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There are some inconsistencies as to what events are the Sendings of Darkness.

First Story Arc

The first story arc (which is the Fourth Sending of Darkness)[1][2][3] is when we first learn of the Sendings.

The first time Isparians heard the term 'Sending' used was in three of the texts recovered from Frore:

"When last we spoke he was agitated and distracted, but assured us that he was drawing close to finding a use for the crystal which would answer the prophesy of the Fourth Sending."[4]
"It was foretold by the priestesses that the Fourth Sending would begin in a city of Dericost called Frore, which means "Black Frost." No such city existed during the 6000 years of the Kingdom. So it was decided that we should make for ourselves a city by that name; being blood of the noble houses, our city would be of Dericost."[5]
"The ancient prophecies of the Falatacot said the Fourth Sending would begin in a city of Dericost named Frore."[6]

In Aerfalle's Letter, Isparians learned about the second Sending when Aerfalle wrote,

"Recall the last coming of the dark spawn. I had established this little colony perhaps three centuries previous..."[7]
"The Second Sending came, and the world reeled. So little time there was for me to expand my influence among the little lives below my mountains."[7]
"When the barbarians fell back to Killiakta, did we not move unseen then? I counseled that we should all stand together, Filinuvekta and Latzimestal, Wind and Lord, lest those we sought to rule all be taken and twisted."[7]
"So did we join, if only once, in the southern forests of Ifistra. The Winds rose from their hidden lairs, and the Lords marched from their bastions. While the hedge-mages struggled to rekindle the flame of old Facill's knowledge, the Battle of Ayn Tayan raged for three days."[7]

The first quote reveals that the last coming of the 'dark spawn' came approximately 300 years after the colony was established on Aerlinthe. The colony was established in RE 222,[8] so 300 years later would be RE 522. People first began to disappear from Daralet in -2,532 PY (RE 366).[9] Lord Altan and his forces are defeated by Bael'Zharon in -2,527 PY (RE 371)[9] The first sighting of a Shadow Spire occurs in -2,364 PY (RE 534). So the figure of "perhaps three centuries previous" roughly fits this time period.

The second quote is when the term 'Sending' is first used. It also confirms that the Second Sending occurred after the founding the of the colony on Aerlinthe. The third quote refers to the Yalaini retreating to Dereth, and the third and fourth quotes refer to the Battle of Ayn Tayan. Given the second quote's placement between the first quote and the third and fourth quotes, it seems logical to assume that the Second Sending is the Empyrean Shadow War.

The next information revealed regarding the Sendings of Darkness came four months later. At this time Isparians discovered Alaidain's Gem, which is inscribed with the following message:

As we were sent by the Darkness
The Darkness shall send again
An avenging star
A light to bring darkness
The Darkness shall send then
A knowledge:
A power to bring destruction
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The death of the people
And then Darkness shall send yet again
And once more, and the Darkness shall win.[10][1][11]

These were the final words of Sarvien II, the last king of Dericost, which he uttered to Empress Alaidain as he died on the Ice Throne.[10][1][11] This was a Falatacot prophecy from the Book of Eibhil[1][11], which is known as the Fivefold Curse.[10][1][11] When Alaidain returned from Dericost, she inscribed the quote on the gem. In her waning years, she entrusted this gem to the wards of Ithaenc. Only the monarchs of the Seaborne Empire were allowed to read these words.[10][1] Much later, Asheron referred to it as the curse of Eibhiill.[12]

Later References to Sendings

In Solclaim, 14 PY, Isparians that made their way to Knorr discovered an ancient tome written by Asheron, Prophecies, where he communicated the following to Delacim:

As darkness draws about light
And all falls to ruin so shall come; the star.
The darkness will impart its wisdom,
And the Light shall lose its way.
And blackness shall fall across the land,
And the Light will be hidden above.
Then shall the light gain its wisdom
And Champion.
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The savior of the people
And then Darkness shall send again,
and be beaten
And so it will send again,
and be beaten.[12]

This prophecy, Asheron said, is in opposition to the Fivefold Curse, and would be considered heresy to the Nali.[12]

Also in Knorr, Isparians discovered another ancient tome written by Asheron, Delacim's Death, where he wrote:

These events were cloaked from me, and so I think that all the ages that shall come hence will be forever altered. I wonder if this is the beginning of the Darkness' next sending, is this my next test?

