CONTENT 0. Introduction 1. Prelude 2. Introduction to the Worlds 2.1. Men 2.2. Wud 2.3. Haad 2.4. Erol 3. The First Interplanar War 3.1. Boundaries 3.2. Invasion of Haad 3.3. Retaliation of Haad 3.4. End of War 4. The Second Interplanar War 4.1. Infiltration of Erol 4.2. Purge of Erol 4.3. Renewal of worlds 5. The Third Interplanar War 5.1. Chaos 5.2. Final invasion and the battle of Klantia 5.3. Flight of Urnebesh and the battle of Ghania 5.4. Flight of Vermalion and the battle of Pandronia 5.5. End of an era 6. Interlude 7. Brixholm Contamination and the merging of worlds 7.1. New world and the menen 7.2. Gods and Planes 8. Rise of Elders & creation of Dominance 8.1. The brave new world 8.2. Rise of elders 8.3. Summoning of the avatars 8.4. The creation of Dominance. 8.5. The first fifty years 9. Dominance wars 9.1. Second Rite of Dominance 9.2. Third Rite of Dominance 9.3. Fourth Rite of Dominance 9.4. Fifth Rite of Dominance 10. Postlude Introduction *(rezi, ljepi, nije me briga sta ces s ovime) The author of this book is Ivo Elezovic (Therion), and this book has been written with a goal of it becoming the official Dominance history. Since by the time of it's writing there had been no such thing, you are free to accept whatever is written in these pages as the truth. But if you wish, you are (of course) free to write your own version of the entire history, noone will mind. Note that this book had nothing to do whatsoever with the admins - creators and designers of the game - and all of the ideas and events inside are completely superficial, coming from my mind and my mind alone. A thorough reader who is a veteran Dominance player will notice that there are some inconsistencies with the actual game. That being morphs from some creatures to some other. This was done deliberately, as in the actual game the morph chart is too much mixed up to let any good storyline be formed behind it. Again, I stress, if you are able to conjure something better, you are welcome to do so and without doubt people will love to see more Dominance fan fiction out there. Well, enough chatter, on with the story! Therion 1. Prelude I know who I am. I know I do exist. And I know there is nobody else. Knowing that time passes, and that I do not change, brings me boredom. I will create others, and bring some entertainment into my existence. There. I imagined a world. I will now create a single man upon it. And there he is, standing on the ground of his little world, waiting for my orders. Heh, he is so funny. I will now imagine an object, say, a chair, in front of him. I will make him touch it. I feel what he feels. He feels it is solid. Silly hu-man does not know he does not exist but in my mind, together with his world and his chair. But still, the chair is solid for him. Fool. I will create other people. And I will give them consciousness. There, they exist, they move, they think and feel. Now, let me observe what they do. They move around. They look at each other. I like watching them live in my mind. Like ants in an ant farm. But it may not be enough. I will now create more worlds. Different worlds. But with the same basic design. There, three more worlds in my mind, all with their different inhabitants. Let them live. Let them realize themselves. Let them communicate and interact. And when the time comes, I will bend these worlds into one. I will love to see them mingle. For even I do not know what they will do now that I have given them the gift of thought. And who knows, in time, I may even find a way to bring them out of my consciousness into my world. 2. Introduction to the worlds 2.1. Men Know that is the year 17999 A.C. My name is Therion, I am a human cleric of the third order, and these are my pages of Dominance history. My task was to compile all available data on the history of our world - it's creation, happenings in the ancient past (before the Contamination), all to the current time - and to put it all in a chronological order into a volume that finally makes some sense. I have done so, I have all that knowledge and I will try to present it to you in the only reasonable way - covered by facts. You most probably have heard many stories in your youth about heroes and deeds in the ancient history, that are told from generation to generation, but unfortunately most of them are fabricated. Or have been twisted in time so much that they have no connection at all with the original happenings, except in the names of the heroes. In these pages all will be explained in details. Only the truth, and no myths. I will start this book, the Dominance history compilation, with the first thing that we know of. There was a beginning. And a very abrupt one, or so it seems. The archeological sites that we worked on have proved that life existed on this world about 28 thousand years ago. The ruins and bones and many wooden artifacts imply that the life and civilizations existed in the past, to the point of, as I said, 28 thousand years. But note one frightening thing. There are no ruins or anything at all that would indicate life before that. So it is reasonable to assume that either there WAS nothing before, or that it was all erased by some extremely powerful spell. Whichever choice you prefer here, it will make no difference, this book will start at the beginning that we know of, and will not go further. It could, but then it would be based on hypotheses' and rumors, and that is something I will not allow here. At least, not formally. We now live in the world of Men, as you know of course, that is inhabited by four different basic species, the Menar Um, the Wudar, the Erolek and the Haadar. Of those four species only Menar Um are somewhat indigenous to this world, and the first presence of other species dates to approximately 2300 B.C., before the time period we clerics refer to as the Brixholm Contamination. The year is around 9800 B.C., but we shall approximate it to 10000 B.C. (Before Contamination), and the first Men have risen. We do not know how or where did they come from, but we do know that in the beginning they were all very similar in appearance, that there was about 3 million of them, that their numbers have had been divided equally between male and female, and that they were very much unlike us today. Both in mind and body. They were about five feet tall, had two arms (!), two legs, one head with two eyes (only two, yes) and had facial hair. In other physical attributes they were much alike us today, but weaker and thinner. Considering their mind, their way of thinking was different. We can not describe what it was like since they were are all gone by 0 A.C., but what we do know is that their behavior varied much from ours at this time. This book will at least try to explain it, amongst other things. They lived in houses that were built on the ground, which at first were made of wood, and in the centuries that followed they used other materials, like stone, metal, and glass. They talked with their mouths, just like Erolek and Haadar species do. The language that was most commonly used was that of Enochian, and unfortunately we recovered only fragments of their literature so the full aspects of their vocabulary are still unknown to us. The texts that are dug up at the ruins of the ancient city of Pandra, describe their standard life patterns. Here is the list of some interesting facts. They were day creatures; their eyesight was adapted to allow them to see clearly during the day, and dimly during the night. They definitely needed some light source in order to see anything, poor creatures. No night vision whatsoever was ever noticed in the documents we found. Furthermore, they could see colors much more clearly than we do now. They vision was so refined they could recognize millions of different colors during the day. That fact was the most probable reason they endured in nowadays-dubious efforts of creating visual art. The lifestyle of a standard Man was that of a peasant. Not that it changed much to today. They developed agriculture, which ensured the constant food supply, and did not do much except that. However, in the more developed areas, namely towns and much later the metropolises, the work force was not solely intent on agriculture, but another more social tasks as well, namely politics, economy, education, art and so on. Some of their practices have been imprinted deeply into our society, and some of their inventions are used today as well. They were unaccustomed to war, as the war seems to be a complete unknown to them. Furthermore, although magic potential was apparent on all four worlds, the Men never used it. We are not sure weather they did not want to or were unaware of it. I assume they simply did not know it existed; otherwise they would be a very silly race. Throughout the Men ancient history, although there were no wars whatsoever, Men often participated in different kinds of competitions. Of those competitions only a few are relevant or interesting to us today, those being the sport tournaments. They have competed against each other in various forms of body practices, but note that there was never any indication of fighting skills, most probably because those could be potentially dangerous and besides, the Men civilization in those days never had any reason or need to practice the war skills. Other competitions most often were the ones, which included creating various art objects, or tests of knowledge. As I said, nothing relevant to us today. From the year 10000 B.C. to the year 4000 B.C. the Men civilization was forged, almost immediately united, and was developing without any noticeable problems. By the year 3000 B.C., there were about 15 major urban metropolises (besides numerous towns), 3 on the continent of Pandronia, 7 on the continent of Klantia, 4 on the continent of Gharia and one on the isle of Mantras. The government which ruled the entire world switched every fifty years from one metropolis to another, so that in time every major city had a chance to do what they felt was the right move for the further development. Unity like this was never recorded on any other world, or in any other time. The world of Men was in a state of constant Utopia. The reason for this may lay in something that we are very familiar today, a specific mind process, which allows people to "see" things with other senses beside their eyes. We call it the Awareness ability today, but the fact is that the ancient Men had this power in much stronger form. They were not only able to see objects, but to "see" other people as well. They could effectively read other people's emotions, so they could instantly know if someone tried to lie. Thus, they did not lie. With such a lifestyle they were able to live in a today unimaginable union. They remained this way, oblivious of the existence of other worlds until the Third Interplanar War. 2.2. Wud The world of Wud, now long gone (and thus not exploreable, historically), was created at about the same time as the world of Men. The Wudars were much like they are today. Physically they look similar to the ancient Men, but are a bit lower in height, about four feet high, and of somewhat different constitution. They are much slimmer and agile, have proportionally longer arms and legs then Men, do not have any hair on their head or body, and have one major difference, that being the third eye placed on the back of their heads. That eye does not see as well as the two normal eyes on their face do, but it can be hidden by extra skin on the back of their heads and used when needed. Wudars have no Awareness ability and because of that they never lived in unions similar to Men. Moreover they developed their lifestyle to the other extreme, a totally individualistic one. They did not work in unions but preferred to do things separately. Not only Wudars did not live in organized groups, and even the term of family meant to them not much beyond the bond of two people to produce offspring, and their families were dismissed as soon as a Wudar child was old enough to live on it's own. Love as a concept existed but not between Wudars, but between a Wudar and his work, his status, and his power. As opposed to all other races, Wudars were the only ones that communicated with their minds. But somehow, along the way, they developed a behavior code, a taboo, forbidding any Wudar to broadcast his thoughts "aloud", uncontrolled. Meaning when they communicated with each other, their thoughts were hearable only to the listeners Wudars would want to hear them. Their culture has been divided from the start into two major fractions - the mind explorers and the body explorers. The former fraction was intent on exploring the magic, its laws, its applications on the world, and in learning the laws of physics, and how to bend them effectively. The latter fraction was intent on exploring the body, it's abilities, it's limits, and how to extend those limits further than the physics would allow, by magical and non-magical means. After about two thousand years of their existence (that we know of), they managed to find a way to drain mana (the source of magic), from inorganic materials, i.e. their surroundings, and to induce the mana into them directly, thus eliminating the need for food. You could say they were super-vegetarians for that matter. This discovery lead to major changes in their social structure, as agriculture was no longer needed, so Wudars were given more room in pursuing their own wishes. Although they lived on their own, their society was formed under very strict laws. Every Wudar had its place in the global picture, and the Ruling Committee was formed of two hundred most influential Wudars on their world. Most of these were of the magic explorers fraction, as through time they managed to get a grip of controlling the body explorers and using them as the work force and/or lab rats. Note that it is very likely that they used much magic to preserve this state and numb the ambitions of the body explorers. Ambitions, and power, were the two vital factors in their society. Everyone wanted to be influential, and to gain control over others, so it is only logical to assume that after a couple of millennia the most shrewd, vicious and power-crazed individuals were controlling their entire world. Since they put much effort in the search for new knowledge, mostly the magical one, throughout the history they discovered many different ways of controlling the mana flows, and forcing the magic essence around them to do their bidding. To this day they remained the most powerful force in magic exploration and general knowledge of mana flows. 2.3. Haad The world of Haad was much different than the other worlds. It was barely habitable by other life forms, as the atmosphere contained a high dose of methane, which a Haadar body was dependant on. But the methane in air was only the smallest of the problems, for the world itself was completely inhospitable to anything but Haadars. The earth had an extremely high percentage of metal in it, which was often flowing, molten, on the ground, much like rivers on other worlds. Volcanoes erupted constantly throughout the world, pouring molten lava, so you could say that the sky rained lava storms on occasions. The temperature was over 100 degrees Celsius, which forced any "normal" life on this world to adapt greatly, or to perish instantly. Haadars physically have not changed much to the current time, except that they are now reduced in size, due to them having to adapt to life on our world. Original Haadars were about eight feet tall, had four arms, two of which have naturally developed into working arms (or fighting for that matter), and the other two were most often used for controlling spells. The spell adaptation (possibly due to heat/energy around them) in the Haadar body was so high that even their inner mana, once generated, flowed through their arms (the two casting ones), and through their palms, only to vaporize in the end as a red mist. They had two legs (much stronger than of any other species), a tail, and on their forehead two horns, which glowed in silver glow. The glow eventually was reduced as a Haadar was aging. The two fighting arms were about the same strength as legs of some other specie, so physically they were really intimidating. Also a trait that they have and that is different than on other species are their four black eyes on their face with white pupils. So in case a Haadar lost an eye that would not affect him at all. Their culture was a warrior like one. They had an Emperor, which commanded his Warlords, who were the executive force for all his actions. Those Warlords had their counties to control, or as most often it was - to own. The counties were not strictly defined, as they often fought against each other. Even the total number of counties was a variable, often changed. To a Haadar words like love, virtue and truth meant nothing. But the words pride and honor were almost everything. If a Haadar loses a battle, that is the worst dishonor imaginable, and only rectifiable by suicide. To ensure this does not happen, their battles, even the smallest argues, always lead to a fight to the death. There was hardly anything that could unite their culture, so that is why all of their counties were ruled by the Warlords, who had to torture, overtax, and by any means necessary force their minions into obedience. And have fun while doing it. Still, they fought each other in constant pursuit of glory (which could easily be gained through tales of battles won), and the Emperor always had a hard time in trying to keep them on a leash. On a leash meaning they wouldn't dare to challenge him to a personal fight, for if a Warlord won that fight he would kill the Emperor and take the throne as a new one. The Haadar culture has never reached the stage of development that the Wudar or Men cultures have, they remained primitive and unwilling to change. The constant battles only helped them to stay this way. New ideas or inventions were very hard to accept. However they did pursue the search for magic knowledge, but only to specific goals - the quicker destruction of their opponents. That is why almost all of their magic spells were of destructive force. That does not surprise us, as they hardly had anything to cast prosperous spells on. In their pride they would neither acknowledge the possibility that they were not perfect and could be upgraded so they did not invest much in researching themselves either. They lived in small groups; up to a thousand was the biggest village they had. The reason for this was because they had no material to build houses so they dug big caves in rocky mountains. They lived in those caves, and their lifestyle was a very Neanderthal one. There is an interesting question that rises today among people - what did Haadars eat when their world was so hot that practically every food supply would be ruined? Well, you have to understand, that on their world "food" was much unlike ours. They ate crystals that remained after a lava flow would pass over the ground. So they collected these crystals, refined them by various techniques, and finally grinded them into fine powder. This powder was almost completely, but not entirely, totally unlike our flour. They used it as a base for all of their meals. Today they eat regular food, but that is only due to their adaptation. Their culture was like this for many millennia, all the way from it's beginning (estimated as well at around 9800 B.C.) to the Wudar invasion (a.k.a. the First Interplanar War) at 2326 B.C. 2.4. Erol The beautiful world of Erol is what humans often imagined paradise to be like. And what Haadars considered hell, for that matter (due to a lot of green color I guess). The name which we use today for Erol is but a shortened from of their world's already shortened name, Eroleilayai. The actual name is unfortunately been lost in time. Anyhow, the world Erol was a beautiful, lush paradise garden, sweet in scent and rich in colors, warm, and relaxing. It was something every Men would ever dream of. But Wudars did not perceive its beauty in a similar manner. Eroleks were created together with their world in the same "big creation" as the other worlds were created in. Upon creation, it seems that they split into two subgroups, the day folk and the night folk. The reasons for this are most probably due to the nature of their world, which was a great pleasure to behold during both night and day. The world was never asleep, even through the night, as there were as many night creatures as there are day ones. Imagining elephants trumpeting around while you try to sleep, and you will realize what it sounded like. Erolek were dreamers, philosophers, artists, and druids. They were in touch with the nature, and they appreciated it more than anything. They sang numerous songs about their world, and they still do so even today when Erol is but a fading memory. The life of Eroleks was an ode to life. They rejoiced at singing, hunting, making art out of wood (note wooden pendants here as well), and feasting at great gatherings of their people throughout the world. Eroleks were very similar to what they look now. Humanoid appearances, tall, slim, with silky silver hair and big blue eyes. They could see equally well at all times of the day, as their eyes can see heat in addition to normal colors. Their voice even today has some of their ancient hypnotic force, for they were able to "talk" to the animals while hunting, and hypnotize them, so the animals would remain still until they would be killed. That ability today is not so powerful any more, because it somewhat depended on the unique forces of their world which would carry their voice over many miles, but still, they are able to hypnotize the masses. That is why most of the good diplomats today are Erolek in origin. They usually lived in tree huts, "huts" here being their name for structures that were in the size like Men palaces, and that were really weird in design. Not only were these enormous buildings built the trees (which were also enormous for that matter), but also the corridors interloped on themselves, and even the force of gravity was magically shifted in some places. Their huts often had a dazzling effect on non-Eroleks, and the unwanted visitors were totally lost and thrown into panic. But the original design was not to protect the Eroleks, no, as when the first huts were created, there were no enemy to protect them from, but that design was made for art, and art alone. As much as ancient Men enjoyed visual art, the Eroleks enjoyed spatial art. It's a wonder why they never created spatial wooden pendants; those would be more than interesting to study. Magic is one if very important aspects to Eroleks. They had invested numerous centuries to bring their world to perfection by casting prosperous spells all over it. One sometimes wonders, what is a prosperous spell exactly? To start with, it was a spell that bounded Nature itself to the will of the caster. The weather would be always sunny, never too hot nor too cold, the earth would never be drained, so crops could always bare their maximum, the trees would constantly perceive it was fall so they would give fruit all the time, and to shorten the story, with the food supply abundant, and the populace never ill, they procreated and were able to fully enjoy life. There was never any ruling force controlling Erol. Each hut, with it's couple of hundred (sometimes up to a thousand!) inhabitants, had it's own Elder, which worked towards the benefit of his little society. But the status of an Elder was nothing like a "ruler", but more like a counselor, a wise old Erolek to whom younger ones would come when they needed an advice, and who was deeply respected for his wisdom and knowledge. Vanity was unknown to poor Eroleks. So, from 9800. B.C. to approximately 2040. B.C., the Eroleks were spread all over their world (note that there were only about 100 thousand of them in the beginning), and transformed Erol from a somewhat standard world to a Paradise. Their way of life was ruined in 2039 B.C. when the Second Interplanar War hit them. 3. The First Interplanar War 3.1. Boundaries It was the year 2340 B.C. A Wudar named Basheen, a mind explorer, was doing research on projecting mana through air towards a target, and trying to manipulate the target by his will (and mana flow) alone. He placed a cup on a table in his garden and stepped some yards back. Then he projected the mana towards it, trying to get the mana flow to take a form of an invisible hand that would take the cup and lift in into the air. However something happened that he didn't expect. He projected big amounts mana, which in turn flowed about half the way towards the cup, and then - bounced back off the thin air. The invisible hand rushed towards him, lifted him and he was thrown in a tree behind him. The force that hit him was so great that he instantly died upon hitting the tree. But this is irrelevant to the story. What's important is that his temporary wife, Kaneeda, was a mind explorer as well. She was with him when this happened, and after she handled the cremation of Basheen, she spent several weeks trying to figure out what happened there. For, she "saw" the invisible hand, and was aware that it bounced