Status

User has no status, yet

Bio

User has no bio, yet

Most Recent Posts

Thank you, Capy. That was a gratifying read.


It was a relief to write it down. The dusklands were in a sense a mistake, I never planned things to become as massive as they did and they shouldn't have, considering the timeframe of the RP, but once we get the muse we can't get rid of it, and before I saw it I had planned everything up to the unification of 2/3 of Mesathalassa.

A lot of minor things I wasn't able to touch, the Hain-Human relationships under Dzanyavehar, a little plot about magic, but weren't as important to me as everything that last post touches, which I really felt bad for never having shared before ^^
And goodbye to Mk2, to the Dusklands and Mesathalassa. Ilunabar had her own ending long ago I feel in that big battle, she changed so much, and was open to help others and even to acknowledge someone as a family but I always felt bad about not ending the Mesathalassa plot.

So here is a letter from a Hain traveler in year 140 since the Realta.

Some bonuses

My failed attempt at a conlang for the Dzanya



Hatzurmarina soldier with Turkortze plates.





The Mesathalassa summary (with info, maps, terminology
roleplayerguild.com/posts/4896581




Up. Upward. Up to Mountains. Up to the Sky. Ever since I left the coast it was nothing but that, a constant march towards the heavens, where the person who some said was the ruler of all mankind lived. The imperial machine worked with impeccable zeal along the way. The roads were well maintained and the Djore were well maintained even in the middle of the aridest lands. Djore being little inn-like lodges along the path. Apparently, this use of inns was used by tribes of Western Mesathalassa in the past creating a vast network of information and stability, the empire, always up to stealing what worked, remade the system, focusing on centralization and the expansion of its army.

Yet as a reminded we are dealing with empires of mortals, not of gods, it clearly showed its limits where the land became too rough. The Climb, or Nyar Refi, are a mountains broken region between Western Mesathalassa and Northern Mesathalassa. The North is a land of countless rivers, many of which go west, upon meeting the broken cliffs they turn the whole area into massive waterfalls.

Your Holiness, I cannot properly describe how terrifying these paths are, beautiful too, like many of nature's worst terrors. Endless snaking cliffside roads with the abyss on one side and thick merciless jungle to the other. It was slippery, it was cold, it was foggy. Even the mighty Dzanyavehar cannot tame these lands, which is why they made another road, a longer slower one through a smaller passage deeper inside the continent. Only the military uses this one these days, and as a prisoner, I am taking it along with the guards who are scouting me, five of them your holiness!

That is just the average size of these types of units. Our troops are not so puny we need to send this many man to watch for a single out-of-shape hain scholar.

Once past the mountains, you reach the highlands of Northern Mesathalassa. This is where the imperial bureaucracy lives, where the empress and the high priest make their edicts and were the generals meet to decide on the matters of protection and expansion of this empire.

The air itself seems to hold great pressure, Dusklander Humans seem to handle it well, but for other peoples, such as the many other types of humans making this trip from the low coast to here is a painful experience. I myself am feeling a bit dizzy as of late, to think these lands used to be inhabited by hain in the past is curious.

Oh! How I wish I could continue my trip eastward and make it to the Hain side of the continent, to see its impressive fortress and rolling hills, to see the hometown of Gerrick and historical cities such as Fibeslay or Tagrasse. But I am a prisoner. Captured for the crime of trying to get historical records of this continent! How tyrannical of the Dzanyavehar Empire.

I am no master of your language, but it strikes me as such an odd thing to that the writer of this letter uses Dzanyavehar Empire, wouldn't the proper use be the demonym of Dzanya? But I guess your language doesn't have one yet. Dzanyaish, Dzanyaite, Dzanyiard. Well, Dusklander Empire works but I'd rather for foreigners to just use Dzanyavehar. Vehar is such a beautiful word, people's land, it's creation was one of the drivers of the creation of this empire, or rather, government. Empire is such a strong barbaric word, we are no tyranny and there is no hereditary succession, well, in theory. On the other side, it does invoke the idea of the late Lifprasilian Empire, if it ever existed.

Twenty Days since the Summer Solstice.
Year 146 since the stars fell.

I have been lodged in a luxurious home. The empress herself wants to see me and she wants me to bring her my writings about this region. Oh! Your Holiness, this might be my end. What if she has an issue with my use of Northern Mesathalassa and Western Mesathalassa instead of the regional names of the provinces?

The young empress (She is not young anymore, but she did come to power before she was 20. She has reigned for decades and is still relatively young for a monarch, she also seems to showcase great health. If she lives a long life this whole population won't know what the world without her rule is like.)

But anyway, the young empress is said to be flexible but stern. Aren't these conflicting statements? I do not know if she will show interest in my works or sentence me to lose my head. I will hide certain papers in the house and tell a local hain about them, then perhaps at least some of it may make it to you. Unfortunately, I never finished the full story, I was starting to research the Human - Dwarf war.

The papers were found under his bed.

Twentyone Days since the Summer Solstice.
Year 146 since the stars fell.

Your Holiness. It all went very well. In a sense.

The Capital of the Dzanyavehar Empire is something to behold, not as beautiful as our capital, as it was built in a rush and the whole architectural style is composed of small bricks and concrete instead of our more impressive size using larger rocks. But, it is a colorful luxurious land.

Large towers, countless bridges with silver and gold ornaments over equally countless channels of raging river water. Silk, oh so much silk, even the beggars have some. I visited the royal temple and saw its tablets built entirely from gemstones. The empire knows how to use its wealth to give an impression.

The empress is a regal person, for sure, but also very charming, she talks to you and you feel like you are talking to an old friend. Albeit an old friend who seems like they wouldn't think twice before murdering you to advance her cause.

All she wanted was to read my work just so she could see the perspective of a third party about the continent's history. She also wanted to make some notes and fill some spots she felt my research was insufficient. I was too scared and too charmed to say no.




Chapter ?3 - The Wave.

[...]

While initially a religious circle, Tsefo soon became a far more diverse group, with many generals rising from the rich environment of learning. This was crucial in maintaining the importance of the circle during the decades that followed.

Of the Tsefo generals, six were the most prestigious, Tsilluhan Dyetzu, Rofotzan Tsir, Fernya, Funmih Huro, Llor Tzemeh and Pihati. While in generally aligned in objectives and zealous defenders of the Dzanya, all had a serious rivalry against each other.

They were friendly rivals at worst. The only one who suffered a bit of aggressivity was Fernya due to being half-sunlander and a bastard with no clan behind her name

All of them would write differing guides to strategy and the history of conflicts between 68 and 74, mostly sourced on foreign works.

In 74 there a group of dusklanders were murdered in the city of Grehvew. This was the call to action for the group of young generals, all of them leaving with plans to conquer the south.

They never expected to conquer even a single city. Tsilluhan confessed to me he expected to campaign against some Sunland nations but what happened was never expected.

The initial group was only composed of Tsilluhan for his leadership, Pihati for his experience and Rofotzan as the Tsir clan was from the Papuratsura, the gravel shores of the Duskland an area close to Grehvew.


Seeing the hostility of Grehvew and knowing it was an important chokepoint between the Dusklands and Mesathalassa, they decided to infiltrate and take over the Sunlander fort. The daring plan worked, and the city fell under their hands.

This was, of course, not a solution to the issue but the beginning of a great war between two regions. Decades prior, Tihtzin's Tabata city-state had been denied, and the sunlander lords were not about to allow a dusklander to take over another city. If they knew the price of their actions, I am sure they would have allowed it.

First came the regional lords, the tribes of Shayek and Nur Yir thinking this could be their chance to shine. They not only were unable to defeat the well organized and well-prepared Dusklanders with knowledge in tacts brought over from all over the fractal sea and beyond, they certainly made it all too easy for Tsilluhan's troops to get a footing in Western Mesathalassa. Even the lack of horses, one of the Dusklander's worst obstacles in the war, was slightly alleviated when the tribal troops melted against the invaders, leaving behind troops and animals.

The land conquered so far was plenty of territory for a nation. Sparsely populate for sure, but with countless Dusklander refugees expected to come south, this would be quickly evaluated.

But, just south, was Tabata. The City once ruled by a dusklander, Tihtzin, the first of such kind. They were scared and probably not without reason. Another group annoyed with the situation was the Republic of Kodekzia, with the vassal state of Puperute in the North, a reliance on dusklander trade, and just a general aversion to the idea of a group of people conquering land almost equal to the land they held, even if of lesser quality.

Their biggest fear was that the group could become allied to Kivico and join forces to crush Kodekzia for once and for all. This feels hilarious in hindsight but who knows how things could have evolved.

This is a foolish statement. Kivico would have joined forces with Kodekzia to take out the "invaders" as they did in the past. These two nations not uniting to defeat a common foe is a perfect example of why independent regional powers are dangerous. All they do is bicker and fight, wasting human lives in senseless intrigues and rivalries. In this case, they were lucky the so-called invaders were humans with morals and not murderers and slavers.

The two nations started their campaign against the northern invaders trying to be as quick and offensive as possible. Highly underestimating the competency of the Dusklander army, in particular the presence of foreigner military strategy.

I think the writer values the foreign influence on our initial military beyond reasonable levels. Yes, it is known our access to the trade of the fractal seas and the continent to the north was key in getting more information than the isolated Mesathalassan nations. But it is a mistake to ignore the homegrown strategies.

Tsilluhan Dyetzu's focus on standardization, his understanding of scouting and the importance of supply lines. Pihati's concept of observing nature for strategies once adapted and expanded by Fernya was innovative even in comparison to the rest of the world. So many strategies used by us to this day are inspired by the observation of hunting tactics of animals. Rofotzan's genial line of combat strategies.

The battles against Tabatha were not won only on luck and foreign ideas. The patience of the troops, the surprising trickster moves, the quick use of horses in our scouting, the adaptation of the environment of combat with carpenters and heavy workers being brought from the tribes to help to build structures for our group, this was all local ingenuity.


That hubris was harmful, perhaps if these nations had faced the southern invasions the continent had gone through they would know the results of overextending and expecting easy battles. But to them, those were all stories of southern incompetence.

The tide turned quickly, and violently. Kodekzia's tyrants ordered the immediate retreat of its troops leaving Tabata to fend for itself. The idea was to lock the Dusklanders in a siege on Tabata while they prepared their positions for defense in their own homeland. It was vile to abandon an ally, but it had merit.

The only issue was that the Tsilluhan saw trough it. Only leaving enough troops around Tabata to suppress the city before marching southward, towards Kodekzia.

"It was like fighting a wave, no matter how sturdy your armor is or how sharp your blade is, you cannot do anything. It crashes against you no matter how much you move, it seeps into your clothes and then it sucks you deeper into its ocean. As you are recovering, the wave crashes again." - Zaarn of Kodekzia.

The Dusklander's greatest advantages were their numbers and organization. Their tactics and formations were perfect for open fields, to raid nations with exposed supplies, to constantly add pressure to less organized armies and nations until they broke under the stress.

Tsilluhan Dyetzu was a master of getting others were they wanted them to be.

In his own army, this was shown through its great organization, the ability to integrate sunlanders into their ranks, the ability to keep the supplies and settle the wounded. He knew to identify those who needed to put into leading positions and the veterans who were better instructors than soldiers, it is even said he knew how disposable each soldier was and his punishment for failing soldiers always set a strong example.

