Kai’ckul, The Age of Wardens
“Our world has many names, varied and true to its history of flux. The Sandbox. Kujel. Edin. G’Xxa. Arth. Those a mere sliver, the most widespread of monikers.
Yet, one name has stuck, used even by the most ardent deniers. Even for them, it has remained: whispering in their minds, a subtle parenthetical of undying truth, as they think about the lands that sustain and eventually reclaim them. It’s a name that cries to the origins, the oldest known times and the First Age: Creation, or The Age of Wyrms.
From the very womb of the world came forth the Wyrms. Born from the innermost fires, they were products of the very bones of this world, pressure-crafted, each with a pocket of their mother deep within them.
Yet they — like all children — were of their parent, but a kaleidoscope of her many facets. True to progeny, they were jealous of each other; simultaneously protective and possessive of their mother. They clawed for purchase on her skin, battling each other to be the true favorite, the inheritor of all she had to offer. The highest stakes; it was a ferocious, violent struggle. And with those stakes came the highest of prices to the very one they fought for: their talons cleft ridges, fjords and river beds; their wings beat powerful storms into existence, swirling the airs into currents that to this day caress our faces and burden us with disaster; their breath scorched the Scorched Reaches and froze the Soundless Brink; their vainglorious efforts broke mountain ranges and flattened plains, and when they called for a verdict from their ever watchful mother, the one who must be proud, their worthiness proved, they heard nothing.
They had broken their mother. For some, silence was a sign: the victor had not been decided. Others despaired at their solitude. Only their brothers and sisters could offer company, and those bonds had been long broken and utterly irreparable. Then came: The Passing Down, or Age of Fathers.
Taking guidance from their lost mother – using their very bodies for materiel – new life was brought forth. For myriad reasons, our forebears populated the world, crafting armies to subdue their fraternal competition or gifts, an honorarium to their mother: Us. Blinking awareness, they whispered her name: Kai’ckul.
Though we came from many fathers, we had the same mission. We were to be the children of Kai’ckul, their mother. We were the ones to set things right. We were to be as they were originally intended: ones who could cleanse and heal, or at least forge a the bond that they regret severing. But, just like our parents, we were — and are — brilliantly varied and blind to our intended purpose. Yes, homes were etched and stretched into the countryside. Our beacon began to shine a light of hope; some refinement occurred in our generation: selfishness was not ubiquitous. But we still were imperfect and that failing mocked our Fathers, Kai’ckul, and each other.
Bloodshed began between peoples. Some conflicts ushered by our Draconian progenitors, others by self-styled necessity or greed. And from the first moments where the children fought, our dead and dying watered Kai’ckul. We may not have been wanted gifts to our World-Mother, but we gave ourselves as offerings to replenish and repair her.
We turned out to be as unpredictable and uncontrollable as they had always been, and they turned their backs on us in frustration, vanishing. Without them, we were left to find our own way: Before, or the Age of Heroes.
Abandoned as they had been, we raged, and we knew one thing with intimate knowledge. Wars, battles, and death ensued. We clamored against each other, filling the absence so we didn’t have to recognize it. What had been the light of our Creation dimmed into grey, a color that threatened darker with each passing moment. Darkness would enveloped everything, insinuating itself from the ravaged countryside into every aspect of daily life. Our tantrum would be the end of us all.
Then out of the grey, Perius, Highest of the High, the Elendil’s Kin-Commander, came forth under a white banner, risking himself, his Inner Council, and all of Elvenkind should they be lost to senselessness. He came to the Men and together, the two peoples began The Codification. United by ideals which inspired hopes rather than fears, their communion spread to the other children. Many envoys were slaughtered, either as others balked at the ideals that scared them, or before they could reveal their true purpose. Yet, some listened, and bonded over the ideals superior to the chaos of roving bands, hordes, and tribes, to the ideals of civilization. Kingdoms would be created, a peoples led by Kings and entrusted by their kin. They would build, rather than destroy.
Thus, Enightenment was brought forth upon the continent of Kai’ckul as peoples came together for the first time. Ideas spread, but most important of all, these Kingdoms brought their collective strength and focus on each of the Lost — those who had turned away. As the strength of the Kingdoms bore down on the Lost and they died, and they ran. They broke, seeking refuge with their Fathers who had abandoned them. With core-shaken fear, they surged to the fringes of the world, finding nothing. Backed to a corner, they broke again, this time for the safety of Kai’ckul itself. Having no options, their tenacity tore through us, but the ones who suffered most were the Dwarvenkin, trying to protect their mountain homes from the Lost as they invaded, seeking the womb within.
The Lost died and disappeared into the darkness they embraced, the darkness that nurtured them. Everything became calm, the black had been beaten back. Enlightenment and community was proven victorious. But still our World-Mother remained silent. Yet, we were relieved, and with a collective sigh of relief, we gave way for Now, or The Age of Wardens.
The Kingdoms were far from Utopian, and personalities bristled in the absence of an enemy. Angered by the genocide in the Exodus of the Lost, the remaining Clans of Dwarvenkin lashed out for reparations. Ancient holdings were uninhabitable, for fear of a return of the Lost, but also due to the sheer impropriety to live where so many had been slaughtered.
Perius, in his last days, gave them some solace: “Fear the mountains? Come to the hills. Fear their return? We shall defend you, and all of Kai’ckul.”
Thus, he established the Wardens, an army that stood without the parameters of Kings and politics, entrusted with those cavernous holdings where the Lost had disappeared. They would stand watch, and should the unlikely occur, they would protect us all from their barbaric return. Comprised mainly of Elves – but Men, too, probably due to their fraternity, as well as their original admiration and imitation of the Perius as Savior – the Wardens have defended those dusty, silent halls for generations. The Lost have not returned. Many feel their efforts are wasted, and some have even forgotten the existence of the Wardens entirely. Yet, they remain as sentries in the farther reaches of Kai’ckul.
Meanwhile, Pax Omnia has remained since the time of the first Wardens. Nary a battle has been fought between the Kingdoms and Clans. In fact, time has crafted an interesting peace between peoples – Pax Omnia is less from enforcement than disinterest.
Halflings have spread across the world in a diaspora, preferring to take up the joys of gustatory perfection and a mercantile middle-class than to the mundane rules and regulations.
Gnomes were discovered on the Dragon’s Pebbles only a few generations ago and content themselves to living side by side with Men and Elves, delighting in edification and teaching more often than not.
Men have taken the mantle of bringers of peace from Perius, as Elves believe such was only in a time of dire need, and have begun expanding and colonizing from their borders outward, in a manifest destiny.
Elves remain bound to their duties as Wardens and presence on the Council of the Code, but see no reason to affect unneeded change on an already beleaguered world. Similarly introverted, the Clans of Dwarvenkin live by their word from The Codification, but see the Expansion of Men as prideful – and reminiscent of the attitudes of Before – and the other races as unaffected and disrespectful of the cost for their happiness."
— Excerpt from Balabar Mocklaw’s “Abbreviated History of Kai’ckul”