After the fall of the First Age, a great time of Darkness came upon Erâth. For many centuries the men of Erâth lived poorly, always at the mercy of the beasts and other creatures that the Duithèn set upon them daily. They forgot about their race’s aspirations of Eternity, and forgot the other races of power, and forgot even about the great war that had brought them so low in the first place. Misery and despair became a way of life, and for a thousand years men lived so.
Eventually, of course, the world of men began to rebuild, and the forces of Darkness were driven back—at least in the lands of Thaeìn. New kingdoms were born, and the greatest of these in Thaeìn was that of Erârün. When the Duithèn reared their heads once more, the people of Erârün were prepared, and brought war and battle upon the forces of Darkness that threatened them from the west.
The demon lord Goroth was defeated in this war, despite his possession of the terrible weapon Namrâth, his people scattered and the Bridge of Aélûr broken, but much of Thaeìn was nonetheless left in ruin. The fields were burned and the soldiers dead, and the great city of Vira Weitor was crumbling when their king, Daevàr, returned from battle. He was weary and wounded, for he had slain by his own hand the demon lord with his own weapon, and wished for nothing more than peace.
But peace was scarce then, for his great deception had been laid bare: to encourage the kingdoms of Erâth to unite against Goroth and the beasts of Aélûr, he had lied to both the people of Kiriün, their neighbor, and the Illuèn, whose aid they needed desperately. To each he said the other had already committed to war, when they in fact had not. Although the deception worked, and they were able to drive back the forces of Darkness together, Kiriün and the Illuèn had vowed afterward to never come to the aid of Erârün again, should the end of the world be upon them.
These were the thoughts that weighed heavily on Daevàr’s heart as he made the long walk from the battlefields to the throne of Vira Weitor, which the king of Kiriün had given his life to save. And the more destruction he saw, and the more disgust for him he felt, the deeper into despair he fell. And so in one way the Duithèn won the war that day, for despair is of their nature, and Daevàr felt it keenly.
But he was nonetheless a strong king, and knew that he must help his country rebuild, that he must show a strong leadership for his people, or the great kingdom of Vira Weitor would be finished. So for some years he persisted, and Erârün was rebuilt, though a shade of its former glory. Even when the people called him a liar—even when they said he was weak—he remained steadfast, and commanded that the streets be relaid, and the homes rebuilt, and gave the wealth and fortune of his house to the common folk, so that they would not starve.
But there came a day, many years after the defeat of Goroth, that the king Daevàr looked upon his kingdom and saw that there was nothing more for him to do: all was complete, and in his thoughts he hoped that he had atoned for his deception. The people no longer wanted him as their ruler, and in truth he was weary of ruling them, and so he began to set his mind to what he might do next, and where he might go.
So it was that one day he discarded his royal robes and stripped his tunics of their crests, and slipped unnoticed through the palace gates and into the streets of Vira Weitor. He had rid himself of his whiskers, and so his likeness went unrecognized by the guards or the folk in the streets, and it was a great relief to him to be able to walk alone through the alleys and thoroughfares of his city without being noticed by a single soul. He went this way and that, and stopped at inns to eat, and listened to the talk of the folk.
Many, it seemed, were dissatisfied with their lot, grumbling at their lack of food, or coins, or roofs over their heads. When Daevàr asked if the king had not helped them regain their livelihoods, they said no: the king sat in his palace and watched them from on high, and laughed at their misfortune. When he asked if they thought the king had protected them during the War of Darkness, they said no: it was the king of Kiriün, Starüd, who had protected the great city of Vira Weitor when they had been besieged by the forces of Darkness. Where had the king been, they asked, when their need was direst? Where had he gone, when poison winds had rushed through the streets and dropped hundreds in their tracks? He had abandoned them, they said, and not returned until the fighting was over.
And so Daevàr learned that few of his people knew the truth of his battles, and the defeat of Goroth, and he sighed: little did it matter, he supposed, so long as there now was peace. With so little faith in their king, he realized, he was right to leave them; he was right to give their rule over to a new lord, one whom they could trust.
He also realized that, should the folk of this city recognize him, he would be set upon with vitriol and anger, and knew he could not stay among them. The kingdom of Erârün was vast, and the desire came over him to travel, to see his kingdom as he had never been able to before. So he set out from Vira Weitor, and never returned for all his living days. He took the south road at dawn, a lone traveler along a desolate road, and for many days he remained in solitude. He camped at night, lighting small fires out of view of the road, and walked through each day, until he came upon the town of Bridgeden, which was a large town, though nothing compared to the wonders of Vira Weitor.
Here he made rest for some time, for his feet ached and his bones were weary, and the people of Bridgeden, most of whom had never seen the king’s likeness, welcomed him warmly. For a while he wondered if he might not settle here, and indeed the kindliness of the folk made this a tempting prospect. But after some time he came to realize things were not as well as they seemed, for the townsfolk were poor, and hungry. They were worse off for the War of Darkness, he could see, for many of their men had gone to their deaths at the hands of fell beasts, and those who remained were weak or elderly, and unable to do strong work.
In the end he stayed for a year, and helped the townsfolk regain their livelihoods. He helped build homes, and helped feed the hungry, and when he was done town of Bridgeden was better than it had been for much time. But as was Daevàr’s fate, it was not to last: one day he came face to face with a soldier of Erârün, one who had been in the battles, and who saw the king’s countenance and knew him for who he was. Daevàr begged him to keep his tongue, but before the week was out every man, woman and child in Bridgeden knew him for who he was. Despite the help he had provided them, their anger grew as had that of the people of Vira Weitor, and so he was run out of the town, and left to continue his wayward travels alone.
