Gara Campaign Setting
There are many variations of the creation myth of Gara. What follows is currently the most accepted among the people of Runelund.
Gara has always been, and will always be. It is life that is new and yet withers. The five great gods seeded life on our world, rebuilding after the loss of their own. For indeed, our guiding forces were not always deific. They can err, as evidenced by the Life Blight.
What they were is beyond our understanding, but they were powerful. Together, they molded our world to their liking. They planted forests, raised up mountains and filled in oceans. They created a race of people whom they named Choren.
The Choren were as elves today; beautiful and graceful, yet both wise and intelligent. It is said that the Choren were undying and ungendered, statues of perfection enduring for ages, learning at the feet of the gods themselves.
Together with the gods, they lived in a city clad in ivory and blue marble. This city was called Sha’ri. Here they spent lifetimes perfecting art and song, tending gardens or shaping delicate glass sculptures and soft metals into jewelry.
In time, the gods chose to further enrich their followers’ lives. Each gave to them a gift, some new insight into life. From Boknadil, he who most loved those who shaped metal, came pride. From Quellendira, she who most loved art, came curiosity. From Vaelle, he who most loved teaching, came ambition. From Shalenari, she who spent her days among the gardeners, came respect. And finally, from Dyvralyn, he who valued the Choren most, came love.
These gifts sculpted the Choren in various ways, some more than others, but none more than Dyvralyn’s. His blessing gave to them the emotion known as love, but also the means to express it. The first mortal offspring of the Choren were dubbed Children and prized for the wonder and joy they bestowed upon the firstborn race.
This joy faded as the spark of life withered from their children, as disease and cruel eld claimed them. In sorrow, the Choren cried out to Dyvralyn, wailing their grief that he might restore the lost children. Dyvralyn told them that life must end, or it is not properly valued. He said to them that the land of the gods tore itself apart when life outgrew the world and consumed it utterly.
The Choren did not heed his warning, nor did they accept his reasoning. They implored the other gods to act against Dyvralyn and restore the lost children to life. One and all, the other gods agreed with Dyvralyn, and so the Choren cried out that if their children were to be so cursed, it was better there be no children!
The other gods viewed this with a mix of regret and sympathy, but Dyvralyn viewed it as a betrayal. “So be it” he said, so that all Choren could hear him. “If you call my gift a curse and throw it back in my face, so be it. You cannot stand to watch the children die while you live on, and so I wither you one and all to be as children. A blight upon your lives, that you may value them.” With these words echoing throughout Sha’ri, the god’s voice was never heard again among the people of Gara.
Dyvralyn’s final curse, the Life Blight, twisted the Choren into mockeries of their former beauty. Those whose hearts were purest and did not cry out against his gift were warped least, and became elves. Those whose pride refused to admit their children were flawed became dwarves. Those who were fascinated by the curse and what it might do became the gnomes. Those who continued looking forward, who thought only of the advantages their new form might posses became humanity.
The largest changes fell upon those who cried out loudest against Dyvralyn. These were made truly ugly and cast out of Sha’ri by the others.
In time, the curious and ambitious chose to leave the city of gods to explore the world they cast the monstrous people out into. They came to the mountains and dwelt there for a time before some of them again moved on. These followed the great river south into the plains, leaving behind small tribes as they went, each choosing that land which pleased them as their home.
An age passed in this way, and soon all the lands between the sea and the great river, who was named Vaelle in homage to the god of ambition, were known and settled; but then it came to pass that on a certain day the god-city Sha’ri vanished as if it never were, taking with it the last of the true Choren and a great many elves, who remained to tend the gardens. The forest, which was fair and tame grew restless and violent. Beasts slew countless more elves who had come to revere the wood as their home; and so it is that the fair folk are all but lost to us.
Our gods have left Gara, fled with their ivory and blue temple. Their voices forgotten. We know they exist still, as their priests remain infused with holy power, but why our gods have departed these lands we know not.