Book of Elyos
Introduction to the Book of the Elyos
One year ago this very day, they came. Those fiends, those cursed Asmodians. They appeared from nowhere, leaping through one of our portals only a few moments after our legionnaires had left. The cowards. They butchered us where we stood, and though our bravest tried their hardest to resist their attacks, what real hope did they have against these immortals? I ran. I have no shame in saying it, I ran and hid while the Asmodian invaders slew my friends, neighbors, and entire family.
Someone needs to remember acts like these, for it is through these actions that a rational being can see which of our people are honorable, and which are wicked. I fled and hid, and when I returned to my settlement, I helped bury the dead. “Why?” I asked. “Why would someone do this?” It was then that I realized how little I knew of the history of our planet. I started to research what happened so many years ago that would result in the Elyos being at war with those we once considered brothers. Within these pages you will read all that I have come to learn about Atreia, those of us who once lived, and those of us who still live on these sacred lands.
Are we an arrogant people? Perhaps. I have seen arrogance amongst the Elyos just as I have seen warmth and generosity. The Asmodians though, I have seen them with my own eyes, and they have made me taste my own blood. Is it not obvious that those creatures, now twisted into such vile monsters, have been cursed by Aion? Isn’t it possible that we Elyos are blessed? Are we a reflection of the lands in which we have survived, and lived, or are they a reflection of us? For the life of me, I do not know.
My name is Rafaela, and I have detailed my research below. I can only hope that you find my notes useful and that they can somehow aid you in ridding this beautiful, broken world of the Asmodians that now infest it.
Chapter 1: Creation
Many millennia ago, our god, Aion, created Atreia. Our world was a beautiful one, a planet full of life and color with the mighty Aion, the Tower of Eternity, spanning the inner core of our world. This was a time when we and the Asmodians were the same people, simply called humans. Fully enclosed, our world and united home was illuminated only by the soft, gentle glow of the tower. It nurtured us, gave us hope, and supported us in every way.
We, in turn, were fully subservient to our god. We know this through not only stories and tales that passed down through the generations, but also in various artifacts and inscriptions that our archaeologists have found at dig sites throughout Elysium. There is no shame in this.
Quite why Aion had created this world for us remains a mystery. However, in hindsight, we can see that our god had a monumental challenge in store for us, as the god summoned forth a monstrosity to put our resolve, and the strength of our convictions, to the test.
Chapter 2: The Age of the Balaur
They were called the draken, and were appalling beasts to behold. Some of our oldest parables feature these monstrosities, and at night we still tell misbehaving children of their furious anger and thirst for blood. We quickly learned to hide from them, using natural enclaves to keep their keen eyes attracted elsewhere. Still we lost thousands of our kind, while other creatures were entirely wiped out under their relentless onslaught. Others, such as the Mau, and Krall, were enslaved by the draken, and were only kept alive so that their brute strength could be used against other enemies.
These draken, sent by Aion to rule Atreia, quickly became more confident as their numbers swelled. However, as their greed for power grew, so did they start to forget their mission, and indeed, their god. Our stories tell of one day in particular, when something changed in the draken. They became more organized, and a few of their number gained dominance over the others. We later learned these draken called the event their “awakening”, and it was roughly around this time that their new masters, the five dragon lords, renamed their kin with the term which we still use today: the Balaur.
The first time our ancestors saw the Balaur, they thought them a new species, such was the difference in physical appearance and ability. It was only after their first attacks that they recognized the sheer brutality of their attacks, and their unrelenting desire to extinguish life, that the truth dawned on our ancestors. These creatures, who had apparently received a blessing from Aion, were the same terrors that had been so ruthlessly wiping race after race from the face of Atreia.
The Balaur had by this stage forgotten their mission entirely, becoming arrogant and greedy, demanding more power from Aion than could be provided. Aion refused, afraid of the potential consequences of granting such destructive terrors the same abilities that our benevolent creator possessed. Realizing their potential was being suppressed by Aion, the Balaur eventually turned on their god, rallying forth their more warlike subjects and threatening the Tower of Eternity itself.
