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Azash

Azash, one of the Elder Gods

The Elder Gods of Styricum are the predecessors of the Younger Gods of Styricum, having "emerged" well before they did. Remarkably little is said about them (although they are referenced fairly often). According to Aphrael and Bhelliom, they came into being shortly after Bhelliom was confined and faced Klæl in battle for control of the planet. After Klæl obliterated several of them, the rest banded together and cast possibly the greatest spell ever woven, casting him out of the planet and holding him at bay. However, because they were gods as opposed to spirits (and thus, as Bhelliom puts it, imperfect), their spell was not infallible- contained within it was a different spell which could undo the first and summon Klæl back. (This spell was utilized in The Hidden City by Cyzada at Cyrgon's command, with eventual ill consequences for both of them.)

The rest of the history of the Elder Gods is fragmented and imperfect, relying on testimony from Aphrael and Azash with very little other evidence. However, it seems likely that, given that Klæl had not yet left the planet before their birth, that they were either the first or among the first gods in existence. (The Troll Gods may have also existed at this time, and it is unknown if any other gods emerged at this time.) Therefore, it is possible that they created the first unknown life forms of the world, who then began to evolve and diversify. However, it is implied that the Elder Gods were not very responsible with the world, tearing at the fabric of reality out of purely childish displays of power. This prompted Aphrael and the other Younger Gods to emerge and restore order, and began the conflict between the two generations of gods.

Eventually, the Dawn Men evolved to the point that they split into the human and Troll lines. The human line would eventually diffrentiate into the Elenes and Styrics (as well as, probably, the Atans, Tamuls, Delphae, and other human races, saving perhaps the Cyrgai), and the Elder Gods claimed the Styrics as their new worshippers.

In time, the Troll-Dwarf Ghwerig freed and carved Bhelliom, and his gods enchanted the stone to bend to the will of the gods. The Elder Gods heard of its power and immediately wished to possess it, and Azash prompted all the Styric gods- Elder and Younger- to unite and mobilize against the Troll Gods to seize the stone. However, this gave the Younger Gods an opportunity to move against their elders, and they mutilated them and confined them in mud idols, which were then scattered and hidden across the world. They then supplanted their elders and took the Styrics as their new worshippers. Deprived of worshippers and unable to contact new ones, the Elder Gods withered and lost their power. (Azash was the lone exception to this, as he was saved by Otha and the Zemochs; in the end, however, he suffered a much worse fate when he was obliterated by Sparhawk and Bhelliom.)

No other Elder Gods except for Azash are refered to by name, and it is never stated how many there are. What is known is that worshipping them is punishable by excommunication, and that those who worship them are regarded as renegades. Oddly, those who follow them are somehow still able to use magic, despite the fact that their gods are supposed to have little to no power to give.

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