Starhorn the Seeker

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.”

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.

The Golden Age of Peace

One by one, the Senerai passed away, confident in their decisions and comforted by the knowledge that they left behind a Golden Age of Peace.

But Eurielle brooded over the prophecy of the Ages. She knew peace would not last forever. On her deathbed, she made Starhorn promise he would leave Aestaria and travel to the outer continents in search of the next champions who would assume the mantle of the Senerai — the keepers of peace and protectors of Mythron’s greatest secret.

She reminded Starhorn that the Chakri Avatars had moved northeast, and that it was likely the next destined hero would be born there. Starhorn agreed in principle, but he did not leave right away. He already had an inkling of who would succeed the Senerai, who Mythron’s next great leader would be.

The Thirteen Aspects remained in Aestaria, guiding the people, helping maintain order, and ultimately grooming successive generations of Aestari leaders as their civilization spread across the globe. As the ongoing study of magic and science brought vast increases in knowledge and power, both Aestaria and its far-flung settlements continued to grow in both size and sophistication.

The continents continued to develop into intricate civilizations, further enriching Mythron’s already diverse cultural tapestry. As the settlements evolved into new nations with their own unique identities, they remained under Aestaria’s direct control. At first.

Over the centuries, however, the strength and power of the Aestari colonies approached that of Aestaria itself. The central government’s control lessened. Eventually, inevitably, these nations would establish their independence, giving rise to the Lyonar Kingdoms on Celandine, the Songhai Empire in Xenkai, and the Vetruvian Imperium on Akram. But not yet…

 Ascension of Emperor Sargos

Aestaria flourished in peace and prosperity, its majestic cities agleam like the crystals whose power they were built upon. The Thirteen Aspects guided the Aestari and secretly kept their worst impulses in check.

For while Aestaria was outwardly a land of shining beauty, soaring white towers, and jeweled mantles, inwardly, greed and corruption had seeped into the people’s hearts, undermining their once idealistic society with cloying narcissistic decay. As the continents tried to assert their independence, Aestaria treated them as vassal nations, collecting a tribute tax in the form of crystals for the privilege of being part of the Aestari Empire.

This was the Aestaria in which the boy emperor Sargos ascended to power. Intellectually curious, with an insatiable appetite for science, magic, and books of all sorts, young Sargos was beloved by his people, and respected by the Thirteen Aspects. Early in his reign, while studying in the Alcuin Library, Sargos found fragments that hinted of a Second Empire.

He summoned Valknu, Vaath, and Starhorn, who reluctantly confirmed the prophecy that claimed a new empire would rise from the ashes of the old.

But they would reveal nothing else. For the first time, Sargos suspected they were keeping something from him. Resuming his studies, he found no other mention of the prophecy. When he went to reconfirm his earlier findings, the ancient tomes in which he first found mention of the Second Empire had vanished.

Sargos was convinced Valknu was hiding the truth. Thus were planted the first seeds of Sargos’ distrust of the Thirteen Aspects, a deepening strife that festered within Sargos’ soul.

By the time Emperor Sargos was a young man, Aestaria was already in decline. But Sargos never forgot the prophecy of a greater Second Empire, and he continued to dream of a unified Aestaria whose true greatness lay ahead. Sargos saw the Lyonar, Vetruvians, and Songhai flourishing on the strength of their crystal resources, but he knew the ultimate source of those crystals was the Weeping Tree, which grew on Aestari soil.

Seeking a way to reassert Aestari hegemony, he conceived of a plan to build a massive, towering structure that would not only symbolize Aestari primacy and dominance, it would ensure it for millennia to come.

He called it The Monolith.

Breaking of the Thirteen Aspects

The construction of the Monolith continued for two decades, slowly, inexorably exhausting all of Aestaria’s crystals. By the time the Monolith was three-quarters complete, the last Aestari crystal had been consumed.

Wholly dependent on foreign crystals and forced to endure greater austerity than the original Aestari Mandates had ever caused, the people turned against the Monolith, and the Emperor who had envisioned it. Sargos’s inner circle became fractured by factional fights and personal disputes, as even the most privileged Aestari were now forced to chase after an ever-dwindling supply of crystals.

One night, Valknu had a dream in which an inky cloud consumed the Golden Chrysalis and turned Mythron’s continents into crumbling ash. It weighed on him tremendously and after much meditation, Valknu made the decision to disband The Thirteen Aspects, splintering them away from God’s Heel.

Callixylon fled to Southern Aurora; Jhorxia to the Dunes of Ma’or. Kraigon went to Ash Valley; Ishtara to the Azure Mountains. Nharmyth hid in the Emerald Vale; Paarnax to Shim’Zar Jungle. Ka’al went to the Shadowlands; Ragnora to the Obsidian Woods. Taevarth went to the Forbidden Steppes; Yrsada to the Cobalt Isles.

Starhorn travelled to the Fist of the Four Winds, which guarded the secrets of the four elemental spheres, and eventually settled alone in the Whispering Blades.

Vaath returned to Magaari, where he tamed the wild Makantor beasts near Mokvalar and used his magic to evolve creatures in the secluded Beastlands, metamorphosing them into the first Kolossi.

He used Star Crystals to create new types of Golems near the Stormmetal regions and built the Amberhorn Citadel, where he invited all the sentient creatures on Magaari to join him. Valknu remained in the Grand Trianon with Emperor Sargos, awaiting the encroaching darkness.

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