War of the Gods
The Beginning of Conflict and Birth of New Gods
The Goddess of Darkness, Ispa, never fully integrated with her elder siblings, as her twin brother Idraen had. Given dominion over death and the darker areas of Aserran cosmology, she withdrew from her kin and isolated herself in the company of demons in Malbolge. Meanwhile, in Zephaer, Zelan began a new endeavor, the birth of new gods to distribute lesser dominions to. Zelan himself had dominion over the element of Air, his zaedyn, weather, seasons, and other related responsibilities. To this end, he enlisted his sisters Maris, Entra, and Brecha to bear him children to rule over the seasons. Maris bore Fria, the Goddess of Winter, Entra bore Areria, Goddess of Spring, and Brecha bore twins, Glaeria and Oleiria, Goddesses of Summer and Autumn, respectively.
When Ispa learned of the new gods, she was deeply offended. Left childless and snubbed by Zelan, she decided to start her own family. First, she seduced her brother Alaezo, and without his knowledge, conceived a son, Craeseth, who was cloistered away from her family so that he could be raised to become the God of War. After his birth, she returned to her family only to steal the seeds of her brothers Zelan and Idraen in order to conceive two more children; Sai’ras, sired by Zelan, to become the Goddess of Chaos, and Yoma, sired by Idraen, to become the Goddess of Death.
While raising her first three divine children in Malbolge, Ispa continued to expand her brood with help from her demon lords while her siblings did the same in Zephaer. Suldra was sired by Arael, the Demon Lord of Lust, to become the Goddess of Lust. With Nazularuet, the Demon Lord of Greed, Ispa bore Belas, the God of Corruption.
By the time her family learned of her own godlings, they were old enough to serve their purposes. Craeseth had taken the danaij and created a stronger, fiercer sub-race called the danaij’vai. Belas and Sai'ras had taken an interest in the kiar, a small, short-lived, and fast-breeding human off-shoot race, and from them, they created the kuzo.
Yoma was charged with the duty of creating vampires, turning humans, danaij, and any other race into powerful, intelligent, undead soldiers. With their ability to create more of their kind from their victims, they could turn the armies of the other races against themselves. Suldra never contributed a creation of her own to the armies of darkness, but she did take a vested interest in Yoma's vampires, and Yoma readily gave Suldra responsibilities in their guidance.
The First Strike
When the other gods began to take notice of the stirrings on Ageond, Orran’sulani went to his daughter to reconcile, but instead Ispa turned on him. Ispa slew him and devoured his soul, thereby inheriting his power. Now armed with strength of their father in addition to her own, Ispa declared war on her siblings.
On Aserra, the armies of dark gods that had been quietly preparing for generations declared war on the followers of Ispa's siblings. Legions of danaij, danaij'vai, vampires, black dragons, humans, and kuzo swept through Ageond. Idayn, brech'mar, asath, zaedyn, and nafod they encountered were slaughtered, the few that survived fled before the legions or became vampires. Dragons bound to other elements were slain. Humans and iengi were slaughtered or absorbed into the army. As Ageond's fledgling societies were decimated, Ispa's mortal armies turned their attention to Thiskel.
Ispa led her own armies of demons, headed by her children, into Zephaer with the intent to take the throne for herself, even if she had to eat her way through the rest of her family.
Idraen, Zelan, Maris, Brecha, and Alaezo met her force with their own composed of angels, powerful fae, and elementals. Unlike Ispa, her siblings would not allow their children to participate, and peaceful Entra and Nydoini defended the young gods as siege was laid upon the lower levels of Zephaer.
Despite having five powerful gods heading a massive army of their own, the elemental gods were gradually driven back by Ispa's long-planned attack and her newfound power. Level by level, Zephaer fell to demons. To bolster their fighting force, Entra commanded the godlings, Saeven and Acoassa to relay messages through the Maze of Dreams for reinforcements from the fae, but not only did they find reinforcements, they led them into battle against Craeseth and Sai'ras as they broke through the fourth level of Zephaer. This conflict earned Saeven the title God of Peace and Acoassa Goddess of Justice, countering their dark kin.
The invasion of Thiskel brought together armies of zaedyn, brech'mar, asath, idayn, nafod, iengi, and humans. Mariel supported their brethren on land by sinking ships crossing from Ageond. The war raged for nearly a thousand years on Aserra's soil. It became the constant backdrop for generations across Thiskel, nations rose as military powers and fell defeated.