In Harvestgain, 14 PY, during a conversion with Rytheran, Aerfalle said:

"We had thought Amauxi fallen during the second sending. Had His Eternal Splendor seen so far into the future to hide him even then? And what of the sacrifices made while the outlanders did our bidding without coaxing? Had he foreseen the end of the fourth sending at their hand?"[13]

In Leafcull, 15 PY, in the Pack Bael'Zharon text the Council of Sages wrote:

"...Ilservian returned, transformed by some dark power into Bael'Zharon the Hopeslayer. This was called the Third Sending of Darkness."[14]
"Thus in Portal Year 11 began the Fourth Sending of Darkness. The Shadows attacked from all sides, the Hopeslayer roamed the land, and the rivers ran red."[14]

Analysis: Empyrean Shadow War

We have two contradicting statements regarding the Empyrean Shadow War. According to Aerfalle, it is the second Sending, but according to the Council of Sages it is the third Sending. We can evaluate the authenticity of of each statement on a few criteria:

  1. The in-universe sources of the statements.
  2. The number of sources for each statement.
  3. The date each statement was released.
  4. The overall impact on the timeline.

On the first criteria, the Empyrean War being the second Sending has more authenticity: Aerfalle's Letter and her statements in the teaser are both primary sources. The description of the pack doll was written by Isparian scholars and is a secondary source.

On the second criteria, the Empyrean War being the second Sending again has more authenticity: we have two sources stating that it was second Sending, while we only have one source stating it is the third.

On the third criteria, the Empyrean War being the third Sending has more authenticity: It was released the latest, and could have been an attempt at retcon.

On the forth criteria, the Empyrean War being the second Sending again has more authenticity: If the war is the second Sending, and we already know that the Isparian Shadow War is the fourth Sending, then logically, the third Sending had to occur between them - and that is an era we have a good deal of information on. On the other hand, if the Empyrean war was the third Sending, it does not help us determine what the first or second Sendings are.

Conclusion

It is the opinion of the editor that the Empyrean Shadow War is the second Sending, for the following reasons:

  • It comes from a primary source, Aerfalle, who lived through the Empyrean Shadow War.
  • It helps us construct a more complete timeline.
  • We cannot be certain if the pack doll text was an intentional attempt at retcon or simply a mistake.

Analysis: Sendings

Analyzing the two different prophecies may also help yield results. Below is an attempt to break up the two prophecies into the five sendings, based on the events they are describing:

The Fivefold Curse Heretical Prophecy Sending
As we were sent by the Darkness As darkness draws about light First Sending of Darkness
The Darkness shall send again
An avenging star
A light to bring darkness
And all falls to ruin so shall come; the star.
The darkness will impart its wisdom,
And the Light shall lose its way.
And blackness shall fall across the land,
And the Light will be hidden above.
Second Sending of Darkness
The Darkness shall send then
A knowledge:
A power to bring destruction
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The death of the people
Then shall the light gain its wisdom
And Champion.
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The savior of the people
Third Sending of Darkness
And then Darkness shall send yet again And then Darkness shall send again,
and be beaten
Fourth Sending of Darkness
And once more, and the Darkness shall win And so it will send again,
and be beaten.
Fifth Sending of Darkness

This breakdown of the prophecies relies on a two assumptions:

  1. That every line of the prophecies relates to one of the Sendings. Or, to put it another way, that none of the lines are referring to events which aren't part of a Sending.
  2. That each prophecy contains information on all five Sendings.

An important thing to consider when trying to determine the Sendings is the out of universe factors: When the concept of the Sendings was first presented to players in 2000, it is very unlikely that the developers had any of the following plots planned:

  • The Falatacot/Burun plot from 2004
  • The Grael plot from 2005 and 2006
  • The Mar'uun destruction plot from 2009
  • The Black Pool plot from 2010
  • The Tou-Tou/Shadow plot from 2011
  • Any of the more recent appearances of Bael'Zharon, including his appearances during the game's anniversary month, or his appearance when Void Magic was released.

First Sending

Fivefold Curse:

As we were sent by the Darkness

Heretical Prophecy:

As darkness draws about light

In this first line of the Fivefold Curse, it is important to understand who "we" are. We know that these were Sarvien's last words,[10][1][11] but they are a Falatacot prophecy,[1] and it is said what Sarvien uttered was a prophecy from the Book of Eibhil.[11] With that in mind, it seems most likely that the "we" referred to here are the Falatacot, and Sarvien was not referring to the Dericost people when using "we".

The Campaign Journal states that "For the Falatacot, in their flight from the Darkness and cold that had put their gods to sleep, taught the kings of the Ice Throne their secrets in exchange for sanctuary." which implies that the Shadows were involved with the ice age.[15]

The AC:DM Bestiary entry for Shadows states that, "There are indications that some Shadows, particularly those of the more powerful Panumbris and Umbris types, predate the conversion of Ilservian into Bael'Zharon. Scholars believe this indicates the force that empowered the Hopeslayer has sought the conquest of Dereth for a far much longer time than is commonly known."[16]

And Aerfalle's Letter seems to support this, "The dark spawn have now appeared in my cellars as well, below the levels infested by Asheron's vermin. They are older than the ones that trouble you, I believe; Uvriliim and Paanuvriliim."[7]

It does not seem to be coincidence that Umbris and Panumbris shadows are all female. This is most likely a hint at their Falatacot origin.

