Harken, and hear the tale of Kahlim: the first and greatest of Wizards.
Father of modern magic –
though he would understand it not;
and whose like is now sadly gone from the world.
Kahlim, who challenged the gods in his arrogance…
challenged and lost.
From whence he came the histories do not speak,
for long ago did he walk the unhallowed ground of this realm.
Civilisations have blossomed and have been diminished in those long years,
and many have laid claim to his heritage.
More than this, who can say with certainty?
A man he was, mortal and fallible,
yet the gift of magic we enjoy only through his struggle.
Three and fifty were his acolytes;
he taught to them the secret ways of magic.
They wielded sacred Vaettim: the pure magic that is neither root nor branch.
Fearsome they were, but tools and nothing more,
guided by the whims of the Mudali, and loosed upon the world.
Every soul that followed Kahlim knew power beyond the reach of the greatest Prince;
yet in their hearts burned the desire for more,
a fire he kindled unto a dazzling conflagration.
The god’s domain was their ambition –
to attain ascendancy and be worshipped in kind.
Kahlim promised them much: worlds to rule and aeons to enjoy their new-found status.
Yet the gods would not willingly share such a prize,
so by force was attempted what could not be achieved by threat alone.
The War of the heavens was begun,
and the continents shook with the power unleashed.
Four and fifty souls marched to the plain of Emteph,
within the sacred desert Barvakh, heart of Mellorian.
Seeking a way to break the barrier between our realm and the next.
The desire of Kahlim could not be abated,
and the entreaties of Lords and Princes were scorned.
To become a god: to proudly walk upon the hallowed heavens
or to die.
Such was Kahlim’s gambit. Such was his fate.
The Gods arrayed themselves in wrathful aspect.
Thunder and lightning, rock and rain, sunfire and wind:
all weapons in their fearsome arsenal.
Yet the scions of Vaettim were not so easily overwhelmed.
Gods and mortals that day were slain, in their score.
And the earth was stained with blood divine and blood mundane.
So fell the acolytes one by one, their power spent –
yet even in death they were useful;
their souls harvested by their master to power his magic.
Kahlim’s plan came at last to the hour of its fruition.
Strengthened by the power of his loyal dead and seeing his enemy weakened
he fought on alone with a renewed vigour,
blinded by a man’s desire and a man’s wrath.
Made unto a god by virtue of will alone.
Never before had a mortal wielded such power,
and the capricious Mudali were made to rue their creation
for even a god should know limits.
For seventeen days and nights the battle raged;
And many were the unnamed gods that have passed from memory –
felled by his dread power.
Yet in the end one oft falls before the many,
and so it was thus again.
Fall he did,
though his death knell delivered such a wound to his foes!
One from which they sleep still;
recovering from that grievous battle within their hallowed heavens.
There they dream;
whether thoughts of vengeance or peace, we know not.
As they slumbered, throughout the long ages betwixt then and now,
a tree of purest Vaettim has risen on the Emteph plain.
Great it has grown,
and it has achieved what the wrath of Kahlim could not –
piercing the realms between ours and the hallowed heavens.
While the uttermost branches bask in the glow of dreaming gods,
long have grown the roots – and deep.
They pervade our realm,
though most see them not without the second sight,
and every man, every place, everything is connected by them.
Such is the origin of our magic,
fragmented the Vaettim has become, but glorious enough in its own right.
Borne from wrathful desire and the will of man –
to better himself, no matter the cost.
To glory, or to folly, goes man still…
likely to both, and to a similar end.
- Attributed to Mother Yulia, the Bride of the Moon