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Immortal Mythos: The War of the Years Before Eternity

by Rodger Burns

Long ago - before the memory of any but the oldest Immortals, before the existence of any human civilisation, perhaps before the existence of life on Mystara or the current age of magic - there was a War in heaven.

The War was fought without quarter, raging across eternity and leaving the Immortals themselves as lifeless husks on the many battlefields. Who the enemy is, no one dares say. Some blame the dread Outer Beings, now exiled to their voiceless prisons. Others claim the War to have been a conflict within the Immortals themselves, the only time that the conflicts between the Spheres flared into full fury, and a caution against any such repetition. Still others fear the involvement of dragons and the alien Draeden, or other beings even more secretive and mysterious. The truth may never be known.

Whatever the cause of the War, its legacy is clear and terrible. First was the near-total destruction of Immortal society and history. In a cosmos in which the mightiest beings can literally live forever and comprehend unbelievable levels of information and detail, recorded history is but a few millennia old as mortals measure time, with all prior to this being lost.

Those Immortals alive today are aware that the universe is many times older than their own knowledge, and that their predecessors once had skill and insights that dwarf their own. Of the accumulated learning that existed before the War, however, only incomprehensible fragments remain, a handful of pieces in a puzzle uncountably vast. Acquiring and deciphering clues relating to the wisdom of the old order of Immortals is a top priority of many modern Hierarchs.

Such a task is not easy, however, for the Outer Planes - home to the Immortals and their civilisation - are also inhabited by many dangerous monsters who still hunt the Immortals and seek to hinder their works, tens of thousands of years later. These beings are dangerous, even to an Immortal in full fury. Many have attacks or magic that work best against an Immortal opponent; others are attracted specifically to the presence of Immortal power, crossing even the boundaries of the planes and dimensions to strike at their ancient foes. (The existence of these beings is believed to be an even greater reason for the Prohibition against Immortal meddling on the Prime - for an Immortal to act without reason on that plane is to invite some of these monsters to visit, a catastrophe of immeasurable proportion.)

Some broad classes of monster born from the War are as follows. Many variations on each type exist, of greater and lesser power.
- Asura: 'Hunters of Avatars', these beings can steal a fragment of Immortal power and identity, channelling it directly as a weapon or warping it to dominate or torture the Immortal. These beings are feared greatly by the Immortals, and destroyed whenever they manifest; fortunately, all known asura have been locked away in prison planes for centuries.
- Kharisiri: Monsters that can sense the presence of Immortals or use of Immortal magic, and strike at the target accordingly. Some travel directly to their victim and attack with surprise; others strike from afar, hounding an opponent that is unable to strike back; others seek to reshape the emanation of power to attack its creator.
- Oyasi: Beings that are immune to Immortal magic and Power attacks; they are assumed to have been the 'shock troopers' of the War, and can be very dangerous against an unprepared Immortal opponent.
- Kalengu: Creatures that feed on Immortal power, leeching it from their victims or using it to wrack at a target from within. Against Mortal creatures, these beings are near-helpless; even low-power Immortals have little to fear. Eternals and Hierarchs, however, must flee or quickly be overcome.
- Maereboe: 'Warpers of Reality', able to weaken the very fabric of existence or change the rules that govern matter, energy, time and thought. Comparatively weak when confronted directly, but deadly if allowed time to prepare a battlefield or trap that best suits their needs.
- Ialus: These monsters are slayers, assassins and negators, able to spread death at their whim and place even Immortals into eternal slumber. Each has a weakness that can be used to block its power or break those it has already cursed, but discovering such weaknesses is difficult for even Immortals, and may be near-impossible to acquire even when it's known.