Back in the early days before the Great War that shook the world of Darkshom, there had been relative peace throughout the lands of the surface world. The peace was slowly being shattered but most were unawares. While perhaps it was just coincidence or the god of Fate bringing the catalysts to this great war to light—they appeared in the forefront of everyone’s minds.
The first was the sighting of a lost drow woman. It took many a long time to convince her of her heritage and the dark people she came from. However many saw her as a mixture of signs of good and ill omen. Her first appearance was at the ill-fated wedding of Christopher and Allendra the Red. This throwback drow (more Native American in her looks than the black skin of her elven kin) would also appear at other important events. To this day many still say she was the cause of them:
The fall of the Temple of Aria in Emerald Harbor.
The slaying of a gold dragon hatchling that caused that temple to fall.
The destruction at the wedding of Christopher and Allendra.
The fall of Vor’Sahran to Sardecens.
The opening of the tomb of Sar’Anderost.
The Great Earthquake that caused the Sweet Water River to flow backwards and made the Zalus lake become filled with fire that burns to this day.
This writer must report personal feelings in this. It is a shame that the drow woman was remembered for these things that were mere cards dealt by Fate. She would often be blamed even when people knew she was the Goddess DriannaSi.
At the time she only went by Black Feather. She had no idea of her real spirit name—which all elves are privy to at their naming ceremonies. She was a shape shifter—a black and red dire tiger. The power had been given to her by the sacred scimitar itself—Shaiidii (The Silver Death).
It is rumored that Codus was the one to tell her of her identity—her real one. This brings me to him.
Oh! A dark individual. He was the most powerful of the Black Guards of Cohen. The god of evil and torture had trained his servant well. Codus may have been unheard of and remained so. While Cohen is want to take pride in being the one to bring Codus to fame—it was the workings of DriannaSi. We all know this. At least us Halflings do!!!
The first real sighting of Codus was at the right hand of Sardecens when Allendra was burned at her wedding. Of course all anyone saw was the skull helm and the black armor. He would appear much later in Elsiana during the Great Plague. He and DriannaSi had first crossed paths that day. He had spared her life with a warning to her friends—to leave him alone and not meddle in his affairs.
That just didn’t work. After the fall of the Temple of Aria Codus had taken the drow as his own personal slave. He had later released the drow woman. He had started to love her greatly—even though he was unable to admit this at the time. Sardecens was still trying to find the goddess by Cohen’s orders. Codus started betraying his master—even when he knew her secret. He told the drow who she was and began to protect her. He continued to hold her secret when the war priests of Fate and the dwarves of the Darkgate ferreted DriannaSi off to the Murai in the Morou Delta. Sardecens took over Vor’Sahran and refuges fled to Zaladorn. There was confusion and chaos.
When DriannaSi returned, she had gained the respect of the Hunter Orcs who had accepted a contract to kill her. Eventually she became one of their people—fully accepted into their society and only one of two non-orcs to become part of this elite war party. Codus stayed with her—and the legend around the two grew. It drew too much attention from Cohen and Sardecens. When it was learned that Drianna and Codus had been together and a child was on the way….a flesh eater was sent to torture and maim Drianna so she would lose the child. She did.
It’s said that the Great Earthquake that had opened the Tomb of Sar’Anderost was caused the day that Codus had to perform the ultimate betrayal of not only Cohen, but of Drianna as well. To this day it is rumored that the sword Devourer—Codus’s own blade—controls the DarkGate through magic that Ylafax had given it. As Drianna met with her love in the tomb of Sar’Anderost, he slew her with Devourer. A drop of her blood fell on the cobbles within. This caused the whole world to shake. Her body vanished in his arms. The Sweet Water River flowed up the DragonSpine from the Bay of Lost Hope. The Zalus lake began to burn, and the world wept. Codus was taken with insanity the moment he struck his true love—friends and enemies alike removed him from the tomb before it could take his life in it’s collapse.
THE FALL OF CODUS
It’s said he wandered for 18 years. A path of destruction followed him. The path of death to this day leads from the surface at the ocean to deep inside Rorn—the inner world. It is laden with skeletons of all sorts of creatures. Dragons went into hiding to escape his wrath. None could remain with him personally to know what else he did. It was assumed he only killed.
From the orcish lands came a blind half drow who the orcs claimed was the daughter of Drianna and Codus. The fetus removed from the drow by the flesh eater was brought to life by some strange magics (one can only assume Fate had a hand in this). She had been raised as the daughter of the Master Hunter Hennan. When she surfaced on the outside world of Darkshom—Codus’s own rampage was halted. He sought her with the intent to kill her, but found he could not. Though blind, she had her mother’s eyes.
The day came where Codus asked the dwarven god for forgiveness. It’s rumored a priest of Ti Malice had cursed him so he became as a paladin. He exchanged his freedom for this forgiveness and for his daughter to be able to see. The gods granted his wish. His last days of his mortal life were spent teaching her how to live with vision.
The orcs sang at his execution. The forces of Cohen did not attend, nor did they try his rescue. Instead, months later, the Great War began.
We all know what has happened since. During the war it was said that a god of Death emerged. He road on a white half-dragon horse across the sky. The blood red sword cut swaths across armies of darkness and light. On him was still the skull helm. He shouted for all to bow before “Devourer”. Codus had ascended to godhood. On the other side of the continent Sardecens was slain by Allendra the Red. Blood ran across all lands as the earth continued to shake and Zaladorn fell.
During that time it was rumored that Drianna had been found in the city of WatchTown in Rorn. She rallied people together in uprisings against an insane Lord named Malum. She had been found by the Master Hunter before he went to fight his last battle, and her memory restored. It’s said she was the mate of the king of the dragons—White Tiger—before the dragons went into hiding from Codus.
It’s said that for many years the black and red dire tiger has been sighted in various areas of both the inner world and the outer one. People believe that Codus still seeks to find her. She had changed him. Hers was the ultimate sacrifice. His was the ultimate betrayal. Legends say he cannot forgive himself so he seeks the Tiger still.
If he finds her…we can hope her life can be restored. For she is the one the people believe will birth the good force of Magic and balance out the power—for now magic remains weak. We do not know if this will happen, or if the two will become mates once again. Still we all know Cohen thwarts him at every step.
We can only hope. If the God of Death can be made whole by finding his true love, what would that portend for us mortals? In them there is hope for all of us.
--- White Ferret
Scribe of the Halfling Brigade
Copyright May 2006, Christine H. Rietsch