The Sands of Faith
The Creation Myth
The world was created in the First Age. Before this time the gods were faint ideas in the mind of creation, before this there was nothing, a void devoid of mass, thought, or energy. Creation’s ideas gathered strength until they awoke. Together the gods created the earth and the heavens. In the heavens the gods took physical forms and were able to construct their individual heavens. Most of the heavens was fill with the mists of creation and voids where nothing existed. The earth became the playground and laboratory. Here the gods would come and experiment in creating things; during the first age the gods were not proficient in creation and needed practice.
The gods created their first beings filled with life and intelligence, but the gods were foolish and did not give these beings death. At first they abandoned the earth, leaving it to these beings (whose names have been banished from all languages) while the gods sat in torpor in the heavens. The time came when the barriers between heaven and earth weakened and these beings threatened to break through and slay their masters. The gods came to earth and in their first retribution stripped it apart and created the Underdark. Deep within the gods imprisoned these beings on the barrio of the Underdark and the edge of creation where even today it is said the gods themselves are not able to enter.
The gods created a new earth, this was the second age. The evil gods began their experimentation and created the devils. They then dropped a small essence of creation among the vile beings and the demons were created. They incessantly warred against each other (a war that continues today). The other gods ignored these experiments and instead worked on creating realms in the heavens. From this creation came the deep realms of the creation seas; some that would later become the Hells and the Abyss.
It was during this age that the Old Gods came to the earth from a place beyond creation (today this is called the far realm). They first entered deep within the Underdark, in places that were cut off from the rest of the earth away from the warring fiends above. They created the aberrant races to worship them and grant them even more power. After tens of thousands of years the aberrant races had dug their way to the surface and with the Old Gods waged war on the demons, devils, and the gods of the first age (the New Gods). The New Gods were caught off guard and the aberrant races and the Old Gods filtered into heaven and waged war directly. The evil gods made use of the demons and devils (who formed a temporary truce called the Blood Truce).
An eon of war was waged throughout the heavens and earth, this was powerful enough to rip the earth in half. Eventually the New Gods thrust the Old Gods deep in the earth, far into the Underdark and performed a second retribution which destroyed the earth and rebuilt it forming a prison for the New Gods. The aberrant races were banished deep within the Underdark away from anything on the surface. The Demons and Devils were banished to opposite ends of the heavens; the Abyss and the Hells to keep them away from the new earth that was to be created.
The Third Age started with a new healed earth and two new races to act as the servants of the New Gods. The first were the Dragons, created to keep watch on the aberrant races and guarantee that they remained in their prison deep in the Underdark. The Dragons also kept watch on earth for any portals to the heavens, especially those used by the devils and demons and thus maintaining their prisons. The second race were the humans who were created to perform several rituals, that were used to maintain power for the Old God’s prison. These rituals were not those of worship (indeed it is believed that the humans were never instructed about the existence of the New Gods during this time), but instead were static and only used to power the prison.
The New Gods content in their creation retreated to their realms in heaven and left earth to their own devices. Occasionally the aberrant races erupted to the surface, but the dragons and armies of humans were able to fight them back. Through thousands of years the Old Gods found the means to subtly influence the surface races. The dragons, aware of the New Gods but frustrated at their abandonment were willing to rebel against the New Gods and turned their back on them. They flew to the remote places of the earth; the New Gods did not notice. Then the Old Gods slowly started to corrupt the rituals that the humans performed; at first a change of a word of a slight additional movement to a gesture. These rituals eventually became worthless, and after that were used to weaken the prison of the Old Gods.
One nation of humans started to find that their prayers and worship were started to be answered in small ways; the Old Gods were starting to present themselves as the true gods. With the New Gods gone from the earth there was no one to oppose them. Wars broke out as humans fought each other to spread their new faith, Old God worship started to spread. Corruption even swelled into the ranks of the dragons, several which openly started to worship the Old Gods. Aberrant races erupted from the earth and stood ranks with the corrupted human nations.
