DURUTHILHOTEP, the Adamant Will

 

Third of the Demiurges, otherwise known as ‘the Bringer of Light’, ‘the Mortal’, and ‘the Adamant Will’.

     Appearance: depicted as sexless in the Mythologia Elyden, Duruthilhotep has pallid skin with pale blue mottling along its back and arms. Its face is long and is devoid of human features, save two large blue eyes, in which observers once claimed to see the night sky. 

     Behind its cloaked back are three disembodied angular objects, commonly referred to as wings; one above each shoulder and another behind its head, which were thought to be foci for its shaping. Its hands each have two fingers and two thumbs – a trait that is shared with its children, the ifirmians.

     Duruthilhotep was always depicted carrying a simple reflective metal staff that is topped by its sigil that glows in a warm light.

 

     Characteristics: Duruthilhotep was one of the few Demiurges to accept their loss of divinity, reasoning that past events could not be changed and that it was better to move on and embrace its new life. It became a willing leader and tutor to the ifirmians, and the tribe flourished under its aegis. It mentored all scions it sired and educated its mortal subordinates, who shared their knowledge amongst the tribe.

 

     Other Forms: Duruthilhotep would often disguise itself as a humanoid of androgynous featured during its travels around Elyden, and would live amongst mortals whilst studying their Firmamental customs.

 

     Children: the ifirmians, more commonly known as immortals, became guardians of the Meniscus and were a policing force in what is now the continent of Meniscea, helping to keep order. They remain in small numbers, guarding sites of Firmamental importance.

     Some ancient apocryphal texts say that the ifirmians were given the option of becoming true immortals due to their exemplary actions in Elyden, though chose instead to remain mortal. The truth of this is unknown, and the story is likely false.

     Known Scions: Havelra, who rebuilt the Meniscus at the end of the Fourth Age; Khamar, who brought knowledge of the Firmament to the west; and Vualsaura, the cameliform, of whom little is known.

     History: Duruthilhotep was one of few amongst the Two-and-Twenty to be accepting of the Demiurges’ punishment by The Shaper, regardless of whose fault it was and whether the punishment befitted the ‘crime’.

It saw the entrusting of the ifirmians to its care as a gift and a means of proving itself in the wake of the Demiurges’ defacing of Elyden and became a generous leader, allowing the tribe to become one of the most powerful and influential in Elyden.

     Despite its acceptance of the Demiurges fate, Duruthilhotep still felt the urge to shape the material realm. Knowing better than to shape the natural world, Duruthilhotep instead constructed monuments to honour The Shaper, as well as structures to aid the ifirmians. Yet something still felt missing.

     Leaving its scions to oversee the ifirmians, Duruthilhotep travelled the world as a mortal would, seeing it from an entirely new perspective. It understood then that despite the beauty of what the Demiurges had wrought, the material realm was an imperfect one due to their actions.

     It wanted to change that and began studying the nature of shaping, learning eventually the secrets of the Firmamentism, sharing this knowledge with some other Demiurges (Nyarloth, Allaishada, and Vorropohaiah, amongst others) and its scions, who disseminated it amongst the ifirmians and the rest of the world, where it took on different forms amongst different cultures. 

     Soon after this Duruthilhotep was called to a conclave where the Demiurges met and discussed what had happened to them. Eventually they came to a decision – they would construct a machine, referred to as the Bridge of Worlds, that would bring them back into contact with The Shaper. Duruthilhotep was ambivalent to this scheme, secretly fearing what the repercussions may be. However, Allaishada spoke with it and Rachanael, saying that their knowledge of the two facets of the Materia Omna were essential to the crafting of this bridge. Begrudgingly, Duruthilhotep agreed to help.

     Construction was thwarted by Talantehut and Arimaspi, and the Demiurges that were involved were weakened in punishment.

     This further loss of power invoked a change in Duruthilhotep, who became insular, and weary of the Demiurges’ seemingly irrational obsession with changing things. It renounced its divinity and assumed the title of Mortal, vowing to no longer use its innate powers of creation. The other mortal races came to regard the ifirmians with contempt due to this and the tribe would diminish following Duruthilhotep’s decision.

Duruthilhotep remained powerful and lived longer than any mortal could ever dream to, and used this time to further study the Firmament.

     As its sibling Rachanael corrupted the Atramenta to suit its purposes and amassed great armies, Duruthilhotep found the Firmament growing steadily weaker and sent its disciples out into the world to study the actions of Rachanael and his lieutenants. It was during this time that Rachanael ascended to become Umbávar – the first Avatar of Shadow.

     Duruthilhotep found causation in the correlation and set about trying to thwart the actions of Rachanael. It informed Allaishada and imparted some of its power upon her, even as it busied itself trying to find a way to nullify the Atramenta’s waxing power.

     Working with Synchthonith, it devised a natural engine – known as the Meniscus – that would serve as an amplifier to the Firmament. Its construction was a monumental feat and cost both Duruthilhotep and Synchthonith a great deal of their strength. Talantehut observed as they worked, critical yet not disapproving of their efforts. They were ultimately successful, but were severely drained by the effort.

     A balance was restored between the Firmament and the Atramenta, though Rachanael remained a force of destruction upon Elyden. However, it was soon evident that the creation of Meniscus was affecting the natural laws in the land around it. The land changed. The light around the Meniscus became harsh and those who sojourned there would find their organs and bodies turned to stone. On a larger scale, the land itself underwent a change, literally peeling upwards, like pages of an open book being lifted by invisible hands in the direction of the Meniscus.

     This caused chaos greater than the armies of Rachanael had ever achieved in that part of the world.

Duruthilhotep remembered its vow to stop trying to change the world and realised it had failed, causing more harm than good.

     In a great ritual that shook the world and almost consumed it entirely, it excised what divinity The Shaper had not yet taken from it, and used it to stabilise the Meniscus, which after that time became known as the True Meniscus. The continent of Meniscea slowly returned to normal, though it was not fully repaired and parts of it retained their gravity-defying appearance.

     It was in that act that Duruthilhotep realised that the Demiurges were no more divine than the mortals who serve them. They were more powerful, by could die. Finally accepting of its true nature, Duruthilhotep spent the rest of its days as an itinerant, studying the Firmament wherever it went.

     Its tribe faltered without the aegis of a Demiurges, and dwindled. The ifirmian empire fractured into dozens of factions, each centred around a monument crafted by Duruthilhotep, or features of importance to the Firmament. Over time most of these would disappear until only a few remain today, hidden in the continent of Meniscea.

     Sigil: Aah.

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©2018 by Nate Mangion