In the estimation of most scholars, Orn has existed for almost six ages at the time of this writing, currently in its seventh age: the Age of Succession, or the Second Age of Ascension. 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 in some fashion.
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. Scholars generally classify the known Immortals into three broad types: the Ageless, the Ascendants, and the Aspects; additionally they further break the Ascendants into three specific types: the Ascendants, the Stewards, and the Chosen.
The Ageless Ones
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. Some scholars speculate the Ageless themselves are creations on an unknown even higher Immortal power, but unsurprisingly no evidence to support this theory has ever been presented.
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 New Ascendants, every known ascension occurred during the aptly-named Age of Ascension, some four ages years prior to this writing. The recent ascensions of several mortals has given rise to calling it the Second Age of Ascension, though most scholars refer to it as the Age of Succession.
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 exception of Secronus, had not occurred again until recently.
Previously classified as Ascendants and informally as the Stewards, recently scholars have started to refer to the members of the famed Company of Seven who ascended to immortality at the time of the Shattering as Stewards formally. Among them were Arkrist, Atrazius, Imphalios, Loreyza, and Tenaebrus. Whether this distinction is for any tangible reason, or simply to attempt to account for their unusual ascendance is a matter of debate.
Much like the Stewards before them, the Chosen are also ascendant mortals that scholars refer to as the Chosen, as nearly all of them are the result of voluntary joinings with existing Immortals. Among them are Aldrhunrik, Avaren, Kelvaros, Khulzan, Kragg, Thareon, Trey, Vipinbehari, and Xavix and Xavros. Whether this distinction is for any tangible reason, or simply to attempt to account for their unusual ascendance is a matter of debate.
Immortals are enigmatic beings, subject, it seems, to very few limitations. As such, theories regarding them are as old as Orn itself. One more recent theory that has gained much support from scholars is that of Aspects. As opposed to the Ageless, which to all knowledge always have been, and the Ascendants, who have records of their mortal lives before ascension, the Aspects are the embodiments of forces within Orn. Whether their existence led to those forces, or the forces led to their existence is a matter of debate, but regardless of which gave rise to the other it is theorized the Aspects are distinct from either the Ageless or Ascendants.
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 dragons 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 unforeseen 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.
Outdated Theories on the Fading
It can be said that few Immortals escaped the Shattering unaffected. While the theory has become outdated, it was once thought some Immortals, specifically the Ageless Ones: 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.
Theories on the Absence
Given the resurgence of ascensions in the shard of Jastrey, scholars from all over Orn have visited to attempt to study the phenomenon and gain some understanding of it's cause. While their theories are difficult to prove, and rely largely on the accounts of Jastreyans who were present at the time, a new theory has risen to replace the Fading, now called the Absence.
In the chaos that surrounded the shattering, the majority of the Ageless Ones suddenly fell silent. It is now believed that it was the actions of the Ageless Ones, previously gone unrecorded and unnoted, that prevented the end of all of Orn. While the world has been shattered, it still exists. Again, these theories rely almost exclusively on first-hand accounts, and while given more merit than the Fading, are still only theories.
Now that we have established the nature and classification of Immortals, what follows is a list of all known Immortals, their classifications, their natures, and their apparent status.
The Ageless Ones (The Dawning)
- Antasia (Active), Mistress of the Wood, was formerly the Ageless One of nature. After several ages of imprisonment, during which time the Steward Loreyza assumed her position, Antasia has now been restored.
- Brodix (Unknown), Father of Invention, was formerly the Ageless One dedicated to gnomes and inventors. Aside from one recorded appearance in Jastrey, he has remained in Absence since the Shattering.
- Drakerim (Joined), Keeper of the Flame, was formerly the Ageless One 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 Steward Atrazius assumed his position until the New Ascendant Thareon joined with Drakerim.
- Drelani (Active), Matron of Plenty, was formerly the Ageless One dedicated to halflings and communities. She was imprisoned by Jeddit O'Jorramn and was only recently restored when the New Ascendant Xavix usurped Jeddit and joined with Etejeril.
- Espidrel (Joined), Mason of the Mountains, was formerly the Ageless One dedicated to the earth and earthen crafts. None can be sure what became of them at the time of the Shattering, but some credit Orn's survival to their sacrifice. The Steward Imphalios and assumed his position during the Absence. They were eventually slain by Stein Ironspur before joining with the New Ascendant Kragg.
- Etejeril (Joined), Eternal Shadow or Great Shade, is the first Ageless One to survive the Shattering. Etejeril was imprisoned, along with Drelani, by the mortal Jeddit O'Jorramn, who took the mantle of Etejeril for himself. Etejeril in this incarnation became a patron of necromancers and warlocks. The true Etejeril was only recently restored when the New Ascendant Xavix usurped Jeddit and joined with Etejeril. The inverse crescent moon serves as his symbol.
- Ferithisia (Joined), Undying, was formerly the Ageless One dedicated to Elves. She eventually joined with the New Ascendant Kelvaros.
- Istensia (Active), Radiant Maiden, is the second Ageless One 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.
The Ascendants (Age of Ascension)
- Arimir (Active), 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 (Active), Captain of the Unending Battle, is an Ascendant human dedicated to militaristic warfare. He is favored by Dwarves and soldiers.
- Hexadus (Active), Queen of Chains, is an Ascendant Human most commonly associated with tyranny and slavery.
