6: The First Empire
Sheltered from danger in the central crater of God’s Heel, the Aestari lived for centuries in peace and harmony. With no competition for resources, their population thrived and prospered. Small isolated villages became towns interconnected across the Sanctuary Plains.
During this Age of Wonder, creativity in the arts and knowledge of magic flourished, spawning myriad specializations and schools of thought. The Aestari established the Seventh Sanctum, their primary center for learning. It was comprised of seven branched disciplines:
– School of Knowledge: The Alcuin Order, first line of the Loremasters, was established to further a deeper understanding of the world.
– School of Harmony: The Swords of Akrane and The Twin Crescents both refined various forms of swordsmanship, harmoniously blending magic with bodily motion, incorporating the fluid duality of the visible and invisible, the physical and non-physical.
– School of Timelessness: After years of intense meditation, the Chakri Avatars learned to commune with The Great Tree. They could heighten their state of power almost indefinitely, and even see visions of the past and the future.
– School of Selflessness: The first Shieldmasters, protectors and defenders of the people, were focused on piety, integrity, honor, and mutual respect.
– School of Power: Artificers and Songweavers learned to concentrate the power of crystals and imbue inanimate objects with their energy, creating powerful Artifacts and magical items.
– School of Dreams: Aestari Mistwalkers and Aethermasters developed the ability to astral phase through alternate micro-dimensions, cast illusions, and summon creatures.
– School of Order: The Arcanysts harnessed the power contained within magical components and scripts, discovering spells that enhanced one’s natural abilities, and inventing mixtures such as the highly sought after Sundrop Elixir and Aurora’s Tears.
During this Age of Wonder, the first Aestari Chroniclers explored the mountains beyond their central continent, recording all they discovered. This Age of Wonder also saw the Magmar grow into their rightful role as Mythron’s protectors, to meditate, interpret, and guide the Aestari leaders.
7: The Darkness Gnaws Below
While the Aestari Age of Wonder was flowering on the surface of Mythron, a more sinister development was unfolding beneath it. The Inxikrah had embraced with great enthusiasm their role as the apex predator of the underworld. And as their supremacy became unquestioned, their thirst to exercise it became unquenchable.
Powered by the magic of crystals of the Black Amethysts, the Krah’Zul transformation that followed each act of predation not only conferred on the Inxikrah the strengths and abilities of their prey — it flooded the predators with physical pleasure that bordered on ecstasy.
Over time, this magnified and exaggerated their primal, predatory instincts. The male Inxikrah and female Inxykree both came to be driven by an insatiable, all-consuming hunger for the feeling of youthful rejuvenation that came from killing. The gnawing addictive power of the crystals, and their growing scarcity, caused infighting among the Inxikrah. A system of rigid castes was established to create order, to preserve the crystals, and to help the Inxikrah survive and remain preeminent in a world fraught with danger and dwindling resources.
The elation and the rush of killing and transformation became a ritual, taking on a sacred significance that made the Inxikrah even more rapacious. The male Inxikrah became increasingly defined by an ethos of cruelty. Lesser sentient creatures and captured enemies from raids became slaves or playthings, including the Inxikrah’s less-evolved cousins, the Serpenti, which the Inxikrah often transformed into tortured Darkspine Elementals and familiar-like Wraithlings.
Meanwhile, the female Inxykree grew more social and increasingly repulsed by the Inxikrah’s random brutality. Over generations, the differences grew so pronounced they were like two separate species, the male Inxikrah and the female Inxykree, whose only contact was to perpetuate their species.
8: The Prophetic Paradox
As The Age of Wonder drew to a close, the Aestari Matron-Magus, Kaon Deladriss, having mastered all seven Schools of the Seventh Sanctum, retreated to the top of Ivory Peake to meditate. After a decade, she had gained the ability to commune with the Great Tree of Eyos, and the Great Tree observed her thoughts and actions closely as well. It deemed her virtuous, worthy by deed, mind, and spirit. Kaon returned to the Seventh Sanctum by teleportation, becoming Mythron’s first Horizon Walker.
Years later, as Kaon Deladriss was dreamweaving at the White Mantle, she received from the Great Tree a devastating Prophecy of Ages. It foretold the destruction of the Aestari civilization in a coming Age of Decay, a time of chaos and unfathomable suffering that would last a millennia. But while the Age of Decay was inevitable, the tapestry of Kaon’s dream contained a single thread of hope, a way that the Age of Decay could be shortened to a single century, to be followed by an even greater civilization built atop the foundation of the First Empire. But the price for this would be terrible, indeed.