But what is truly important was what he did to his enemies. The elasticity of his command was impressive. With forward bases and scouting, they knew where their enemy would be, and they were never beyond bribing locals and merchants for information on the geography of the area. He was able to suppress attacks on their weak points and fully take advantage of the weak point of others. His group was able to perform many fakeout attacks to dislocate enemies from better positions, and they were able to quickly infiltrate the enemy nations.

Their defeat of Kodekzia was done using exactly that. The nation of Kodekzia was divided by a great river, the Kodez, and not many passages existed.

The Dusklanders prepared the perfect bait, pretending they would conquer the countryside of Kodekzia, beyond the river, first. Making the tyrant of the republic move towards the region expecting combat. Instead, the main army moved straight to the city of Kodekzia, not a single stop to siege another town as they moved onward. How did they get there? They discovered an area easy to cross by canoes that not even the owners of the land knew, the soldiers who were also lumberjacks had been able to prepare the rafts and move the army through without the Kodekzians ever knowing.

Of course, Tyrant Zaarn of Kodekzia knew this was trouble, he had seen the Dusklanders pulling miracle after miracle, he feared for his city. That fear was expected, it was in fact, the key to Dusklander victory. They didn't have the means to take over Kodekzia, the whole plan was to make the tyrant to do that with the main army. The Dusklander's main army quickly turned to face the royal troops while the once dispersed troops raiding the countryside congregated into a second army.

The Kodekzians were caught between both armies, they took defensive positions, but at that point, it was a waiting game, they had limited supplies while the Dusklanders were increasing their control of the countryside. A final attack ended the army, the tyrant was capture, Kodekzia was without leadership and without most of its army and ultimately the Tyrant Zaarn surrendered in exchange for safety.

Only one thing existed between the Dusklanders and total control of the North, and that was Kivico. The jewel of Mesathalassa, the only truly unconquered city of the continent at that point.

Kivico was another beast entirely, they had fought invasions before and their traditions and hold over the land were old, often unbroken for far longer than most other governments had existed. They were in a good position and the Dusklanders knew they couldn't expect their luck to exist.

Even with their advantage of massive attacks over large areas existing they needed more than just a simple advantage to claim victory, it was necessary to rethink their approach. The fact the invading forces knew that was impressive, the fact they managed to pull the necessary reforms to guarantee an influx of troops and supplies was a miracle nearing absurdity.

Mostly thanks to most of the generals of the time managing to predict they wouldn't be able to keep a single style of warfare for long, they had the system ready to change in response of a new threat, this is a tradition with roots back in how the clans would prepare warfare, fighting the battle of today and preparing for the one next year. It was not a miracle, it was proper management.

The battle with Kivico was a close call, though the victory at the Tall Gardens went down to history as "The Disaster of the Tall Gardens" it was mostly a stalemate. It was perceived as a disaster however because it should have been a Kivico victory, their inability to crush the invasion there and the eventual loss of land painted a grim picture for all the less-prepared nations. It was known back then that the invaders would only strengthen their hold over time.

A year would pass, with the Dusklanders now focusing on consolidating their victories, uniting territories and establishing the management of conquered lands. A recruitment drive was done among dusklanders to get more displaced young adults into the army with the promise of land and riches, a lot of thought was put into integrating horse riders and raindeer riders in the army and finally, the Dusklanders had access to metal production.

Chapter ?4 - The Southern Campaign

Mirny was the broken heart of Mesathalassa, a land of mineral riches and a political mess due to that, the fanatic Elysian cultists (a goddess invented by humans) did not help. The dusklanders knew that, and they wanted to take the land. There was no pretense of defense here, though it would have been easy to fabricate an excuse.

The sudden invasion made it clear they no longer were fine with just taking over the north, they were in it for everything and would take as much as they could. The fact more and more of them migrated into the region every day also made it clear this wouldn't be as easy to solve as the Raindeer ridder invasion from the south earlier in the century. Invoking the spirit of legendary queen Runza when she united the lands to defend it from invaders (or rather, reconquest) many local kingdoms finally managed to put aside their differences to mount a response.

This was the right response in the North, and would have ended the conquest, but things were already out of control when it came the time for the south of the continent to do the same. It was necessary to show excellent leadership and good coordination, the former was shown sometimes but the latter, with so many distinct political entities and former rivals involved, never really existed.

The response was slow and not in time to save Mirny and the surrounding areas, the answer was not able to regain those lands, the lines stagnated, or worse, at times they were pushed back. The Dusklanders were still able to use their mobility and information to pull infiltrations and surprise attacks, even sending out smaller armies to spread havoc on the attacking nations, even sieging and conquering a few cities.

It must have been terrifying for the southern lords because this was unlike any other battle of invasion from before, invaders came, gave their all and disappeared. Dusklanders had patience and endurance and only seemed to become stronger over time. Meanwhile, the southern lords were giving it their all, and it just wasn't enough, their armier become more and more fatigued, yet they couldn't just pull back, they were holding the door of a lion's cage closed, once they retreated it would open and the beast would consume them, yet, all they could do was hold the cage closed, there was nothing in sight to tame the beast.

The only salvation after the initial errors was Kivico putting an actual effort against the dusklanders or a peace deal, but neither happened. The lines began to break and the blow to the south was immense once the kingdoms were forced to retreat and fortify.

The effort for the Dusklanders, however, had been excruciating. A lot of blood had been shed, including one of the six generals leading the attack, one, Funmih, who was assassinated.

The remaining five found themselves having very different ideas of where to lead the battle now that they had cracked Mesathalassa open like a clam. Llor would lead his forces against the West wanting to conquer more the coast, Fernya would move East to help Dusklanders settle in the inner continent, Pihati and Rofotzan would lead a charge south with aim of finding new lands for the Dzanya to settle and destroying weakened local kingdoms. Tsilluhan went north, to capture Tabata, and enact his revenge upon Kivico.

Tsilluhan was obsessed with Tihtzin and the idea of destroying the hero's main enemy was something he kept as a focus. Conquering Tabata for once and for all and ruling it on a charge to destroy the Ruby City was his childhood dream.

But Kivico, even if weakened, was not an easy target, especially now that the Dzanya armies were widespread. His attack was misguided, but it did stop Kivico from sending aid to the south in the second wave of the Southern Campaign. Yet all benefits were thrown away as he kept forcing the attack, to eager to break Kivico like the other nations had been broken. But that just wouldn't ever happen, Kivico was good at defense and at the time the Dusklanders didn't have the proper siege, leadership had improved and the losses of the attacking side became too much, the war came to almost a halt.

Rofotzan came north to aid his friend once his campaign was done but that only added to the disaster, more man to die at the walls, including Rofotzan himself. It was a tragedy, and it was a great source of shame.

Tsiluhan no longer felt like a young genius and decided to retire himself to govern Tabata on his own, not thinking he would ever fight in a war again.

At year 81 the conquest of Western Mesathalassa was done, many large nations capable of doing damage remained, but a large tract of land was now in Dusklander hands.

Chapter ?5 - Northern Unification

Mavadzugji could have been the man who kickstarted the Tsefo and the new Dusklander culture, or Dzanya, but his political dreams were too sophisticated for the average clam leader and he was wasn't sly enough to be able to hold the political leadership of an entire continent.

His utopic city kept being built and it worked fine. He had alliances with regions that became prosperous in the north like the Tsilla, where most of the Dusklander silk was now produced and contacts all over Northern Mesathalassa.

But in 88, Dusklanders and Sunlanders who were done with Mavadzugji's project became allied and surrendered the city, "inviting" him to step down as the leader of the Tsefo for a younger candidate who, ironically, protected the old status quo.

Tsilluhan thought he was out of combat but the idea of leaving the very man who inspired him was impossible. Tabata and its allies rose and climbed up the Steps arriving to the aid of the aging Priest.

Far more experienced and better equipped than the coalition, he was capable of not only easily driving off the attackers, but also of quickly advancing against them, creating a buffer zone.

This battle and the victory of Tsilluhan became the start of the Northern Unification, or rather, the actual unification of all Dzanya people under the banner of the Dzanyavehar. It was ironic that as much as he had saved Mavadzugji, he also destroyed his plans of peaceful unification of the people.

With the aid of old allies, including a more striking contribution from Fernya, he helped allies in the Silk Valley, securing the valuable region.

In there, Mavadzugji showed him something that would change the story of combat in the region. The Tzurkortze (sea copper). Clay-like substances found high in the mountains that when extremely heated becomes harder than many metals. Today's science knows its because of the Mythril rich soil. It is from this substance we derive the word Turquoise as soon enough the characteristic elite troops of the Dzanya would show up wearing the special metal.

The Hatzur Marana as they became known, though their relevance only starts at the end of the unification campaign. Before that, the main source of aid was bronze and troops from Western Mesathalassa.

Once the initial area was helped, it was time to increase the pressure on the enemies of the Tsefo's message of unification. First with the Griz offensive, reaching the fortress at the border of what remained of the Dusklands.

At the end of it, with victory in the north, Fernya left, starting her own military group aimed at preserving the border region and exploring the advancing chaotic magic to find ways to reverse it, the Rotzetia, Rose Shield.

91 would start with great conflicts, but then move towards small skirmishes. 92, Llor dies, one his sons taking over the Mirny region and refusing to help Dzanya, thinking the empire was now lacking weaponry, a new coalition attacked, this time headed by the city of Susah. This soon was proven as a mistake, as Tsilluhan heroically turned the tides and walked into Susah by 94.

By 95, Dzanya would officially be formalized as a state. Mavadzugji had aged poorly and was not as sharp as before, but he did his best to make sure it all worked well. He would take the religious role of the triarchy, while Tsilluhan would take the military role. The economical role, the emperor or empress, was still empty, so a few invites were made, first to Batsami, then to Fernya, both declined. In the end, it was a Topami lady, niece of one of Mavadzugji's old friends, who would take the role.

(The name Topami is a bit infamous in our region, but they have nothing to do with the famous bandit Kadja Topami)

I wonder at times if the best translation of Nyar Manyadjir is really Emperor? It impressed me that some other languages have borrowed the word Manyadjir (like Manager) but never use it in the same connotations we do. It is also a bit humorous, or rather, curious that Batsami, the one who invented the new etymologic use of Manyadjir over the more common use for adopted children, refused to become the Nyar Manyadjir. Which was good, she had passion in her eyes and a hot blood, cold foxes are better suited for this job.

Chapter ?6 - The Respite

[...]

Meanwhile, this was a time for peace for the new founded Dzanyavehar, Mavadzugji had his empire even if it wasn't exactly what he dreamed. All Dusklanders clans eventually came under their rule one way or another (in the continent, obviously the isolated few who escape north instead of the south didn't come into contact with the great empire)

So the rumors are true? Interesting.

Control of the southern lands was mostly just formal, little actual power reached out through an entire continent. But some attempts to increase the hold of the region continued. Peace with Kivico had been stable, and the Imga remnants were too exhausted to attack

Chapter ?7 - Tsaha Regjurnyarha

In 104, the Topami Empress became suddenly ill, and it became clear a new empress would need to be picked among the clans.

The winner of the contest ended up being a young girl named Tsaha, 14 of age.

Oh so many things are said about her. Some say she was a street urchin, living off crumbles and wit. A young farmer girl from the countryside who hunted a monster and was blessed by the gods. A puppet who was put in control by the elites but with her great intelligence was able to turn around the system and become the de-facto ruler.