Chapter 3: The Millennium War
Our ancestors were brave, and stood united in defence of the tower and the god that they had come to love. However, the Balaur, with their sheer brute force, tore through their ranks, slaughtering thousands where they stood. In a desperate move, Aion created the Empyrean lords, 12 powerful guardians tasked with reigning in the marauding Balaur and restoring order to Atreia. Aion also created Aether, a substance which the Empyrean Lords could manipulate to protect themselves and their followers from the Balaur. This substance was also used to create a protective shield around the Aion tower, so large that it allowed our remaining ancestors to rest within its boundaries and slowly, day by day, restore some semblance of civilization.
So began the Millennium War, a conflict that saw the lands and creatures outside our Aetheric Field burn and scream in agony as the Balaur took out their frustrations on anything that dared show even the slightest resistance. The inscriptions that we still have show our people prospering during this time as the Empyrean Lords bravely fought against the Balaur, eventually taking with them the humans that were capable of utilizing the Aether in similar ways to these Empyrean Lords. These individuals became known as Daevas, and in the full passage of time would unlock power far greater than our own. They were virtually demi-gods, and would soon become instrumental in shaping our future. Indeed, their ability to fly led many of us to believe they were angels, sent by Aion to bring order and stability to our world.
The war raged for years, and while one side would occasionally gain the upper hand, it seemed that this contest was finely balanced indeed. If one side were to eventually claim victory, the cost to their own people would be almost unbearable.
Afraid of continuing this crippling and demoralizing war, some of our Empyrean Lords started looking at other ways of ending this struggle…
Chapter 4: Hope
Of all the Empyrean Lords, the one who spoke most to us, the people, was a beautiful figure named Ariel. On one of her first evenings on Atreia, Ariel came down from the tower of Aion and spoke with us around our campfire. By all accounts, she was patient and caring, and told us everything that we needed to hear. The Balaur, mighty and terrifying as they were, would not dare cross the boundaries of the Aetheric shield. For the first time in many, many years, we were actually safe. We still have the stone carving depicting that evening, showing this great female figure, with open arms, watching us weep tears of joy and relief, as we celebrated for the first time in many, many years.
I tell you of Ariel now, because it was she who first recognized the wisdom in Lord Israphel’s unexpected proposal and saw that peace was the only option. It was she who had the foresight to know that victory, if possible at all, would almost certainly cripple us; and it was she who was brave enough to confront her fellow Empyrean Lords, and condemn their thirst for endless battle as the vainglory it truly was.
She echoed Israphel’s view that if we were still trapped in this same war after one thousand years, then what guarantee would we have that this war wouldn’t still be raging after two, three, or ten thousand years? Ariel saw, as Israphel had seen, that by continuing this exhausting war, we risked losing more than mere numbers. We would lose the one thing that elevated us above the Balaur, and the other ferocious beasts within our world: our humanity. It was well known that Israphel detested the Balaur more than any other. If he, even he, could overcome his loathing in the name of peace, then everyone could – indeed, should – follow his example.
While we have no records of what exactly was said between the Empyrean Lords in the wake of Israphel’s announcement, we know there was something of a dispute between Ariel and some of the more warlike Lords. It was clear the decision to seek peace would not go unopposed, and for the first time, rifts appeared in our united front.
But even the warmongers and glory-hounds, rant and froth as they might, could not deny the authority of Israphel and Siel acting in concert as Guardians of the Tower. Lady Ariel and the four blessed Lords who took her side argued for many long hours, but it was only Lady Siel’s agreement that sealed the issue once and for all. The Guardians had spoken: there would be peace.
Our forefathers rejoiced. How could they not? The bombastic wrath of Lord Asphel and his underlings was just so much sound and fury, the petulance of children denied. As they winged their way into the cold night, none doubted that they would be back eventually, once tempers had had a chance to cool. The path was clearly laid before us now, and none would dare to rebel.
Ariel led her faithful in a song of praise and thanks to Aion, and for the first time in many, many centuries, we dared to hope.
