The east


Islara was naught but a barren land, barely mottled with shrubbery and a few copses strewn about the rare peaty soils, rock stone and various other minerals making the most of the island. Everything changed when, almost seven millennia ago, a being of inconceivable resplendence graced the desolation of Islara with his presence. Solar, God of Light, the Sun Incarnate, set foot upon the very heart of the island, the mere touch sending streams and trails of ethereal radiance, suffusing throughout the earth a lambent light, brimming with such potent purity that the ground itself was impregnated, its components instilled with life itself. In his sacred presence, mineral sources bubbled and foamed as they were liquefied and then moulded into inchoate replicas of their divine genitor. With each of Solar�s steps, swarms of small, brittle creatures, crafted from all kinds of metals, trailed behind, their shapes taking defined outlines as their gleaming flesh grew and solidified. These beings of fluid metal gathered on the hallowed path, praising in unintelligible drones the coming of their God and chanting in rapture as they watched the solar entity soar into the skies, vanishing into what seemed like a white, blinding halo. Even to this day, it is customary to revere the largest of Tal�Vorn�s suns as the palace where Solar resides.

The onset of Anvar society on Islara was shaky to say the least. They had remained idle long after the departure of Solar from the hallowed island, bedazzled by Solar�s brilliance, staring hard into the astral body that would periodically douse into the seas and then rise again, setting the skies aflame. Some believe it was this constant gazing into the sun that lead the Anvar to become such pious and devout followers, praying and worshipping lest night forever falls. They were small creatures, some resembling crude clay statues, others standing a bit shorter than the average human, their limbs unadorned by natural armours. Then, the unthinkable had occurred. One had spoken, breaking away the mesmerizing hold the sun had on its brethren. These creatures shot confused looks at the one who broke the silence, until another repeated the odd word. Many more had tried to replicate the utterance, and soon a wave of chanting resounded deep throughout the island, like the bursting gospel of a single mantra. Somehow, they had called themselves the Anvar.

They began as small tribes, consisting of a dozen or so. They communed with each other through their prayers, but realized that with the passing days, they were weakening. This had been the first instance when the Anvar were introduced to hunger - or a form of it at least. They soon realized they needed minerals to thrive, and so, cutting short their prayers of a few hours, set out to search for their sustenance. Through rituals and frantic prayers, they consumed the metals, growing larger and stronger. Finding that supply of metals was lacking on the island, they undertook the building of their very first ship, which they used to ferry many over to Rilvarinistara, where minerals were in overabundance. Eventually, they had garnered so much metal that, instead of mingling with the minerals, they had created a diminutive copy of themselves. And so, they learned of the birthing ritual.

But with the knowledge of birth comes that of death. It appeared that certain creatures had taken residence upon Islara, long before they even came to be. These were the Beasts, mutated animals given a semblance of sentience, as well as insatiable thirst for violence. The first encounter between Beast and Anvar was gruesome, and casualties occurred en masse in both sides. The Anvar quickly realized that, as they were now, there would be no chance of surviving continuous assaults from their foes. They slowly started banding together into larger tribes, then clans. They taught themselves efficiency, destroying lesser beasts with fewer strikes and standing their ground against the mighty Minotaurs, these horned creatures that had annihilated so many of them during bygone years. The tables had turned when the Anvar used their first tools of warfare, weapons that are today the very emblem of Anvar prowess. They had created the mace, and wit these caused bludgeoning deaths within the enemy ranks. Still, the beasts� numbers never dwindled, but by then, the Anvar had already formed a stable society, situated in the heart of Islara, where the city of Solgaran now stands, and their very first military force, the Order of the Paladins. Their civilization had only seen eight centuries, but they could already build abodes adapted to their large statures, powerful weapons of combat, and temples consecrated to their God, Solar.