A lot of that are merely silly stories. Yes, she was an improbable candidate, but the Regjurnyarha family wasn't poor, on the contrary, they controlled a lot of the Tsilla (Silk Valley) who was such an important region of the empire. They had Firstlander descendence and had been in the area for very long, even being from the village where the capital was built.

It was the perfect storm. The firstlander clans liked the idea of an empress who knew their cause, the sunlanders enjoyed the idea of a woman who had a family line that wasn't pure dusklander, many refugees enjoyed the family's service in helping them settle and the traditional well-established clans respected wealth.

That said. While she was no street urchin, she did enjoy climbing and running around the city, like most human children do, can't help but to stretch those weird monkey arms of them I guess. She would often take part-time jobs at different places, learn their trade and move on once bored. She never mastered any trade, but she knew enough of them to know how to take advantage of it, every guild seemed to know her well and appreciate her services and ideas.

It was also an open secret many who voted for her expected only an easy to manipulate teenage girl who could easily be replaced. It is also true that the Empress title started to mean far more once she took hold of it, she also jailed quite a few people under conspiracy against the empire at around age 18.

She does seem to have some ancestry connecting her to an ancient and mystical order of shamans but that is likely just an appropriation of an ancient legend the shamans of the region used to have about one of them unifying the land and fighting of a great threat. I am sure however this was the star-fall event, since it was around the same time in which the Mesathalassan Shamanic practice started to dissolve.

Whoever you are sending this text to will believe I am lying, but I had no idea about such a legend existing until today.

But it is hard to discern what is imperial propaganda or not. Nevertheless, the young empress was quick to show service. She had an innate intellect and instinct that help the administration of the empire greatly.

From the start, she focused on the expansion of the public projects, the establishment of roads, the formalization of deals. Her main objective was to guarantee the unity of this large continental empire, she had an eye for early signs of trouble and was quick to act.

By then most Sunlander Western Mesathalassan nations had regained their strength, but what could a nation like Kivico do in the face of a nation larger than the combined size of Imga and Kivico combined? At most, be too bothersome to be worth attacking.

[...]

In her early years, Dzanyavehar reached the eastern coast. Igar-Kuri was brought into the empire and the reconstruction started, now as Tsuvi Juta, meaning Three Harbors.

[...]

Humans often have weird assumptions about the world, but I have never found one as weird as the Dzanya's origins. They believe they were here before everyone, other humans, us, even the gods. That the world was clad in darkness like the Duskland used to be.

Then the sun pierced through the sky scorching the land, killing most of those who lived there before. Those who survived were blinded, no longer able to see in the dark. Like when you look at a flame and everything around you seems darker in comparison.

This idea that the Dzanya are not merely humans but the older humans was key to the power of the empire, and Tsaha focused on it like a tool more than any other person. Especially after Mavadzugji died in 108. This idea the Dusklanders were mankind's older sibling who merely wanted to protect them.

To me it felt like an adaptation of certain Elysian thoughts. At first I even believed it was created to counter the cult, but it is older than that. Tsaha was just to first to truly glorify this idea, perhaps because she was from the first generation of Dusklanders who had to deal with Sunlanders in all aspects of their life. It was a good tale to keep the Sunlanders from revolting against a foreigner group, to terrorize them with the idea of what happens if the empress isn't there to help them.

I think that as an Empress the most basic metric of how good my reign has been is by thinking how worse the situation of the world would be without my existence? I do not understand the negative implication of the writer in this chapter. Dzanyavehar is the shield of mankind against many threats, humans should fear a world without us because that is a logical fear.

Chapter ?8 - The Aberrations

First came the rumors, from the reindeer riders of the South fleeing into Mesathalassa. Dwarves, from the cold mountains, they were marching towards the continent. They were mystical creatures unlike anything else, half-humanoid half-beast, possessing weapons that cut through copper weaponry like butter, godly magical powers and great mystical beasts.

It was taken as a tale first. Silly thing tribal people were saying. Misunderstood events.

Then the cities started being razed.

The humanist idea of Dzanyavehar as the bastion of mankind was a weird thing that could only exist in a continent as isolated as Mesathalassa, in the open world it wouldn't fly. The only non-humans they knew who had nations were the Hain of the east coast.

Yet they found themselves facing a real threat. The full might of a Dwarven kingdom wanting to destroy, enslave and raze the entire continent.

The newborn Empire was quick to react, though the damage on the south was impossible to avoid, Pihati who had stayed there to rule over a colony was killed. With Feyer infirm by old age, only one of the legendary six generals remained, Tsilluhan.

But he was in his 60s and many doubted his prowess. Not Tsaha, she fully believed in the man who had saved the dream of the Dzanyavehar twice. By then he was retired, working as a farmer, no wife but happy apparently, he really disliked the young empress and the idea of fighting her wars was sickening.

The exception was that this wasn't a war for the empress, it was a war for mankind. So he accepted the job.

The whole empire turned into a warfare machine for this war against the dwarves, and they felt no shame in asking the help of the rivals. Why, it was even suspicious, in how much trust the empress was putting in a nation like Kivico, considering how sly she was, it was 'impressive' to see her being so naive in her trust of a foreign rival nation. It was part of plan but we will talk about that later.

Tsilluhan's plan was simple, retreat, get as many people out of the way as possible and burn the crops. Fight skirmishes against the minor forces and learn about the enemy. What technology they had? How were their armies organized? Were they truly magicians?

Going beyond that, he went beyond that he lost battles on purpose, sending out convicts with obsidian spears to give the wrong idea about the empire to the enemy marching onward.

Then the actual battles started, usually against the secondary armies that split-off from the main group. They would be stalked and fought off with the intent to fully eliminate them and defeat the enemy in detail.

But there was no avoiding the main force, and they were already reaching northern mesathalassa. Entire cities vanished against their power, walls melted and the skies erupted in flames.

Once ready, Tsilluhan called all his forces, even the forces of the rivaling Sunlander Kingdoms like Kivico, to go for a final attack. It was madness.

Chapter ?9 - The Day of Azure

Leading the lines, the Hatzurmarani, clad in their Tzurkortze armor. Troops from all over the empire formed the ranks. Even armies of rival kingdoms were in the mix, but not Kivico. Facing them, an army of beasts, ungodly machines, and magicians.

[...]

The Dwarves were definitely impressed at how all of the sudden the Humans were able to show up in such numbers, with such equipment, but it had not been enough to turn the tides just yet. Though more dwarves were falling than they expected.

[...]

There was an eclipse, the world started to turn black, and it is said that at this moment the valiant Dusklanders charged, able to see in the dark. And it wasn't just seeing in the dark like they usually did, a bit better than other, no, they believed it was as good as their supposed ancestors did, and with their might, they started to break apart the dwarven forces.

Now, we, who know more about the world, will see the issue with this narrative. Dwarves see well in the dark, an eclipse wouldn't be an issue for them. I could see perhaps the ones piloting weird flying machines to lose control but not the foot soldier.

It is also curious that they think their leaders knew when the eclipse would be, they did not have the astronomical technology to guess it, but the Dwarves did.

As such, I propose an alternate theory. The dwarves were the ones who charged during the eclipse, expecting an easy victory against blinded humans. But the Dusklanders could see well in their dark too, and immediately punished such foolish act.

From the descriptions, you get the idea of the dwarven army having its most precious troops in the frontlines, including honor hungry commanders, if those were to fall in a sudden unexpected response, it's easy to see how things would go down poorly for them. Of course, I don't want to take away from human ingenuity here, I just do not believe in the tale as a proper historical account.

In particular, the Hatzurmarani, who led the human troops, had been given order to target dwarven officers and mages, the well trained elite troops would have done great damage in my proposed scenario.

Nevertheless, it's easy to guess what happens next. The dwarven plan was to go straight north and burn their capital. There was little supply stability, and once broken, their armies were quickly annihilated.

Empress Tsaha had her field day with that, I can only imagine how disappointed Tsilluhan must have been when the young empress suddenly had exactly what she desired, inhuman enemies and a victory against them.

Chapter ?0 - Mesathalassa under the Shadows.

Like a child who had found a new toy, she made sure to parade the capture dwarves as if they were animals in cage, their beasts and machines were also exposed in a great Fahre at the capital.

Another thing she made sure to show to all across the empire were the humans who were hurt or enslaved by the Dwarves. She said it was a charitable act, but sincerely, it was more of a "this is you, this is what you are without me and my empire. We saved you."

Ah but the greatest victory was Kivico not fighting.

Kivico had been losing land bit by bit, the Dzanyavehar troops managing to get closer and closer to their capital. There was a certain romanticism about it, that they would fight to their last and die with honor against the encroaching Empire.

But where was their honor now? They had deserted mankind, and all of the human side of Mesathalassa believe the imperial narrative at this point. Getting the troops to go meet the dwarves in combat made sure the word spread quickly.

So when pressure mounted again, they started to bend, the city's spirit was gone and the monarch disgraced.

Tsaha, in her supposed "goodwill" accepted a deal, that gave Kivico "autonomy" but placed it under the empire's protection. It was said to be a better solution than having such a beautiful, historical city be destroyed and that she wished the red of Kivico was that of rubies, not blood, but it was hard to believe that.

Because at that point Kivico was the last holdout against Dzanyavehar and its empress in Mesathalassa. The hain in the east was unconquered, of course, but the empire started to redefine the continent itself, separating them from all they held. And nevertheless, once they stepped into Kivico all of the continent's humankind would be under one rule.

The gate opened without a siege, the shining turquoise troops entered the city, the citizens didn't look at them with shock or cheer, it was a tired expression. The most elegant horses trotted in, followed by the proudest reindeer. Riches from all over the empire and beyond. Politicians from far and wide, from the governors of colonies in the frozen sea far in the south to the captain of the Rose Guard which held the provinces in the border with the region that once was the Dusklands, the lost homeland of the Dzanya.

Then the empress, 24 of age, ten years into her reign and a whole continent bowed to her. Her Tiara represented her rulership over one of the largest nations Galbar had known, she knew her name would be known like the rulers of distant nations like Xerxes, Ventus and perhaps even Alefpria. And she was right, or else, how would I be writing this book to you, Your Holiness? We heard tales about them and tried to reach these distant rich lands and the supposed empire of people who looked like shadows.

Sincerely, at first, I was sure this would be a nation that would last for eternity, but I wonder... just how much is the empress capable of? She wants to be known, she wants to be the apex. I do not think she cares about successors, maybe that would explain why she is far softer with Sunlanders than many of the generals and Dusklander leaders, she wants to be that one ruler who was good and fair but after her things were never the same. Someone whose name would be remembered in bright light even if the Sunlanders were to rise, and who all next emperors or empresses will live in the shadows of.

Because when you look at her actions over time you get the impression that...

[...]

Nevertheless. Back to the historical records.

The empress and her guards walked up the stairs of Kivico's palace, up to where the Ruby Throne was. Back then, it was the tallest building in the continent.

The king of Kivico didn't have to bow or anything, just sign a contract, and then... there was one last task.

The imperial tiara always had a slot for one more gemstone, the only color that was missing: red. With Kivico conquered, the king had to finish the job himself and place a ruby in the tiara. With that, Kivico would be hers. Mesathalassa would be hers.

Some of the locals reported expecting the king to make a miracle, stab her in the throat at the last minute. But it never came, he placed the gem and she rose up.

