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Being a long and wordy History of the world of

ARKAELA

And other Diverse Events

The planet Arkaela has had a long and twisted history, and much of it is lost forever in the mists of time. It is rumored that the dreaded tome the Necronomicon contains many passages of forbidden Arkaelan history along with its other hideous rituals and fell magics, but it is believed that all 20 fragments of this damned artifact are still lost.

Arkaela was the homeworld of the Cthulan pantheon, or at least the first world they made their own in this Plane. The planet the Old Ones found was a lush paradise with no native sentient species, and so they invade and defiled it, molding animal {and other} lifeforms to create their own servant race. These forerunners of the Tanu were ogre-like, huge and poorly formed, but gifted with ferocity and natural weapons, and a lust for blood. For an unknown span of years, they were either created from their base stock or bred unceasingly, as the Old Ones first quarreled and then warred outright with each other for pieces of the rich planet they had taken. Armies of Tanu predecessors {often referred to as the "Rada" in ancient text fragments}swarmed like ants across the continents, slaughtering each other by the tens of thousands at the beck of the Cthulan deities.

As time passed, the Rada began creating tools, and improving their war abilities with crude weapons and the discovery of fire. Also, the Cthulans had by now probed the rest of the crystal sphere and discovered other violent lifeforms, importing them to Arkaela to add to the mix. It is also assumed that servants were brought across from the Cthulan home-dimension at this time. As the centuries past, two of the Old Ones emerged as the most powerful of the pantheon: Cthulu and Hastur. The other deities now vied to garner what fragments of land and sea and servants they could and complete the 'pecking order', while more and more the two most prominent gods turned their full attentions on each other.

More and more the Old Ones mixed the gene-pool of the Rada with those of the creatures they had brought to Arkaela from wildspace and their outer plane, in an effort to better contest with each other. It is assumed there was an emerging civilization by now, as the Rada's eugenic development had increased their intelligence, and the Old Ones began shaping the servant race into one which could act as clerical followers to increase their power. These first 'priests' were likely no more than shaman or witch-doctors with only weak clerical abilities. As this ancient culture left no records of its own history {or perhaps the Old Ones erased all traces of it for some reason} there is much debate among the learned as to what sparked the final crystallization of the Rada into the race that would call itself the Tanu. Several possibilities have been offered:

 Either a concordant location formed by some accident and brought otherworld humans or elves to Arkaela, or the Old Ones created such places across the planet to bring magic-using beings to them for addition of this power to the race;

 The Old Ones found the Rada too repulsive and crude to learn written language and therefore, magical script, and so increased their eugenic efforts until a new evolutionary event formed the Tanu;

 The Juna arrived in the sphere at this time, and some were forcibly added to the Tanu genome before the Old Ones finally attacked and decimated the Juna populace. This may have allowed the evolutionary jump in mental capacity necessary for the developement of magic-wielding ability, and/or may also have been responsible for the later developement of the Tanu's intense psionic power.

 An Old One {the most likely candidate is Yog-Sothoth} mated with the Rada directly to spawn the development of magical ability in the emerging race.

Whatever the case, it is known that a burgeoning magical culture existed at the time of the oldest written fragment of Tanu history. By this time there were both powerful clerics and mages among the populace, and the name "Tanu" is first used in the text fragment as a racial name.

How long this early culture existed is not known, but soon cataclysmic events erased it from the face of the world. At a point in history known only as the "Time of Violation" or "the Paring", there came a pivotal conflict between Cthulu and his minions and those of Hastur. While the deities actually met in battle, the forces of Cthulu attacked Hastur's main temple at the city of Hali, and with great magics, sealed Hastur's physical body inside a tomb deep beneath the structure, closing him in with the artifacts known as the Elder Signs. The conflict destroyed Hali itself, leaving only the temple and the hill it sat on intact while all around it the ground cracked and sank, leveling the city and killing both armies, save for Cthulu's mages and the priests of Hastur. Cthulu, however, realized that the spells his mages had created could just as well entrap him, and so began a night of terror. Summoning all his unearthly minions, Cthulu found and slew all magic-using Tanu across the globe. It was a single night that saw the death of tens of thousands of Tanu, who could not escape the rampage of the victorious Old One. It is believed that at this time that the Necronomicon, the book which contained the spells which could bind or release the Old Ones, was broken into 20 fragments and scattered over the world.

