[Age of Dusk] Meditations on the importance of a Timeline for a Last Age Pt. II

A sequel to a previous post.

The Awful Weapon – Upon the plains of Sriatus the divine host did come to terms with the nightmare legions of Tzyan. A shrieking tide of flesh, living and dead and in between, did cast itself upon the unbreakable ranks of the Sial-Atrementar and was rent asunder by spears of gleaming adamant. Hundreds died in a hearbeat, bissected by lines of searing divine fire, pierced by hailstorms of unerring arrows, or withered by vile curses until their very substance turned to dust.

The champions of the golden legions were none other then the gods themselves. Leaving none behind, they sallied forth, endowed with terrible weaponry not seen since the Rebellion of the Sial-Atramentar. In that terrible conflagration, but one of Atun’s ten thousand spears did miss its mark and landed beyond the horizon, creating that region known today as the Bleached Lands.

Many were the crafts conceived in the evil minds of Tzyan. Their host was formed of the Horrors of all the Ages. Bodies unearthed from ancient soil and imbued with counterfeit life, spirits chained to abhorrent constructs and Vile Sorcerers chanting obscene necromancies from their gilded palanquins or engaging with the gods in the savage melee, bearing howling blades of black glass hewn from the Weapon itself. Their champions were the animated husks of fallen gods.

Against any earthly host, perhaps even the legions of Great Sybarra, the Tzyanese would have been supreme. But the Greatest of the Gods had joined the fight, and none could stand against them. Like meteor and hurricane and earthquake did they fall upon the foe, and the hosts of Tzyan were broken under their onslaught.

In their moment of utter defeat, the Weapon did show its Awful Power for the First Time. Baleful and Transcendent Force was directed at the heart of the battle where the fighting was thickest and the Gods were found. An indescribable shape was made manifest upon the battlefield, and everything that was bathed in its glow was sundered in a thousand ways.

The Lesser Gods, ageless but not free from Death, were slain upon the field of Sriatus, their bodies burned to divine ash. Only at the edges of the manifestation were they merely struck down, their sundered bodies lying in the blackened sand, dead but imperishable.

The Greater Gods, truly immortal, were shattered in a thousand fragments, each fragment cast about in the seething and eternal storm that now raged hideously in the center of the field, illumined with divine fire. On the plains of Sriatus the Tempest was born.

The Sial-Atramentar were consumed in their hundreds of thousands. Scant hundreds survived, mutilated and broken, maddened by the atrocity, doomed to flee into the crags of the world, disfigured and mad, senselessly destroying what they had once helped protect.

And though the host of Tzyan was consumed within the birth of the Tempest, and across the world men were stricken with despair and wept, not knowing what was to become of them after they had gone and though The Halls of the Highest Citadel stood empty and silent for the first time since the Dawn Age, in their spires the Tzyanese did cackle with malicious glee at the sight of that newborn evil sun upon the horizon.

But their Doom was yet to come.

The Siege of the Highest Citadel – Gathering their abhorrent legions, the Tzyanese set out for Mount Abbarat, whose soaring midnight peaks bissect the clouds and scratch the dome of Heaven, and sent their champions to assail its ramparts and breach the Gates of the Highest Citadel, to topple the Scales of Heaven. But all these were rebuffed.

Nine Guardians kept the single path to the Highest Citadel. Creations of gods, enchanted labyrinths, misbegotten progeny and lords of other spheres bound with the power of the divine and endowed with all the powers of previous champions, all but the last of them were overcome by the cunning and prowess of Tzyan.

Skaharandra the Unconquerable warded the Last Gate, and held it against all assailants. King of the Sky-Daemons, who roam the airless void on wings of sunfire and galvanic force and made long war upon the Gods, subdued only after long battle with Atun the Lord of War and Osil King of Gods, and only after wounding the invulnerable Lord of Heaven and crippling Atun, it had held the Gate since the Citadel was raised and had never been defeated. Only the Spear of Atun could wound its insubstantial flesh. Grudgingly it holds the last gate, bound by its oath which is more unbreakable then adamant. All who stood against it faced a being that could challenge the might of Heaven.

Champion after champion was sent at Skaharandra and annihilated with a single blow. Potent sorceries washed over its incandescent hide like rain. The husks of demigods were rent asunder by the power of the outer spheres. Weapons that had tasted the flesh of the divine littered the path, sundered and ruined. The host of Tzyan wept and groaned with despair at his invincible prowess. Better that they had turned their swords against Mount Arrarat itself. With a voice like the splitting of a great bronze bell it dictated its terms to the lamenting Tzyanese.

“Bound by Inviolate Oath
Sworn upon the Moon and Sun,
Skaharandra holds the Citadel
against Mortal and Immortal.