Cheers. Cheers so loud the whole region heard them, or so they say. Why, looking down at the people, the king and the empress would see even many of Kivico's own citizens cheering for the empress. Cheering for Mavadzugji's dream. Cheering for the word Dzanyavehar.

One can only imagine the horror of the king's face as his own people fully gave themselves away. In contrast, it's easy to imagine how wide the empress' smile was, it must have made her day, I am sure of that, what I am not so sure is if it was the cheers of the people or the frown of those powerless to stop her now.

I wish I knew the answer to that, but it was certainly a pleasant day. Not the best, that lies certainly in a time before I was fourteen.
Antiquity was an interesting, if bland, place. At least from what Qullqiya had seen so far, though admittedly she spent most of her time seeking other gods and trying to figure out if they were useful to her.

She had some ideas in mind of what she was sinking, but the god that actually caught her full attention was not one that she had intended to meet, in fact, it was a god she didn’t even know existed until this very moment.

She approached him directly. ”Hello, pardon the interruption as you look at the board, yet I couldn’t help but to notice your aura is very similar to that which runs up in the starry sky. Do you happen to be the god who oversees such things?”

Sirius barely moved except for his cloak slightly pulling closer to him. He whispered, “Yes.”

”Well, that is actually excellent! See, well, don’t take this the wrong way, I am not a god who wants her creations to have special treatment, on the contrary I think challenges are good for them. Yet… If they fail at it for about uhh… a thousand years? Give or take a century. That is when I start to think about seeking the help of others who have the expertise necessary on the fields in which I need assistance.”

She summoned a chair and sat down. ”Say, have you heard of witches? I know for sure some of them do feel very passionate about the stars so maybe a prayer or two reached you?”

“I have … been keeping an eye on … Galbar. There have been some... things of concern.”

”Oh there has been many for sure, though it seems most of us gods disagree on what the concerning developments are. Oh, speaking of development, let me just say, fantastic work with the stars, really excellent things. I am sure you will be able to help to maximize the potential of the witches.” she made a finger gun and winked for a moment.

”See… witches, they uh, come of age at around 100, well, either they come of age or they die. I don’t want to bore you with the magical-biological-social mambo jambo, but they end up choosing between storing mana in their flesh and being attuned to the earthly telluric energies or store mana in their blood and be attuned to the celestial telluric energies. Or it should be an option, but none so far has managed to do the latter. Many earthly witches were born, yet no celestial one has managed to make it.

Sirius turned around to face Qull, “There is more to the stars than power and blood.”

Qull took a deep breath, looking up at the sky of Antiquity for a moment. ”Oh, I know there are, I know it all too well. The stars are truly fantastic, complex, pretty things. Perhaps that is why there is such a high failure rate? I tried teaching them like I did with the Earthly style but I failed to get the actual results. I mean… it's a pretty sorry state of affairs, they are all people who are passionate about the stars, if only they could have… some help…”

“I am sure… I could help. Perhaps… it is simply easier to surrender the stars than it is … to surrender the earth. I could tell them how… but would they listen?”

”Well, can’t vouch for all of them, I make sure of having very individual creations. Some won’t, and they will fail for that, yet, am equally certain some will listen to your guidance.”

“If the issue is the duality… of the far and the near. Then the… easy solution would be to sever the connection to the … near. Let me consider… renouncing one's lands and titles, while spending a year… or so, in a high place such as a mountain… contemplating and mapping the stars… that should work.”

”Hmm… Not many witches have earthly possessions such as land, but there are equivalences, equivalences which would also be renounced in such a way. Though you speak of contemplation… Perhaps the core of the issue is in the fact most witches have very active minds, often anxious or overthinking, not used to such types of meditative contemplation.” the statue-like goddess smiled. ”See? I knew talking with you would be worth it.”

“Yes. Unlike myself… you are skilled with words.” Sirius said, turning around. A note appeared on the notice board detailing the zodiac.

”Well, each of us have their individual skills. Anyway! Let’s hope the first celestial witch is born soon, I have been thinking about this topic for way too long.” she turned to face the zodiac note in the message board, rubbing her chin gently as she took in its information.




Life felt unfair as of late. It always felt like such a distant date, she couldn’t believe she was almost there already, a whole century of life. She hadn’t been the best witch, not in a moral sense, oh no, she was pretty well controlled for a witch, but she lived life way too easily, she hated hard things so she took her time merely enjoying the little things.

That kept most of the dangers at bay, but not time… and now…

It was unfair, so unfair! If there was one aspect of magic she loved, it was the stars, she would spend hours a day playing and tugging at the celestial forces and letting them pull her back. She felt so light and careless when that happened, it was nothing like the raging force of the earth.

Yet, to survive to the next year, she would have to say goodbye to the stars. She could feel her body unfraying internally, unable to take her duality anymore. Well, death was an option, but she was afraid of that, though being earth-bound forever… was not all that better.

She patted a celestial sheep in the head, at least she would have these little fellas around her forever once she… She couldn’t finish the thought, lying to herself wasn’t working.

She returned to her cottage, opening all the scrolls she could. “T-this time, t-this time for sure! I will understand the nature of magic and figure out how to keep my mana infused blood. I-I… p-please…” she kept looking over the papyrus, seeking an answer she wouldn’t find there.

She kept looking for the whole night, until finally she broke, witches didn’t often pray, only the most desperate or naive ones. She pressed her hands together against her chest and looked at the stars. “I don’t want to become numb to the stars. I don’t want it… It’s the only magic I can TRULY feel… please… Kukia, Chirus… someone… I beg you for guidance!”

A soft, emotionless whisper emanated somewhere vaguely behind her, “Why should you have this power?”

Her eyes widened, she looked all around her for a moment, was that a god, a spirit or just her mind going insane? It didn't matter, she would answer it. “Why… I uh… uh…” her eyes teared up. “I know I am not the most skillful, or the most intelligent, but… I always sought this. So many witches had given up on the stars knowing there would be this obstacle in their future, but not me… I had hope I could be the one who could do it… not for fame or glory, but… Oh it must sound like I think I deserve something because I worked for it, I know this isn’t how the world works, I had to try to do this because it was the only way to have a chance to break the barrier, I couldn’t, but I don’t regret the time spent.” she ended her monologue with a long sigh.

The whisper continued, its tone unchanged from before, “What will you do with this power?”

“I uh… I will study it! I want to feel what it's like, I want to see what I can do if I truly dedicate myself fully to it.”

“How can a bird fly when it is shackled and lacks wings?” the whisper continued, immediately afterwards a rolled scroll rolled off the table.

She turned to look at the scroll, her eyes quickly widening as she found things she had never read before on it. She devoured the contents of the paper, reading it through the night and then five times more in the next few days. Her mind was racing about all she had read, the zodiac signs, the way the stars worked... she stopped herself. Somehow, even with the text in hands, it wasn’t working out fully. She let her mind wander back to the words of the voice.

What shackles her? Her lack of skill? Her lack of focus? Was she a wingless bird and nothing more? She thought about it over and over, her mind running wild with all the possibilities. Looking back at the scroll, there were two birds on the zodiac, the wren and the owl. Was she supposed to become more like one? The power of the zodiac waxes and wanes over time, if she bound herself to one, then the consequences would be potentially lethal when it reaches its lowest point. Then she noticed a small detail, the wren and owl were strongest when the other was weakest, then if she bonded herself to both, it might be feasible.

But was it possible? Bonding seemed like the path to doing the act, to do what earthly witches did but with the celestial realm. She stopped to think about what the wren and the owl meant… When one stops to think about it they are very different actions, one is spending your attention internally while the other is an external focus, but both are necessary for wisdom.

She sighed and got up. Everything around her seemed to distract her, she was neither instropecting or observing at the moment. Deciding to cut the noise, she picked her scroll and left, there were no mountains where she lived with clear air and easy view of the sky, but the whole place was sparsely populated anyway, and the fact she was a witch only kept her more distant from the people.

She had faith that once this was all over, her new life would start, one bound to the stars.







While she typically kept a professional, upright stance, Qullqiya found herself leaning over her glass table, arms spread. She was bored. Again

To play with tiny things was satisfying to an extent but everything was so vague while she was stuck in her office, she could barely notice what the other gods were doing, it felt like some weird sort of game where she mostly guessed what entities now completely separate from her were doing. It was all too easy too, awfully easy, she never felt challenged anymore and that really killed her chaotic creative spirit.

At least she had her study of Enmity’s work to distract her, know thy enemy as they said! Understanding reality to its core was necessary to fight back against it and lacking the brute force of something like the collective unconscious she had no option but to put massive personal effort in these matters. The results had been nice so far, and she was starting to formulate a theory on the topic.

She also had self-improved, increasing the amount of things within the supernatural sphere that she could control with ease. After doing it so many times, Amalgamation became very easy to perform.

Still, she was so bored, why couldn’t…

A portal opened, and as she got up to see it she heard a loud yell in her mind. Other gods, she could feel them, just beyond the portal, this had arrived just in time.




A meeting of chaotic minds

Featuring Yamat @King of Rats and Qullqiya @Double Capybara

With the portal opened, Qullqiya had walked into Antiquity and saw herself facing many godly presences around her. She sighed, placing a hand in her hips as she observed all of them, given her previous thoughts it would make sense to approach one of them, yet, she did not quite know how. She had only seen one god in her life, and she was sure she shouldn’t address anyone like she addressed Qael’Naeth. As such, she simply stood there for a moment, standing still and brooding.

Yamat had once more found himself in Antiquity, gazing upon the variety of gods when one caught his eye. He had definitely not seen her before, both on Galbar or in Antiquity, in fact, her entire presence was unknown to him. Oh this could get interesting, a previously unknown actor revealing themselves? He quickly drew himself closer to the god.

”It's always nice to see another of our kind appear.” He spoke as soon as he was close enough, offering a slight bow to the goddess. ”I assume you’ve just arrived?”

The pale woman turned as she saw herself facing some sort of masked god, one of the advantages of existence was that even if you did not felt ready to do something it could still force you to do it anyway, as such, Qullqiya’s plans for a planned introduction were quickly gone, and yet, it was probably the best way for a goddess of chaotic energies to start to socialize again.

”I arrived recently, yet long enough to have heard a god yell into our minds and to have a certain notion of what is happening here. Hello. I am Qullqiya, Goddess of Magic. To whom do I owe the pleasure?” she turned to face the god and adjusted her posture to be more formal.

”Ah yes, that annoying message, but regardless, I am Yamat,” He bowed deeply as he often does, his lanky form doubling over and his left arm shooting out while his right was placed to his chest, before rapidly rising once more. ”Goddess of magic huh? Didn’t know we had two of those” He mused out loud, investigating the goddess’ form and appearance.

She was a tall, tidy looking being, skin cold and white like marble and a bit mirrored. ”Well, we shouldn’t have two of us, but Qael couldn’t do his job properly and constantly tried to stop the more chaotic side of magic in his quest to appease others. I had no option but to be born given the situation.”

Yamat nodded ”I see,” he thought back to his encounter with Qael, the god had never mentioned he had another side. ”So I assume the two of you are one, less than agreeable terms?”

”Your assumption is correct. I don’t even have euphemisms for this one, it’s a real grudge held by both sides. Though for the sake of civility I will try not to cause a scene here in this realm shared by the gods. she added, tilting her head slightly to the left in a contained showcase of displeasure.

Yamat looked around the realm ”Well as other I and some other gods have observed, the realm looks fitting for fighting, and besides,” He turned back towards the goddess, a slight sparkle in his eye. ”There’s no real authority here, so i'm sure you can do nearly as much as you please.”

