It is good to see you return, for there is yet more to learn of this world. You know much about the Khadras-Tien now, but I have not revealed insight about their greatest allies so far. The Gryphons of the Ironbeak mountains, for the longest time, were both protectors of the young races as well as the flying mounts of the Immortals. On huge wings they cut through the sky, their beaks and talons able to rip apart anything that would dare to threaten them. Their size and might were legendary, as was their benevolence and wisdom. All races respected the Gryphons, hunting them or poaching their nests was a crime punishable by death. With them at their side, there was no threat to this world the Khadras-Tien would not be able to face down. So it was only fitting that in the final hours of the glorious kingdom of the Firstborn, the gryphons perished as well.
At the time the great passage into the Bay of Strive was carved by Kha-Tirsan, our explorers found a valley north of the Bay, home to fantastic creatures. Not only hunting grounds to the immense Frostmane wolves, but also to the gryphons, we quickly named it Gryphonvale. Overlooking the vale was a mountain of great height, Aelos’ Reach. In those days, the peak was full of nests and it was common to see gryphons circle over the vale. What a sight that was…
In the gryphons, the Khadras-Tien found kindred spirits. We both valued balance, never taking more than we need and never giving more than what is required. And both Immortals and gryphons were terrible forces if wronged. Soon after, we began to learn the art of riding these majestic winged beasts. Khadras had created such a large land that we could never hope to effectively travel by foot, even on Kha-Tirsan’s great roads. On the backs of the gryphons however, carried by tireless wings, we reached every corner of this world, the island of Nauregar in the Central Sea and Arcanite, south of the Bay. Even distant Ehadrasi, the mysterious empire of the Nhazremi, was no longer out of reach. Our ambassadors and diplomats came to all, our teachers and architects followed. The Nhazremi built golden cities in the deserts, canals and the power of the wind bringing water and life to them. On Nauregar, the already ingenious and skilled Gnomes experienced a golden age of technology neither you humans nor the metalwrights of the Kandu can hope to match even today.
And even as golden ages go, this was a long and prosperous one. Still it came to an end.
That end could not have come at a worse time. It was the time of the reunion, a lost tradition of the immortals. We would all come together, from all corners of the world, to join our Khaa in Khadras-Jun. There, reports on the younger races were made and we would discuss the future, how best to help them along and how to avoid wars. Your lust for bloodshed and warfare was apparent even then. You had as much freedom as we could give you without risking the way things are today, I assure you. During that last reunion, while we all were in the great, lost city, our enemies struck. Confusion weakened our defenses, many died before we realized what had conspired against us. After all, why would any of you attack us? The reason that we were immortal and would never be defeated alone would have deterred any hostilities, and we thought that our gifts and our teachings were enough to make us strong allies. My brethren and I underestimated the mortal will to power though, a mistake the agents of the Eraser exploited freely. Whispered promises of being made like the immortal god kings in their golden city, becoming greater than even the children of the Creator, becoming like unto a god, those lies rung strong in the ears of the mortals that assaulted us. From within the city they struck, utilizing magic far stronger than anything we had seen before. There was no doubt the power they unleashed was not their own, that those mortals were but vessels for the shades of Yxion the Eraser. We were unprepared and easy prey. I know many from those days that will never leave the eternal dream again, their amulets broken and part of the rubble of Khadras-Jun…
It was obvious that they knew much about us. The attackers focused on our heroes, the pillars of our history, the legends that held us together. Marisan the huntress, Junicosan the founder, Orsindos the Diplomat and Mirontar fell quickly, even revered Helindros, master of arms, he who slew a dragon in single combat, could not withstand their onslaught. Many more heroes died defending the council building, the legendary Hand of Khadras, the elite guard of the Khaa, was almost completely wiped out. The eldritch magic simply tore the guardsmen apart and drained their amulets. On top of our confusion and disarray, their greatest advantage was that we were faced with something we had never encountered before. Fear, fear of death, of being gone forever, made us weak. Judge us for that as you wish, but for us, who we had known nothing but life and rebirth for thousands of years, the sudden realization that we were finite was more terrifying than you can imagine. While we were fleeing or fighting for our very lives, the gryphons were outraged. Even with the age-old vendetta against the dragons, who contested their rule over the sky and the mountains, they came to the aid of their friends. Their furor was bone-chilling and they tore into the ranks of the traitors and shades like the fury of the very elements themselves. It seemed we were saved, that we were beaten but not broken. Then, we were betrayed again. The dragons came, gleefully abusing the weakness of the gryphons to finally end their conquest, cut through the clouds and Khadras-Jun became the battlefield of immortals, traitors and the titans of the heavens. I remember the next day as clearly now as I saw it then. The massive, white walls of Khadras-Jun no longer stood proud, now blackened by magic and dragon fire. In the streets, fallen immortals, never to rise again, lay crushed underneath the broken bodies of vile dragon and noble gryphon. Dried blood covered walls and stairs, forever staining the splendor of the grand city. Fires raged unchecked, devouring our written knowledge, wiping out many of the remainders of the massacre of the previous day. The great enemy had failed in destroying us all, but he could not have come closer.
And what happened to our brave, noble, foolish allies after their sacrifice? Even I cannot tell. Maybe they died so that we were spared and the world will never again behold the glory of the Hand of Khadras riding across the sky on their powerful mounts. If anything good could come from a day that black, it is that we have not seen a single dragon since they tore into the gryphons above Khadras-Jun. I only know that our enemy is aware of his failure, but he is, above all else, persistent and patient. One day, he will again whisper in the ears of mortals, and he will again raise an army of corrupted traitors to unmake the works of Khadras. I fear he will not be stopped this time.