Erlik One-Eye, the Dark Lord

Those are just two of his many nicknames, all well earned, I’m afraid.  When it came to evil inside the Girdle, Erlik was top banana, but don’t hold it against him, it’s not like he had a choice.  The Necessity demanded it.  If utopia had been an option, then the Primals wouldn’t have made Erlik, but it wasn’t.  Zuras and Majestrix hashed that out in the very beginning.  Zuras didn’t like it, but he couldn’t deny the truth when Majestrix confronted him with it.

Majestrix always favored Erlik over the other Craeylu.  She showed her hand when she saved him from Finbardin and when she tried fixing him up with Annumbra.  Boy, did that backfire!  I think she did it out of guilt, since she knew damn well what Erlik would have to do.

Unless he was up to one of his tricks, Erlik appeared as a seven foot tall, purple skinned man with a prehensile tail and elongated chin.  As for his face, imagine what the one-eyed love-child of Jay Leno and the Joker would look like and you’re close.  Before you ask, he lost the right eye and no, he didn’t wear a patch.  The wound never healed and his empty socket dripped ichor through the ages, but Erlik didn’t mind – it was a constant reminder of his enemies.

Back to those nicknames … let’s see.  Here are some of his more popular ones:

One-Eye:  by far the most used, Finbardin gave him this name in the Battle of Molten Fire.  A derivative, “Erlik’s Eye”, was a common way of swearing and wasn’t something you’d say to impress your future mother-in-law.

The Dark Lord:  no matter what you Muggles think, Voldemort wasn’t the first to use this moniker.  As for Erlik’s rights to it, well, he was the god of darkness, what do you think?  Variants include the Dark One and the Prince of Darkness.

The Nightbringer:  When Erlik escaped, he turned off the Suns like you might flick a light switch.  After eons of the Full Radiance …. BAM … only darkness.  If that’s not nameworthy, I don’t know what it.

Lord of the Purple Suns – not one of my favorites, it’s too lengthy and on the obscure side.  The purple was dark as midnight, what’s the point?

Lord of the Pits – the Pits of course, refers to the Breeding Pits.  This was his commander-in-chief title.

I think that’s most of them.  Wait a minute.  Erlik’s Eye!  How could I have forgotten Sorrow, the most important of all his nicknames?  Lillandra named him at the Congress.  “From love gone wrong, Sorrow will enter the world,” she said.

Erlik’s true nature asserted itself right after the Primals uttered the Prophecies.   He could not abide Lindivar, god of light, and struck him down almost before the gods had taken their first steps.  If you’re wondering how the Balance could allow darkness to defeat light so easily, I’m proud of you, and the answer is obviously, it didn’t.  After Lindivar’s murder, his sister Aeriel took up his mantle.

Smartly, Erlik hightailed it out of Heaven before his siblings had time to blink and hid on Sangrar.  They followed and confronted him in what came to be known as the Battle of Molten Fire.  Majestrix, always the mother hen when it came to Erlik, snatched him away before Finbardin could take more than his eye and gave him the Darkhold to call his own.

From the center of the world, One-Eye plotted his revenge.  From the Prophecies, he knew that the Elder Races would be coming soon, so he made the Breeding Pits to spawn Dark Ones, but the Pits were barren.  Then Annumbra found him and trapped him in the Darkhold.

Erlik tried every trick he knew, but could not break free.  With each attempt, he felt the chains weaken, but at a rate that would take centuries to wear down.  He turned his attention back to the Breeding Pits, puzzled that they remained empty and went to sleep in one of them.  He dreamt of things most terrible and when he awoke, his nightmares had taken shape in the form of Cthar, Morkanis and Zara, godlings worse than any horror conjured by Freddie Krueger.

Then Majestrix paid Erlik a rare visit in the Darkhold.  She told him that when the time came for the Elder Races, he would have to help the other Craeylu.  Erlik, rather predictably, told her to pound salt.  Then she pointed to the Breeding Pits and asked if he knew why they were empty.

She’d piqued his curiosity.  Majestrix explained that until the Elder Races arrived, they’d remain empty.  If Erlik wanted to spawn Dark Ones, then he’d have to help his siblings.  What she didn’t tell him was that it was due to the Necessity.

When the Craeylu gathered at the Pool of Life, their first effort failed miserably.  They didn’t realize that they were missing an important ingredient – Sorrow – and for that they needed their estranged brother.  The Balance would not allow a world without some measure of tragedy.

Somehow, I guess urgent need could slip past the wards, Erlik smuggled a sliver of his essence into the Pool.  Then and only then did the Firstborn emerge and soon after, the Breeding Pits were swarming with goblin rugrats and other, nastier critters.

One-Eye waited in the Darkhold none too patiently for his big chance, pacing the halls of his Black Citadel endlessly and practicing his laugh, which sounded like it came from some  megalomaniac in a Pixar film.  Eventually, one of his schemes panned out when his agent seduced the Traitor.  From love gone wrong, Sorrow did enter the world, just as the Prophecies had foretold, in the form of Erlik One-Eye the Dark Lord.

The Stones fell and the Maiden withered at his touch.  He plunged the world into unending night and his legions poured forth from the Darkhold, bringing ruin to the Elder Races.  Things were looking up for One-Eye until the Explorer Rekindled the Suns.  The offspring of Finbardin and Spirit were always his nemesis.  First Annumbra and then Numra brought him low.  Given their success, it’s no wonder that Celetran came up with her plan to hatch the Vanara.  The bigger surprise is that Finbardin didn’t think of it earlier.

After the Battle of Unending Night, Erlik retreated to the Darkhold,  The Stones were gone and the wall between the Darkhold and Sangrar was thin.  He sent hordes of Dark Ones up through the Caverns of Gloom to inhabit subterranean lairs in Sangrar, Dark Ones that would wake at dusk and come out to hunt prey.  At the break of Edda’s Watch, they’d retreat back underground and wait for the next night.

This detente lasted a thousand years, until the Traitor’s disciple kidnapped the Swan Princess and carried her to the underworld.  Kandol, Aeris and Valdarag went to rescue her – you can read the details in The Warrior Revealed – and you know how that ended.

When Kandol pulled down the world, One-Eye had no choice but to abandon the Darkhold.  He fled into Esel with the Erlikarrin in tow and sought out the Darkstar, a new home in the heavens that Majestrix had made for him in the Age of Beginnings.   In the Darkstar, he built new Breeding Pits and planned his assault on the Gates of Heaven.

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