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… and the heart of Vecna…
Posted on Wed, January 30, 2008 by Dongul
Galliskinmaufrius writes "This is a fictional essay about Vecna’s youth and the reasons that might have led him towards evil. A story of passion and sadness. Freely inspired by "The Flanae Tally of Years” from Oerth Journal 1, by Steven B. Wilson.

… and the heart of Vecna…
By: Galliskinmaufrius

When the Suel Empire became evil, missing the wisdom of the Grey Elves from whom it got its powers, its more barbaric neighbors were driven into slavery. These people had to leave their homeland in order to free themselves of their oppressors. The first people to go away were the Flanae: crossing the Crystalmist Mts., they managed to reach the lands that would bear their name, the Flanaess.

The first Flan tribes settled freely in the Sheldomar Valley. The following tribes had to go northward and eastward. Beyond the Lortmil Mts., they entered the Elven kingdoms. Highfolk welcomed them and let them pass. The Flanae were adepts of the Old Faith and this belief was well received as well by the Elves.

The Flanae were not the only one to leave the Suel Empire at that early time, some Suel families were also disgusted by the moral decline of their country and chose exile (or they were forced to exile by their evil rulers). And so a little Suel clan crossed the mountains, but lacking the skills to survive in wilderness and to fight against monsters they were all decimated upon their arrival in the Flanaess, all but one.

This one was a young noble woman. She was rescued by one of these Flan tribes who had to go beyond the Lortmil Mts. to find new empty lands. They did not kill her because they were all fleeing the same tyranny. Besides, she was fair of skin with golden hair and so beautiful that the Chief took her as one of his wives.

During the migration to the North, she soon gave birth to a son: the first son born to this Flan Chief. This son was to be known as Vecna. But a that time, he was given a Flan name now lost in time. It took several years to the Flan tribe to reach the Lortmil Mts., enter and exit the Elven kingdom of Highfolk and then find a place north of the Nyr Dyv, which was under the dominion of the Elven kingdom of Aliador.

Unlike Highfolk, the King of Aliador, Galitholian Glitterhelm, did not trust the strangers, and asked for warrants to let the Flan occupy his lands. So hostages were sent to the Elven court as servants for land rights. The hostages were the first born of each family of the tribe. They were forty young people, and Vecna was among them of course. He was twelve years old when he came to the Elven capital, Erieadan, in the Griff Mts.

Great noble families of the Elven city received one or two hostages as servants. They treated them well, sometimes giving them education in arts or sciences. Vecna was given to one of the King’s personal High Mage: an old Elf living alone in his laboratory-house. The Mage was kind with Vecna but he remained distant as he saw him like a short-lived wild thing.

The young Vecna was fascinated by the marvelous city and was happy to serve his new master in his researches and studies of magic. The Mage was gladly surprised to notice Vecna’s interest and remarked his high intelligence. He taught Vecna to read, to write and so on… Sometimes, he found Vecna, in the middle of the night, reading the books of his vast library. Whence his actual name, for “Vecna” is the elf word for “curious” or “knowledge hungry”.

Came the moment when Vecna asked his master to teach him magic. After long considerations, the Mage finally accepted with the consent of the King. Vecna revealed himself to be a brilliant student of magic and his mentor was very amazed. But one day, when Vecna was sixteen years old, something happened.

Being nonetheless the mage’s servant, Vecna had to do the domestic tasks, like opening the door to the visitors. One day, he opened the door to someone who was knocking at it. The person who was waiting behind the door was a young elf maiden carrying some menial magic works to the Mage in name of her father. Vecna never saw so a beautiful girl. She smiled to him and the heart of Vecna ceased to beat… for the first time.

She did come back regularly to the Mage’s house for the same reasons (her father’s magic needs) and each time, Vecna was there to open the door to her. Naturally, he was falling in love with her. It was not long before he learned who she was: Galitholian’s daughter, Princess of Aliador. Vecna understood that it could be hard for him to see her more and longer, unless he could be accepted in the schools she frequented.

Vecna was a genius indeed and, motivated by his love, managed to be the first human to enter an Elven school of magic. The following years were the more joyful Vecna ever lived. Almost everyday he could see the Princess in the classroom. Sometimes, they both had to study the same spell, and the Princess asked him to explain to her the difficulties: Vecna was never so close to her. He tried to tell her about his feelings, but the Princess let him understand it was impossible, because, for one reason, humans were too short-lived.

