History of the Ashen World

History of the Ashen World

The Order of the Dawn Watch and by extension, every Signiferi have devoted their lives to the gathering of any and all records that have survived the Neverborn Occupation and the Great Conflagration. Many lives have been lost in this pursuit, but the Order has been able to piece together a somewhat cohesive history of Mankind…

A Dawn Forgotten: A Once Great and Noble Past…

In times mostly forgotten by our short lived race, Mankind lived in harmony with all around us. We honored and worshiped the Gods who created us. We acted as stewards of the world they gave us. We thrived and progressed at a rate they deemed appropriate. For some that was not enough.

The Glorious Midday of Man: Pride Goeth Before the Fall…

Dissatisfied with the power and progress that the Ancient Gods allowed them, some of our ancestors began to look elsewhere for knowledge and tutelage. There inquiries delved well past the safe harbors set for us by the Gods, beyond Creation, into blasphemous realms of knowledge where even the gods hesitate to tread. Their call for power was answered by unknowable beings from the Great Beyond who we later came to call the Neverborn. These enigmatic beings scoffed at the idea of worshiping Gods and promised Mankind power and knowledge beyond our dreams without price.

Ever shortsighted, the leaders of Mankind began to follow the Neverborn and were rewarded with the Arcane: Power similar to that of the Gods, but it required no devotion to a higher being. With this power, Mankind flourished and expanded. The wild places of the world were tamed and formerly vast swaths of wilderness became sprawling cities powered by the Arcane. Famine and disease became a thing of the past. With such great progress and power, Mankind turned our collective backs on the Ancient Gods. We considered ourselves to be the masters of all we surveyed. If only we knew how wrong we were.

The Dusk of Mankind: There is no Power without Price…

The Neverborn only spoken to Mankind through visions and never physically manifested in our world. Wishing to survey what Mankind had wrought with the Arcane, they instructed our ancestors to build three massive and strange arches within the centers of the largest cities. Unquestioning, Mankind built the arches as a tribute to their “benefactors”. As soon as the arches were completed, all Arcane power stopped without reason or warning. Our ancestors, who had become reliant on this power sat like children as the Neverborn entered the realms of Men for the first time in their physical forms. So horrific were the Neverborn that many went insane with a mere glimpse of their true forms. The Neverborn began to slaughter those gathered indiscriminately. Powerless against the horrific beings, mankind was fully dominated within a month.

For the next hundred years Mankind was enslaved by the Neverborn and treated as chattel. The purposes and intentions of the Neverborn were never shared with or understood by Mankind. We were used as slave labor, food, entertainment, and even subjected to strange experimentation as the Neverborn molded living flesh like clay. Though debased and reduced to a state of disposable property, Mankind still retained the greatest gift the Ancient Gods every gave them: Hope.

Midnight of Mankind: The end of all…

Secretly, a resistance began to form amongst Mankind. The worship of the Ancient Gods, remembered by some was spread quietly among the enslaved masses and was the catalyst for the embers of defiance and hope that began to smoulder in the hearts of Mankind. The Gods were quick to hear the calls of their creations and the most devout and pure were selected as Avatars, one for each God. Into each was given a portion of the God Soul so that each Avatar could fully act in the name of and with the power of their patron. A massive revolt was executed by Mankind, lead by the Avatars, empowered by the Gods themselves. Countless lives were lost, entire cities and even continents were destroyed before the Neverborn were finally driven back through the Demon Gates from which they emerged. After the dust settled, the toll of the revolt was realized: 4 of every 5 men, women and children had perished. Worse still, the Gods no longer responded to the prayers of Mankind. Even the Avatars could not elicit a response from their patrons. The world and the hopes of Mankind had turned to ash.

Watching for the Dawn: Post Revolt and Present Day…

Mankind, battered and on the verge of extinction, crawled from the wreckage of their once great civilization. While they celebrated their victory, any lasting elation was overshadowed by the catastrophic price that had been paid. As the collective survivors called out to thier Gods for comfort they were answered with silence. The Avatars reached out to thier patrons, but were rewarded with confusing and nonsensical visions. These were unlike any they had received in the past, but were undeniably from the Gods. It was soon concluded that the Gods had fallen into a coma-like slumber and the Avatars were seeing their dreams.

The Avatars began to gather all of the survivors that could be found and began civilization anew, interpreting the visions they received as the will of the Gods as best as they could.

Almost immediately, stories of restless spirits in the ruins began to spread, but most wrote them off as superstition or the result of the traumatic Great Conflagration. It was 5 years before the first Dark Sign appeared. With that individual’s death, subsequent raising as an Undead and Hollowing, the Avatars realized the greatest cost of the revolt: While the Gods slumbered, there was no one to convey the spirits of the dead into the Hearafter. It took two years before the Avatars realized that as they still had ties to thier partrons, they could act as intermediaries for the Gods. While the Hearafter remained closed, they found that they could guide the spirits of the dead into the realms created by the dreams of the Gods. The Avatars could also act as conduits for the power of the gods, granting faithful the ability to perform miracles. During this time, the first of the Neverborn cults began to rise, threatening to undo the great victory so dearly bought. Further, each year the winter cycles grew longer and the day cycles grew shorter.

Fear and Panic began to overtake the fledgling society of Mankind. The Avatars formed the Church of the New Dawn with the purpose of protecting Mankind from the Undead and the Neverborn, but also to restore a sense of safety and hope. They also were tasked of searching the ruins of the World that Was for ancient lore or wisdom that could revitalize the sun or awaken the Gods.

Two hundred years have passed and civilization has grown and flourished despite the dire threats to its existance. The Church of the New Dawn and its Dawn Patrols are largely accredited with this success. Even with this apparent success, the Gods still slumber, the dreaded Dark Sign still marks one in twenty people, the sun continues to fade, and the cults of the Neverborn grow larger and more bold. Also, the birth rate of healthy infants has been steadily declining in recent years. Mankind, ever fickle and short sighted, has begun to doubt in their own futures and have begun to lose faith in the Church.

The role of the Church of the New Dawn and its Dawn Patrols has never been more difficult or important than it is now. But even in this great organization, many are begining to lose hope…

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History of the Ashen World

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