Let One Come Forth,
And Offer Himself,
And the Rest Pass Unmolested”

But none of the Tzyanese would offer himself of his own free will. So stained by their abhorrent deeds were they that to perish was to face damnation everlasting. Wailing piteously and tearing their flesh, they retreated in infamy, knowing that the Citadel was forever beyond their reach.

Of the Doom of Tzyan –

Deathly afeared were the evil Tzyanese, for though the Gods were slain the awful burden of their sins could not be wiped away. Huddling in their towers, they prolonged their lives with elixers, drugs and esoteric sorceries. Bit by bit they ensorcelled their flesh, keeping Time and Death at bay. Withered and wretched, they hoarded their knowledge in their serrated spires, attended by slaves and mercenaries, scrabbling for a bulwark to raise against Eternity.

But all was not well. The Blow of the Awful Weapon, so terrible and potent it could slay even gods, had wounded more then earth and sky. Sorcery, already strained by the burden of uncounted enchantments, had been dealt a grievous blow. No longer were Time and its companion Death kept at bay, and one by one the Tzyanese did wither and succumb to them. So did the host of Tzyan diminish.

But they did not relent, for such is not the way of the Tzyanese. Honing new and potent sorceries, they sought instead to pilfer life and let others pay for their defiance, for such is ever the way of the Tzyanese. First the birds, then the animals, then their servants were offered up on the Altar of Years, until the plains around their spires were desolate wastelands, littered with crumbling bone. With hosts of illusions and glamour, they contested even eachother for borrowed years. So did the host of Tzyan diminish in number.

On the edges of their empire their vassals and fiefdoms, long bent under their awful yoke, grew bold and defiant, sending armies to topple their spires and erase their stain from the world. The lesser of the Tzyanese succumbed to sword and spell and pyre, the greatest were so fell that entire armies turned to dust before they reached the foot of their spires. So did the host of Tzyan diminish in number.

And as the ages passed the Awful Weapon extended its influence from the plains of Mazhuria, turning soil to vitrified glass and carving great canyons of straight angles within the desert of glass and on the souls of men. And the Tzyanese of the plains saw well the insidious power of the Weapon, but they could not flee, hemmed in on all sides by the domains of their fellows, and thus they were turned to lifeless dust or rendered husks for the nightmarish presence of the Weapon. So did the host of Tzyan diminish in number.

One by one the Tzyanese succumbed to their Doom. And as they went forth into perdition’s churning heart they did shriek, and rave, and proclaimed that they were liberators and the world owed them a great debt. But into perdition they went nevertheless, one by one, in the end.

Now there are but few of them left, and what few men remember the awful power of Tzyan know well not to speak of it.

Continued in Part III


7 thoughts on “[Age of Dusk] Meditations on the importance of a Timeline for a Last Age Pt. II

  1. Still not sure what music should I put on as background music while reading your Age of Dusk entries: the Dark Souls soundtrack, or Bal-Sagoth?

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    1. Bal-Sagoth is not too far off (good recommendation btw), I’d supplement with Amon Amarth, Celtic Frost and Gojira for maximum effect. I can’t exclude the possibility that some Lamb of God and Dimmu Borgir is still in there.

      Reviews are to be accompanied by Limp Bizkit exclusively.

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  2. Once again, great job with this. The darkness and majesty is immediately palpable, with Tzyan being this dark, Icarus-like nation, so full of spite and malice, but ultimately flawed, tripping just at the finish line because none of them could work for the greater good. Although, it seems like if one of them had worked for the greater good, they may not have accomplished all they had. It seems like there is a theme of Empires falling thanks to their own hubris, which I can definitely dig. What was your inspiration for Tzyan? Any specific book or other piece of media, or just a conjuration from the darkest recesses of your mind?

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    1. Thanks man.

      Its hard to untangle all the separate influences, its starting to congeal in my mind until it forms a sort of fantasy aggregate that can readily give birth to a million horrors. With most of the Age of Dusk I just write what comes to mind without conscious direction. The motif to overthrow heaven is parts R.Scott Bakker’s Unholy Consult and parts Black Numenorians. As necromancers they are most analogous to C.A. Smith’s Necromancer Kings of Zothique, though I envision the Tzyanese as energetic and corrupt, rather then decadent and slothful. You read it correctly, their driving force is ultimately their undoing, as it so often is.

      I like the motif of Imperial Overextension but I try to mix it up a little with Nzembar and Piazet. I like the idea of having a bunch of fallen civilizations to be a possible origin for dungeons, each one piled atop the bones of the other until there comes to exist a sort of unrecognizable mishmash of overlapping influences that form the Age of Dusk. Men fighting the horrors of a prior age with weapons wrenched from ancient ruins and spells stolen from crumbling scrolls for causes half-remembered.

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