back for no apparent reason. After some weeks of testing with far lesser forces, she came to the conclusion that in her very garden, at that spot where the table with the cup was, something bounced back the magic energy, as if there was some kind of a force that existed in that location alone. It was known that generally, the normal mana projected towards the ground would bounce off into the air since the world has its inner force. And thus a wild hypothesis was born. What if there was an invisible boundary that hid an *other* world behind it that was responsible for reflecting the mana flow? What if there were more worlds besides their own that partially interloped but were hidden one from each other? This theory was wild to the extreme, but the proof was there. After years of researching throughout the world, Kaneeda found that only in the most distant edges of their world this reflective force existed, as if a glass bell was put over their world and would permit neither them nor their magic to cross over it. Eight years have passed. Kaneeda had formed a team of glory-wanna-get researchers that located practically all points in their world where this boundary was present. With all this evidence and their theory she finally stood up in the Ruling Committee and stated her case. It was a scandal but a positive one in the end. Most part of the Committee were mind explorers and they as well could not find any other possible reason for this phenomena. And finally the theory was accepted and it was time for "doing something about it". It was the tenth year of the death of Basheen. Kaneeda was in charge of the researchers that were given orders to find a way to breach these boundaries. They worked hard, and many theories have failed, except one. They would magically drill the boundary by incredibly little magic drills. Like poking a wall with a microscopic pin. Once the drill was through to the other side, they would fill the tunnel with mana and then set fire to it. The result was very much like doing the same with an actual pin and a glass wall. The boundary magic was interrupted, and it failed for a brief moment for the researchers to actually see the other world, before the boundary would reassert itself and the hole was closed. However this achievement was still not good enough, they needed actual gateways that would last for longer periods of time and would allow Wudars to cross them. So, in the year 2326 B.C. finally a way was found to open gates. No longer would they fill the pin tunnel with mana, but they would insert larger "pins", and even larger until they got to a reasonable size that would allow further stretching to be done with magic supporters. And voila, finally there was a gate (a rather unstable one), leading to the hell world of Haad, for all to behold and cross. None of the researchers did, of course; needless to say it was a furnace on the other side. Briefly they did the same experiment on other locations throughout the world and they managed to map how he world actually intersected. eexeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ee x ee ee x eee ee x e eHaadx xe xxxx x e e x e x - locations with reflective force e Wud x e e x Mene e - end of the world e x e xxx x e e x x e e x ee eErolx ee e x ee e x ee exeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee The Ruling Committee was pleased by the results and decided to send scouts into the other worlds to gain information needed for the invasions. The scouts have returned some time after Wudars managed to recreate the gates. Creation of a single gate required about two days of constant work, drilling and stretching, drilling and stretching, so this whole effort took quite some time. However, the scouts did manage to return (only half of them actually, a great number of them was lost on Haad alone) and brought detailed data on other cultures, and their weak points. Understandably, the most threatening civilization to the Wudar way of life was the Haadar one. Haadars being warriors, could easily swarm over Wud and take it by force. To prevent even this distinct possibility from happening, the invasion force was set up and a hundred thousand Wudin assassins invaded the unsuspecting Haadars in a surprise attack. It was just the first wave, many more would follow. Of course, there was an option that they try to isolate their worlds from potential breakthroughs from the other sides, by doing the opposite - strengthening the bonds, but the Committee quickly discarded this proposal in their constant pursuit of power. 3.2. Invasion of Haad The Wudars knew what awaited them at the world of Haad, they knew they would not survive it or it's inhabitants without adapting to the Haad itself. To avoid the risk of losing a hundred thousand troops to the temperature alone, the mind explorers found a way to magically transform Wudars into something they called Wudins. Wudins were the result of a forced evolution; they were creatures with the same physical appearance of a Wudar, but with many more useful traits. They could make themselves invisible for a short period of time, by cloaking themselves in mana shields. They could also survive the temperatures and the atmosphere of Haad, due to advanced magical treatment to their constitution. But no matter how much the Wudins were prepared, the Haad could always be crueler than they could imagine. It took approximately a month for the Wudins to cross the worlds through unstable gateways, and many thousand were lost in this process alone. Instead of Haad world, they sometimes simply appeared *nowhere* and were lost. Or in Haad rivers of molten metal. That was a sight to behold. But still the force pushed through, and managed to occupy key locations in Haad world. The Imperial Palace was first to be struck. The Haadar elite forces that were guarding the Emperor proved to be quite a threat for each Haadar killed dozens of Wudins. They were terrific warriors, never to be seen again in the world. For three days they stormed out of the palace, massacring the Wudin forces that were laying siege to the place, and then they would return back only to regroup and charge again. Well, that could be expected since an elite Haadar warrior was almost ten feet tall and wielded two enormous blades that would cut through half a dozen Wudins in a single swing. And of course, they constantly had cast fire bolts from their other two hands that would inflame groups of Wudins in a fire bursts. The history will recall that a Wudin leader, named Taneeb, decided that this could go on no longer. The Wudin losses were already at twenty thousand, while they killed only a hundred or so of these Haadar berserkers. So it was time for improvisation. He thought of and cast a spell that was never cast before. It was a tremendous spell. The earth shook, and cracked. Mana rose from the ground and flowed throughout the battlefield, like a river, and washed over the dead Haadar warriors. And they twitched and stirred. The mana entered them, and they stood, dead, but alive. Their spirits were the ones standing actually, the mana gave them a physical form and Taneeb was the one who controlled them. Together with these warriors that were now even deadlier than they were, the Wudins attacked the palace gates and finally managed to crack them open. The Emperor screamed in panic: "I see dead people!" but couldn't do anything about it. The Wudins rushed inside and after a long battle all the Haadar forces there were killed. For each Haadar that would die, the Wudin force was stronger by his spirit and was even deadlier. The Haadar Emperor and some of the Warlords were caught alive. This was special bonus. They were brought to Wud where they were publicly executed. This gave the Wudars a morale boost so even more of them were willing to volunteer to Wudin assassin evolution and later to join the invasion forces. The Wudar army force now has risen to five hundred troops. Taneeb, having won the battle and managing to capture the Haadar Emperor, was given a reward - he could name the spell he thought of with his own name. He simply named it Bane, for those spirits were indeed a bane to any normal creature. Later the spell was named many other names but the most common one was the Weakling's Bane for it would always summon the ancient Haadars that would battle hand to hand and were not efficient at attacking some other, magically more advanced warriors. However, since Taneeb had lost more than a fifth of the original invasion force in the assault on the Palace, he was executed as well, for incompetence. Next target on the Wudar list were the settlements. Haadars never lived in big towns but rather in small villages or even the smaller hamlets. The Wudins razed all they could, but fortunately for the Haadars, here was not much to raze. There were no crops to be burned, no wooden houses to be demolished. After a while they started killing the populace because the Haadars would still not yield to the Wudar control. The Haadar world was in a state of chaos. But chaos being nothing new to the Haadars, they reorganized, a few leaders were found and they formed resistance cells. Randomly hitting Wudin patrols, magically affecting the weather so that lava from volcanoes would always pour on Wudin encampments, etc. after a while they managed to stop the Wudin progress. Wudins were trained to fight against armies, but there were none present. The populace simply resisted any oppression from non-Haadars, and always fought Wudins even if it meant their death. After all, for a Haadar, death is a far better choice than defeat. (silly Haadars). 3.3. Retaliation of Haad The war lasted for 15 years. A lot of things have changed in the meanwhile. Out of 6 million Wudins that entered Haad, only about one and a half were still alive. But the Haadar population was decimated as well, and it is believed approximately half the Haadars were killed. It was one of the worst genocides ever to occur in the whole history. The Haadar resistance forces were somewhat successful in terrorizing the invaders but were doing more dying than killing. They were mere peasants, not the trained warriors. No wonder, as all the trained warriors were dead a long time ago. By the end of the 15th year finally some progress was done on the Haadar side. It took them a while, but they managed to reproduce the gateway spell, and to create their own gateways into Wud. Furthermore, they even improved the spell by using their innate skills to brute force the gate open so the opening would not take two days but two minutes. This was a breathe of hot methane the Haadar resistance needed so badly. In a matter of weeks, they mustered their remaining troops and were ready for the counter- invasion. A counter invasion likes of which Haad has never seen. After almost sixteen years of constant warfare, even Haadars were tired, and bitter to say the least. Driven mad by the constant slaughtering of their people, they swore they would not rest until they devastate Wud. Wud, having a lot of good tacticians foresaw this turn in events so they had time to prepare for this. But still, they had a hard time repelling the counter-invasion. The maddened Haadars swiftly poured through the inferno gateways, killed as much as they could and then ran back to their world, less they be frozen or suffocate. They started making general surprise attacks in many Wud metropolises, and the Wud casualties (casualties of their untrained people) were indeed staggering. Unfortunately for Haadars, they could not establish a foothold in Wud because of the temperature difference. Even if they could survive the lack of methane, it was simply too cold for them to remain there for longer than a couple of hours at best. By the end of the war, Wud was slowly winning. It was about that time that one young Haadar managed to do something spectacular. He was a part of the counter-invasion force, rather as a backup than as a warrior, since he was from a peasant family with no army training at all. Nevertheless, he was an excellent spell caster, and a very innovative one. The Haadars that invaded Wud, at this point, didn't actually try very hard to come back home. They would rather stay in the Wud and die, but instead kill twice as many Wudars as time would allow them. That was the general idea. But he had even a better plan. By looking at the Wudin assassins cloaking and decloaking with their mana shields, he precisely saw the tune to which the mana should be adjusted in order to make them invisible. Such tactics would normally be considered dishonorable, but he didn't care much. He was about to die anyway. So if he went away, he would go in a style, dealing the hardest hit he could think of - the Ruling Committee. So, he easily reproduced the Wudin mana-shielding spell and as invisible he simply walked in the Committee. The Committee was a large building, with a central chamber that had two hundred seats laid out in circles, one above the other, much like an arena on Haad, And the Chairman sat in one corner of the chamber, by a specially designed table at which he made the all-important decisions. So, our young spell caster entered the chamber, right in the middle of the meeting session, and silently approached the Wudar Chairman, invisible as he was. He took the blade out and was prepared to chop his head off in one strike, and then try to deal as much damage he is able to before he would be killed. But in that last moment, an idea flashed to him. The Wudar gateways, when out of tune, lead to *nowhere*, killing (better say, vanishing) the troops that try to use it. Everybody knew this, since the same mistake sometimes happened with the Haadar gateways as well. It was very difficult to get the gateway in the right tune and it required much skill. So, he figured if he could deliberately create such a gateway, and place it (as invisible with a mana shield around it) on the Ruling Committee exit doors, Wudar leaders that would pass through it would simply vanish. And after the killing of the Chairman the first reaction of those two hundred fat Wudar politicians would be to escape through the main exit doors in futile hope they would save their lives. So, he cast such a special gate it the right position. Slowly he walked to the big fancy table, and was about to kill the Chairman. He opened the gate, but imagine his shock. It did not lead to *nowhere*. Where exactly it lead he did not know. And neither did the Wudar leaders which were massacred by the swarms of wraiths who flied through that gate. Wraiths may be too bad a description, for it was horrible. Half in this world, half in some other, the semi transparent creatures entered flying through the gate, they were like ghosts, disgusting, disfigured ghosts of who knows which specie, they flied towards the panicked Wudars and killed them all. He saw those creatures, but they did not see him, as he was still wearing the mana shield, and was too terrified to move. Even for a Haadar the scene was mind numbing. Young Haadar, seeing what he did, waited for the massacre to end, and for the wraiths to withdraw back to their *place*, and then simply closed the doors and aborted the spell. Silenced and crazed by the horrors he saw, he returned to Haad, where he was praised as a hero beyond heroes. But that meant little to him. He never recovered fully from the shock. 3.4. The war ends Condition of young Kazgoroth did not concern much the Haadar resistance. They accepted what he told them and named that place where the wraiths came from "Tars Muna", meaning "hell fury" in their language. They used the same spell many times again on Wud, mostly in very public places where the "wraiths" could do most damage, eventually killing millions of Wudars in a matter of weeks. With the both worlds leaderless and chaotic, the end of the war was apparent. The gates between those worlds were closed and the time for recovery was at hand. The Haad revenge has been fulfilled, the Wud deaths were too numerous to ever be counted correctly. One year has passed. Kazgoroth managed to kill other participants of the emperor contest, by using the same dirty trick. He lured them all into the same room, released the wraiths and left the battlefield as the only victor. He became the Emperor and reigned as such for two hundred years. He was killed as an old Haadar, and a new Emperor was in his place, but his name lives still in the Haadar tales and will never be forgotten. Meanwhile on Wud, in the Wudar Ruling Committee, the seats were not empty for long. As soon as the blood was cleaned up from the walls, the new members were more than happy to replace the old, and now somewhat wiser of what to expect of Haadars, turned their attention elsewhere. Namely, to Erol. 4. The Second Interplanar war 4.1. The Infiltration of Erol The Haad was obviously too much for the Wud to handle. Haadars were fierce warriors and would never be subdued willingly. However, Erol was much different. With its inhabitants benevolent, The new Wudar Ruling Committee considered Erol an easy pick and have started creating plans for it's occupation. This time, the new Committee members started thinking first, and then acting. What could they possibly gain from Erol? Why would they need to attack it at all? The answer was obvious - mana. Mana unlimited. Erol was so filled with mana, which has been spread in numerous beneficial spells all over the world that the Wudars could easily drain it away and use it to their purposes. To do this effectively they started researching a spell they named Planar Drain. The spell was supposed to lock onto all mana in a certain location, wrap it all and concentrate it, drain it from it's previous location into big balls of compressed mana that could be transported back to Wud. A few years in researching this spell, the Wud mind explorers have perfected it, and tested in on various Wud locations. It worked. All the mana was drained and big balls of red mist could simply be rolled to the mana warehouses. The unfortunate effect this spell would have on the area it was draining mana from was that the earth would need many months to recover, and no spells would work or even could be cast into that area. But that did not concern The Wudars much, once they drained all Erol's resources, they would have had all the mana they could ever need, for millennia to come. That was their plan which now needed a prelude - how to do it with as little casualties as possible? A direct warfare on Erol was not a nice solution. Wudars have already been morally devastated by their losses on and from Haad, and it was impossible to recruit armies that would be so abundant with new recruits as it was before the Haad invasion. So, the answers lay again in the Wudins. This time they would go in and infiltrate Erol, rather than war against it. Wudins were undergoing final preparations for the scouting when some new ideas poured into the Committee. Body explorers thought of creating additional traits that they could imprint on the Wudins. The problem with the Wudins was that they could remain invisible only for a short period of time, namely a few hours, which was far too little for them to be able to scout the Erol. It was known already from the first Wudar scouts which started exploring Erol a few decades ago that it was impossible for anything to remain undetected under keen Erolek eyes. Once the Wudin mana reserves were spent and he had to decloak, he would most assuredly be noticed and hunt down as an intruder. As a spy, for that was what he is. Eroleks despised spies and already most of the Wudar and Wudin scouts have been killed. Something had to be done to assure that Wudins would never be detected, and an easy solution to this was at hand. Easy, being and idea of course, the actual implementation was much harder. About two hundred of Wudin "volunteers" were lost in the attempt to create a super Wudin. Finally after months of experimenting on the Wudins a prototype was ready. One Wudin survived the experiments. He was the super Wudin. Or, in Wud language, the Wudin Um. His name was Tarkeed. He was able not only to remain cloaked for days but to even change shape into any creature he wished at almost no mana cost. He was stronger, much faster, and much more powerful. Never forget that he could also talk verbally, not only by telepathy. He was perfect both as a spy and as an assassin. The mission that was laid out for Tarkeed, at least until other Wudin Ums were created, was to infiltrate Erol, find out all he could about Erolek leaders, find their weak spots, and assassinate the leaders of the Erolek huts in one specific Erol area that Wud decided to start casting Planar Drain on. Once he would create enough commotion Wudins would invade, secure the area by dispatching any opposition and start draining mana. And the plan was set in motion. It couldn't be easier. Or so they thought. The Erol gate was opened. Tarkeed set his foot through it. He looked back, at the deserts of his home world, and step through. The gate closed. He was there alone and with a mission to fulfill. He was cloaked already so he went towards the nearest hut that scouts have marked on his map. He walked and walked through the beautiful forest. The scents were dazzling; he never experienced something like that. The birds were singing beautiful melodies, forest animals ran to him, sensing him by some sixth sense they had. He stopped and looked at the beautiful world around him. It was so pure, so untouched. As if noone ever lived here, as if the nature created a paradise only for him. There he stood. There he realized what he was about to do. He realized what he had to destroy and it pained him greatly. After some hours of contemplating he realized it was too beautiful for him. He just couldn't do it. But once he made his mind about what he would do instead, there was no stopping him. He ran and ran towards the hut. It was peaceful there, the Eroleks were working around the trees, gathering fruit, and some were sitting in the high branches of the trees and sang lovely songs that he did not understand. He did not yet know this language but he didn't even need to. After concentrating a bit, he sensed the thoughts of the Eroleks, and he knew them. He knew their minds. Once prepared, he took the form of an older Erolek and aborted his mana shield spell. After a long climb of the very long stairway carved in the tree, he reached the Erolek hut and after a few days wandering around the twisted hallways found a way to their Elder. Those huts can really be nasty. The Elder was sitting in his room, decorated by lush living flowers, and looked at him. Terkeed closed the door, and silently regained his original form. The Elder remained sitting, watching him silently. There was no surprise in the old Erolek's eyes. Nor any other emotion except calmness, and willing to accept his faith, whatever that was. Tarkeed sat in front of him and sent his thoughts into the Elder. He described the Wud. He described the Wudars. And he described himself. He also described his emotions, by directly sending them into the Elder's mind. And there he sat, waiting for the old Erolek to make his move. The Erolek did not move, but silently let a tear fall from his eye. He knew there was nothing that could be done. They could not prevent Wudins. They were not warriors - they were peaceful folk. They couldn't fight cloaked assassins by bows and arrows alone. But there was one thing they could do. They could prevent Wud from destroying the Eroleks, even if it meant destruction of their world. Destruction of their beautiful paradise garden. And to that cause a great Elder gathering was assembled, a gathering like which has never occurred on Erol before, nor would ever again. Thousands of Elders came to the gathering, which was held at the First Hut. There, Tarkeed had told them all he knew of the invasion at hand. And they understood him well. They went their separate ways, with heavy thoughts of what had to be done. 4.2. The Purge In the weeks that passed, Tarkeed had taught the Erolek Elders the techniques Wudars used to produce Wudins. He could not teach them how to create Wudin Ums, since he did not have that knowledge. All he knew were the basics of magical warfare, and some advanced tactics he learned on Wud in his training. Soon, a few dozen thousands of Eroleks were separated and trained to become warriors. Those that volunteered had a basic choice, shall they let themselves to be magically treated and become Erol Wudins and learn all about the stealth attack tactics he was very familiar with, or will they accept different treatment, the one he learned from the Wudin military academy, in which he would teach them how to create better weapons, better bows in this case, since they were all excellent marksmen, and furthermore treat them magically to allow them to read thoughts, just like he did. Those that picked the second option were called the super Eroleks, i.e. the Erolek Ums. The thought reading ability had let them to sense living beings nearby even if they did not see them, weather they were cloaked or not, so they could prepare better for Wud Wudin attacks. Same stuff the Men had. But the main force of Eroleks had a much different and a much more sorrowful duty to perform. The Wudar Ruling Committee was alerted by the disappearance of Tarkeed. He, of course, did not return to Wud, so they decided to hasten the things up, in fear that Eroleks did manage to capture Tarkeed, and torture their plans out of him. They did not know Eroleks would never do such a thing, they would under normal circumstances either kill him swiftly or let him go, but it did not matter at this point. The gates in the Arenda area were opened and three hundred thousand Wudins, the remains of a once glorious army, had swarmed the Erol. The Arenda area was really big, it was about a fifth of the entire Erol. They were more than a little confused when they did not encounter any opposition. They encountered noone at all for that matter. Smelling something fishy they often looked at the sky expecting tunas (Tars Munas) or any other destructive spells, but of course, there were none. Eroleks would never cast destructive spells on anyone; they loved life too much to ever be able to take it away in such a ruthless manner. Confused as they may have been, they still continued with their plan. Wudar mind explorers entered Erol and started preparing for the spell they had to cast. It was an enormous Planar Drain spell, one of such magnitude that would drain all mana in a circle of a hundred miles. For it to be cast relatively quickly, more than a hundred elite mind explorers had to concentrate in that same spell at the same time, each investing as much mana as he could. Note: multi-casting? Finally, after twenty hours of continuous casting, the spell was set and it went off. Together with half the Erol. The mana which was everywhere, and in everything, accumulated for ages, in trees, in animals, in stone and in water, in the sky and in the sea, it burned as hellfire. A fire all- consuming. It ate thorough the Wudar mind explorers, and through Wudins who could never hide in their shields from such a mana explosion, it ate through the trees and through the stone, through the animals and through the waters. It all burned. The mana fire spread as kerosene on fire thought the gates into Wud, destroying towns, cities, and army camps. All the gates burned, and so did all that was behind the gates, in a radius of many miles. Metropolises fell in ashes. The Ruling Committee was incinerated. And then the fire ceased. The mana was gone. Far away, on the other side of Erol, Tarkeed looked at the fire in the skies, and the Erolek beside him wept. Their loss would never be recoverable. The mana on Erol could never be taken. The Elders knew that. It was Erol mana, not Wud mana. As much as it was similar, it was not the same. They had done their job well. And their job was to assure that at least the other half of Erol would be protected by magic barriers from that all-consuming Fissure, together with their entire populace. Erol was only partially destroyed, but the Erolek way of life was gone forever. It was impossible to recover any of the burned areas, since there was absolutely no mana left in them. It was all dead and sterile. No prosperities could ever help those areas. So they sealed themselves forever from that half of Erol, away from any Interplanar boundaries, by raising impenetrable magic walls that would never be broken through. They slowly started building new huts and doing what they could to try to alleviate the sorrow over so much life that was destroyed. But they never recovered. 