Iiosia © veriax 2010-2015
(Directly carries on from The Great War)
The Final Battle
The battle that followed was terrible indeed. The dwarves formed the spearhead of the assault, crashing into the disorganised lines of the ulthin who were unprepared for the assault. The tar’tchii soared overhead. Every tar'tchii able to fly and cast spells had been called into battle, leaving but a handful of infants and elderly within the city. The tar'tchii battered the demons with ferocious magics, supported by the atia who steered the assault in the direction of the Flux.
The Flux itself lay deep within the demonic host, where the strongest of the demons dwelt. Whilst it was relatively easy to scatter the ulthin with their might, the dwarves' progress towards the Flux became more and more difficult. Eventually they were swarmed, surrounded within sight of the flux, by sheer number of the demons. To make matters worse, the Flux was being held aloft by Vanaus himself, who flew up into the sky on his torn, bat-like wings. Many tar’tchii attacked him with their magics, and all perished. Their attacks had no effect on the mighty cha'karth who, with the Flux in his possession, was nigh invulnerable.
Vanaus would have unleashed a wave of horrific Black Arc power then, which would have decimated the atia and dwarves and destroyed any hope of victory, if not for the shadow which suddenly blotted out the sun.
From the sky dozens of dragons descended upon the demon host. The mightiest of dragons, Ghornak, had heeded the call of the tar'tchii, and summoned his mates to battle with him. They bathed the demons in fire from their nostrils, killing thousands of them in seconds. Ghornak himself crashed into Vanaus's terrible form, talons and teeth flailing and rending from both the gigantic beasts. The resonance of the attack shook the earth itself, and the melee caused Vanaus to drop the Flux. It fell to the ground within the dwarf lines as they fought against the mass of demons that surrounded them. With the ground they held slowly dwindling, the atia took up the Flux
and began to use it.
It took a painfully long time to perform the rites to banish the demons. As the atia worked, Vanaus and Ghornak fought an almighty duel above the huge battlefield. The tar’tchii and the dragons, swooping overhead, rained death down on the ulthin, who returned fire with bows which, though crude, were numerous and took down tar’tchii and dragon alike. The dwarves battled bitterly on, fighting for every foot of ground as their circle within the demon army slowly shrank as more of them fell.
Then it happened.
The atia completed the rites and a portal to Inferis opened. Black magic shot forth from the Flux into the sky above the battlefield, darkening the clouds, transforming the skies so that they rippled like water, so it seemed like a great lake of thick, black blood hung inexplicably over the battlefield.
The black blood sky boiled, and as it did so waves of Black magic were sent pulsing from it. The earth shook with massive earthquakes, splitting the ground and sending tremors rippling throughout the earth. The effects were felt for hundreds of miles, as the lands cracked, entire seas heaved, and the world was changed forever.
This was a rift - a major gateway between worlds. A tiny one had formed within the Flux the night the six cha'karth emerged into the world, and now one many hundreds of feet wide engulfed the sky. But this one did not expel demons, but engulfed them.
Most of the demons were sucked into the vortex when it was opened as it seethed over the army like a giant maw, ready to devour everything. Demons in droves were sucked upwards into it, screaming, gibbering, laughing, some even more insane than before, banished from where they came. And in the portal, shapes moved... huge shapes - even greater demons, greater than even the cha'karth, battling to get through from the other side of the portal. Yet the sorceries of the atia held strong.
The more powerful demons, Vanaus and Scythliea among them, were able to resist the force of the portal's pull, but their army was obliterated, and they themselves were weakened. They fled, finding dark and isolated places. Vanaus and Scythliea would retreat south, back to the wastes; to the land of Cha'karthamoré.
The atia finally stopped their summoning, seeing enough done - the remaining demons would not be able to press further. The war was over.
The Treachery of the Atia
Now was the atias time to strike! Erensol and her closest circle of mages had planned for this moment. They knew that the tar'chii were weakened from battle, that they were all close, and that the Flux was charged with terrible power. In an act of terrible treachery, they turned the Flux upon their noble allies.
Black magic blasted violently out of the Flux in a shock-wave up into the sky. It struck the tar'tchii, who, screaming in agony, were bathed in vile energies. The atian queen and her sorcerers betrayed the tar'tchii, letting them be tainted at the last moment by the very essence which they fought to expel from, world. Erensol could not live with the atia being inferior to them - she had risked everything, the whole world, for a chance to destroy them and leave the way for atian supremacy.
