The Fall of the Incû-HoloinasEdit
According to the Isûphiryas, the Incû-Holoinas, the “Ark-of-the-Skies,” plunged to earth to the west of the Sea of Neleöst in land ruled by Nin’janjin, the Nonman King of Viri. The letter sent by Nin’janin to Cû’jara-Cinmoi, the King of Siöl, is recorded as follows:
- The Sky has cracked into potter’s shards,
- Fire sweeps the compass of Heaven,
- The beasts flee, their hearts maddened,
- The trees fall, their backs broken.
- Ash has shrouded all sun, choked all seed,
- The Halaroi howl piteously at the Gates,
- Dread Famine stalks my Mansion.
- Brother Siöl, Viri begs your pardon.
Rather than send aid to Nin’janjin, Cû’jara-Cinmoi assembled an army and invaded the lands of Viri. Nin’janjin and his Ishroi capitulated without battle; Viri became a bloodless tributary of Siöl. The western lands of Viri, however, remained shrouded in cloud and ash. Survivors from the region spoke of a fiery vessel streaking across the skies. So Cû’jara-Cinmoi commanded Ingalira, a hero of Siöl, to lead an expedition to find this Ark. What happened to Ingalira on this expedition is not recorded, but he returned to Siöl some three months later and presented two inhuman captives to Cû’jara-Cinmoi. Ingalira called these captives Inchoroi, or “People of Emptiness,” both because the sounds they made were empty of meaning and because they fell from the emptiness of the sky. He spoke of flattened forests and gouged plains, of mountains thrown into a ring, and of two golden horns rearing from a molten sea, so mighty they brushed the clouds.
Repelled by the obscene aspect of the Inchoroi, Cû’jara-Cinmoi had them put to death, and set a Watch upon the Incû-Holoinas, the Ark-of-the-Skies. Years passed, and the power of Cû’jara-Cinmoi and the High Mansion of Siöl waxed. The Mansion of Nihrimsul was subdued, and her King, Sin’niroiha, “First Among Peoples,” was forced to wash the sword of Cû’jara-Cinmoi. With the subsequent conquest of Cil-Aujas to the south, Siöl and her High King commanded an empire that ranged from the Yimaleti Mountains to the Sea of Meneanor.
During this time, the Watch was kept on the Ark. The land cooled. The skies cleared.
The Destruction of the WatchEdit
Either because of original inconsistencies or because of subsequent corruptions, extant version of the Isûphiryas are unclear as to the subsequent order of events. At some point a secret embassy of Inchoroi reached Nin’janjin at Viri. Unlike the Inchoroi brought to Cû’jara-Cinmoi by Ingalira, these possessed the ability to speak Ihrimsû. They reminded Nin’janjin of Cû’jara-Cinmoi’s treachery in his time of need, and offered an alliance to break the yoke of Siöl over Viri. They would undo, the Inchoroi said, the misfortune their coming had wrought upon the Cûnuroi of Viri.
Despite the warnings of his Ishroi, Nin’janjin accepted the Inchoroi terms. Viri revolted. The Siölan Ishroi within its halls were slain; the rest were enslaved. At the same time, the Inchoroi swarmed from the Ark, overwhelming the Watch. Only Oirinas and his twin, Oirûnas, survived, riding hard to warn Cû’jara-Cinmoi.
The Slaying of SilEdit
Sil, the Inchoroi King, and Nin’janjin assembled their hosts to meet Cû’jara-Cinmoi on the Fields of Pir Pahal, which Men would call Eleneöt in a later age. According to the Isûphiryas, the Nonmen of Viri were dismayed by the sight of their allies, who wore fierce and festering bodies as garments of war. Gin’gûrima, the greatest hero among them, pointed to Nin’janjin and declared, “Hate has blinded him.” This treason within a treason was repeated by others, until it became a thundering chorus. Nin’janjin fled, seeking protection from Sil. The Inchoroi then turned upon their allies, hoping to destroy the host of Viri before Cû’jara-Cinmoi and the great host of Siöl could close with them.
Overmatched by the Inchoroi and their weapons of light, the Nonmen of Viri were driven back with horrendous losses. Only Cû’jara-Cinmoi and his Ishroi Chariots saved them from utter destruction. The chroniclers of the Isûphiryas claim the battle raged through the night and into the following morning. Eventually, all but the most powerful of the Inchoroi were overwhelmed by the valour, sorceries, and numbers of the host of Siöl. Cû’jara-Cinmoi himself struck down Sil, and wrested from him his great weapon, Suörgil, “Shining Death,” which Men in a latter age would call the Heron Spear.
