History of Earthsong
Earthsong and sorcery couldn’t be more different. Sorcery originated from the Flame in the Void, which was about as far from Sangrar as a thing could be. Earthsong in contrast, came from Sangrar, from the ley lines Spirit set into the world when it was made. They permeated the land, steeping it in magik and when the Craeylu came to the Outermost Heavens, Spirit took Lillandra and Aerdran under her wing and taught them.
After Erlik murdered Lindivar, he fled the Outermost Heavens and the Craeylu chased him to Sangrar where they fought in the Battle of Molten Fire. Finbardin took Erlik’s eye in battle, but Majestrix whisked Erlik away to the Darkhold before the golden one could render final judgment. The battle had devastated the land. Sangrar spasmed earthquakes, bleeding rivers of lava and crying mountains.
Knowing Spirit’s magik best, Lillandra and Aerdran tried to heal the land. They reached deep into the bedrock where the ley lines coursed and took hold of the magik. They willed the land to knit, but the repairs were beyond them until Nyllen the Minstrel began to play. Nyllen’s song flowed into the ley lines, transforming them into earthsong and healing the land. Upon returning to Heaven, the Craeylu faced a cranky Zuras, furious at the destruction they’d wreaked upon the world. Zuras forbid them from ever setting foot on Sangrar again. No three strike rule for Father Zuras.
In time, golden Finbardin became smitten with Spirit and made Esel to woo her. Naturally, he swept her off her feet. You’ve heard of offering the sun and the moon? Finbardin called that bet and raised it. Numra the Explorer and Annumbra the World Walker sprang from their union and Spirit granted her children secret knowledge. She whispered in Numra’s ear about the Flame and about the earthsong in Annumbra’s.
Having children drained Spirit’s strength and hastened her end. She was Elemenes, not Craeylu, and could not hold her form. After a hugging her newborns a final time, and promising that she’d always be close, she faded away and became one with Esel. It was all very zen-like.
Reasoning that Zuras’s ban didn’t apply to her, a thought nurtured by Majestrix, Annumbra descended to primordial Sangrar where the earthsong sang louder. Erlik sensed her, the first to tread the worldd since the Battle of Molten Fire, and reached out from the Darkhold, but Annumbra was stronger than he’d expected. She fought him off and walked the world seven times to wrap the Darkhold in chains of earthsong. When it was over, the Darkhold was Erlik’s prison, not his stronghold.
Then Annumbra raised rings of stones like your Stonehenge (I’ll just call them the Stones, to keep it short), hundreds of them across the world, wherever the ley lines intersected. Each ring had a center Stone, except the rings found beneath Caradar. Instead of a center Stone, the Forge Folk built Rune Forges in the center of their rings. These magikal forges served the same purpose as a center Stone.
The Stones kept the chains of earthsong imprisoning the Dark Lord tight. The greatest of the Stones were at Jahar. They were named Leyrantha and numbered seven times seven, not counting the center Stone. Pleased with her work, Annumbra returned to Heaven only to find Zuras angry that she’d used a loophole to circumvent his ban, a loophole he immediately eliminated. Harnor was also unimpressed and called Annumbra’s magik cheap.
The time of the Elder Races drew near and the Craeylu trotted out the Ealar like show dogs at Westminster. They just sort of arrived on the scene fully grown and ready to lend a helping hand, and please, don’t ask me to go into more details. One of the Ealar was the Earth Mother, the daughter of Lillandra and Aerdran. Yes, Lillandra and Aerdran were siblings, but I wouldn’t call it incest. The truth is, all Craeylu showed up at about the same time, so I never really understood what made them, or Deridean and Aeriel, brothers and sisters in the first place except that Majestrix said so. Procreation with divine beings is a tricky matter and besides, that sort of thing happens all the time with gods. Go read Zeus’s shenanigans if you don’t believe me.
At any rate, when Annumbra raised the Stones, she’thought they’d keep Erlik sealed in the Darkhold forever, but the Dark Lord probed them constantly and after each test, they weakened ever so slightly. Over time, this became somewhat of a worry, so Annumbra, Lillandra and Aerdran taught the Earth Mother everything they knew about earthsong and then asked her to keep the Darkhold’s chains tight. None of them could do it, not from Heaven, not with Zuras’s ban still in effect.
Once the Elder Races came to Sangrar, the Earth Mother could use their prayers to strengthen the chains of earthsong imprisoning the Dark Lord, but not directly. She needed help and I’ve always suspected that the Balance was behind that little glitch. It’s so … symmetrical. A few people could hear earthsong when standing amidst the Stones. These were the channelers, the priests and priestesses of the Elder Days. They gladly served the Earth Mother, she was their greatest joy.
Elder Races – all of the Elder Races prayed regularly to the Earth Mother. Back then, prayer was a popular pastime. Not only was it a sacred duty, it was fun. Read about religion if you want to know why. One important note, the Elder Races only prayed to the Earth Mother. There were plenty of gods to go around, and they were invoked on a daily basis countless times. “May the Explorer guard your path” was a nice way to say good-bye and “Ravager take you” meant shove off. When I was surprised, or mad at myself, I used to say “Solare burn me”, but none of those were prayers. Prayers were reserved exclusively for the Earth Mother.
Priest/Priestess – those who could channel prayers to the Earth Mother while standing amidst the Stones. More women had the talent to channel than men, except for the Forge Folk, among whom women with or without power were rare, and the Ravirs, all of whom could channel. The more powerful channelers could commune with the land and perform other acts of magik while standing in the Stones, though doing so weakened the chains on the Dark Lord.
Earth Mother – I could fill a book on her. In fact, I did. Click here to get the basics.
Erlik – umm … he’s the reason all of this exists. The entire system was designed for one and only one purpose. To keep One-Eye imprisoned. Read Erlik’s entry
The Stones – Annumbra placed the Stones where the ley lines intersected, making them places of great power. They were connected to the ley lines like a gas pump is to an underground storage tank. Some were like one-pump stations at a country crossroads; Leyrantha was an outlet mall with twenty-six pumps, including diesel, servicing an interchange between three superhighways. The Stones kept the Darkhold sealed, but their power was not infinite. Only the Earth Mother could recharge them, and only channeled prayers could recharge her. “the Stones” refers collectively to the ring of Stones and the center Stone.
Earthmages – even rarer than channelers were the Earthmages. These were individuals with unique gifts who could not channel (unless they were also priests) and could hear earthsong anywhere. Their gifts ranged from simple, like Gertredda, a Gnome who could mend plants to powerful beyond measure, like Dar’s making or the gift Elras passed on to Kandol. The Dwarven Runesmiths were a special case. These Earthmages, more common than channelers, all had the same gift, albeit in different doses, the ability to make enchanted items on the clan’s Ring Forge.
Earthsong through the Ages
As Sangrar changed with the ages, so did the earthsong and its practitioners.
In the Years of Glory, when the Stones still stood, Earthmages and channelers flourished.
After the Stones had fallen, Earthmages still wielded power but channelers could no longer channel. That wasn’t as bad as it sounded, unless you were a channeler (they missed channeling terribly). With the Dark Lord no longer imprisoned, there was no need for channeling.
During the Reckoning, the world was remade without Spirit’s ley lines and in the Age of Man, there was no earthsong. Those who had been Earthmages were bereft of power and could not practice their craft. The racial gifts bred into the Elder Races remained, but without earthsong they were diminished.