Render Unto God
Tenna is the largest, and most diverse of the six continents that sprawl across the surface of Grehmoura. The land has been gouged out and reformed more times than any mortal being could comprehend. It’s mountains and snowy backdrops have been the sites of hundreds of empires over the millenia. None; however, were as long lived or as alien as the Tanlier who ruled over the whole of Tenna nearly 8000 years ago. This campaign is about their rise to power, and how the hubris of their great leader lead to their downfall.
The Formation and Origin of the Universe
This is a history of the world, as much as it is for Tenna. Tenna is the largest continent that can be found on the face of the planet. The land derives its name from Tena’Gehir, or in some circles, The’Galin. The name does matter as they are the same being. Tena’Gehir is often referred to as, “Xeras’Minathri Ko,” or Mother in an ancient supernal dialect. She was the first of four overdeities that were flung from the great maelstrom at center of the universe. Despite the violent nature of the great nothing that had birthed her into existence, Tena was a gentle entity of immense power. Before the maelstrom gained true consciousness, Tena set to work on sculpting the stars and populating the darkness with light. She called the power she exercised HOPE, and whenever she attempted something dangerous and new, she called it POSSIBILITY. For untold millennia, Tena laid the groundwork for the many different planes. She bathed in the constellations, and wept at the majesty of creation. She grew lonely; however, and despaired, for what would the purpose of her hard work be if feet never trampled upon her stony shores, or scaled her mountains, or drank from her rivers. She attempted something new, and struggled at the difficulty, but in the end she was successful, and she celebrated it as LIFE. Tena didn’t know where these words came from, just that they felt right the way they rolled off of her tongue. She bequeathed each of her many children a fraction of her immense power, and in time they would grow strong.
For a short period of time, Tena’Gehir was happy, and for a time longer, she sat in quiet reverie while her children acted as custodians of the greater universe. Meanwhile, the cold, unfeeling maelstrom sat at the center of all, its darkness slowly gaining consciousness for every eon that passed by. Tena would realize too late that the maelstrom wasn’t merely chaos, subspace ruptures, and exploding black holes, but more of a sleeping giant. When compared to the maelstrom, Tena was merely a small, frail thing. This begged the question: What is a child to a parent, vast and unknowable, capable of scraping the roof of existence without even the smallest expression of a thought? With the birth of her children, and their subsequent variations on LIFE, their burgeoning minds, along with the minds of the first mortal beings, began to shape the maelstrom into a twisted aberration. For what precept do you adhere to the shadows beyond your candle? What do you expect to find among the unadventured and behind closed doors? A monster was born the moment the first thought was conceived. With tendrils that snaked around suns, and a maw that swallowed galaxies, the darkness that was the maelstrom threatened to consume what it had inadvertently created.
The maelstrom methodically expanded outward from the center of the universe, snaking ever onward passed all those that stood against it. This process of the growth itself took place over many millennia, its gaping maw blinking out the existence of billions of mortal souls and mortal worlds, as well as countless droves of Tena’s children. By the time the maelstrom reached Tena’s final bastion of Grehmoura, she had marshaled her remaining children and committed to a defense of the world. When the darkness came, the two beings fought, and they did so for centuries. Though to say they “Fought,” in the traditional sense would be a misunderstanding. The maelstrom drove ever onward, while Tena and her children did everything in their power to beat it back.
Needless to say, it was a losing battle.
Tena could do nothing to stop the maelstrom. Soon enough, she would succumb to her injuries, and the Maelstrom would fling her broken body to the surface of Grehmoura. Feeling the foreign creep of death upon her, Tena mustered the last of her divinity and expelled it outward in a catastrophic burst of light which was sufficient enough to push back the darkness momentarily. Tena lay dead in the oceans of Grehmoura, but her essence augmented her children, and they wove a veil over the world using the remnants of their mother’s power, keeping the darkness at bay… For now.
The Power Nine
After the War for Tenna, the Power Nine gave leave of their generals and lieutenants to disband the Army of the Nine and spread to the four corners of Tenna and begin their lives anew.
The Power Nine are pictured and described below:
Thanatos – The Sundered Sun
Though now deceased, to this day Thanatos is hailed as the “leader” of the Nine, even when clearly they are all meant to be equals under the light of their matriarch and Itempas. It is he who lead the Nine from the old world and washed Tenna in their divinity. It is he who stood against the Tanlier’s oppression and enslavement of the intelligent races, and it is he who slew the monolithic Tanlier emperor, Thranos, and took his title for his own. Very little is known about Thanatos except for his exploits in the War for Tenna. Nothing about the Golden Age. Nothing about the Malekith invasion. It is all very suspect, but it seems that no one aside from the other eight members of the Nine will ever truly know who Thanatos was during his life.