So he left Bridgeden, and in his sadness knew that there was no place for him left in the kingdom of Erârün, and that he must seek a new life—a solitary life—in the wilds.
He wandered slowly south, avoiding any further villages that lay along the way, and soon found himself in deep forests. Here was a realm of beasts and creatures, he found, for after a point there were no men left to be seen. He found solace in the solitude of the woods, and in wandering when he felt like it, and settling when he felt like it. For some time he stayed then in this place, and wondered if he might not build a home from the trees, and live here for the remainder of his days.
Yet the weather was often gloomy, and when the clouds covered the sun and the rain came down, he knew he was not destined to live ever in shadow. If the kingdom he left behind was to rebuild itself, and see the sun once more, then so was he, he decided. He would not allow the Duithèn to conquer him with their Darkness, and vowed he would not rest until he found such a place as the sun shone daily, and the rains were sweet-scented and fresh.
So he pushed his way onward, and soon entered into the deep valleys and mountains that formed the southernmost border of his kingdom. Here was truly wild, for never had a man stepped foot in this place since the dawn of Erâth. While he was careful not to disturb more than he needed, he found ample deer to hunt, and they would not even shy away from him, for they had never learned of the destructive nature of men. But if the deer gave him food and the birds music, there were other creatures amongst the trees and hills that gave him concern. Wolves there were, and in the distance, the ever-present howls of something worse.
Sometimes he would long for a view, and would then climb the steep hillsides to the rocky terrain above, and spend some days walking along the edges of cliffs and precipices, just so he could see the forest for the trees. When he grew hungry he would descend again, but felt safer in the peaks than the valleys.
After many months he grizzled and lean, sporting a great beard and cloak of many hides, and none in his kingdom would have known him for who he truly was. He became used to a nomadic life, and wondered often if there would be any end to the gloom of the great forests and mountains. As he passed through them he talked to himself, and named things that he saw. The mountains became the Trestaé, for they were sad to him, as were the trees that cloaked their bases. He came across new plants and animals, and even gave a name to the creatures that howled ever in the distance: fierundé, he called them, for they were as wolves yet, in his heart he knew, far darker and deadlier.
For many years thus he traveled through the Trestaé, and for the lack of sun did not always know in which direction he was going, and often found himself lost in circles, revisiting the same places over and over again. Yet he knew that there must be, amongst all this loneliness, a place of good, and rest, and so he kept on, day upon day and month after month, and refused to let despair overwhelm him.
After a great deal of time, there came a day for Daevàr when the rains ceased, and the mountains fell behind him, and he knew he had crossed the great southern divide he had come to know as the Trestaé. He found a river flowing calmly through the woods, and as he followed it, the weather gradually improved, and the clouds grew thinner, until they parted entirely, and the sun smiled down upon him with warmth and peace.
He found himself in a great plain, gently rolling hills in the distance, and the river winding its way between them. Here and there were copses of trees, and they were of ash and oak and birch, and swayed gently in the warm breeze. He realized that it was summer, and a smile came upon him that had been many, many years in coming. This, then, was the place he had been seeking, seemingly all his life: infinitely far from the great towers and palaces of Vira Weitor, here was a place where the sun did shine, and the wind was warm, and even the distant howls could not be heard. Those creatures of Darkness, he knew, would not encroach upon this place of Light, and he felt safe, and at peace.
His pace increased, and his heart beat fast with joy, and had he been any younger he would have fair danced through the fields and along the river. Finally he came upon a place that seemed even fairer than all the rest, and in the sun he lay on the grass, and slept the warm afternoon away. The following day he had come to a decision: he would settle here, once and for all, for this was a place he would gladly live, and would gladly die. And a name for the place came to him, and it was exactly what he felt in his heart, for it was exactly that, after so much sorrow and death: Consolation.
Over the following weeks and months Daevàr spent his days laboring over the building of a small hut, and when the winter months came even they were not Dark, for after the storms and snows the sun would return, glinting off the beautiful white fields. For many years hence, he lived alone, and indeed fully expected to find the end of his days there, alone and separate from all the world.
But in the end, he was not left alone: it came to pass that others from Erârün were dissatisfied with their new Greatlord, and found that the Darkness of war had not left them, and in their disillusionment sought out a place to retire to, as had Daevàr. And while many of them found their way into the Trestaé and perished, some others found their way further, and finally came a day when a small family happened upon Daevàr’s hut, and were startled to find they were not the only ones to discover this place of Light. They were afraid, for they thought they were disturbing the peace of one who might not suffer their presence.
But Daevàr, after so much time in solitude, welcomed them into his home, and said that they must stay, for here was a place of fruit and clear waters, and it would be good for them, and for their children. So they did, and built beside Daevàr’s hut a small shack of their own, and so a town was born. In the end Daevàr died peacefully of old age, but the others lingered, and their children stayed, and welcomed the others who would, every so often, find their way into Consolation.
So the country of Consolation was born, and the town of Daevàr’s Hut founded, and it became the last refuge of Light in Erâth, for it was a place the Duithèn did not know of, and their creatures would not approach for fear of the Light. It was a happy place, and a good place, and so it remained for many, many centuries.