11: The Protectors of Mythron’s Secret
The dangers faced by the Senerai on their quest were not all external. Songweaver Eurielle saw that some of her comrades were internally tempted by the Heartwood’s endless power, especially Arcanyst Graye. As they journeyed back to Aestaria, she convinced the Senerai that for The Great Tree Aperion to remain truly safe, its location must remain forever secret.
That night, they joined in casting a Globe of Disrememberance, erasing all memories of the tree’s location. When the Senerai parted ways, though, instead of returning home, Eurielle shadowed Arcanyst Graye. She saw him head back toward Deladriss Peake and discovered that he had drawn a secret map before the Disrememberance, so he could return to steal Aperion.
Eurielle confiscated the map and banished Arcanyst Graye from the Senerai. She realized Aperion must be protected, but decided Aestaria’s men were too covetous of its power to be trusted. She established the female-only Seidir — the Hearth-Sisters — who swore an undying oath to protect Aperion and the secret of its location.
Starhorn disagreed, and he wove the location of Deladriss Peake into the Magmar’s sacred song, the Dance of Dreams, so that anyone deemed worthy by The Thirteen Aspects could learn of Aperion’s whereabouts. Kaon Deladriss had also disagreed with Songweaver Eurielle’s decision and imbued the secret within Swordmaster Zwei’s dual-wielding blades, Solstice and Winterblade. Before mysteriously vanishing, she had secretly dispatched the female Vanar to help guard Aperion’s clandestine location.
At Deladriss Peake, young Aperion dropped its first potent petals, transforming the morning mist into the first of the mana-rich Crystal Wisps, which allowed the Seidir to access to the Voices of Winds, including the ability to morph into various animal aspects. Thus they protected the Great Tree of Aperion, fulfilling the Prophecy of Ages in solitude until the unexpected arrival of the Vanar reinforcements.
12: The Trinity Mandates and the Great Diaspora
Returning to Aestaria, Songweaver Eurielle was welcomed as a hero. In the void left by the death of Kaon Deladriss, she was universally acclaimed as Aestaria’s new leader. But Eurielle was a warrior at heart — she was not well-suited to governing an increasingly complex, growing empire.
Hardened by travel and spartan in her ways, she was impatient with the nuances of politics and with the Aestari people. They were soft and inwardly focused. The rich and entitled had become lazy and overly dependent on the crystals, frivolously wasting the precious — and rapidly depleting — resource. Eurielle became bitter, angry that her teacher Kaon and the Senerai had sacrificed so much for a selfish and ungrateful people who cared only for themselves — and their precious crystals.
Eventually, Eurielle deemed it necessary to restrict the use of crystals. She established the Trinity Mandates: The First Mandate, which declared that under penalty of imprisonment, any Aestari citizen who used a crystal must refrain from practicing magic for a set period of time, to balance the debt of use.
The Second Mandate established an elaborate set of permissions and rules governing appropriate crystal usage. The Third Mandate outlined specific priorities, strictly forbidding the use of crystals for simple entertainment or pleasure.
The Aestari people were furious. Many felt they were being oppressed, that the mandates violated their rights and fundamental Aestari beliefs. Some had grown so dependent on the crystals that they became physically ill without them. Aestaris hoarded, smuggled, and stole crystals from neighboring towns.
Some scoured the surrounding Sundrop Mountains, desperately seeking more crystals to satiate their unceasing hunger. Other groups simply left Aestaria, crossing the treacherous mountains in pursuit of their own destinies, and new sources of crystals.
13: The Dawn of the Vetruvians
Among the disparate groups who fled the Aestari Mandates was a band of pilgrims, visionaries, and explorers who travelled directly east. They discovered the lush and stunning coastlines of the continent of Akram.
They established the city of Kaero, which one day would become the capital of their new nation. The interior of the country was mostly arid desert, but moving down the coast they encountered the calmer waters of the reef-sheltered bays, and discovered vast nodes of copper, tin, iron, and other metals.
Amid the Dunes of Ma’or, they discovered subterranean sources of pristine water, erecting massive Pyramid Towers to extract the pure water from deep underground. They established cities like Tyvia, which became home to the finest weaponsmiths, as well as Pyrae and nearby Murani, which became home to the finest artisans and craftsmen.
Most of the Alcuin Loremasters moved to Kaero, setting up The Ostracon, a sister institution to the Seventh Sanctum. In time, the Ostracon became a prominent University and bastion of learning, the epicenter of academic and arcane knowledge on Mythron where the best and brightest scholars would learn from peerless Aestari sages — respectful of the finite supply of crystal energy, but unfettered by the Aestari Mandates.
