those who sought it to the island’s shores. At times it would appear as a swirling hot mass of flames and at others as an orb of perfect light, clear and cool. For those who reached for its brightness, it was said they were gifted with passion and creativity.
The sphere of earth lay as a perfectly round boulder amid the sandy plains to the south. Precious crystals or veins of gold often marbled its surface, though sometimes it appeared as a pure stone of granite or quartz. For each who found it, the story of its appearance was different. It was the first sphere where questers realized it was the person who found it that caused a change in the sphere, just as finding the sphere created a change in the finder. Whispers said that to control the sphere of earth was to hold off death, but most who sought it came away with greater patience and generosity.
The sphere of air was placed in the storm-laden lands to the west. A disk of dense gas, it could appear as turbulent as the wind or calm like a lens. With clarity it was nearly invisible, but gave great insight to those who found it. To find the sphere of air could cure blindness. For others, it gave the ability to speak many languages and even understand the song of birds.
After placing the spheres, Mhyrah left these lands to her children and grandchildren, who peopled the world in their many forms. Of the many gifts that Mhyrah left behind on the world, one of the greatest was the ability to control the elements that had been used to create it, as if some people held a piece of the sacred spheres in their souls. This was a divine gift and those with it were said to have old blood, holding a link back to the very creation of our world. This ability was also very rare.
Cultures developed apart from one another. Those who heard of the spheres sought them out on solitary quests, either to hone gifts they possessed or to seek out a piece of Mhyrah’s divinity left on this world. To have a gift to control elements was to have been touched by the Goddess. The joy and reverence of such a thing was such that it was only fitting to speak of it in a whisper. Surely a shout would make it dissipate back to the ethers from which it came.
Most gifted chose to hide their identity. They only worked their skills when masked, following elaborate rituals. Those in need of Mhyrah’s help or blessing looked for her in those carrying her divine skill. Traditions developed on how to contact and seek assistance from those who were gifted, for those who held the power born of old blood were not commonly known. None were certain why the gifts worked, their limits, or how to attain them. Was it ritual, birth, or by seeking the spheres that power was obtained? Abilities were muddled and few were very powerful. Some, who wished to learn, would seek out masters in cities or isolated forests, but most were left to acquire knowledge on their own with little help beyond cleverness and curiosity.
Over time, some adept began to take on apprentices, developing the most skilled to further define what could be done . . . and sometimes discovering what could not. Others undertook journeys to all four spheres to learn from each, becoming hermits and guardians of the sacred orbs. In the shadow of the spheres, they met and lived alongside like-minded others. It was a time of great learning, when powers were cultivated and began to be understood. It was a period of opposing views on how the powers were to be harnessed. This was the Time of Learning and it lasted over one hundred years.
This was the period when the skills were defined: a time of great discovery into Mhyrah’s gifts that came as threads of turbulence began. As the protectors of the spheres united and the solitary skilled took on apprentices, the secrecy of the gifts fell away. Those with the strongest abilities knew each other and came together or corresponded. It was accepted that the skills matched the spheres: Fire, Earth, Water, and Air. But there was another power that did not fit with the spheres or the creation of Myrrah. This was dubbed magic. It allowed the user to transform shapes and perform great feats unexplainable to those who were beginning to understand the spheres. Where magic came from was unknowable, just as the other skills of the elements had been in the Time of Isolation.
It was the masters with their apprentices in the cities that began to gather a new sort of power. As the cities grew, so did their governance. Those, who in the time of isolation sought the intervention of the skilled, began to be held in their sway. Some of the powerful no longer hid behind masks, but were known for their great abilities. The most aggressive took control of cities for themselves. The most devious manipulated the plots of governments and councils of elders from the shadows. Rumors surfaced that greater power could be gained from killing another with skill and that skills could be captured with magic talismans, even by those who were ungifted. A time of treachery and blood arose.
The most powerful in the skills of the elements created weapons to protect themselves. People without magic or elemental abilities sought out these weapons as well, the wealthy paying for customized swords, shields, bows and arrows, boats, or walls. Real and fake objects were stolen, bought, and transported across Myrrah. This was a time of battles and war. Great heroes and warriors, whose names were renowned for decades, lived and fought during this time: heroes with power and those without. These were the Forgotten Wars, when deceit and death were never far.
In the end, many of the gifted, who had lived amid the cities and held sway, were those most impacted by the war. The level of distrust for their abilities in the great towns was high. Schools of learning, both innocent of corruption and the darkest and most devious, were destroyed. For the skilled living amid the populace, it was a time to return to secrecy sheltered amid ritual in the gifts of the Goddess.
Those gathered near the spheres in their far-flung isolation began to unite. They called themselves Elementals. To protect the spheres, which they referred to as the ‘core’ of their abilities, from sabotage or from one master laying claim, they formed alliances. This led to formal groups. So began the Time of Elementals, a period that lasted over 400 years.