Two centuries later announced the advent of the Anvar�s pride and shame, as well as the distinction between two distinct groups. Having dreamed of Solar�s light, one fabled to be manifold brighter than the sun itself, the Anvar have always sought to witness it again. They had wished for incessantly and with much fervour, their will and desire so powerful that, in a sudden flash, Light Magic was born. Certain of these hulking armours had been bequeathed the power to cast light, be it soothing or smoldering. This allowed for an even greater advantage against the Beasts, and in their exhilaration, the Anvar set out to develop the gift further. However, this enthusiasm wasn�t shared by all, for Anvar dissidents viewed this magic as blasphemy, proclaiming that they were never meant to use the power of Solar, that it desecrated the holiness of their God and that He would exert divine punishment upon those who dared reach out too far. Tension grew taut between to two groups, but they never came to arms, knowing that such an action would bring no closure to the controversy, and that it would be utterly idiotic to declare a civil war when the Beasts were always at bay. And so, with much bitterness, the dissidents chose exile, and, using the now numerous ships at their disposition, set out for the Eastern Continents.

They had grown terribly weak subsequent to the schism. Their numbers had decreased dramatically, and the supply of metals had gone down substantially as well, now lacking a great deal of ships and gatherers. This decline in power did not go by unnoticed by the Beasts, and the savage Elder Race, having fallen silent with the growth of the Anvar, returned to wage war with redoubled vehemence, more than quadrupling the frequency of their onslaughts. Precipitated into disarray, the Anvar were slowly losing territory, soon to be besieged by the exponential numbers of the Beasts. But a shrewd Anvar had confabulated with his kin, retelling a dream where they had built a tower so high that they could reach the sun and speak to Solar. They thought that with Solar�s help, they could fight back the advancing Beasts, and the idea was unanimously agreed upon. Construction of the tower had begun moments after the accord. The Anvar built more ships to gather more metal for the citadel, while still surviving the inexorable raids. They infused the tower with the metal, in the same manner that they birth young Anvar, but at a much greater scale. To their dismay, the process was excruciatingly long, as if only half the materials gleaned from Rilvarinistara were actually merging with the structure.

The Beasts were winning this war by attrition, having stretched the battle well-over a century. Once the Anvar were millions to trudge over Islara, but their numbers grew scant, reduced to a mere few hundred thousands. Though they had no reason to hope, the Anvar remained stalwart warriors, firmly believing that Solar would return to aid them. When the citadel suddenly lit up and shone like boiling metal, brighter than thousand suns, the Beasts were taken aback in complete befuddlement. The next Anvar to have summoned the might of Solar had literally smitten a dozen beasts, including three Minotaurs, with a single strike. Somehow, the tower, now a solar pillar, was buffering them from the Beasts and emboldening their magics. A true miracle it was, and the tales of the Beasts� massacre are still recounted to this day. They believe that Solar himself took over the citadel, lending them his divine powers. The tower is thought to be the very embodiment of Solar, from where he oversees all the happenings of Solgaran.

The centuries that followed were dedicated to purging Islara of the Beastial Scourge. Though much weaker now, the tower still increased the Anvar�s Light Magic, acting as some sort of area catalyst for all those within the island. Alas, the beneficial effect did not go beyond the waters, and so the Anvar crusades sent to Rilvarinistara to find metal ores from veins were vulnerable to the attacks of the Beasts, ubiquitous even there. The Anvar had built outposts near the northern coast, which spread farther and farther inland, allowing increasingly safe passages between the shores and the mines. Slowly learning to manage the Beasts there and mitigating the damage within their own numbers, they had grown confident, with a military force now permanently stationed in Rilvarinistara.

Fire burst in the skies, consuming the dark blazon of the night. The Anvar were aghast by this, thinking the skies had shattered and the sidereal fragments were falling upon the Island. Their dread only augmented when colossal pieces of sizzling and flaming metal dove from the crimson smoke overhead and shook the ground like a rain of comets. The Anvar in Solgaran did not understand: was it Solar, unleashing his wrath upon the Beasts? If it were so, why did he strike at night? Their queries could not be answered, but the Anvar camped on the shores of Rilvarinistara surely wanted to know. Lead by the Anvar Paladin Gan, they marched for seven days, prior to their arrival at the Landing. Beings they had never seen before, unlike any of them or their foes, swarmed out of the metallic skeleton, that of a creature none of them could even imagine in their darkest nightmares. They also seemed to control a magic not unlike their own. Beams of light would shoot from their joined hands, boring holes through the Beasts or burning them to cinders. And so, Gan sounded the war-horn, and rushed, flanking the Beasts with the full force of the Crusades, overrunning the pack with dreadful ease. Humans, as they had learned to call these newcomers, were an honourable race, and so they decided to form an Alliance, for the sake of both races, and the death of all Beasts.

