Timeline: 200 AF to 299 AF
The skill of magical tattooing is discovered. Isildur is the first to master it.
The Sentaari, led by Laergon, foment rebellion against the Kharon.
The Kharon are forced to dissolve their Empire, due mainly to an inability to be taken seriously.
Sarapis, seeing a growing trend towards excessive violence, creates Oneiros, God of Peace.
Oneiros opens his temple in the village of Shastaan, near the eastern ocean.
The Coming of the Morning Star. A massive pit in space called Abaddon collides with a gigantic star. Abaddon cannot contain the star, and the two explode. All life on Sapience, save for some Mhun living in the bottom levels of Moghedu, and one mortal human named Clark, perishes in an instant. Two new Gods are created: Aurora, Goddess of Light, and Apollyon, the Malefactor. Vastar, God of the Skies, who has been long absent from mortal affairs returns and cleans the lingering radiation from the skies.
The Flame of Yggdrasil is rediscovered.
Gaia, gone half-mad, infected by a demon of chaos, slays Twilight, God of Darkness, breaking an aeons-old oath not to directly harm another God. Twilight, with the assistance of Eris, Aurora, and Oneiros, bind Gaia, and imprison her in the Gaian Tree as punishment.
The Kharon start yet another Empire which dissolves as quickly as it began.
Achaea's first polygamous wedding. Gijan, Snow, and Anniara marry each other.
Gijan, guildmaster of the Kharon, is cast out of Ashtan and begins a personal war on Ashtan. Although he initially has some triumphs, he is soon overwhelmed by Ashtan's superior numbers and draws in some of his inner circle in the Kharon to help him.
Ashtan declares war on the the Kharon.
Eris gives Her support to Twilight, who brings darkness to the forests of Achaea. His revenge over Gaia, now called Oathbreaker, is complete.
Aurora, discovering that Gaia had been corrupted by a seed of insanity, informs the mortals that she, Hermes, and Oneiros will assist them in releasing Gaia. After much work by Gaia's loyal followers, she is freed. The energy that is released upon this event causes the lower depths of the dungeon of Azdun to be once more accessible. The Vampire Lord Zsarachnor makes himself known as the ruler of the lower depths.
The Kharon, recognizing the futility of their position, return to Ashtan and pledge their support to it.
The Vampire Lord Zsarachnor demands the removal of all shrines from Azdun.
Ashtan tears down the benevolent Halfway House for orphans, preferring that its orphans be taken to the de Vermiis orphanage to be killed.
Zsarachnor posts vampire guards in the Chrysalis Basilica to slay members of the Church. Some various Shallamese citizens, led by Rezzo, a priest, slay them. Zsarachnor warns that there will be reprisals.
Elsdragon, leader of the Sentaari, wins a series of six competitions held by the Gods. His prize is a tower, built with divine assistance.
In order to provide a safe place for orphans subsequent to the tearing down of the Halfway House by Ashtan, Aurora, Goddess of Light, organizes a choir in the Chrysalis Basilica, where orphans may lead safe, happy lives.
Banks open in Shallam and Ashtan.
Ashtan and Shallam, being in states of war, employ archers to assist in the slaying of invading city enemies.
Shin, Maran, and Dalamar, speaking for the Church in place of the absent Archprelate, Isildur, negotiate with Nimos and Gijan, representatives of Ashtan, in order to gain peace. They are successful, though the Church is forced to accept limitations on where it may place its shrines.
Hashan begins to grow, as it begins accepting new citizens.
Sartan Releases the Seven Truths of Evil, which champion strength and might as right.
Gambling parlours open in both Ashtan and Shallam, and for a time, roulette is all the rage with the monied set.
Gaia, Goddess of nature forms The Council of Oakstone to combat the city of Hashan. She calls for all citizens of Hashan to quit Hashan, claiming that they are being duped by Twilight, God of Darkness. Plans for the expansion of Hashan into a city on par with Ashtan and Shallam begin.
The War of Achaea ends, with Ashtan conquering much of the land, and marching its troops into Shallam.
Sarapis commands that all hostilities must cease, and orders all troops to stand down.
Shallam begins taxation of shops inside of its walls. It causes commotion, but little else.
Sartan opens the Infernals, whose first Guildmaster is Sinistar.
Workmen of Hashan begin to cut trees down in the Ithmia to make room for its expansion.
Gaia, outraged at the betrayal of the forests by Firefox and other Druid or Sentinel members of Hashan's government, declares Firefox an enemy of the forests. She calls on Lupus, wild God of the Beasts for aid, and he unleashes a plague of werewolves to terrorize Hashan. Twilight and Hashan quickly pacify Lupus and the expansion goes on as planned.
After a period of intense hostilities, both sides agree to re-open treaty negotiations. They meet in the temple of Peace.
A cease-fire is called in the great Ashtan-Shallam war.
Disputes over the subsequent treaty quickly arise.
Tylin betrays Shallam, and the Order of Light, and joins Ashtan, significantly altering the balance of power for a time. He suffers greatly under the wrath of Aurora, patron of Shallam.
In what surely be one of the most epochal events to take place since the Day of Creation, Sarapis decides that the long-imprisoned Lorielan has truly reformed, and releases the Jade Empress from her prison on the Crystal Plane of the Kx'Khrah. Nearly at the same time, Aegis, who had long journeyed the most remote plains spreading war to the further corners of Creation, returns His attention to Sapience.
Cynne Ravenwind organizes a Festival of Thanksgiving to the Logos.
Cynne organizes another festival, this time in honour of Lupus.
Hashan formally withdraws from the treaty, citing blatant disregard for it by other signatories as the reason.
239 AF :
Ashtan formally withdraws from the treaty, essentially ending it. Oakstone offers to mediate a new treaty.
240 AF :
Hashan formally posts a complete Canon of its laws for all to see, composed mainly be Elentari, the Seneschal of Hashan. Ashtan and Shallam rush to copy her work.
In return for Gaia's slaying of the Spawn, Eris removes the Unicorn's horn. Mandrake Diamante, Druidess Esther and Ithan, with aid from Nita Le'Murzen, are able to scavenge the proper ingredients for creating the metacure elixir, which they use to restore the horn to the Unicorn.