As the bonds between Elementals grew, they created Temples so that new apprentices could seek them out for training, as well as a means to protect the cores. The Temple of Mists was home to the sphere of water and those who could control the waters. The Temple of Incendia rested at the foot of the volcano holding the sphere of fire and was home to those who could control the flame. The Temple of Stone lay amid the desert of Ak’Ashanti and was the dwelling of the Earth Elementals. The Air Elementals moved their sphere from the place Myrrah had placed it, finding the harshness of the Coast of Storms impossible in which to live. And so the home of the Air Elementals, the Temple of the Winds, was built high in the Alin Mountains.
The Temples grew in strength, but also in isolation. As they were located near the cores, which remained scattered to the four directions. No cities were nearby and the other Temples lay vast distances away. Skills were taught based on the element protected by the Temple, each group becoming known as an Order.
Communication and eventual trade grew between the Temples. Theories on the gifts of the elements were debated, as well as the extent of abilities, and the meaning of the spheres. Stories of blended abilities that crossed the boundaries of each element from the Time of Isolation were dismissed or were theorized as the wielder having abilities in two elements, something rare but not impossible.
The cities healed and grew again. Commerce between the distant Temples enabled trade between distant cities. The fear of Elementals dissolved as wealth flowed from Temple to town. Magic users grew too, learning their skills in secret, far out of sight of the Orders and cities.
Proposals for the Orders to join began to be discussed. For some, the idea was spawned to allow the creation of one great Temple for learning and greater communication. Others feared it would allow the potential for greater control of all Orders, creating a force powerful enough to once again conquer the cities. No one knew what would happen if all four spheres were brought to one place. There was consideration, agreement, and dissent, but no action.
Then the Temple of Incendia was destroyed. The Order of Fire blamed magic wielders – their secret enemies from the Forgotten Wars. The Order of Fire spoke out about the threat of those who used magic, saying they threatened the individual Orders and were jealous of combined strength of Elementals. Chaos overwhelmed the Orders. In the midst of indecision and uncertainty, the Temple of Stone was attacked and fell, becoming the Temple of Dust.
While the Orders of Fire and Earth were in chaos, the Temple of Mist was attacked. It was locked in a great spell that encased the Temple in permanent winter, giving it its new name: The Temple of Ice. The remaining Elementals from Earth, Fire and Water joined together with the Order of Air to protect the Temple of Winds. The battles had grown to war and became known as the War of the Orders. Despite their efforts, the Temple of Winds was lost as well. With its destruction, the Orders were joined in grief, giving them one mind. They fought against the magic wielders, who were said to commit dark deeds to use their gifts. It was even said they used the old talismans to capture an Elemental’s power, for their skills could cross elements and go further than could be imagined.
The Elementals hunted for those responsible for the destruction of the Temples where they hid among the cities and people. Great battles crossed the lands like pestilent storms. Ancient weapons from the Forgotten War were found again and given new life. Most races fell before the combined force of the Elementals, now called the Church of Four Orders, but not all. Magic wielders were the most hated and hunted. The Church called for the extinction of the skill lest its strange power to alter living things pervert the very world Mhyrah had created. The Church vowed to kill every magic wielder even if it meant tracking them down one by one.
After more than a decade of war, much of the world had changed, but a restive peace began under the rule of the victorious Elementals. For 900 years, trade grew again and thrived between the cities and a new Temple. The Temple of Solaire was built on the Island of Kailal and housed all four Orders within its walls. This is the time of the Church of Four Orders.
To this day the Elementals under the Church utilize their abilities for those with need. The Priests and Priestesses of the Orders protect merchant ships and speed their passage. They provide rain and clean water to towns, call forth fire sylphs and harness them to torches and brassieres for light and heat. Stone walls can be built and breakwaters to protect against storms called from the ocean depths. The Church has become very strong and glorious, protecting the people of Myrrah.
The law of the land for this protection and the benefits, besides small fees and tithes required for such service, is that a Priest or Priestess from the Church must bless every child. This is done so that children born with the gift of the old blood, those blessed with skills by the Goddess Mhyrah, can be taken back to Solaire and trained. A young child has the best chance to learn and grow in ability, so it is for their benefit to be found as young as possible. Sadly, on occasion a child with other gifts is found. They are put out of their pain and the danger of their strange skill is erased before it can harm.
Now all Elementals are joined in one place, the Temple of Solaire, and the Inner Council guides its growth. We know now Fire is the strongest element with its life giving light and heat, and so holds the most positions on the Council. Earth is the second for the great feats that can be called from Myrrah’s stone bones and the ability to shape metal. Water is the second weakest, being important only for calling rain or to purify water. Air is the least of the elements, best only for steering ships at sea.
This has been a time of great peace that has brought the world together. We have been blessed by Mhyrah’s great love as well as her gifts. Our only sadness is that three of the cores were lost when the old Temples fell. We have looked, but there has been no success in finding them. Maybe in time… for surely this world of peace we have built will last hundreds of years.
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