“Beware, beware, for when the sun goes dark, for the Nightmares of the Abyss will roam our world eternal.” – Book of Beginnings, pg. 34
Years had passed, and the Gods of Ethos and the realm had all but vanished. For many, it was believed that the Gods left them when they were needed most, while others thought something terrible happened to the ones they worshipped.
Even so, ever since their disappearance, the world of Ethos slowly plummeted into chaos. No longer bound by the Gods, the factions began to fight over religion, land, food, and even their ideals – the once peaceful planet was now ruled by war.
War, yet, was only the beginning.
During the Dark Wars in the mid-months of 5E12, the first occurrence of what became known as the “Darkening of Sacrilege” was recorded. In the ten year long war, the Chaos Order – the prideful and racist alliance of nations to the west – was on the verge of victory over Uneva (modern day Leo, Arcanus, and Etheros). However, the war quickly turned when the sun, suddenly, went dark.
No one, not even the Zichans, is still around to speak about the first occurrence of the Darkening, forcing us to rely upon journals and diaries written by the countless lives lost. Here is an excerpt from Chaos Order General Roa:
“The sun disappeared!”
Those were the unbelievable words spoken by Reya, and no one believed her. Awestruck and appalled by her sudden outburst in the middle of our victory meeting, we ran outside… And everything changed forever.
It was a dark as night – no, even darker. We could not see one another, and we were unable to see our hands in the darkness. It was not long until we heard it – a scream unlike any ever heard before. They screamed a murderous, blood-thirsty scream that echoed and pounded against the wind.
We ran inside, boarding up the door. In our haste, we had but forgotten Reya, who pounded against the door asking to let her in, that she heard them approaching – the poor girl. She screamed in terror as they came for her. She screamed as her body was torn limb from limb. She screamed as her blood seeped through the door. She screamed till she couldn’t scream further. Then, there was silence.
Other journals during this time spoke of similar stories. From what can be gathered, the Darkening lasted about seventeen days, ending three days before the end of the Dark Wars. In the end, the Order withdrew from Uneva for over one hundred years. Countless fatalities were reported on both sides, with countless more wounded.
After the first Darkening, scientists and researchers came to Ethos in search of answers. In the beginning, it was thought a terrible, dark ritual was performed, but no evidence could be found. During the research, a second Darkening occurred and ended quickly. Then a third happened. Then a fourth. With each Darkening, research stalled further and further.
This is an excerpt from their paper, the Truth and Findings on our Cursed Sun:
We, the conglomeration of seven hundred researchers, have concluded that our sun, Sacrilege, is cursed – the extent of which unknown.
In this twenty-seven year period (from 5E13 to 5E40), we experienced four events known as the “Darkening.” Each of the Darkenings had several differences from the others, including time of day, time of year, length, and reported deaths. It is of our belief – no, our knowledge – that a ritual could have been conducted, but little evidence supports this theory.
During this time, as well, research was done on the creatures, these Nightmares, that appear. There are, as of this report, six different species that appear – wolves, abominations, knights, snakes, anacondas, shadows, and giants – each possessing a different ability the other species do not own. The most troubling of these are the shadows, a creature bearing no physical form. Several beings have perished as they force their victims into a shadowy void, never to return.
It is currently unknown how the Nightmares appear, however, it is hypothesized that, like the Mortal realm we dwell in, there is a realm for these beasts. Currently, as of writing, there is no known spell that will allow us to cross realms. One day, when a spell is developed, we can further look into this.
This is not the end of our research. In due time, we expect to discover the meaning behind this Darkening and how we can prevent it in the future. May Herra be with us all.
Research, however, has gotten no further in the Eras since. The consistency of the Darkenings continues to vary, as does the amount of time they last. If one were lucky, they could be born in a time where there were none, with those unlucky experiencing almost a dozen.
It is with great hope that the mystery is solved soon, for it is unknown how much longer we can hold out. With each Era, the Nightmares grow in strength. There will come a day when we can no longer fight, and the Nightmares destroy us all. And, it could be tomorrow.