The Return of the Elder Gods
The return of the Elder Gods was an event of epic proportion. As a noted Teufeldorf historian wrote in his journals on that day in late October 833 TA:
And there came from the heavens a great clap of thunder as the seal which held the Elder Ones burst. The sky was darkened for many days, and a fiery star streaked across the inky blackness, a sign that the New Gods had toppled.
The silence that followed was ominous, an eerie stillness whose emptiness was louder than all the armies marching over the Realm. It is said that for six days, not a single baby cried and the cock did not crow. On the seventh day, the silence was finally broken. The star which had burned steadily in the night sky, its long tail sweeping away the influence of the New Gods, broke into six glowing spheres. Soon a seventh orb joined its brethern. The orbs began to swirl. Faster and faster, until the sky was filled with light and music, at first no more than a cosmic whisper. As the tempo grew more frenzied, it was as if a thousand screaming banshees had descended upon the earth. It is said that on that night, now nearly sixty years in the past, that all mankind went deaf. Suddenly, the sky was filled with a bright flash of yellow light. And all mankind was blinded. As their sense returned, the warm sun again appeared in the sky, and the cock crowed at its daily arrival.
It is said by men whose long beards touch the ground and glisten as white as the new-fallen snow that the week after the Rebirth of the Elder Ones, a flaming chariot was seen in the skies over the Eastern Reaches. Within its magical confines, the massive form of Hastur the Unspeakable, He Who Must Not Be Named, Master of Stone, could be seen scouring the land. At the end of the week, Hastur threw three pebbles into the sky: the first as white as the purest marble, the second glowed blood red, and the last was as black as pitch. As the pebbles streaked through the sky, the forms of three horsemen could be seen. The black rider streaked west over the Shadowyarn Mountains. The red rider settled to the east of the mountains, and the white fell in the depths of the mountains.
It is in prophesy that one will arrive and rob the earth of peace by allowing men to slaughter one another. This one will be given a huge sword, the Sword of War and Violence. Another will ride forth victorious, to conquer yet again. He will have a bow, and would be given a crown. And the third would ride forward with authority over a quarter of the Realm, to kill with sword, famine, and plague, and by the means of the beasts of the earth. And he will carry the Sword of Famine and Plague.
And so the prophesy came to pass. For fifty years, the sons of Hastur ruled the Reaches. During this time, a number of small baronies, duchies and kingdoms were forged. These usually followed local bloodlines, and while some of the men were of noble character, greed and corruption were well rewarded. The followers of Harek, Atli, and Grim were few in number, so they used discord and chaos to keep power. It was a dark time for the Reaches, and trade and commerce slowed. The population lived under draconian taxes and oftentimes were punished seemingly at random.