Aerendel was founded by a Highe Elf Prince (of the L’Enjellian House) and his wife. They had led a rag-tag ‘army’ of refugees across two continents to get them away from marauding armies during the Last Wars of Magic. On the way to a ‘promised land’ that no one actually knew existed, they became separated and diverted, feared their partners had been murdered, and got mixed up with Humans. They had children with these Human, two sons, born on same day.
They were soon called and guided by Shanti, Who, having recently helped construct the Anomaly was actively trying to gather and lead as many ‘good’ and strong Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Rangers, Religious types and Magic Users who had turned their backs on war to an island where they would be comparitively safe if they were also willing to defend uncountable peace loving, nearly defenseless people (and animals) of all sizes and descriptions.
After all sorts of setbacks and side trips (and the deaths of both Human spouses) the family was re-united. They found a lot of ships waiting to take them to a land where they could live in peace. They reportedly followed numerous doves, dolphins, ravens and (possibly) a flying unicorn or two to the island, where they followed a talking bear to a cave near the top of the mountain they could see for miles out to sea.
Shortly after they arrived there, as a consequence of fighting in their world, their planet’s magnetic poles shifted. Their world was plunged into three days of deadly winds, violent storms and flooding. (Incredibly high Tsunamis washed over whole continents.) In the cave, they were safe. Shanti came to them with the News that the Wars had ended and most members of the First Race were either dead or leaving for greener pastures.
Shanti left with most of the First Race, but She’d evolved enough to be able to travel back and forth between the Causal, Astral and Physical universes and could build herself any sort of body, any time she wanted to. (She continued to drop in on them from time to time as they built a castle, and were formally granted domain over their land (which was now attached to a good sized continent, by an odd shaped, mountainous squiggle of land).
Shanti took more than a passing interest in the L’Enjellian ‘Twins’. L’Haeren (the Fair) grew up tall, thin and Spiritual. Haemahr (the Dark) became strong, solid and muscular. Haemahr also developed a quick temper, but was quick to forgive and forget. And he was also quick to come to the aid of anyone who asked for his help. L’Haeren spent a lot of time brooding over ideas and issues of Cosmic proportion.
When the young princes had just passed the age of responsibility, Haemahr went travelling around their world and came back to Aerendel with tales of a Half-Ghardran Demagogue named GaaKrell who had conquered all of one continent and half of another and threatened to enslave half the planet within the next five years.
Haemahr raised an army and left to go fight GaaKrell and his legions.
Less than three months passed before L’Haeren began having visions and dreams of GaaKrell killing Haemahr. He called out to Shanti for guidance and She appeared, handed him a Staff that became a crossbow of its own volition and summoned a golden bolt whenever it sensed really bad vibes. L’Haeren left his parents a note, hiked down the mountain to Birkenport, hired a frigate loaded with ‘privateers’ and sailed off to save his brother.
When the privateers embraced the idea that L’Haeren’s presence was attracting major league trouble, they put him ashore in the rather disreputable port town of ‘Harmony’. In Harmony, without friends or any of his gold, he was befriended by a young woman who introduced herself as “Captain Jayzee Megrory” and bragged that she could drink any three sailors (or five pirates) under the table. L’Haeren did not take her up on her challenge, but woke up with a splitting headache in the hold of a schooner hearing the screams of women and children. He noticed there was a Khat in heavy chains and another prisoner on the floor. He didn’t realize he was in chains until he tried to run to the aid of the screamers. The Khat roared, rattled his own chains, laughed and managed to let L’Haeren know he admired his spirit. The other prisoner looked up at him, winked, and finished picking the lock to the thickest chains, the ones that kept them tethered in the hold. Sometime before he realized that prisoner was Jayzee, she’d picked the locks to his ‘bracelets’ and leg irons and similarly freed the Khat.
L’Haeren looked around, found his staff and climbed up onto the deck of the schooner in time to to watch his captors pitch a line of women and children (of several races), chained together, over the side. He roared. The Khat (who had thought there might be a little bigger advantage and getting a bit closer before announcing their presence, roared and stood beside L’Haeren with only his leg irons for a weapon. The pirates turned around, noted that both their prisoners were tattooed with a dove (the mark of the emerging Shanti ‘cult’) and laughed.
