Today I am going to tell you a story about the dangers of opening doors.
Long ago, before humans ever came to my world, before humans even existed, the high elves ruled this world. We believed that God had put us here to care and maintain this world, for God had indeed created it for a purpose. A great darkness had been imprisoned within the skin of the world, inside a place the humans would one day call the Black Mountain. Our responsibility was to guard the prison and serve as the world’s caretakers.
And so we did.
For spans of time so vast that no human tongue has the vocabulary to describe them, the high elves kept watch over this world, dwelling in great bliss and splendor as they went about their task.
But for some of us, that was not enough.
Those of us with wisdom and courage, those of us with the strength to cast aside old ideas and grow beyond our purpose, used our spells to examine the Black Mountain, to consider the darkness sealed within as a bored child might pick at a scab. In time the darkness spoke to us. At first we spurned it, but we came to see that it spoke wisdom, words of strength and power.
And the darkness reached out and possessed one of us, and we fell to our knees and worshipped him as our new god, the bearer of shadow, the teacher of new ways.
The high elves turned against us, the shortsighted fools. They called us the dark elves, but we were the true elves, the stronger elves, for we alone had been brave enough to cast off our shackles and make ourselves more.
They made war upon us for millennia, and we laid the world waste. Spells beyond the capacity of the human mind to understand shattered the land, and mountains crumbled and deserts froze and forests burned. Yet for all our power, the high elves had the mastery, and drove us back mile by mile.
But the bearer of shadow walked among us, whispering his secrets into our ears. He taught us spells of necromancy, of shaping flesh and bone into weapons of death. And he taught us the secret of opening doors between the worlds. For there are as many worlds as there are stars in the night skies, and as many kindreds that live upon them. Our wizards opened the doors between the worlds, and brought forth new kindreds to serve us as slaves and soldiers.
The orcs were the first. They made superb slave soldiers for our armies, and we brought hundreds of thousands of them through the gates. Then came the beastmen and the manetaurs. They were harder to control, but served well as shock troops. Halflings were too weak for battle, but made useful slaves. The dwarves proved impossible to control, and soon rebelled and sided against us, but they were a rare error
And one day, we found the urdmordar.
We had never seen anything like them. They wore the form of spiders, yet wielded great dark magic. They disdained the use of tools and weapons, yet had intellects of genius, and dominated lesser creatures with ease. They feasted upon living flesh like any rude predator, but were so cunning and so clever that they remained hidden and their victims rarely knew their true foes.
What slaves they would make! With their power, we could at last crush the high elves.
And so we opened the door to their world and brought the urdmordar to ours.
Fools, fools, fools.
For the urdmordar were too powerful to control.
They swarmed the gate, and devoured the wizards that sought to bind them. We were the rightful masters of this world, mighty in sorcery and wisdom without peer, but the urdmordar saw us as only one thing.
Within five years the dark elven kingdoms had been enslaved and forced to serve the urdmordar. Our armies of slaves transferred their allegiance readily enough. The high elves briefly rejoiced, thinking they had found an ally, but the hunger of the urdmordar was insatiable.
One by one the high elven kingdoms fell, until only Cathair Solas remained.
And then the urdmordar met a new kindred coming up from the south.
The humans, the exiles of Old Earth, the heirs of Arthur Pendragon, fleeing through a magical gate from the fall of their realm. Heedless of the ancient conflicts of their new world, they blundered into the path of the urdmordar.
There is danger in opening doors...but there is also opportunity.
For in the humans, after long millennia, I see the key to my freedom.
- The Warden of Urd Morlemoch