She sighed. ”There was never any authority back then too, not until we were banished and even then, the Lifeblood acted on an impulse not on a plan. The question is more on the side of, well, battles can be boring, especially godly battles that last a whole day. I have done it once and I do not see how doing it again benefits me or my cause. Whenever I feel like I can take down Qael in a quick, decisive manner, I will do it without a second thought.”

Yamat chuckled ”My my, someone is sure of their abilities, that would be certainly interesting to see, a nice little addition to this beautiful play.” He wistfully sighed, hoping to see that scene if it ever occured ”Now tell me, goddess of magic, how do you feel about tragedy?”

She rose one eyebrow at that, raising her head a bit before walking in circles for a short bit. ”Well… It depends, tragedy is a complex concept, isn’t it? Much like a shadow is created by the presence of light, tragedies exist by the expectation of a better result or the experience of better times, there is a sense of unfairness to them, things that do not break the norm are not tragic. Don’t you agree?”

Yamat could feel the smile creeping behind his mask, he was already liking this goddess. “I would agree yes, there can be no real tragedy without some change, I must say you are the first god i’ve met who’s held a belief like that, often I find most of them either don’t care for the subject or consider it completely useless, a shame really, many of them would learn well from a good tragedy.” He fell silent, pondering some ideas that had sprung up in his mind.

She hummed for a moment. ”Well, I think it's because I too work with an element which only exists in the balance of things. I have had a realm of my own and it was impossible for me to create chaos on my own, there was nothing to break and no purpose in doing it. I can imagine your experience in exile might have been similar, right, God of Tragedy.” she smiled, never having been told what Yamat’s domain was.

He chuckled, his smile growing wider, ”My my, the first to guess it correctly, i’ll have you know that is quite a feat amongst here, but, yes, I found the, realms, as others call them painful, tragedy can only work well when you have a majestic state and a wellspring of actors to perform it,” He once more observed the common realm, eyeing up the other gods ”Which I have more than enough at this point, wouldn't you agree?” He addressed the goddess, his torso almost snapping back to face her.

”Hmm, there is a certain implication to that, isn’t there? Would you say this is enough? That this is the peak? It's a dangerous thought to have, but I am certain it is not the case.”

”Well, a play is always less about the number of its actors, more instead about the quality of the actors, how well they can perform their role, what they add to the play in of itself, a large cast of fantastic actors is far better than a small cast of terrible actors in my humble opinion, what I just need to figure out.” He leaned forward, drawing himself closer to the goddess ”Is just how well my actors can perform, something I am, very interested in.”

She stayed firm in place, merely gracing him with an interested look. ”Ah? Are you working on a special passion project at the moment? You have my curiosity, Yamat.”

”I am always working on scenes for the beautiful play and a goddess of chaotic magic would be, more than helpful in them, as you said tragedy comes from chaos, i’m sure a goddess like you can aid me even without any, direct plans, i'm sure you dislike those regardless.” So many intriguing actors, Yamat could tell this play would be glorious.

Qullqiya closed one eye. ”In all honesty, I feel like the real tragedy would be a world where everything is predictable and rules can’t be broken, but that is my concept, and I am not the goddess of tragedy. But we occupy similar places and all my creations are meant to be wild cards, in that sense, yes, we do bring benefits to each other.” she adjusted her necktie before smiling. ”And on the contrary, I am very proud of my plans. Chaos is best distributed through the word by fine working neatly organized systems.”

”You continue to surprise me Qull, a chaotic god who values their well ordered plans, you are, certainly an enigma, more than fitting your domain.”

”Sometimes, you don’t need to solve the paradoxes of your being, but embrace them. Like creating a tragedy through a blessing.” she nodded.

Yamat chuckled once more ”Very much so, I must say, I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversation Qull,” he held out his hand, his smile having never faded ”perhaps we should talk again another time? Discuss some plans and have ourselves a grand old time?”

”That sounds excellent. It is always nice to share ideas with a like minded individual, especially after two thousand years of exile.” she bowed slightly to Yamat, also having a smile on her face, albeit a smaller one. ”Until next time, and good luck in your endeavours.”



Qullqiya

Goddess of the Supernatural (Darkness)
5MP - 5Dp




Qulqiya was still in one of her random journeys when she felt "it".

The feeling was dreadful and it came suddenly, the goddess was too focused on one of her side projects when she was blasted by it, barely a time to think, a truly dreadful affair. By the time she was done grunting in surprise, it was too late, though she suspected it had been too late for much longer than that. Still, she tried one last attempt, she wasn't going to give up, impossibilities made her stronger, right? One last try, with the Diamond Cutter's shining blade, she attempted to free herself, instead, the blade simply fell away, barely making a noise as it fell on the grass, being lost without a noise much like its owner.

[...]

Darkness, endless darkness, what was this? Why was this? How did it end this way? Why was she suffering such a fate? Was it personal? No... it couldn't be, she felt its presence all over galbar, the truth was simple, in her game of gods she forgot to account for one of the most important pieces. The lifeblood. Never having struggled to it for her right of birth had given her a warped viewpoint.

"If I knew it would be like this I would have planned things out better! I would have done more, prepared myself properly for this mess!" she said in a controlled but only barely tone, her rage starting to seep through her facade of confidence and carelessness. She sighed and stared at the void. "Now what?"

The void, nonexistent as it was, gave her the wordless answer: Nothing. Time passed and still: Nothing. It was getting on her nerves.

Angrily, she had to loosen her tie, and it was then that she noticed it. "Wait." Her clothes, her very first act of creation, still existed, pristine and perfect as always, perhaps... perhaps she could do more? She had to try it. First, extending her hand, she conjured a handkerchief. It worked with extreme ease. Then she called for a piece of marble. Once again, it worked. A large boulder, larger still, let it spread as far as she can see, and let an ocean of grass grow on it, and a sky, yes a sky, perfect and shining, no, she preferred the night, but no moon, just the stars, and it didn't matter.

"I can create... anything! I barely feel tired. This is something I could never do on Galbar!" Had she won? Now the world was truly hers. All of it, all of it was hers now!

[...]

And it sucked. There wasn't chaos if there wasn't an order to break. This wasn't right, this wasn't fun. There had to be someone else otherwise there was no point, it was lonely and it hurt her. To have no one to look at what she did and comment on it and question it and react... It was frustrating.

Not that her world was a mess, on the contrary, it was awfully orderly. Under a starlit sky, endless fields of green spread all over, only broken by imposing and pristine towers of glass with geometrical designs and a sense of minimalism, it was a place of order.

Much like one needs to build siege engines to take down what others built, she was an orderly tool meant to break the order of others, however, lacking the other factors, she was a meaningless thing, and an orderly one at that, her chaos was born from destroying the order of others.

She groaned loudly, in a childish manner, rolling in an office chair at the very top of her towers. "Well, what now? What is there for me to do?" she had picked up studying Enmity's work from what she had observed before, but that was tiresome and she often needed a few years of rest between study sessions.

As if on command, a report flew into the room and landed on her glass table, she blinked and looked it over.

It was a status report on The Kuntur.

Did that mean... She could still reach it.

Of course! You can't get rid of us that easily, we gods have built whole systems, there are too many anchors on the other side and we were allowed to grow too adaptive, it's impossible to fully lock us out. Though it was still a massive headache, it was now possible for her to work at least a bit. Not all was lost...




It was impossible not to see the Flitterling caravan arriving in town. The light of the fireflies, the buzzing of the crickets and the yells of the cicadas, the little carriages floating by some sort of spell. It was a sight for mortals to behold, it also meant great business opportunities, as these little creatures were able to bring all sorts of goods from all over the words.

"Here here! Rare treats from all over the continent! This is your chance of a lifetime!"

"Amber, Gemstones! Have it today! Crafted by the best termites of this era!"

"We will clean any pests pestering your plantation, all we ask is a simple, Uhm, 10% of your harvest!"

Pinu was not a human who wanted any of these. He sought something more, something far darker than what the brighter firefly lit bazaar could offer. No, he sought the dragonflies first, for his own protection.

"Oh, the black market eh?" one of them said, smirking, carving some wood just for the sake of it. "Do I look like a Mosquito? Get lost..." the tiny 'woman' said to him.

But he already expected that. "Well, sure, but I'd rather have someone trustworthy... who has an interest in proper payment." he flashed a small diamond to the dragonfly, her eyes growing.

"Oh, now we are speaking the same language, a beautiful, blessed language," she smirked widely, pocketing the little gemstone. What uses they had for it was unknown to him, humans speculated they just liked the shine. "What is it that you need, sweetie?"

"Orchid Mantis."

The smile in the dragonfly's mouth turned into a cringing half-smile quite quickly. "You sure? Might not be worth it little human."

"As if I have anything to lose."

[...]

The ambient was one oppressive and mysterious, somehow, it made the tiny figure in front of him look way more important than anyone he had ever seen. She was wearing an elaborate white and pink outfit that kept most of her 'humanoid' features hidden, well-placed candles did wonders for the light and aroma to aid in such feelings, and the fire itself was impressive for a human who didn't even know what candles were.

"I... I come to you, to request your services. My life you see, it's empty, I am old now, forty winters, I have worked hard during all those years, I have married a woman and had a child yet... my life feels empty. Always so calculated, always so predictable, I hear the poets sing about love and I don't know what that is, I have never felt a warm type of anxiety, especially not at my long gone young age." Pinu said in his plea.

The Orchid Mantis nodded slowly, rubbing her long white hair while pondering. "You desire the feeling of young love. I see..." she smiled. "That is an expensive thing."

"Can't you like... take my memories of sunlit fields? Plenty of cave dealers..."

The orchid mantis laughed at that in a very condescending way. "Oh no no... not at all. See... there is a quality over quantity issue here you might not be seeing. You could take all the wheat a man farmed through his life and it would still not be worth a crown, do you understand that?" she took a break to drink something platinum-colored and sparkly. "The same way, I require more than that. I want more than memories... I want a token of your discipline, of that emptiness and objective focused mindset you have, that will be worth something."

"My... mindset? You can take that? Will I lose it forever?"

"It will take a hit, but you may be able to recover..." she reached into a bag and took out a gleaming pink-red gemstone, it was hexagonal in shape and looked warm. "If you are a great man, you might be able to take this sweet, sweet thing for free," she smirked.

"If not... there is a price."

"All things have a price, young human."

He took a deep breath. "... Fine. This will be our deal."

The little flitterling smirked and jumped up, reaching into his forehead in a sudden jump. He gasped but could not move as a feeling of shock and confusion overtook him, the man unable to do anything but to stare as she extracted a token from his mind, jumping back.

"Hmm~ You have a lot that is worthwhile in there, more than you'd think." she smiled, licking her lips gently as she seized the token. Memories of a good childhood, the first sight of his own child, a respectable aura, that man was indeed someone she could easily devour bit by bit.

"I don't plan on coming back. I have what I needed." he looked down and picked the hexagonal pink gem, the Token holding the feelings of young love. His mind felt dizzy and he struggled to focus... could this be what he would have to deal with forever? Was it worth it?

[...]

As he left he squeezed gently the gemstone in his hand, his mind suddenly being filled with something entirely new. His body felt young again, full of energy, and he looked at someone far away, tingles traversed his body, he felt light, and all he could think about was about that vague person far away...