The other gods scrambled to save what servants they could, but only the mad god Azeroth met with any success. A huge being the size and shape of a small moon, who orbited Arkaela and manipulated things on the surface by use of inconceivably long pseudopodia, Azeroth raced ahead of Cthulu and reached down, plucking his horrified servants from the world and drawing them up to himself. What actually happened to these hapless Tanu is not truly known; whether they were consumed by the god or placed upon his surface to ride upon him like fleas, the god-moon then sped away from Arkaela and disappeared into the wilds of the sphere, and would not be seen again, at least until spelljamming had come to the sphere. As his last action, Cthulu returned to his island-nation of R'lyeh and, to protect it from the others of his pantheon, caused it to sink beneath the sea without a trace.

The god-battle and subsequent actions of the gods wrought huge changes across the world. The quakes that destroyed Hali and sank R'lyeh spread, and the continents cracked apart and drifted into new configurations. All animal life, somehow affected by the magic emanations, began evolving backwards, soon giving rise to fearsome dinosaur-like beasts. The creatures of the seas also devolved and grew. The Tanu population was decimated by both the actions of the gods and the rebelling of their planet, and at least a century of darkness swallowed the world.

During this Age of Darkness, the Tanu were forced to survive without the direct interference of the Old Ones for the first time. While it is likely the remnants of many nations were wiped out by the upheaveal of the world, the survivors waged wars of extinction to capture the few safe places and food supplies left. It was then that the forbidden eugenic methods of the gods were brought into use by their mortal servants, and out of this horrible Age emerged the Tanu known today.

 

The new civilization crawled from the ruins of the old, and the Tanu now began manifesting their psionic power. As the Old Ones, long silent, began reaching out into the world again, the Tanu paid dearly for their new abilities, and sacrificed any children born without mental powers to these foul gods to placate them.

As the sole wielders of magic power, the priests of the various gods assumed {or took by force} the ruling positions of the nations which now arose in this reborn world. Time passed, and there became two set classes in Tanu society: the Rulers and the Ruled. One can imagine the conditions which existed for those not called to be clerics of the Old Ones. For nine thousand years the tyranny of the priests ruled Tanu society.

Then, in the current age, there arrived a new god, who had traveled to Arkaela seeking a place to find worshippers and set down the roots of his own pantheon. This was Andraxas, born a mortal human, but whose skill and power had led him to become a deity in his own right. The first Tanu to meet him, a low-status priest of Ithaqua named Caliber, about to be slain by a party of Chtuga's clerics, was rescued from death by this shining, seemingly human warrior. Afterward, Andraxas revealed his true nature, and Caliber converted on the spot, changing his name to T'andrax in his new lord's honor. Together they traveled north into the mountains, and Andraxas confronted his first Cthulan foe in its own lair. Ascending the cauldron of Mount Vurmidurth, and bearing armor which protected him from flame, Andraxas slew Cthuga, the god of Fire, and usurped his control of that element as he swallowed Cthuga's godhead. T'andrax, slain by Cthuga's Fire Creature servants, was resurrected by the newly-born demigod, cementing his faith.

Together, the two rallied the Tanu who had lived for so long crushed under the heels of the Old Ones' clerics. One by one the temples of these priests were thrown down, weakening the Old Ones. A setback occurred when a troupe of Andraxas' followers invaded the still-standing temple of Hasur on Lake Hali, and stole the Elder Signs which, unknown to them, still bound Hastur's body inside the temple. Hastur was freed, but some of the invaders managed to escape and return these powerful artifacts to Andraxas.

While the freed Hastur turned his attentions to Cthulu for a time, Andraxas and his followers eliminated the remaining strongholds of the other Old Ones. Then, Andraxas hatched his plan to undo Cthulu: the Grand Combat. With taunts and more temple pillaging he lured Cthulu's army to the Battle Plane, the dry remains of an inland sea, and defeated them in open warfare by taking the field beside his followers and slaughtering the mortal Tanu flock of the Great Old One.

Weakened, Cthulu soon faced not only Andraxas but his old allies Drax and Dorgon in combat face-to-face, and both he and Hastur were slain in their physical forms; now weak specters of themselves, the two most powerful Old Ones are merely spirits who plot in the shadows with their few remaining worshippers.

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