Prologue; The Song
It was a different time, you see. Not in a way that you could understand. This was an era where thoughts and ideas were tangible things. They were not limited by the restraints of shape, or the physical. Save that nonsense for the dwarves, deep in their little passages. Save it for Promise, sealed away from us entirely. We had no need for something so brittle and temporary as substance.
The Outer World was our playground. We sang joyously and lived our many tales. The Cosmic Things and their lesser counterparts played and battled with us interchangeably. Mortals were our game pieces and toys, all too fragile but interesting enough. It was our finest time, as children of possibility. I lived a thousand stories in mere moments, each one intensely real. Even now. Especially now.
The Wondersmith gave us the world, amused with us at first. For reasons unknown to me, it sent forth a terrible warrior to end us. The Cosmic Things chittered as it marched past them, perhaps glad to see us go. Our greatest deeds crumbled like fallen leaves against its great sword called "Doubt". For the first time we felt that which you mortals have always known, as fear bled into our beings.
One remained to stand against him, our hope, the golden knight Regulus. Father of swords, second to none, great Regulus needed but four exchanges to defeat the blackguard. Each of the first blows broke part of Doubt, and the final one ended the march of its terrible wielder for good. We cheered so loudly that none heard the words the broken blade whispered. None, save Regulus.
"As with all things, this too must end." He would later tell me.
Our hero changed after that. He would not take part in any tales, even when goaded or begged. He spent much time contemplating something, furrowing his brow, palming the broken bits of the black blade on occasion. His eyes had grown cold. When he finally stood again to speak, I knew our time was over.
"No more." He said, descending on us at once. We were unprepared. Armed with but a fragment of the black sword that was our intended doom, Regulus dispatched many of our number like a farmer would harvest grain. We ran, and the strikes that followed cut away the things we could be, leaving us with but one form. Some became what mortals would come to call elves. Others were forced into strange and terrible shapes, monsters that still roam this world in pain and confusion.
His dark task done, Regulus set out to build a great city on the world's farthest point, intending to helm all creation from it one day. He left the mortals in the charge of the Great Cosmic Things and their God children, who were all to pleased with their new acquisition.
I, and the other elves, did our best to adjust to this new existence. Another Era has come and gone, and they have changed, grown content with hedonism or simple reminiscing. I have not. I persist. I tell you this story with bile in my throat, and I promise you this:
One day, I will kill Regulus. But not before I have torn down his golden city and made him watch.