Animator Lore

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8 And so, when the great Treason of the Elves had been broken and the Wild Beasts tamed, the All-Father turned His back on them, and wandered far into the wilds of the North. 9 At last He came to a gentle valley, wherein He found a river of pure, cold water. 10 The All-Father looked upon the valley, and found it good, and did sing a great song, as He had sung at the beginning of the World. 11 And as He sang, His strong hands dug into the clay of the river, and the All-Father piled a great heap of earth and stone in the center of the Valley. 12 Then the All-Father, Crafter and Creator, worked long and hard, fashioning His greatest children, as had been foretold. 13 And grim grew His song, and all the threads of the Great Tapestry groaned as the All-Father pulled the power of fire and earth, air, water and spirit into His creations. 14 The skies rumbled with thunder, and the earth shook, and the seas rose in all their fury, vying with the rocks for mastery of the World. 15 And thus the Giants quaked and wept with fear, and the Elves were afraid, and only the Centaurs of the Vast Plains rejoiced, for they knew that the birth of the All-Father's greatest children was at hand. 16 At last the work was finished, and the All-Father's crafting ended. 17 There before Him stood seven Men and six Women, perfect, fashioned of clay transformed to flesh and life by the power of His craft. 18 So was the All-Father's great design at last accomplished, for from these thirteen would spring all the Sons of Men, and all the World would be theirs.

- The Book of Staves, Chapter 12, verses 8 to 18

Of all the Arcane arts, the most mysterious is Animation, or "the Crafting." Elvish masters frown upon this science, and group it with the so-called "Lesser Arts," though the Dwarves and the Sons of Men hold it as sacred. Through Animation a Channeler can impart motion, intent, and even thought into a statue carved of stone or clay, imitating in lesser fashion the means by which the All-Father fashioned His children at the beginning of the Age of Days. Mastery of this discipline allows a Channeler to create a murgolem, or Stone Familiar, a statue of stone and earth which acquires form, movement, and even some autonomy through the Art and Will of the shaper.

Well known to the sons of Man in ancient times, the great War of the Scourge destroyed the practice of Animation, along with so much of the grandeur of the Elder Days. The depredations of Chaos ensured that the Art of Crafting was lost to men for many centuries. Indeed, the secrets of Animation have only recently been rediscovered, and Human Animators have at only taken up their chisels again in the days since the Turning.

It was the Dwarves who kept the knowledge of Animation alive, and they have ever shown the great aptitude for it. Legends whisper that a lone Dwarf, Therron Bellowstone, crept to the edge of the Valley of Creation and watched the All-Father craft the first men. Therron alone had the courage and fortitude to endure the storms that heralded the creation of Time, and he took the knowledge of Animation back to his people. While little of his works remains in these dark days, Therron Bellowsstone is widely regarded as the greatest Crafter who has ever lived, and is revered in song and story as the companion to the legendary Dwarf hero and thane Arak Helmsplitter. His greatest creation is the Colossus, a massive giant made of Stone carved from the face of an ancient mountain, a murgolem that took 200 years for the master to complete. While the Colossus has not moved in a thousand years, it still stands guard over the lost Dwarven city of Grimbord to this day, a foreboding reminder of the powerful Arts wielded in the Age before our own.

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