In the estimation of most scholars, Orn has existed for almost six ages at the time of this writing. And, as long as Orn has existed, so too have its Immortals. At times, they have walked the lands openly. At others, they have advanced their agendas through mortal proxies. To the best of anyone's knowledge, however, there has never been a time when the Immortals have not shaped the course of Orn's destiny.
The Ageless Ones
To the layman, there is little need to classify the Immortals. After all, they are, all of them, beings of inestimable power. However, not even the Immortals deny classification.
The first and perhaps most prominent classification is that of Ageless, an accurate term that describes an Immortal who, by all accounts, has existed in one form or another since the Dawning. Naturally, whether the Ageless Ones came into being along with Orn itself or, in fact, predate it is an unknowable mystery prone to fruitless speculation.
The second classification of Immortal is that of Ascendant. In contrast to the Ageless, who have, for all intents and purposes, always existed, the Ascendants were once mortals who later attained the status of immortality. With the exception of Secronus and the Company of Seven, every known ascension occurred during the aptly-named Age of Ascension, some 3,700 years prior to this writing.
It is worth noting that the exact method by which a mortal ascends to immortality is unknown. By many accounts, the process appears to be almost spontaneous. Whatever its nature, however, it can be said with certainty that ascensions to immortality stopped occurring after the Age of Ascension and, with the two exceptions noted above, have not occurred since.
Immortals are enigmatic beings, subject, it seems, to very few limitations. As such, there exist two Immortals who cannot be definitively classified as either Ageless or Ascendant.
The first is Dhuroscht, the Herald of Twilight and King of Fiends, who supposedly spawned out of the Ageless Etejeril's hatred of creation. To date, he is the only Immortal on record who was "born" as such. Thus, while he does possess a clear origin during the Age of Wonders, he cannot be classified as an Ascendant, since he was never mortal.
The second is Muralakrum, the Faceless One, an enigmatic figure who cannot be traced to a clear origin. Some scholars suggest that, as a member of the Forsynteril, his subservience to Drakerim provides strong proof that he is not Ageless. The truth of the matter, however, remains unknown.
While this text is not intended as an historical account, I would be remiss if I failed to note the significance of the Shattering on the Immortals of Orn.
It is said that the Shattering began with the assassinations of two Immortals, namely Mynra, Lady of the Golden Hand, and Thirsife, the Lord of Larceny. It goes without saying that the term "Immortal" is not a misnomer, and that the death of any Immortal, no less two of them, was an unprecedented occurrence.
As the Shattering began and cataclysms wracked the land, it is said that many Immortals, who had long avoided personal confrontations on Orn itself, appeared and did battle. Notably, the great dragon gods Thrinik and Maledreck waged a terrible conflict on the continent of Upper Metsar. Likewise, Dhuroscht awakened from his slumber beneath the Great Marsh of Tarkalsys to fight once more against Lemesin, the Shining Knight.
Although it is beyond the scope of this writing to say why these events coincided, some speculate that the unforseen death of Mynra and Thirsife, and the imminent destruction of Orn, created such turmoil among the other Immortals that they sought immediate resolution to ages-old rivalries. Indeed, these two battles were between some of the most bitterly-opposed Immortals in Orn's history.
It can be said that few Immortals escaped the Shattering unaffected. Some Immortals, specifically Antasia, Brodix, Drakerim, Drelani, Espidrel, and Ferithisia, faded from existence altogether, apparently unable to exist apart from a whole and intact Orn. Thrinik and Maledreck supposedly only escaped this fate because of their conflict, merging into the two-headed dragon Drathenix rather than fading away.
Again, it is beyond the scope of this writing to state definitively why some Immortals faded away and others did not. However, some theorize, given the nature of those who remained, that any Ageless One without a strong mortal connection was affected. Indeed, the only two Ageless Ones to escape Orn's undoing were Etejeril and Istensia, the only two Immortals who had ever joined with their mortal followers, Jeddit O'Jorramn and Cassandra du Soleil, respectively.
Still other Immortals emerged to take the place of those who had faded. Called the Stewards by some, several members of the famed Company of Seven ascended to immortality at the time of the Shattering. Among them were Tenaebrus, Atrazius, Imphalios, Loreyza, and Arkrist.
Now that we have established the nature and classification of Immortals, what follows is a list of all known Immortals, their natures, and their apparent status.
- Avaren was the first of the so-called chosen, a group of immortals who ascended in very recent years. Many have flocked to her as a symbol of rebirth and cleansing.
- Kragg, the Forge Father, was the second chosen. The combination of Espidrel and the mortal dwarf Kegger Ironspur, Kragg has risen quickly as the chief immortal venerated by the dwarven race.
- Thareon, the North Star, was the third chosen. He assumed the mantle of Drakerim and now leads the Forsynteril as a patron of magic and truth.