Chapter 5: The Epic Cataclysm
The morning of the peace conference dawned. Our ancestors awoke to find the five Dragon Lords, leaders of the Balaur, standing alone outside the Aetheric Field. The drawings we have of the day show them to be physically huge creatures, much larger than the other Balaur.
Siel and Israphel, the two Empyrean Lords charged with protecting the tower itself, lowered the Aetheric Field, and invited the Dragon Lords inside the tower for negotiations. Here was a chance for these creatures to destroy us entirely, and yet they chose not to, instead walking peacefully through our settlements and into the tower. Perhaps we had gained their respect through our resilience and determination, and perhaps this trust that we, and Ariel, had placed in them was not misplaced at all. Asphel was present, and with him his cronies, their faces dark. The peace conference began, and for a short while negotiations were progressing well.
Then, in a moment’s breath, it happened.
We still speak of the events that followed that day, of the sudden shouts of panic, of the sickening certainty that gripped us all: the warmongers would have their way, even if they had to sacrifice all of Atreia to achieve it. We saw Asphel move swiftly and suddenly, and the Dragon Lord Vitra collapse. The Balaur did not waste time with words. In an instant, there was carnage and chaos.
Their hatred redoubled, they hacked their way past us and into the very substance of Aion itself. The walls of the Tower shivered and cracked, coming away in titanic shards.
Ariel wept as she strove to hold the Tower of Eternity intact. Sent to its southern base to lend her energy to the Tower, along with all of her attendant Lords, she was now all that stood between Atreia and destruction. Asphel and his group, sent northwards with the same purpose, were no doubt too enthralled with the sudden resumption of hostilities to do their duty and hold the Tower intact.
For despite Ariel’s striving, the Lords failed. The Tower gave a mighty groan, buckled and shattered from end to end. Aion fell.
I cannot speak of the fear that gripped our forefathers when the great tower that spanned the interior of Atreia suddenly shifted and cracked. We tell tales of thousands running for their lives, pandemonium in their wake.
Realising that Atreia itself was dying, Siel and Israphel sacrificed themselves. They each drained their bodies of Aether, their blood, and in their final moments used it to safeguard our people.
Millions died in the event which we now know as the Epic Cataclysm. Finally, as the debris settled, we could see what had happened to our beautiful world: Aion, the Tower of Eternity, was shattered, and our world was torn in two.
Chapter 6: Deliverance
I am one of the Elyos, the people who found themselves on the lower half of Atreia, our new world which we labelled Elysea. At first, our eyes burned under the virgin light of our nearby star, so fierce compared to the cool, calm glow that had been emanating from our tower before it had shattered. We soon adapted, though, and found ourselves celebrating this newfound world on which we lived. Our people could look skywards and see the darkened remains of upper Atreia, spinning slowly as it clung on desperately to our glorious sanctuary.
The light from our new star was magnificent, and turned our once meager fields into bountiful pastures, just as it turned us into such beautiful beings. Our skin glowed with vigor, our hearts beat strong and sure, and soon we had found our feet. Aion, some quickly resolved, had meant for this to happen. We were the Elyos: Aion’s chosen few, and we had been delivered by our god to Paradise! This was a world which not even the Balaur could reach – we learned from Ariel that they had been banished by Siel and Israphel to an unknown void, just before those noble Daevas sacrificed themselves during the Epic Cataclysm.
The five Empyrean Lords who were sent by Siel and Israphel took us under their wing, renaming themselves the Seraphim Lords. Our Seraphim Lords told our ancestors of their struggle, and how the other five Empyrean lords had provoked and insulted the Balaur, goading them towards further conflict. Our world, once so stable and harmonious, was now rent in two, and we were told it was all because of the actions of the other four Empyrean lords and their cursed leader, Asphel.
We began rebuilding our lives, and with them our new city, a glorious creation fitting for our world and our Lords, to be named Sanctum. We were sworn to protect our new home, and the strongest Daevas amongst us were appointed guardians over it by our Seraphim Lords.
Seven hundred and fifty years passed on Atreia in this manner. We were at peace for the most part, and we prospered as best we could. However, things were about to change again, as our planet started to heal itself.