But it did not end there. She had misjudged the power of the magic she unleashed. The tar'tchii, hundreds of them - the most powerful among their race - fell to the now body-strewn battlefield. Even in their decent, they were changing. Their pure white skin became blackened, their elegant angelic wings either fell off, became shrivelled, or changed into ugly bat-like things. Their features became beast-like, their fingers and toes turned into claws. Their eyes turned red and nocturnal, half-blind in the dim light as the storm cleared. They became the tar'tchii of Iiosia - twisted creatures of darkness, lurking in the dark and in the night.
It was a change Erensol had not expected at all. Thinking they would have been obliterated in the wave, they had not. The tar'tchii, now powered with dark energy and massive strength, fell upon their atia allies, ripping them to shreds, the atia weapons and spells almost ineffectual against these new manifestations the Black Arc. Erensol and her entourage were set upon and slain first, and the other atia would have followed but if not for the breaking of the clouds.
The suns' rays filtered down upon the battlefield, striking the tar'tchii and sending them into a wild, screeching frenzy as their skin burned under it. Agony coursing through them, they fled to find shelter from the burning sun which they had loved so much, and thus, the tar'tchii went underground - a sad end for such a beautiful and brave race of people.
It was not only the atia who were affected. The dragons, too, soared above, and were caught by the blast. Despite their great strength, they had little defence against the magic which assaulted them. The affects were much the same; they were turned into creatures of darkness, half-mad with rage and with little but the desire to burn and destroy left in their hearts, and slaying every untainted dragon they could find. They would set upon the landscapes, burning the woods which blanketed the world. Only Ghornak was unaffected. Over the following centuries, he would seek out and destroy every dragon he found, putting an end to the facade of life they now had. Eventually, it is said, he killed every one of the tainted dragons, but not before he alone remained. The last dragon, mightiest of his kind, then sought a deep cave, and entered a sleep from which he has never awoken.
The wave of Black Arc magic which came from the rift went around the world, boiling seas, causing earthquakes, turning rain into acid, smashing landmasses, destroying small islands, thrashing coastlines, dissipating as it went. This was The Sundering, and it changed the face of the world forever, killing untold numbers of lives as it came and went.
It caused the most massive earthquakes ever known, which ripped through the Skybreakers; the mountains of the dwarves, and destroying many of their strongholds. Those cities it did not destroy were left severely weakened, since many dwarves had been sent southwards to battle the demons and were killed by the earthquake. Over the following years the dwarf race abandoned all of its outlying settlements, retreating to their capital of Vordaal, which remained the strongest dwarf stronghold.
The Dwarves brought the Magic Flux back to Vordaal, where they would guard it for all time. They feared destroying it, thus they locked it away, ensuring it could not be used to re-open the portal or be used to do terrible things again. They placed it in their deepest, darkest vault, and sealed it away forever under tonnes of rock.
The dwarves were only race to keep a record of these events. They were added to the Great Library of Vordaal, which charts much of the world's history. The secret of the flux and the war is not one to be carried lightly, and while much of what had transpired in the Great War was lost in time, he dwarves will never forget.
The tar'tchii did not forget either. They were cursed with immortality after their transformation and in the centuries that followed their minds were warped completely, consumed by hatred for the atia and for themselves for what they had become. Their city, Ch'tielira, was overrun after the battle by what remained of the demon host, who slew every last remaining tar'tchii and burnt it to the ground. Eventually, the ruins would be lost within The Wound - a deadly desert of poisoned land within the land which became known as Ghrea.
In great irony Erensol had doomed her race rather than save it. Most of the atia settlements were destroyed in the Sundering or during the war, and Allyon lay in ruins. The atia had no infrastructure left with which to rebuild their civilisation, and thus they became a shattered and nomadic race. Allyon was never rebuilt. The huge majority of the atia were not aware of the plan to curse the tar'tchii, and, ashamed by their treacherous queen, never tried to elect a new one. Over the following generations, the true history of the elves was chosen to be forgotten; no atia put quill to parchment to write of the events, and very few had the urge to tell the tale even to their offspring. Thus the race that spawned the demonic tar'tchii and caused The Sundering are totally oblivious to it.
The world had been saved from the demon invasion, but at a terrible cost.