Dead sparrows and robins are found littering the land, their hearts burst from their bodies. An insane old man is found roaming the land, raving about 'Death's Heart' and a prophecy that begins with the death of the children of air.
Dead geese and swans are found, their hearts similarly burst from their chests.
All orphans in the land disappear. The old man claims that the disappearance of the lost children is the second part of the Death's Heart prophecy.
Meetings are called among the various factions of the land, and it is decided that the threat the old man speaks of is the return of the Tsol'teth. They are wrong.
Strange chantings are heard, carried on the wind, from the Shamtota Hills, and a bright white light, and an image of a temple projected onto the clouds, is seen far to the north.
Pryla'ka, a Tsol'dasi priestess of Life appears in a Temple to the north. She is the first Tsol'dasi to reveal itself since the dawn of mankind. She claims that someone called the Quisalar is gathering death energy for an unknown purpose, and that in order to stop him, the corpses of the dead sparrows, robins, swans, and geese must be brought, so that she may utilize the latent death energies in them to combat the Quisalar and his Quisalis cultists. The Quisalar makes similar demands, and when Maran, Sultan of Shallam tells him they will not assist the Quisalar in his plan to bring back Thoth, the Quisalar attacks, saying that either all will join him, or they will serve him in their deaths.
Unable to discover the location of the Temple, the Great Mhunna, leader of Moghedu, and a famous campaigner as a young Mhun, volunteers to assist, and an expedition consisting of the Mhunna, Warmaster, Cooper, Aringar, Fuu, Perseon, Thorgon, Armelia, Thalen, and Jem set out to discover it, and succeed.
People supporting Pryla'ka or the Quisalar begin working hard to collect the dead birds, laden with lingering death magic, and bring them to the Priestess of Life or the Quisalar.
241 AF :
Achaea is largely polarized over Death's Heart. On one side is Shallam and some of the more nature-loving Druids and Sentinels. The other side is led by Twilight and His Order, with support made up of various citizens of Ashtan and Hashan.
Though the Shallamese and the others opposing the Quisalar make a strong effort, those backing the Quisalar manage to bring him enough death energy to complete the construction of Death's Heart. Twilight and His Order have manipulated most into believing that the purpose of Death's Heart is to awaken Thoth from His slumber, though this is not the case. Immediately upon the construction of the Heart, a battle of epic proportions takes place, with Maran, Sultan of Shallam, leading the attack against Twilight's Order. Death abounds on both sides.
Soon after near-total war breaks out over the Heart, another issue nearly disrupts the alliances formed over the Heart. A rogue Serpentlord, Nuitari, gets very heavy pressure from Twilight and the Serpentlords to come back to the fold, as they wish to ensure that the two serpent guilds can effectively control the distribution of the so called "illegal" venoms. Nuitari balks and is persecuted, greatly upsetting his patron, Aegis, God of War.
In order to strike back at Twilight's order, Aegis allies his with the Order of Light, but soon Twilight makes a deal with Aegis. Under the terms of the deal, Dalamar, Nuitari, and Cooper have to make restitution to the Infernals, whose influence Twilight was courting, for robbing their store, and Dalamar has to make resitution to Elentari's Hashan. Partially due to Twilight's influence, Sinistar, guildmaster of the Infernals, soon chooses Aegis, God of War, as Patron, displacing the apparently uncaring Sartan, Lord of Evil.
The fight over Death's Heart waxes and wanes, but hostility is high. Many are unsure of the motives of the Quisalar, and those of Pryla'ka. Initially out-numbered, the Shallamese organize under the leadership of Maran, Echo, and the Archprelate of the Church, Isildur. They gain the upper hand initially but soon the discipline and power of those in the Order of Darkness such as Napoloen, the Grand Shadow, Overseer of Ashtan, overwhelms them and the Heart grows.
242 AF :
However, soon, Sinistar converses with the Quisalar, and, discovering that he opposes undeath, the powers of which the Infernals use, decides to withdraw his support, and this, along with increased intervention by Druids and Sentinels like Galdrion Longshanks, tips the balance in favour of Shallam and its allies. Despite a massive last-ditch attack led by Napoloen, the Shallamese manage to nearly destroy the Heart.
Deucalion announces that it is over, that the impending doom that would have been caused by the Quisalar's victory has been averted. It is revealed that the Quisalar was working for Twilight the full time. Their plan was to dupe people who wouldn't normally support Twilight into unwittingly supporting him. The Heart would be caused to grow, and finally explode, releasing massive quantities of death. This would cause a chain reaction, as each dying would be added to the total quantity of energy. Using the remains of the Heart, Twilight hoped to focus this astronomical amount of energy at the slumbering Thoth, slay him, and add Thoth's essence to His own, greatly increasing His power. In the process though, all life on Sapience would have perished.
Sensing victory, Pryla'ka travelled to the Heart, and challenged the Quisalar. The Quisalar, no longer powerful enough to have a hope of defeating a Tsol'dasi Priestess of Life, made a last desperate rush at Pryla'ka, but failed. She banished him to eternal sleep.
Pryla'ka begins attempting to safely dismantle what is left of Death's Heart, essentially a powerful bomb of death energy now. She fails, becoming overloaded with energy, and screaming that she cannot hold it. Some mortals, among them Khaseem and Cynne, refuse to leave the scene, and die upon the explosion of the Heart. So powerful is the explosion that life for a hundred miles around looks likely to perish in a flash, until, with unexpected, total sacrifice, Deucalion, God of Righteousness, attempts to contain the blast. So powerful is it, even in its much-weakened state, that he cannot contain the energy, and his essence is dispersed across Creation. In a final gesture of compassion, he manages to grant all mortalkind the ability to reincarnate and wipe clean their moral slate. Sarapis permits their souls to choose from five new races: Grook, Xoran, Rajamala, Horkval, and Atavian. Choruses of cheers erupt from around the land, as total disaster is averted. Shallam and its Druidic and Sentinel allies receive formal congratulations from representatives of many of the leaders of the land, such as the Great Mhunna and the mayor of Thera.
In a gesture of peace, Shallam and the Church offer formal pardons for any crimes committed during Death's Heart. Darkness and its allies brood, but begin hatching new plans immediately. Peace will not last long.
On a somewhat less serious note, Kona Diamante and Lemon Ni'Choya spent much of the year battling it out in an undeclared war of poetry.
