Gazetteer – 01e – Age of Runes

Age of Runes (AOR1 – AOR941)

Jukal wanted to share the knowledge he had learned with his people, a tribe of adan called the Grables.  He tried to teach them through classes and instruction, but the nuances of rune knowledge were too difficult for anyone who had not read from the Book of Creation.  He consulted with his closest friends and family including his mother, Equelyn, his childhood friend, Borkogal, the tribe elder Tellezinal and his mentor, Timewise the Sage on how to make sure this knowledge could benefit his people.  Jukal was the one who acquired this knowledge, but he needed their guidance to bring it out of him.

Borkogal was a master craftsman; Equelyn, a master healer; Tellezinal, a deeply thoughtful man, and Timewise, as learned a man as existed in the world.  Their unique skills helped Jukal think about what he knew from the Book of Creation in ways to make it useful.    Through discussion and experimentation, they learned that the runes within various people varied in strength.  These stronger runes could then be determined by floating in a green liquid they called the Waters of Foltution.  This liquid would link the person to a rune plane where a powerful being from that plane, a rune patron, would test the person and awaken the power of the rune within that person if the person was deemed worthy of the rune by the patron.

Once satisfied with the process, he invited key men and women in the tribe to swim in a tank Borkogal had built in which one could swim in the Waters of Foltution called a “vessel pool.”  The process worked and the men and women of the Grables gained fabulous powers that enabled them to master farming, construction, warfare, and civilization.  They became the greatest of all the tribes of Adan.  A special “vessel pool” emphasizing the life rune was built for the four advisors of Jukal and they each became immortal like Jukal and together formed the Immortal Council of the Grable tribe.  The Immortal Council resided in Tanvarpov which quickly grew from a winter camp for the Grable people into the greatest and richest city of the world.  The Immortal Council renamed the thought rune to the man rune after the Grable word for a human being and the instinct rune the beast rune after the creatures that seemed unable to reason.

As generations of Grables were born and their rune power developed, the Grables began to expand their sphere of influence.  Those who had swam in the Waters of Foltution proved able to pass down one of their runes to their offspring.  This rune was random, but a newborn acquired one rune from the father and another rune from the mother.  Much like XY chromosomes except the X and the Y were runes of power.   These Grable children did not need to swim in the Waters of Foltution for their powers to manifest and other races of adan called the Grables the “runic peoples” because of this innate power.

Certain runes seemed to cause Grables to segregate themselves as the darkness rune foltutes moved to the province of Darkdoven in the north and the water rune foltutes founded a coastal city called Isbolar in the south.

As the expansion of Grable influence created an empire, Jukal was named emperor by unanimous vote of the Immortal Council.  He was a kind and just ruler.  Wars were fought as the Grables expanded, but the conquered people were all treated fairly, and given full rights as citizens of the empire in the new provinces established on the conquered peoples’ lands.  Jukal never took a wife and never conceived a child himself because he considered all his subjects his own children and looked on them with a father’s pride.  At least, that is what he would tell anyone who asked him when he would marry and conceive an heir to his empire.  I am immortal he would also reply and I need no heir.  The truth is he would have loved to have had children, to be a father, but he knew the Chaos rune was within him, a rune that was not in any of his subjects and he would not let such a terrible rune corrupt his empire and the peace it had brought to the world through the randomness of heredity.

When the Grable Empire expanded to the west as far as the Kingdom of Anglaril and the elves, he knew he had accomplished his goal – to make the world worthy of Cora’s Book of Creation – a world that was a good place for all thought-minded creatures to live in peace and happiness.

Sadly, this nirvana would not last.  The downfall started in Darkdoven in AOR888 when a warrior in love with the Queen of the Elves of Twindernight went on a fate rune quest to win her heart.  This botched quest brought The Laughing Man into the world, a rune patron of the chaos rune.  He corrupted the people of the north into a chaotic mess destroying Dugrane, the god of law in the process, and stealing his divine power.  Now a god, The Laughing Man threatened to conquer more provinces in the south.  Calgillien, commander of the Grable legions, drove the chaos horde back and slew the Laughing Man, but through a contradiction, the rune god did not die, just his Laughing Man form.  This contradiction brought undead into the world and Calgillien was transformed into the first vampire.  The elves of Twindernight who fought with the Laughing Man against the Grable Empire fled to the moon to escape Calgillien’s wrath.

There was a short time of peace with only the undead in the north threatening the Grable Empire, but trouble reemerged in the city where Anglaril and Jukal signed a treaty declaring joint sovereignty of the world and an end to Grable westward expansion.  Some chain of events led to Chaos’s return as the Beast, a being who grew in size as the world grew more ugly.  Borkogal had cursed a windon tribe called the Auspiciums to never again produce things of beauty.  These ugly adan were first called borks, but with time coupled with the borks difficulty pronouncing the letter “b,” they became known as orks which was written as orc by Grable scholars to distance Borkogal further from this terrible race he had inadvertently created.  The ugliness of the orcs fed the power of the Beast, rapidly, and no army in the Grable Empire could stand before this towering giant of destruction, for ugliness traveled in its wake, and war itself only made the Beast stronger.

The armies of chaos marched across the whole of the Grable Empire burning, raping, and pillaging all the lands of good and honor that the Grables had taken so much pride in creating.  As these evil armies descended upon Tanvarpov, Jukal met one last time with his Immortal Council to determine if there was any way that the Beast could be defeated.

The plan they hatched saw Borkogal craft a weapon long and straight like the rune of law, the one rune that proved immune to chaos’s corrupting ways.  The fires of his forge were so hot that they consumed his immortal body and Borkogal died during its making.  Jukal bled the majority of his runes into the lance to maximize its power, the only runes he did not bleed into it were fire, truth, and chaos (the rune no one knew he had).  Fire because he needed it to finish the work that Borkogal had started and truth because it was the antithesis of law which would weaken the weapon’s power, and chaos because he would be corrupted by the Beast if he didn’t so he wanted to be in charge of his own corruption.  His life rune went into the weapon and he died just like Borkogal crafting the weapon except that Equelyn then bled her life rune into the son’s body to revitalize him.  She died in his stead.  Jukal arose then hoisted the great law weapon like a lance and rode a flying bull named Tanlavar filled with the instinct rune and the law rune, a mount that was immune to chaos and fear through its powerful runes.  Jukal took to the skies to do battle with the Beast, a monstrosity which now stood 3 miles high.  They battled for days on land, sea, and air until Jukal’s lance or Tanlavar’s horn (scholar’s debate which) finally pierced the Beast’s heart as they battled over a land far to the south.  When the Beast fell, the life around his body died leaving a great desert behind known as the Chaos Waste.

When Jukal returned to Tanvarpov, the city was still under siege by the creatures of chaos.  The entire land was corrupted, so he met with the great titan of law, Oklos, and devised a plan to drown the world and kill off the chaos.  He slew the great earth creature which bore the lands on its back and the lands sunk beneath the sea.  Oklos then constructed an unbreakable chain out of a metal mined on the rune plane of law.  He found a mountain that would serve as a good fulcrum, fastened the chains to the outer reaches of the land, dumped the filthy residue of chaos still corrupting the land into a great rift beneath the ocean now called the Titan’s Trench, and then set the weight of the world on his shoulders using the harness and chains he had constructed, as the land rose the Age of Runes ended in its 941st year, 59 years earlier than it would have if chaos had never entered the world.