The Songlands
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The Songlands

The Elder Days

Artist’s rendition of the primordial wilderness in the early days of creation, before the corruption of the Discordant Voice — Licensed from Adobe Stock images, created by quickshooting

In the beginning, as the legends tell us, the world was sung into creation by the Celestial Choir. It was meant to be a paradise, a world made for elves and humans to build a civilization, but the Discordant Voice rose up within the Choir, and the song changed. Elves still emerged fully formed among the trees, and humans still evolved from beasts to join them, but the world was far from paradise and their early interactions were hardly civilized.

The Discordant Voice was expelled from the Choir, and as it fell to earth it changed, acquiring a monstrous yet beautiful form. The Voice took a name, which has been lost to time, created beings of their own - cruel monsters known collectively as the Fell - and set about conquering the lands of elves and humans. Many humans and elves died at the hands of the Fell, and their lands came under the boot of the now corporeal Discordant Voice.

The people cried out for deliverance, and the Celestial Choir answered with new verses in the eternal Song of Creation. They sang into existence a race of god-like beings, the Gloriana, meant to aid the elves and humans in their struggle against the Discordant Voice. The Gloriana granted powers and abilities to elf and human alike, while also creating a race of their own. The Priori were created by the Gloriana to act as smiths and warriors in service of the elves and humans, crafting fantastic weapons in their deep mountain kingdoms, and swelling the ranks of the armies of the gods.

The war was long and brutal, changing the very face of the world, but eventually the tide turned against the Fell and their cruel master.

Unfortunately, everyone forgot one very important fact: the Discordant Voice, though given form in exile, was still of the Celestial Choir. They could still sing. And so they sang a song of corruption, turning elf and human against ally and kin, bringing whole kingdoms of Priori to their cause. Even the Gloriana were not immune to this insidious song, and a few were swayed by its melody. Fortunately, most of the Gloriana resisted the temptations of evil and remained true to the righteous cause, but one embraced the darkness completely. Aura, Lady of the Dawn, among the most powerful of the Gloriana, gave herself over to the song of the Discordant Voice and became Umbra, Queen of Darkness.

Umbra, Queen of Darkness, and one of her many human worshipers. Licensed from Adobe Stock, created by likozor

In the end, however, even with such a powerful ally, the Discordant Voice fell to the might of the Gloriana and their armies. The Discordant Voice was banished to the Outer Dark, barred eternally from the realms of Creation. Umbra, unrepentant in her evil, was imprisoned deep beneath the sea. The Gloriana hoped that, in time, she might return to them, and they were loath to send her into permanent exile. The key to her prison was given to the elves to hold until the rebellious goddess renounced the darkness and returned to the light. The Fell races remained, but without leadership they were disorganized and scattered, easily culled by human and elven warriors. The Priori retreated deep within their mountain strongholds, and few were seen in the world after that, though they still traded their works with those who could afford to pay.

A small offshoot of the Priori race, who had spent some considerable time in learning with the elves, did not return to the mountains. They were drawn instead to the hills and verdant fields, becoming farmers, herders, and craftsfolk. From this point, the Priori race slowly developed into two nearly distinct races: the stocky and warlike smiths and miners of the Mountain Priori, and the smaller, more peaceful, gentlefolk of the Lowland Priori. The Lowland Priori formed a special bond with the elves, and their villages were usually found within the elven kingdoms.

Though this coalition of races under the gods of the Gloriana had achieved victory over the Discordant Voice, it was hard-won. The world was in shambles. Civilization had nearly collapsed, and many, especially among the human lands, had fallen into barbarism. The Gloriana felt an obligation to remain and help to put things right.

And thus did the Age of Gods begin, for good and for ill.

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