An almighty roar echoed through the nothingness of The All as the ill-tempered Nardaeth and his father, a fierce and relentless God, clashed in a whirling sphere of fire. The battle raged for a hundred years and when quiet returned to The All, the father lay mortally wounded before Nardaeth’s feet. When his twin sister, Nirith, saw what had happened, her heart overflowed with sadness and she leaned down to kiss her father goodbye. With his last breath he expressed his love for his daughter, who was ever his favourite, for the first and final time and bade her make some good come of his demise. Nirith then took his heart, breathed fire into it and placed it in the sky as a bright burning star to bring light and warmth to The All. She shaped his remains into the World and placed it at the centre of The All.
And from his final loving breath she created the First of the Earth People, Mahri, bringing immortal life to the World. Then she turned away from her brother and avowed that she did not want to ever see him again. Burdened by guilt Nardaeth moved to the other side of the World and into the shadows of his sister’s new sun so that the two would never meet.
He took with him his father’s black armour and shaped it into the halls of the Underworld. He harvested a solitary tear of his own, shed in grief, and placed it as a pale shining sphere in the dark shadow sky of The All. And from his father’s blood, spilled in battle, he created the Second Earth People, Man, bringing mortal life to the World. And so the Twin Gods of Light and Darkness ruled The All and maintained a balance for the World. At the beginning of every day, Nirith rekindles her beloved Sun, and at the end of every day Nardaeth takes it to the Underworld and sets the Moon to light up the sky in its place. And the World was good for many Times.
Nirith tended her people well and created a mighty palace, Nath’Tenor [House of the God], for them to live in. She blessed the Mahri with eternal life, the gifts of healing and invention and an unrivalled understanding of the powers of Nature. And the Mahri lived in peace. But one day Ardamehd, the youngest amongst his people, became curious about what lay outside the protective walls of Nath’Tenor. He stood up before Nirith and asked for permission to explore the rest of the World. But Nirith refused him, saying that the Mahri need not concern themselves with the World outside. But Ardamehd was gifted with a more powerful curiosity than any of his kin and one day he scaled the walls and travelled the World. And he encountered Man and saw that Nardaeth had not cared for the people he had created. Mankind struggled to survive in a harsh and unforgiving land without the knowledge to create fire, without the skills to build shelter and without the understanding of Nature to help and guide them.
Ardamehd returned to Nath’Tenor, gathered the Mahri around him in the Great Temple and told them the woeful tale of his travels. And The First Earth People wept. Then they gathered before Nirith and asked her to teach Man what she had gifted the Mahri. But Ardamehd had defied her wishes, and she denied them. Then they urged Nirith to ask her brother Nardaeth to teach Man what she herself had granted the Mahri. But Nirith had not forgiven her brother, and would not speak to him, and she denied them. Then the Mahri grew desperate and begged for permission to go into the World and teach Man themselves. But Nirith was filled with rage at their continuing defiance and decreed that the Mahri could never again set foot outside Nath’Tenor, and she raised the walls round the palace to the edge of the sky so none could scale them. But the First Earth People could not forget Ardamehd’s tales of Man’s suffering and, away from the eyes and ears of their Goddess, they debated what they could do. And Ardamehd stood up before all and he said: “Nirith has forbidden us to set foot outside the walls, but we came from The Breath and breath travels without feet”. And the Mahri understood.
When Nirith was asleep the men and women of the Mahri gathered in the Great Hall and once again they became breath and they moved in spirit form. The Twenty-seven Spirits of the Mahri journeyed over the walls of Nath’Tenor and spread across the World. But although they required no feet to travel, they needed both a voice to enlighten and hands to teach, so each of them sought out a suitable human host. When Nirith awoke and saw that the Mahri had gone from Nath’Tenor she was much angered and she set out to punish their disobedience. But when she saw the good that the spirits and their hosts were bringing to Man she relented. She named the human hosts The Nuh’Mahri [Walkers of the Breath] and gave them a Mark on their face so they could be recognised and revered by all. And so Nirith blessed the Nuh’Mahri and they brought healing, understanding and balance to Man. And the World was good for many Times.