- Hursisa (Active), Plaguemaiden, is an Ascendant Fiend (previously Human). She is revered by those who pursue revenge and power at all costs.
- Lemesin (Active), Shining Knight, is an Ascendant Human paladin dedicated to chivalry and heroism. Corrupted by Dhuroscht, then restored. His symbol is a circle of swords.
- Mynra (Destroyed), Lady of the Golden Hand, was an ascendant Human dedicated to good fortune. Her death is said to have precipitated the Shattering.
- Ressik (Active), Supreme Lawgiver, was an ascendant Human dedicated to the law. Attempted to destroy all magick, leading to the destruction of the Aspects Banekeril and Muralakrum.
- Secronus (Active), Master of Shrouds, was an ascendant Human and member of the Forsynteril dedicated to secrets. Many blame him for the Shattering, although the details are unclear.
- Thirsife (Destroyed), 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.
The Stewards (The Shattering)
- Arkrist (Active), 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 (Active), 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.
- Imphalios (Active), Patron of Crafts, is an ascendant Golem and member of the Company of Seven who serves as the patron of craftsmen and enchanters in Espidrel's stead.
- Loreyza (Undone) was an ascendant druid and member of the Company of Seven who served as a patron of nature in Antasia's stead. When Antasia was released from imprisonment, Loreyza was Undone and became an Immortal or natural disasters and chaos.
- Tenaebrus (Active) is an ascendant rogue and member of the Company of Seven who serves as a patron of thieves and assassins in Thirsife's stead.
The Aspects (The Dawning)
- Banekeril (Joined), Oarsman of the Ages, was long presumed to be an Ascendant wizard dedicated to time. More recent theories believe he was actually an Aspect of time itself. As such, he is revered by soothsayers and historians alike. As a member of the Forsynteril, he was known to be subservient to Drakerim. He was destroyed by Ressik, and believed to have joined with Aldrhunrik, who has assumed his position.
- Dhuroscht (Inactive), 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. He attempted to destroy Orn on several occasions, but was always struck down. Most recently the Stone of Twilight, the heart of Dhuroscht, was carved from his chest and is held by the New Ascendant Khulzan.
- Drathenix (Active), the Two-Headed Dragon, is two of the four ageless dragons. While originally believed to be Ageless Ones, recent theories are that the ageless dragons are Aspects of the elements and the Maelstrom. 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.
- Ivelis (Restored), Wanderer in the Wind, was long thought to be an Ascendant human revered by travelers and sailors. While originally believed to be an Ageless One, recent theories are that they are an ageless dragon and an Aspect of the elements and the Maelstrom. Ivelis has appeared in several mortal guises in history, was destroyed during a battle with the Aspect Syflare, and restored by William Cedarbough.
- Muralakrum (Joined), Faceless One, was an unknowable immortal dedicated to change and transformation. He was primarily revered by shapeshifters and madmen, as well as a handful of druids. As a member of the Forsynteril, he was known to be subservient to Drakerim. Thought destroyed when Ressik attempted to destroy all magick, Muralakrum appeared again at the end in the guise of Thareon and was destroyed while distracting Ressik. A featureless mask serves as his symbol.
- Syflare (Restored), Serpent of the Deep, was long thought to be an ascendant sea serpent feared by ocean-goers and revered by some pirates. While originally believed to be an Ageless One, recent theories are that they are an ageless dragon and an Aspect of the elements and the Maelstrom. Syflare was destroyed during a battle with the Aspect Ivelis, and restored by the notorious Captain Atrius Bloodbrand.
The Chosen (Age of Succession)
- Aldrhunrik (Active), Fate Forger, was a Dwarf and devout follower of Kragg. Upon ascension their first act was to call for the reformation of the Forsynteril, and to call on the other members to cast Secronus out. Having assumed the mantle of Banekeril, they are a patron of time, fate, and merchants.
- Avaren (Active) was the first of the Chosen, a group of Immortals who ascended in very recent years. Many have flocked to her as a symbol of rebirth and cleansing.
- Kelvaros (Active), Storm Shadow, stands at the tipping point of life and death, civilization and wilderness. They strive to maintain the natural balance and have joined with Ferithisia.
- Khulzan (Active), Lord of Nightmares, a Riven, ascended after claiming parts of other Immortals: the arms of both Mynra and Lemesin, the eye of Thirsife, and finally carving the Stone of Twilight from the chest of Dhuroscht. They took up residence in the Astral as the first Immortal to found a domain within the realm of dreams.
- Kragg (Active), Forge Father, was the second Chosen. The joining of Espidrel and the mortal Dwarf Kegger Ironspur, Kragg rose quickly as the chief Immortal venerated by the Dwarven race, though recently has been joined by Aldrhunrik.
- Thareon (Active), North Star, was the third Chosen. A paladin in life, he assumed the mantle of Drakerim and is a patron of magick and truth.
- Trey (Active), Treys, the Treys are a trio: a Cambion, a Gnome, and a Tordenvaer. Having joined with the Muralakrum, they are the patrons of change and freedom.
- Vipinbehari (Active), Seeker, is a patron of the lost. Having dedicated their life to finding Antasia, they ascended after releasing her from imprisonment.
- Xavis and Xavros (Active), Warden of the Wastes and Doomed Prince, are twin Uordeq. After usurping Jeddit O'Jorramn, they joined with the restored Etejeril. They are patrons of death and necromancy.