Gijan undergoes a conversion, betrays the Order of Twilight, leaves the Kharon and styles himself "Healer of Shallam." He becomes one of the staunchest defenders of his former nemesis, although many suspect that treachery still lurks within his heart and that he merely bides his time before betraying the Jewel of the East.
The Sentinels Guild, citing philosophical differences with the Divine Patron of Hashan, sue for permission to leave the city and are granted such leave, although many of the guild's members remain citizens.
The perennial battles of swords and words between the Church and its sworn enemies continue to rage. Citizens of the city-states become more concerned with the defenses of their respective domains as the hostilities become more heated and war breaks out between the Church of Shallam and the Infernals of Ashtan.
Entering the fray on a philosophical and theological level are those, including the Druids, who debate whether the ecclesiastical practice of sanctifying shrines through the blood of sacrificed creatures, and the use of demonic entities are much different from certain practices of the Infernals.
In a stunning act of betrayal, Borknagar, Treasurer of Shallam, empties the city's treasury and flees to Ashtan, having funneled tens of thousands of gold pieces to Ashtan's coffers and leaving Shallam penniliess and ridiculed by her ancient foe. Borknagar reveals that he has been an agent of Ashtan, on a secret mission for Mistral, Guildmistress of the Shadowsnakes, all along. Although most of the Divinities of Achaea are publicly silent on the matter, Miramar and Lorielan express their rage at his treachery in no uncertain terms.
Dingo ignites a fierce debate on the shape of Achaea. Many claim to know that it takes the shape of a sphere. Others insist that it is flat. Eventually Sarapis, the Logos, deigns to answer the question concerning His creation but mortal minds prove incapable of comprehending this boon. Many are driven mad in their attempts to unravel His answer, their subsequent words unintelligible rantings. Some are shocked into catatonic silence, but the debate continues.
In an attempt to protect what they perceive as a sacred birthright, the Serpent guilds of Sapience move to declare certain venoms "illegal" for non-Serpents to possess. The Infernals of Ashtan offer to become the enforcement arm of this new policy.
A long-simmering feud between Twilight and Miramar erupts into open hostilities as their respective Divine Orders go to war with one another. Eventually the heavens erupt in fire and fury, and mortals cower in utter dread as the two deities declare open warfare on one another, and their priests and supernatural agents meet to do battle upon the mortal plane. The divine battle ends in a rather anti-climactic stalemate, and the two sides agree to withdraw from conflict for the nonce, although hostilities continue.
During the battle between the two deities and their minions, several notice a blazing object fall from the heavens landing, it is discovered, at the site of an old altar to Deucalion. Concurrently, a vision of a fading spectral image appears in the skies over Sapience. Thakren is beset by visions about the object, which proves to be a statuette, and the Druids and Sentinels hear ominous whisperings of ill portent in the forests, filled with references to the Morning Star. Sapience fairly hums with gossip and speculation about the significance of these omens, ranging from the dark machinations of Twilight, to the reappearance of Deucalion or Thoth. Many wonder if the very Gods themselves have abandoned mortalkind.
Ashtan and Hashan move to declare war upon Shallam as a result of acts of provocation, in the form of shrines, placed within their walls. As preparations for war, and numerous deaths as the result of preliminary skirmishes, reach a fever pitch Twilight offers Miramar a cessation of hostilities. Miramar accepts. Subsequently, both Hashan and Ashtan stand down from the war effort against the Jewel of the East.
Ashtan, the Bastion of the North, erupts in chaos as conflict between Sinistar and devotees of Twilight within the Infernals jockey for power within the guild. Sinistar is enemied and cast out of the city, for alleged use of "illegal" venoms. Many believe that Sinistar has been framed as a result of plots hatched by the Order of Darkness. Others avow that arrogance and self-preservation have motivated Sinistar's actions.
Elentari of Hashan and the Council of Regents vote to reiterate their support of the venom ban, and pass legislation requiring that offenders be outlawed from the city.
Sinistar regains control of the Infernals, but dies, only to enter a state he terms "unlife," neither truly corporeal nor truly discarnate. Debate ensues over this is the result of necromantic adepthood, as Sinistar lays claim, or merely smoke and mirror illusions, yet to be revealed.
Lady Elentari Lokelinde-Danial, Seneschal of Hashan and Guildmistress of the Serpentlords, becomes the second mortal in the history of Achaea to ascend to the Garden of the Gods and become immortal, transformed into Ourania, Goddess of the Moon.
Sartan, God of Evil, angered by the claims of the Church that its shrines represent all of the Gods, rejects any connection of the shrines with Himself, and brings into manifestation a shrine of His own creation within the one of the most sacred enclosures of the Chrysalis Basilica itself. The reactions of the Church and Shallam, and the subsequent arguments arising therefrom, once again place the Church on the defensive as it is peppered with taunts of hypocrisy. Rumours of the imminent formation of a "splinter" or "dark" Church fly about the land. In retaliation, Aurora, Goddess of Light, places an altar in the Infernals guildhall. The altar placed in the Wedding Chamber of Maya by Sartan opens a rift to a demonic plane whence stream deadly demons, wreaking havoc on the populace of Shallam.
Throughout the year, the followers of Oneiros, God of Peace, find themselves assailed publicly as to the true nature of peace and whether or not they invite accusations of hypocrisy by certain of their actions.
Sinistar resigns as Guildmaster of the Infernals.
Shallam follows in the footsteps of Hashan, binding its resident guilds to the city by making them signatory to the Guild Charter of Shallam.
While searching for irid moss, Taranis discovers a mysterious crystal. He receives arcane knowledge of elemental forces and becomes the first of the Magi. He forms a guild in Shallam and dedicates it to the battle against the forces of evil, darkness and chaos.
Drazik attains knowledge of the elemental powers and forms the Sorcerers Guild in Hashan. Eschewing the dogmatic bent of the Magi, the guild chooses to align itself neutrally.
Aegis, God of War, chooses to once more walk the grim battlefields of Sapience.
Napoloen forms the Warlocks Guild in Ashtan. Although he champions no politically based direction, as have the Magi and the Sorcerers, it is widely believed that the new guild will follow the philosophical bent of Ashtan.
