Two thrones sat atop the Mountain of Highforge, overlooking an eternal nothingness below. These thrones were seats of power for the lonely sovereigns of this empty world, beings who, in epochs to come, would be named Uk and Ku and worshiped as gods. Upon the peak of Highforge, Ku gave birth to a son, and thus the gods learned to create. This was the beginning of an obsession to fill the void around them.
Uk and Ku saw the emptiness that surrounded them as the potential for genesis. Atop their mountain they ignited a forge, where divine flames tempered dreams into reality. For countless infinities, Uk and Ku worked to surround themselves with the beauty contained in their minds. Eons were spent in hopes of creating something purely original and unmistakably new. To this end, they made works of art of in all mediums, yet the unmistakable newness the gods desired continued to elude them as they continued to create. In their endeavors, the gods found only a whisper of happiness they pursued, just enough to tickle the ear and leave it wanting for more. Looking upon what they had created, the gods saw, in various complexities of format, facets of themselves. Thus, despite their power to create anything they could imagine, the gods were infinitely lonely. For all of their creativity they could never be satisfied by something that was ultimately the creation of their own minds. The enormity of Uk and Ku’s genius served only to emphasize that there was nobody to appreciate it.
The son of the gods, seeing his parents’ predicament, went to the forge himself. He had learned enough from watching for centuries in silence, and hoped to make something that would make his parents happy once more. As he lit the forge, he remembered the joy his parents once had before the vast boredom of immortality overtook them. As he worked, he remembered the twinkle of Uk’s eyes and Ku’s laughter, and in the fires of the forge brought those ideas into physical being.
He was immensely disappointed when the forge produced a small, unremarkable brown object. Everything his parents ever made was absolutely wonderful, and he tried so hard to do everything the way they did. Ashamedly, he brought the small object to Uk and Ku, who accepted it from him with wan smiles that were supposed to be encouraging. None yet understood the potential of what the son of the gods created.
Time passed and the object was forgotten, until Uk noticed a small green tube poking out of the ground by his throne. Uk watched in amazement as small buds formed on the tube and blossomed into green leaves. Nothing existed that he or Ku hadn’t created themselves, yet he was certain the phenomenon before him was not their doing. Never had they made anything that could grow and change over time, and so the presence of this object was both terrifying and inspiring. Uk pulled it out of the ground to discover that the green tube had in fact grown out of a round, brown object that he instantly recognized. Uk and Ku’s son had created the thing they pursued hopelessly for millenniums, and in this they saw both a threat and an opportunity.
Uk showed it to Ku, who instantly realized the implications and cast it off the peak of the mountain into the abyss. Their son’s aptitude for using the forge meant that he posed a threat to their dominion of all creation, and the gods deemed it necessary that he never learned of his own power. Uk and Ku also understood that the small growing thing represented the solution to their problems, and rushed off to the forge once their son was out of sight. They ignited the fires, and took the work of their son one step further. That day saw the fiery birth of a race of beings formed in the gods’ own image, who would later be worshiped as lesser gods alongside Uk and Ku. But Highforge was becoming crowded, and the gods’ great power meant little without subjects to admire it. Thus Uk and Ku formed the first man and woman. Not only could they react to their environment, like the first plant their son made, but they could reason for themselves and form opinions.
Beneath the mountain, a vast and verdant world had begun to grow from a tiny seed. Uk and Ku began to populate the nascent land with their creations. Along with men, Uk created elves and Ku envisioned dwarves, and soon the lands below Highforge were inhabited by the myriad races that would come to share it in the future.
The son of the gods watched the growing world below and knew at once that it had started as the seed he had created. Delighted, he planned to create a race of his own, and as he struck up the forge, he swelled with pride. In a burst of heat, the first dragons came to be, and they swooped down to cast their imposing shadows on the land below.
When Uk and Ku learned of this race, they saw it as a great treachery. The dragons had begun to terrorize the elves, dwarves, and men, and it became clear to the gods that their son’s great power was a threat to the stability they had worked to achieve. He was banished from Highforge and set to wander the lands below. While his parents created multitudes of new, fantastic races, their son roamed, and a great bitterness grew inside of him. His parents, who he sought only to impress, feared and reviled him. He found sympathy among the dragons, who seemed to be the only beings in the now populous world that understood him.