4.3. The Renewal Tarkeed did not stay long on Erol, as he knew that as the only Wudin Um in existence, he was much more needed back on Wud than here. The Eroleks and their warriors, Erol Wudins and Erolek Ums, could take good care of themselves. But Wudars? Who was going to save them from the endless greed that almost destroyed them again? He opened his gate to Wud. Terkeed set his foot through it. He looked back at the endless wasteland, black and dead, and step through. The gate closed. He was there alone and with a world to save. For a couple of months he did a city-to-city search for survivors and gathered them all. There were not many of them left since the biggest part of Wudars lived in the metropolises that were all destroyed. After ten years his little community started growing again. There were less than seven hundred thousand of Wudars left in the whole Wud. Most of them were body explorers that now took their rightful place as the equals in the new ruling committee that Terkeed founded some miles off the gate through which he returned from Erol. Tarkeed spent the rest of his life gathering all of the saved knowledge in a great Wudar library, and ruled the Wudars. One hundred years after he returned, he died of natural death. Wud was partially rebuilt by then. Wudin Um project was continued, as from the Tarkeed experience the Wudars realized that by giving Wudins the ability to sense emotions, de facto giving then the ancient Men awareness ability, Wudin Ums indeed became the next step in the Wudar evolution, soon the pillars of their society. They forgot about the warring and were intent on rebuilding their world. The areas around the now burned gateways were as dead as they were on Erol so in those areas Wudars could not live. They required to mana to survive and there was none there, so they had to rebuild their metropolises elsewhere. This was a task that required centuries. And so centuries have passed, and then some more centuries. After approximately two millennia, the year was 36 B.C. The Haad was completely rebuilt by this time. Haadar lifestyle had not been changed one bit since from before the First Interplanar War. They still had their Emperor and Warlords, and were smarter for the Calls of Tars Muna spell, which only ensured more fighting on Haad. Their wars were no longer based on having larger armies than the opponent; now the trick was how to lure the biggest part of the enemy into a relatively closed space where the wraiths could be effective. Erol, although never as beautiful as it was, had developed as well. The burned half of it remained absolutely the same as it was. But beyond the magic walls, the Erolek culture had slowly adjusted themselves to living in only half the world, isolated, and they returned to their normal lives. They still trained a part of their populace as Erolek Ums, and a somewhat smaller number as the Erol Wudins. They sang tales of Tarkeed, and sang of the death that they could not evade. However on Wud the situation has changed considerably. The Wudin Ums were now common among the populace, as well as Wudins, and they all participated in the Ruling Committee equally. Unfortunately, it was impossible for a single man to change the entire culture, so the teachings of Tarkeed did not live in their hearts for too long and they slowly started looking again at the borders of their world, and most of them all - in the direction of the Men border. 5. The Third Interplanar War 5.1. Chaos The Men world, that has never known war of any kind, that has never even invented weapons, and with all the mana that has been accumulated there and never ever used by Men, now, that was a sight that made a common Wudar drool and more than willing to give it a shot. The Wudar learned their lesson with Erol well, they knew that if they ever used a Planar Drain on any other world than Wud they would get a Planar Fissure, but that did not stop them from imagining themselves actually living on Men, controlling it, and bathing in all the mana that the Men have never used for anything. However, there were fifty million Men on the Men world. The Wudars, when included Wudins and Wudin Ums, counted up to only about seven million. Invasion was out of the question. And with all the experiences with Haad and Erol, invasion was indeed the last thing any Wudar wanted. Infiltration by Wudins would be as unsuccessful as the direct attack, due to Men ability to read thoughts. Men would easily sense the Wudins so they would not gain anything by being cloaked. There had to be a third option. There had to be one. And finally they managed to figure something out. As the scouts have reported, the Men lived in incredible unions, in such Uthopeys of life that even Eroleks did not live in. What if that union, that trust between them could be somehow broken? What if it WAS possible to make them hate each other? Will they war against themselves? If they do, they most assuredly will not waste mana while doing it, as they seem unaware that it's there at all. The new Chairman liked this proposal, and set plans in motion. It could be done. All the Wudars needed was again a couple of years in researching some new wicked spell that would do the job for them. If this worked, they wouldn't even need to enter Men at all. After twenty-three years of all but not recreational mind explorer work, tests and experiments, the spell was prepared. The spell was ready in two years to be precise, but it took twenty-one years of patient waiting for one other event to take place on Men. Meanwhile, a special Wudin Um was trained by unique treatment that lasted for months - he could mask his thoughts, or better yet, not think at all through proper concentration. He could effectively take form of a rock, shut off his brain and to everyone else appear as a simple piece of a rock. So, with the knowledge of the precise mechanics of the spell, he was sent to Men. The Ruling Committee had already deeply discussed the possibility of his betrayal, just like what happened with Tarkeed, and found it safe to say that something like that would not happen. Men was not as beautiful and hypnotizing as Erol, it was an alluvial world, yes, the peasants worked over their lands, and in towns and metropolises lived the thinkers, artists and smiths. But there was no hypnotic beauty. Furthermore, even if that spy betrayed the Wudars - this time they did not send anyone and had already closed the gates to Men. This time they were safe. Or were they? The spy had a choice - should he try to be invisible all the time, or take a form of a Man, but a Man who is not emitting his thoughts for all to hear would be a very curious one to behold, so he decided to remain invisible. After a few weeks of travel, he reached the island of Matras, where the Wudar Committee has decided their experiment should take place. That was most probably due to relative isolation of that metropolis, since it took days to cross the Matred Sea by boat, so not many people were going on or off the isle. And of course, the Wudars had the timing just right. It was this metropolis that was ruling the entire Men world. So the Wudin infiltrated the metropolis successfully, noone had seen him, and frankly noone was even looking for him. There had been no guards whatsoever so this was really easy as pie. He slipped into the Senate chamber, and disguised himself as a big chair there. There he patiently waited for the dawn and for the Men Senate to take place, and had spent the hours thinking of what would happen if someone tried to sit on him. We have managed to recover the actual logs from that Senate session, and many others from that isle, since the events that followed did not affect Mantras much due to the same isolation the Wudars picked it for in the first place. Here is the part that is important: "President Vermalion: The next topic we have to solve is the food issue in the Nahaz country. You are all aware that because of the draught, the crops have suffered much and that Nahaz needs to import food. I advise the food to be imported from Baned country, as this year it has had good excess. Do all agree?" That question was a matter of form, all Senators always agreed to the President's suggestions since he would never suggest something that would be harmful in any way. The Presidents and Senators throughout the Men history have always competed on who would make the best rule, that would allow the entire Men to prosper as much as possible. "Senator Gorrn: I disagree. I will not allow you to steal our food again as all the years before! President Vermalion: What? But.. But Baned has always been the leading country in producing food; its valleys are one of the most fertile lands in the whole world! Senator Gorrn: So what? I do not wish to share our food any more! Take it from Kandear; they have excess as well! Senator Urnebesh: That is not true. This year we have been hit by the drought as well! We have barely enough to support ourselves, and no excess to share. President Vermalion: Please, Senator Gorrn, I hereby make a request, as the president of the Senate, for you to share Baned's food with Nahaz. You have more than enough! Senator Gorrn: Denied! President Vermalion: A denial?!?" Indeed. The Wudin Um assassin has cast the Arcane Denial on Senator Gorrn, which changed Gorrn's mind completely. The fact that a senator was sitting on him did not alter the effectiveness of the spell. Gorrn was a different Man now. And needless to mention, there has never been anything of the like in the Men Senate, this was the first major argue they had in the last three thousand years since the Senate was founded. Gorrn returned home, and started giving weird orders. Orders that Men did not understand but followed nevertheless. He started building large silos for the food, instead of sharing it with others, as they had always done. But he didn't start creating weapons, that was something Men did not even know that existed. Not even for hunting, as since the beginning all the Men have always been vegetarians. They never killed any living creature. Seeing that this may be a problem to the Wudar plan, the spy came to Baned to observe the situation. What Wud needed was a war. Something to weaken the Men and throw them into chaos. Make them easy to take over. The Wudin Um took form of a Man and talked to Senator Gorrn. He tried to persuade him that the Senate was corrupt and that "a more radical solution" was needed. However Gorrn's mind was closed to his suggestions - Wudars were still unable to directly influence Men thoughts. Gorrn simply stored food and refused to share it, and that was all he did. The Wudin Um, seeing that this was not very much of a success, returned to Mantras, and cast more Arcane Denials on other Senators. In the weeks that followed the entire Senate broke apart. In the end only Vermalion was left, and all the Senators have returned to their countries with various rejections to Vermalions desperate proposals to bring order back into the Senate. The countries have closed their borders, the trade routes were cut and the countries isolated. A good part of them started to feel the effects of isolation and lack of trade since their food supplies were growing thin. And finally, to the spy's relief, raids started to occur. Starving countries started raiding the richer ones and stealing their food. Situation got worse in the three years that followed, since the nature was hash and those three years had very long and very cold winters. The Wudin Um spy had often returned to Wud to inform the Committee of the current progress and they were more than pleased to hear that chaos was starting to build up. They had sent even more specially trained Wudin Ums to Men to inflict some extra social damage, which these did very well. Some of them managed to assassinate the senators and take their forms and offices. Soon it was chaos on Men. But still, there were no wars. Nor would there be any - the Wudar committee figured. Stoopid Men were incapable of war. 5.2. Final invasion of Men So for the third time, The Wudar Committee had proclaimed a state of war and started recruiting the Wudars. With the world of Men without any leadership, and with their Wudin Ums in many key locations, with the populace starved, they thought it would be easy to defeat them in open conflict, and eliminate them. This was not far from true. It may seem to you that thought he millennia the Wudars did nothing but oppress the other worlds through constant invasions and spying. It also may seem it was weird that the Haadars through the two and a half millennia since they learned about the gateways did not try to invade other worlds themselves. Know that the Haadars never wanted to do that. Actually, couldn't. All the other worlds besides their own were too cold for them. And the Wudars - they were not actually evil. They simply thought different. To them, power was good. Mana was essential. And nothing they did would be "wrong" as long as they do it while trying to get one of those two elements. It was just their way of thinking, their morality. Unwillingly, the Wudars were drafted for the third time. Young, old, they all went to war. Male and female alike. This time they knew there had to be no mercy, no regrets. All Men had to die in order for them to take the Men world, and they all had to die as quickly as possible. They would not repeat the same mistake they did with Haad, and especially not now that they are so little in numbers. This time they waited until all the warring Wudars were upgraded into Wudins or Wudin Ums. They decided to start the invasion on the biggest continent, that one of Klantia. Two and a half million Wudins invaded the Men world, divided themselves, and started progressing towards the four northern metropolises. They burned all that was in their path, and killed everyone. The starving Men in most cases would not be able to run far and were easily hunt down. A month has passed. Klantia was in ashes and the Wudins feasted upon the mana that was in the ground. After that they had rested they regrouped. There were two million of them left and thirty million Men were annihilated. Nice job, by all standards. Wudins did not expect such an easy victory. It was not a victory actually - it was a massacre. And so did the rest of Men perceive it. They were scared; they forgot about their squabbles and all their eyes were pointed at Klantia. Not many Men ever managed to save themselves from the burning Klantia, the Wudins were too fast for them. Men were all quickly caught and their ships burned. Soon Wudins started building great galleys that would allow them to transport their army across the ocean to Gharia. This took some time since an armada had to be built. Meanwhile. Vermalion sat in the empty Senate Council chamber. He was responsible for the world, although since there was no longer any Senate, he was technically no longer the President. Something had to be done, but war was not a solution. Men did not know how to fight. Besides, they were all changed in mind, they no longer understood each other. Every town and village elder had different opinions and could not agree at anything with any other Elder. This was the first time Vermalion or any Man had seen the effects of magic. It was a concept not to difficult to comprehend - an arcane force, governed by the mind of the caster, doing his bidding at the expense of the caster's mana. Well, Vermalion decided it was time for him to do some magic as well. Of course, he never cast a single spell in his life and had no clue how to, so he figured he could use some assistance. It was night at the 47th day the Wudins invaded. A small ship landed at Klantia. Two cloaked figures dressed in black cloaks silently disembarked and started their epic journey. Those were Vermalion and Urnebesh, who was one of the rare Senators to avoid an Arcane Denial on his head. They traveled on foot, hiding themselves all the time, and concentrating really hard on sensing nearby Wudin patrols. A couple of days later they finally got to the Wud gates, and slipped into Wud unnoticed. Once there they continued traveling to the west. They found a small settlement where they hid and rested a while. Their goal was to get at least some information. Who were Wudars at all? Were there other worlds? Fortunately for them noone was looking for them in Wud. All the Wudins were building boats back on Men so there were no patrols around. In a strike of good fortune they overheard two older Wudars talking about ancient past. Eavesdropping on them (reading their minds actually), they learned of Erol and Haad. Quickly they understood what they had to do. At that point they separated - Vermalion went northwest, towards Haad, while Urnebesh continued traveling east to Erol. 5.3. Flight of Urnebesh and the battle of Gharia Urnebesh came at last to the eastern borders of Wud, and saw the burned Erol gates. They were all destroyed, and there was no mana in the ground, air or anywhere nearby. But Urnebesh did not know this, of course. He walked through the wastelands and finally had found the last operational gate that Tarkeed used to return from Erol. In front of the gate, he stood and said: "Open." The ground shook, and he did not know why. Something stirred in the sky. He felt something break. He did not know that he had actually used the magic that was within him, to open the blackness, the emptiness (contrary to Wudars who manipulated the mana around them). The gate, a blackened circle that looked like it was made of pure black diamond, started to clear up. The black color disappeared and it was transparent. The gate to Erol was opened and Urnebesh was the first person to cross into the burned wastes of Erol in more than two thousand years. He did not waste much time thinking about all this, time was of the essence. He ran and ran and ran through the burned wastelands. There was nothing there to neither eat nor drink so he had to get out of there as soon as he could. After three days, at the limits of his strengths he reached the walls in the east of Erol. The walls were as Tarkeed had left them, tall, transparent, and impenetrable. And there was noone around the gates. Urnebesh could sense he was alone. It was do or die time. So he screamed from the bottom of his lungs: "OPEN!!" The ground shook again and the sky cracked. The walls started rumbling, cracking and great pieces started falling off. The magic was broken. The path before him was cleared, and he climbed through the hole in the wall that was opened. His words that he used were actually irrelevant; it was the power behind them that mattered. He denied the magic in those walls and it was the Deny spell that caused the walls to crack. On the other side there was real Erol, in it's divine beauty. But there was no time for Urnebesh to admire it, he plunged into a nearby creek, drank as much as he could and then passed out. When he awoke he was in an Erolek hut, guarded by a dozen of Erolek Ums. An old Erolek Elder was there, standing near him and casting some strengthening magic. Urnebesh sat and he transferred his thoughts to the Erolek Ums. His thoughts were panicked, messed, but the picture was clear. He needed help urgently before it was too late. There was no time to lose. The Eroleks looked at each other and knew what they had to do. Great horns sounded and the Erol awoke. Hundreds of thousands of Erolek Ums and Erol Wudins were assembled in a matter of three or four days. The Erolek Elders were sharp in mind and very wise, and knew well why they were doing this. Once they had reacted too late and half the Erol was destroyed as a result. This time they were not going to let another world to fall just because they "needed to think" about Urnebesh's pledge. A week later an impressive force made of Eroleks, Erolek Ums, and Erol Wudins, although still too weak to fight Wud Wudins, landed through the gates back on Men. They had opened other gates directly from Erol, so they evaded Klantia and appeared directly on Gharia and Pandronia. First thing they did was to clean all the populace they could see from all the Arcane Denials. This was done rather quickly as thousands of Eroleks were casting these enormous Cleansing spells at once. After they had finished, Men realized what they had been doing and instantly united again under the same leadership. Urnebesh was a natural choice for the leader since their President Vermalion was still away and the other Senators were mostly dead. Fearing that Vermalion may not even return, ever, that he was lost on Wud or Haad, Urnebesh started preparing for war. Men did not know how to wage war and were incapable of it so he took some volunteers, as it always goes this way, and with the Erolek help managed to morph them into fighters, just like the Erolek were. Since these new fighters had some Men traits like the strong mind control of the events around them, but physically begun to look much like Eroleks and inherited their keen eyesight and marksmanship, they were named Better Men-Eroleks, or in Men language - Ish'Meneks. These warriors had lost their ability to sense thoughts, since Eroleks did not have it originally, but they gained one other perk as a tradeoff. Not only were they fighters (as opposed to Men), but they were a bit better than Eroleks themselves. However they were never as good as the Erolek Ums, which was never the idea actually. The Eroleks wanted to upgrade the Men mental powers, all for the benefit of greater defense. So, when two benevolent species work together towards creating a common weapon, they make it a non-lethal but extremely effective one - the Ish'Meneks could stop arrows in flight with their thoughts alone, and could bend the enemy spears and blades so they would be useless. They had the mental powers of telekinesis of course, and with those powers they could throw the enemy back, and not kill them in the process. By the time Wud Wudins reached the shores of Gharia, the army of defenders was ready. It was two million Wud Wudins and Wudin Ums as opposed to five hundred thousand Eroleks and Men, some two hundred thousand Erolek Ums and Erol Wudins, and about fifty thousand Ish'Meneks. It was not nearly a fair fight, but it was not an impossible one either. The Men/Erolek army was fighting on their home ground so they had big natural advantages. The Wudins charged, roaring into the battle, on many fronts. All over the continent these great battles were fought. The Eroleks and their kin constantly lured the enemy into the range of Ish'Menek attacks who then disarmed the enemy so that Eroleks could kill them swiftly. But the Wudin forces were too great and since Ish'Meneks could not sense them, they did not last long. The Wudins made a habit of attacking the smallest troops first, so this was another reason for the quick disappearance of Ish'Meneks. By the time the battle was ended, about five hundred thousand Wudins (mostly Wudin Ums) remained. The Erolek/Men army was defeated utterly, and there were only about a couple of hundred survivors left. Urnebesh, with the other survivors had fled and set sail to Pandronia. After the battle the Wudins had turned their crazed eyes there as well. It was the last Men foothold. Again, they began building ships since their old ones that they used to come from Klantia were long gone, burned by Erolek Ums or deliberately sunk by Ish'Meneks. This act of burning the ships proved to be crucial as it gave the Men just enough time to prepare for the last attack. 