Prince Tu'eras of the Tsol'aa frantically informs the public that vile criminals of unknown origin have attacked the Tsol'aa people in their ancestral village in the dead of night and that although he has escaped, he knows not the whereabouts or condition of his parents. He tells of fires being set and the Forest of Aalen in flames.
Many Druids and Magi mobilize to quench the flames. When the smoke clears and investigations begin, it is discovered that the King of the Tsol'aa has been cruelly murdered by one calling himself Kroul, and that Queen Celaabi has been raped. Although Celaabi, who refuses to leave the home of her ancestors, is safe and has been granted sanctuary by the Druidess Cynne, Tu'eras and the surviving Tsol'aa cannot be found.
Vexlore rants publicly of his belief that Tu'eras is a coward and weakling for remaining in hiding with his people. He vows that he shall slay the Prince himself, and mocks the misery and suffering of the gentle Tsol'aa people.
The Great Mhunna, while expressing sympathy for the plight of the people of the Aalen, cites appearances of Orcs skulking about the land to support his decision to seal the great gate of Moghedu until he deems it safe for his people to do otherwise.
Orcs, claiming to be simply "touring" the land are sighted roaming the land. However, they are soon seen setting forest fires and speaking loudly of their "Lord," Kroul. Many of them begin to enter the cities, expressing desires to see the fabled Master Crystal of the magi guilds.
Maran of Shallam offers the Tsol'aa aid and succor. The other city-states, Oakstone, and the guilds and clans of Sapience eventually offer like assistance. In an amazing show of solidarity, ancient enemies join one another in common cause against the perceived threat on the horizon. Patrols are organized and guard set.
Queen Celaabi is found murdered along with her unborn children. A group of Orc knights, assassins and huntresses makes a raid upon the hiding place of Prince Tu'eras and his band in hiding. They are repelled, but not before one of the assassins manages to kill the Elder Druid, Thaa'lis.
Vexlore publicly boasts that he is a mercenary agent of Kroul, an Ogre High Priest. He reveals Kroul's plans to seize the master crystals and open a portal into this world through which his legions shall pour, decimating all before them. Kroul, realizing that he must proceed openly now, and that the usefulness of his traitorous stooge is at an end, slays Vexlore cruelly, laughing at his gullibility.
The Orcs launch raids upon the city-states, kidnapping Hakhim, Liirup and Ratman. The citizens fear that their economies shall collapse without these prime sources of revenue. The whereabouts of the three are eventually discovered, but during the attempt to rescue them, the Orcs seize the Master Crystal of the Warlocks. Thus empowered, they find the crystals of the Sorcerers and the Magi to be easily obtained.
Sapience launches a massive assault on the stronghold of Kroul, in the recently rediscovered Dun Valley, defeating him, and discovering that Kroul is, himself, only the mercenary for Zh'risia, a Tsol'teth wishing to prove his prowess to his kin, who has been skulking within the Dun fortress since the murder of his master by Baron Vukub Ysin'zhu.
Sapience rejoices at the victory, but with sorrow as Tu'eras takes the mantle of kingship while mourning his dead parents and kin.
In an attempt to resurrect the essence of the vanished Deucalion, Maran sacrifices his mortal coil. Although his sacrifice is in vain, the Pantheon honours him for his selflessness, and his soul ascends to the Garden of the Gods to be reborn as Pentharian, God of Righteousness.
Raajin Lucoster and various of his followers breaks with the Infernals over philosophical differences with Sartan, God of Evil and Infernal Patron. Although Khejian, his comrade-in-arms and close friend is to follow him, Khejian betrays Raajin's Exodus Battallion at the last moment and chooses to remain with Ashtan and Sartan. The Exodus Battallion goes into exile, and take up residence as guests of Hashan. Although Raajin and his Battallion garner the support of many throughout Sapience, the Infernals and Ashtan persecute them continually. Eventually Raajin is abducted and is not heard from again. The Exodus Battallion eventually falls into obscurity.
The Goddess Tarah appears to bid farewell to Achaea and disappears.
Polyargos is discovered.
Mysterious new "landmarks" appear in the lands. The Landmarks and their changing aspects are immediately recognized as having metaphysical import, and the essence using guilds and their allies take opposing sides in their approaches to the maintenance of the Landmarks and the sites and structures, engendering fresh and bloody new conflicts in Sapience.
Noxalar, the notorious purveyor of venoms to one and all is slain and, being without heirs, his shop closed. The Serpent guilds, seeing the futility of their former draconian desires to control the product, take a mercantile approach and declare all venoms legal to possess. Arguments break out over charges of price-fixing. Weapon forgers, purveyors of enchantments, and dealers in herbs and other healing substances enter the fray.
A mysterious jade statuette with the ability to move from person to person of its own volition appears. Those who hold retain the object for any length of time are plagued by visions, dreams and nightmares. Madness, murder and suicide follow in the wake of these visions.
Researches into the icon reveal that it appears to missing a shard, leaving a break through which pours a "cold" energy of some sort. The missing shard is recovered, and with the aid of a cleric of a mysterious group known as the Obeah Ecstasia the icon is resealed, narrowly averting further mayhem. The cleric reveals that the icon is an ancient artifact of the forgotten Goddess Valnurana, Mistress of Sleep and Dreams, who long ago placed inside of it four horrific nightmare spirits in order to protect mortal kind from their somnolent ravagings. The Obeah Ecstasia are revealed to be an ancient line of dream scholars to whom the icon was originally entrusted by the Goddess. Emese, the cleric, returns to her home, the icon once more safely within the hands of the Obeah Ecstasia.
Vixen, guild tutor to the Sentinels, falls deathly ill. In a herculean effort to save her, some of the Sentinels perform a rite which intentionally decimates their groves. Although Vixen is saved, all Sentinels lose their Groves ability. The Sentinels are grief-stricken as the forest, so long both their charge and their sustainer, no longer communicates with them on any level. Eventually the Sentinels find the long lost village of Eleusis, where they make their new home and are granted the gift of the Woodlore skill.
Four years after the events surrounding the Jade Icon, the collective dreams of Sapience are once again disturbed. The resident tutors of the city states begin to be troubled by strange dreams. Much of the populace complains of a prevailing enervation and vivid dreams of ill import. Irritability assails some, brought on by fatigue and lack of restful sleep, while others sink into despondency and aimless wandering brought on by these conditions. More suddenly than they appeared, the dream disturbances cease.
