|In the Beginning, there was the Circle. They dwelt in the Silver City, and they were alone in the fastness.
And the world hung in the void, dark and still; drakes slept in its cold heart. And the Circle set forth their hands, and spake the Words of Making, and raised up the land from the waters, and they hung the firmament above. And there they set the sun, and light shone for the first time on the world. And the Circle threw open the gates of the City.
And the Circle strove and spake again, and brought forth the trees and the herbs of the world, and they made all the beasts that swam or flew or crept upon the world. They made the races of Andurin, first the gnomes, then the dwarves, then the elves, then the halflings and finally that of Men, and set aside bountiful lands for them to dwell in. And first among these new men was their king, one Edam. And the Circle went unto him, and said, “All this land and every thing beneath it are yours; you and your subjects are to serve as stewards. You may enter freely through the gates of our City as you will, and you may drink from the Fountain that is found there. Know that the waters of the Fountain are life, and whosoever drinks from that Fountain shall not die. But you must swear fealty to us, and whenever we call you to service, you must heed our call. And you and all men must stay within the lands we have given you.”
And Edam swore fealty to the Circle, and all of those that were on the world also swore fealty to the Circle, and there was great gladness, for there was no toil or pain in those days. And Edam took as his queen Vaush, and she bore him two children, a son Cydren, and a daughter, Larenna.
And the Circle charged the drakes with guarding the gates of the City, and with watching the ends of the world, and the secret places in the earth. But the greatest of the drakes had overheard the Circle making the world, and thus they learned the Words of Making, and they grew prideful and covetous. And these drakes were nine in number, and their hearts were poisoned with jealousy of the Circle. And these wyrms were named the Nhar’thim.
And the Nhar’thim sought to corrupt the work that the Circle had done, and so the wyrms went in secret into the world, and they went among many of their drake brethren, and said unto them, “Lo, do we not also know the Words of Making; why should we not be rulers over all the races?” And such was the cunning of the Nhar’thim that the drakes that heard these words agreed, and in their pride swore that they would no longer serve the Circle.
And the Nhar’thim stole into the City, and went before many of the Heavenly Host, and said unto them, “Look how the Circle favor these creatures called Men over you, even though you have dwelt in the City since before the making of the world.” And the serpents said these words, and many guardians in the Host were filled with great pride, and they too declared that they would renounce the Circle.
Now Cydren, son of Edam, and Larenna, daughter of Vaush, had grown to adulthood. And they were wild in their hearts, and they enjoyed wandering throughout the lands of Men. And sometimes they strayed beyond the lands of Men, despite the commands of their father and the Circle. And when Edam heard of their straying, he grew wrathful, for well he remembered the Circle’s words. But he doted upon his children, and soon he came to indulge their every wish, allowing them to stray as far from the lands of Men as they willed.
And it came one day that Larenna and Cydren had strayed beyond the lands of man, and in that place there came upon them the Nhar’thim. Now in those days, all of the drakes had scales that glittered and shone in the sun, and Larenna and Cydren were greatly amazed to see such a wondrous sight. And the Nhar’thim spake to them with great guile, and said unto them, “Would you not lie with each as man and wife? Would you not wear your parent’s crowns, and dwell in their chambers? And would you not rule over all the races?” And Cydren and Larenna agreed that they would want these things to come to pass. And the Nhar’thim said unto them, “Return to the lands of Men, and speak to your father, and tell him to heed not the clarion of the Circle. For if he should heed the call, surely he shall be destroyed” And Larenna and Cydren did this, and their father was sore afraid.
And there came one day war to the Silver City, and at the Nhar’thim’s bidding many in the ranks of the Heavenly Host rose up and took fiery arms against the Circle. And many of the drakes rose up as well.
And the Circle sounded the clarion, calling the armies of Men to battle. But the men answered not, but rather hid in their houses, and shook with fear. And Edam was wracked with terror, but he rose not. And the clarion sounded again, and again no man stirred forth, although the sounds of terrible battle could be heard even in the lands of men. And the clarion sounded a third time, but still no man went forth to heed the call.
And in the great battle, the Nhar’thim were brought low, and their army was trampled beneath the Host of the Circle. And so the Nhar’thim were defeated and thrown into the Eternal Pit. And those among the Heavenly Host that had rebelled were also thrown into the Pit, and stripped of all radiance. And all evil drakes were forced from service to the Circle, and destined to ever after creep upon the earth. They lost their gleaming scales, and were made to lust without satience after precious metals and stones.
And the Circle were wrathful at the disobedience of Edam and of all Men, and the Circle closed all of the gates into the City save one; the only way for men to enter through this gate was to die. And at this gate stood a great and loyal drake, which was charged with testing the worth of each petitioner. Those unworthy were turned away, and not allowed to drink from the Fountain.
And the Circle turned their heads from Cydren and Larenna, and they were made lowly, and forced to walk the lands of Andurin until the end of all time. And their spawn, and the spawn of their spawn, were monsters.
And Edam wept with shame and sorrow.