The next centuries of the Western Anvar�s history deal with the perpetual war with the savage kin, alongside their new allies, the humans, now called the Northar. They had teamed for the total expurgation of Beast presence on Rilvarinistara, something they had managed as far as the Giant�s Bones, the mountain range that split the continent in two. The Anvar were unable to supply the troops any further, and the humans� powers were rapidly waning. Still, they would not allow the lead to go spoiled, and thus built the fortress city of Larlia, barring all access from the south to the North with a titanic wall that spans the whole width of the mountain pass. Ever since, the conflict remained at a status quo. In times of relative peace, the Alliance developed a small fishing town into a thriving port city, which allowed trade between the two continents. Years of prosperous halcyon went by, the Northar and Anvar growing so numerous that another city had to be built for the simple purpose of housing the ever budding population of Solar followers.

Nonetheless, the Beasts had come close to overthrowing the impenetrable Larlia. Torma's, blind humanoid creatures with lupine characteristics had joined their ranks, and a most unexpected party had done so as well: humans, clad in noisome furs and wielding blood-hafted weapons, raged on alongside the bloodthirsty hordes. Apparently, another ship had crashed on on Rilvarinistara, but at the southernmost regions of the continent. There, they had the maledict fate of encountering the Beasts, who were keener on enslaving them than feeding upon their flesh. But times had changed, and these humans appeared more than free, actually beseeming in such horrid company, for sanguineous enjoyment was splayed upon their mired visages. Countless battles fulminated before the walls of Larlia, but the Northar and Anvar alliance always prevailed against the hostiles they came to know as Southar. That is, until one day, they had machinated a cunning plan to wipe out the denizen of the fortress city in one fell swoop. Using a horrible kind of magic, that of rot and rust and putrescence, unique to the feral Southar, combined with the pack magic of the Beasts, they infected swarms of mountain animals with an infectious malady, and released them shortly after, knowing fully well that the Alliance would not target ostensibly harmless creatures. A plague spread inside Larlia, contaminating human and Anvar alike, killing all indiscriminately. Had it not been for the Northar�s Holy magic and their newly-found healing abilities, the fortress would have been lost.

When the humans recovered the armoury from their colony ship, the tables turned in the Alliance�s favour, and have remained so ever since. Larlia is now the single most advanced city on Tal�Vorn. The Anvar had driven back the Beasts far from their lands, and their race was no longer in danger. It has been this way ever since, and the Alliance works laboriously to keep things this way.

Interestingly enough, things have changed with Lilar�s arrival in Solgaran, home of Solar�s Citadel. Sources lead to believe that she has returned to activate the Venai she had left, supposedly beneath the Anvar capital, but informers have declared that no apparent response came with the Goddess� call.

The Western Anvar are a proud and mighty people, honourable in their conduct with their allies and terrifying in their assaults upon their enemies. They deify Solar without making him an object of unreachable brilliance. They cry out their battle-prayers to Solar without needing them to be fulfilled in order to show that their God exists. They are noble, brave and powerful, but, unlike the separatist Anvar, they are understanding that change can lead to better things, to a better existence and the ability to fulfil Solar's will on Tal'Vorn.

"In Solar's Name!"
Western Anvar Battle Prayer.

"Some of you seem to think that the Northar have betrayed us. That they would attack us and break our Alliance. Know this. No Northar would ever fight alongside a Beast. These creatures are. Thus they are not Northar. They are Beasts. PURGE THEM ALL!"
Attributed to Isk, the Anvar leader of the first Crusade to encounter a Southar.

© Joshua Binks (Paladin), Christopher Riley (Carnage) and Vanessa Vaughan (Andanin) 2002 -