The oldest of religious myths will tell that the Primordials created the raw substance of reality, while the gods gave it form. Some would debate these teachings, but they serve well enough for most mythologies. At some point, the Primordials struck at the gods, beginning the Dawn War. The gods were eventually victorious, though only because a number of primordials saw the destruction that was imminent and aided the gods in imprisoning or killing the worst of their brethren (these “wise” primordials are called the Xel’Naga, and afterwards they went off to find their own new world).

Many average people don’t even really know what a “primordial” is, if you ask them. They might think they’re things that make elementals, or maybe they have something to do with cults, or maybe they’re servants of the gods, but most people will just stare at you blankly. The information contained here is attainable to those who have engaged in extensive religious and/or arcane studies. Some of this information may be incomplete, but as the church of Ioun says, “A little Knowledge is better than a lot of surprise.”

While most primordial were killed or imprisoned in the Dawn War, there are still a bunch of proto-primordial, known as the “Elemental Princes”, who wield a portion of the primordials’ power throughout the Elemental Chaos.

Balcoth, the Groaning King

Though many call him the father of fire titans, Balcoth was not enticed to the front lines of the Dawn War when the battles raged hottest. Instead, he felt he had ascended, mastering arcane magics and rituals. Remaining hidden, he would create arcane gateways of escape for primordials on the verge of defeat, and stole the knowledge and magics of many gods as they died, growing in power. However, he could not master the power of soul creation, and found himself fascinated by the minds and souls of men. The gods soon learned Balcoth’s role in the war, and sought to destroy him. However, Balcoth was tricky, and convinced other primordials to capture a fledgling god of shadows for him. From that god’s flesh, he crafted a mask to hide his form. Thus hidden (even though his magic was so great that reality often groaned around him), Balcoth continued to serve behind-the-scenes in the Dawn War.

Knowing that they could not find him, the gods conspired to draw him out. They gathered the most intriguing minds and powerful souls of all their followers to use as bait. When Balcoth arrived to try to twist and understand their minds, the gods struck. Bane beheaded the primordial, while Moradin forged a dungeon deep in the earth, and Dumathoin hid the dungeon. Melora banished his still-thrashing body out of the Prime Material world, while the new goddess Tiamat imbued the body with contradicting instructions and desires, dooming it to thrash about without direction. The new god Bahamut appointed some of his angelic dragons to guard the head, which was imprisoned at the bottom of Moradin’s dungeon.

However, it is believed that Balcoth will not remain trapped forever. His arcane powers are great enough that the beheading did not kill him. When he is calm, he can reach out to entice the minds of nearby mortals with his magical tricks. When he is in a rage, the earth shakes around him and fires spew from the mountains. However, since the time of the Great Cataclysm, no one has been able to verify that Bahamut’s angelic guards still stand vigilant. If anyone was to ever find the dungeon, it’s entirely possible that the head could be freed.

Bryakus, the Many-Headed

Also known as “The Great Maw”, Bryakus’ appetite was never sated, no matter how many angels he consumed. It was Kord who finally struck him down, though it is said that the spattering of the many-headed primordial’s blood is what spawned the first Hydras in the world. Kord cut this creature up into a thousand million pieces and scattered them across the multiverse, though occasionally cults of his will still attempt to find these pieces and reunite them, hoping to resurrect this primordial of hunger and gorging devastation.

Castanamir, the Shattered Khan

A brilliant tactician and master of trickery and manipulation, it was Castanamir who lured Io into the Dawn War, and tricked him into leaving himself open to Erek-Hus’s axe, which killed the dragon god. Of course, the “trick” involved making Io rip into Castanamir with his mighty jaw and throw him to the earth, shattering him… so perhaps it wasn’t the best plan in the long run… though it did lead to Io’s defeat. There are still rumors of Rakshasha cults working for a creature they call “the Great Khan”, though, so perhaps even his death was not what it seemed.

Erek-Hus, the Terror King

A primordial of elemental fear, Erek-Hus existed and thrived on terror. The fear generated when he split the dragon god Io in twain was unbelievably massive, and the Terror King looked to perhaps be the leader that would crush the gods and rule over all primordials after that. However, two gods rose from Io’s corpse, Tiamat & Bahamut, and neither yet knew enough of the world to be afraid… they only remembered their progenitor’s desire to slay the Terror King. Unable to use their fear against them, Erek-Hus was vastly underpowered in his fight against the two new dragon gods, and he was soon ripped to shreds by the two of them, who consumed his essence that he might never return. It is said that this is the reason dragons have an unnatural aura of fear about them… because their gods have passed on some small vestige of Erek-Hus’s legacy to them.

The Forest Walker

This was the greatest primordial Melora defeated, though there are many rumors as to exactly how that happened. Most believe that Melora devoured the Forest Walker, but some sages claim that the Forest Walker become Melora in that process. That’s silly, because Melora is obviously a god of good and not a primordial seeking to destroy the world… but sometimes even druids will question why the power of Nature is being so destructive. It’s enough to make one wonder…

Haemnathuum, The Blood Lord

Though this primordial of undeath perished in the dawn war, its corpse still floats silently upon the Astral Sea, decaying and rotting, attracting all sorts of immortal creatures that enjoy undeath. The gods cannot remove the corpse, so most have simply positioned their realms to be nowhere near it.

