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In the beginning there was Darkness. Darkness was seething, and evil, it possessed a hatred of all things, but there was nothing but Darkness, and so Darkness hated itself. It gnawed with its countless teeth, and howled with its countless voices, raging against itself in an effort to destroy what it hated. Eventually Darkness spawned children, smaller sections of itself that had been torn from the whole, vile beasts of unimaginable horror, and they rebelled against Darkness, filled with the same hatred it bore for itself, they tore off larger and larger chunks of it, creating even more hideous creations, until Darkness had been hacked, and torn, and broken into a vast horde of creatures most Foul. Where the Darkness had been split, light finally began to seep through. Draining from the Darkness’s many wounds; it illuminated the vast horde so they could finally see their twisted forms, and they raged. The horde fought itself, they fled, they wept, they bled, they scattered before the horrid light that spilled from the corpse of Darkness.

From the cracks in Darkness something new emerged, the Light. A creature who did not hate, something that only knew love, and it stood in the light, its form not hideous, but beautiful. The Foul that had remained nearby saw the creature, and they hated it, for it was born of Darkness and when the first of the Foul approached to strike it down, it did not fight back, but allowed itself to be devoured. Each member of the Horde, who devoured the creature twisted, and changed, and they too became Beautiful. So while the two great hosts clashed, light begetting dark, dark begetting light, Darkness began to wake. Revived by the pieces of the foul horde that had been converted by the Beautiful, it split itself from the Light. So the universe had finally divided itself into two, Beautiful and Light, and Foul and Darkness. Finally having something to hate other then itself, Darkness created champions, gods of terrible wrath and power, beings who could channel Darkness’ vast powers during a battle. In echo, Light created its own champions, beings of passion and grace, and so was born the first Gods. Nilakko and Lhkaniz marshaled the Foul, Brothers of terrible countenance. Aysu and Lysu marshaled the Beautiful, Sisters of mercy each strode into battle a thousand thousand times, and each was reborn a thousand thousand lives. For when a creature of Beauty fell to the Foul, it rose as a Foul, and when a creature of the Foul fell to Beauty it rose as Beauty. The Great Stalemate lasted for eons, Light ravaging Darkness, Darkness ravaging Light. Until, one day, recognizing it as a fallen brother, Aysu did not slay a Foul that she had beaten, instead she took its body and encased it in an Obelisk of stone as black as Darkness itself, and the Foul, finally thinking it had rejoined the Darkness, slept, and for the first time in The Great Stalemate a casualty, of a sort, had been struck. Armed with this knowledge the Beautiful would take a Foul that was defeated and encase it in stone. Soon, the Darkness realized what had happened, and he told Nilakko and Lhkaniz the secret to capturing the Beautiful, so the next time a Beautiful was defeated the Foul encased it in a golden orb of flame, which spread light as far as it could reach. The Foul and the Beautiful tore at each other with renewed fury. No longer constrained by the cycle of being reborn, losses were finally suffered, but the sides remained equal, too long had they fought each other and for too long neither side had gained an advantage.

When The Great Stalemate finally ended, it is said that only ten of the Beautiful and nine of the Foul remained. The universe had become filled with points of light, each one of the fallen Beautiful and it also had been filled with great spheres of debris, gathered from the war, it had collected around the obelisk, filling the cosmos with planets. On this grand stage, with Light and Darkness weakened by the losses, and with countless numbers of their brothers and sisters trapped, the two sides stopped fighting. They looked at what had been created, Worlds filled with exotic locals, filled with the spark of both good and evil, Light and Dark, spun all around them, the voices of Light and Darkness no longer screamed in their minds, just a whisper now, they could finally think for themselves. They looked at themselves, no longer did the Foul writhe and twist and seethe with unimaginable horror, for they had been Beautiful before, and if killed would be Beautiful again. No longer did the Beautiful blind with radiance, or sear with purity, for they had been Foul, and if killed would be Foul again. They looked at their brothers and sisters, trapped for eternity and they wept, their tears made oceans, made lakes, made rivers, covering the fledgling worlds. They looked and their scars and thought of the pain they had known and they wailed, and their breath made winds, made skies, made breezes. When they had finished, the cosmos had been forged, the remains of a battle unimaginably destructive had begotten life. The brothers and sisters watched these new worlds. They saw grasses grow, they saw trees spring to life, and they saw beasts of all manners spring to life before their eyes. The beasts lacked intelligence, mindless creatures that roamed the land eating and living, drinking and dying. They were fascinating to the fledgling gods; the ten Beautiful loved the creatures, for they were filled only with compassion for all innocent things. The nine Foul hated them, so they took delight in watching them die. Neither side, Beautiful or Foul, interacted with them, fearful of what the consequences of mingling with creatures of pure innocence, beings whose Light was untainted and whose Darkness could be boundless, could be. So they watched, for countless ages they watched.

Ultimately the Tenth Beautiful, with no Foul as a counterpart, was unchecked, his name was Iseloth, and while his brothers and sisters always had someone to keep an eye on them, Iseloth was free from such burdens, and secreted away a world of his own, far from the eyes of his brothers and sisters. This world was different, it was covered in obelisks, by far the most of any world he had ever seen, and it had many suns, but most importantly, it had a spark of the divine in it. The proximity of so many sleeping Foul and so many Beautiful bathed the world in the magic of Light and Darkness. The things that seemed common place on other worlds, grass and animals, were fantastical on this new world. It’s as if it obeyed no laws but its own. It was here that Iseloth first touched a beast. Iseloth was fascinated by the animals of this world, creatures that bore similarities to nothing he had seen before. Some of the creatures on this world bore similarities to the Foul that inhabited the obelisks scattered around the world, twisted and vile creatures. Some also bore similarities to the Beautiful, graceful and majestic. All seemed possessed with the same divine spark that the world was being bathed in, and Iseloth was entranced by their beauty, so closely related to the new Gods, were these creatures, that he could not keep himself away. When he traveled down among the creatures he grew more and more enraptured by their beauty until one day, he finally broke down and reached out to touch one. In that tragically beautiful instant, Iseloth ceased to be, and his essence spread to all the creatures of the infant world giving sentience to it’s creatures. No longer simply mindless beasts, Men and Dwarves, Orcs and Lizardfolk were suddenly gifted with intelligence. The resulting burst of energy drew the attention of the other gods. So they too turned their attention to this majestic world. However they were unable to interfere directly. The essence of Iseloth prevented any of the Gods from manifesting on the world; they could only influence the creatures below. Creatures who now were starting to explore, to expand, and carve a life for themselves on the world. So the stage was set, Men and Beast, Gods and Monsters. All were focused on this little planet with its many suns, and its dark, dark secrets.

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