Epicurus, Ashtan's resident teacher, has resorted to a potion in order to sleep, but has fallen into a deep unnatural slumber, beset by violent nightmares, from which it appears he will never wake.
Hashan calls upon Sharbrena, high Cleric of its Patron Twilight and beseeches her to summon Eseme once more. The cleric arrives and enters the dreams of Epicurus in an attempt to discern the nature of his malady. She is shocked to discover that during the repair of the Jade Icon, four years earlier, one of the nightmare spirits had been inadvertently sealed outside it, and the spirit's bond to the statuette broken. The Icon itself has disappeared from the keeping of the Obeah Ecstasia again.
The nightmare spirit, Erinyes by name, kidnaps Epicurus and plans to use him to complete her plans, begun with her quest for sufficient power by gorging upon mortal dreams and planned to culminate in the destruction of her ancient prisoner. Epicurus, still besotted with unnatural sleep, is unable to aid Erinyes. Instead, the Jade Icon is broken by Gelphend, a mortal who has fallen under her sway. The remaining three nightmare entities are freed and great harm is loosed upon the mortal planes as both sleeping and waking nightmares consume the populace, driving many into insanity and loosing mayhem throughout the continent.
Without warning the hellish visions cease. Valnurana, Goddess of Sleep and Dreams has found Her own divine slumber disturbed by the unnatural flux and disruption in the dream patterns of the mortal world. She wakens and with Her power calls the nightmare spirits to Her, binding them and thus ending their reign of terror and once more taking Her place among the manifest Pantheon.
Sartan, Lord of Evil, after wreaking fearful havoc upon the world, declares that He intends to extinguish the last bit of power left by Aurora, Goddess of Light, before She left this plane for unknown destinations and for an unspecified length of time. He extinguishes Her Flame of Light, destroying Her links to the mortal world. Thus denying Her future return. However, deep within the keep of the Vampire Queen, Belladona, Dawn, the Keeper of Light has long guarded one of Aurora's most potent artifacts, the Prism of Light. The Prism yet provides the Lightbringer a portal into this plane.
Sartan discovers the existence of the Prism and shatters it as well. Breaking it into three pieces, He gives two into the safekeeping of dire dragons, and a third to one of his most trusted adherents.
Through the heroics of many of Her faithful, through pain and hardship, and culminating in a great show of power, the pieces are eventually united and Aurora, Goddess of Light, sheds Her glow upon mortal kind once more.
In a stunning turn of events Caerid, Guildmaster of the Paladins, chooses Sartan, God of Evil, as Patron and is excommunicated and cast out of the city. Caerid ingratiates himself with the Order of Sartan and, heady with power, turns on his former allies while unleashing a storm of murder and foul acts upon them. Eventually he is removed from the guild by force of arms. The reparation received by Caerid and his wife, Malia, for their service to the Lord of Evil was amazing. Believing that they were to be rewarded with the highest ranks within the spiritual hierarchy of the Order of Evil and granted temporal power over a new city-state, the pair stood proudly at the Shrine of Ascension before Sartan and much of Sapience. With the dark voice of the Evil One intoning their deeds, Caerid and Malia were stripped naked, beaten without mercy, humiliated and made to grovel. Sartan thanked them, then cast them from his Order and thrown to His pack of followers to be slain.
In the culmination of an old prophecy, first uttered by Choirmaster Handel of the Chrysalis Basilica, the essence of Aurora, Goddess of Light, is dispersed. Pentharian, God of Righteousness, takes Her mantle upon Himself and becomes God of Righteousness and Light.
Following new bridge construction on the Isle of Delos, and underwater city called Riparium is discovered. One of its inhabitants reveals that a specific herbal element will allow air breathers to visit there and many do.
For the first time in history, the government of a city wields power over a resident guild when Dresden, Sultaness of Shallam, replaces the leadership of the Dawnstriders after a long-running conflict between the guild leadership and the Shallamese Viziers.
The Forest and the dwellers therein rejoice at the reawakening of Gaia, Goddess of Nature. A number of Druids and other devotees of the ancient Goddess meet to perform a Rite of Prayer in honour of the nature Deity. Although they do so with scant hope, their hopes and prayers are answered as Gaia once more walks among the millenia old trees of Sapience.
Several individuals attempt a rite to restore the essence of the Goddess Tarah. They fail.
Sartan, God of Evil, performs an act of extermination within the sacred confines of the Temple of Gaia. In retaliation He is enemied to the Forest. His minions, The Order of Evil, begin to decimate and burn the forests of Sapience. The Sentinels and Druids react by banning the sale or gift of all herbs, ointments, and elixirs to all Sapience. The Sorcerers Guild bans all enchantments using kola in a gesture of support for the forest folk and their cause.
Orina, Guildmistress of the Druids, joins with Xandor Sheolan, Grand Shadow of the Order of Twilight, in the performance of a rite known as the Darkenwood Ritual. For the second time in history the forests of Sapience are shrouded in shadow. This time, however, the intent is ostensibly to merge the essences of Gaia and Twilight in a shield against the minions of Evil. Orina is roundly castigated by many for what is perceived as her treachery. Some, recalling the Death's Heart episode, believe that in her desperation to save the forests, she has been duped by the machinations of the Order of Darkness.
Gaia refuses to intervene although many beseech Her for aid and succor. Many of the traditional allies of Nature refuse to be tainted by Darkness and refuse their aid as well. What is worse, for all Xandor's words, it seems that the Children of Darkness have no true intent of helping the Forest. Orina changes her mind and seeks to undo that which she has done. The Children of Nature and their faithful perform a rite to rid the forests of Darkness, and the Darkenwood Rite is never completed. They succeed for the most part, but Gaia remains withdrawn and impatient and it is obvious that something abhorrent to Nature yet troubles the lands beneath the trees. The Children of Nature resort to oracles for assistance, but do not see that an imbalance has been created that they must right, preferring to place blame outside themselves rather than heed the words of wisdom given to them.
Strange creatures appear in the forests, harmed by sunlight and the places inhabited by the known races and their works. Calling themselves Arachnoi, and appearing in the form of humanoid spiders, they claim that Xandor and Orina are their grandparents and that they have been sent by their mother to plead with their grandparents to complete the Darkenwood Ritual by which their mother had been created. They are creatures with no natural habitat within the existing mansions of Nature, and they are dying as a result.
