It is said in the earliest age of Mortegard, when all the gods were still asleep, mortals were given unfettered access to the tools and writings left behind by the Primordials. It was through this they gained a rudimentary understanding of the complex language of the gods.
While similar to Alembria, which is but a sliver of the complex dialect, the language of the gods opened the door to powers beyond mortal comprehension.
The Mortal Gods sought to replace the Primordials themselves, becoming increasingly powerful as both their strength and the citizens’ belief in them grew. To expand the capabilities of their mortal forms they inscribed immensely complex runes all over their bodies, organs, and bones. They became immune to age, impervious to harm, and slowly mad with power – growing increasingly distant from the population they arose from.
All races were forced into submission, save for one: the █████████. These people were driven underground as they were simply too resilient, and were locked away and punished for their insubordination.
Drawn to further expansion and control, the Mortal gods created two servile races, the Kheshiir and the Lepkin, elevating them from cats and frogs. The Kheshiir are thought to exist in order to carry history and spread the religion of Mortal Gods, and it’s surmised the Lepkin were created to serve in taming wild regions of the world.
Eventually the world came to peace under the banners of the mortal gods, but alas, it was not meant to last. A fracture formed as two divergent branches of thought arose, for reasons not comprehensible to mortal minds.
A great clash of powers erupted, shattering centuries of peace. The calamity of this awoke the first of the Primordials: The Forgotten God.
Seeing the damage done during his long rest, The Forgotten God chose one single human as his prophet, a bookish scholar who lost his wife and children in the ensuing war. Driven by his furious temper, he swore fealty to The Forgotten God, and using the knowledge bestowed to him, worked to erase the memory of and belief in The Mortal Gods.
As their followers’ belief weakened and his strength grew, he removed each of them from power with the extensive set of abilities bestowed to him through the teachings of The Forgotten God. He left them as empty, memorylesshusks and punished them with the same fate as the █████████.
Once his work was done, he was allowed to live on as a Priest of The Forgotten God and savor his reward: an eternity to build his knowledge and help shepherd Mortegard.
Said to still live in his temple, he became the first ███████e██.
While most of the tale of The Mortal Gods is mythic in nature, some strong evidence exists of their former existence.
Runic creatures are the strongest physical evidence of The Mortal Gods. It was said that as they didn’t have the full understanding of the powers they were dealing with, they were not able to create new forms, only warp that which the Gods had already created. In an attempt to defy this, they created Runic Creatures.
Unlike other animals, runic creatures live with alembric symbols in and on their bodies which grow with them from birth to death. These symbols warp or alter their physical forms, and on occasion, are calibrated to grant them fantastical power. Creatures that should not exist by scientific law are thus granted life through these alembric symbols on their bodies, through strengthening of limbs, manifestation of magical powers, or extended lifespans.
Unlike other races, the Kheshiir appear to be closely related to an animal counterpart. Still sharing many of the same characteristics of Cats, going so far as to be able to crudely parley with their feline compatriots, Kheshiir stand as strong evidence that there is at least a grain of truth in the tale of The Mortal Gods.
Much similar to the Kheshiir, Lepkin too stand in defiance of the typical characteristics of the mortal races. They share an extreme likeness to frogs, including enjoying a diet of insects – despite the fact that their immense size relative to frogs prohibits a diet of purely insect foraging. In their large localized populations, they must farm insects or eat other meats for sustenance. They lack the uniqueness of other races in origin, again supporting the fact that The Mortal Gods couldn’t match the eloquence of The Primordials.
Occasionally, one may discover evidence that people they feel they once knew have gone missing entirely – even from the memories of those around them. Extra bedrooms in houses with toys, traveling merchants traveling with enough supplies to last a day, but run out before they reach the town they thought they were heading for, empty seats at dinner tables. Oftentimes these stories go untold, but sometimes they are whispered from ear-to-ear and make their way to the rulers, who quickly work to correct the rumor, lest it turn out to be true.