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Exploring Lore - Understanding the Story Behind Aion

Updated Fri, Aug 07, 2009 by Shayalyn

Most gamers who have an interest in Aion know the basics--Aion is a game that pits angel-like beings against demon-like beings in a post-cataclysmic fantasy realm. But a deeper understanding of the game world you're about to inhabit can lead to a richer experience, especially in a game with lore as compelling as Aion's. We've prepared a summary that wraps everything you need to know about Aion into a tidy nutshell.

But before we go anywhere, let's clear up one simple issue that plagues many a gamer trying to talk about the game with friends face-to-face: how the heck do you say "Aion?" Our good friends at NCSoft tell us that it is pronounced EYE-ahn. We'll give you other pronunciation clues as we lead you through the story of Aion. Let's proceed.

You Are HERE: The Lore Behind Key Locations in Aion

Where in the world are you when you begin your journey in Aion, and what's the story behind the landscape?

When the Tower of Eternity shattered, it divided Atreia in two.

The first thing you should know is that the game's name does not refer to the virtual world you've entered--Aion is not a place; Aion is the deity who created the place. With that in mind, let's get to know some important locales.

Atreia (Uh-TRAY-uh) is a hollow world created by the god, Aion. Atreia's two halves were connected by The Tower of Eternity, a massive structure embued with Aether, Aion's life essence. During a great battle (more on this later), the Tower was destroyed, breaking the connection that held Atreia together, and causing the world to shatter. The event became known as The Great Cataclysm.

Atreia divided into two parts during the Cataclysm. The lower half of the world became known as Elysea (El-LIH-see-ya), a lush paradise touched by the sun's light. The area above, which became known as Asmodae (Az-moh-DAY), wasn't nearly as fortunate--the cruel landscape is without sun, and without mercy. The human inhabitants of Elysea became the angel-like Elyos (EL-ee-yohs). The survivors in Asmodae evolved differently, and became the demon-like Asmodians (Az-MOH-dee-anz). Neither race is innately good or evil, but they do have vastly different opinions and perspectives.

Between the two halves of the shattered planet of Atreia lies The Abyss, the hellish rift that separates Elysea and Asmodae. A harsh place, The Abyss is a contested area made up of the shattered pieces of the planet. The Abyss is available for exploration only after level 25. Not surprisingly, The Abyss is Aion's PvP realm.

What's Going On Here? - The Story of Atreia

When Aion created Atreia and the humans who would inhabit it, he also put in place fearsome and powerful guardians known as Drakan. As the Drakan grew in number, they became confident and defiant, as well as more organized and filled with a desire for power. Ancient lore suggests that the Drakan discovered a source of power from beyond Atreia, and five of them rose to positions of dominion over the others. These five, called the Dragon Lords, renamed themselves and their kind the Balaur (Bah-LURE). The Balaur, having grown so much in power and ability that they appeared as a new species, set about systematically extinguishing life on Atreia. Eventually, when he denied them the same powers he possessed, they turned on Aion and threatened to destroy the Tower of Eternity.

Seeing his creation threatened, and the humans fighting bravely yet still unable to adequately defend themselves against the Balaur onslaught, Aion gathered 12 of  the most loyal humans and embued them with his life force, Aether, transforming them into beings known as the Empyrean Lords. Aion charged the Empyrean Lords with bringing down the Balaur and restoring peace to Atreia.

Aion placed an Aetheric Field around the Tower of Eternity. Since the Balaur drew power from a source beyond Atreia, the Aether was like their Kryptonite. Within the small Field,  the humans were able to restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives. Everything beyond the Field burned and the Millennium War, so named because it continued for over 1000 years, raged. The Empyrean Lords continued to hold off the Balaur, who were strong enough to retain control.