Much reduced, the Inchoroi fled back to their Ark, taking Nin’janjin with them. Cû’jara-Cinmoi hunted them within sight of the Ring Mountains, but was forced to abandon his pursuit when word of further disasters reached him. Emboldened by Siöl’s distraction, Nihrimsul and Cil-Aujas had revolted.
The Second WatchEdit
Weakened by the Battle of Pir Pahal, Cû’jara-Cinmoi was hard pressed to recover his empire. A Second Watch was put upon the Holoinas, but no attempt was made to breach the gold-grooved faces of the Ark. After years of hard campaigning, Cû’jara-Cinmoi finally brought the Ishroi of Cil-Aujas to heel, but King Sin’niroiha and the Ishroi of Nihrimsul continued to resist him. The Isûphiryas chronicles dozens of bloody yet indecisive confrontations between the two Kings: the Battle of Ciphara, the Battle of Hilcyri, the Siege of Asargoi. Proud beyond reason, Cû’jara-Cinmoi refused to relent, and put to death every embassy Sin’niroiha sent to him. Only when Sin’niroiha became King of Ishoriöl through marriage did the High King of Siöl concede. “A King of Three Mansions,” he is said to have declared, “may be Brother to a King of Two.”
The Isûphiryas mentions the Inchoroi only once during this time. Unwilling to assign desperately needed Ishroi to the Second Watch, Cû’jara-Cinmoi had charged Oirinas and Oirûnas, the sole survivors of the First Watch, with recruiting Men for the duty. Among these Halaroi was a “criminal” named Sirwitta. Apparently Sirwitta had seduced the wife of a high-ranking Ishroi and conceived by her a daughter named Cimoira. The Judges of the Ishroi were perplexed: such a thing had never happened before. The truth of Cimoira was suppressed, and despite her mannish blood she was accepted as Cûnuroi. Sirwitta himself was banished to the Second Watch.
Somehow (the Isûphiryas does not go into detail) Sirwitta managed to enter the Incû-Holoinas. A month passed, and all thought him lost. Then he reappeared, deranged, screeching claims so alarming that Oirinas and Oirûnas brought him directly to Cû’jara-Cinmoi. What was said between Sirwitta and the High King of Siöl is not recorded. The chroniclers say only that Cû’jara-Cinmoi, after hearing Sirwitta speak, ordered him put to death. A later entry, however, described Sirwitta as “tongueless and imprisoned.” It appears the High King, for some unknown reason, had rescinded his warrant.
Many years of peace followed. From their fortresses in the Ring Mountains, the Ishroi of Siöl guarded the Ark. Whether the Inchoroi lived still or had perished, no one knew. Cû’jara-Cinmoi grew old, for the Nonmen of those days were still mortal. His eyesight dimmed, and his once-mighty limbs began to fail him. Death whispered to him.
Then Nin’janjin returned. Invoking the ancient codes, he appeared before Cû’jara-Cinmoi begging Mercy and Penance. When the High King of Siöl bid Nin’janjin come near so he might see him, he was astonished to discover his old adversary had not aged. Then Nin’janjin revealed his true reason for coming to Siöl. The Inchoroi, he said, were too terrified of Cû’jara-Cinmoi’s might to leave their Ark, so they dwelt in confinement and misery. They had sent him, he claimed, to sue for peace. They wished to know what tribute might temper the High King’s fury.
To which Cû’jara-Cinmoi replied: “I would be young of heart, face, and limb. I would banish Death from the halls of my people."
The Second Watch was disbanded and the Inchoroi moved freely among the Cûnuroi of Siöl, becoming their physicians. They ministered to all, dispensing the remedies that would at once make the Nonmen immortal and doom them. Soon all the Cûnuroi of Eärwa, even those who had initially questioned Cû’jara-Cinmoi’s wisdom, had succumbed to the Inchoroi and their nostrums.
According to the Isûphiryas, the first victim of the Womb-Plague was Hanalinqû, Cû’jara-Cinmoi’s legendary wife. The chronicler actually praises the diligence and skill of the High King’s Inchoroi physicians. But as the Womb-Plague killed more and more Cûnuroi women, this praise becomes condemnation. Soon all the women of the Cûnuroi, wives and maidens both, were dying. The Inchoroi fled the Mansions, returning to their ruined vessel.