Despite the scarcity of water, Akram’s plentiful metals attracted the best Aestari craftsmen. The metallurgic arts flourished, producing advances that soon outstripped Aestari technologies. From among this new breed of craftsmen emerged one particularly brilliant Aestari: Atar.
With unparalleled speed, he swiftly ascended the Ostracon’s ranks, earning the titles of Grand Loremaster, High Artificer, and Prime Arcanyst. He was also a tireless explorer who would one day learn that Akram had as-of-yet undiscovered resources more precious than anyone could have previously imagined.
14: The Star Crystals of Akram
While exploring the Aymara Canyons, Atar came upon something no Aestari had ever seen. Sparkling brighter than the setting sun were hundreds of Star Crystals created by the original petals of the First Great Blooming, bursting with concentrated magical energy — pure and crisp, unlike any other.
They were untouched by Aestari hands and undepleted by Aestari magic, but that alone didn’t explain their intensity. Atar realized that not only was the energy of these Star Crystals’ undiminished, but for the millennia they had sat there, undisturbed, sheltered within Aymara Canyon’s protective walls, they had been absorbing starlight — and growing stronger.
Atar established the Order of Staar and named himself Atar Starstrider. He became rich and influential, but remained a renaissance man and inventor at heart, never obsessed with power or wealth. To make the waterless interior of the continent more habitable, Atar invented the Sand Shield, a mechanized suit of star-powered armor that minimized water loss. Atar coined the term Vetruvian — “The Remade Man” — which the people themselves quickly adopted.
Atar continually refined his Sand Shields, making them lighter and stronger. Some were even biologically integrated into the body, all-but eliminating water loss, granting the wearer superhuman abilities and opening new aesthetic possibilities. Water was shared freely with the young, but at adolescence, integration with one’s suit through the solemn Rite of Melding became a civic obligation — and an essential step toward Vetruvian adulthood.
Using Star Crystals, Atar sparked life into mechanical objects, creating the first sentient Golems and increasingly sophisticated mechanical beings that would one day become the Mechanysts. In Kaero and Pyrae, the Order of Staar learned to manipulate heat, electricity, and wind to shape metal into customizable armor and floating platforms.
Years later they would join the star crystals with the sand silica to open portals to other micro-dimensions, forge the first Portal Obelysks, and summon the ephemeral Wind Dervishes, silica-based races of the Silhouette Tracers from the Sea of Dust, and the legendary Jax. Atar’s final creations were the flying Wind Shrikes and Mirror Masters, which could organically replicate anything before them.
But his most important legacy was that the Vetruvians, rather than searching for power solely from the Great Tree, discovered that the true source of power came from the stars themselves.
15: The Twin Empires
Many who had left Aestaria returned with exaggerated tales of fertile soil and giant crystals the size of boulders. But not all who left Aestaria seeking fortune actually found what they were looking for.
Some headed north to Celandine pursuing stories of previously unknown gold-shimmering crystals — Sun Crystals — that could absorb sunlight, as well as rumors of a second Great Tree nourished by the sun. They discovered neither, but they did carve out a life for themselves.
The Highmayne clan called their newly established home Windcliffe, while those who called themselves the Order of the Second Suns and the Lightchasers established the towering city of Sun Forge on the highest peak in Celandine. In time, the continent became home to the Lyonar Kingdoms.
Another hardy group of Aestari explorers chased similar tales northeast, to the exotic and mysterious continent of Xenkai. They found a harsh and dangerous land of wet jungles, frigid mountains, arid deserts, and ghostly predators at every turn. But they conquered the land, taming and riding many of these creatures, hunting and killing with deadly precision many others. These agile and lethal warriors were the forefathers of the Songhai Empire, and founders of the cities of Xaan and Kaido.
Travelling inland, they discovered the Twilight Spring, where dusk and dawn mixed together, blurring light and dark, life and death, blood and earth, animal and human. It was a place where boundaries merged, an aetherial vortex that allowed the Songhai to commune with their ancestors and spirit essence animals with mystical Twilight Seals, establishing the Ancestral Spirits and Zodiac Masks.
Although they could not transform into the animals themselves — like the Vanar — they could inherit the abilities and traits of their representative spirit animal. Some Songhai rulers later came to believe they were the physical descendants of their patron animal, including Kaleos the Ghost Tiger, Gen-Bo the Sable Tortoise, and Taegon the Citrine Dragon.
But these were not the only emigrants to Xenkai. Foreseeing the destruction of Aestaria and the birth of a future hero on the continent of Xenkai, the Chakri Avatars journeyed to the isolated Saberspine Mountains. Hidden on its steepest slopes, they built the Chakri Monastery, where they stayed, meditating in solitude, honing their skills, ready to return in Mythron’s time of need.