Arvyl the Dreamer

Arvyl the Dreamer   b. 3794 SY   d. 4141 SY  Arvyl’s Folly  3918 SY

Arvyl the Dreamer was the most famous God-Emperor after Ataryl.  Like most men of power, he was no simple man.  Some hailed him as a poet, a prophet and a visionary, others as a warmonger who let pride get the best of him.  To some, his nickname was a compliment, a tribute of the highest order and to others it was a curse symbolizing the height of his hubris.

Arvyl dreamt of a greater Sangrithar, one that stretched from one side of Fanar to the other.  He dreamt of a world free of shadow, a world wiped clean of the Shadowgrim’s blight, a world not menaced by the Shadow Lord.  You can’t fault him for going small, when Arvyl dreamed he dreamed large, but his dreams were more than a guide to Sangrithar’s greatness, he also took them as an omen of personal glory and grandeur, a sign that he had a great destiny to fulfill.  Well, that part was correct, but not in the way that Arvyl had thought.

The truth is, Arvyl had lost before his journey even began.  And the funny thing is, he knew it, whether he realized it or not.  Arvyl uttered his famous Doom several years before the legions headed east to the Shadowgrim.  At first, his Doom was a riddle no one understood, but with the benefit of hindsight, and years of scholarly speculation, we know now that it foretold the end of the God-Emperors.  Arvyl began the chain of events that led to the Pearl Throne toppling when he took his first step east, in the ill-fated campaign forever known as Arvyl’s Folly.

Maelryn the Vizier might have stopped him, had he been so inclined, but by then he’d already gone over to the other side.  The Dreamer played right into his, and his shadowy master’s, hands.  Instead, the Vizier whispered encouragement to Arvyl and told him that victory could be his.  Full of spitfire, Arvyl personally led the legions east (to the embarassment of Harvyn, Arvyl’s Lord Warden, a grumpy man made grumpier by Arvyl’s decision).

Sangrithar’s legions may have had the Dark Ones outnumbered.  We’ll never know for sure, One-Eye’s minions are notoriously difficult to count, but the Dark Ones definitely had home court advantage.  The legions were far from home without hope of reinforcements.  Supply lines were stretched thin.  The disease infested swamps left the legion with a strength-sapping, wasting fever.  Legionnaires trudged through waist high pools of thick slime and past bogs that swallowed whole entire squads like quicksand.  At every turn, Dark Ones assailed them – orcs, goblins, and trolls, skulfs, scarags and demons not seen since the Elder Days.

Arvyl came face to face with the Shadow Lord himself.  Face to face may not be the best way to describe their meeting.  The Shadow Lord didn’t have a face, or if he did, he kept it hidden under his shadowy cloak.  All that could be seen of his features was the rough outline of a twisted scowl glinting gold, like a hoodied rapper with a grill.

The Shadow Lord was an ancient evil that had survived the breaking of the world.  In the Elder Days he had gone by another name which shall not be mentioned, and through his actions did love gone wrong enter the world and plunge Sangrar into unending night.  As evil entered the world, this vile nameless Traitor faced a choice.  He might have redeemed himself, but instead he slew the one who loved him most and was thereby lost forever to One-Eye.  After the Battle of Unending Night, the Dark Lord breathed new life into the Traitor and made him over into a dreadful servant.

Much evil sprang from the Traitor.  Daeryss, the sorcerer of the Twisted Oak fell under his spell and armed with fell sorcery kidnapped Ilnaya the Swan Princess.  Kandol, Aeris and Valdarag gave chase and eventually rescued her from the Darkhold, but in doing so, Kandol pulled the world down and summoned the Herald to announce the new age.

Facing such a terrible foe as the Shadow Lord, Arvyl stood little chance.  The odds and the Prophecies were stacked against him.  The Traitor would fall one day, when he faced the Warrior, but not that day, not to the power of the Pearl Throne.  Thar who was Umbar’s legacy was great, but pale next to prophecy, ever Sangrar’s strongest defense.

Arvyl survived his encounter with the Shadow Lord, but the legions were decimated.  Barely one man in ten survived before Arvyl sounded the horn to retreat.  The cost of defeat was higher than anyone knew.  While battling the Shadow Lord, Arvyl was unknowingly infected with shadow, leaving him empty, embittered and hollow, a curse that he would pass on to his heirs.  After returning the City of the Golden Star, Arvyl’s dreams turned to nightmares and corruption creeped into once mighty Sangrithar, ending the Golden Years enjoyed since Ataryl came down from Pel Aesylle to defeat the Shadow Lord nearly two thousand years earlier.

The curse truly came to fruition when Arvyl’s son, Tormyn later named Blackheart, took the Pearl Throne.  Arvyl unknowingly passed the curse to him.  It lay dormant for years, waiting until Tormyn claimed Thar’s birthright to rear its ugly head.  The curse was insidious and subtle.  It was tiny at first, almost unnoticeable, like the tickle on the back of your throat when you’re a couple days out from coming down with something really bad.   The more Tormyn exercised his power, the more he called upon god-fire, the madder he became.  That was the curse’s genius – it fed upon the very power that made the God-Emperor strong .

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