History runs deep indeed. The Mahagara was eons gone. Earth’s Lllfari had been dust for a hundred thousand years, their last traces scoured from the planet by glacial ice. The Dreamtime had come and gone, taking the Orb of the Archmage with it into the shadows and leaving a vexing legacy in the racial mind to trouble later generations. The death-mages of the Ru’Kahl had shorn branches from Earth’s Tree of Life, but failed to strike it’s roots, and the last refuges of Homo Neanderthalensis were ten thousand years gone.
It was nearly thirty thousand years ago. For humanity, the distant past – but barely a droplet in the fathomless pools of deep time. It was in what a later age would know as Europe, near the peak of the last ice age.
The tribe knew bone and pottery, leather, twine, and chipped flint. They ground wild seeds for flour, they used needles, and shamanistic magic, and painted spells onto the very living rock. With spells, fire, and hands they drew dogs into their tribes and manipulated wild cattle and a few other animals. They decorated with beads, inscriptions, and paint, healed with herbs, and passed on the memory-stones which carried the ancient tales. They hunted and defended themselves with spears and knives and simple bows. They knew the roles of the Chieftain, the Shaman, the Bowyer, the Potter, and a few other specialists. They knew how to organize a small tribe and how to exploit the resources of the land to support that tribe.
And in the way of things, a child was born. But in THIS child was great power. Both the ability to channel power into his body to enhance himself and the potential for formidable powers of the mind. Powers far beyond the talents of the tribal shaman – and he was growing old. He taught the child to take his place.
But young Azuri was far too powerful and too ambitious for the boundaries of the tribe and it’s territories to contain. He took leadership of his tribe in his early teens. By twenty he had subjugated the neighboring tribes, and enjoyed the privileges of a mighty chieftain and warlord – the tastiest fruits and roots, the best cuts of meat, the attentions of his subjects, and what comforts and pleasures the world offered. Unfortunately, his subjects were too numerous. The old ways of organizing the tribe, of gathering food, of settling disputes, of dividing labor and spoils, were failing. Azor’s life and ambitions were falling apart – and he could not see why. For all his power, exhaustion limited him. He could not make up every shortcoming personally.
Azor prayed, and offered sacrifice, and sent more than one messenger to the gods – but the gods did not help him. And so he turned his eyes upon the infinite depths, upon the haunts of the demons who had surely cursed him. In his arrogance he disregarded the ancient warnings, and breached the ages-old wards wrapped around the Earth. He touched the thoughts of the Elder Ones, and their darkness took root in him. Powers immensely older, greater, and darker than his own – but powers united with him in a common drive; to survive and claim the cosmos.
Once-Azor-The-Chieftain, now Azor-Who-Draws-The-Dark, had greater power than ever before, a few basic concepts of “delegation”, and “chain of command” to work with, and a fearful dedication to the Elder Ones. His power seemed posed to sweep across the world – but even as he began building his tribal followers into an empire, he found that he had drawn the attention of one of Earth’s most powerful guardians. The White Necromancer had stood against the Ru’Kahl, and he would stand against this new menace. While a bit of conquest and self-indulgence did not interest him – such trivialities would inevitably be swallowed up in the ceaseless flow of time –
Azor’s invocations of the Elder Ones, however, concerned him very much indeed – and Azor was not at all inclined to give up the practice.
Aided by hundreds of his most loyal followers, wielding an unexpectedly large suite of Dark Evocations, with some element of surprise, and with utter ruthlessness, Azor managed to defeat the White Necromancer – for the moment. Unfortunately, despite his arrogance, Azor knew that he had been fortunate. The White Necromancer had a similar level of power and would return from death as often as it took – while that was a power that Azor did not yet possess.
Azor called on the darkness for refuge, for a place where he might labor in their service undisturbed. And his call was answered. The reality-breaking power of the Elder Ones tore open a rift in space, a shortcut to a distant world. While traversing that route without faster-than-light travel effects, or shielding against the dark energies of the vortex itself, would take millennia according to outside observers, such a difficultly was far outside Azor’s experience – and his patrons did not think it even worth noting.
Azor led his followers into the vortex to claim his new world, and cast concealing barriers behind him, just in case someone would be foolish enough to attempt to follow.
None were. The White Necromancer knew better than to lose thousands of years and possibly entrap himself wherever the vortex led when his responsibilities were to the Earth – and no one else noticed the vortex at all. It wasn’t as if Earth’s modest scattering of tribal shaman, mystics, and other practitioners were looking for such a thing.
Azor and his people arrived at their new world, a world which would shortly become Azorath, the realm of the Divine Azor, several millennia later – shortly before the Rho-Field blocked the earthly terminus of the Vortex.
When the Rho-Field blocked passage through the Vortex, none remarked it. By the time that the Earth passed beyond the field, only the White Necromancer retained any memories of Azor and his Vortex – and even he had not thought of them in thousands of years.
Earth would not hear from Azor’s scions until 1927, when a small group of them managed to bypass the barriers on Azorath’s end and – ironically enough – fled Azorath for Earth.