The Great Strife Begins

The souls are mine. By your rules, they are mine to take. And so I will take them.
— Ghaa'raagh of the Orokar speaking to Berdea of the Alevar
To understand the beginning of the Great Strife, it is important to understand a little of the relationships among the Astralar, and between the gods and the Folk of Cartyrion. The Astralar tended to keep to their own racial groups, with only occasioan interaction between races. They also had an unspoken understanding among themseleves to stay out of the affairs of others. The Great Strife occurred because this understanding was cast aside by some.

Understanding the Astralar

The heart of the understanding among the Astralar to not meddle with each other was based on the fate of the souls of the Folk of Cartyrion. If one of the Folk had sworn dedication to a deity, or had shown exceptional devotion to a particular deity, the soul of the deceased was presented to that deity for judgement. If deemed worthy, the soul would be accepted as a servant of the deity. These accepted souls "feed" the Astralar deity by projecting their own positive and negative energies into the deity in a form the deity can use to strengthen itself.

If unworthy, or if the deceased was not particularly devout in the first place, the soul would be delivered to the appropriate racial deity responsible for the Death Domain. These souls enter a "pool of souls"; their positive and negative essence gradually detach from one another, and the positive and negative energies resulting are now available to that Astralar group to bestow new life and new souls upon Cartyrion. This recycling of soul essence is part of the cycle of ever expanding life and growth on Cartyrion.

The Initial Conflict

Ghaa'raagh of the Orokar became greedy. He provided his priests with magic that allowed them to charm a dying victim, and, with dying breath, declare an oath to serve Ghaa'raagh. This declaration allowed the Orokar god to claim the soul. At first, this curse was used only sparingly, and thus escaped the notice of the other Astralar. But as Ghaa'raagh grew in power, he grew in boldness as well. His priests began stealing more and more souls - mostly from the Alevar deities since Orcs and Elves were constantly skirmishing. Eventually, Umbrelana, the Alevar keeper of the pool of souls, made the rest of the Alevar aware of Ghaa'raagh's activities.

In the meantime, Ghaa'raagh had made the secrets of his devised curse known to the only other Astralar he considered a true ally: Cold Raam of the Jotunar. Raam's priests also began using the curse, stealing Dwarvish and Gnomish souls from the Duagnar and Gordrimm's pool of souls.

Escalation and Spread to Cartyrion

Argument quickly turned into conflict when Ghaa'raagh - feeling his new power and trusting his ally - simply laughed at the combined demands of the Alevar and Duagnar. The conflict quickly grew, enveloping most of the Astralar. On the one side, Berdea of the Alevar led his race of deities. The Duagnar, most of the Humanar and a handful of Goblinar and Reptilar joined with him. On the opposite side was Ghaa'raagh, who had usurped the leadership of the Orokar. His Jotunar allies as well as a number of other deities from the Goblinar and Reptilar, and even one or two from the Alevar, Duagnar, and Humanar sided with him. Other Astralar races simply stayed out of the way.

Desolation of the Great Strife
It should be no surprise that as the gods turned to violent conflict to settle their differences, the many servants of those gods upon Cartyrion also set about doing the work their deities demanded. Orc War bands formed and swept into the Forests... Giants organized themselves in assaults on the Dwarven mountain Delves. Where humans had no enemies to fight, they turned against other humans. Reptilar and Goblinar made trouble from within the Delves and Forests, but were countered by others of their own folk along the way. It took less than a year for Cartyrion to devolve into the complete chaos and widespread warfare that would define the next hundred years of the Great Strife.

The Gods of Light

Following are the gods who fought to defeat Ghaa'raagh and restore the relationships among the Astralar that he had disrupted.
The Alevar
Atezana, Aurelana, Berdea, Shylea, Torelana, Umbrelana
The Duagnar
Duardin, Dwalvar, Gimna, Goranin, Gordrimm, Trudanna
The Goblinar
The Humanar
Caronalyn, Caertes, Praelius, Prominion, Somnion, Venatrix
The Renegades
Mhaaggh’maacch of the Orokar, Alalith of the Jotunar, Amzux and Hessoch of the Reptilar

The Gods of Darkness

Following are the gods who nominally fought with Ghaa'raagh to defeat the Astralar that opposed him. In fact, most were purely after personal gain.
The Orokar
Khaara'khaash, Khataala’khraamh
The Jotunar
Maggir, Gromsog, Raam, Bulbargh
The Goblinar
The Reptilar
Grathi, Drox, Zask
The Renegades
Corizzea of the Alevar, Belmaera of the Duagnar, Jocundalyn of the Humanar

The Neutral Gods

Several of the gods avoided, for the most part, the worst of the conflicts by refusing to declare a side. Their followers were often swept up in the effects of the Strife, though, and so they found themselves becoming involved from time to time in isolated actions.
The Goblinar
Gaara, Vurik
The Humanar
The Orokar
In addition, all of the Primalar and Mysticar Deities declined to take sides, but would frequently support or interfere with both sides of the conflict.
And so began the war across all of Cartyrion -- the Great Strife. For over one hundred years would it rage. Cities would fall... forests would burn or wither... mountains would crack and peoples would be wiped out. Brother would fight brother and sister would slay sister. For when the gods go to war, so to must their followers
— excerpt from the Chronicles of Man

Desolation Image by goguin from Pixabay


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