The Legend of Verona Red

Long ago a great war descended from the heavens, where bitter forgotten gods attempted a final cataclysmic culling of humanity. Torrential rains destroyed entire fields of crops, leading to widespread famine and forming floods that ravaged the countryside, and pestilence swept through the panicked populace. Four men courageously took a stand, defying the ancient gods that had condemned humanity to annihilation, and banished them from our mortal realm. Our world is their legacy, given freely by the four heroes after vanquishing the proud archaic gods. This is the legend of Verona Red.

The elder gods were cruel and despotic beings, demanding complete obeisance from their subjects. Human and animal sacrifices, exorbitant offerings and humble prayers were exacted from the cowering masses as the price for the creation of this world and the wonders within it. At one time, the gods had lived harmoniously with each other for eons numbering beyond the bounds of human comprehension. As an attempt to alleviate the monotony that perforce accompanies immortality, the gods began to create, and this was done on the canvas that became our world. One created the land, and the other gods marvelled at the elegance of the landscape. One created the sea, and they marvelled at its beauty and majesty. The forests, rivers, mountains, valleys and all manner of physical landmarks were made and each one was received with wonder and awe. From this came pride, and from pride came envy and spite.

In an effort to prove himself of higher worth than those around him, a god named Veronus created living beings to roam the earth which had been so meticulously crafted. The first creatures were small organisms but the praise given to Veros was so extravagant that he kept forming more complex creatures until he reached the peak of his abilities by creating the first humans. But he was so enamored with his own creation and ability that all the adulation given to him by the other gods was insufficient to appease his ego. He did something that he had not done with any of his other creatures - he gave them consciousness. After gifting them thusly, he descended from the heavens to the fear and dismay of humanity. Veronus told the assembly that they never need fear so long as they worship him absolutely and show due reverence. The other gods soon began interfering with this new world as well, the creator of the seas sinking ships, the creator of the pastures destroying crops until proper worship was given to the entire pantheon of gods that created the various aspects of the earth.

After centuries of worship out of fear, the gods began to become apathetic with their relationship to mankind. They seemed to view the centuries of worship as a vaguely amusing but ultimately trifling experience. Once their more direct influence on humans began to wane, temples fell into disrepair, rituals used to propitiate the gods were abandoned, and humanity began a more secular existence.

Veronus, however, had never viewed his relationship as creator and ultimate master over man as a dalliance. When the temples fell, he was wroth and his violent nature reminded the rest of the pantheon of their fall from grace in the eyes, minds and spirits of their followers. They acknowledged Veronus as their superior, their leader, and he began to foment dark thoughts of vengeance and injured pride within his subordinates. The gods inexorably worked themselves into a fervor, decrying the unrighteous faithlessness that had settled over humanity. And in their vengeful anger when these malevolent perceptions stirred their turbulent natures, they one and all deemed mankind unworthy of their beneficent creations and forthwith sentenced man to his doom.

A doom that, but for the courage of four strangers, each heroes of their own lands, but whose strength combined proved to overmatch even Veronus and the lesser gods, would have surely claimed the lives and souls of every member of the human race and destroyed the very world the gods had created in their fury.

To be continued... eventually