"Oy!" the dragonfly that guided him suddenly kicked his head.

"W-what?" Pinu questioned, startled, taken out of his trance.

"Stop doing that in here. Not only are you being a nuisance... Can't you see you are losing yourself to it? Don't take it so directly, don't squeeze all the energy out of it at once! Put it like, under your pillow or something, so you can take it bit by bit! Else it will be gone in days and you will be a wreck."

The human looked at her with suspicion at first and then nodded. "I... I will try."

The dragonfly sighed "Geez! Why are humans all like that?"




Atop a cliff in the Praire of Sol stood a Leon. The beast was unlike any other of its kind at the moment, they were aloof creatures who minded their own business, hunting only what they needed to feed themselves and their children and not paying mind to the simple, meaningless world beneath them. Especially not the human villages.

Yet that one Leon did, it could sniff the unbelievable smells of the village, hear the sound of music, of talk, the squeaks of playing children, and see the faint glow of light from their firepits and torches. It was curious and it wanted to know what the world was like, won't merely spy on them but to be part of it and not stand out as her gigantic form would.

It was an impossible wish, it was a Leon and those were Humans, nobody could change that... Yet, she kept in her heart those impossible prayers.

Her body shone, all of the sudden, and the creature panicked, stepping back from the cliff and trying to escape, yet how could anyone escape light that enveloped their body? Or rather, an answer to her very prayer. Because she would feel her body starting to shift and feel light, the ground got closer and closer to her face before she looked up, confused, rubbing her head in annoyance. Wait... Rubbing? How?

She slowly raised her hands and gasped. What she saw were not white-furred paws, but a pair of tan-skinned human hands.




Deep in a jungle, a witch finally fell forward, striking the mud facefirst. She coughed as she sat up after her fall, how undignified of her. Why couldn't she be like the others? At the age of 80 she was already lucky enough to have survived so far, most witches she had met in that almost century weren't as lucky, having met their end by their own means or at the hands of others. Why couldn't she just sit down and wait for her end like most witches of advanced age?

It was inevitable, the magic kept their bodies from aging normally but this didn't mean immortality. The mana when infused into their bodies did not always act the same, some of it wanted to stay still and join their muscles, bones, and skin, yet another bit of it wanted to run freely, in the veins along with the blood, circling in permanent movement. This paradox was more than what any mortal body could handle, even if infused with magic from birth. When it started to hurt them, most witches knew it was time to make peace with their passing, to meditate and go out in peace instead of torn apart by their own magic.

But she didn't want to die, she didn't want to pass on, there was much she still wanted to do, and for that, she was willing to leave everything behind, even the tribe that saw her as their leader.

"Please... some... ah?" her senses tingled, and soon, to accompany it, the chime of a bell-like noise as something approached her. A little woman in elaborate clothes, a faery, a Flutterling no less. "Ah! I have been searching for your kind over the last three years! Please tell me you are not a lone wander."

"Hmm? No, I am a fairy from the local clan, do you seek our advice?" She questioned in a very condescending and disinterested voice, she hadn't really expected that the creature would speak, especially when it was crawling in the mud like that.

The witch merely nodded "I am the apex of mystical knowledge of this region, I believe, I have met many and none could compare themselves to me... yet I wish for more, in particular, I seek answers about my own body."

The fairy laughed, twirling in her elaborate dress. "Oh! The Apex? Is that what the apex of magic looks like for a mortal? Goodness! I hope you are a liar dear." she giggled mischievously. "But... Hmmm! I might actually be fine with helping you out. I am not mean you know? I really am not! I can take you to my court..."

She lowered herself just a bit. "I just need you to a little uhm... test, a little test for me." she giggled again.

"What is it? No matter what, intellect, strength, dexterity, I can do it."

"I want you to accept the animal that you are. You will leave all your possessions behind and crawl towards our tree." she didn't care to hide her smirk, as if she would enjoy the witch's embarrassment and wavering will...

"Fine," she answered dully. A test was a test, after all.

[...]

"Was it really necessary? We the Haetera Piera are better than this..." one of the fairies said.

"Hey, I couldn't just let a mortal come in, furthermore, it was uh... a test to see if she was attuned with nature as us!"

"Oh please, look at your fancy dress, you know that is flitterling talk. You are just a brat."

"Yeah, you are incredibly mean. Either take a mortal here or don't! Torturing them only makes them mad at us."

"She did not complain! She just accepted it the moment I proposed it, who was I to stop her."

The witch looked up at the fairies in the secret grove, wondering if they were talking about ways to help her.

"How do we even help her! Humans are super complicated and she isn't even a full human! Look at that lizard tail and stuff..." a worried fairy said.

"I don't know, we could do tests, see what works, surely we can find a way to keep her body from breaking with time, right?"

"I will do it." one suddenly said, picking up a shell filled with some sort of sparkly liquid. "I just need to open my mind to the mysteries of the world and I am sure the answer will come."

"Yeah right... you always do that and you never come up with any answer! Are you... Ah! What is happening to you."

The Faery for once didn't feel simply more energetic but actually felt an inspiration building up in her, the colors of her body and clothes drained until she was fully monochromatic in appearance.

"In your great ambition, you have forgotten the simple answers of life, Witch. There is a paradox here that your weak mind is unable to see, I should not bother helping those who do not put an effort but your willpower impresses me. See, you need to learn a simple logic, it flees you because you are not allowing yourself to be flexible. Imagine you are going down a path, you carry berries on your hand which will feed you for a day, along that path you find a squash that will feed you for four days, if you wish to take that vegetable home, what must you do?"

With that the faery returned to normal, shaking her head gently. "Gah.."

The witch looked up. "I would... have to let go. To let go of what I have...?" she pondered aloud. Did that mean... The way forward was to let go of one of those types of mana? Could she do it? Could she tame her body to the point it was no longer a paradox? She always felt an affinity to the way the mana clung to her bones and flesh, all she had to do was to tame her own blood now. To fully dedicate herself to the pull she felt from the forces beneath the earth.



@Muttonhawk I know the struggle, I made the silly mistake of using my free time for other things and the backlog grew massively in a blink, I have since then been fighting to catch up. I hope eventually you can find the time to join us, by then we can always make a personalized summary for you. I am sure given a few months the post rate will drop.
Qullqiya


It started as a simple project, once she had seen the lions her mind had been focused on their use. Blessed with magnificent powers, she wondered if there was something to be won by using them in some sort of fused creature.

But to fuse them with what? Wings seemed interesting if only to see that they could fly and that indeed could work, but was it enough? To Qull it wasn't, she wanted more.

And then it came to her, what if she added men to the mix? That would provide some cognitive ability for sure and if she picked the right specimen she could create something with great magical capabilities too.

And so the goddess set out to do exactly that, making those strange creatures with her power, mixing lions, eagles and men, the result was something curious.

She called them Sphinxes.

They were few and were unable to be born naturally, like most fused species, but they did have the advantage of being free from aging. All were picked from people who had great magical abilities... and peculiar personalities. Each Sphinx would have a personality of their own, based on the humans they were made from, however, along with magical powers, Qull made sure to pick isolationists as she didn't want these creatures just strolling into settlements for casual chats. Each type of isolation took its own form, some would be friendly to the wise, others would be sadistic and play deranged games, some would rather not deal with mortals and avoid them entirely, that is unless they felt like having a quick snack, they were still part lion after all.

Qull just let them hang about, their bodies were wonky and they couldn't really multiply, so she was sure this wasn't like the mortal species, but she had hoped they would make for interesting creatures to inhabit the lesser-known sides of the world.




Not all creations needed to have a great purpose, Qullqiya was as much of a child of the lifeblood as any other god and sometimes she wanted to do things just because she liked them. She found the luminant to be very interesting, it was aesthetically pleasing, though it was also best appreciated if kept a rare type of environment, else the unlit trees would be the new standard of rare and pleasing, and the explorers would be much more excited to see the muddy, earthly colors than the shine of a luminescent flower.

Still, it didn't mean some amount of spreading it around couldn't be done, minor biomes following the style of this continental shining forest.

In the north, not too far from the poles, she wanted to create a grassland, but there was little land available, sure she could make an island, but she found an underground cave and decided to play around that. Glowing yellow grass, with enough of a shine to sustain other, less shiny, surface-like environments within the cave, was made. Flowing water meeting lava created a thick but light mist that created a white cloud-like cover to the cave environment. This was like a simulation of how the world looked like before the aurora, and they were called the golden grasslands.

In the east, in the Kylsar, she picked one of the isles and spread red glowing plants over it to contrast with the deep moss green that dominated the region, creating the eastern scarlet swamps.

In the west, deep in the wastelands, she had a twisted idea. In the bleak of sands and rocks, one could only hope for the green of plants, she would twist that hope. Dry plants, but glowing green, would be seeded here. Creating the verdant mirages.

In the south... well there wasn't much of south? Was there? She could create an island... but, suddenly, she wanted more than that. Qael seemed to mirror and counter her moves, so if she pretended to claim the south, would that god start to build up in the north? Qullqiya did not feel the need to claim a tract of land, she was a claimless empress who ruled over all in equal anarchy, but nobody else needed to know that.

It was decided. The south would be taken by the magical chaos. Using the full power of the stream of mana, she allowed it to rage in a sweeping storm, infusing the very land with raw chaos that broke it and tore it into pieces.

This was the wildlands, the frontier, the untamable. Broken lands of unjustified biomes, a land of illusions and constant change. The stream of magic turned into storms near the south pole, tornadoes of mana shaping the familiar into the unfamiliar.



To further characterize her control over the south, she shaped the ink-stained sky all over Galbar. In an uncharacteristic moment, she made it more orderly and bland towards the north, while fully powered towards the south, just to further characterize herself as the chaotic one, even if she was creating something more logical and mundane to do so. Mortals from the center of the world would notice that north winds were gentle colors while the south winds arrived in pearlescent storms.

But before these new lands, there was a respite, south in comparison to most of the world but still logical, a melancholic land of white rocks and plants with shining blue petals. The cerulean gardens.

Finally, a central island, Here the design was moderate, the luminescence was a detail not the norm, just like the night sky before the aurora. She would call this the starry island.

And with that, Qull felt satisfied, almost done for the time being, almost.




So far her approach had been from above, as a goddess creator, but she needed to make herself known to mortals to an extent, she wanted to be a nameless goddess, mysterious, unknown and yet ever-present. But still, having a group to do her deeds would be beneficial to her cause. The question was how to reliably approach them, how to create a group like that?

What she knew was that it could not be an exoteric concept, it had to be inward, esoteric... Perhaps a group holding secret truths? This could be done. Perhaps a group that lived in the shadows, seeking only select individuals. Qullqiya would reveal to them her truths through the use of faulty divination methods, flames, the glint of gems, and... perhaps the use of certain types of mind-altering plants. The later quickly became of her interest, and upon exploring she found out how to make a platinum-colored fizzy drink from a certain type of plant, it filled those who drank it with energy. This would do, this would be the key to her society. The Kuntur.

Their purpose? Killing people was a good start, seizing and altering sources of knowledge, and of course, seeking the real truth, the truth no one else told them, not their village elders nor the gods above.





Qullqiya



Time passed, the healing in the cracks of her body was a signal of that, yet Qullqiya could barely focus on herself, she had a world to explore. To her surprise, what she experienced with Qael'Naeth had been but a lack of luck, most of the new gods did not enter in conflict with the primordial ones because none of them shared a common claim to one aspect of creation like the twin gods of magic did.