Races changed as well. It was in this period that iengi society crumbled, unable to withstand the pressures of invasion. Many iengi fought against the armies of darkness, but when the battle ended, they no longer had a home to return to. Humans, however, rose to the challenge. Where there wasn't a battlefield, whole societies of people determined to survive discovered agriculture, magics, and martial skills. Nations grew large with very little conflict amongst themselves, as they shared a common enemy. The new gods, being kept from the divine war themselves, busied themselves by supporting the humans. They found prophets and oracles, granted boons and blessings upon those who prayed to them. Thus, the religion of light spread across human society in Thiskel, and would later expand to Kalesten, which had been largely ignored in the conflict.
A new race emerged from the Idayn. A portion of their cavalry had honed their riding skills to a precise mastery, but were seeking a way to bond more deeply with their horses, to become one with them in some way. They besought Idraen for a boon, but what he provided was perhaps not what they had in mind. Idraen melded horse and Idayn, creating the Eain'Idayn, a composite race with the Idayn torso merged with the horse's body. The newly created Eain'Idayn were horse and rider in one, and proved to be an effective cavalry for the Idayn, if a strange new being.
Still, seemingly endless war tainted the lives of all on Thiskel. The forces of darkness would push back the light, and then the light would retaliate, back and forth for decades still.
Turning the Tide
As the two divine armies remained at an impasse in Zephaer, Nydoini lamented her children's conflict. She could not reach Ispa to bargain for peace, her youngest daughter was set on her path. If she would not relent, Nydoini would have to act. Striking out against her own child was impossible for her though. Burdened by guilt and heartbreak, Nydoini could think of only one sure solution--give one of her children the power to face down Ispa at her level.
Nydoini called Idraen to her side. As the child who most resembled his father, and the counterpoint to his twin, he was the best candidate to receive what she sought to bestow. She commanded Idraen to do what Ispa had done to their father; devour her soul to gain her power. With great reluctance, but greater dedication to his world, Idraen agreed and absorbed his mother and all her power and knowledge. Idraen ascended the throne of Zephaer, taking his father's mantle as the God of Aserra.
With Idraen in command, the forces of darkness were driven back through Zephaer, level by level, until Maris struck Ispa with such force that it cast Ispa out of Zephaer and scarred Aserra itself, creating a chasm through Thiskel and forced the land upwards into a new mountain range.
Ispa was incapacitated long enough for her siblings to restrain her. Idraen went to finish her, but found his hand stayed. Be it his connection to her as her twin brother, his sense of righteousness, or the love of their mother now present in him, he was unable to slay Ispa. With their leader captured, the demons retreated, and Craeseth, Sai’ras, Belas, Suldra, and Yoma subdued by the younger gods who had spilled into battle, Saeven, Acoassa, Draia, Erada, and the Goddesses of the Seasons.
Ending the Conflict
Striking Ispa down had disrupted much of North Thiskel and devastated both the native peoples and Ispa's armies. However, the armies of darkness still had legions at their disposal on Ageond, so the gods decided that the only thing they could do to save their people was eradicate the source of their enemies—which was all of Ageond. Alaezo set the land ablaze and erupted volcanoes while Zelan fanned the winds. Brecha and Maris worked in unison to sink the continent, but the southern tip broke off. As an act of mercy, the gods allowed it and the survivors on it to remain.
The Forsaken Land
As the gods could not bear to kill their kin, instead they bound Ispa's power, and limited her reach to Malbolge. Her children, except for Yoma, were allowed dominion over the remnant of Ageond, but the land was cursed to stay under darkness, achieved by clouds maintained by Draia that frequently renew themselves and shield the land against the sun.
The surviving inhabitants of Ageond would struggle to establish a new, isolated society. Survivors on Thiskel either found ways to escaped or were eradicated--except for the kuzo who fled to the wilderness and became feral, freed of the yokes of their Danaij masters.
The aftermath of the war threw Aserra into chaos, which the gods struggled to manage. The sinking of Ageond and volcanic activity across the world had drastic impact on the world's climate. Sea levels first fell to fill the displaced void of land, but volcanic gases and abruptly changing ocean currents altered the climate for a time. Earthquakes were common, especially in the newly expanded Tonult Ocean. New island chains erupted from beneath the ocean.
Over the next thirteen thousand years, the climate would heat, cool, and finally adjust to the changes. Whatever was left of iengi society crumbled, with scattered survivors. Every human nation that had risen during the wars fell apart as humans fled threat after threat. The elemental races struggled as well, though their gods spent much of those early years using their power to protect their peoples.
In time, the world righted itself. The storms subsided, the seasons settled into predictability. Humans reestablished themselves in new nations and expanded even further than before. The elemental races expanded as well, most notably the Idayn. When the world righted itself again and a post-war boom of babies came to adulthood, they began sending out settlers. Colonies established themselves in the Great Desert of Southern Thiskel, the grasslands of Kalesten, and the vast Ardir forest in eastern Kalesten, the jungles of South Kalesten, and even the tundras of Athok. In time, these settlers would become their own unique societies and find new gods.