5.4. Flight of Vermalion and the battle of Pandronia Urnebesh was gone to the east and Vermalion headed northeast. Men needed an army and the Haadars were the only race that managed to defeat Wud in open combat so far. He stole some tebrs - a Wud equivalent of Men horses - and he rode swiftly to his destination. That took him longer than expected, as he had to pass almost over the entire Wud to reach the southern Haad gates. The gates were all closed but he Vermalion did not have much trouble reading the minds of the local populace, of which some had been warriors, and knew how to open those gates in times of emergency. They did not know what kind of an emergency it would be needed for them to be forced to retreat into the Haad furnace, but the need of Vermalion was a great one. He filled many water canteens and plunged into one gate, leaving the tebrs behind. It was far worse than he had expected. The fury of Haad was terrible to behold. It parched Vermalion's skin instantly. He wrapped himself in wet clothes and ran towards the nearest settlement that was a couple of hours away. A couple of hours in that furnace can seem like an eternity, especially without any magic protection. However he was a hu-man in his middle ages and has practiced sports his entire life so he was in good form. Half the way through he encountered a small group of Haadars. As he was too exhausted to avoid them they spotted him and instantly draw their blades. Vermalion has never encountered Haadars before but from what their minds were telling him he knew he was in trouble. He stopped, and concentrated hard. The Haadars were still rushing towards him, but he just stood there. And then he opened his eyes. Waves of mental panic were sent to the Haadars, overwhelming them. He had sent his deepest fears, his worries and his pain to them and they started to fall, twitching in pain and rolling on the ground. He continued to run. After some hours he reached the Haadar hamlet and a similar thing had happened. The Haadars were panicked and ran away from him (later committing mass suicides), and finally realized he was no Wudar or Wudin they hated so much. He was able to stop them whenever he wished. No Wudar could ever do such a thing. That power raised the Haadar curiosity and what was more important - their respect. He was a warrior in their eyes, and a powerful one. It is said that he met with the Warlord of that county, and brought him back to the Wud gate where they could talk. The Haadar Warlord and his company were on one side of the gate, in their world, but he was on the Wud side, where it was much cooler and he could rest from the incredible strain his endeavor inflicted on him. Due to the Haadars being unable to cross the worlds for long periods of time, they could not help Vermalion, although they wanted it badly. Wudars were the hated enemy of the Haadars for thousands of years and the Haadars had similar feelings towards the situation like the Eroleks did, but due to somewhat different reasons. They saw the Wudar invasion on Men as a highly dishonorable act - Men were completely helpless peasants, and that made the slaughtering a great shame in the eyes of the Haadars. Those that acted without honor would gain great disrespect; in the Haadar eyes the Wudars started appearing as even worse cowards and scum, and something definitely should have been done about it. The time was short, so the conversation between the Haadar Warlord and Vermalion did not last very long. The Warlord's words were brief but complex. He taught Vermalion of what it was to be a Haadar, how the mana exactly flowed through their body and how it could be focused in their hands so that they could cast spells more easily than any other specie. And Vermalion read from the Warlord's mind the history of Haad, the exact tunes they used to cast spells, and how did they war against each other - their tactics of warfare. Vermalion returned to Men alone about five days before the Wudin task force landed on Pandronia. There he analyzed the situation and the solution was relatively simple. He had to apply all he knew about the Haadars and their physiology on his fellow Men. So for the first time in his life he utilized the mana of his world, and cast a spell on himself. He morphed. He gained the second pair of arms. His size increased and his appearance changed, as he now had two pairs of eyes on his face just like the Haadars. He was stronger, although a little slower due to his size, and definitely no longer a Man. He was a Man-Haadar, or in his language - a Menar. Seeing what he did the Eroleks worked with him to increase his reflexes even more, and to adjust the mana flows in him so he would be able to cast similar destructive spells as the Haadars did. The Eroleks did not like this idea but his will was unbreakable and he managed to persuade them to the necessity of these changes. They also helped him to do the same procedure on a great number of Men who all, united, embraced the change, as it was their only hope of surviving the onslaught. The change from Men to Menars spread like fire. Every Menar cast the transformation spell on other Men and repeated it over and over on the greater and greater numbers of Men that applied for the changes. The mana that was required for this enormous transformation of an entire species was all over the place, abundant, and freely available too all that knew it existed. Since over a hundred Eroleks and Erolek Ums worked on Vermalion alone, they quickly figured what had to be done to boost him to the limits his body would be able to withstand and by the time the Wudins landed on Pandronia he and a few thousand of others were already a super Menars - a Menar Ums. The Wudins reached the shores of Pandronia and disembarked. Since this was their final destination, and the last continent on their crusade they did not need the ships any more so this time they burned them themselves. There was no going back; this was the point of no return. They divided into three divisions with about a hundred and twenty thousand Wudins in each, and marched towards the three remaining metropolises. Half the way to the cities the armies had encountered something they had never seen before. Formations of weird rocks, each set about a hundred yards away from other, forming circles. Normally this would not be disturbing but Wudins immediately sensed weird mana radiations, something they never encountered before and they started investigating this phenomenon. In the first division to encounter these rocks, the Wudin Um general approached one of these himself. He studied its mana flows but he still did not understand what it was supposed to do. There were two basic kinds of the mana flows - that was the only thing he could understand. But it remained a mystery to him who had cast these spells? Eroleks? Haadars definitely not, there wasn't anything intrusive or offensive at those mana flows. Finally he stepped forward to the closest rock and inspected it. It was not a natural thing. Its shape was that of a pillar with four branches that would point at the sky in a clawlike form. It was a monolith of some sort, and all of them were alike. Not a big one, actually, for it was about two feet in height, but the mana radiation was extremely high. What caught his attention was a set of symbols that were written in tiny letters near the bottom of the monolith. Translated, the letters meant nothing so it was definitely a name of some sort. Letter by letter - it spelled Urnebesh. Icy shivers ran through his spine. He stood up and looked around. The Menar Um had appeared from behind the trees where they had been hiding. They were something totally new to the Wudins and this created a great commotion. The Menar Ums charged, lead by Vermalion, and after them thousands of Menars and Men that were not yet morphed swarmed the battlefield from all the directions. As they died more and more of them kept coming. They were fearless, even Men were fighting the best they could. What was even more puzzling to the surprised Wudins was that noone ever ran away. They all fought to the death, weather they were wounded on not. As long as a Menar could stand on his feet he fought with four blades, and the Menar Ums constantly were casting fire bolts that incinerated dozens of unprepared Wudins in each blast. Wudins attacked back, or better say, tried to attack, but something was definitely amiss. The numbers that they managed to kill were nothing when compared to their own loses. Attacks on the Menars were most often deflected or even stopped by powerful magic that surrounded the battlefield so they had a hard time even stabbing anyone, much less killing. The battle achieved epic proportions and similar battles occurred with the other two Wudin divisions. In the end the Wudins were all massacred, and no Wudin or Wudin Um had ever returned to Wud. 5.5. End of an era Victorious, the Menar army was disbanded, and Menars have returned to their homes. In a couple of years that followed there was no Men or Menar left, they were all transformed into Menar Ums. As such, they had mana flowing through their bodies in a Haadar fashion, and they started researching those spells that would ensure they were never again taken by surprise by any force that would attack them. Populace counts have showed that by the year 3 B.C. there were only about ten million Menar Ums on the Men world, out of the initial fifty before the war. Plans have been set in motion for the recovery of the destroyed continents, and those Eroleks that remained on Men did much to help the effort by casting Erol style prosperous spells for the quicker regeneration of both Menar Ums and the land. Wudars, defeated for the third time, closed all the gates forever and have forsaken all ideas about controlling other worlds ever. Almost the entire Wudar population had been lost in these futile wars and they were sick and tired of it. Their mind explorers starting researching improving spells again and did little besides that. Wudin and Wudin Ums that were all lost had to be replenished so body explorers started working on that matter. For the first time in history they had started suffering mana lacks as they had spent far too much mana on upgrading those troops for the last war. As they fed upon the mana this was the main reason for stopping all war mana spending and concentrating on survival at last. Erol had also lost many hundreds of thousands of Eroleks in the Men war, but were more than pleased with the outcome. The Ish'Meneks were an addition to their small armies, since, as they could impress their Erolek skills upon Men, the reverse was possible as well. So Eroleks could change themselves into Ish'Meneks, which they gladly did. Their lifestyle was not altered much and there was absolutely no desire to do so. The only major change was the opening of the gates to Men and small but steady Erolek and Men transfers between the two worlds that ended the many millennia long Erolek isolation, bringing in new ideas and new practices. Vermalion's discovery of Far- Sight channeling devices that would allow the users to see each other even when on different worlds aided this flow of people and ideas much. And the Haadars, ah, the Haadars. They remained squabbling as always before. Considering the Men war outcome they were pleased of course, but they gained nothing by it. The Menar Ums, when compared to Haadars were still inferior by far, although they fought using the same spells and battle tactics. The only main advantage the Menar Ums had over Haadars is that they somewhat retained their mind skill of sensing and reading nearby creatures, so they could detect any hidden assassins and prepare their defenses against them. But this was something Haadars would never need nor even want, for they were too proud and considered themselves warriors that needed no alarm to be prepared for the unexpected. And soon, out of the blue, the end of an era was upon the four worlds. Something big and important happened. Very big, and very important. Very very big and very very .. you get the idea. 6. Interlude The time has come. I think. They had all met each other, worked together or battled against themselves. Now it is time for me to introduce some changes. Hmm. Is it the right time actually? Well, I guess it is. Nothing is supposed to change much. Ok, so, changes. But where? Erol and Wud are destroyed by most part. Haad was too inhospitable for any change to be done there. That leaves me Men, my first creation, to tamper with. Hm, how unlucky it is that so many had to die to realize it was not worth it. But well, I guess it is in the nature of individual creations, it seems. Who knows? If there were others beside me perhaps I would war with them as well? Hmmm. What shall I do? I dunno. I should mix them. Mix them all in one big soup. Yes, that sounds promising. I'll even make create some gods to them. Something they can see, and pray to. That'll be a sight. Perhaps they will learn to work together in unity this time. Or perhaps they will wage wars again? Whatever they do it will be their choice. So be it. It is done. Hope this wasn't a mistake. 7. Brixholm Contamination and the merging of the worlds 7.1. New world and the menen This chapter in my story is most probably the most crucial one. In the year 0 A.C., with no apparent reason, the entire "creation" was turned upside down. I will try to explain all that happened, and please note that it all happened at once, instantaneously. Frankly I do not know where to start from so I will go topic by topic. Erol, Wud, and Haad were no more. As worlds - they ceased to exist. All their inhabitants had been transferred to our world, together with their belongings, but this transfer was a far more complex one than it seems. The worlds had been actually merged; parts of Erol, Wud and Haad appeared, randomly placed, all over Men. Erolek forests with their huts, were only a couple of miles away from the Haad volcanoes and caves in them where Haadars lived, and between them were Wud deserts filled with Wud villages, all of it surrounded by our standard world. This pattern repeated itself many times all over the continents, and new landmasses appeared. These new lands were mixed up in this fashion as well, but reason that makes me to believe this was done on purpose is the fact that the landmasses now covered big parts of the ex oceans, and thus connecting all of the three main continents into one new, big one, while still leaving oceans to surround the new big continent. Mountains were created and were very often placed in suspicious formations that would isolate the areas that they surrounded. On other locations the same thing was done with long and broad rivers or large and deep lakes that could be easily be mistaken for seas. To summarize. The new continent was divided by natural barriers into thousands of little areas, with a number of Menar Um, Haadar, Erolek and Wudar settlements "randomly" placed throughout them. However their isolation was not a complete one, there were many mountain canyons and natural river crossings that could be easily turned into passes from one region to the other. These passes turned to be of great tactical importance throughout the new era and many times battles were fought in such locations. None of the magic energies that flowed in the other worlds were transferred to Men, again due to an unknown reason. Probably incompatibility. The mana that was generated was still Men mana. This did not affect the other species much with one notable exception - highly customized spells like the Wudar Planar Drain spell were now gone forever. Whenever they would try casting that one for example, a Fissure would occur just like on Erol and the mana would be burned in fire blasts. However, Eroleks and Wudars had no problems adapting to the new mana flows. Eroleks could still use Men mana for their prosperous spells just like before, and the Wudars could feed on it. This fact gave the final proof to the theory that all the mana energies were created by the same source, with very minor differences. The interesting question here was the Haadar specie. They were not only transferred but changed as well, in order to make them able to survive. All of them appeared a lot smaller in our world, no longer up to nine feet high and a thousand pounds in weight, but now the biggest Haadars were about seven feet high and waited no more than six hundred pounds. They were much slower than before, most probably due to the lack of methane that gave them energy. But they still could breathe and did no longer feel the extreme cold in our world. It is assumed their body temperature was lowered from burning 80 degrees Celsius to about 50, which is normal for them now. Switching from methane to oxygen also changed their physiology, but not much - their inner magical body was changed because the Men mana was now flowing through their palms. We do not know in the exact details everything that is different now, as we never had a chance to study an ancient Haadar. Those summoned by Weakling's Bane don't count, they are only spirits, and spirits don't react too well to needles. One very interesting thing was new to this world, and never existed on any other world before. It was something we now call "a Throne". These monoliths were basically very similar in form to the monoliths first cast by Urnebesh in the last war but with one difference in form, that being the top of the pillar, which no longer was in shape of a claw but took a form of a seat. That is why those monoliths were named Thrones although they were not necessarily been made for people to sit in them. They just had that shape. Also they were much bigger than the monoliths before, they were about thirty feet tall, with the actual "Throne" on top of them about six feet tall and three feet wide. They were all purple in color, which is puzzling even today. Purple "marble" never existed anywhere, but then this was no ordinary marble, for it could never be cracked, broken or burned. As if it was indestructible. Those Thrones were placed in the middle of these natural regions, one per region, and their "seats" always pointed to the south, again for no apparent reason, probably the designer's sick imagination. The weirdest thing was that no magic radiation was apparent in them, as if they were dead, which was proved later to be false. This merging of worlds was named the Brixholm Contamination by the hu-man (Menar Um) clerics for a very good reason. Actually the change did not happen *immediately*, as in a blink of an eye. It lasted for a couple of hours as the world was rewritten like a piece of paper would be. The center of Men world - where these change begun - is still called the Brixholm area. There was nothing special about it, it simply was in the center of Men, as a small farming community that was first surrounded by Haad, Erol and Wud scenery and inhabitants. The Brixholm area in time was transformed into the real center of the world, and the throne that appeared there was bigger than all others. But we'll get to this later. As for the "contamination", I expect no explanation is necessary. Needless to say Menar Um clerics did not appreciate their world now being a host for three more races, without any apparent need or reason. After all, the last war had barely ended, Men was united again and it was all as it should be when the contamination occurred. 7.2. Gods and Planes What exactly happened to the ex worlds of Erol, Haad and Wud? At least to this question we have real answers. In short, they morphed from worlds to planes. Of course, a detailed explanation is needed. Each world lost its physical form. Now, formless it remained with all the mana it once had. That mana was redone, its patterns were interwoven like strings in clothing, and a plane was created. Its fabric was the mana itself. It no longer bordered with other worlds/planes and even if it did it would be pointless because one cannot live in a world entirely made of mana - noone can breathe on it. Those planes did not have any immediate connection with the actual world of Men but as time passed the planes have proven to be crucial to the further development of the situation. As these planes were created, so were three beings in them. These beings were made of pure mana as well and were without a form, simply existing there without the need to eat, sleep or breathe. They were named the High Lords, for they had the power to control the mana of their planes to any goal they had, and as it was, most of those goals were on Men. They had taken the forms of the innate beings in their worlds, but much larger and full of mana, so that when they would travel to the world of Men, they could be seen and identified as the High Lords. Though, this occurred only rarely and throughout the new era such encounters with the High Lords could be counted on the fingers of a Wudar hand. Today the acceptance of the High Lords in the Men world is obvious due to every High Lord having his own philosophy in accordance to the mana he is controlling and the history of his ex world - the Haadar High Lord became accepted to the menen as the God of Destruction, the Wudar as the God of Mastery, and the Erol one as the God of Remedy. As you see, originally there was no God of Resolution, i.e., the Men High Lord. The three of the High Lords came to Men in the second year of the new era to announce their presence. It was done in a lovely demonstration - the Haad Lord destroyed a couple of towns with lava storms, then Erol Lord came and repaired the damage, and after that the Wud Lord had cast determination spells all over the inhabitants so they could resume their life at the same efficiency as before the Haad Lord killed half their population. Although to some a cruel demonstration, it was a very effective one and the news quickly spread all over the world causing both fear and joy. The populace finally had something they could pray to, Gods that existed and were real for all to see. Quickly they abandoned their ancient Gods and beliefs and from that moment those creatures, the High Lords, even if they were not actual Gods they become such in the eyes of every menen. To be candid, they are not the Gods only in the eyes of us, the hu-man clerics, since we have reasons to believe there is something even more powerful and truly omnipotent that is ruling this world, other planes and our destiny. I still haven't described the effect that this merging had on menen all over the world but I want to clarify the Men High Lord situation first. Men plane was created about fifty years A.C. The reasons for it - purely hu-man ones. After the demonstration of the three High Lords, the populace was awed. They started worshiping their gods fiercely and those "gods" actually replied to their praises. They dealt blessings or punishment, depending on their own morale codes. But the Menar Um population did not praise anyone. They had no High Lord to worship, and there was no Men plane. This caused discomfort and jealousy at first, but later open protests and riots at the temples of the three other races. Soon the situation was very tense and civil war was at hand. The Haadars and Wudars (Eroleks excluded, they were never aggressive nor an enemy of Menar Ums) begun raiding human settlements and having revenge for the burnings of their own temples. This situation did not last for long, for very soon the hu-man clerics managed to gather enough mana for the first general spell they had ever cast. This spell does not have a name that we are familiar with today since it could only be cast once and never again. A month after the riots had started the clerics were prepared and started casting it. The effects were visible all over the world - all the mana pockets, layers and layers of unused mana that was collected there from the beginning of the world till now - those pockets started shrinking. The entire world started losing mana, it all went *somewhere*. This mana withdrawal lasted for three days and three nights and was there for all to see. Fights immediately stopped and were replaced by panic, as none except a chosen number of clerics knew what was going on. In they fear all the mana would be lost forever they started gathering mana in "secure" locations but to no avail, the mana was disappearing, no matter where it was. By the third night the world was empty of mana, except minor quantities that were deliberately left for the Wudars to survive. Finally on the dawn of the fourth day in the sky appeared the fourth High Lord. It was the Menar Um God, and he had his own plane to control - that was where all the mana went. He proclaimed, in a thundering voice, that he was here now and that he would take care of hu-mans. How the clerics took mana and formed it into a plane is relatively easy to understand, but how did they manage to create the fourth High Lord, or was it even their doing, that we still do not know for the secret of that spell has been long lost. 8. Rise of Elders and creation of Dominance 8.1. The brave new world In this chapter I will explain the immediate consequences the Brixholm Contamination had on the world. Needles to say, absolutely every living creature in existence was dazzled and at least a bit scared. They could see the changes although they did not feel the actual change, they were in their own world, in their homes, and the next moment they were somewhere else, together with their homes, gardens, and earth that they lived on. Menar Ums were scared the most, because still a great number of them never saw any spell excluding the transformation one that changed them from Men to Menars and then later to Menar Ums. One month after the change, in the still ruling Senate on the ex isle of Mantras (the isle was no longer an isle, it was now connected to the rest of the world), Vermalion who was now a Menar Um (as everybody else) assembled a gathering of the ruling forces from the other worlds. It was a great debate who should take the control of the menen and it was an even greater fight between the ex Haadar Emperor Shanzad and the ex Wudar Chairman Marseet. Those two started fighting (actually Shanzad immediately attacked first) as soon as they were both in the Senate Chambers, and before anyone could do anything Marseet was dead. Not many tears were wept for him, although the Menar Um security did manage to overpower Shanzad and imprison him. Very quickly (in a matter of minutes) the replacements for them were found and the meeting could commence. The debate lasted for two weeks and still no conclusion could be agreed upon. The Haadars wanted to prove that they could lead the world by demonstrating their superior might (which was now vastly reduced by their transformation but they would not acknowledge it - “We are NOT changed” “But look at yourself! You are smaller and weaker!” “We are NOT changed” “...”). The Wudars wanted to rule on the behalf of their superior magic knowledge and efficiency. The Eroleks however were intent on gaining the ruling chair because they thought that through their government they could create another paradise out of Men world and cease all the fighting. However Vermalion did not want to give his position away for he felt it was his place to rule the world just as before. He was elected by his own people before the last war and he was unwilling to let any foreign race control their world after all that has happened in the last fifteen years. So, in a matter of speaking, all of the races had some right to be in command but in case any were to be elected, it was very likely that more wars would occur and the world would be thrown into chaos again. This was the last thing any of them wanted so in the third week the hu-man Senate had managed to persuade the other species that obviously the current methods of government that were present on any of the worlds were no longer applicable. They decided to create a new set of government rules, one that would be a compromise between all four species. The world was to be divided in areas, and this was not a hard thing to do since the terrain was already configured in such a manner. This pre-made division was very suspicious to all but they decided to play along with the “goddish plan”. Every area already had a weird monolith, a "throne" that would represent the center of that region. And to please the Haadars, an emperor, or at least some person of noble blood would rule each region. Since only Haadars actually had any nobles in their populace, it was agreed as well that the other species would elect their own representatives that would be proclaimed Nobles. This was according to the Menar Um request that the government had at least some democracy in it. These temporary nobles would remain in control of their regions together with their families but would need to be reelected every two hundred years in order to let some fresh blood and insights in, to be able to improve the general lifestyle. The Wudars did not object to this but remained firm in their request that only those people who had above average magic potential to be allowed to participate in the elections. They thought only wizards were capable of efficiently controlling the areas and the others also saw this as a good trait to the new leaders. Without magic this world would be impossible to control, as the ancient Men lifestyle was gone now. The Eroleks were last to present their terms, and they were wise to do so. Their terms were that those wizards would not control the regions like despots but to have their own counselors and that their decisions have to be rectified by local populace. In other words, they would not be ruthless tyrants; quite on the contrary, they would be more like the Erolek Elders back on Erol. Twenty years after this agreement, the elections came. In this time the populace had the chance to meet and learn about all of the inhabitants and most importantly the wizards in their region so they would be able to vote for their favorites. Two thousand Emperors-to-be from all over the world were elected as leaders, and all four races had their representatives controlling equal portions of the world. These portions were all mixed up, so in no general area would any race have a dominant power. The question was, what next? Trade routes were established between areas controlled by fellow Emperors and mana started flowing again. The regions flourished, all in their own way. But not all Emperors were wise, and not all were strong. 8.2. Rise of Elders Immediately after the elections the question arose - from there would these Emperors reign? From their own home villages? There were no castles of any sort in the world, and the Haadar Elders were the first to start building them. Always wary of war they knew they needed some protection for themselves in the case nearby empires attack. So they used enormous portions of their mana to build magic castles. These castles were build around those throne monoliths and were neatly designed so that the pillars with the thrones on top of them would be in the center of those great halls and that the monolith thrones would finally be accessible for the rulers to sit in them. This was a great endeavor and lasted for a hundred of years. The castles were not actually built - the mana was projected into the throne monoliths, very carefully tuned, so the monoliths would grow into the actual castles, making them indestructible. I hope this finally answers the question - why are all the throne castles built of purple marble and where did that marble come from? From nowhere! It were the monoliths that were expanded to the castles, creating barracks for five thousand troops, accommodations for the Elders, and other throne dwelling populace that was needed. Still, as I said, we do not know where the throne monoliths came from in the first place. Most probably - by the same force that merged all the worlds together, but then again, maybe not. Since even the High Lords do not know the answer to this question most probably no person does. After the thrones were built the Haadar Emperors moved their quarters and started to rule from them. Seeing this, the Emperors of other areas and races started creating their own castles that were different in form but all had one thing in common - they were all indestructible. The populace never really liked the term "Emperor" for it reminded them of how the Haadar Emperors were cruel to their own people and the term they adopted for the rulers was that of the Eroleks - Elders. The history will show that some Elders were indeed Emperors, but this had not happened for quite some time yet. Anyhow what these Elders did was to insure the prosperity and/or strength of the populace they ruled. The Haadars started forging weapons and fortifying the pathways that leaded into their regions, the Eroleks were busy with prosperities throughout their lands, changing weather to reflect kindly on the people and the crops. The Wudars raised schools that would teach magic to the people (making them potential assassin recruits) and rebuilt their military academies for the trainings of Wudins and Wudin Ums. But the Menar Um started working on a somewhat different project. It was evident to them that war was to occur sooner or later. They were able to sense the innate Haadar hate for Eroleks and Wudars, which Haadars considered "weak" species (interestingly, the Haadars actually liked Menar Ums, probably because they were a branch of Haadars in their eyes). In this period of time and relative piece no big wars ever occurred. Minor skirmishes between neighboring Elders happened here and there, but due to the configuration of the terrain if an Elder wanted to destroy his neighbor and take his lands he would have to kill all of the inhabitants of that other region, else the populace in question would simply reelect a new Elder to take the position of the killed one and all would be as it was. This would be genocide again, and the other Elders would harshly punish the offender. That is why this never happened. Anyhow in this thousand of years that have passed a number of interesting things have occurred. The Menar Ums have completed their work on a first really dangerous weapon they ever had. Sensing the never-ending tensions they again worked on creating something that would be a dangerous weapon, but again non-lethal. Constant experimenting, learning from the Wudar libraries all the topics on transformation, studying Haadar physiology, all of that finally led to another creature, an upgrade, that needed to be implemented now. Today we call that experiment the Un'Haadar, or in the Haadar language "Fear- Haadars". The essence of this project was to eliminate all of the Haadar traits that have linked Haadars to their own world, such as the need for the methane which was still present, the burning body temperature that made Haadars always cold in this world, and the physical attributes which were no longer appropriate, for example the extreme size and weight. The resulting Un'Haadars were smaller, perhaps weaker in strength of battle arms, but faster as a result. But these are only side effects, what was really important is the mind-tune of Un'Haadars. Again, I stress, they were designed to be non-lethal warriors although they could normally fight with solid blades. But they excelled at paralyzing enemy by inducing images of terror and distress in their minds which were so intense that resulted into throwing the enemy into a temporary comas. Such paralyzed creatures would regain consciousness after a few minutes up to a few hours, depending on the strength of this attack but they would not die nor suffer any permanent mind damage. With these Un'Haadars, Menar Um have finally had a fighting force of their own and could defend their villages without taking lives. Meanwhile an even more important project was developing in the Haadar battle pits. Haadars were the only specie that had no advanced warriors of their own. There was a great debate in the grand Haadar meeting (168 A.C.) weather they should invest any research into it or not. The Haadars never appreciated knowledge and research much and for their entire history in their arrogance they always believed that they were the perfect warriors - strong, fast and deadly. And indeed they were, at least until the Contamination when they were shrunk, slowed, and weakened considerably. This was the main contra-argument but generally it was decided that they should spend more time training instead of researching ways to improve themselves magically. This decision did not please the younger Haadars, who were influenced much by the last war and could objectively say that even Menar Ums, whom they have seen practicing their war skills, could defeat them in case of a war. So a group of young Haadar researchers went to the battle pits (which were transferred from Haad in the merging) and started researching their own upgrades. It took them a while to figure what exactly did they want as a result. They could never compete as archers with Erolek Ums or Ish'Menek, as they were too slow to be able to fire arrows at such speed, and neither had the eyesight that could even be compared to the Eroleks. And furthermore, those arrows would not do much damage considering any army could recruit Ish'Meneks. They neither wanted to create anything like Wudins or Wudin Ums since a Haadar was as stealthy as an average Goon. They needed something big, something frightening, and something deadly. The story how they figured what they needed was a bit funny to the Haadars. A small group of the researches was walking at the beaches of the ocean and one of them decided to try to swim. Haadars were horrible swimmers, they would most often sink. So he plunged in the shallow sea and started swimming around and the other Haadars looked at him with awe. He was actually walking on a ridge of rocks that were too deep for the others to see, and was only pretending to be swimming. At least until a shark came and bite his right lower arm off. Panicked Haadar instinctively tried casting a fire bolt to incinerate the shark but what use is a fire bolt under water? The bolt exploded and killed both the Haadar and the shark. This taught the other Haadars two valuable things - never cast a fire bolt under water, and more importantly, if you cannot hit the enemy, then you are as good as dead. So they started working on the Haadun project. By the year 179 A.C. the first Haaduns were ready to be tested. Actually, those researchers were now the Haaduns since they couldn't find volunteers for the experiment, at least not without the Haadar council's approval. Ten Haaduns dug their way to the Erolek village in their region. There they emerged, but only a few feet below the ground, and with their four arms now transformed into tentacles grabbed a couple of local Eroleks and pulled them underground where they could eat them at piece. The Erolek Ums that were defending the area could do nothing about it. They saw the tentacles rising from below the ground and grabbing their kin away but could do nothing except fire half a dozen arrows into each tentacle. The Haaduns managed to kill about twenty Eroleks before they retreated. They all returned to the battle pits where their laboratory was located, although most of them had quite a few tentacles less than before. This did not bother them as in a matter of months their tentacles would grow back to the original form. Euphoric about their success, they emerged in the local Haadar meeting, killed fifty more Haadars and only then introduced themselves. The Haadars were jubilant with joy that they could morph into something so deadly and soon there were hundreds of volunteers that were more than happy to be experimented on. Haaduns to this day are one of the most dangerous creatures that exist and not without very good reasons. They are extremely hard to kill as they need to be pulled by their deadly poisonous tentacles out of the ground and slaughtered there. Even on ground they can still fight so this is even more dangerous. When all of this is taken into consideration, it is easy to understand why by the year 1480 A.C. almost all of the trade routes between the regions had stopped. Every region had a share of good warriors that were trained to fight and never had the chance to do so. Even Elders became greedier, and as always - the neighbor's cows look fatter and his fields look more fertile. Armies were amassed and trained and one final thing was missing before global invasions could begin. 8.3. Summoning of the avatars Elders could never lead the armies themselves. There was always a risk that if an Elder would go to another region and fight there another Elder would easily invade and take his own region without any resistance. But this was only a minor reason, for in time the Elders got accustomed to the throne monoliths and managed to use them to amplify any spells they would cast. Without the throne monolith nearby they felt naked. Something else was needed. Something reliable. Something that would follow their will and their will alone. The first avatar was summoned in the year 1497 A.C. when Lord Frainad, Haadar in origin, had diligently prayed to Haad High Lord to send him a solution that would allow him to conquer his neighbor, an Erolek Elder. The Haad Lord appeared for the second time in his existence, before Lord Frainad, and something spectacular happened. Before Frainad's scared eyes, the High Lord started doubling himself. First he had two heads, then eight arms, then four legs, and finally there were two of them in front of him. The Haad High Lord simply vanished, just like he came, and the other *thing*, that looked exactly as the High Lord, simply stood there looking at Lord Frainad blankly. Frainad was an experienced wizard and knew this blank look well. "Kneel!", he ordered, and the Haadar kneeled. "Who are you?", he asked, but got no response. He was puzzled but decided to get this to an end. "You are here to serve me!". And the Haadar looked up to him and replied - "Yes, master.". The Haad High Lord image, but in body alone, with his mind completely blank, was appropriately named "an avatar". He was a magical creature, with all the knowledge of Haad war tactics and able to command Frainad's army, but with no recollection of what he actually was. Nor did it matter much, at least not to Frainad, since the avatar was entirely under his control, but still with a mind of his own - imaginative, innovative, and had done his job superbly - he invaded the neighboring region, broke through Erolek Um and Ish'Menek defenses, killed the Erolek Elder, and then stopped. There, in the throne room of the Erolek Elder, the dead Elder was sitting on the throne. But the throne then came alive. Lord Frainad who was watching all of this through Vermalion's channeling device (which by this time was installed in every throne room in the world), saw the throne grow, morph, and finally enclose the Erolek Elder. It morphed into a ball around the dead Erolek, and there it was, a big ball of purple marble. Neither Frainad nor his avatar (that still had no name) knew what to do or what was going on. Then, after five minutes of impatient waiting the ball started morphing again. It slowly assumed it's original form and the Erolek, previously dead, was alive again. The avatar reached for his blade to slaughter him again but before he had the chance, a bolt of thunder shot from the throne itself and struck him in the chest. He fell, obviously dead, and vanished in a puff of mana. Then a booming voice, apparently coming from the throne itself, said: "Lord Klaina (speaking to the resurrected Erolek), you have been killed and subdued. You will now be a servant for six months or else you will die again, and for good." Then, changing direction into the channeling device the voice said: "Lord Frainad, you have subdued Lord Klaina. After six months of servitude, if he wishes, he will be free to liberate himself from your rule. Although it is not yet the right time, the Rules of Dominance have and must be obeyed." Astonished, both Lords looked at each other through the device. They quickly agreed upon some things that this new concept - servitude - required. Lord Klaina was forced to send his maps and reports daily to Lord Frainad and to give him a part of the mana his region was generating. A week later Lord Frainad was praying again to the Haad High Lord, and asking him again the privilege of using another avatar. The Haad High Lord replied, in Frainad's mind: "Had you stopped your avatar in trying to break the Rules of Dominance, you wouldn't be needing to pray to me now. You are stupid and boring. Here." And the avatar appeared on the floor beside Frainad, lying there just as at the moment the bolt killed him. Even his armor was scorched in that spot but the avatar had no visible wounds. He was unconscious. "But God, what ARE the Rules of Dominance? What IS Dominance?" To this question Frainad got a vague reply ("Check the dictionary, moron.") but nevertheless he was wiser quite a bit. His avatar recovered from the shock in a day, and was ready to start commanding again. Unfortunately for Frainad, with the loss of his avatar his entire army was disbanded and had fled to who knows where, so he could not immediately pick another target. In the years that followed, Lord Klaina had instructed all of his friendly neighbors to what happened and the knowledge of this event soon became worldwide. Avatars started appearing on thrones throughout the world. Every Elder had a privilege to pick two avatars, that is, to be granted two avatars from any High Lord he wished. Those avatars would remain with them until the death of the Elder and could not be replaced for others. Nor did any Elder wish to do so. Avatars, being magical creatures, learned much more quickly than ordinary menen and after a few years they were indispensable, both as war leaders, and as diplomats. And furthermore, those avatars would draw their life force from the lives of the army they commanded. To kill them a person would have to kill every single soldier in avatar's army and then after he was done, battle a magical creature. And even then, after an avatar would die, the Elder he served could simply, with no mana cost whatsoever, summon the same avatar at his throne again. They were the ultimate leaders. But to finish the story of Lords Frainad and Klaina. Klaina, although defeated and subdued, still was alive and wishful for vengeance. He had assembled his counselors and devised a mean plan to rid Frainad of his power forever. He had immediately requested two avatars from the Erol High Lord, and indeed he got them. Those were Erol Avatars, not warriors but diplomats. He had sent them through the now unguarded mountain passes to the Frainad's region. There they used their innate Erolek hypnotizing powers to influence Frainad's populace to Klaina's cause. In a matter of months, Frainad did not have a singe village to draft his armies from, and as much as he killed Klaina's avatars by directing the Haad volcanoes to rain lava on them, they kept constantly coming back. Lord Klaina was even more diligent and used his Haadar counselors to devise a spell that would stir doubt and disbelief in the hearts of Frainad's villagers. And after they were confused and unwilling to follow anyone he would cast great spells that would create miracles throughout the villages. The spells had a neat effect - they would create an image of Klaina in the sky that would talk to them, and persuade them to follow Klaina. Those that were not fooled by this trickery were changed from within. They would hear a voice in their mind saying: "Klaina - your friend. Klaina - your protector. Above all, Klaina... your Elder!" There was no escape from this. All of Frainad's populace was turned against him, into Klaina's service. Frainad was mad with anger. His mana flows were decimated, he earned almost nothing. So he asked for help from a fellow Haadar Elder who assisted him greatly in casting destructive spells at never-tiring Erolek avatars, and furthermore casting horrible curses over his ex populace, curses that would bring diseases and suffering. Food would rot, and the earth would become dead. The villagers either died or were recruited into Klaina's army. In any case, after six months were over, Klaina had cast a great spell on himself, one that broke the bonds between him and Frainad, and then invaded his region by force. He laid a siege to Frainad's throne, and eventually subdued him. 8.4. The creation of Dominance By the year 3000 A.C., there was not a single region of the world that was not ruling some other or was under someone else's rule. Although the Rules of Dominance had not yet been laid out, they all believed that they are required to subdue their neighbors and had created vast armies to that cause. “Vast”, being a relative term, meaning about a few hundred up to a few thousand menen in the largest army. It was then that the Gods, the High Lords, appeared for the third time, but this time together. In the sky above the world, in enormous images that all could see, this is what they said: "People of the world, arise! People of the world, behold us! We are your Gods, we control your faith, and we are here so help you. If you continue battling you will exterminate yourselves. Thus, in order to save you, you will now deliberately, by our divine will, enter an era that will be marked with wars, magic, diplomacy, and love. From this day onwards all the ties of your Elders to the others will be broken. All will start afresh and be afresh. There will be no more wars, except the ones you will create. There will be no more bonds, except the ones you will make, yourselves. Elders! You are all equal! Do what you wish to do and make yourselves famous by any means you can. The most powerful ones will like forever as immortals in the minds of all the people now living, and the ones who have not yet been born. The Rules of Dominance are simple. No Elder will die as long as the Rite lasts. No mana must be spent in the spells except the one the Elder rightfully earned or is given. Populace MUST NOT suffer the lacks of mana! Otherwise, punishments will be severe. And finally, no two Elders will be permitted to share the same thoughts, and to work as one. Every Elder is a unique creature and WILL stay that way! One Elder, only ONE Elder, that will be the most powerful by the end of the next fifty years, will behold us in our true form. He alone will win the Rite of Dominance and be made The Dominator. He will become a Demi-God and gain divine powers to control. He and his family will rule the world from the Home Throne for eons to come. There will be no greater accomplishment or honor for the one that manages such a deed. And when the following fifty years are over, what is done will stay done. There will be no more wars, nor changes of heart. And there will be piece for the next three thousand years to come, piece that nothing will break, ever. After that time, the Rites of Dominance will begin again!" The Elders took this message to heart. Their bonds were now broken and they were free to persuade others to join them willingly. The wars had not yet started so they had some time to research even deadlier warriors, and even more difficult spells. Be as it may, the High Lords were right about one thing. If there were no Rules of Dominance, the Elders would slaughter each other and the world would be thrown into chaos again. This way only fifty years in every three millennia would be marked with wars and permanent piece would last between the Rites. This could only benefit the population so it was generally considered a good thing. Thus, the Proclamation made by the High Lords was accepted worldwide as a salvation and the High Lords were worshipped even more fiercely than before. 8.5. The first fifty years The world in the First battle for power was very quickly divided into big Empires. Please note that although thousands of Elders existed in the world, only very minor number of them wanted to fight for the Dominance. The reason for this is because this was the populace's general wish - for them to stay neutral. Most of the peasants were unwilling to be drafted into armies and virtually all of them wanted for their Elders to remain neutral. The Elders of that time still obeyed the code laid by Vermalion almost three thousand years ago that required them to have counselors and to take heed to the wishes of their people. Later, this was changed due to the increasing greed and lust for power, but it has not happened until many thousand years later, when the other Rites begun. Today it is assumed that only about fifty Elders were powerful enough and had armies that could be counted in thousands. The actual battles in this Rite did not last fifty years but only ten. However those ten years were really intense and caused worldwide changes both in magic knowledge and in world structure. Very much to our regrets, the detailed progress of the war is unknown to us. Almost all of the records were lost, so it took us many years to track down what actually happened. We managed to find ancient scripts in but a couple of Erol huts that date to this period of time, and they were in a bad state of decay, with the handwriting on them long gone. With powerful magic spells the teams had managed to pull out some pieces of information. We learned that by the year 3010 A.C. a Haadar Lord named Ghar managed to research a spell that improved the already dreadful Haaduns. He managed to imprint on them the mental powers of Fear-Haadars, and found a way to change their shape so they could drill through the ground more easily with their tentacles. As a result, their tentacles became longer and much stronger, and somewhat deadlier. But the main change was the already mentioned mind-tune of the Un'Haadars which allowed them to throw the enemy into comas before the actual assault so they were able to kill much more, and with greater ease. This process worked for the Un'Haadars as well, they could be easily morphed into Fear-Haaduns, as the spell also included powers of its predecessor - the "Morph Haadun" spell. However, this process required more mana than the previous spells as magic was the essential key to the creation of these creatures. Today it is widely known that Un'Haaduns are (generally speaking) the best fighters ever to exist in the world, and are almost always used as a backbone of any smartly created army. In great numbers the terror that they induce on the enemy is so overwhelming that the battle becomes a matter of procedure - kill as many as you can before the enemy runs away and you need to catch them again. This is exactly what Lord Ghar did - he quickly subdued many Elders that were inactive and by the year 3015 A.C. he became the most powerful Elder in the world. But his power did not last long. An Erolek Elder named Shinya worked on a different project. She worked on even further increasing the favorite Erolek warriors - the Erolek Ums into even more powerful units. The super-Eroleks, as you know had the ability to sense the hidden assassins, while the better Men-Eroleks could manipulate object by their thoughts. Together, when these two abilities are combined, and when their reflexes were even faster, the resulting creatures were the ultimate marksmen - able to defend themselves like no other creature could, and were able to deal enormous blows to the enemy in a form of a rain of arrows that they would shoot. Also, please note on thing. Since there were no more Men to be upgraded into Ish'Meneks, the same procedure had to be used on Menar Ums. This had one other unexpected bonus on Ish'Meneks - the Menar Ums had four arms! Meaning the Ish'Meneks could effectively carry two bows and fight with them at the same time. When this trait was applied to the Erolek Ums, together with their mind ability of bending the incoming weapons, the resulting "better super-Eroleks", i.e. the Ish'Erolek Ums, were the absolute force in defense. And do remember what archers always do - before the battle they fire their first salve onto the enemy killing many of them before they even reach the melee forces - and with two bows on each Ish'Erolek Um this initial attack always had a devastating effect. So, to make a long story short, Lord Shinya raised an army that consisted mainly of the Ish'Ums (as the populace even today calls the Ish'Erolek Ums), and some Erol Wudins upgraded to Erol Wudin Ums. She lured Ghar (that was power-mad by that time and felt invincible) to her throne where thousands on Ish'Ums emerged from the castle walls and quickly slaughtered all of the Ghar's Un'Haaduns, which of course were unable to dig through the castle's solid walls and were forced to fight above ground. Her Wudar avatar, which was leading the battle, got enormous amounts of solid war experience from this battle and become one of the best war leaders in the entire world. Soon she took over the Ghar's dominion and remained there as the most powerful Elder until the end of the Rite. This endeavor had a couple of long-lasting effects. Firstly, Shinya was the first Elder to be named The Dominatress, and she was bestowed enormous powers, just like promised, by the Erol High Lord (the God of Remedy). Her lifespan was lengthened from normal three hundred years to nearly nine hundred, in which time she ruled the world fairly and the world prospered. The second effect this had had on the world was a more painful one. The Haadars from all over the world saw her rule as a disgrace since she did not heed any advices concerning strengthening of the military, nor did she allow Haadar Elders under her to train any troops at all. As a result, the Haadars through time started to hate her very much and this hatred after her death was transferred onto all of the Eroleks. To this day the Haadars have a difficult choice of choosing whom the hate more - Eroleks or Wudars. Nevertheless, after the death of Shinya her offspring continued to rule the world, and for two thousand and two hundred years there was piece very much unseen before. Piece, but not necessarily unity. In the time that passed, the only interesting thing that happened was the discovery of the ultimate fighters. This research was done in secret by Elder Pazzarh, an Haadar, who decided to oppose Shinya's rule and raise his army in order to take the Rule that was rightfully Shinya's. Some years after the Rite had ended he worked with his best Haaduns in order to transform them into the best fighters that would ever walk the world. Needless to say, two things had motivated him. Firstly, he was a weird Haadar, who actually liked Wudars. He had hired many Wudar researchers on this project. And most importantly, he as a true Haadar in spirit always longed for his home world Haad, and the frightening power his race had once had. A power that was visible only in brief moments when someone would cast the Weakling's Bane and the spirits of his Haadar brethren, the true warriors, would emerge and deal lethal blows onto the enemy. With Wudar help, and the consent of his best Haadun soldiers, he started training the Haaduns to fight above ground. The Haaduns had a natural advantage over the other melee fighters - that being their tentacles that were longer than any man's arms and that could regrow if cut. But the Haaduns were by default underground creatures; their body was designed to lurk below the ground and to dig it towards the enemy. Once above ground they were cumbersome and could barely walk, although they could simply stand and fight with their poisonous limbs. What the Haaduns needed was an extra pair of legs. As simple as that. With four legs they could shift their weight more easily and would even be able to run, at relatively good speeds. Much like an ox would run, to be precise. That is exactly what he did to them, through strong mana spells, he morphed their bodies so their excessive weight would go to the lower part of their bodies - into their additional two weights, and once he increased the size of their tentacles those new creatures, that he named Haadar Kas (difficult to translate exactly but is the equivalent of Haadar Mammoths), they became walking tanks. They could easily swing their blades at the range of two meters, making any normal melee fighter almost totally inefficient. To defeat this walking turret, a person would have to cut all of his four poisonous tentacles that wielded four enormous blades and only then, carefully kill the beast before it would spit poison all over the surroundings. The Haadar Kas were indeed terrific melee fighters, although due to their size and inertia, they were very hard to change course, once they would put their legs in motion. For that reason, every agile menen, (such were all who wielded bows, and the assassins of course) could easily dodge the stampede of Haadar Kas, and run away in opposite directions to take them down from some decent range. Moreover, the Haaduns and Un'Haaduns were safe from them as well, as all they needed to do was to dig underground and hide themselves there. Pazzarh did not care much for the weak spots his creations had had. He was intent on gaining the glory through combat, and foolishly attacked Shinya's stronghold. The battle went well for Pazzarh all the way until there was no enemy standing on the battlefield alive. The Haadar Kas ran in trembling stampedes over the field and destroyed all opposition there, which was made mostly of Menar Um fighters. Assisted by Wudins and Wudin Ums Pazzarh was invincible and it looked like he was going to win. And he would have, for sure, had the Gods not interfered. A lava storm is nothing when compared what they did to the poor Pazzarh. A storm made of lightning and ice was cast from the skies themselves, and his army was annihilated in a matter of minutes. However, Pazzarh was not dead, nor scratched for that matter. He was taken alive and drowned in a pool of boiling oil. Please note that the pool, the oil, and Pazzarh's drowning had nothing to do with Shinya, although she observed the entire scene from a parapet of her castle. All of the requisites came from *nowhere*, and by divine will Pazzarh was, shall we say, taught a rather hot lesson. A century later, his son continued the research on the Haadar Kas, but not in order to try to take the world as his father had tried, but simply for the love of research he had. They were indeed a rather weird Haadar family. He took the Haadar Ka's and tried to fix the errors his farther did while creating them. It was obvious they were utterly useless against any ranged, burrowing or assassin fighter, so in order to compensate for that, he furthermore beefed them at what they did good - killing lots of fighters. Their reflexes were enhanced, their bodies made more agile, so they could run much faster. And as for their inability to attack the small and agile creatures - he solved it through the only way he knew - terror! Indeed, he gave them the same ability Un'Haadars and Un'Haaduns had - to comatose their opponents before slaughtering them, and with that ability they became the last addition to the Fear Factory. The horrible, the deadly, and the ultimate fighters - the Un'Haadar Kas! With the creation of the “Fear-Haadar Mammoths”, we came to the end of the morphing of units. In the numerous millennia that followed, no new troops were ever created, and most probably will never be. Too much mana was already invested into creation of each of them, and any further mana would be a waste. The dreadful Un'Haadar Kas already had so much mana in them that an Elder could draft and train four other normal fighters for that cost, and we have to admit, four Wudars would manage to overpower a single Un'Haadar Ka. What lay in the future of Dominance, will be mostly seen as battles, many many many battles, and all of them for one single goal - the Power. 9. Dominance wars 9.1. Second Rite of Dominance -- It was the year 6000 A.C. Three thousand years have passed, mostly peacefully with only minor skirmishes, under Shinya's and her family's rule. The regions had prospered greatly under constant prosperities that were cast, except the regions ruled by the Haadar Emperors. They deliberately prohibited use of any Erol spells, and since they were forbidden to raise armies, people their regions had nothing to do except survive the harsh winters of the Men world. The time had come for the second Rite of Dominance to begin, and this caused much anticipation between both populace and the Elders. On the first day of the year 6000 A.C. the sky darkened, and was soon completely dark. Nothing could be seen as it was pitch black but people were somewhat calm because they know that whenever the High Lords appeared something weird would occur. And indeed, very soon, in the sky appeared the faces of the four High Lords, each talking to his own people and Elders. The message was brief. “The three thousand years have passed and the new Rite has now begun. Since not all Elders or regions have equally prospered, their knowledge and mana will be erased so all would be equal. Also since some regions have more populace than the others, we shall now deliberately even this by transferring people from some settlements to some other. So do not be alarmed.” Actually the mana the Elders had and had been collecting (anticipating they would need much in the upcoming Rite) was not vanished, it was redistributed among the populace all over the world. This event did not have much effect on the Elders (except the Wud ones which were stripped naked of their enormous mana warehouses), since the Elders had spent most of the mana in communicating with others and trying to bribe them into obedience. A futile attempt, indeed, as all the mana was now gone. Concerning the erasing of the knowledge of the Elders - mostly all Elders have researched many spells that they knew they could use (very effectively), but some had not, mainly the Haadar Emperors. To make all this even, the High Lords had erased all their memories of magic spells (and magic spells alone!), so that each of them would know only a few simplest spells, and would have to research them all again. This erasing was only temporary, as it was later discovered, for when the Rite was over all of them had regained their spells back. Nevertheless, in this time of general “stupidity” among the Elders, the way they had researched their spells differed much from one Elder to another. For not all were masters of all the planes, in most cases they had one or two favorite planes and would research spells from there quickly, while they would have to put much more mana/effort in researching the spells from the other planes that were not innate to them. Indeed, it took quite some time for an Erolek Elder to research and learn the “Morphing Un'Haaduns” spell, not to mention some even more complex Wud spells. To start with the actual story of this Rite. Again, as before, most of the Elders did not wish to participate in the Rite. They ad felt they were too weak to be able to influence the flow of events themselves, and decided to remain neutral. SO when the Rite begun only about 100 or so Elders actively participated. One of the first and most famous Elders of this era was an Elder named Xorox, who was in charge of the Brixholm area at that time. Since he was already sitting in the “First Throne”, his charisma had allowed him to gain many servants through diplomacy. Actually, after a while the incomers started to join his Empire by inertia alone. Everyone was joining Xorox peacefully, so why wouldn't they as well? It turned out that although Xorox had an innate gift for gaining other Elders to his side, he did not have many other qualities. He did not know how to lead them not how to make strong armies himself. But he did have one powerful Elder by his side, only a couple of days away, and his name was Viserys. Elder Viserys was much different than Xorox. Wudar in origin, he had many years of military training behind him and knew how to create strong and powerful armies. Be as it may, after a few years had passed, the Xorox Empire was vast, and the center of the world was his to control. Due to his bad leadership people started objecting to his inactivity, and had forced him to lead them into a war for power. After all, the power is what this is all about. Far in the northwest, there was another Empire that was gaining strength as well, that one being ruled by Emperor Robby G. Seeing him as an ideal target Xorox as sent his armies towards Emperor Robby G, and after a long battle Xorox emerged as a victor. This was not an entirely balanced battle since Robby G was not so powerful and neither had strong armies in his empire. This is where the story touches another Elder, who was about a week southwest of Emperor Xorox. It was an Erolek Elder, named Urnebesh. Note that since the ancient Flight of Urnebesh where Urnebesh managed to draw the Erolek army to Men, many Eroleks named their children by his name. It is assumed that the “original” Urnebesh and this Erolek Elder had nothing to do with each other. However we are not certain of this. Elder Urnebesh, who was as I said Erolek in origin, did not appreciate the Emperor Xerox' politics of destroying the weak “just for the kicks of it”, and had secretly forged an alliance with the defeated Robby G. He gained much mana and raised the troops that would allow him to defeat his Emperor. This was not hard actually, since Xerox was a really bad Warlord, and very quickly Emperor Xerox was an Emperor no more. This is where his story ends, as he was subdued by his ex Neaya and it became obvious that no diplomacy will ever restore his lost power. Unfortunately for Emperor Urnebesh the already mentioned Elder Viserys did not appreciate an Erolek in charge of him, (Xerox was a Menar Um), and especially not an Erolek who's preferred to settle things through diplomacy rather than through combat. He quickly cast a Roam Free spell, and detached himself and his dominion from Emperor Urnebesh's rule. The events that occurred were very much expected. He tried to take over the entire Urnebesh's dominion by subduing him directly, but unfortunately for him Urnebesh had Robby G's entire Empire to count on and many other Elders who liked him much (due to his incredibly high charisma), and they all rushed to help him. In the weeks that followed Emperor Viserys was finally and re-subdued back into the great Urnebesh's Empire. Having all of the problems settled, Emperor Urnebesh continued his previous diplomatic efforts concerning the Emperor Robby G, and indeed he managed to persuade him into joining his ever-growing empire. Emperor Robby G willingly accepted Urnebesh's rule and became his Neaya, and through that act, Emperor Urnebesh Practically controlled three quarters of the entire world himself. At this very moment, something weird happened. After a few days of ruling this enormous super-Empire, Urnebesh's mind was changed and he deliberately fired all of his Neayas, all of them and dispersed his armies. Why he did this is very much known to the Menar Um clerics but we are forbidden to discuss it as it could severely damage the future flow of events. Forty years of the Rite had passed and in that time another Elder, a Menar Um in origin, in the far southeast had regained much power. It was Emperor Alphaquiz, whose empire grew and grew and grew through wise use of magic, warfare and diplomacy. By the year 40 of this Rite, he practically controlled almost the entire world, and then AGAIN, for the SAME reason as before, as soon as Emperor Alphaquiz gained total domination and was apparent that he would win the Rite, he dispersed his armies and fired his Neayas. In the following ten years many small empires were forged, ruled by many elders such as Lords Tvrda Kyta in the far north-west of the world, Tor, Calimon, Mauso and his arch-enemy Light, Determinator and his successor SuperElder. Lord Mauso and Emperor Alphaquiz' ex Neaya Light battled very much and in this time Lord Light gained much experience in leading armies. He was given orders to invade Mauso's Dominion which he did, and was stopped only a couple thrones away from Mauso. Time had passed in rather small battles between these relatively small empires and in this time many of the Elders were utterly defeated and chose to willingly abandon their roles in the Rite. Thus, the remaining Elders had many settlements to take, that were all undefended, and this is what they were doing until the end of the Rite. Lord Tvrda Kyta and his dominion managed to take most of the now inactive territory and in so doing his power become bigger than of all the others. This was very much to be expected, since he had almost a hundred of villages and towns under his direct rule. At the first day of the year 51 of the second Rite, the sky went dark again. Without any big formalities, Lord Tvrda Kyta was proclaimed Victor of the Rite and was transferred to the First Throne where he started his three thousand years long rule. In the following years, all of the inhabitants were transferred to their original settlements, the memories of the Elders were restored and they resumed their lives in a world that now had a different structure. But this did not concern many since only a hundred of the Elders had originally been involved in the Rite and the rest of them saw no visible difference. 9.2. Third Rite of Dominance The year 9000 A.C. had arrived slowly. New Elders and new empires were in place and by the time the Rite begun four great Emperors ruled most of the world. Those were Calimon (and his Neayas Strider, Pax, Jenovauh, AlliX, Light (descendant of the Elder Light from the last Rite) and Glargath) who controlled a part of the center of the world, all the west, and south. Second Emperor was the great Cerebus (his notable Neayas: Messiah, Silverhand and GooberMeister) who were ruling the north. Emperor Gloop (with Mkuz, Beelzebub (descendant of Viserys), ShadowMaster, RobbyG (junior) and others) was in the east and his empire stretched to the center of the world, while Emperor Mauso and his followers controlled the actual Brixholm area. Many scripts exist of the following events but since the ones made by Strider (ancestor of Gil-galad) were in the best condition I shall use them as a background for this story. In the very beginning of the Rite a great war was proclaimed between Emperors Calimon and Gloop. Both had the equal lust for power but unfortunately for Gloop, they did not have equal resources. After some time, it was obvious that Calimon was winning the war. But this is only an overture to the events that followed. By the time Emperor Calimon controlled almost two thirds of the world it became obvious what Emperor Cerebus was planning to do. He was a wise elder and he knew he would eventually be the next target so he secretly invested all of his Empire's mana and resources into forging a great army, that was led by his first Neaya Messiah. He made it clear that he will not join Calimon in his efforts to completely annihilate Emperor Gloop, and had dispatched Messiah upon the entire Calimon's Empire alone. Was this an act of a madman or of a very brave person, the history had already answered - Messiah's army roared through the world, burning throne after throne after throne. The only Elder that managed to stop Messiah's progress was Strider, but only for a brief moment. He had bravely stood against an opponent who was double his size and managed to battle to a draw. However his losses were enormous, and without the mana flows from his empire members (they believed he was not able to save himself), he was eventually overrun as well. As Strider was the last Calimon's strong foothold Messiah very quickly destroyed all of the other armies and Emperor Cerebus subdued the strong Calimon. One would expect the two of them to begin to hate each other, especially after all that Calimon had lost, but they had bigger problems ahead. In the meantime that Cerebus took to subdue Calimon, Emperor Gloop rebuilt his armies, and had sent his Neaya Mkuz to attack the two of them. The problem was that Mkuz's army was even larger than Messiah's so in order to save the empire it was Elder Pax that sacrificed his menen to kill all that he could in Mkuz's army. The amount he killed was not a big one, but it seemed it was a crucial part. After joint attacks of ex Calimon's and Emperor Cerebus' Empire Mkuz was defeated, and as he was the only big army Gloop had, Gloop was subdued. You will notice that Emperor Mauso is not mentioned much in these scripts, but that was because all the big battles were fought over his territory and he grew tired of the incidental slaughtering of his people. He slowly decided to retire from this Rite, and after his Dominion was added to the already enormous Cerebus Empire, the Emperor Cerebus had practically controlled the entire world alone. From that moment on, the years had gone by with very little happenings. Of somewhat interest is an event that I found in one other script, that describes how Elder ShadowMaster, who was obviously discontent over Cerebus' rule over his ex Emperor Gloop, decided to take matters into his own hands. He Roam Freed and ran with his army towards the Emperor Cerebus himself. There he laid a siege to his throne and was only hours away from breaking through the castle's defenses and subduing the great Emperor, when his army was destroyed by spells and other enemies, and his avatar was sent home in a box. A noble attempt, although a foolish one indeed. Years had passed. And then more years. Emperor Cerebus had ruled the world, and this rule had indeed earned him the title of the most powerful Emperor ever to exist in the world. In those decades that passed, many Elders lost their will to fight in the Rite, since the situation was obvious - Cerebus was the strongest and nothing could ever destroy his empire. In so doing, many settlements were now free for the taking and that is what mostly the big Elders had done. They roamed the world and influenced the population and did not fight much. Elder DrateX here appeared, he successfully Roam Freed himself and for the years to come he ruled a small part of the world that was his. However not many Elders took him seriously since all knew Cerebus was unbeatable. Noone minded DrateX having a little power and noone attacked him. Actually, to be perfectly honest, there was Pax. The two of them hated eachother, but no serious changes of power resulted. But this situation was not what GooberMeister had in mind. He was very jealous of his Emperor and in his lust he secretly formed an alliance of Elders that are “unknown” that would end the Cerebus' rule so he could take the throne instead. But he was too impatient. And dishonest. Before waiting for his allies to prepare himself, he cast a forbidden mind controlling spell over Elder Ragnarok, who was a loyal Cerebus' Neaya, and a powerful one, and through that spell he forced Ragnarok to fire all of his Neayas. In so doing he severely disrupted the Cerebus' control over the world, but it was not a fatal blow. Messiah already had figured what GooberMeister was about to do, and he was prepared. He defeated GooberMeister utterly and the Rebellion failed. The history will remember the scene - the Gods had held GooberMeister crucified while Messiah and Ragnarok dismembered him and burned his body pieces for his act. In the following years the Cerebus Empire had recovered from that deceitful blow, but all was not as it should be in a loving and caring Empire. Pax had grown strong dislike towards his Emperor's rule, and mostly those objections he had were focused on Messiah. As by they time Pax had about three hundred and fifty thousand troops, and his ally Jenovauh about two hundred thousand, while Messiah had about two hundred thousand as well, Pax thought he could afford to protest in open. But what he did not know that through the decades of Cerebus' rule, he had amassed vast amount of mana, amounts of the like of which were never again seen in one place, ever, through the entire Dominance history. With that mana Messiah raised additional troops and with four hundred and fifty thousand menen in his army he rushed towards Pax-Jenovauh alliance. Jenovauh was quickly annihilated, but Pax decided to run towards the only region that was “free” by that time - the DrateX Empire. He equipped his avatar with four of the most powerful Terrain Lore artifacts and ran away. However Messiah had none of these Terrain Lores and had yet to cast them. Not only did Pax have those four artifacts, but he was first to cast a Lu'rhan blade. Note that this Lu'rhan blade was only a shadow of the Interplanar Lu'rhan that would be cast many millenia after. In his fury Pax destroyed all that was in his path - as he ran he utterly crushed all DrateX armies, as this was an ideal opportunity to do so. There was hardly anything he could do beside that. He knew he was going to be defeated eventually so he did not care, so he destroyed all that was in front of him. But while doing so he had cast dozens of Tunas on Messiah's army that killed scores. Do not think Messiah did not return the favor; he was galloping towards Pax and had cast even more of these horrible spells. By the time Messiah reached Pax, Pax had already less than a hundred thousand menen, but Messiah was not in a much better state. In the end Pax was defeated and with Messiah as the only Elder still standing in the world, the truth was obvious. Emperor Cerebus had long planned to withdraw from the rule. He had already proven he was the best and most competent Emperor ever to exist, and had decided to leave the Rite of Dominance to his loyal Neaya Messiah. In so doing, at the last day of the Rite, Cerebus fired Messiah and joined under him. Messiah won the Rite and was the third person ever to achieve the status of Demi-God. 9.3. Fourth Rite of Dominance 12000 A.C. was at hand and the world was prepared for the fourth Rite. Messiah proved to be a good ruler, although a harsh one when it comes to discipline The world grew tired of him and were more than anxious to battle again for the new order. Immediately upon the beginning of the Rite, a number of Empires were formed. These empires were not in size of the ancient and glorious Cerebus or Calimon, but their Elders were still fierce in their intents to win. The Emperors of this age were (and they were placed at, with their Neayas): Pax (AlliX, in the center), Strider (Drizzt, Huitz, Pauss, center, north, north-east), Ith (who's ancestor Pafko participated in the last Rite, with his Neayas Monday, Louvega, west, north-west), Jenovauh (Light, west, south- west, south), Bent Twig (King of Scotts, DrateX, Redsport, east, south-east), ShadowMaster (south-east) and Draghar (TheWerm, Indigo, north-east). You already see that some Elder families had continued their rule over some regions for thousands and thousands of years, and were often re-elected, and as the tradition has it - always the eldest son of an Elder carries his name. The story of this Rite is not as intriguing as of the last one, there were many more small wars and there was no “global dominion”. Nevertheless I will try to tell the story the best I can. For the first ten years there were absolutely no wars. This is a very awkward situation, but we assume that the elders of those ages decided to save as much mana as they could for later, when they would invest it in great armies that would easily dominate the world, instead of immediately spending it all on smaller armies that would be fairly inefficient against a larger number of opponents. In the years that followed Emperor Bent Twig grew in strength and as he was close to Emperor Strider who did not have as much resources, Strider had to do something about it or be overrun. He formed an alliance and joined under Emperor Pax for protection. But even together they were not as powerful as Emperor Bent Twig. So Emperor Strider managed to forme a secret alliance was Emperor Draghar as well. He had figured that the war was apparent and that he would need a number of good allies in order to prevail. And so in time the alliance was to be expanded onto Emperors Jenovauh, Light, and ShadowMaster. A grand meeting was organized and all those emperors had met to discuss the alliance and the tactics. They needed to attack Emperor Bent Twig quickly or it would be too late. For a few days they debated and finally they agreed upon the tactic they would use. After they were done, with smiles on their faces they looked in the Vermalion's Channeling device in order to see if there were any notable changes in the Bent Twig's Empire. And there was one big change indeed - Emperor Bent Twig, while they were debating how to destroy him, willingly joined Pax' empire, and was now one of them! With sore faces they returned to their homes and were more than a bit unhappy that such a good plan was now useless. All was well, and all was fine. All the Emperors were at friendly terms with each other and it would have stayed that way, had not Emperor Pax argued with Emperor Ith over some minor differences. Their argues soon led to a general war. Besides that, Pauss had requested his Emperor Strider to let him go, which Strider did, so Pauss was not an Emperor as well, and reigned in the northern areas of the world. Before the war started, Strider who did not want to have anything with the quarrel of his Emperor Pax with Ith, requested that he be let free, and he was, too. He had in plan to join under Draghar for a term of one year so that Draghar would gain more mana and would be able to do more spell research. After that the plan was that they would whitch positions. Another reason for his abandoning of Pax was the fact that Mauso and RobbyG were attacking his Neayas and he was needed elsewhere. Very soon the real trouble had started. Ith, RobbyG and secretly Pauss (noone knew he was a traitor) had formed a plan to attack Strider, Pax and Bent Twig (who was loyal to Pax from the moment he joined him), so they would divide them and conquer. Ith was supposed to subdue Pax, RobbyG wanted Strider, and Pauss picked Bent Twig. The plan was perfect and with the surprise attack they had in plan it was more than possible. But. RobbyG decided to retire in the middle of the action. Why was that, we do not know. Without the key factor in the plan Ith's and Pauss' chances were halved, but still they pressed forward. Ith had managed to subdue Pax once or twice, but Pax would always Roam Free and Emperor Ith never managed to get a strong foothold in Pax' territory. Concerning Pauss, the situation was much simpler. Pauss was a diplomat. Strider was a Warlord. There was no theoretical way Pauss could defeat Strider alone, so Strider was left alone. In the time that passed, in the fury of the war, Ith managed to gain more land and mana and had drafted many armies together with his Neayas. He kept sending avatar after avatar to Pax and at one moment there were fifteen avatars with great armies swarming over Pax' throne. Pax army was mostly defeated; all he had left were the Wudins. He defended his throne day after day, losing each battle but killing enormous numbers of the enemy. Somehow Pax' war knowledge became suspicious to Emperor Ith, and he realized Strider was the one behind Pax, helping him greatly. So he redirected all of the attacks onto Emperor Strider. Seeing he cannot win Strider asked for help from his ally Emperor Draghar. Draghar who was silently standing by all this time saw this as an ideal opportunity to gain more power at Ith's expanse. So he allowed the war-mastermind Strider to organize his troops and eventually defeated Ith's armies. As a reward for saving Strider, he requested that Strider joined him, which Emperor Strider did and became a part of Draghar's growing empire. Still, Ith controlled vast majority of the world and was one of the most powerful Elders of that age. So he quickly recovered and financed Louvega who raised a brand new shiny army that he sent towards Pax (who had Roam Freed in the meanwhile), for who knows which time. The army had 25 thousand assassins and five thousand other units so it was an army designed to kill, and kill alone. It quickly destroyed Pax' defences, and Pax was finally subdued. The army then turned towards Strider who had three times less units, and it was apparent he would finally be defeated and destroyed as well. However, this did not occur. Draghar came to the rescue again, and managed to defeat Louvega's army. In the havoc Draghar managed to get a grip over even more territory and for him this was a very profitable number of years. The time for vengeance has come. It seemed that Emperor Ith's resources had finally been depleted, but so were Draghars. So Pax and Strider started diplomatic efforts towards Emperor Jenovauh. They managed to persuade him that for his own safety he should try and subdue Ith, before Ith raises his armies again. Indeed, they talked him into it, and Jenovauh sent his thirty thousand units to go and subdue Emperor Ith. His army arrived there and laid a siege onto Ith's throne, and all seemed well. Until the next day. Ith's first Neaya Louvega who was defeated by Emperor Draghar, still had twenty thousands of Wudins in his army, and nothing else. He had returned home where he drafted even more, and with twenty seven thousand Wudins he ambushed Jenovauh's army, which was a rather normally organized one. Jenovauh kept winning but to no avail. Very soon he was annihilated, and his avatar needed to re summoned again. Seeing how their plan failed, Strider and Draghar proclaimed total war. Every elder who was not fighting was now called upon and with massive armies gathering and battling on both sides the two of them had some time to rest.. They raised all the mana they could and from three sides organized a massive invasion onto Ith and Pauss. Three sides being - Strider's dominion, main Draghar's Empire, and the third allies were Drizzt and Filip who were powerful elders at that age and were smartly controlled by Strider. The armies were amassed and it seemed there was no help for Ith and his ally Pauss. The situation for them was desperate; Louvega's battered army of assassins could never protect them. But then, something happened that could only be described as a “divine joke”. Time froze. Only three days away from Ith’s and Pauss' thrones, all the armies were frozen in place. Those two looked from their towers and could not believe their eyes. And then they froze as well, and the entire world stood still. But the time passed. Fifty years were up, and time resumed again. Why did it happen? Noone knows. In the end Draghar was the greatest, Light and Jenovauh were close, while Ith was not destroyed and was remembered with the others as one of the greatest Elders ever. Draghar fairly had won the Fourth rite of Dominance and his three thousand years begun. 9.4. Fifth Rite of Dominance This particular Rite is somewhat different than the others before it. It is the only Rite so far in which the Rules were massively broken, but not due to the will of the Elders, but because High Lords "wished it". The story, as always, will encompass the entire time period and I will note the differences this Rite had when compared to the others, as well as all breakings of the Rules and their effects. The Rite begun at the year 15000 A.C. by the seventh coming of the High Lords (note that a Wudar hand has seven fingers, in case you were wondering about that one). The High Lords, as always, proclaimed that the Rite begins and that changes of rules were allowed. The bonds broke and the Elders were free. Their magical knowledge had been erased, mana removed and shared to the peasants as always before, and had been made all equal. Immediately a number of fractions emerged, and these fractions were already defined a couple of decades before the actual Rite. It seems that the Elders finally got the hang of this thing and were prepared for the Rite. The fractions were initially all similar is size and the major ones were ruled by the following Emperors: Bubac (Daywalker of the Filip line, Drizzt, Sven), Draghar, DrateX (Bent Twig, King of Scotts, DeathBeU), GooberMeister (Ith, Monday, Maraku, Mauso), Pauss, Pax (Loser, Huitz, Jojo the Bandit) and ShadowMaster. Of the following events we today know much since my ancestor was Elder Therion, who was a member of the Emperor GooberMeister's empire, and he kept the records of the war that are very much saved to this date. Also, there were scripts made by his avatar Vovin who kept track of his own battles and experiences. [link na "Of Blood, Pride and Deceit"] So, to begin with the story. The Empires were formed and the boundaries were formed. In a circular fashion I will try to draw the world map to you. Westwards was Bubac's empire. To the north and northwest, and northeast there was GooberMeister's Empire. East, southeast and in the center was the Draghar's Empire, to the south-east were ShadowMaster, and the Councils as well. South and southwest was DrateX' Empire, and in the center of the world there were Pax and Pauss. Pauss immediately took a neutral stance and decided he would not war against anyone, while DrateX and Pax decided to take GooberMeister as their main enemy. Bubac also decided to spread onto GooberMeister's territory, as well as Draghar. The first major war was the conquering of the Bubac Empire. Emperor GooberMeister sent his warlords Ith, Gil-galad (descendant of Strider) and others, and Bubac was subdued. It was a just battle considering how much trouble Bubac had stirred so far. However his story does not end here, he remained a sworn enemy of GooberMeister and even as subdued kept spying and assisting DrateX' Empire, who were southwards of him. Terrorist tactics - rising of small armies that would cause mayhem on many locations, and casting Shadows of Doubt and Feyline Vortex Chimeras were his Empire's favorites. He was never subdued in spirit. However, as the GooberMeister's empire grew on many new recruits from the north and northwest, he became strong enough to be considered a major threat by practically all other big Empires. Very soon Emperor Pax decided that he should send his armies and the armies of his Neayas to the north to defeat the threat, but he was not fast enough. By the time the armies reached their destination - Emperor GooberMeister's throne - a throng of monoliths were placed all around the throne and they gave enormous morale and defensive boosts to GooberMeister's armies. His first Neaya, Lord Monday, was the one that defeated Pax, which was not surprising since it was him that has founded many military academies and to this day a term is known as "Monday's battle tactics". Defeated, Emperor Pax rightfully feared a counter-offensive, and decided to form a defensive alliance with Emperor DrateX. He willingly became Emperor DrateX' Neaya, and remained as such until the very end of the Rite. As a DrateX Neaya, Pax grew in power and played a key role near the end of this Rite. Victorious, Emperor GooberMeister decided that he needed to expand even more, since every bit of power counted. Emperor Pauss was amongst the targets, since Pauss was true to his word and tried to remain neutral by choosing not to raise any major armies. This proved to be foolish enough - in the Power-Mad world of Dominance, there is no such thing as being neutral. The Rite of Dominance is won through diplomacy AND war AND magic, not only diplomacy. Very quickly Pauss was subdued, and GooberMeister turned to his east, towards Emperor Draghar. Thirty years of the Rite had passed until Draghar was finally subdued. Needless to mention, as soon as Draghar fell, his ex Empire broke, as he was noble enough to give a chance to his loyal Neayas, considering he was not powerful enough to save them. Meanwhile, Pax and DrateX started raising armies that would later become huge. A wise choice. While GooberMeister's Empire battled against the subdued Pauss, Bubac (who was constantly causing trouble), and the remains of Draghar's Empire, the Pax/DrateX Empire prospered and expanded. Then the magic wars begun. Spells flew all over the world. Artifacts of great power were forged. Chimeras were being cast and denied, cast and denied. Settlements grew into towns and were fought over. Years passed and not much had changed. The Emperor GooberMeister, in the peak of his power, controlled two thirds of the world and it seemed he was to win the Rite, but then the luck switched sides. It was about the time ShadowMaster was subdued, that many ex Draghar's empire members decided that they could not stand Emperor's GooberMeister's rule. a reason for this lays in a number of factors - he was not nearly as charismatic as Cerebus, and could not hold them in with an iron fist. And furthermore, his family's name was already tainted by the Ragnarok scandal, and GooberMeister was considered to be as immoral as his predecessors. Later, history will show this was a valid assumption. The DrateX Empire expanded as it was swarmed with new recruits coming from the ex- Draghar's empire. Of the great Elders who joined DrateX perhaps the most notable are Elder Tellis, and Elder Thunder (who is a descendant of Light). The only “free” empire that was left standing after the GooberMeister's almost unseen invasion of the world was that of the Councils. Of Councils we do not know much except their philosophy that they were here to protect the weak from the strong. This philosophy, although Erolek in origin and applaudable, did not protect them from "the strong", and so they were subdued many times as well, but always found a way to free themselves and live in relative piece in the most distant southeast parts of the world. Emperor DrateX soon overcame Emperor GooberMeister as the most powerful Elder in the world, and the entire world was basically divided between him and Emperor GooberMeister. It remained this way until the very end of the Rite. Forty-five years were up, and GooberMeister was starting to panic. In his lust for power he again made the same mistake his ancestor did and did not wait for his allies (meaning his Neayas who were more skilled at army matters than himself). He abruptly raised an army himself, but he was never much of a war leader, and with a ninety thousand troops his avatar headed towards DrateX. DrateX by this time had about a hundred thousand menen in his army, and Pax had about seventy. What ensued was not a nice sight. At Pax' throne, Emperor GooberMeister attacked Pax' army and won of course, since his army was all upgraded and divided equally between Un'Haaduns, Wudin Ums and Ish'Erolek Ums. Unfortunately for him, Pax was a tough cookie, and managed to kill much more than expected. While the two of them fought, Emperor DrateX came in, and crushed GooberMeister's army utterly. Emperor GooberMeister ran away with but a half of what he had, and with much sorrow in his heart accepted his defeat. A pact was made between him and DrateX, that would end the spell wars for the few years that were left to the end of the Rite, and they made a deal - DrateX would win the rite and GooberMeister would be the second in power. To the end of the Rite he decided to deal blows to all the other forces that remained, but still Emperor DrateX had the biggest army, biggest power, and eventually won the Rite. He was bestowed the title of The Dominator. One other thing might matter here, and that was an Arcane Denial that Pax cast on GooberMeister's first Neaya Ith, on the very last day of the Rite. As a result of the spell Ith rebelled and rejected GooberMeister's rule. Instantly, without any power coming from Ith, Emperor GooberMeister's rule was severed over a great part of the world and he lost that second place that he was supposed to win. Pax, being the one who wisely cast this spell, rose to the second place. This infuriated the remains of the GooberMeister's loyal Neayas and was a cause for the breaking of the Rules that would happen later. The fifty-year war had ended and the world was getting ready to remain in piece for the next three thousand years under Emperor DrateX' rule. However, this is when something strange happened. After ten years of piece, the populace (and the Elders of course) heard strange voices in the sky. The voices seemed not to be directed to them but to somewhere else. One said: "And then what? You saw - DrateX won." And the other voice was heard, saying: "Apparently yes, but I would like to know what would happen if his army was defeated by Goob." The first voice said: "Why, I don't know. I can't bring the time back, you know..” “Yes, but you CAN give him a second chance, right? Just for kicks?” “So, you wish me to resume the Rite?" "Yes, why not? DrateX already won the Rite, and he WILL remain in control of the world, but that does not mean we should stop the others of having but a little more fun." “I don't see what good would it do, but if you insist...” This was the first major breaking of Rules. Those voices could not have come from anywhere except the High Lords themselves. Many Elders heard these words but were unwilling to resume fighting for an already lost cause, so they did not react to it, but still a good number of the key Elders heard it and understood it as a call to continue the fighting. Although there was no Rite to be won, they did not know what to do with their armies so they had not disbanded them. Elder Loser started casting an artifact that would be finalized but two years later. Meanwhile the other Elders started warring again, in minor skirmishes, since there was not much to do - Emperor DrateX had the biggest army and there was no way in the world it could be defeated. As the years have passed nothing of interest happened. The active Elders who did decide to wage war again had mostly Roam Freed themselves and created their own empires. Most of the biggest Emperors did remain active, but as time passed a number of them decided to quit - with their armies gone and no Rite to win, they decided they should tend to their populace more, and stopped warring, willingly accepting whichever rule was oppressed onto them. The two years had passed. Loser's artifact was cast. It was an artifact of such a magnitude that has never been seen nor would ever be cast again. It was the Interplanar Lu'rhan - a blade that binded all of the planes in itself, and the person who would wield that blade would be granted power overwhelming. It was a blade of pure light; it would cut through anything - from rock to metal without any effort. Mana that poured from the blade could easily be used as an infinite source for casting terrible spells, or the ones not so terrible - like controlling the masses and persuading them to join one's cause. The Lu'rhan increased the wielder's perception by actively telling the wielder weather enemy spells have been cast upon him so he could hide in time. By that time my ancestor Therion had decided to join the battles again and he obtained that artifact through the second major breaking of the Rules. He did it deliberately as he felt that since the Rite was already over, he would not be punished and the Rules did not apply any more. And he was right. So, he inflicted mind-controlling spells over the Loser's avatar, who in turn took the blade and carried it to him without anyone noticing. That perhaps might be an understatement, for DrateX' first Neaya, the well-known Bent Twig, ha cast a Distant Presence on the Loser's avatar, but he failed to recognize the power that come from the Lu'rhan. The blade was well masked and without anyone even imagining it could ever exist in the real world noone was looking for it. With the Interplanar Lu'rhan in his possession, and enough mana to raise a respected army, Colossus Therion had sent his avatar towards Emperor DrateX, who still had a better army. To compensate for the difference he actually used the Haadar Kas which proved to be very effective at chopping menen, and with some more mind-control, the DrateX' empire members begun casting Calls of Tars Munas over his army. The choice of these “volunteers” was an ironic one - it was Pax that was casting the Tunas, and not only them - he also cast two total Planar Fissures that set DrateX' and Bent Twig's castles on fire, burning all the mana stored inside. Thus the GooberMeister's revenge for Pax taking the second place was fulfilled. In the end Emperor DrateX was subdued after a glorious (although not entirely fair) battle, and in the years that followed Daar Therion and his colleague Daar Gil-galad together ruled almost the entire world alone. By this time it came to the ex-Emperor GooberMeister (he was removed from the Emperor Throne and was replaced by Therion and Gil-galad) that he was losing all that he had, although he did not invest much in battling any more. This is where the instability that was rooted in his family came to show. He decided to break the rules himself as well. He deliberately destroyed the then-ruling Emperor Gil-galad through the same mind-control, stole his artifacts away together with the unique Lu'rhan, and broke the bonds to all of his Neayas, except Therion. After that he created the bonds again from ex-Emperor Gil-galad towards the Emperor DrateX and in the mayhem that ensued the entire world was turned upside down again. This act had horrible effects. GooberMeister became hated not only by his enemy's but also by his closest loyal servants that Therion and Gil-galad were up to that day. It is recorded that even Bent Twig, who switched the Emperor place with DrateX and was now ruling the world, said himself: “I wouldn't do such a thing to my worst enemy.” Fifty more years had passed. Gil-galad who was but a Noble now, without any Neayas, had sent his army towards the end of the world in fear that he may be mind-controlled again, and in the meantime Emperor DrateX a few times switched places with Emperor Bent Twig who had recruited an army of three hundred thousand. Equipped with the best artifacts in existence, that army was indestructible. That is why in this period of fifty years nothing of greater importance had happened - wherever any army would be created Emperor Bent Twig would rush there and destroy it. So noone did anything except battled over small settlements. However, secretly, Therion who was as well a Noble now had been busy casting more artifacts. Mana was abundant, and yet scarce considering the needs that were enormous. After ten years of casting, the artifacts were complete, and sent to Gil-galad. Through more mind-control the mana was collected from all parts of the world, and as a surprise, Noble Gil-galad's army returned from the borders to the unknown. It came back, with two hundred and fifty menen in it that were secretly raised. The Interplanar Lu'rhan was acquired as well; Emperor Draghar had it in his possession and willingly gave it to the cause. Furthermore, over thirty Calls of Tars Muna had been cast onto Emperor Bent Twig, killing great amounts of his army that had reached almost Cerebus' army size. Why was all of this done? It's not that Emperor Bent Twig was a bad emperor, he was considered by many Elders as a powerful and wise Elder, but people always associated him with DrateX, who was not exactly the most popular Emperor to the most of the world. That is because he had a low charisma although quite a bit of strategic and magical knowledge. And two of them, Emperor Daar Bent Twig and Noble Lord Gil-galad fought in an epic battle that is yet unseen. Two armies, with equal sizes, had clashed and the battle lasted for a week. It was the biggest and longest battle ever to occur in the entire history of Dominance, and quite likely nothing of those proportions will ever be seen again. Two armies with over two hundred and fifty menen in each, both lead by avatars which wore artifacts so powerful that even the earth and the sky cracked of the intensity of the mana in one place, charged one against each other and in the fury of the battle it is seen that it finally lead to Emperor Bent Twig's destruction. It was exactly then, about twelve hours after the battle had ended, that the voices were heard in the sky again. "Uh, this could last forever, up to the next Rite. I think the populace should rest a bit." "Agreed. This is becoming dull. Two sides fighting and every fifty years they switch sides. Not much to look at." In fear, the Elders looked up at the sky but there was nothing they could do. Armies were dispersed by divine magic, artifacts disappeared and were buried under miles of ground, remaining there forever and never to be dug up, and the avatars were gone. The fifth Rite of Dominance was over, and Elder DrateX remained in control of the world, together with his followers, for the next three thousand years. This is where we come to the current age. It is the year 17999 A.C. In a month the new Rite will begin. I do not know what it will bring but one thing is sure - there will be changes again, just like before. And I, as an Elder, with the blood of Elders in my veins, and the supreme knowledge of the Rules of Dominance in my mind, its history and its present, I know I have the power to say: I know the weak shall fall before the strong. There is only one Dominance. There is only one throne. And >I< shall have them BOTH! 9.5. Sixth Rite of Dominance [this history fragment is added to the grand collection after Therion’s ascent to transcendence, and is written by himself, as a separate peice originally] I never imagined it would look like this. So much blood, so much violence. So many problems, so much stress. Years in panic, my mind screaming ENOUGH, NO MORE, but the harsh world pushing me forward and there is no escape. Elders scream in terror, thousands of menen die in battles and there is chaos. How to control it? Is there a way? The Rite begun as expected, I did not plan to go for the kill. First Neaya was my goal and I enlisted in service under Emperor Morgoth, of the line of Gil-galad, of the line of Strider. We were located in the asshole of the world, far to the south-west, facing nothing on east, south and west. To the north there was Maraku's Empire, and what lay beyond.. who knows? There were tales of Mauso (and DrateX under him) being far to the north, in the middle was Lunaticslayer, and to the far east were the evil Councils. Scores of them. Little it meant to me, we were simply too far away for anyone else to be of any relevance. The empire ladder was quickly established, and many great elders were enlisted, names like TheOne (of Bent Twig), Monday, Zidane, to name a few. And we started out just fine. Fine my ass. Soon we realized that more and more elders decided to join the Rite, and behind us, too close to be healthy, appeared MenoPauss, of the Pauss line. Morgoth knew this meant only trouble. Treaties with Pauss? Impossible, that guy wouldn't know the difference between Wudars and Eroleks, but he knew only too well to specialize in Haad magic and to cast Shadow of Doubt spells all over Morgoth's settlements, and flavour those with the Totems of Death. A nice start indeed. Not even five years have passed of the rite, when it was too much to stand I guess. Miscommunication is unavoidable in enormeous empire clusters, like ours was, and always the maps ended up in the hands of MenoPauss and he continued his SoDs. Of course, his armies were zeroed, his settlements taken away, but blast, we could not banish him to the void, otherwise we would have done so a long time ago. So Morgoth called it quits. He fired all of us, said "Find yourseld a new idiot to be the Emperor", and distributed his own settlements to us, his first neayas. Jolly good. Who had he nerve to stand the nice treatment Pauss had in store for us? Basically the choice for the new emperor was simple. Either me or TheOne, as only the two of us had the experience of controling masses and were veteran wizards. But TheOne refused it without further thought. Not enough will to rule he said. He wanted to be a small Elder and not bother himself much with the general problems. Can't say I blamed him, the bitch was more than right. "Shit.", I said, "I'll be the new idiot Emperor then, goddamn you Morgoth, may you burn in Haad!" Fucking excellent I thought. Do I have a choice what to do next? So I put myself a todo list: 1. stop Pauss SoD our people by any means necessary 2. conquer the world 3. introduce 10% taxes on milk sales (since milk production was doing pretty good) The deal with Pauss came easier than I thought. He just hated Morgoth since their family lines were in a blood fute for thousands of years now. All he requested is that and Elder named Bubi was released from our Empire, so that he can join Bubi and the two of them would rule their small empire south of us. ALL he requested? Bubi pulled a goddamn third of our empire with himself! We fell but to sixty Elders all in all. It was horrible! Maraku, Mauso, Lunatic, Councils, all had more people than us, more resources and already begun taking the war spoils. Lunatic's empire was too spread out, he had no cluster-like form and soon Mauso started picking people off him, one by one they started subduing Lunatic's neayas. Councils joined in I guess, and quickly he fell. He was the first to lose the battle. What happened afterwards was not a nice sight. Gaagl, the cowardly bastard hiding behind his 1 settlement Rite of Dominance rule, and using forbiden mind-control on other Elders, took 4 of Dratex throne settlements. Dratex promptly quit the run too, no sense in participating when you can't ever regain your own original settlements. Mauso, his emperor, fell with him, and their empire broke in several peices. In the end most of them united under Wizkid, his first neaya Silverhand also had a vital role in their empire. On the other side of the world, I was facing a difficult decisions. Our numbers fell from day to day and there was but one thing that could either save us, or doom us forever. "CHARGE!", I yelled, "Take their settlements! Steal their Towns! Subdue their Neayas! I want Maraku with NO power at all! Is that understood?!" My people, my gods, they have never been happier. All of them rose armies, as I never introduced mana reductions, they had extra mana to spare, and a dozen avatars ran towards the Maraku empire. Defenses? What defenses? Maraku's people stared blankly as my Vovin destroyed practlcally all armies they had, while Lord Keko's Coron started the siege of Emperor Maraku's throne. What defenses indeed? There was no resistance at all, and this was the easiest victory I ever encountered. Our numbers were now doubled and empire reinforced and a fair numer of ex Maraku's people joined us willingly, in desire to strive for more power under a more organised leadership. Far to the north Wizkid fought battles with Sarcon (of the ShadowMaster), and Sarcon would not leave them at rest. In the meantime the Council shadow grew. It was ridiculous. The Council members suddenly jumped from 5 to 50 "of council" members. It was obvious even to the most retared child that so much mind-controlling the world of Dominance had never seen. Mana? They bathed in it. Artifacts? Hell, yes, they casted enormeous ones. And they fought noone yet, so their army numbers must have been great I figured. The total destruction of Maraku's empire and takeover of ex Lunatic's people that fell into our hemisphere took a while. So, basicaly we had 3 big empires left now. Us, Wizkid, and the Night Falcon's Councils. What's next? "People, we got a choice. Either to stop here and start investing mana into towns or to draft yet again and go for Wizkid (who was somehow on our way to he evil councils)." This question was basically a rethorical one. So much bludlust my eyes have never seen, so there was no debate. My people drafted as much as they could and equiped Maraku's stolen Artifacts. We ourselves never did cast much of these. Yes, we did a few major one, for my personal use, on Vovin, but to equip an empire with artifacts, one has to invest much mana and time. So we relied on our battle skills and stealing of foreign artifacts. So avatars set their course and started the first battles where they met the enemy. About that time Wizkid's situation in the empire broke i guess. He was between the hammer and the anvil. We were the hammer, and with virtually no choice, he decided to join me and battle the evil Councils on my side. Sure I said, and our numbers jumped from a hundred to over two hundred. I had no idea how big he was, nor how many active Elders he controled, but now thinking retrospectively, if I was in his shoes, goddamn, I'd have drafted my people and attacked both us and the councils at the same time, he had that much potential. Ah well, I didn't mind. So our first action was to defend his people from the evil Councils. Councils. Let me tell you something about the Councils. They were a bunch of unorganised barbarians with no battle tactics, no investment plans, and definetly the worst armies I had ever seen. They rode on the waves of mind-controled mana, and knew nothing of organisation nor had any clue how to dominate anything except their back yard. The only thing they were good at was mind-control of dozens of Elders, and so indeed Night Falcon was the first Emperor ever to reach the title of Imdi Daar. Not that it helped him much though. An enormeous empire to defend required proper armies together with proper artifacts on their avatars. It was Paf who fought the battles for them. Paf was of the Ith line of warriors, and was the only person in the world that I felt a challenge to counter. His army knowledge equaled mine, but his tactics were, should I say, a bit rusty, dating back to Monday's battle academy. Which was outdated of course, by some three thousand years. So yes, the first confrontation we ever had with the Councils was destroying Paf army which was laying siege to the throne of Luca, far to the north. Dawn’s and my army went up, got there in time and Dawn managed to win the first battle. They fought a couple of times, Paf lost much but never all, and in the end he retreated to his throne in he furtherest north-east corner of the world. I tried to chase him but failed, his speed matched mine, and I am able to say that at that time no army could ever compete with his or mine in the aspect of speed. By the time Dawn and I abandoned pursuit, and set our avatars to return home, knowing we will need much more troops if we were to take on the entire councils ourselves, something big happened. The Gods kicked in, punished the mind-controling elders by excommunicating them, and a hundred or so Elders was dropped out of the race. Two thirds of those were in the Night Falcon’s empire of course, and both his title and power suffered greatly. If was the crucial moment for us. They lost their “magic” mana incomes and all we had to do was to make an united attack with Wizkid troops and the Council would fall. My ass. Wizkid, in a briliant flash of stupidity, Roam Freed, and joined the Council, making their numbers great again and mana abundant. Shit, I said, now we are in trouble and don’t have a moment to lose. I drafted and went up there alone. I had no time to wait for the rest of my empire to organize themselves, nor wait for them to reach the Council area which was on the opposite side of the world. It would have taken them months, where it took me less than a week to get there with my sixty thousand menen or so, and I applied the “total obliteration” routine to all they had. About two hundred thousand troops they lost, by the time my army was halved. It was a massacre, a genocide, to be precise. Thinking “this was it”, I headed for Night Falcon’s throne and started the siege. Where they thought of that seventy thousand of Last Hero’s army, I got no clue. The sheer costs of drafting and upgrading troops of that magnitude, would be enormeous. But that army attacked me, and knocked my army off the Night Falcon perimeter, and I had to restart the siege once again. After disposing of Last Hero, of course, in but four battles I released him of his seventy thousand menen. And for the second time the siege was interrupted, this time by Paf, and his sixty thousand troops in a high quality army. Fuck that I said, and went home. Once home, the grand offensive was organised and half my people went for Wizkid, half for the Councils with me. Once I had drafted I continued my massacre of all that moved up there. Now with some serious backup, I confronted Paf for the first time, and the series of horrible fights begun. Thousands dead on both sides. My menen reinforced by the enormeous artifacts, some that I cast, some that I stole, his army boosted in morale and defense by dozens of monoliths around his throne. Seeing that he was losing, he ran and for the third time I sat on the cursed Night Falcon throne. This time, there was no removing me. Sly tried, but he lost greatly, although he had enormeous bonuses from Falcon’s throne. I completed my Subdue, and my people started taking his empire to peices. As in any Rite so far, this was the time the mana wars begun. Chimeras flyying on both sides, Arcane Denials, enormeous Voices of God for big vision, and it lasted and lasted. Wizkid changed his mind yet again and joined me again. To the end of the Rite not much had happened. Vovin spent his time either on the travel home to draft the new army reinforcements from the very limited draft pools, although the mana was abundant, or killing anything they thought of up there. Years of battling. Years of bloodshed. And always there was PAf and his never annihilated army. All the Councilmana and artifacts went into him and he was a constant threat to all but me. Of course, even with my enormeous speeds I could not have been on all places at once. For the lasti time I confronted him, on his own throne and it was the most horrible battle of the entire Rite. He had much, I had more, in the end he ended with little, I ended with little more. Yet again he was not annihilated as he ran and escaped me yet again. Night Falcon cast Roam Free eventually, on himself and his own people and I could have done nothing about it. My draft pools were taxed to zero, there were absolutely no recruits available! Thirty five thousand, forty five, then a couple of battles and back to thirty thousand. By the end of the rite, they had reformed their empire and some other problems also appeared, in my back yard. Lord Keko had pursuaded Bubi and Pauss to attack me, promising his assistance in destroying me. He told them I was weka, and could not defend myself from their joint attack. Bubi, as naive as he was, believed him, and he, Pauss, and Black Death drafted their armies. A hundred and forty thousand troops in total, on their way to Morgoth’s throne. He did not want to fight on my monolith enhanced throne, as that would be professional suicide for him. I had but forty three thousand menen, and by the time I was done with them, they had nothing, and I had lost about six thousand. Another genocide. How could this be? Simple. Their avatars had absolutely no experience, nor any artifacts to assist them. It was too easy, and too easy Bubi fell under instant attack by a dozen of avatars that overrun his little empire. And the Rite ended. I ruled over more than half the world, Night Falcon one fourth, and the last fourth was divided among some separate little Elders who were not a part of any Empire. After I won the Rite, my first decree was the milk sales tax, and my court benefited greatly from the cash income that tax brought in. [The myth says that Therion did not achieve the status of Demi-God by winning this rite, but he was promoted to a real God, as a replacement for now aging Ezul, the Wud High Lord, who had retired, and dissapeared. Therion left his Avatar in his place to rule the world for the next three thousand years, and went his own mystic ways, never to be heard of again, on the face of Earth. Noone knows if he returned.] 10. Postlude Yawn. Always the same story. *sigh* As long as they are happy. Ah, silly silly people. Always bitching about something. Oh, well. This High Lord thingy seemed to work out just fine. Nice having some "omnipotent" beings to observe. Makes it fun through the ages. Hmm. I wonder. I wonder I wonder I wonder. What would happen if I would cancel the mana thing, just for kicks? ..I mean, it is my own thoughts that they kept using all the time, and those Fissures did sting quite a bit. But naah, they would all be lost and confused. Prolly all die. Then again, there's noone else here, so would anyone care? -I am here, and I would care. -So would I. -Me too. -Same here.
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