Current Day Nri
It has been thousands of years since the Aeon emerged from the pool of lava at the center of Mount Mnoc volcano. Generations upon generations of Aeon have continued the cycle of surfacing, foraging, trading, smuggling, fighting, dying, and retreating into the subterranean hives to reconstitute their numbers. The most current generation of Aeon surfaced about three years ago and can be found if deftly sought in the markets and shadows of Zhurin and Elyu.
Though it is believed the elementally aligned Spirits that helped mold Zhurin into what it is today held no names for each other; the mortal inhabitants of the planet often bestowed names upon them to best explain and teach generation after generation about the Spirits. One of the most prolific of these names is Odanodan, the Red Earth Spirit. Often mistaken for a fire elemental spirit because once combined with air and something to burn, the molten red earth, commonly referred to as lava, creates fire. But while inside the core of the planet, there is no fire. Just roiling molten earth that seeks to make its way to the surface of the planet.
Odanodan is a stubborn Spirit. The water Spirits are good at keeping Odanodan contained, cooling the surface of the planet, but one time it decided to prove a point and push through the surface at one of the deepest portions of the ocean. The magma burst through and was instantly hardened, only to be burst through again, and harden again. Repeated over a millennium, the stubborn Odanodan eventually burst through to find it had reached the surface of the oceans. For another millennium the red earth spewed into the air spreading and building above the surface of the Oceans as a great volcano.
Odanodan then realized there was nothing to stop it from building itself to the stars. The Great Cycle was to be upset. The Spirits of Wind and water worked together and over time whittled, weathered, and eroded the great volcano until it fractured into six islands. The Islands of Nri, as named by the Fae, from north to south are: Bwara, Sveyt, Nri (Mount Mnoc – the remaining active cone of the volcano), Jris, Jros, and Cmot. The Great Cycle is maintained with Odanodan’s stubbornness still belching forth every thousand years or so.
Between eruptions, the island chain grows over with a thick tropical jungle and is rife with all manner of flora and fauna. The heavy freshwater rains keep lakes, rivers, and streams filled and flowing. The rough, deep waters that surround it keep the edges of the islands cut off as steep cliffs. No sandy beaches on these tropical islands.
The Secret Within
Millennia after the creation of the islands now known as Nri, as the Scolani and other races of Zhurin were seeking out and fighting the manifestations of feral spirits, the Ghet; the remaining Prime Spirits worked to create a race designed specifically to ensnare and hold the Ghet captive. They knew that in order to defeat a monster, this race had to be part monster. As such, they would have to first build a race, segregated from others, and allow them to be tainted by the Ghet. Hence, the Roj’Stadj were created in the old Ghet city located beneath Vrykos.
After several generations of Roj’Stadj were living in the Ghet city, as the Ghet themselves were being forced off the continents one by one by the other races, the eldest generations, having spent the most time in the tainted city; were taken. The remaining Roj’Stadj, save the youngest generation, were sacrificed and sealed within the city to survive, or die, as the Great Wheel should decide. The youngest generation were set to live among the forests of Draelyk, also, as the Great Wheel should decide.
The power of Odanodan is immutable, as the core of the planet, and as great source of magical power.
To eliminate this power, is to eliminate the planet itself. It was this fact alone that the Primal Spirits turned to their stubborn Earthen sibling to tap into this endless power to create the prison that would forever hold the Ghet. As long as the planet was alive, the prison would hold them. Odanodan suggested one of the Ghet’s own abandoned subterranean cities, fashioned in the manor of an ant colony, that surrounded the magma vein that fed the volcano on Nri. It was to this abandoned Ghet city turned prison that the first generation of Roj’Stadj were taken. The first generation of Aeon.
Centuries later, as the remaining Ghet and their hordes of abominations fled into the miles and miles of interconnected tunnels and chambers of their old subterranean city on the Island of Nri, they were greeted with a new foe. Out of the shadows, clad in dark red armor, wielding crimson weapons, and harnessing fire as if it were their own bodies, the Aeon made quick work of the fearful creatures. Their affliction of consumption allowing them to feed on their bewilderment and fear of their charge. With the corresponding portal gates destroyed on the far end on other continents, the prison was sealed.
Ever since, the Ghet have remained trapped in their own “Alcatraz” of Zhurin known as Nri.
Great Wheel and Adaptation
For decades the Aeon chased down and killed off the physical manifestations of the Ghet within the labyrinths of Nri. That is, those creatures that hadn’t turned on themselves and killed each other first.
Eventually, it was only the Aeon who physically remained within the prison. Though being afflicted themselves, they could feel that they were not alone; the Ghet still remained. It was simply the resolute power of Odanodan, the Red Earth Primal Spirit, that bound the metaphysical Ghet within the catacombs.
Eventually the Aeon began to feel the Great Wheel beginning to slow. They were dying. But that is where the lessons learned from all time, known to the Spirits, and the Ghet, gave the Great Wheel of the Aeon a big push. The Ghet looked at their prison and remembered the inspiration. Ants. Foragers.
Colonizers. The Ghet blessed the Aeon with this knowledge and proclivity. Seek to survive. Grow to survive. Forage to survive. A hive mind developed; information able to be passed between them as they carried on with their lives below ground. Before long they had the entire facility mapped.
Understanding they were trapped inside, they began to dig.
Initially they remained below the surface. They followed the soft earth, the veins of porous rock that ran for miles beneath the oceans, feeding on the despair and frustration of never breaking through to survive. As the tunnels expanded, the magic encapsulated it simply kept growing, drawing from Zhurin’s core. The drain was minuscule at first, but as the Aeon continued to develop faster and more efficient ways to dig, eventually there were colonies of Aeon beneath each continent on Zhurin, just like fire ants across a large field. The Ghet were free to move around and view all the lands they had once inhabited, yet the magic prevented them from affecting the lands or their inhabitants.
But the Aeon kept digging, and the magic continued to thin, and the Spirits were afraid that their own creation designed to keep the Ghet trapped, would ultimately be the cause for their release. Though the arbitrary death of generations of a race was not an option. Instead, the Spirits decided the divide and conquer approach would restore the balance, allowing Odanodan to encapsulate the remaining Ghet while preserving the Aeon. Just as the races had forced the Ghet and their armies to Nri, the Red Earth Spirit along with other lesser Earth Spirits began segregating the remaining Ghet, collapsing tunnels with earthquakes, cave ins, or flooding the tunnels with molten lava, pushing the Aeon back to Nri. With each hive containing one Ghet and no Aeon to make it bigger, save that of the original hive beneath Nri; the power draw on the core of Zhurin was once again reduced to a sustainable level.
To alleviate this from happening again, the Spirits realized they needed to give the Aeon the ability to forage and survive above ground. The Aeon were led to dig in one particular chamber near the center of Nri and within days the heat was unbearable, and slowly the wall began to crack and leak glowing hot lava into the room. The Aeon fled back up the tunnel that led to the chamber expecting the lava to chase them away as it had done so many times before. Except this time, it stopped. The lava poured into the room but stopped at the top of the new passageway they were digging, creating a glowing red pool that fed out into the main magma vein that fed the volcano within Mount Mnoc. In layman’s terms, a magical lava plumbers trap that would allow the Aeon a way back to the surface while preventing the Ghet from reaching the surface.