In the last years of the Fall Era, a powerful magician rose up among the peasantry of Silg. This magician went on to nearly conquer the entire known world, until he was stopped by the great hero Alkanet, who came from the islands of Tandavar. This conflict is known as the Magician’s Crusade, and is told among all people of Alteris. Although the stories vary depending on the people telling it, each nation having their own version of events, there are enough similarities in the tellings to drawn a conclusion of what is likely the truth behind the legend.
In the year 760 FE, a boy was born in Silg in the small village of Cloven, Lestmarsh. His birthname is unknown. The boy started his life as many in Silg had, living as a peasant, serving in the fields of his lord. But from an early age, this boy showed a proclivity toward magical abilities. He yearned to study in the arts of spellcraft but was denied; a peasant cannot pursue an education as a magician in Silg until they are of age, and only then if they join with the Royal Guard. He then sought to learn magic in secret, stealing knowledge where he could from the courts of local wizards. He was caught stealing on a spring day in 779 FE, and killed a guardsmen in a fit of passion.
The young spellcaster lived in exile for the next eighteen years, living in hiding in the bogs of Lestmarsh. But at some point, he found an ancient alter to a forgotten god. And as he prayed to this being, it granted him incredible power, if he would serve them. He gave himself in service to this god, and was thenceforth known as Hybris.
Hybris returned from the swamps, and used powerful influence magic to bend the Royal Guard of Lestmarsh to his will. He marched on Wortol, and killed the king of Silg, placing himself on the throne. This action sent terrible waves through the kingdom, but he promised those who would follow him that he would lead their kingdom to a new golden age, with Silg ruling over all the earth.
Over the next year, Hybris conquered Mul Debbon, driving their ruler, the Gold King into exile, and took control of Filenfoe. His armies relentlessly raided the desert lands of the hastu, and sought the total extermination of their race. Among the Filenfoeans in those days was a hastu seer. She had a vision, that a being would come from the north and destroy Hybris. Word of this vision spread among the Filenfoeans, giving them hope. Eventually, word of this prophecy came to Hybris himself. He feared the message, and called on his god for guidance. The god came to him, and commanded him to send his armies north, and destroy the people there.
The northernmost island of Tandavar, Spade, was home to a peaceful society. The people of Spade had lived their since the Dawn Era, practicing ancient magic and continuing the worship of Sherrphoght. When Hybris’ armies came to their shores, they washed over the people like a tide of death. The people of Spade fought hard, but the armies numbers were too great. In the end, only one being stood alive on the shores, among the bodies of his fellow people and the invaders. His name was Alkanet.
Alkanet sailed south on a ship taken from the defeated army, until he came to the shores of Mul Debbon. Legends say that when Alkanet arrived in Mul Debbon he was discovered by the Gold King, near the glacier of Everwinter. They quickly became friends, and the Gold King told Alkanet all he knew about Hybris, his rise to power, and the threat he posed to all of Alteris. Alkanet and the Gold King waged battle with the forces of Hybris across Mul Debbon. But despite Alkanets awesome spellcraft, they could not breach the barrier magic Hybris had errected around Alterwood Keep.
Alkanet and the Gold King then discovered the rumor of a seer in Filenfoe, and made their way south to meet this woman. As they went they found another companion, Thorn the blood prince of the hastu, who joined them in their quest. All through Filenfoe they found the fortresses of the army of the magician. And they destroyed them. Until they found themselves near the Gawir Ruins, where the hastu refugees had been driven by Hybris’ army. There, they found the seer. She knew Alkanet, much to his surprise. He was the one she had prophesized would come. She gave him the blessing of Tset, and called on the spirit of Sherrphoght to guide him in his quest. Alkanet, thus empowered, united the hastu tribes to the call of war, and marched north once more to destroy Hybris.
When they arrived at Alterwood Keep, the army of Alkanet laid waste the army of Hybris, driving his Silgen loyalists to flee in terror, abandoning their king. Alkanet destroyed the barrier around the keep, and waged terrible battle with the magician. In the ensuing battle, the Gold King was struck with a powerful curse, and Hybris escaped.
the Gold King knew he would die, so he promised Alkanet his kingdom; but Alkanet refused. He instead asked that the Gold King do all he could to let the people of Alteris live free. The Gold King, in an act of love for his friend, surrendered his resplendent armor to Alkanet. Thus clothed, Alkanet set forth to follow Hybris, and end his reign.
Alkanet spent several years searching for the disgraced magician. The people of Silg rejected him after his defeat at Alterwood, and attempted to distance themselves from the actions of their treacherous king; but the world did not forget that his armies were Silgen for centuries. Finally, Alkanet cornered the man at his final refuge: the vary alter to his forgotten god where his path toward destruction had begun. Alkanet and Hybris fought with all the power of the harkens of the earth. The force of their combat was so great, it tore a hole between realms, opening a doorway into the dark dimension. A palpable miasma of twisted magic poured from that wound, until Alkanet, mustering all his strength, destroyed Hybris and sealed the opening.
It is unclear exactly what happened to Alkanet after this event. Silgen legends say he continued adventuring across the world, fighting evil and setting things right in the wake of the Magician’s Crusade. Debbonese legends tell that Alkanet returned to their lands, and spent decades in mourning for the loss of his beloved friend, the Gold King. In Filenfoe, the hastu people hold him as the savior of their race, delivering them from the genocidal war of Hybris. There is truth to all these beliefs, and the work of Alkanet did indeed usher in a new era of peace among the people of Alteris. At the conclusion of the Magician’s Crusade, 804 FE, a new era was established: the Modern Era.
There has been a resurgence in interest in this centuries old story of the hero Alkanet in recent years. A fordrin scholar bore record of peculiar events on Spade Island, where some locals claimed to have seen Alkanet with their own eyes. The record indicates that his spirit remained in the world, seeking to finish what he had started eight hundred years ago: the destruction of Hybris and his god. The claims of these adventurers on Spade Island called into question the authority of the ruling magical society at the time, The Coven of Helcrest. But that is a story for another time.