Prologue: The Prophecy
Written here are notes found in the remains of the Library of History, copied by hand of scribe Oryn of Crescent Valley:
Eve of the Storm Moon, Year of the Phoenix Tear, Cycle 1392
Few speak of the times before the War of Sky and Sea waged. The war is all those of us alive are capable of remembering.
No direct attacks have been made since the Year of Wormwood, Cycle 1388, but the aftermath remains, slowly draining Aethyros of life as more and more witch factions feel the need to align themselves with either Sky or Sea. When the Priestly Tribes, pledged to the gods, refused to align ourselves with any faction, the attacks from both sides began.
We retreated from the mainland to the eastern islands, once only inhabited by sprites, gnomes, brownies, and merfolk (when they move to land to reproduce). While there was conflict between the fey and witches in times past, they have welcomed us onto the islands, seeing our need for shelter.
We tried to save as much as we were able, sprites and gnomes helping us build libraries, shrines, and shelter on the rocky outermost islands, so we would disturb the kind fey as little as possible. We built three main libraries: Prophecy, History, and Devotion.
I have been appointed as head scribe of Cleric Dedric, who will be visiting the Sea Faction’s territory in south Aethyros. He and Cleric Yr hope to have the Sea Faction agree to the Priestly Tribe’s neutral stance in the War. Cleric Iri fears more attacks in the future, but she heads north with Cleric Rayne to speak with the Weather Faction.
I pray that Cleric Iri’s intuition may be wrong, but I feel in my heart that, as always, she is correct.
The Sea and Weather Factions have never favored the Priestly Tribe, rumors stating they sought to connect to the gods directly themselves. There is word the leaders of the Factions even call themselves High Priests and High Priestesses.
I fear their great pride is what has driven the gods away from Aethyros. I have overheard Cleric Yr and Cleric Rayne discussing how neither them nor the other Devotion Clerics could feel the presence of the gods anymore.
These are dark times for Aethyros; Death may be the only of the gods left wandering the land. She sends Her white-robed children from house to house, field to field.
Even the children of Weather and Sea cannot block out their screams.
Even they cannot outrun Her hounds.
Head Scribe A’nir, Library of History
Note from Oryn of Crescent Valley: The neutral stance of the Priestly Tribes is still not observed by either the Sky or Sea Faction, though they have not attacked since the fires at the end of the year of the Cicada’s Song, Cycle 1412.
It is believed that the plagues that decimated both Factions numbers was blamed on Death’s wrath, so while those of us left in the Tribes are still pressured to pledge ourselves to one side or the other, the islands have been left alone for close to a half-century.
The only thing that keeps us clinging to hope is a vision Cleric Iri, First Oracle of the Islands, had upon visiting the Sky Faction’s territory:
Hate fueled by pride cold as the arctic froze the land in a constant winter of war, but there will come a day when love with passion hot as the sun will draw them to the spring of peace.