The Nur M'hada
The Nur M’hada
A thousand years ago, the kingdom now known as Anaetyr was much larger, and much stronger. Called Aevantyr, the high elves who called this land home were descended from the Aevtyne (Sun Elves) and the Antyne (Moon Elves) of the times of myth. Forged out of necessity, Aevantyr resisted the invasions of the Arcosian Empire, and remained free, if constantly threatened by their powerful neighbor. But, when the comet rose and spelled the doom of the Empire, so too did Aevantyr fall. The eastern half of the kingdom of elves, the ancient forest known as Elathilin was struck by a great and terrible curse. As the comet reached its zenith, every living person in Elathilin died at once. No wounds rent them, no disease coursed through their veins, they simply fell. They did not, however, stay down. The next dusk, every Anaetyne who died, rose again, and marched on their living counterparts. A swarm of risen corpses, skeletons and shades descended upon the western half of Aevantyr, Aeviran.
The forces of Aevantyr tried to repel them, but the hordes of the damned proved to be too much. Towns were destroyed, innocents slaughtered and brought to serve the dead. And always, just out of reach of the remaining might of Aevantyr, there were seven ethereal figures commanding the legions of death. Soon, the living Aevantyne were driven back to their walled cities. After the first assault, it became quickly apparent that the dead could not stand the burning light of the Sun, and so the dead would fall back and hide during the day. Those who were caught out, were burnt to cinders within minutes of the sun’s rise.
As the Aevantyne elves prepared for the inevitable siege, every surviving light mage took up position on the walls of Aeredos. They poured their strength into its walls, and most of them perished at the cost, but their work was completed. The walls of Aeredos became so infused with the power of the Sun, that the undead cannot bear to touch it, or fly above it or tunnel underneath it. Every night, the army of the damned rose from the Sea of Mists to slaughter any who were outside the walls of Aeredos, leaving it the sole bastion of High Elves that could rest at night. Other cities struggled to survive. Soldiers and mages from Aeredos rode to aid them, but many were lost. Many elves were lost. Soon only two cities remained. Venidos, a city sacred to the god of Fire was the only city to survive with Aeredos. The people of Venidos were scared, no wall of sacred light to defend them, only the burning fury of the fire mages. The Venirath family, long since rivals to the Aeviraths, refused to beg for aid from Aeredos, but the City of Light sent reinforcements anyways. They defended the cities for weeks, never faltering, until, as oft happens, the cracks in the defense came form inside.
A group of thousands of refugees came to Venidos, seeking shelter from the ravenous hordes. The ruling Venirath however, refused to open the gates. They were able to produce enough food and water for themselves inside the defenses of the city, but he feared that with these new refugees he would have to stretch his resources too thin, and so, he ordered the gates barred and left the refugees to die.
The soldiers from Aeredos refused to accept this, and quickly seized control of the gate. They were soon surrounded by the Venidos military, and then there was only one path left. The Aeredosians left Venidos, and as the sun set, began leading the refugees to Aeredos. It took them three days to make it, fighting through walls of the dead and swirling masses of specters. Less then a quarter of the refugees survived by the time they reached Aeredos, where they were finally safe. Less than a hundred soldiers were alive by then, and they all perished guarding the gate as the refugees poured through. A week later, a small team of diplomats and scouts ventured to Venidos to declare the Veniraths traitors and monsters, only to find the city empty. The Veniraths had taken their people, and sailed across the Sea of Storms to make a new home, forsaking their homeland and their crimes.
Lydar Aevirath, the Vaesilokh of Aevantyr, declared the Venirath family traitors and cowards and declared their fleeing an acceptance of Exile. No Venirath would every be allowed to call Aevantyr home again.
Since then, over a thousand years have passed. The time since the comet rose was declared the “Nur M’hada” or the “Death of Hope”. The assault of the dead still continues, and while the inside of Aeredos is safe, the farms need to be protected, and the warriors of what has become known as Anaetyr do what they can to prevent the damned from gaining a permanent foothold on this side of the Sea of Mists. They hunt down powerful undead when they can, and do what little damage they can to the horde. Now, though, a new hope is rising. More and more children are being born with a propensity for Sun Magic, and they power of the sun seems to swell. It finally came to a head when the comet came again. Most people saw it as a sign of the end, the comet brought their downfall and now it would bring their death, but this time, the comet brought with it new power. The might of the Sun reached heights not seen since the time of myth, and Erastil Aevirath rode forth with his armies.
They drove back the damned into the sea in the middle of the night, something that had never been accomplished before.
When he returned to Aeredos, he declared the return of the comet as the “Van M’hada” or the “Birth of Hope” and has sworn to begin to restore the glory of Anaetyr. Whether his victories will continue, or if Anaetyr will slide back into darkness, remains to be seen, but from now own, the High Elves will not be content to just survive. They will win, or they will die. That is the oath of Erastil.