The rite is completed but Istishia, mother of the Arachnoi, is killed by a Shallamese contingent.
The Arachnoi now reside in the newly created Darkenwood. Having little reason to trust the Children of Sarapis, they are rarely seen by mortals and prefer that that state of affairs remain. Balance has been returned to the forests for now, and all seems well.
The people of Sapience begin to erect shrines to their chosen deities, dedicated to individual Gods and Goddesses, breaking the ancient monopoly of the Church on these devotional structures.
The war between the Order of Evil and the Forests continues. Eventually Sartan presents His terms for "peace" to the Forest entities. Gaia and the Oakstone Council reject his offer. Subsequently, Gaia presents Her own terms and both sides declare victory, bringing an uneasy peace to the forest, which yet require great healing.
A clan of professional Assassins forms. Though feared and secretive, these contract killers have yet to make much of a mark on Achaean society.
Rejecting what they see as the soiling of honour and justice by their more mercenary brethren, some Assassins form a new clan, calling themselves Champions. They accept no fees for their work and claim to exist solely to mete out justice for its own sake.
A blazing star appears in the heavens and plummets to ground. Soon it is discovered that the object is no star but is the Hammer of Phaestus. Fern, the Sentinel who discovers it, is visited by strange visions involving the image of a unicorn and great stones.
An attempt is made to unravel the mystery by a group of Magi and Sorcerers, gathering at the monoliths in the Temple of Gaia and focusing upon the unicorn known to contain the essence of the ancient traitor-God Agatheis, but nothing is revealed.
A second attempt is made, but is aborted when an Ashtanite Occultist makes away with the Hammer, taking it to Ashtan. A third attempt is made, and yet another Ashtanite steals the Hammer. After The Magi and Sorcerers agree to allow the Ashtanite Warlocks to participate in the Hammer is returned and the exercise proceeds.
The gathered magic users focus their energies upon the unicorn, who touches his horn to the Hammer releasing Phaestus.
For his selflessness in aiding the return of Phaestus, Sarapis pardons Agatheis for his role in the traitorous Triumvirate of ages past and releases His soul from the unicorn, restoring Him to the Pantheon.
Syvelium, guild tutor of the Paladins goes missing. When questioned about the disappearance, Pentharian and the other Gods deny that such an entity has ever even existed. Mortals begin to whisper among themselves that the Gods seem to have gone mad, and tremble in fear of what this means to the world. Soon the fabric of sanity begins to unravel throughout the continent. Mortalkind remember events and personages the existence of which are denied by the Deities. The madness moves throughout the populace and soon none are sure of life, memory, family or position. Or, indeed, are sure of things that cannot possibly be or never were. Many regress into infantile states or claim ancestries, histories or associations that go beyond the outlandish. Firefox of Hashan loses his Serpentlord abilities and finds that in their place he has attained a mystical knowledge previously unknown in the world. He calls himself a "Shaman" and forms a guild in Hashan. Events continue to spiral out of control.
The Order of Valnurana is given a revelation of an entity that brings to mind the "Other," spoken of by Phaestus at his release. Soon the Other reveals Himself to the world. He begins to use His powers slay Achaeans in a random and capricious manner. He changes the race of others to beings thereafter known as Satyrs and Sirens. During a great meteorological cataclysm, a gilded chest plummets from the sky to land in the Aureliana Forest. Kaisar La'Seir discovers the chest and reads upon it dire words of prophecy, warning that to open it will lead to horror and mayhem.
It is discovered that the Great Mhunna, Lord of Moghedu holds what is likely the key to the chest. In his wisdom, and heeding the counsel of his ministers, he decides to keep the key where it may do no harm. Ashtan, Bastion of the North, eventually succeeds in murdering the Mhunna and gaining control of the key. Once the key is outside of Moghedu, it becomes apparent that it is of such nature that none may hold it for long. Eventually, Shakti Devi succeeds in opening the chest.
At the opening of the chest a massive arrow of flame strikes at the very heart of Shallam, utterly destroying the Chrysalis Basilica, leaving a massive crater in its wake. As this happens, a second and larger chest falls to ground in the Pash Valley. Even though this object is inscribed with even more clear and dire warnings than the first, Charlotte Voivre of Shallam manages to open it. As she does so, flames fly heavenward incinerating all in the vicinity. In the city of Hashan, many of the populace has gathered at Crossroads of the city, seeking safety from the flaming vortex that has moved to hover over the city. They are annihilated by the phenomenon.
Once Hashan has been destroyed the Other reveals His name to be Varian and vows to make all Creation His. As Achaea reels in the horror at His pronouncements that He is ruler of all, Sarapis, the Logos, reveals that He has all along been unaffected by the madness which has infected the other Gods, merely playing a waiting game to size up this almost-equal entity from outside His Creation. The Logos is unable to destroy Varian, but has the power to create a mirror image of Achaea and expel the Other from Achaea and into the duplicate world. Sarapis calls this new sphere of Creation "Aetolia" and dubs it the Midnight Age. He then severs its connection with Achaea and sets it on a course of its own.
The Divine Logos removes the flaming vortex from Hashan, but such is the destruction to the Chrysalis Basilica that He decides to leave it as it is, for reasons of His own. Slowly the atmospheric and meteorological disturbances fade away and normalcy, if such it can be truly called after such events, returns to the skies of Achaea.
In the aftermath of the coming of Varian, an Ashuran monk, Revelation Azon, discovers a long lost Human city called Cyrene. The citizens of Cyrene petition Czanthria Zuiho_sho to become the leader of their city and she accepts. She founds the guild of Runewardens.
Epilogue to the Aetolian Saga:
It is certain that the changes wrought by the appearance of the Other will shake the foundations of Achaea for many years. New races, new classes, new guilds, and new cities will provide opportunity for power to shift, for alliances to formed, and broken.
What will become of this heretofore secluded city of Cyrene? Will it grow to rival Ashtan, Shallam, and Hashan as a fourth power on Sapience? How will it feel about Ashtan and Shallam particularly? (For they were founded thousands of years ago, in the times before Nicator founded Seleucar, in response to the endless Ashtan/Shallam wars.) Perhaps not even the Logos knows.