But when L’Haeren swung his staff the line of women and children rose to the surface of the sea and stood there, choking and coughing.
Upwards of a hundred Mer emerged from the sea, climbed aboard and ‘dispatched’ the pirates. (They Mer told them that Shanti had come to them in visions and told them that a prince held captive in the hold of a schooner had the power to grant them a homeland if they helped him save his brother.)
They made Jayzee the Captain of their newly acquired schooner and headed for danger. Telepaths among the Mer summoned several more ships so they didn’t have to swim for more than a couple days.
When they reached a friendly island they put the women and children ashore and recruited a couple dozen more assorted adventurers.
They located the continent where they were pretty sure they’d find Haemahr, but when they got there they found nearly everything in ashes and realized it would be a lot harder to find food than it would be to locate any one freedom fighter on a continent the size of Australia and Alaska combined. (The Mer asked if anyone minded a diet of fish and sea plants.) Mer Seers conferred with L’Haeren and thought the best plan would be to follow the (poisoned) river as far inland as they could, assemble by night and set out to a destination that was becoming more and more clear to everyone involved. A plateau surrounded by the charred remains of a forest near a mountain that looked like a fallen horse. Jayzee said she’d been to a place like that and drew them a map (from memory). The Khat thought that several small parties might have a better chance of getting through enemy lines to the spot where the Seers all agreed, a climactic showdown would take place. Jayzee agreed to lead a party that consisted of L’Haeren, the Khat they’d freed, three Mer Marines and a couple Half Elven brothers who had lost most of their family on this continent.
Jayzee, Half Elven herself, led them from cover to cover (the only good cover they could find in a land that was mostly ashes and the twisted, tortured corpses of trees).
But then, one morning, after a nasty rain storm had kept them inside the still standing ruins of a stone cottage, they awoke to find her missing. They were ambushed almost as soon as they stepped outside, lost one of the Mer and one of the Half Elven. They guessed she’d turned them in for the bounty and headed for the hills as quickly as possible.
They found the enemy camp a couple days later, snuck pretty close and arrived in time to watch several executions. (Most were prisoners, a few were soldiers in an army made up of Ghadra, Drax, Sectoids and quite a few renegade Humans. (One of the soldiers executed was a Troll, maybe as an example for the half dozen Trolls towering over the rest of the army.)
L’Haeren received a telepathic message that the ranting lunatic presiding over the executions was the target he had to kill and felt his staff morph itself into a crossbow, held up his hand, received the bolt from wherever it spent most of its time, ‘nocked’ the bolt into place and took aim at the slight creature of average height who was stomping around in the middle of this spectacle, wildly waving his arms and gesturing-
Just before L’Haeren would have let the bolt fly the Khat at his side pointed to one of the prisoners- “Jayzee didn’t betray anybody- look at her- or what’s left of her- kill her, don’t give them the pleasure-”
L’Haeren aimed at the executioner, split his head open and knocked him far enough off target so he missed Jayzee. Several of the Mer Seers had surrounded the camp and most of them let fly their most spectacular spells at once. Half a dozen small parties led suicide attacks on the army, which most of them called the ‘Krim’. Most of the Humans in the camp threw off their outer garments to reveal the uniforms of Haemahr and his Rangers. There was just enough confusion for Haemahr to get within twenty yards of GaaKrell. And GaaKrell was stepping backward, pushing more and more of his soldiers at Haemahr and his men.
The bolt came back to L’Haeren. The Khat and the remaining members of their party looked at each other and shrugged, drew their weapons and looked at L’Haeren.
“Get me as close as you can-”
They fought within thirty yards of GaaKrell. It became obvious that GaaKrell’s forces were falling apart and running from the battle. GaaKrell stood up atop a rock and tried to scream loud enough to martial his forces. L’Haeren took aim and shot.
The Blessed bolt exploded on contact. So did GaaKrell. But fate had one more surprise for them and an Arch Ghardran Mage appeared from nowhere and hurled some kind of toxic spell on L’Haeren, a split second before the Khat tore its head from its shoulders.