- Drathenix, the Two-Headed Dragon, is one of three Ageless Ones to persist after the Shattering. Composed of one half Thrinik, the Noble Dragon, and one half Maledreck, the Tyrant Wyrm, it is said that Drathenix is constantly at war with himself.
- Etejeril, the Eternal Shadow or Great Shade, is the second Ageless One to survive the Shattering. A patron of warlocks and the undead, many fear Etejeril and his servants. The inverse crescent moon serves as his symbol.
- Istensia, the Radiant Maiden, is the last of the Ageless to survive the Shattering by joining with her follower, Cassandra du Soleil, a member of the Company of Seven. For ages untold, she has served as a light of hope and renewal. Her symbol is a yellow sun surrounded by orange flames.
- Arimir, the Hammer of War, is the Ascendant paragon and revered exemplar of the angori race. One of his most famous followers, Kuganam Gamthal, was a member of the Company of Seven.
- Githal, Captain of the Unending Battle, is an Ascendant human dedicated to militaristic warfare. He is favored by dwarves and soldiers.
- Hexadus, the Queen of Chains, is an Ascendant human most commonly associated with tyranny and slavery.
- Hursisa, the Plaguemaiden, is an Ascendant fiend. She is revered by those who pursue revenge and power at all costs.
- Ivelis, the Wanderer in the Wind, is an Ascendant human revered by travelers and sailors
- Lemesin, the Shining Knight, is an Ascendant paladin dedicated to chivalry and heroism. His symbol is a circle of swords.
- Syflare, the Serpent of the Deep, is an ascendant sea serpent feared by ocean-goers and revered by some pirates.
- Arkrist, the Legendary Champion, is an ascendant warrior and member of the Company of Seven. He is revered by heroes and adventurers out to make a name for themselves
- Atrazius, the Steward of Magic, is an ascendant wizard and member of the Company of Seven who served as the patron of magic in Drakerim's stead. He has not appeared in recent years, with some believing that his disappearance is somehow linked to the ascendance of Thareon.
- Banekeril, the Oarsman of the Ages, is an Ascendant wizard dedicated to time. As such, he is revered by soothsayers and historians alike. As a member of the Forsynteril, he is known to be subservient to Drakerim.
- Imphalios is an ascendant construct and member of the Company of Seven who serves as the patron of craftsmen and enchanters in Espidrel's stead.
- Loreyza is an ascendant druid and member of the Company of Seven who serves as a patron of nature in Antasia's stead.
- Muralakrum, the Faceless One, is an unknowable immortal dedicated to change and transformation. He is primarily revered by shapeshifters and madmen, as well as a handful of druids. As a member of the Forsynteril, he is known to be subservient to Drakerim. A featureless mask serves as his symbol.
- Tenaebrus is an ascendant rogue and member of the Company of Seven who serves as a patron of thieves and assassins in Thirsife's stead.
- Dhuroscht, the Herald of Twilight and King of Fiends, is said to be the spawn of Etejeril. He is feared by all of the civilized races of Orn, and is revered only by fiends and madmen.
- Antasia, Mistress of the Wood, was formerly the ageless patronness of nature, but faded from existence at the time of the Shattering. The ascendant Loreyza has since assumed her position.
- Brodix, the Father of Invention, was formerly the ageless dedicated to gnomes and inventors, but faded from existence at the time of the Shattering.
- Drakerim, the Keeper of the Flame, was formerly the ageless patron of magic and leader of the Forsynteril, a triumvirate of other immortals in his service. None can be sure what became of him at the time of the Shattering, but some credit Orn's survival to his sacrifice. The ascendant Atrazius and, more recently, the chosen Thareon have since assumed his position.
- Drelani, the Matron of Plenty, was formerly the ageless dedicated to halflings and communities, but faded from existence at the time of the Shattering.
- Espidrel, Mason of the Mountains, was formerly an ageless earth elemental dedicated to the earth and earthen crafts, but faded from existence at the time of the Shattering. He reappeared in recent years before he was slain by the so-called Fallen One, Stein Ironspur. The ascendant Imphalios and, more recently, the chosen Kragg have since assumed his position.
- Ferithisia was formerly an ageless dedicated to elves, but faded from existence at the time of the Shattering.
- Mynra, the Lady of the Golden Hand, was an ascendant human dedicated to good fortune. Her death is said to have precipitated the Shattering.
- Thirsife, the Lord of Larceny, was an ascendant human dedicated to thievery and lawlessness. Together with Mynra, he was slain at the time of the Shattering. The ascendant Tenaebrus has since assumed his position.
- Ressik, the Supreme Lawgiver, was an ascendant human dedicated to the law. Exactly what happened to him is a mystery, but it is clear that he did not persist after the Shattering.
- Secronus, the Master of Shrouds, was an ascendant wizard and member of the Forsynteril dedicated to secrets. Many blame him for the Shattering, although the details are unclear. As with Ressik, his fate is unknown, but his apparent absence seems to indicate that he did not persist beyond the Shattering.