This, of course, changed her perspective in the world, for about two days she honestly believed this meant Qael's reign was fated to be over, yet, as she explored more, her perspective changed, and she found herself losing her focus on Qael.

So much had been created, and every she saw things that were wrong, pathetic or petty. Gods were particularists for common goals and collectivists for private matters, their creations were hard and fragile, unable to adapt, it was madness, like calling separate piles of bark, wood, leaves, and petals a 'tree'.

Slowly it came to her that it was not merely about the magic and the need to keep it supernatural and free, but the entire mindset that annoyed her in Qael. She couldn't merely keep magic nice, she had to use it, weaponize it, glorify it, universalize it.

"It really is up to me, is it not? But why..." she realized spreading chaos was necessary, the world was like a lake, things that grew still would become stale, fetid and lifeless. But would she do that as a leader? Was that not paradoxical?

It was. And that was the answer to why only she could do what she had to do, why she was born. She stood up in the mountain she had been resting after her travels. "The darker the shadow the brighter the light appears. The brighter the light, the bigger the shadow grows. This is a basic rule of the universe."

So to bring light, she would cast shadows, and to bring shadows she would shine the light. To bring her chaos, she would be a leader, guiding and conspiring, making her influence grow to the point of being inescapable, yet, in her mind, she would never be like any other god who thinks they can take that role.

She smiled. "Because unlike all of them, I got nothing to lose and a whole world of difference to gain."

She rose her hand and started to coalesce her power into a single tool, it looked like a glass cutter, a diamond-tipped blade, sharp enough to cut far more than just matter.




Sapient races were Qull's lifeblood, that was a simple fact she understood very well, as such, it was understandable her first focus was to go straight to them to seek to study them and how they interacted with the world. One thing she immediately found herself disliking was how many were created to worship a god, in her view that was a waste of potential which was doomed to fail, but it would be better for her if it failed the earliest it could and in a manner that was beneficial to her. To that purpose, boundaries would have to be broken.

But before attempting that, she needed to get some first-hand experience with the act of creating a species. To understand the methods and see how it worked, before going straight to causing deviations in the projects of others.

She had two theories about how to use magic for her purpose, and, in the weeping plains, she found her perfect subjects: Thumblings.

Qull was a bit too method in her approach, and the poor creatures found themselves being manually picked by the odd crystalline woman and thrown into glass cages, the goddess deaf to their pleas and demands of answers.

To try out her first approach, she also captured other types of animals that she found interesting, the insects. She had missed much of their magnificent genesis, but she held some interest in the critters even if their social structure was, in her mindset, contempt worthy.

"What would happen if I were to mix you two?" she questioned aloud. The Thumbling's mind was filled with terrible thoughts of biological disasters and mutated creatures, they were sensible worries but Qull didn't plan o stitching the body together. What she meant by 'mix' was a conceptual amalgamation, to unite what the dragonfly she hed was and what the sentient mortal was, with no regards to the matters of biology and logic.

Well, there was no reason not to try it out and see what happens, at worst a single life would be taken and she was willing to make that sacrifice. Focusing her magic, the two bodies shone, stuck in a helix of magical power as their forms united. The result was something that was both a new entity and those two entities from before.

The tiny humanoid looked up at her with a confused expression, she wore addresses and had bodily features that reminded of a dragonfly, yet was also close in concept to a Thumblings. The soul of both entities had been seized and merged for such a creature to be born. She slowly got up and started to zap about, despite her wings being too light for her body, the flight was possible by the simple fact the dragonfly was able to fly and as such the new creature had inherited that trait through the wonder of conceptual merging.

She would continue her work with the species, which she now called Flitterling, and to expand it, she created more merges between Thumblings and other concepts. Bettles, ants, even birds, and some small frogs. It all worked to different degrees, though the best and most malleable were the insect-based amalgams.

Flitterlings were, however, sterile. They weren't natural beings and seemed genderless upon inspection. To solve this issue, she taught them how to put their thoughts into a little egg-like orb, preferably one that would hold pieces of the mind of at least two individuals, once filled enough the orb would turn into a fusion core that upon being infused into a small object or animal would give birth to a new flitterling.

"So it is possible to exclude the laws of logic and the constants from such things, and it is quite easy too. I will need to use amalgamation as a tool to change this world, but before, I am not done yet."

Only half of the captured Thumblings had been turned into Flitterlings, for the others, she had more complex plans. The first half had been picked at random, but these were selected after the goddess evaluated their mental capabilities, in particular, their ability to visualize, imagine and the strength of their willpower.

She infused each of them with magical energy and allowed them a few minutes to take it in, their bodies were not ready for such stress and were slowly breaking, just as she expected they would. The important was to get their minds thinking about the need to adapt and contain such magical powers, once that was established, she snapped her fingers causing an explosion where the Thumblings were, their bodies being reduced to dust.

Yet that was not the end of those beings, their magically charged dust came to life again, clustering together, forming shapes, and ultimately, regaining a semblance of a mortal being. Thankfully, that was merely a simulacrum, the beings that were reformed in front of her were no longer bound by the needs of organs and the structure of bones, they were dust given form, magic flowing freely in them without hurdles.

"It is curious to see how magic acts and interacts with the structure of biological beings, I do appreciate that, but I also appreciate the possibility of seeing it interact with mortal souls in a free, unbounded form."

She told the beings that stood in front of her. They too defied the laws of nature like the Flitterlings, but while those were made by grafting two logical beings into one, these were made from the complete annihilation of logic. She would call them Flutterlings. Both species together forming a group of mortals know as Faery.

Flutterlings were curious to look at, for some reason they seemed to find inspiration in butterflies, Qull had never guided them towards that species as she had with the Flitterlings. Perhaps they enjoyed the colorful patterns, each of them wanting to use their new unbounded forms to display beautiful sights.

Well, unbounded to an extent. Qull would notice their willpower was what limited their bodies, they seemed to prefer to stay humanoid because that was easier on their minds, it was hard to maintain a shifting or formless body. Being dust held together by magic, their strength without magic was negligible, but their strength with magic could be formidable. They seemed to be at their most healthy when in isolation, she got to see one approach a group of Thumblings and slowly break down back into dust as the crowd's minds created enough noise to disrupt that Flutterling's mental control over her own form.

On the topic of proliferation... something gave the goddess the impression she wouldn't need to worry, she needed to take the mind of Thumblings for the first few, but with the presence of properly charged magical dust spread by the existent ones Flutterlings could be born spontaneously.

With that, her work on novel species was done. Both the Faeries were skittish and prone to move and hide, she was sure they would proliferate given time and their numbers would never really become overbearing given the nature of their birth.




Humans were a species naturally imbued with ambition, this pleased Qull, and made them the perfect group for her to use in her plans to shape the world more to her ideals. Something just told her this species would be able to proliferate quickly and to go into areas other species wouldn't naturally go to.

This would cause some extent of chaos, sure, but was it enough? To Qull, it wasn't. She wanted to throw the whole concept of species into disarray, to break the biological bounds and any god's plan to have personal eternally loyal servants. For that, it was necessary to make it so species could mutate more, and change into things unexpected and unplanned. Yet that was a LOT of effort. She couldn't do that to all species, but she could make it so one species could do it all alone, bringing her back to the humans.

She quickly came up with a simple plan, to bless humans with the gift of amalgamation. To make it so they could breed not only through the biological means but also on a conceptual level, enabling them to break the species barrier. And much like with the flitterling, sometimes they could mix and match concepts.

In practical terms, it meant humans could be born with grafted traits of other mortal species. It wasn't even necessary to have intimacy between the two species, just proximity could lead to it, though those cases would be rarer. The resulting kin, Amalgams, would not be a species of its own, their biology unstable unless they managed to get large numbers of humans with similar traits, but they would be useful. They could act as a glue between two populations, or overtake both, they could be great to spread commerce and knowledge, to communicate cultural concepts alien to other species, to create strife and change, to turn dualities into something far more complex. Yet their greatest purpose was to simply be mortals whose bodies were not custom made by a god, true wild cards in the game of the gods, even Qull had no idea where what she was creating would lead to.




The focus on biology so far had been great, sure, but there was more than biology when it came to mortals. She hadn't dealt with magical users yet, had she? In all honesty, she wanted to wait more, to see what her siblings were doing first, to let it develop, then she would break it, corrupt it and enhance it.

But she did have an idea at the moment.

Her siblings believed in order, from her spying she had noticed there was a strong focus on making the learning of magic a slow dripping process, mortals were born with natural talents or the lack of it, but they all could spend years slowly building up to greater extents of power.

"But what happens if I just give someone it all at once?"

All of it. Magical potential and powers equivalent to a master of the field, given to the mortal while still in the mother of their mother.

The result was pregnant women randomly exploding into great spells of fire or storms cast by their babies out of reflex, leading to the death of both. Not what Qull intended.

"Right, perhaps wait a couple of years after birth. It will manifest three years after their first words." this was enough of a compromise. The child would be 'blessed' with magical powers they could not comprehend, raw magical energy capable of overpowering even people who studied the field for a decade or two.

It was a rare thing, and it was mostly found in women, Qull couldn't decide if it was because it was such a personal gift and she was female-like herself or if it was because of some biological reason. On the later, she could identify there was something of a witch-gene to her blessing, this meant that while the initial few were blessed humans, the concept would spread to human-like species that were biologically compatible enough, such as the Alminaki and the Elves.

One aspect that Qull did not expect in her creation, however, was the consequences of such great magic being infused on a being from birth. They grew differently from normal humans, though she would need to wait for a few generations to see what those differences were.




Witches had been her gift to the humanoid race, but she did not feel like her work was quite done yet. There was more cultural and biological strife she could cause to keep things from becoming stale to the point of rot.

She wondered, what would happen if she took a race that didn't seem to be quite blessed by magic yet and gave to a few of its people natural and strong magical powers. How would that affect their psyche? To break the uniformity of a species and give them something rare and powerful. Would they be driven to exile? Would they become revered leaders? It was exciting to think about it.

The Lapites were the ones chosen for her experiment, and the approach was similar to the witches. A rare mutation that made a being be born with great powers, though with the Lapites, this concept was far tamer in term of raw magical powers, Qull liked exploring all possibilities.

To make up for that, these anomalies were born with horns. She particularly called these Al-Mirajs, but depending on the region and depending on the context the population dealt with them new names might appear.




Qull was tired, she had been doing a lot as of late, bringing ideas into existence only made it so she suddenly realized more ways to approach an issue or use her resources. Yet she felt satisfied. She was slowly spreading her influence yet at no moment did she feel she was going overboard.

Playing a bit with the diamond cutter, cutting perfect lines on rocks, something suddenly struck her. She could mess with mortals by doing this.

It was extremely childish, but she wondered what mortals would think if they found what looked like a monument or what looked like the structures of a lost civilization? What would they think when finding something entirely alien to their understanding of history? Would they assume their ancestors built it? Or long lost beings?

Well, there was only one way to find out. With a playful smile, Qull started to carve up random cliffsides into cyclopean fortress-like structures in the middle of the least habitable areas of the world, figures over large swathes of land, rock outcrops into lone megaliths and shorelines into weird hexagon like shapes.

Now she only had to wait for a few millennia and see what would happen.





