The world is the gift of the gods, true enough. But I hold it equally true, brothers and sisters, that our world is the legacy of the Seven.

The Seven came as the dawn to that night of a hundred years and more, the terrible age of war and want our sages call the Third Darkness. They rode forgotten roads and sailed trackless seas to reopen the trade routes of the Gold Meridian—then blazed new trails, into lands that lay beyond the frontiers of living memory. They stoked the guttering candles of the embattled city-states into blazing points of light, setting them as jewels in a chain of gold and steel stretching from the cold forests of the north to the equatorial jungles.

A generation has passed now since the last of the Seven was seen by mortal eyes. Two fell in battle, one was slain by treachery, and one died for love. The others passed out of our knowing in less . . . conventional ways. The tales of their lives and deeds and deaths are our sacred inheritance for as long as stories are told and chronicles endure.

They left us, the Seven, with their victories incomplete. Outside our borders unfriendly armies yet muster. Ravenous beasts stalk our forests, bandits haunt the roads, and pirates infest the sea . Our fragile coalition of races, cultures, and religions is all too prone to corruption, strife, and apathy. Enemies we have too beyond the bounds of the world, and they are many: wicked gods plotting to rule our fate, primordials seeking to tear down the foundations of the world, and blasphemous spawn of the Far Realm insidiously corrupting reality itself.

Since the dawn of time this world, our home, has been the fulcrum of destiny: prize and battleground of god and demon and elemental lord. Ever have champions of mortal birth risen from among its peoples to heed fate’s call. Wielding blade and bow and spell, claiming friendship with beast, angel, and spirit they walked the path of their doom willingly, whether it led to glory or ruin.

The Seven were not the first such heroes, and my faith tells me they will not be the last. They gave us not victory, but opportunity. They did not hand us any guarantees of peace and freedom, but they showed us what courage and sacrifice can accomplish in pursuit of those goals.

Destiny calls each generation, brothers and sisters. Speak the truth, watch for the signs, be always listening for the voice of prophecy. Who knows whence the next heroes will arise?

—from an address to newly invested priests by Oranthus Blacke, Librarian Emeritus of the temple of Ioun in Tiramon. 17th of Stormmoon, Kings’year 698.

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