In the shadows, Nardaeth resented the changes that had been brought to Man without his accord and sought ever to revert them. In his jealousy he used his dark power each time a Mahri had lost its human companion to taint the new host. And over many a Time, impure thoughts and dark emotions began to affect the spirits. Then came the ‘Time of the Giant’ when the North King marched down from his Kingdom, Alathia, and united The Lands to the South, East and West.
The North King shared the beliefs of his new people and brought with him the ancient order of the Mahri’Rai [Shepherds of the Breath], to protect the Nuh’Mahri when they travelled to faraway places. The King was wise and much loved by his people. But a small number of Nuh’Mahri and their protectors had become so tainted by Nardaeth that they hungered for power, as humans do, and grew envious of the North King. They believed that they alone should rule Alathia and they hid their plans from Nirith and once again the spirits of the Mahri defied the will of the Goddess of Light. The rebel Nuh’Mahri gathered in secret, together with their traitorous Mahri’Rai, and selected Lord Reamus Monfort to be their leader. With the use of Underly Magic, three of the evil Nuh’Mahri sacrificed themselves to give Monfort god-like power so he could oppose not only the North King but Nirith herself.
On a dark night, in the ‘Time of the Griffin’, Lord Monfort and his Marked Ones attacked the Fourteenth North King’s palace and killed his Queen, Vonnien, his son, Aarlath, and his daughter, Larani. But the North King himself, though mortally wounded by a poisoned blade, escaped and called upon the still faithful Five Faculty Masters of the Mahri’Rai for help. As the North King lay dying of a broken heart and a broken body, he gave rule over Alathia to the Faculty and asked that they would avenge his slain family. And the Fourteenth and last North King died and The All wept.
The Five Faculty Masters looked on in sorrow as the evil Lord Monfort tormented the provinces he and his Marked Ones conquered with the use of Underly Magic. The Eldest of the Faculty stood up before Nirith and asked for guidance and strength. But Nirith, being a Goddess of peace, knew little of war and when she saw the terror Lord Monfort inflicted in the name of her Mahri she buried her anger and went to seek out her brother. She showed him the suffering of his own creation and so Nardaeth’s resentment changed to sorrow and he agreed to give counsel. And the Twin Gods charged the Five Faculty Masters to lead the remains of the North King’s Army and said: “Hence forward you shall be known as The Kah’Nath [Thought of the Gods] and you shall defeat the evil Lord and rule Man in our name”. And so began ‘The Seven Year War’ that, much to the grief of the Kah’Nath, brought great pain to the people of Alathia.
But after many battles and much loss of life the Kah’Nath defeated Monfort and his Marked Ones in the Battle of Kahri’Tenor, leaving the evil Lord dead on the battlefield. And the Kah’Nath stood up before the World, thanked Nirith for her wisdom and Nardaeth for his guidance and vowed to hunt down Monfort’s remaining followers and end their evil dealings. Nardaeth pledged to rule the night and the dead with the same respect and dedication that Nirith ruled the day and the living. And so the balance of the Twin Gods was restored, and we give thanks to Nirith for granting us the Light and Nardaeth for guiding us through the Darkness.
But Nirith saw that Lord Monfort’s Underly Magic and the tainting of the hosts had poisoned all the Nuh’Mahri and knew they had become a threat to Man. In her merciful wisdom Nirith decided that she would not destroy the spirits of the Mahri but instead commanded the Kah’Nath to extract them and keep them in a secret place where they could not ever be ruinous again. With her blessing, and under the authority of the Royal Seal, each of the Five Kah’Nath Masters was given a part of Alathia to guide on behalf of the broken line of the North Kings. And for more than two hundred years the Five Kah’Nath Masters have upheld their pledge to Nirith and the North King, rid Alathia of the Marked Ones and guided their people in peace, as the Eye of Justice and the Mouth of Truth. And the World will be good for many Times.