Gather 'round, friends, and I shall tall you a tale. This is the story of the Once Great land of Altarion. Many were its wonders: Mountains so high that only the Lords of Sky knew what rested upon their snow-capped peaks; Lakes so deep it would take a lifetime to sink to the bottom, and twice that to cross; Great, wide deserts were home to exotic cretures that few had ever seen; and enchanted forests where dwelled the Wolf Kings.
Such wonders did this land hold, and the Sons of Earth, commonly called Man, thrived in all of its spleandor. For centuries the Empire of Man stood at peace and enjoyed endless prosperity. Few had met Hunger or spent the night with Disease, and all was right with the world.
But, as they say, all good things must come to an end.
War came to Alterion. Savage and mindless beasts set themselves against the Sons of Earth and ravaged their lands. Every father was called up to fight, every firstborn was sent to the lines of war. Mothers and children cried out in such despair that their echoes can still be heard floating between the Great Mountains.
A great man Alterions fell, but the Sons of Earth are as fierce in war as they are kind in peace. They drove the monsters back and drowned them in the sea. Such was the blood of the falen that the sea was turned crimson for a thousand years.
Pleased with the Sons of Earth for ridding her lands of the Demon Horde (as the monsters became known), Alterion herself blessed the Empire of Man with a century of of Plenty. Crops sprang up with little effort and grew in abundance. Mankind was thankful for the lands generosity and set about directing their efforts into the arts and sciences. Beautiful paintings of the Deserts and Seas were ade, songs were composed to honor the Fallen and celebrate their victory. Amazing machines where built and amazing cities of Steel and stone burst forth.
But this, too, was not to last.
The Sons of Earth soon began to forget Altarion and her kindness, and knew only the luxury her gift had allowed. Few worked the fields or cared for the livestock, instead leaving it for their machines. Altarion became displeased with Man's complacency. She took back her gift of Plenty and plunged the Empire of Man into a dark age of suffering.
Then came the Decievers: Hunger and Disease.
Hunger wandered the streets of Man's cities as a healthy young man. Wherever he walked crops wilted and livestock were struck dead. Ignorrant of Hunger's presence, the Sons of Earth cursed Altarion for their condition. To this Hunger said,
"Rebuke the Land of Altarion! She has abandoned you to Starvation and Death! She does not care for you any longer! Look, then, to us, the Dark Gods! We can offer you comfort and prosperity! Turn to us and all shall be well!"
Eager to be fed, they turned their eyes to the Dark Gods.
Disease disguised herself as beautiful younge woman and moved among the Sons of Man. Seeking comfort in these dark times, many men, and women, fell into the Bed of Disease. Wherever she stayed, sickness followed. Man was stricken with illnesses of the mind, body, and spirit and began to curse Altarion for their health. To this Disease said,
"Rebuke the Land of Altarion! She has abandoned you to Illness and Death! She does not care for you any longer! Look, then, to us, the Dark Gods! We can offer you health and pleasures beyond your dreams!"
Eager for an end to suffering, they turne their eyes to the Dark Gods.
After man of the Sons of Earth had turned to the Dark Gods, the gods fulfilled their promises. But nothing is free. In exchange for Plenty, the Dark Gods demanded Temples built in their name and nine tenths of Man's labors offered in sacrifice. In exchange for heath and Pleasures, the Dark Gods demanded every child be offered to the Temples as acholytes until they were deemed "devout."
Though service to the gods was not ideal, the Sons of Earth decided it was better than hard work or suffering.
While many turned to the Dark Gods, there were those who did not. These Sons of Altarion remembered the gifts of the land and understood their sins. They turned to hard work for their salvation. They sowed their fields and reaped their own crops. They raised and butchered their own livestock. They became good and strong and Altarion prized them.
When the Decievers came, the Sons of Altarion turned from them and returned to their work. For this, Altarion proteced them from Hunger and Disease.
While hated by the Dark Gods and the Sons of Earth, the Sons of Altarion continued to hope for their lost brothers. They worked alongside them and rescued some from the clutches of the Dark Gods. For years they carried on with their work and respect for Altarion.
The Sons of Altarion await the day when they can overthrow the Dark Gods and restore freedom and True Prosperity.
There you have it. It is not a happy tale, no, but a fable of sorts. Tell me, then, who you would serve? The Dark Gods who damand of you more than you are willing, or the Land who has given you more than you shall ever know?