Qael'Naath

Qullqiya



Something was wrong. Qael’Naath could feel it. He had felt it for some time now. Maybe all the time. He couldn’t say. All he knew now was that it was getting worse. Strange urges had overtaken him before but now the edges of his carefully created designs began to fray and dissolve into a strange nothingness. The more he thought about it, the more he realized just how surrendered he was to some form of inner chaos. One that was no longer acceptable. He realized something had to be done, but that was the easy part. He was still on Xal-Zastarha, high up in the skies. It would do though. He kneeled upon a rock, overlooking a small pond filled with lotus plants. It was a serene and calm place. He stretched out his hand and forced the mana in the air to alter its very matter. A serpentine blade appeared and he took it. For a second he observed the razor sharp edge and the mirror-like metal on the blade. Doubt shot through him. Was this the way? A voice that he felt was not his own began to whisper in his ear. Telling him to embrace a new reality. Magic should stand above nature. Its how mortals would perceive it. Why not take such power? Was he not a god of the people?

Yet the moment the voice stopped speaking, all duality vanished from him. He raised the blade and stabbed his own chest. Not blood but pure creation seeped from him. Pure divinity poured out of the wound. Around him the mana instantly turned into a thunderous rage. All mana began to siphon away from the streams and flows and went straight for the floating island. As if it knew that its creator was in immortal danger. The total amount of mana in existence created deep blue and purple clouds around the island, while leaving the whole world and the regions beyond devoid of mana. Hurricane winds raged around the island and the very land began to react to what was happening as the five volcanoes, the Crown of Xal-Zastarha, began to rumble and spit smoke once again. Lightning of all colors crackled in the darkened skies now. Yet Qael’Naath was not done. He dropped the blade and it embedded itself into the stone below. With the freed up hand he went into the wound. The pain was beyond anything that could ever be felt. Finally he managed to grab a hold of all that was wrong deep within him and pulled it out.

The formless mass, shining in blue, fell to the floor, it was similar to the lifeblood, but was corrupt, full of thoughts. But slowly, it seemed to die, to go quiet and still, to crystalize, no longer having that spark of vitality the gods and the lifeblood seemed to have. Qael’s wounds would start to heal, and that seemed to be it, the exorcism done…

It was over. The agitated mana remained all around, but Qael’Naath managed to rise up. Though he still clutched the wound upon his chest. His own impurity had been literally removed from him. He knew very well that he should feel rejoiced that it was gone. Yet as he peered down upon the crystalline mass, he couldn’t help but feel only a little bit of sadness. Like a far more significant part of him had just died. “Forgive me. It was necessary.” He said towards it.

Silence… in the end, this was a god who wasn’t, much like the crystalline stars. Yet, this… she wasn’t like the stars. She didn’t give up at the mere announcement things could no longer be a certain way. She was rebellion, she was delusion, she was a force of change. She was the one who broke the rules, and when those rules could no longer be broken she ignored them. A being of paradoxes and impossibilities, and as such, the more her fate had been set towards failure, the more she felt like living and thriving.

She reached out, countless frustrated mortal souls, wishing for more, wishing for the impossible, she could not allow herself to be gone, who would hear those voices them? Her lifeblood boiled despite being in a frozen, pale and dead state. The sound of glass breaking started to echo, faintly, and she wasn’t sure if it was herself or reality giving in.

Then she reached out, and in a moment, the crystal exploded in millions of shards and then those shards reassembled in the shape of a humanoid. Her doll-like body smooth like a marble statue, crystalline and pale like a diamond, or a corpse, Qullqiya was born.

”There are many things that are necessary, Qael’Naath.” she said in an awfully casual stance, adjusting an invisible necktie around her neck, which caused one to appear as she finished it, along with an impressively simple outfit for a god. ”To guarantee the existence and necessity of magic, to expand it, to explore it, for example, without a care for what the limits are. To see it pure, to see it wild.”

”Yet you bind it to so many rules, you tame it. Why? Do you want to play nice? Do you want to make friends? Do you need the approval of others over YOUR creations?” she questioned it, walking from one side to the other in front of the god, not looking at him, as if she was lecturing the person she was a part of not a moment ago. ”And so, a god comes, and he tells you he thinks you do not belong. That magic isn’t part of the natural force, despite you chaining it to all those trash concepts like gravity and whatnot. And you take it. You let that god go. You don’t try to cut him off with a knife like you did with me.”

She takes a deep breath, raising her finger in case Qael’Naath even thinks about speaking. ”But it's fine really, I don’t mind being cut off, I am over it. You know what? Good! I am glad. Rather be a god than dog, you know? Stay here, get yourself a nice chair and sit down on it, enjoy your eternal existence on this gorgeous floating island. I am taking over the whole mana and magic business.”

Qael stood shocked as the crystalline mass took shape. A new god. Born from what he expelled from his very existence. How could it be? Was she the voice? The influence? For a moment she spoke the truth: sacrifices would always be necessary for the advancement of magic in every regard. Yet her ideas began to deviate from reason. Magic should always be bound by rules. Her words about Enmity cut. There was nothing worse than a blind god. Yet Qael’Naath did not harbor any ill fillings for the god of physics. This new…thing clearly disagreed. Then she said the words that would seal her fate. “I cannot let you do that. So I must ask for your forgiveness. One last time.” He lowered a fist, and an endless stream of lightning came crashing down upon the newly formed goddess.

Qullqiya sidestepped, feigning worry, her movement was uncanny, as if she was blending space to enhance the distance traveled. Once she felt she was in a good position she smirked, letting one of the thunders hit her, unscathed. ”Oh you should be sorry alright. But not for me.”

She held her palm open in a rigid stance, mana building up making it shine like a sharp blade, because well, it was. With a sudden step, she lunged at Qael’Naath, delivering a mana enhanced slash towards his general direction.

Impossible. What she had done was impossible in every sense of the word. Yet she did it, she used that strange power she had with suck recklessness. Qael’Naath could not abide it. He did not move when she came lunging at him. Instead he slammed her blade with his forearm. Shattering it in a hundred mirror-like pieces. Which he suspended in the air above his hand. Her arrogance was great, to think she could strike him with his own creation. Yet if the battle was to drag on, he would not do it in a form most unsuited for it. The floating shards fused together in a big ball of purple light, which he pushed into his chest. The mana spread through him. Molding his very existence. While gales of the magical power swept around him. Making sure he would not be hit by anything physical or divine.

Qull took a deep breath, seeing the other god transform, and stepped away from his shifting form, raising her arms as she waited for it. Though she was once part of him, she had no knowledge of any extra form. She kept her fist closed as the height of her chin, enhancing them with mana, if blades wouldn’t work she would go for bludgeoning force.

The burning light faded. The winds around Qael’Naath abided, revealing his new form: that of a three-eyed sphinx with golden fur and great wings. All three yes opened at once and gazed down upon Qull. Who stood ready with her fists coated in mana. It elicited throaty laughter. “Strike me sister.” A low, hard voice echoed through the air. His mouth did move. instead, he used magic to create the vibrations in the air. “Strike me with that which is mine!” Perhaps it was the change of form, but Qael felt arrogance overwhelm him. Mana could never be used to harm him. He was mana. The source of power would always obey him. "Strike me and see your attacks shatter and melt before you."

She grunted, looking really angry for a moment. ”You grow overconfident, I am as much a deity of magic as you are.” she said, before stubbornly approaching him with her fists ready to punch, filled with magic. Then… once she was very close, her angry face turned into a half-smile, a smug one, as she rose up her hand she took away the coating of mana, using it to enhance her speed not the strike, her bare fist would go straight for the sphinx's chin.

Qael recoiled from the strike. Surprised that it wasn’t mana that formlessly would’ve dissolved but instead an incredibly strong hand. He staged back but then looked down upon her. A mighty roar, one that would forever be unrivaled by any animal, echoed through the island. Shacking its vestiges. The Crown of Xal-Zastarha exploded. Sending stone and flaming debris into the sky. Yet Qael reached out with his power. Bending the rocks to his will and altering their pather. They arched and shifted, all aiming for the general area where Qull stood. “My dominion is unquestionable! You should not exist!” He shouted out as the blazing rocks fell down. Steam boiled from the once serene lotus pond. Trees and shrubbery caught fire. The very ground shook but Qael was not done. He charged through the fire, certain that his sister had survived it. Behind him, the flames reached out and followed him. Ready to engulf the goddess in a storm of fire that would suck the very air towards it.

The only issue was that he had reduced visibility, darkness was now at play, he could guess she survived, but he wasn’t certain, and in such environments Qull thrived. He thought he saw her silhouette but once stricken there was nothing.

Up in the sky, she waited, looking down at him, building Mana in her finger, compressing it to a very small scale. She knew it would not work, they were locked in a foolish combat. Still, she announced it ”bang” and the compressed spark of mana flew towards the god, once hitting the ground, the chaos took effect, creating a loud explosion as all of the compressed mana escaped at once.

The god of magic had bent the sudden spark of mana slightly away from him. It tore into the ground but the chaos, that was different. Before it could spread and harm him, he clutched down with his mind. Extinguishing it instantly. But now he had his quarry in sight. He flew up towards her. No, magic would be rendered useless upon the both of them. So instead he prepared to slash her with his claws. Yet the mana still followed him none the less. Willing to protect both and neither. It swirled around the two in conflict with its own.
Qull had been focusing even as she flew towards her, and it wasn’t merely guessing where he would be and what would be his attack, she was doing something different. In the end, she still had a body like that of his, and as such, if he could turn into a beast… so could she. Her humanoid shape grew and shifted, turning into that of a winged creature, a mix of a beast and a bird, covered in fur and feathers.

So when the sphinx claws met her body, she too had her claws out, and a body of similar size to fight the god equally. The two were locked in intense combat, the mana around them growing wild as they exchanged slashes and bites.

Yet neither could win or lose. It was a near endless stalemate as magic and pure mana was exchanged as much as claws and bites. Qael’Naath detached him for a moment from his sister and flew down back to the island. Where the exploding volcanoes and raging fires were ruining everything. He looked up at his monstrous sibling. “You cannot win.” Even the vibrations in the air sounded out of breath. “You can never win from me.” Yet as he spoke, he also realized: neither could he.

Qullqiya also realized that, and the creature smirked in her flight, her body was hurt, but his body was equally hurt. ”Indeed, if we keep fighting, we will just nullify each other or be stuck in an eternal fight.” she panted as she tried to keep her form. ”My original objective of overtaking magic is lost to me at this moment, unfortunately, I cannot challenge your hold over mana.”

”And yet, you can no longer erase me, unfortunate.” she increased the distance between them. ”I may not have won, but I have not lost either, have I?”

Qael felt no more need to maintain his own combative form. Mana melted from his shape and vanished. Revealing the hooded, robed man beneath. Now he spoke once more with his own voice:“You have not, sister. Neither have I. But I swear you this, I will destroy you someday. That is an oath I take upon Lifeblood itself.” He said, still clutching his chest. He knew that she was gone, away from his influence. Mana as well felt the change and the storm calmed down. Streams and flows restored themselves slowly as the dark clouds pulled away. He turned to observe his island. So much work had to be redone, before he could hunt down his abdominal sister.

Qull too returned to a humanoid shape, sighing as she was still scratched all over, the wounds like cracks in her crystalline form. ”I can only say the feeling is mutual. Stay alert brother, one day mana will come to its true master.” she scratched the air to the point of cutting the fabric of reality, creating a temporary portal before leaving through it.




© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet