Perhaps we Sages are not immune to the chitter chatter and spreading of stories we do not know. As the washer women and the drunks go on of sights they have never seen and voices they have never heard. Perhaps it is built into our race, our blood, our very being to spread the stories of folk in every place far flung about the world that we enjoy for a moment to tell each other stories. Stories unseen in any tome or history recorded by the hands of our kind.
Yet, there is something which has troubled me these many long years, since I had heard it some five hundred years ago. And being far from a tome and bound for my private journals alone, I feel it is something I can record, knowing that my time draws near. I have little left to worry about now as I write of my own life so it may be known to my brethren. Knowledge to never be lost and for all small things to be spoken, should they serve useful in the future.
The one small story though, the one I have known so long, is a rarity among us Sages, something unheard of if one would forgive the way in which it is described. I would have dismissed it long ago if it had not explained so well so many things missing in the histories. Why it was that the Arcane God, long before the time of the God War was both different and despised by most of the other Primal Gods.
It is said that before the time we have recorded, there was a land and king to the south. A land no longer recognizable, even if it remained on maps. It was the last land and kingdom which worshiped the Arcane God. Itself unique in the world as many kept their tributes to water for life and fire for the same, or the earth for its bountiful forests, and wind for those who journey. The Arcane God was often kept for those who sought knowledge of all the elements and what might lay beyond.
Where whales turn round to return to the cold depths, a great king as his people lived. They attributed their successes to the Arcane and appeared to have indeed been blessed by bountiful earth and seas from which to harvest. They desired to know more of the God who tolerated their worship, for the Arcane God wished to have none serve and worship. He often thought them beggars, demanders of miracles, but in those days he would ignore them and hope they would spur themselves to action.
And so they did for many a generation, flourishing with favoring winds, waters and ingenuity. But when the world shook and the rivers were swallowed by rock, when the fish departed and forests burned, the people and the king saw but one to blame. And only one who would not only restore what ills had befallen them, but would raise them up far beyond what they were. For they had believed themselves to come across secrets reserved for the Primal Gods alone.
When fresh water was obtainable, the people went about rebuilding their temple to the Arcane God and ordained it with all their riches. Their priests and king as one worked tirelessly within and especially in the new areas they had made below. They wove and wrote and drew with ink and blood both from animals they had sacrificed, and from their own bodies when the supplies grew low. With tireless haste they worked, with little food they were fed, they sought so intently to restore what was lost through the power of the Arcane God that they began to lose what they had left.
Some folk began to die from lack of food or drinking water contaminated with the decaying flesh of their very folk, but none dare turn away from their task, for they were there to summon and demand the presence of the Primal God of the Arcane. Above, below and around the Arcane gate of Eder Theín they worked, with that sole intention in mind and few would find rest for longer than an hour or two at a time until the task was complete. Weeks and months went by before their task was complete, and any stores of rations which remained after the disaster were close to, if not exhausted.
But so did it stand so proud and tall made of old stone and new. Polished as it was lain and painted along the edges, the temple to the Arcane God was completed. The people gathered in every space they could find inside to rest and prepare themselves for the summoning. With the last bread broken and shared, with flames lit and small pools filled, with earth placed along the inside of the walls holding freshly planted greenery, a small breeze blew through the temple. The silent priests and king upon the altar raised their heads from quiet meditation and as the breeze moved by them, they began.
By the name of his star they called and conjured as it appeared and brightened in the sky. By the name of the Ederren they yelled, demanding at once the presence of the Arcane God, to come and answer their call. It was a ritual that continued through day and night, the calling and demanding not ceasing. When one would rest, another would take their place so that the call would never be lessened. Perhaps out of curiosity or amusement, perhaps because he was compelled, either way the Arcane God came to those people that day in the guise of a humble traveler.
