The Second Epoch of Mortality
The Ankyrean Order, and Severn's Grand Artifice
The events of the Second Epoch of Mortality - also known as the Ankyrean Age - have long lain hidden under the illusion of Severn, known as the Grand Artifice. Qeddwyn the Wise has recently begun to recall details of this era however, revealing that the end of this era was NOT the beginning of mortal memory, and that much history remains yet to be discovered. Within this volume can be found details of the Ankyrean Order that are thus far known, and similar details of Severn's Grand Artifice.
The Ankyrean Order
This tale begins in the first year of the Second Epoch of Mortality, named the Ankyrean Age, for in this era did the Ankyrean Order know greatness. Created by the gods were they, charged with the gathering and spreading of of knowledge and civilization; a race of mortals, yet favoured with greater intelligence, and greater capacity for learning than other mortal races. And with these graces did they build vast libraries, a collection of knowledge that was superior to any other found in the mortal realm.
And also did the Gods favour them, for they did worship and respect all of the Deities of the Realm. Unequalled in piety were they, and thus were they favoured and blessed above all mortals.
Into five great Conclaves was the Order divided; of these, four were devoted to the gathering of knowledge, and the fifth to administration of the Order. And the four Conclaves of Knowledge were:
Conclave of Magic: Magic did this Order study, all magics of the mortal realms. It is said that the Elemental Magics were here discovered.
Conclave of Devotion: Devoted to the Gods were the members of this Order, and their charge was to set the path of piety and devotion for the Order, and for all mortals.
Conclave of Science and Nature: all things natural did they of this Conclave study, and in the animal kingdom did they find their particular interest.
Conclave of Arts: to the study of the creation of all things was this Conclave devoted, and this Conclave it was that studied and produced the great Ankyrean Artifacts
And each Conclave was led by one called the Dhasan, and the Order was led by one called the Ard-Dhasani by the Ankyri were each elected to their posts. And between them did these govern the Ankyri.
For long years did the great Ankyrean Order make their home in a vast Citadel in the Northern city of Spinesreach; at peace with all mortal races, a guiding force of civilization. Other histories suggest visits of the Ankyri to other great mortal cities, gifts of Artifacts left to their leaders. But it came to pass that the hearts of the Ankyri grew proud. No longer did they believe themselves equal to all other mortals; more and more superior did they begin to see themselves. Until someday, a mortal was no more then a 'rellyw' - a pet. And so did some of the mortal races of Sapience storm the Citadel, in rage and bitterness. Their invasion did fail, and the Ankyri did continue their course; a course that had no other end but their destruction.
The Demise of the Ankyri
Shortly before Severn's Grand Artifice, there came an event which would quickly spell the end of the Ankyrean Order. Encouraged by the whisperings of the Divine Chakrasul, the Conclave of Magic began to reach beyond the limits of mortality. Experiments began to be conducted as the Conclave searched for a way to transcend mortality, each one leaving its subjects almost mindless. Simultaneously, they did reach after the lost 'first language' of Kalsu, believing it to be of some import to their work.
Yrtez, the leader of the Conclave, developed some interest in the research when one of the subjects appeared to show some success. He too was left nearly mindless; but he developed some Immortal properties. Under her leadership, the work of the Conclave continued with increasing fervour. When the other Conclaves discovered this work, many were horrified. Dhasan Ghetri, leader of the Conclave of Devotion, was particularly dismayed. The Conclave of Magic would not be dissuaded from its research, even knowing that Ard-Dhasani Habbak opposed their efforts. Yrtez left the Order, taking with her most of the Conclave.And thus occurred the only major divide in the Order of the Ankyri.
This split was further exacerbated when Dhasan Ghetri , exploring the Chambers of the now deserted Conclave of Magic, was killed by the wards the Conclave had left to guard their secrets. Immediately some of the members of Ghetri's Conclave set out after their erstwhile Ordermates and opposed them in combat, an encounter that none survived. Ard-Dhasani Habbak was forced to make a decision; he disbanded the long-serving Syssin, the long-serving bodyguards of the Ankyreans, in order to prevent confusion of loyalty in the Syssin, and the furtherance of violence.