All of this leads the editor to believe that the First Sending of Darkness involves the conflict between the Darkness and the Great Ones which led to the Great Cooling of the World, which in turn led some Falatacot to flee Dereth for the warmer lands of Dericost.

Second Sending

Fivefold Curse:

The Darkness shall send again
An avenging star
A light to bring darkness

Heretical Prophecy:

And all falls to ruin so shall come; the star.
The darkness will impart its wisdom,
And the Light shall lose its way.
And blackness shall fall across the land,
And the Light will be hidden above.

If we use our conclusions from the previous section of this article, we know that the second Sending included the Empyrean Shadow War. However, the actual lines in both prophecies seems to be more closely related to the Black Rains.

That being said, there is nothing that rules out a Sending being a period of time where multiple events occurred. So it is the opinion of the editor that the Second Sending is the period of time which began with the Black Rains, saw the exile of Ilservian Palacost, and his later return (and defeat) as Bael'Zharon.

Third Sending

Fivefold Curse:

The Darkness shall send then
A knowledge:
A power to bring destruction
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The death of the people

Heretical Prophecy:

Then shall the light gain its wisdom
And Champion.
For Alaidain's blood shall be
The savior of the people

The events being described in both prophecies seems to be Asheron's rediscovery of Planar magic which was used to defeat Bael'Zharon. "Alaidain's Blood" refers to Asheron, himself being a descendant of Alaidain. Being the death of the people in one version and the savior of the people in the other would seem to be referring to his involvement with the Olthoi invasion, and his casting of the Sundering to save the remaining Empyrean. The "power to bring destruction" could be referring to planar magic being used to defeat Bael'Zharon, or planar magic bringing about the Olthoi, or possibly both.

The one oddity here is that, in the Fivehold Curse, it seems to state that Darkness sent this knowledge to Asheron. The Heretical Prophecy is less clear on this, it simply says that the light gained this knowledge.

Regardless of how Asheron rediscovered planar magic, it it is the opinion of the editor that the Third Sending is the period of time which began with the defeat of Bael'Zharon, the increased use of planar magic, and the eventual downfall of the Empyrean at the claws of the Olthoi, which led Asheron to cast the Sundering.

Fourth Sending

Fivefold Curse:

And then Darkness shall send yet again

Heretical Prophecy:

And then Darkness shall send again,
and be beaten

While the prophecies themselves do not reveal any information, we know that the Isparian Shadow War was the fourth Sending.[1][2][3]

Fifth Sending

Fivefold Curse:

And once more, and the Darkness shall win

Heretical Prophecy:

And so it will send again,
and be beaten.

This last Sending is, in the backstory of Asheron's Call 2, the return of Bael'Zharon circa Portal Year 40 which led to the Humans, Tumeroks, and Lugians retreating into the shelter for 10 generations.[Citation Needed]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 2001/10 Dark Majesty - AC:DM CD Lore: Alaidain's Gem
  2. 2.0 2.1 2001/10 Dark Majesty - AC:DM CD Lore: Portal Year 11 - The Fourth Sending of Darkness
  3. 3.0 3.1 Microsoft Zone Archive: A Brief History for Travelers
  4. 1999/12 Sudden Season - Our Great Work
  5. 1999/12 Sudden Season - The Book of Minesh
  6. 1999/12 Sudden Season - Gelidite Lord Journal
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 2000/07 To Raise a Banner of Flame - Aerfalle's Letter
  8. 2000/07 To Raise a Banner of Flame - Aerlinthe Record
  9. 9.0 9.1 2003/03 A Perfect Paradox - The History of Auberean/Volume II: A Struggle With Darkness (-2,998 to -1,999)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 2000/11 Should the Stars Fall - Alaidain's Gem
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 2003/02 That Which Is Ours - The History of Auberean Volume I: Empires Clashing (-30,000 to -9,000)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 2003/05 Discoveries - Prophecies
  13. 2003/10 Reign of Terror - Reign of Terror Teaser Part 3
  14. 14.0 14.1 2004/11 On Bended Knee - Pack Bael'Zharon
  15. 2000/11 Should the Stars Fall - Campaign Journal
  16. 2001/10 Dark Majesty - AC:DM CD Lore: Derethian Bestiary - Shadows
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