They knew him by his form as he recognized their intentions, none the less all came together as the traveler made his way to the altar. Those who rested now rose to their feet, though who slept were forcefully awoken, and the call to summon the Arcane God began to fall silent, replaced only by the sound of the breeze and the footfalls of the traveler now almost standing in the center of the altar. All eyes were locked upon the Arcane God as he came, some in wonder and some in anger. The God they worshiped so would now be held accountable for the disasters which struck them and he would pay the debt they felt owed.
As the Arcane God met the center of the altar, looking around at the king and priests along the wall and the people in the audience moving closer to watch, the silence was shattered by the kingdom. At once they called to the elements and to the very dream of fate itself, binding by word and motion as the people tied strips of cloth with his name to their hands. Above and below where the king and his priests had been working were painted charms and spells written solely to bind the Arcane God to the will of those who controlled the temple. The will of the kingdom would become the act of a God.
All the while the Arcane God watched on, looking about himself. From the sight of his worshipers binding him to their will, the Arcane God smiled and stood quietly. Surely this was a sign that the deeds of the kingdom now worked and held a God captive and answerable to his worshipers. The spells were spoken, the binds were woven until there were no more spells to speak and no more strands to weave. The Arcane God stood in his temple, still and silent as those who surrounded him, as those who now bound him. The light of the Ederren, that crooked and three pointed star now matched the light of the sun, bathing the world in a purple tinted glow.
The demands began immediately and were listed off without pause, to feed and clothe the people, to rebuild the cities and kingdom, to rebuild the fleets and armies and grant power unrivaled to the king. The Arcane God stood silent with a smile upon his face as the demands were listed. He neither answered nor acted upon the demands placed upon him. The king moved forward in rage and yelled at the Arcane God as he was ignored, an act which caused the Arcane God to laugh softly as the light of the Ederren star grew brighter and began to cover the kingdom. The only words remembered in detail are those of the Arcane God as he spoke to one and all of the kingdom then. “I had wondered how long it would take for worshipers to turn on those they claim to idolize. I had said I wanted no such thing, and warned your ancestors. Despite what the other Primal Gods and their servants might wish and tell you –I cannot be bound.”
So disgusted was he with their thoughts and acts that he tore them, their names, structures and legacy from memory and the world itself, never to be remembered, should they ever be emulated or any other be so foolish as to attempt to bind a Primal God, let alone he of the Arcane. It is said he visited all his followers on that day and broke apart the temples himself. They were told return to their own lives and families, to serve him if they must by silently aiding their folk. Some were allowed to continue their worship alone until their natural deaths. Some attacked the Arcane God as a false prophet and were destroyed without restraint. Despite being told why, those few still sought to empower themselves and were allowed to join that kingdom struck from memory. One thing remained constant though, those who continued to worship did so unable to contact or convert other followers.
A single Sage is said to have been witness to these events. A Sage told not to write of what occurred, but was too horrified with what was seen to speak about what they had seen. It is a story only revealed from that Sage’s deathbed. Fitting that I should be heading toward my own death now that I write what I was told. I suppose it may be the first time that this story has ever known ink and parchment, perhaps the last time too. So many times over the years this story must have been whispered, perhaps it is about time it was written, if only in this journal another Sage might one day read long after I am gone.
To that Sage then who stumbles upon this book, know this: None have made me fearful of this story save for the story itself, with the exception of one who should not by all rights have such power, a conjuror. A conjuror, who knew the rites better than many a Sage seemed to look inside and beyond my eyes and knew that I had known, that I was one who knew this story. We were not even discussing anything akin to this story when it happened, but so came that fear. It was this which has kept me awake some nights as my dreams warp and dance about inside my eyelids, as though being distorted and torn from their existence and place.
Always with his stare I wake. Perhaps the conjurors are not who we believe. Then again, perhaps the Arcane God still listens, amused by the hushed and fearful tones of the Sages. I hope I have provided him with amusement in that case, as each day I grow closer to believing this old wives’ tale of Sages is true. As it is a story so old and unchanged that even the Adranis know and treat it with quiet awe.