It would mean forsaking forever her harmonious meditation and near immortality. It would cost her ongoing ascension, her connection with the Great Tree, and even her ability to Horizon Walk. More importantly, she wondered if her actions to spare the world such suffering — to save nine centuries of unborn lives — could bring about something unimaginably worse. Kaon struggled with the paradox of the Prophecy.
In the end, she decided that the chance to prevent such suffering was the only path forward, even though the task it demanded was too horrific to speak of. The demand of the Prophecy was that the Heart of the Great Tree of Eyos must be removed — cut out — and placed as far away as possible, never to return to Aestari soil again.
9: The First Senerai
The Prophecy of Ages foretold Seven Seeds that would change the course of history, seven heroes to complete the task at hand. To find them, Kaon Deladriss established the first Trial of Champions, a six- week contest of strength and endurance, intelligence and honor. The winners would be called the Senerai, “The Seven Stars.”
The Trial of Champions revealed the finest warriors in all of Aestaria, head and shoulders above all others. Many Aestari distinguished themselves as ‘Vanar’, or legendary elite. Yet, only a select few displayed the heroic excellence necessary to earn the title of Senerai. They represented the best in each of their respective disciplines. Their unquestioned leader was Songweaver Eurielle. Joining her was Loremaster Lumina, Swordmaster Zwei, Avatar Saari, Arcanyst Graye, and Shieldmaster Koreldyre. But to Kaon’s consternation, they numbered only six.
Kaon held one more week of trials, but no one else proved worthy. She wondered if there could be only six. But if she was wrong about that, what else had she misinterpreted?
She began to question the entire prophecy…until a towering silhouette entered the arena carrying a twin-bladed sword: A Magmar.
Kaon greeted him respectfully, but said, “You must go. You are not Aestari.”
He didn’t move. “I am Starhorn,” he said, “The Seventh Star foretold by the prophecy.”
Kaon turned to the Vanar elites and said, “Whoever defeats this Magmar shall join the Senerai.”
The Magmar was monstrously massive, but when the warriors came at him, he maneuvered with blinding speed and subtle grace. He touched no one but let none touch him. After a full day, as the last Vanar finally collapsed in exhaustion, Kaon said, “Enough. Starhorn, most honored Magmar, you are indeed the Seed of Dreams, the Seventh Star.”
10: The Great Tree Aperion
Advancing in years and rapidly losing her powers, Kaon Deladriss traveled with the Senerai to The Great Tree of Eyos, to fulfill the prophecy. In anguish, she extracted its Heartwood, a perfectly brilliant prismatic seed the size of a small fist. Immediately, The Great Tree shrank and withered. Its starry leaves turned crimson red. Stricken with grief, Kaon gave the Heartwood to the Senerai so they could fulfill the rest of the prophecy. She remained with The Great Tree, mourning, until her dying days.
For many years, the Senerai journeyed across the vast world of Mythron seeking the perfect sanctuary for the Heartwood. Amid the lush beauty of Xenkai they befriended the Four Winds and tasted the rejuvenating waters of the Twilight Spring. Among the Islands of Pyrae, they rediscovered the lost arts of fireweaving. Hidden in the Sea of Fog, they found the exotic islands of Y’Kir, where master inventors and artificers worked in solitude crafting the first magical devices that their descendants would prize as ancient artifacts. They landed on the desolate surface of Styxus, naming it the Blighted Lands.
They were the first Aestari invited to Magaari, the Magmar homeland, to behold the Golden Chrysalis containing the remains of the last Queen Mother. They travelled along the Yquem River, allying themselves with the Silverbeaks near Raithline Lake against a horde of Mirkblood Devourers. They witnessed Azurite Lions hunting across the Alluvial Plains. And after many years of encountering strange creatures, discovering countless locales, and witnessing mysterious cultures, the Senerai finally arrived at Halcyar: the Northern-most realm — far past the frost-carved Whyte Mountains, and more importantly, far beyond the prying reach of Aestaria.
They found a distant peak enveloped by the magical Northern Aurora, hidden and shielded on all sides by hundreds of identical mountains. They named it Deladriss Peake, in honor of Kaon, and there they planted the Heartwood. A sapling immediately sprouted from the ground, its young leaves drawing in the crisp starlight. They named the new tree Aperion. At that exact moment, Kaon dematerialized from the living world. All Aestaria was plunged into mourning. The once great tree, now withered and weak, released red droplets of crimson sap, the Tears of Eyos, and forever after was known as The Weeping Tree.