The Fall of Cû’jara-CinmoiEdit
Ishroi from across Eärwa answered Cû’jara-Cinmoi’s call to war, even though many held the High King responsible for the deaths of their beloved. Grieved almost to madness, the High King led them through the Ring Mountains and arrayed them across the Inniür-Shigogli, the “Black Furnace Plain.” Then he laid Hanalinqû’s corpse before the unholy Ark and demanded the Inchoroi answer his fury.
But the Inchoroi had not been idle over the long years since the Battle of Pir Pahal. They had delved deep into the earth, beneath the Inniür-Shigogli and out into the Ring Mountains. Within these galleries they had massed hordes of twisted creatures unlike any the Cûnuroi had ever seen: Sranc, Bashrags, and mighty Dragons. The Ishroi of the Nine High Mansions of Eärwa, who had come to destroy the diminished survivors of Pir Pahal, found themselves beset on all sides.
The Sranc withered before the sinew and sorcery of the Ishroi, but their numbers seemed inexhaustible. The Bashrags and the Dragons exacted a horrifying toll. More terrible still were those few Inchoroi who ventured out into battle, hanging above the tumult, sweeping the earth with their weapons of light, apparently unaffected by the sorceries of the Ishroi. After the disaster of Pir Pahal, the Inchoroi had seduced the practitioners of the Aporos, who had been forbidden from pursuing their art. Poisoned by knowledge, they devised the first of the Chorae to render their masters immune to Cûnuroi magic.
But all the heroes of Eärwa stood upon the Black Furnace Plain. With his bare hands, Ciögli the Mountain, the strongest of the Ishroi, broke the neck of Wutteät the Black, the Father of Dragons. Oirinas and Oirûnas fought side by side, working great carnage among the Sranc and Bashrags. Ingalira, the hero of Siöl, strangled Vshikcrû, mighty among the Inchoroi, and cast his burning body into the Sranc.
The mighty closed with the mighty, and innumerable battles were fought. But no matter how hard the Inchoroi pressed, the Cûnuroi would yield no ground. Their fury was that of those who have lost wives and daughters.
Then Nin’janjin struck down Cû’jara-Cinmoi.
The Copper Tree of Siöl fell into pitching masses of Sranc, and the Cûnuroi were dismayed. Sin’niroiha, the High King of Nihrimsul and Ishoriöl, fought his way to Cû’jara-Cinmoi’s position, but found only his headless body. Then the hero Gin’gûrima fell, gored by a Dragon. And after him Ingalira, who had been the first to lay eyes upon the Inchoroi. Then Oirinas, his body sundered by an Inchoroi spear of light.
Realizing their plight, Sin’niroiha rallied his people and began fighting his way into the Ring Mountains. A greater part of the surviving Cûnuroi followed him. Once clear of their foe, the glorious Ishroi of Eärwa fled, gripped by a mad fear. Either too weakened or suspecting a trap, the Inchoroi did not pursue.
The War of ExterminationEdit
For five hundred years the Cûnuroi and the Inchoroi waged a war of extermination, the Cûnuroi to avenge their murdered wives and the eventual death of their race, and the Inchoroi for reasons they alone could fathom. No longer did the Cûnuroi speak of the Incû-Holoinas, the Ark-of-the-Skies. Instead they spoke of Min-Uroikas, “the Pit of Obscenities”—what would later be called Golgotterath by Men. For centuries it seemed the abominations had the upper hand, and the poets of the Isûphiryas record defeat after defeat. But slowly, as the Inchoroi exhausted their fell weapons and relied more and more on their vile slaves, the Cûnuroi and their Halaroi servants gained the advantage. Then at long last the surviving Ishroi of Eärwa trapped the last of their diminished foe within the Incû-Holoinas. For twenty years they warred through the Ark’s labyrinthine halls, finally hunting the last of the Inchoroi into the deep places of the earth. Unable to destroy the vessel, Nil’giccas instructed the remaining Qûya to raise a powerful glamour about the hated place. He and the surviving kings of the Nine Mansions forbade their peoples from mentioning the Inchoroi or their nightmarish legacy. The last Cûnuroi of Eärwa withdrew to their Mansions to await their inevitable doom.
- ↑ Encyclopedic Glossary, ‘Cûno-Inchoroi Wars’