And what will happen to the mortals who brought this destruction upon their fellows, Shakti and Charlotte? The calls have already begun to hunt them for the rest of their existence for their crimes against humanity, and certainly it is difficult to avoid the opinion, given the warnings provided, that they knowingly brought destruction on innocents. Will Achaeans have the moral courage and the will to impose justice? Only time will tell.
For the first time in decades, the Spawn of the Unnamable Horror is unleashed on the land, by Lemon Ni'Choya and Khalid Yusef.
A mysterious wisp of flame is observed by many, flitting about the lands and performing odd, but harmless, acts of magic such as changing the colours and shapes of clothing. Khalid Yusef, a Druid, is intrigued by these antics and commissions a shrine to the entity. When the shrine is completed, Eris, Goddess of Chaos, arises from Her long sleep to take Her place in the Garden once more. This same year, the Occultists, overjoyed at the return of their ancient Patroness, embrace Her patronage once again.
Pentharian, God of Righteousness disbands His Divine Order.
Many of the more neutrally aligned Orders banded together in a first-of-its-kind alliance, to combat the depredations of the Order of Sartan upon their shrines. Participating Orders included Caspian's, Phaestus', Lupus', Aegis', and Ourania's.
In a shocking historical precedent, Tigrayne Lena, Guildmistress of the Druids, removes Gaia as Patroness of the guild, which position Gaia has retained from the guild's beginnings. She replaces the Goddess of Nature with Lupus, God of the Hunt. This action is preceded by the many of Tigrayne's supporters placing guild disfavours upon the Lady of the Forests before their final castigation of Her. Gaia, however remains Patron of Oakstone. Throughout the year fierce battles of words and recrimination are hurled back and forth among the Druids and the Gaian faithful. The central issue appears to be Gaia's desire that the Druids and Her followers adopt a more neutrally aligned position regarding the affairs of the world in accordance with the rhythms of nature. Many of the Druids reject this philosophy, maintaining that it is an infringement on their individual freedoms to choose their moral path.
The Sentinels end their ban on the sale of herbs and medicinal substances to the city-state of Ashtan.
Sartan and His minions continue their harassment of the populace of Sapience. Argument and debate regarding the nature of and philosophy of Evil dominate the public news boards.
Hashan remains angry and at a state of declared war with Shallam over the firestorm incident. Adding fuel to Hashan's deep anger and grief is the fact that Charlotte, seen as the chief perpetrator of the crime against the City has been appointed to a government ministry position in Shallam. Shallam offers Hashan 50,000 pieces of gold and a public apology as recompense for its losses. Hashan's government, explodes in stunned and insulted rage.
Calla and Kryvar take the battle public, with eloquent and impassioned rhetoric upon the public news boards. Hashan breaks off all talks with Shallam following this perceived insult.
Pentharian reinstates His Divine Order.
Sartan's followers continue to anger, frighten, and frustrate the populace at large. Their desecration of shrines to other deities, and their seemingly arbitrary acts of violence against others weighs heavily on the life of Sapience.
Many of Sartan's followers continue to chafe under the ouster of their Lord by the Goddess of Chaos.
Citing years of unresolved conflict, Lady Deven Lucoster, Overseer of Ashtan, publicly addresses Hwolf, leader of the Infernals, on matters of contention between the Bastion of the North and the Iron Citadel. In response to an ultimatum dictated to Ashtan by Malaclypse, on Hwolf's behalf, Ashtan's ruling council offers the Infernals the promise that they may leave Ashtan, if it be their desire. Ashtan points out, however, that the permitted exodus of the Infernals bears no guarantees that the Iron Citadel itself shall be moved. Ashtan further warns that it shall take action to protect itself if the leadership of the Infernals continues to encourage its members to work against the City's interests.
Massive conflagrations break out in the Wilderness areas of the Northreach and Darkenwood Forests. In a credit to their ability to come together for the common good, people of ordinarily antithetical and inimical backgrounds and paths join in common cause to fight the inferno.
The first Sapience-wide Monk Tournament is held. First, second and third place winners in the Transcendant School are Tranquility of the Ashura, Koralin, and Elgha, both of the Sentaari. For the Meditational School the winners are Zeto of the Ashura, Rangor of the Kharon, and Shylmysten of the Ashura. The Physical School winners are Buhawi and Laxarn, of the Kharon, and Hakuin, of the Sentaari. Prizes are also awarded for the most remarkable win, given to Zeto; the most improved monk: Ciries of the Kharon, Elgha of the Sentaari, and Draggoth of the Ashura; and highest ranked monk, achieved by Rangor of the Kharon, Koralin of the Sentaari, and Tranquility of the Ashura.
History is made as Eris and Aegis declare their commitment to one another and are allowed by the Logos to plight their troth. A truly spectacular wedding ceremony, presided over and officiated by Sarapis, culminates in a reception for the divine couple during which mortals are allowed to tread upon the ground the Garden of the Gods for the first time ever. Even amid the joy and celebration, there are many who wonder what this union between War and Chaos presages for the world at large.
The war of words between Ashtan and the Iron Citadel continues. Tensions rise in tenor as Ashtan casts out and enemies the entire Infernal leadership. The Infernals accuse the Archons of Ashtan of attempting to dictate their spiritual direction by forcing them to accept Aegis, God of War, as Patron. Ashtan, for its part, accuses the Infernals of sedition and treachery against the City. Hwolf launches a tirade against Eris that earns him the disfavour of Eris, Aegis, and Phaestus for his disrespect.
The Sentinels again enact an herb ban against the city-state of Ashtan.
Hashan declares an end to its war with Shallam over the Firestorm and events of 288. The Crown of the Ithmia also declares an end to any negotiations with the Jewel of the East over the issue. Hashan, however, reports that although she will not hold the citizens of Shallam, as a whole, responsible for the misdeeds of a few, those individuals she does consider responsible shall ever bear her ill will and undying animosity. In retaliation for Shallam's refusal to unenemy four Hashani citizens for alleged war-related crimes, Hashan refuses to ally all of the Shallamese currently enemied, save on.
