Transcript of Colossi & the time of colossi
Seiryu. Typhon. Araxxi. The Valluta. Ur-Det. Loarnab. Fiara. The names of legendary beings who bestride this world, both figuratively and, for those with legs, quite literally. But other than their size, what do these great creatures have in common? To answer that question, we must look to the distant past.
It is conventional to record history from the beginning of the First Age, when Guthix first set foot on the surface of Gielinor, give or take a few years. But though this is the beginning of continuous recorded history, it is not the beginning of our world.
Before Guthix set foot on Gielinor and ushered in what we call the First Age, Gielinor was an unspoilt, arboreal paradise. The dragonkin, who in times past had wrought destruction on its surface were long sleeping, and no other mortal race yet walked upon it. That is not to say for a moment that Gielinor was peaceful, for giants walked those forests. I call this period the Time of Colossi.
To understand the nature and origin of the colossi, one must first understand the runescape. The runescape is my term for the anima (magical energy) field that surrounds our world. The dragonkin called it the 'animasphere', and I believe it is what the gnomes are inexpertly and superstitiously trying to grasp with their notion of a 'world soul'. The word runescape to me better captures the awe and majesty of this phenomenon - you could say it has a nice ring to it.
The purpose and origin of the runescape is a matter for another document, but suffice to say here that it is the source of all magical power and energy. It is also highly chaotic - an invisible storm that rages all around us. The currents and eddies of this storm form areas that are stronger or weaker in magic - in some cases, much stronger. The areas strongest in magic are called nexuses, which can be permanent or temporary, mobile or immobile.
In the present day, the constant drain on the runescape by all manner of gods and wizards and magical beings ensures that it cannot get too far out of control, but during the period before the Time of Colossi there were no such forces. The nexuses grew and grew in power until something extraordinary happened - nearby animals became so infused with anima that they spontaneously ascended to something resembling godhood.
There is no record of how many of these beings existed prior to the First Age, but they must have numbered in the dozens, or perhaps even the hundreds. I do not believe that during this period any of these beings could exceed the animal intelligence they were born with. One assumes that they spent their time battling each other and preying on mortal animals. As gods (or at least god-like divine beings) the colossi have no need of material sustenance, subsisting instead on the energy of the runescape, but I doubt they were able to control their instincts.
It is into this titan-dominated landscape that Guthix arrived. Always it was Guthix's way to try to live in harmony, and only when one of the more bestial colossi threatened his people would he act against them. For the most part there must have been peaceful interaction, for as we know the mortal races survived and thrived, and many of the colossi survived through at least the first half of the First Age.
The second half of the First Age, part two if you will, began when Guthix, satisfied with the civilisation he had created, passed into slumber. The mortals, especially the humans, continued to flourish, but something was happening to the colossi. The presence of sapient, sentient life must have irrevocably altered the runescape, and as the colossi absorbed this new, resonant anima they began in turn to develop intelligence of their own - to highly varying degrees.
Along with other gods who arrived on Gielinor at this time, some of the animal-colossi began to develop worshippers and followings. We have evidence that at least the centipede-colossus Fiara, the hydra-colossus Loarnab and the unicorn-colossus Hippophobos had such followers. The humans, of course, were eager to prostrate themselves before any powerful beings, and soon the surface was a patchwork of fiefdoms belonging to various entities.
Gods and colossi alike discovered many ways to increase their power - control of the land itself, control (and bloody sacrifice) of worshippers, control of nexuses (no longer powerful enough to create new colossi, but potent sources of anima nonetheless) and most terrible, stealing the power of another by slaying them.
The late First Age became a battleground, albeit a relatively tame one compared with the widespread carnage that would come later in history. Gods and colossi stole power from one another and gradually their territories expanded. It was during this time that Saradomin first came to prominence, and into this complex situation that Zaros arrived, ushering in the Second Age.
In the present only a handful of colossi still survive - beings of incredible age and, for the most part, intelligence. There are two major groups, and a handful of independent creatures, such as Araxxi who once terrorised the vampyres of Morytania, Thalassus and of course Skorpios about whom no more needs be said.
The first of the major groups are the Guardians of Guthix, or at least some of them. Fiara and Valluta are colossi who must have been on good terms with Guthix early in the First Age, developed into intelligence, and then survived the conquests of the Second and Third ages. As Juna tells it, when Guthix awoke and rediscovered some of these ancient creatures were still alive, he recruited them as his lieutenants and assigned them responsibilities. Juna herself is not a colossus as far as I can determine, but rather a being whose origins lie on another world.
The second group are the Wushanko Guardians, a group of colossi who are little known on the mainland. They originate from an island known as Kami-shima, a powerful nexus which created many colossi before the First Age. The story as I have been able to piece it together is that four of these creatures, exploring their identities and newfound intelligence, identified themselves with the myths of the humans living nearby and took on the role of elemental guardians as a way to find purpose in their divinity and intelligence.