In this instalment of Forgotten Lore, we’re taking a deep-dive into an historically important character whose presence has an impact in both versions of RuneScape. Today, we discuss the tragic backstory of Baxtorian Cadarn.
Image credit: OSRS Wiki – RuneScape Wiki
During the God Wars, Baxtorian was the leader of the Cadarn Clan. Their goddess, Seren, had placed the safety of her elves above all else, and so she was not a major participant in the war. Despite this, the Galarpos mountains, which separates the elven lands of Tiranwwn from the modern-day kingdom of Kandarin, saw incursions of enemies that tried to make their way to the elven lands. Baxtorian, as the elder of the most powerful military clan, led the elven defence and fended off these incursions. At the end of God Wars, even though Seren had not really participated in them, Guthix ordered Seren to leave Gielinor alongside all of the other Gods. Instead, Seren decided to shatter herself, so that she might remain close to her elves.
Seren’s shattering was a shock to the elven society. Before her shattering, Seren had appointed Baxtorian and his wife Glarial to lead the elves in her stead. Baxtorian and Glarial took up the mantle of king and queen, and under their rule, elven society eventually stabilized. Aiming to restore ties with the rest of the world, Baxtorian led some of his elves through the recently constructed Arandar mountain pass, and they established an elven kingdom on the other side of the Galarpos mountains.
Under Baxtorian and Glarial’s rule, this new kingdom flourished. The expansion’ success was made possible through several non-aggression pacts that Baxtorian had negotiated with the local humans and gnomes, establishing the elven kingdom as a powerful and peaceful force. Only the ogres and goblins in the Feldip Hills, due to their engagement in a civil war following the banishment of Bandos, did not make such a pact with Baxtorian and his elves. For almost two millennia, this kingdom stood and its influence and power only grew, until one faithful day when the Arandar pass was closed off, and all communications with the elves in Tiranwwn ceased. The only other way to reach the elven lands was through an old complex of tunnels known as the Underground Pass, and so Baxtorian sent a group of scouts through the Underground Pass to discovered what had transpired in Tiranwwn.
Only one of the scouts returned to Baxtorian, with terrible news: the Iorwerth clan had orchestrated a violent and extremely bloody takeover of the elven capital of Prifddinas. Their motivation for this takeover was multi-faceted. On the surface, it looked like the Iorwerth clan had just used the absence of the Cadarn military, which over time had largely moved to Baxtorian’s kingdom in the east, to take over the city in a show of force. They wanted to prove their strength to the other elven clans, and step out of the shadow cast by the more powerful Cadarn military. However, it was revealed in the Old School RuneScape quest Song of the Elves that there were ulterior motives at play. The son of Lady Iorwerth had broken one of the seals in the Grand Library of Prifddinas, discovering that Seren had locked a fragment of herself away in the Temple of Light. Believing this fragment to be the crystalline Goddess herself, he became obsessed with finding the fragment and releasing it. When his mother expressed her reluctance to engage in his plans, he killed her and became the new Lord Iorwerth. Violently taking over Prifddinas and plunging the elven race into a civil war was the first step in his plan to find the fragment.
Upon hearing the news, Baxtorian handed his wife Glarial the reigns to his kingdom, and he led a five-year military campaign into Tiranwwn to reclaim Prifddinas. Baxtorian and the Cadarn clan besieged Prifddinas, but the city’s crystalline walls – constructed by Seren herself to defend against attacks from the gods – proved to be insurmountable. The tide of the war only turned when the Cadarn forced discovered a secret entrance into the city. The Cadarn elves devised a plan to rescue the clan elders from the city, after which they could sing the city back into its seed form. The night before the rescue missions were planned to start, Baxtorian received devastating news: during his lengthy absence, the human kingdoms in the east had grown considerably in power, and his kingdom was facing collapse. Intent to return east as soon as possible, but knowing his military operation in Prifddinas had to succeed first, Baxtorian remained in Tiranwwn. Their rescue missions took weeks to execute, but they were ultimately successful. Baxtorian and the other elders reverted the city to its seed form. Baxtorian ordered the other elders to go into hiding, and he retreated his troops through the Underground Pass, back to what remained of his kingdom in the east.
Unfortunately, nothing much had remained of his kingdom. Frequent human invasions had torn the kingdom to shreds, and queen Glarial had disappeared. Tragically, it is believed nowadays that the elven kingdom could have withstood these invasions under the strong military leadership of Baxtorian. However, Baxtorian was consumed with grief, and focused his efforts into finding his wife Glarial instead. By the time Baxtorian accepted that Glarial had likely been killed, his kingdom was beyond saving. The elves retreated west, back to Tiranwwn. Baxtorian, riddled with grief and guilt over the loss of Glarial, buried himself in their home underneath the waterfalls known today as the Baxtorian falls, hoping that Glarial had miraculously survived and would someday return to him there.