Chapter 7: The Abyss
All that remained of our great tower following the Epic Cataclysm were two stumped remains, one on our world, the other still visible on Atreia’s upper half. The majority of the tower had been destroyed, its remains left scattered over the two halves of our world.
One day, however, the earth around these shattered remains began to shift, and slowly the fragments levitated themselves into the air. We sent our bravest guardians to investigate the phenomenon, and they discovered portals leading to huge floating chunks of the Aion tower, in a bizarre realm where Aether flowed like water.
We labelled this world the Abyss, and slowly our Daevas ventured forth, exploring this new and volatile environment. They found a world rich in the Aether that Aion had granted to the Empyrean Lords, and which the Daevas had managed to manipulate when we were at war with the Balaur. Many Daevas were lost, though; these portals were unstable, and once closed seemed to stay shut, exiling anyone who had gone through.
One day another portal opened, larger and more stable than the others. A Guardian by the name of Deltras passed through it, and on the other side, he found something astounding. His legion were standing on the upper half of Atreia, and when they looked across the sky, they didn’t see the shaded remains of the Aion tower, and the upper half of Atreia, but instead saw their own world of Elysea, bathed in warm sunlight.
Slowly, nervously, they moved on, carefully exploring this strange land which once was part of their home. It was now a dark and foreboding place, full of whispers and fleeting shadows. There they discovered the Asmodians, men and women who were once our brothers, but now had been warped into twisted and foul creatures. Even worse, these nightmares were led by one of the murderous Empyrean Lords, a cruel being named Zikel.
It was dark; our Daevas could not see well, and were soon captured by Zikel and his monsters. This being, who we had once revered alongside the mighty Ariel, threw Deltras to the ground, demanding he curse the Seraphim Lords for their “weakness”. Deltras, brave and noble as he always was, kept the pride of the Elyos. He refused to curse the Seraphim Lords, and instead cursed arrogant Zikel to his face.
The Asmodians attacked, and those of us who were waiting on the other side of the portal saw only two of our number return, bloodied and injured.
Chapter 8: A New Enemy, an Old Enemy
We were stunned. Stunned that anyone had managed to survive on that desolate, frozen wasteland above us, stunned at what these Asmodians had been turned into. Quickly we mobilized our legions, and prepared for war.
Aion had a further test for our resolve, though, as a third stable portal opened and brought forth a horror we hoped to never see again – the Balaur. Quickly they consolidated their forces, summoning the Krall and Mau back to their side, as well as forcing other weaker races into submission. Their fury was greater than ever before, and it is us who now bear the brunt of their anger.
Our world, this land in which we live, was given the slightest and most fragile of lifelines by Siel and Israphel. We believed that this lifeline would sustain us, allow us the opportunity to savor and enjoy our victory over the Asmodian fiends that once dared to call us brothers. However, that all changed, when we learned, completely by accident, of something terrifying…
Atreia is dying. Our world bleeds Aether continually through the Grand Abyss, and unless this bleed is controlled, stemmed, then this life source will be exhausted. Our world, only held together by Siel and Israphel’s final sacrificial act, will simply fall apart, and the empty halves which once made this great planet will drift through space forever. All that lives here will be extinguished in the blink of an eye, and all that we have achieved, all that we have worked for, will be lost.
Panicked, our priests and our theorists began researching possible solutions. It was only then that we found a solution.
The Abyss is an echo of the great Tower of Eternity that once stood in the midst of our world. It exists only because of the immense arcane forces that still resonate between the two tower stumps… a field of unnatural energy, like that which would arise between the poles of a titanic magnet. Were we to destroy the Asmodian Tower of Darkness, that field would collapse, closing the Abyss forever. Not only would we finally rid this world of their dark and ugly scar, we would save our world from destruction, and deliver our people to the eternal paradise granted to us by Aion!
This is our final test, our final hurdle before we are able to reap our reward. We must destroy the Asmodians and their pathetic world: we must save Atreia.
- Rafaela Semperti