It is naive to think that war is the invention of mortals. When the world was born out of the darkness, so too was strife and conflict. The gods and the primordials raged against each other, seeking to establish control over the earth. The battle ebbed and flowed for countless millennia, the cycle of violence persisting endlessly. Eventually the earth herself raised a voice in protest.
The earth’s will took the form of primal spirits who sought to mediate between the two immortal forces. They set out to entreat the war’s two great champions to reach a compromise, lest they destroy the very territory they sought to occupy.
And so they traveled to the Astral Sea, to seek audience with Rhodan, the Crimson Colossus. The strongest warrior among the gods, Rhodan’s heart was moved by the earth’s plea and proposed that both the gods and the primordials kept to their respective domains, leaving the material world to the care of mortals and mortals alone.
The spirits that went to the Elemental Chaos were not met with such an amicable response: the primordials’ champion – the Grand Serpent Sthenys – would consider no such compromise. A brutal and arrogant being, the very suggestion that both sides simply abandon the war profoundly angered the giant snake. Sthenys immediately set out for the mortal world, clamoring for one final battle with his eternal rival.
Rhodan knew that the only way to end this conflict and preserve the earth was to finally destroy Sthenys in one decisive stroke. He leapt from the Astral Sea onto the earth. Reaching into the ocean, he drew his weapon – a giant blade made of ruby. As Sthenys approached, he gripped the hilt of his powerful sword, and charged.
It took Rhodan twelve paces to close the distance between himself and the Grand Serpent. With each step, the earth shook with his deific might, and the spirits granted him primal energy in exchange for this blessed hallowing. Filled with the land’s power, the Crimson Colossus decapitated Sthenys in a single blow, and the earth’s spirits filled the serpent’s body to trap its strength. The entity created in this battle now protects the earth as the most powerful of the primal spirits, the World Serpent.
After expending so much of his power to defeat Sthenys, Rhodan fell lifeless to the ground. His immortal energy began to flow into the earth, and with his last breath he blessed the earth. The twelve hallowed spots – the Twelve Paces of Rhodan – radiated with scarlet light, and the most worthy of the Crimson Colossus’s servants were entrusted to protect this land.
All were speechless, except for Rhodan’s favorite retainer, Kilborn. Tears streaming down the man’s rugged face, he lead the Crimson Army in a victory cry as he christened the new nation:
“Long Live Rhodanthus!”
—The Scarlet Tome, Ch.3 Verses 4-10