Auron – The First Guardian
Said to be the greatest swordsman to have ever lived, Auron was a wise and humble man. Though visually he looked weary and frail, his finesse in battle was unparalleled. His glory and fame comes from his expertise in warfare. With his reserved/conservative tactics, there are many a story of units led by Auron that were helplessly outnumbered but managed to come out victorious without a single casualty. At the end of these tales though, was a recurring speculation that seemed to stick out amongst all others, one that made Auron different from the other leaders, and that was over the course of these battles, Auron only seemed to get younger. Today, after participating in countless battles, Auron looks to be in the prime of his youth, no older than 30, with the physique of a seasoned warrior. Now leading an entire order, he sits atop his pedestal of power with his 8 “siblings” waiting to be called upon once more.
Balthier – The Shadow’s Call
The most mysterious, least often seen, never heard from, and most violent of his “siblings”, Baltheir is the man who invented the ideas of cruel and unsual punishment. While settling the empire, only the most important could contact him, but it seemed that every woman in the empire also fell into this group. Rumors talk of a night before battle where every woman in a town claimed to have been his lover over the recent days. By these women he was decribed as a gentle-gentleman, but by those who possessed eyes quick enough to follow the movements of a shadow, he was seen as a relentless killer, who ensured that the man with his entrails spilling out was dead by removing his head. Today with his unwanted rank and title, he issues secretive commands that pass through the most complex network of individuals that tracking him is near impossible. If you ever wish to find him, best try your luck at being a woman.
Even after taking his vow of silence and cutting out his own tongue, Ceudias’s communication is not hindered at all. Being the monk of the “family” has its benefits, one of which is telepathy that reaches far into the psyche. As a young man during the settling of the empire Ceudias was always one that could find a more profound meaning everything they did. Having this special mind-set, he dedicated his life to finding a deeper understanding of the world and everything there is. This life choice led him to enter a great meditative state, from which he came out of just as the war with the demons and ensued. With his ascension to a higher state of mind, he returned to his “family” disposing of every threat on the way there. Now, Ceudias leads the order of knights most loyal to the original doctrine of the Matriarch.
Lyra – The Justicar
One of the three females among the “siblings”, Lyra probably commands the most respect of them all. Being the head of correctional processes tends to do that. She has such an overwhelming sense of duty, justice, and truth that while being around her, one feels more than compelled to be truthful. While establishing the empire, Lyra was an expert at detecting and eliminating threats. There are tales of she single handedly prevented an uprising by eliminating the brains of the operation, who was cleverly concealed as a grunt in the Matriarch’s legion. Now she heads the well-disciplined order and holds the seat closest in power to the Matriarch.
Shani, the Untouchable Queen
The title of “untouchable” is not given without reason. Shani is an expert in avoiding harm in every sense of the word. Having a mischievous nature, she often finds herself in a conflux of predicaments, but always finds a way out of them all. The same concept applies to her combat style. She performs many risky maneuvers that would otherwise end the life of the individual performing it; however, no attempts made against her ever seemed too connect. Actually, no one ever seemed to get close enough to be able to do her harm. She always seemed to be just out of reach. Then at that moment, when an enemy falters in attempting to strike at the unstrikeable, she delivers a fatal blow. In the empire today, she still has a reckless nature when it comes to her order, but her men manage to stay out of trouble. Just barely.
Manneo, the God Hand
Towering above all the others, Manneo possesses the build of well-toned goliath. With brute strength that is unrivalled in all the empire, he is the most gentle of the “siblings”. During the wars, Manneo would eliminate entire squadrons with just a few swings of his club, but before and after every battle, he would be among the troops conversing, singing, celebrating, giving reassuring half-drunk speeches, and words of encouragement to those who were fighting for their lives. After a tragic accident involving one of his brothers ages ago, Manneo was the one who brought calm to the panic that ensued with his voice that brings the most ferocious beasts to a peaceful slumber. Nowadays, Manneo is most often found with the beasts that come and go through the ports, easing his heart and keeping the repressed pain, he took unto himself, at bay.
Faye, the Blessed Child
Faye was just a child when the Matriarch first came to the lands to established order. She was always in the special care of the Matriarch and the only form of combat she was allowed to learn was archery. Having 32 years, 2 wars, and masterful warriors at her disposal, she could do nothing but perfect this art. Her precision is legendary that tales of her being able to pin a fly to a tree from 100 yards out, without killing it. Aside from her expertise in her art, Faye had grown into the epitome of a noblewoman. The only one of the 8 to understand the importance of political exchanges, she is only naturally the best speaker among them. Today Faye heads the most politically involved order and hs her hands in most all he occurrences throughout the empire.
Gorinn, the Keeper
The eldest of the 8 “siblings”, Gorinn has an overwhelming sense of responsibility. When they first arrived in what would eventually become the empire, he was extremely overprotective of his “family”. In the early days, Gorinn would set guidelines that all the “siblings” had to follow as to remain as safe as possible, and they all followed them seemingly unquestioningly, as if they had to. As if they all knew that the consequences of putting themselves in danger would be almost as terrible as the fate their assailants would receive at the hands of Gorinn. He is known to possess an unspoken authority among the ranks of the “family” and a official one that places them all as equals under Itempas and the Matriarch. In most recent times, Gorinn enjoys his normal games of chess with the other veteran warriors but does attend to his duties as head of an order… eventually.