During that time period, some humans realized an innate ability to harness the power of Aether. Those who

The ascension of a human to Daeva is a glorious event for either race.

unlocked special abilities and grew in power became known as Daevas (DAY-vuhz)--immortal demigods who proved important forces in the Millennium War. The transformation of a human to a Daeva is known as Ascension.Daevas are capable of flight on large, angelic wings.  (If you haven't guessed it already, your character in Aion--whether Elyos or Asmodian--will recognize his power as a Daeva.)

Two of the 12 Empyrean Lords served as guardians of the Tower of Eternity--Lord Israphel and Lady Siel. Lord Israphel came to the conclusion that a peace negotiation with the Balaur was the only way to end the Millennium War. He believed that the mission of the Empyrean Lords was not to defeat the Balaur, but to protect Aion. Among the Empyrean Lords, Lord Azphel vehemently opposed the peace, while Lady Ariel firmly supported it. The proposition of a peace treaty caused division between  not only the Empyrean Lords but the Daevas, who fell in line behind either Lord Azphel in opposition of the treaty, or Lord Israphel and Lady Ariel in support of it.

During a fateful meeting of the Empyrean Lords, Lady Siel finally sided with Lord Israphel in support of the peace treaty. As guardians of the Tower of Eternity, Israphel and Siel had authority over the other Empyrean Lords. The treaty with the Balaur was to commence.

Before long, the peace conference between the Empyrean Lords and the Balaur began. The Aetheric Field was lowered to permit the Dragon Lords into the Tower of Eternity. But, of course, things would not go smoothly (do they ever?). Those opposed to peace assassinated one of the Dragon Lords, and chaos erupted. Furious, the Balaur attacked, and in the confusion and carnage the guardians of the Tower, Israphel and Siel, failed to raise the Aetheric Field in defense. The Tower was splintered in the attack.

Lord Israphel directed Lord Azphel and his legions toward the northern base of the Tower, while Lady Siel and Lady Ariel took theirs to the south. Both sides worked to hold the Tower, but they were not successful and the tower was shattered. Lord Israphel and Lady Siel sacrificed their lives in the battle, draining their bodies of Aether long enough to shore up the Aetheric Field and get their people to safety. Even so, millions died in the event which became known as The Great Cataclysm. Atreia was divided into two halves--the half to the north (the upper half) was plunged into darkness, while the half to the south remained lit by a nearby star.

The five Empyrean Lords who had been sent to protect the north were renamed The Shedim Lords. The survivors regrouped, and their struggle to adapt to their new surroundings began. Over hundreds of years, they evolved to adjust to the darkness--their skin grew paler, and their bodies grew hardier and more cold resistant, while their feet turned to claws to withstand the harsh terrain, and their hands to talons to survive the hostile environment. Their land became Asmodae, and their people Asmodians.

Those in the southern half of Atreia were more fortunate. With a star to light their world, their land became

Not exactly a hospitable looking place, is it?

abundant and their people vigorous and beautiful. The five Empyrean Lords who remained in the south were renamed Seraphim Lords. The land became Elysea, and its people Elyos. The Elyos believed that they were blessed as Aion's chosen.

Neither of the separated worlds knew of the other's existence until a mysterious phenomenon opened portals around Elysea, and a band of Elyos Daevas ventured into them to discover Asmodae and the Asmodians. The Asmodians demanded that the Elyos accept blame for the Cataclysm and renounce their foolish leaders. The proud Elyos refused, and violence erupted, with both sides suffering losses.

Both the Elyos and the Asmodians learned that their worlds were bleeding Aether into the void between the two shattered stumps of The Tower of Eternity--a forbidding world filled with floating rock platforms and, to both sides' horror, Balaur. The expanse between the Elysea and Asmodae became known as The Abyss. The divided races came to believe that The Abyss was absorbing Aether because of a resonance between the two remaining shards of the tower--Asmodae and Elysea. Each side determined that the only means to preserve their own world was to end this resonance by destroying the other world and its inhabitants, thus closing The Abyss forever.

Read on to discover what it's like to view life through Asmodian eyes, or Elyos eyes.
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