Sometime after this saw the beginnings of unusual and disturbing phenomenon. Mortals and Ankyreans alike began to disappear abruptly, and one morning saw the absence of the sun's rising. The world was thrown into strange darkness, through which, individuals continued to disappear. It was finally through the observations of a young Ankyrean that the events were explained. He had witnessed the erstwhile members of the Conclave of Magic performing darkening rituals through the use of perverted astronomical ovservatories - now known as the horologe, and the orrery. It was some months before the effects of this ritual lifted, but the rising of the sun revealed the complete devastation of the land - vegetation and civilization alike.
The help of the Divine was sought, and granted by Severn and His brother Arion. The Ankyreans were advised to seek an artifact which, if stolen, would prevent the gathering of more troops to the rebel side; and also would change the form of the rebels forever. It was the Ankyrean Qeddwyn, a youngster at the time, who was chosen to travel to the rebel lair and steal this artifact. Shaken by the knowledge that his actions were destined to destroy the Order, Qeddwyn set out to complete his task.
On finding Yrtez, Qeddwyn was startled to receive the artifact willingly from her own hands. Qeddwyn woke up within the Citadel once more, clutching the artifact in his hands, the words of Yrtez ringing in his ears. She claimed that the god Severn had told her that the age of Ankyri was over, and that the rebels were destined to win - the opposite of that told to the loyal Ankyreans. Overcome with fury, Qeddwyn attempted to harm the god with the destruction of His shrines. The voice of Severn however quickly divested Qeddwyn of this belief, explaining that Yrtez had heard what she desired only. He advised the young Qeddwyn to leave the Citadel.
And sure enough that night, the rebels appeared at the gates of the Citadel, seeking their artifact. All the way into the Inner Ward they fought; the loyal Ankyreans then pursued Arion's plan, sealing the gates behind the invaders and calling forth the spirit of Elemental Fire. This fire destroyed both the rebels and the loyal Ankyreans, leaving the Citadel empty. Behind the destruction, only a few were left;; Qeddwyn, hiding at the city's gates; Yrtez, changed indeed by the loss of the artifact, now known as Belladona, mother of the Consanguine; and Zsarachnor, the young Ankyrean who had first shown Immortal capabilities through the rituals, and who had disappeared long before the battle of the Citadel. Thus was the Ankyrean Order destroyed, leaving only Qeddwyn behind to continue his arts; and thus was the Consanguine race born.
The Grand Artifice
And in the aftermath of the destruction of the Ankyrean Order, it happened that Qeddwyn the Wise was the sole Ankyri left within the realm. Heartbroken was he, and in his anguish did he wish the memory of his Order's demise gone from his mind forever.
And Severn did look upon Qeddwyn with some pity, and heard He his wish, for it coincide with a design of His own. And so did He raise His voice in chant, and the words did resound about the realm. And a great shimmering did overtake the far reaches of the North, spreading South, and further South; and in its wake was history changed in the memories of all mortals. No memory did remain of the Divine conflict of the Ankyrean Age, no memory was there left of the losses that Severn did suffer. A new history did Severn plant in the minds of all that the shimmering touched.
And everywhere did it touch, spreading ever further, until it did touch the edges of the Divine Garden. And here did Severn hesitate, for He knew that He risked much in so affecting the memories of the Gods. But over the Divine Garden did the shimmering yet pass, and in its wake were even the Gods' memories altered and changed. All except that of the Creator, Varian.
And then did the shimmering approach the City of Spinesreach, and the Citadel of the former Ankyrean Order. And the voice of Severn did instruct Qeddwyn to seal the doors of this great Citadel; seal them forever. And Qeddwyn did obey this last command of Severn; and in his sealing of the doors, was he too overtaken by the shimmering, and altered was the last mortal memory of the Second Mortal Epoch.
Thus was all the world enveloped by Grand Artifice; and enraged was the Celestine, descending on Severn in His fury. And for His treachery did He forever brand Him the Artificer.
Slowly does Qeddwyn the Wise begin to regain his memory; slowly do the events of the Ankyrean Age return to his mind, and thus to mortal knowledge. The City of Spinesreach was rediscovered, and with it the great Citadel of the Ankyri, its doors still sealed against all entry. The vast libraries of the Ankyri are said to reside still within those impenetrable walls; many do yearn after that great knowledge.
However, the power of Severn does prevent the extraction of this knowledge; for He did decree, that should Qeddwyn ever set foot inside those walls again, he will immediately perish. Thus does the incantation that will open the Citadel remain locked inside the mind of Qeddwyn, and thus do the great doors remain closed to all mortal entry.