Meanwhile, atop the mountain of Highforge, Uk and Ku began to bicker. They sought to instruct their creations and rule over them as proper gods, but while Uk taught individuality and creativity, Ku taught loyalty and honor. The races of the lands below became divided in their allegiances, and the lesser gods chose sides as well. Uk and Ku agreed upon a contest: each god would forge an artifact in the Highforge, and whichever impressed more of the peoples below would become the sole ruler of the lands beneath the mountain.
Ku forged an orb of pure light, while Uk made a sphere of concentrated shadow. When they were presented to the people below, they were divided evenly in a tie. The gods decided to try again; Ku forged and orb coated in frost while Uk’s orb writhed with flames. Again the people were split down the middle, and again the gods took to the forge. While Uk’s orb crackled with a raging storm, Ku’s creation was an obstinate, spherical stone.
During the final voting, while his parents were blinded by their own vanity, the son of the gods stole his way back onto Highforge. He ignited the forge and solidified his rage and bitterness into a Seventh Orb. Wielding it, he confronted his parents. While the Six Orbs of Uk and Ku had the power to control the elements, the Seventh was designed with vengeance in mind and could absorb and redirect the energy of the Six. So began a great duel for the dominion of creation itself. Rolling plains were crumpled into mountains, seas boiled into deserts, and forests were swept into the sky by mighty winds.
Stealing some of the power of his parents with the Seventh Orb, the son of Uk and Ku transformed into an enormous dragon. From his flaming breath was born Tiamat, Bahumat, and Io, great generals in the conflict of deities, and he was forever after known as The Infernal Father of All Dragonkin.
After centuries of fighting, Uk and Ku were routed back to Highforge. As dragons scaled the sacred mountain, the gods knew they were defeated, and left their last hopes for victory in the hands of the races they created. The Six Orbs were scattered throughout the plane below, along with three especially precious artifacts: a pearl from Ku’s necklace, the ashes of Uk’s deceased phoenix, and the Godmind, a crystal used to gain the allegiance of the lesser deities Uk and Ku created.
When the Infernal and his armies arrived on Highforge, Uk and Ku were forced to sign the Infernal Pact, which demanded that the gods could no longer interfere directly in the affairs of the world below. A thick cloud cover was to perpetually obscure Highforge. The punishment for transgressing the Pact was complete destruction. Before the Infernal left, however,he was invited to drink from the chalice of Uk and Ku, to commemorate his ascension to true divinity. In arrogance, he accepted the gift, and a poison began to work inside of him.
The dragon god’s body was not easily beaten, and for years The Infernal reigned over Underforge. All the world lived under the dragon’s shadow and were subject to his omniscient, burning gaze.
But the dragon god was weakening steadily, and his subjects did not know it until the fateful day his great wings seized up and he plummeted from the skies, crashing into the sea. As he slipped beneath the water, he cut a deep gorge in the coastline with a desperate last swipe of a claw.
The Infernal slept, and Highforge was watchful. The races of Underforge governed themselves, and mighty civilizations rose and fell.
It was the Golden Age of Zizzlehoff and Mythall was at its height when the dragon god began to stir. As the sea boiled, a panicked council was held at Trektopolicz Tower. The rhetoric was grim, and the only hope left was an old legend: the tale of the Eldritch Blades. It was said that Uk and Ku, before falling to The Infernal, left three precious artifacts to their mortal children, and in the hands of five chosen Exemplars, they could be used to defeat the dragon god once and for all.
One night, as Zizzlehoff lay awake and haunted, Uk and Ku came to him in a vision. They called him the squire to the Eldritch Blades, and sent him to Lourwa, a small trading port in the seas south of Mythall. There would begin the long riddle of picking up the trail Uk and Ku had left behind.
A boat of wayward adventurers had just arrived, and they stopped at the Oaken-Hull tavern, looking for food, ale, and perhaps work. They met a wizard, and so began an odyssey.