A group of dragons that retreated from the world and were not corrupted returned and organized a resistance to the corrupted human nations. These few survivors put up resistance while another small group of dragons known as The Cabal researched a ritual that would bring the New Gods from the heaven and to earth. There were only a final few groups of resistance left when the ritual was completed. The New God witnessed their folly and saw that the Old Gods were close to escaping. They personally led armies of humans, dragons, and deva (a new race created to combat the corrupt forces). It was too late and the New Gods had to have a third retribution; they rained destruction on the earth opening the heavens up themselves and used the mists of creation for pure destruction to cleanse the world. They then shook the world to close the large passes in the Underdark. The aberrant races retreated back to their hidden cities. The corrupt humans followed and settled in the Underdark.
The Fourth Age had the New Gods showing the humans the proper worship to seal the Old Gods, and to pay respects to them. They in turn created four more races: the dwarves who were sent underground to guard the passages to the Underdark, the orcs who were sent deeper in the Underdark to combat the aberrant races, the elves who would guard the wilderness and prevent several hidden gates from opening, and finally the giants who were sent high in the mountains to guard the portals to the heavens there. In the heavens they created the near realms, the Shadowfell and the Feywild a place of entropy and of magic these was the curse and the blessing that the New Gods bestowed on the mortals.
This age started out peaceful but this only lasted several hundred years before the races started to war against each other. Still these wars were small and the races continued to pay their respects to the New Gods. During the apex of the Fourth Age there were two dominant empires; the Thorgi Empire (dwarves and humans) and the Shaitan-Khan Empire (elves).
The Thorgi Empire was focused on developing new technologies and exploring the Underdark. It is believed that the Thorgi’s technology far surpassed what is currently known. They battle the aberrant races and attempted to build their empire based off of equality and peaceful coexistence. The Shaitan-Khan were magical in nature. Although magic was at its infancy during the beginning of the Fourth Age the Shaitan-Khan discovered how to tap directly into the magical energy to perform rituals and spells that were previously thought impossible. They waged war against their neighbors and enslaved them often using them for rituals to perform greater feats of magic.
The two empires did come to blows but before all out war could be waged the Shaitan-Khan broke apart due to civil war. Three factions came to be when triplets each claimed the crown of the empire after their father was murdered by all three. Each faction fought with their lave armies and increasing magical rituals and spells. This culminated to on faction using a ritual to banish the kingdom of the drow deep within the Underdark and cursing them with black skin. They then banished the third triplet’s forces, and their capital, to the Feywild on the border with the Far Realm.
The increasing use of magic made the world unstable. Originally this was only to be used by the gods and their dragon and deva servants. The wanton destructive use of this power caused the New Gods to see the use by other mortals as an abomination. After the twin banishments the gods had enough. Instead of a fourth retribution they instead placed a means of regulating magic. Magical energy that was used was not recycled back into the magical stream, but instead held in the creation mists of heaven to slowly return. The mortals, and not just elves, became resentful of this limitation and developed a ritual that would sap all the magical energy from creation (and some say the gods themselves) and return it to the magical stream.
Alarmed by this ritual the gods attempted to intervene but they were too late. The ritual seemed to work at first restoring the used energies back into the stream, but then energy started to come from the earth. Several wizards feeling the raw power coming from the earth increased the power of the ritual. Forests shriveled up and dies, mountains fell, seas boiled, and the earth opened up. The excess energy could not be controlled and it lashed back into the earth with enough force to destroy entire continents. Even large sections of the Underdark collapsed and were erased from creation. The fourth cataclysm was made possible by the gods, but mortals themselves brought it on them.
The Fifth Age, and current age, came about with most life on the planet destroyed. Few survivors, mostly in the Underdark, were able to return to the surface. The Old Gods started to get powerful again, their prison was weak without worshippers to refortify it. The New Gods created several new races; minotaur, halflings, shifters, thri-kreen, gnomes, kenku, kobolds, among others for the purpose of worshipping the New Gods and strengthening the prison of the Old Gods.
The Old gods themselves did not sit idle, they found themselves with new allies. The eladrin, banished from the world, were corrupted by the Far Realms and returned. Two times they have formed an empire based on released the old Gods back into the world; and twice their empire has crumble, most recently 250 years ago. Although the New Gods are accepted throughout the earth, there are significant numbers that wish a return of the Old Gods and the death of the New Gods.