Iktha-Lau, the Ever Empty (Elemental princess)

The primordials did more than simply create the world. They hung it in space and set it in motion alongside the other celestial bodies that track across the heavens. The darkness of the void and the endless night surrounding the world is the realm of Iktha-Lau the Ever Empty, primordial of nothingness. It fell to her to clear away the raw chaos that made room for creation, and she resides still in the emptiness that is her legacy. An impassive observer, she
witnesses time’s passage from afar, her frozen heart unconcerned with and unmoved by the struggles she observes. Iktha-Lau is a remote power, and in her vastness of utter cold dwell the stars and the terrible creatures that take their shape.

Imix, the Eternal Flame

A Prince of Elemental power (an Archomental) that actually aided the Primordials during the Dawn War, Imix was imprisoned by the gods for his complicity. However, cults of his set up rituals to give Imix strength whenever volcanoes erupt in the prime material plane, and has been gorging on that power so that he can break free of his prison and burn the world. Imix is also able to reciprocate this power to his cultists, so that even among other elemental cults, his are known to be the strongest (or at least the most damaging). See also the Fire Benders from that Avatar show.

Miska, The Wolf Spider

Miska was chaos incarnate, sort of a Chaos Elemental, if such a thing could exist. Unfortunately, it also had the hunting instincts of a wolf spider, seeking out any prey that relied on law and devouring it. Legends say that law simply could not exist near Miska, and that anything that was ordered or stable would simply fall apart near it. A collection of seven gods came together to defeat Miska, though some of their names are lost. It is generally thought that one of those gods was Lolth, who was not yet known as the Spider Queen at that time. Each god poured their energy into an item of ultimate law that could exist in Miska’s presence, and used that item, rumored to be the famous Rod of Seven Parts, to defeat Miska and imprison it. Of course, the prison could not be stable and still hold Miska, so the gods devised a prison that would embody chaos itself, never existing in the same place, constantly travelling in random directions to random dimensions. The prison itself was said to feed off of Miska’s energy, a massive mountainous prison fueled by Miska’s own chaotic nature, both weakening and imprisoning it. Very brave bards will say that Lolth took her spider-essence from the battle with Miska, and she certainly became a goddess of chaos after that fight… which may be part of what caused the great split between her and the other elven deities. But as for Miska, none have heard or seen anything of the Wolf Spider since it was sealed away in its constantly shifting prison, randomly falling through the dimensions. That’s probably a good thing, all things considered.

Mual-Tar, The Thunder Serpent

During the Dawn War, Mual-Tar, a being of raw electrical and thunderous energy, claimed the skies and mountaintops, attacking the mountaintops of Moradin and the sun-facing shrines of Pelor. Finding themselves too weak to control the vicious thunder serpent, the two enlisted the help of the newly-created god Bahamut. Together, these three gods were able to reclaim the skies from Mual-Tar and chain it deep in the Elemental Chaos. There, in a remote plane of stone and desolation, they chained the Thunder Serpent with chains of raw sunlight, fastening them to the rock with 5 mithril spikes from Moradin’s own forge. And there it has lain ever since, eternally imprisoned… or so they thought. At the time of the Great Cataclysm, the energies released on the planet revurberated through the Elemental Chaos, and one of Mual-Tar’s spikes broke free. Though it is still contained, this troubling truth proves that the Gods’ victory was not as permanent as they would have liked.

Olhydra, Princess of Elemental Water

An Archomental that Melora defeated early on in the Dawn War, she now lies trapped in a fortress of living coral at the bottom of one of the bottomless oceans in the Elemental Chaos, unable to escape, though her thoughts do still pervert water elementals into evil creatures.

Solkara, The Crushing Wave

Solkara, the Crushing Wave, embodies the fury of the sea and the cold of its darkest depths. Her voice is the sound of wood and bone shattered by the strike of a tsunami.

As a creature that dominated the seas, Solkara came into frequent conflict with Melora, the goddess of all nature (including the seas). Yet try as she might, Melora could never defeat Solkara on her own. Much of this was due to Solkara’s trusted servant, Xixecal, the Living Glacier. While Solkara would strike at Melora, Xixecal would freeze and slow the Nature Goddess, leaving her open to the crushing attacks of the primordial. It took aide from Kord, god of Storms and Battle, to push back the glacier, leaving Solkara and Melora on somewhat more even ground. But Melora was all things in nature, while Solkara was just the fury. Melora could not hold back the crashing waves, and looked as if she would be destroyed in the battering tide. But it was her thought of tides that changed the fight. Sehanine, the Moon goddess, heard Melora’s thoughts of fear, and reached down to the battlefield, using the strength of the moon to hold back the Crushing Wave. Melora struck true, and the primordial was defeated. The gods could not kill Solkara, but they each took some of her power, and imprisoned her (and her lackey) in a continental ice shelf far off in the Elemental Chaos. And there she sleeps, unable to move, unable to crash, unable to express any fury at all. Her servant, Xixecal, slowly roams her surface, eternally searching for any crack in the ice, yet paradoxically fusing those cracks with his own blizzard aura as he looks for ways to free his mistress. It is said that Melora ceded some power to Umberlee after that battle, hoping that a separate Ocean goddess would be able to fight off further attacks better than one so broad as Melora… though it is also said that Umberlee absorbed some of Solkara’s fury as well.

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