Therefore, Vecna began to search in magic the ways to expand his lifetime. His investigations led him to the dark side of magic, and he secretly studied old spell books about necromancy. He understood that to live as long as an Elf, he had to die first and to be reborn a second time as a sentient undead. At first, he rejected this idea and fell in despair. But, his passion was so strong that he could not bear the thought of not living with her. Vecna found then a lost book in the remote parts of the Elven libraries, a Suel book, “The Fate of Tilorop”, describing Lichdom.

Years after years, Vecna became moody and some close friends of the Princess discovered why. Vecna was mocked by them and he got angry. Then came the day when the Princess’ engagement with an Elven Prince was announced in all Erieadan and the heart of Vecna ceased to beat… for the second time.

At the same moment, messengers from his Flan tribe arrived in the Elven capital with bad news: Vecna’s father was sick and to die shortly. Vecna asked the King’s permission to return to his people. The King granted him permission, especially since he had learned about Vecna’s feelings for his daughter: he was satisfied to see him go away from her. Vecna swore to himself he would come back for the Princess. He took with him his spell books and, secretly, “The Fate of Tilorop”.

Vecna arrived just before his father’s death, and in time to let him reveal that he was not actually his blood father. His mother was already pregnant when she was rescued by the Flan tribe. Vecna’s true father was the Suel leader of her fleeing group. Vecna was pure blood Suel. His mother acknowledged all the story, saying that she was thankful for the Chief and did not tell him the truth at that time. But the Chief had doubts nonetheless. Vecna was pale of skin, indeed, with blond hair. And the Chief had chosen one of his other sons to succeed him.

The Elven representatives who came to assist to the Chief’s funerals told Vecna that the King freed him as hostage and wished him to be a good leader for his people. Vecna understood immediately why the King did not want him to come back to the Elven city, and he grew mad with frustration. He also envisioned the power one could gain from hidden secrets.

It was a few days after this event that Vecna was contacted by members of the Ur-Flan sect. The Ur-Flanae saw in him a potential that could advance their cause. Vecna saw in them the mean to realize his inner desire: to go back to Erieadan and take the Princess. This could be done only by force and he needed an army. Vecna killed the new Chief of his Flan tribe, took control of his adopted people with the aid of the Ur-Flanae. He erected a black tower in the middle of the Nyr Dyv and started to build his empire.

Vecna shielded his presence from the Elves by use of magic. He studied "The Fate of Tilorop", and began to experiment with his Ur-Flanae for the creation of undead. Vecna perfected the technique required for Lichdom. He then followed the path of Tilorop. He brew the Lich potion, drank it and the heart of Vecna ceased to beat… for the third (and last) time.

The rest is known history. He recruited humanoids from the north plains. He corrupted and twisted his people, and, through his breeding program, now had a host that far outnumbered the Elves to the East. Vecna forged the sword which he later passed to Kas.

Vecna marched against Galitholian, bringing back his slaughtered soldiers as an undead hoard. Slowly his alliance of humanoids, undead, and Flanae drove the Elves back to their mountain fastness. Gilthonial's forces were driven in a lightning strike from the plains west of the Griff's. Vecna's forces swept the central plains east of Nyr Dyv and north, they held the plains to the feet of the Griff's.

Celene fielded an army to assist Galitholian. Although they met with initial success, Vecna called on the powers of the Ur-Flanae and unleashed a magical burning force which caused the Bright desert. Many perished and the Elven host was thrown into a panic. They retreated to Celene, but Vecna did not advance. His eyes were fixed on the east.

The first of the Elven mountain cities fell to Vecna's armies. This was the beginning of the 400 Year War. Gilthonial's armies slowly gave way before Vecna, no aid reached Gilthonial. Vecna's armies destroyed all but 5 Elven cities in the Griff Mts. Gilthonial leaved his capital with the host of that city. He marched against Vecna and drove him from the mountains. But once in the plains, Vecna revealed a new weapon, a black sword forged of material from the stars. Vecna met Gilthonial in single combat and slew him.

The army of Vecna then destroyed the Elven host, and marched into the mountains. They inhabited and defaced the Elven cities, remaking them in the image of Vecna. Four cities, however, including the City of Summer Stars, were not found. The capital, Erieadan, the height of Gray Elven architecture and power, is destroyed to a stone. So ended the Elven Kingdom of Aliador, and the seat of the High King. But Vecna never retrieved the Princess, she was gone to safety and he was unable to know where. This was, maybe, the only secret out of his grasp.
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