The Farrani Corps
Long did the old gods, the First Men of the Dawn Age, wander. And though they settled here for a time, they have since wandered on. In this land, in those ancient days, the First Men created four races. In the south of the great continent, beneath the barren mountains, they birthed the greatest of these, the mystics called the Karahzed.
The Karahzed worshiped the old gods devoutly. As the young race of man grew and prospered and spread out over the land, the Karahzed mingled their blood with that of their lesser cousins, aiding their development and teaching them to revere the olds gods. And just as the First Men moved on, erasing themselves from our memories and from the Book of Time, so the Karahzed dwindled and passed from memory.
The end of the Karahzed is recounted in rare scripture and songs. Few know that the goddess Argenta was responsible for it. She appeared to the ruling council of the Karahzed, and warned them that the young race of man must find its own way. The gods had agreed upon a law of non-interference. The Karahzed, made in Argenta’s image and Gifted with her power, were considered to be a part of her. And so they too would have to retreat from the earth.
But their legacy was left flowing in the veins of a few of the young race of men.
Ages passed. Without the guidance of the Karahzed, the young race of man fell. War and famine nearly destroyed an entire people. But men are resilient. Though their shared culture was lost, they began again to follow the natural course of evolution and make discoveries on their own. The secrets of fire and steel were eventually recovered. Some technology was reinvented, and some was recovered from the ruins of the previous, Karahzed-inspired civilization.
With knowledge came a return of power. Those few men who had the blood of the Karahzed in their veins learned to wield magic again, but they were feared for it. Normal men could sense the potent blood, and reacted to it with fear and suspicion. Many of the Gifted were slain or forced to flee into the lands of solitude. They survived by forming covens and researching their legacy. Using their powers, they forced their way into sealed ruins, and plumbed the depths of the previously lost culture of the Karahzed. A secret society formed to worship their rediscovered goddess, Argenta.
It is written that the Gifted achieved enlightenment through their worship, making them worthy of the fellowship of the goddess herself. Argenta prepared a place for them, separate from the world of men, where they could be together. It was an island paradise, lost somewhere in the Sea of Dreams, beyond the frail grip of memory and time. Residence on the Silver Isle was her reward to the Gifted for their faithfulness, but was also a move to appease Argenta’s peers. The goddess remained bound by the divine pact, and could not allow those who had recovered so much of her magic to continue to influence the destiny of men.
The First Advent
Back in the world of men, ages strode by and man advanced. He built great cities and cultivated the land; his kingdoms rose and fell; he made war and loved and laughed and became the master of his fate.
Time passes more quickly beyond the shores of the Silver Isle, and a dozen generations flew by before the transcended men’s first generation of offspring came of age. The Gifted had formed families in their isolated paradise, and after what seemed like only a dozen years, two score children had been born and raised in the magical traditions of the Karahzed.
But the children had not earned paradise, and fearing the other gods’ displeasure, Argenta banished them back to the world of men. Crossing the Sea of Dreams erased from them the paradisiacal memory of the Silver Isle, and with it the knowledge of their destiny.
A handful survived the journey and found a great turmoil in the land that was to be their new home. Through quirks of fate and fortune these young Gifted, who came to be known as the Farrani, established an organization to provide law and order in the troubled land. The Farrani Corps spread across the continent, at the height of its fame forming ten independent monasteries along the rough borders of their home kingdom.
We do not know how many of these first Farrani ever reached the degree of enlightenment necessary to allow them to return to the Silver Isle, but we know that some did. There is a written record that gives one Farrani’s recounting of a battle on the island. It describes how a host of demons in service to the Wytch-king found the paradise using the power of a captured moonstone, and took it over. The Farrani who returned were more powerful than their parents had been, and in battling these demons, they were able to reclaim the Silver Isle.
The Second Advent
The second generation of Farrani that returned to the world of men arrived when there was again a great turmoil. Nations warred against nations, but through the earnest “negotiations” of the young Farrani, a lasting peace was established.
An element of the Farrani still existed from the First Advent, though many of the monasteries were destroyed in another war with the Wytch-king. Still, they had managed to recruit nearly a hundred youths Gifted with the blood of the Karahzed, so the Farrani Corps was quickly returned to its fully functioning status. Owing to their spectacular participation in the recent peace, the order was rebuilt as an independent, imperial peace force that kingdoms could petition for assistance in times of need.
The age of the Second Advent lasted two long centuries. The blood of the Karahzed is long-lived, and it is believed that near end of the age, seven particularly Gifted Farrani members reached enlightenment, and returned to the Silver Isle.
But then came another threat. From the north came the armies of the Galaraans, one of the four races created by the first men. Wicked and fair, these creatures had been sealed in a frozen womb at the top of the world. It is said that the Wytch-king freed them in exchange for service, but their deal fell asunder before the Galaraans could destroy every Farrani that remained in the world of men.
Those that remained could not alone stop the advance of the Wytch-king, but they led the armies of man against his undead horde and the Galaraans host, forcing them north across the Vashian Desert. What they could not destroy, they drove into the depths of Ishar’s Gorge, sealing them there with the forbidden power of a Sun Sword.
The Wytch-king was at long last slain, and a new age of reason was born. The culture of man flourished in the peace, and great cities rose where only small towns once stood. Learned men gained prominence over warriors, and many a knightly order was replaced by guilds of scholars and craftsmen. So too did the Farrani evolve, finding fewer and fewer Gifted children to train in a time of logic, cannons, and other modern marvels.
In this age was also written the Book of Days, a tome containing many a prophecy foreseen by study of the stars.
As the turn of the fourth millennium approaches, the priests of the White Mountain have been on the move. They travel in pairs from village to town to city, preaching the coming of a new darkness. In the cities, folk are skeptical that such a threat even exists. Some believe in it, but worry that only the Farrani Corps, a group that exists now in little more than name, can turn aside the coming darkness.
A foul air stalks the temples and halls of learning of many a city in the Kingdoms of Man. Learned men live in worry, knowing they are unprepared to face the approaching shadow. But something else is coming too. Something smaller, carrying a spark of hope. Borne on a magical wind from across the Sea of Dreams, the third advent approaches.
The Fourth Age will soon be upon us.