Watching their leader explode did not have a pleasant effect on anybody who might have chosen to, at least attempt to, stop the full scale rout that ensued.
Haemahr, wounded, but not badly, learned that his brother was there and made his way to L’Haeren’s side as a pair of Seers announced, “This battle continues in Hell-” and explained that L’Haeren and GaaKrell were fighting it out in some ugly dimension and the winner would claim L’Haeren’s body.
The Khat made his way to Jayzee, asked her if her pain was great enough, did she want to die? She’d had one eye gouged out of her head, all of her fingernails torn out, several toes and fingers were gone, quite a few strips of her skin had been peeled away. She shook her head and gasped, “Hell, I always wanted to be a barmaid anyway.” The Khat sought out the strongest healer he could find, tore him away from a patient (an apprentice took over) and told the Healer to do anything he could (under threat of extremely painful death) to save Jayzee. Several Healers managed to keep her alive.
Haemahr rounded up as many Healers, Priests, Priestesses, Seers and Psidahrians as he could ‘commission’ and kept an around the clock vigil himself on his brother. After several weeks had passed and L’Haeren’s still warm body hadn’t moved at all, Haemahr cornered as many Seers as he could and asked them how long this could take. “Time is different where they are- It could be minutes, it could be years.” A lot of minds called out to Shanti at once. She did materialize, long enough to explain that, if She tried to interfere in this one, the world could be in greater danger than it had been since the Last Wars of Magic. But she also said that she’d cheated a bit and had been training L’Haeren for this for years, in his dreams. She also said it would be safe to transport him back home.
When Haemahr heard of the Mer’s hopes that they could get a homeland out of this he told them they’d always be welcome in Aerendel and told them about the rumours of a lost city underwater somewhere near Aerendel. He also told them they could probably lay claim to what was left of the burned out section of the continent they were standing on. No one he’d met who had lived there wanted to stay and rebuild. (Several Mer did remain there, petitioned many surrounding Kingdoms, Empires, Oligarchies and Republics, and were granted a substantial section of the continent, which they named “Freed-land”. A few went to Aerendel to check on the rumours.)
After the Khat told Haemahr the story of Jaycee’s statement that she’d always wanted to be a barmaid, he said, “Hell, I’ll give her a bar- I’ll BUILD her a bar if she wants one.” (Megrory’s Bar, several incarnations later, still stands, a few steps from the docks in Birkenport.)
Haemahr and his entourage of Healers and Priests and Mystics off all sorts, sizes and shapes, brought L’Haeren’s body back to Aerendel where Healers, Mystics and Seers maintained a constant vigil for twenty years. There was always a ‘stout’ warrior of some persuasion by the bed with a drawn weapon ready to decapitate their hero’s body if the wrong soul tried to claim it.
When L’Haeren re-emerged, alive and quite shaken, but okay and fully able to use his own body, there was a celebration that lasted five years.
Shanti showed up somewhere near the end of the party, explained that the entrance to her Anomaly was on the other side of about five feet of granite in the lowest level of their castle’s basement. She told them there was a danger that the forces of ‘Darkness’ could, if they gained access to the Anomaly, sneak whole armies back thousands of years and destroy civilizations that would never have been, and possibly gain and ‘unholy’ advantage. They might not exactly destroy all life as we knew it, but they might make a lot of lives less than worth the bother. She asked them if they were up to the challenge of guarding the Anomaly for her. And, when they said, “Yes” without hesitation, asked them if they wanted near immortality to go along with it. She taught them how to induce deep trances on themselves and told them they could rejuvenate themselves regularly for ‘quite a long long time’. (By our nearest reckoning, that would have taken place about ten or fifteen thousand years ago.) (Somewhere around the time that Atlantis and Lemur faded or sank into history and then became ‘Mythology’.)
The Anomaly connects with Earth at odd times in odd spaces. It appears to be random.
There are several thousand more years of History. But you don’t want to hear about that right now, do you?
See Also: Mythology & The Anomaly