Eris, Goddess of Chaos, in Her travels through time before returning to the Prime Material Plane, inadvertently unleashed a timequake. In the course of attempting to discover the effects of this phenomenon upon the Material Plane, Feliss, Firefox and Deonymus uncover evidence that leads them to believe that it might be possible to raise Kasmarkin, the dead and lost capital of a once powerful empire of Trollish origin that existed before the Selucarian Empire. Many receive grim visions portending dire consequences should the attempt be made, but Andelas Ikari, a Troll of the Iron Citadel, is visited by visions and dreams counter to those received by others, and promising a much different outcome. He becomes obsessed with the idea that by raising the city he can aid his race in regaining their ancient glory. Pitched battles rage, at the site of a statue discovered in the Mannaseh Swamp, between Andelas and his supporters, chief among them his Infernal brethren, and those opposed to any salvaging of the ancient metropolis. Andelas, frustrated by his inability to ferret out the secrets he desires, turns to the Occultists in a desperate bid to learn that which he desires. His persistence is rewarded as Shakti and Silverstorm of the Occultists at last succeed in learning the magical keys necessary to make his dream a reality. As Kasmarkin comes once more into existence from the depths of the swamp, spectral voices warn all and sundry to depart lest death be their lot. Andelas however, now totally besotted with his dreams of glory seemingly just out of reach, leads a contingent of Infernals into the heart of the once-great city in a brazen attempt to wrest its secrets for their own. They are rewarded with the discovery of an odd magical artifact. Andelas realizes that the artifact lacks some essential element and sets about finding a way to make it complete and whole. Meanwhile, Shakti and Silverstorm discover that the source of power granted to the extinct Trollish was the gift of an ancient force, trapped in Kasmarkin. Their gift was two-edged, for in granting power it also gained power over the Trolls, bending their will to its own in time. Unraveling the tale, the Occultist scholars realize that a group of Troll Magi sought to restrain and subdue the ancient intelligence by constructing an artifact that would bind it to their will and end its growing power over their race and their Empire. Too late they were, for the intelligence destroyed Kasmarkin before their work on the artifact had reached completion. The two scholars seek to warn Andelas that in completing the artifact he is dashing his dreams, not realizing them. However, fate is not with them. Andelas completes his restoration of the artifact and, once activated, it binds the ancient force. The energies used to raise Kasmarkin do not sustain it indefinitely and it sinks once more into the mire of the Mannaseh. Shakti, her curiosity unassuaged, again raises the city and this time releases the ancient intelligence bound therein. Still, her power is not enough to keep Kasmarkin afloat and it sinks into the murky morass once again. Ill content to leave well enough alone, Shakti raises the city yet a third time, and this time is successful in controlling the ancient power residing in Kasmarkin. She enjoys her new found power over the entity, a giant, winged and befanged monstrosity, as it slays her enemies, until it turns upon her as well, much as it must have betrayed its ancient masters. None know what triggered the events that followed, but some say that it was the spirits of those long dead Trollkind whose voices soon rose from the ruins of Kasmarkin reborn, chanting in sonorous tones of power until, screaming its rage against its imprisonment, the entity was bound once more and Kasmarkin drawn down again to its murky, eternal grave.
During the timequake caused by the Goddess of Chaos, a man who calls himself Silvestri Carnivalis is brought into our time from 600 years in the past. He claims, to the skepticism of many, that he is the personal jester of Queen Catarin de Sangre, who once ruled Seleucar. He wanders the land confused and dismayed by the changes wrought by six centuries of passing time. His anguish grows when he learns that his line, once comprised of the most renowned entertainers in the Imperium, is extinct and that the art of Jestering has been lost, forgotten ages ago. He is, however, delighted to learn that one of the ancillary arts, that of Tarot, an art taught by his ancestors to the Occultists, has survived and evolved in ways not even imagined in his time. Heartened by this and refusing to grieve further, Silvestri decides that it is his destiny to return Jestering to its former rightful place among the arts and sciences. To this end, he intends to open a school of Jestering in Cyrene. His delight soon turns again to dismay when he learns of Cyrene's intended restrictions on who may or may not be a student of his school, based on their political, social and religious affiliations. Silvestri courts other city-states, but soon realizes that all of them indulge in the political intricacies so alien to him, who wishes only to teach and to entertain. He therefore decides that he will form his school on the Isle of Delos. After forming his school, aided by Llewellyn, Tay, and Ralph, Silvestri proceeds apace to begin his transmission of his ancient knowledge, offering it to all that desire to learn, without consideration of race, origin, or politics. Shakti, as Guildmistress of the Occultists, demands of Silvestri that he vow to keep the knowledge of Tarot secret from all but the Jesters. Silvestri, raised in the courts of Imperial Selucar, and unused to being treated so disrespectfully, takes umbrage at her, to his mind, crude and ungracious bullying. Subsequently, he is kidnapped by Shakti, Silverstorm, Mephisto and Mordyval. They torture him, breaking his limbs repeatedly and visiting foul torments upon the unfortunate jester until, in hopes of sparing torment to young jesters to come at the hands of the necromancers, he vows on behalf of the Jesters to abide by their demand. The experience leaves him broken hearted, bereft of joy, and despairing of our Modern Age. Silvestri, after placing his beloved school in the hands of Llewellyn, takes his leave, stating that he intends to wander, seeking what he may find of his beloved, lost Selucar. Despite these cruel events, both the Occultists and the fledgling Jesters Guild issue statements of intent to dwell together in harmony, and the Jesters reiterate Silvestri's pledge of secrecy. It may be that the Occultists may one day yet true their arrogance and lack of compassion toward a man out of place and time and be called to answer for their biting of the hand that fed.
Eris becomes Divine Patron of the Jesters.
On the eve of year 300, Malaclypse becomes leader of the Infernals. Deven Lucoster, Overseer of Ashtan accuses him of seeking to overthrow the government of Ashtan. The war of words between the Iron Citadel and the Bastion of the North threatens to burst forth into physical manifestation.
Tancred LaSalle, renowned as the greatest living historian of Achaea, publishes the second part of his planned trilogy on the history of the Seleucarian Empire. All Sapience is abuzz with talk of interesting tidbits revealed in his treatise. It appears that there is something here for everyone, suiting all tastes from serious scholar to neighborhood gossipmonger.
Most of Sapience busies itself preparing for the celebrations surrounding the Year 300.