Tonight's Legends & Lore Show on LordGosumba - Twitch will be about the Flan, Druidism and the Old Faith, and I was going to bring up some of my take on the topic by trying to look at it from the Flan side of things so I wrote a short history piece, Greyhawk history seen from the Flan perspective.
The Flan, Flanaess seen from the Old Side
This is an attempt to write a short version of the history seen from the Flan perspective, it is normally told by the "victorious" Oerdian side.
The Flan have always been a people of faith, faith in themselves, their gods and their ability to defend themselves. When the Aerdy arrived in the Flanaess all that was going to be challenged and despite what most historians in the Flanaess have told you, that struggle is still not settled, far from it.
The faith of the Flan lives up to its name The Old Faith, because it roots are old, very old. Their devotion for Beory, their planet, Pelor their sun, Rao their wisdom and all the life Obad-Hai nurtured is legendary. Druids have guarded both the Flan people and all other life in their lands, in harmony with the Olves, Noniz and even Dwur since the day of the Ur-Flan. Existence isn’t always harmonious and sometimes interests collide, moral codes and tempers vary and in some cases faith in what is good and well wains. For the Flan this was seen as part of the natural cycle of life and death, growth and decay, and for this they worshipped another set of powers to help them through the dark times and to make sure that the Flan would always prevail in the end, no matter what.
This was the Dark Faith, a cabal of powers ready to bring even the worst aspects of the world into submission. Those among the Flan that was too greedy, prone to violence or just sinister enough to be shunned by their peers had in Flan society an outlet that made them useful and important, they were the ultimate guardians of the Flan, called to perform the duties no one else was morally or otherwise quipped to carry out, they were The Horned Ones, guardians of the Flan and the Dark Faith. When discussion, negotiation and even threats were not enough the Horned Ones heard the calling. The Dark Faith had a menagerie of powers just like the Old Faith, and to everyone knowledgeable of the Flanaess a familiar set it is, Incabulos to get them ready for their doom, Nerull to handle their death, Orcus to bring them beyond death, Zuggtmoy to get rid of even the worst remains, add in the demon Graz’zt to give the Flan motivation, strength and lust to make more Flan and a number of other demon lords including Demogorgon and Jubilex as a service to the most wicked parts of nature. This assured the Horned Ones would make the blood freeze in anyone who dared to opposed them and the Flan cause. A cabal of Dark Druids served these masters to keep the enemies of the Flan, both internal and external, at bay. When the age of the cataclysms entered, they were slowly and reluctantly called in by whispers among the Flan. Everyone knew the toll that came with calling for the Horned Ones, but as times became dire enough, the Horned Ones had to show what they were made of. First to rise was a young star of the Dark Faith that had mastered both the art of magic and later undeath, Vecna. He created a strong Flan bulwark, and nothing stood in his way to make the Flan the undisputed rulers of all their ancient lands and more. That was the credo of the times until he was betrayed by Kas and destroyed. The Flan was dealt a severe blow that would diminish them for an age. The good-hearted Flan adherents tried to negotiate with the other people of the Flanaess, both old and new and with some success. Together with the Olve and Noniz they managed to establish a state run by an order of Rao priests that have recruited among both newcomers and Flan for some time. Veluna became a haven for the Old as well as new faiths.
With the rise of the Malachite Throne, the Horned Ones took refuge in the north away from the onslaught of newcomers with new ideas, gods and enemies of the old. They bided their time and planned to strike at the heart of the new power that was hellbent in diminishing Flan traditions as well as the lords and ladies of the Flan courts in what has always been Flan lands.
The time came when even their best knights of the Great Kingdom became decadent and weak. A well-executed deception made the top echelon of the once valiant Knight Protectors the most powerful servants of the Horned Ones so far unleashed in the Flanaess, but to be sure of victory the Dark Order also added in the worst they could muster from their dark lords most wicked realms, Arendagrost, Maw of the Abyss. In this atrocious act they inadvertently helped the very power they were set to destroy, the fear that flew across the lands was so strong that it united everyone against them even the Druids and people of the brotherly Flan faith they were supposed to protect. A posse led by Sir Benedor defeated Arendagrost, assisted by every priest, mage and warrior brave enough to face it, including the druid brethren from the Adri, Grandwood Thelwood and surrounding lands. The direct strike at Rauxes was a failure but the Death Knights is a serious threat even to this day and the Malachite Throne never regained its former glory.
The western lands of the Aerdy gained their independence which also meant that they gained strength, both in political and military terms but also culturally and spiritually. The Old Faith and customs of the Flan was now seen as a thing of the past in large part of the world. The Dark Faith leaders had to find refuge far into the north, desperate for a new champion, someone strong, ruthless and ready to take the fight to the enemy. Graz’zt took on the mission to create a new hero for the Flan, and in the Witch Iggwilv he found the right might, blood and cunning for the mission. He willingly sacrificed some of his essence in return for Iggwilv’s eternal hatred as she was ravaged by the lust of Graz’zt. From this union of deception, violence and wrath came a son, a cambion that Graz’zt gave his advisor Lord Vuron to torture and indoctrinate from the very beginning to be filled of hatred and cunning and never to never give up. To make young Iuz good start he was given a small fief in a secure northly area with the title the Old One to made sure every Flan understood his ambitions. Young Iuz wasn’t taken seriously by anyone except the Dark Ones who had high hopes for the fledgling cambion who soon started to acquire some notoriety for cruelty and success in taking over neighboring realms.
After a promising start Iuz was captured by the enemy alongside other powers, both Flan and of other allegiances, and held in Zagyg’s Castle Greyhawk. To try and protect the holdings of their captured hero the Dark Ones scrambled and set up a protective state in the city of Molag run by the Hierarchs of the Horned Society, a name no Flan could mistake. Thanks to secret play by the Dark Ones agents, Iuz and the other power was later freed and once again ready to continue their important work to secure the future power of the Flan.
Iuz first offensive move after regaining his freedom was together with Zuggtmoy, to create a diversion in the south to try and make his nearby enemies look the other way while he was preparing his forces at home for his coming attacks. The Horned Society had played out its role and was abolished with wild scenes to give the impression that there was serious internal strife, which was not the case, the Horned Ones was just changing tactics back to the way they had conducted their grizzly business for centuries, in secret. This is when the plans of the Dark Faith derailed, when Iuz created a diversion using an impression of the god Vatun to lure the Stonefists to attack the very heart of Flan power, Tehn. What lays behind Iuz move few if any outside the court in Dorakaa knows, but in an instant the hero of the Flan had become the enemy. Flan power and culture was dealt one of the worst defeats in Flan history by a protegee devised to lead them to victory. The ranks of the Flan were in true disarray for years, and it gave Iuz the chance to keep advancing despite the lack of support from his old peers.
It took until the late 580’s CY for him to lose his momentum and new alliances could be formed to counter the threat. Again, it was the good side of the Old Faith who showed the way by building on the old, the alliances with their Rao brethren of Veluna and the Olve. With the diplomatic power of Mitrik and the newfound strength of the Olve, King Belvor and the new regent in Rel Mord was all aboard in joining forces to counter the threat of the Old One. A secret partner in this alliance is none other than the Horned Ones out to revenge the fall of Tehn. War and politics are strange and now fly the banners of Pelor, Rao, in the form of the Heart and the Shield against the Old One backed in secret by the Horned Ones of the Dark Faith is now hunting one of their own.