Exalted: The Black Heart of the Isles
In the time before the Pact, the peoples of the islands were seven rather than six. Each people had their own god. The Tenek prayed to Damiat to make their spears sharp and their hearts strong. The Tenyill revered the goddess Flame Ender and were the keepers of the ends of things. The Ja’aiga, who would become the Ja’anagos, prayed to Bo’agalia to make their harvests rich. The Roal worshipped Illejien, and she blessed them with wealth. The Vik’tiaman revered Thoughtful wave, who shared the domain of the sea with his brother Kraken, the god of the Cora’ai. Father to all of these peoples and all of these gods was our people the Vikiari and Lotros the Mountainfather.
Lotros and his priests kept the peace between the peoples, emerging every nine years to pass judgement and bless the new priests with the ash of the eldest. The dance of the gods was set to the heartbeat of Lotros, Damiat would spend years building a betrothal gift for Bo’agalia only to lose her favor when distracted by war, and Kraken would grow ever more jealous of his brother Thoughtful Wave, who saw the face of the Sun everyday, but always be calmed by his father.
And then, one cycle, Lotros slept, and did not bless the Vikiari with his wisdom.
Some say it is because of the Escaped Eldest, the priest who would not go to his final resting place. Others say it was because the islands had been visited by Outsiders and their new god Immacualti tricked Lotros into sleeping for too long. But those are stories for another time.
As Lotros slept Kraken became more and more furious, and when a year had passed and it was the Kraken’s time again he and the Cora’ai struck out at the other peoples. For eight long years the Cora’ai and Kraken’s children of the deep put the men of the peoples to the sword and took their wives and children as their own. This was the time of Jitari the Trickster and Ma’annis the Giant and many other heroes. But despite their thirst for blood, they would not attack the Vikiari, for we are strong and know of the laws of things, and we had made a pact with them.
As the time drew near for Lotros to come again, the duration of the pact was drawing to a close, and the Cora’ai prepared to assault the central island of the Vikiari, to do us in all at once. The sages of the Vikiari had faith in Lotros, even though he had not shown himself in many years, and our people followed their teachings and fled from the island, shedding not a drop of Cora’ai blood, but giving the Cora’ai no blood in return.
The Cora’ai took this as a victory, Kraken himself declared that he was the new leader, the new father of gods and man, and the Cora’ai took our thrones on the central island.
But Lotros was woken from his slumber by their presumptuous cries of victory, and when he woke he shed great tears when he saw what his absence had wrought on his people. For eight days he wept and the sky poured his tears upon the islands, and then he did what only the true father of the gods could do, he opened his heart and let his magma blood flow down the central mountain. Lotros himself went to his daughter, to the Flame Ender’s house, but in doing so wiped out the Cora’ai, and banished Kraken back to the depths.
We Vikiari took for ourselves the island Cora’ai and called it ours, and used our knowledge of the laws of things to forge a great Pact between all the remaining peoples with the central island as our sacred meeting place, renamed Cault the tomb of Lotros.