During the 40 years spanning 990 I.A. to the present day in 1029 I.A.. Eletreus has entered what some scholars and prophets refer to as ‘the end times’. War and rumors of war shake the foundations laid during the golden age, old enmities are re-ignited and the lands seem poised for a series of world shattering events.
Whether or not these truly are the end times is unknown, but there is no doubt that the stage has been set for some major paradigm shifts.
Below is a rough timeline of the events of the past 40 years.
40 years ago, 990 IA: the Deathless Witch wakes up from stasis and finds a letter from the Paragon, blaming himself for the fall of Notarikon and failing to save her city. He finishes the letter apologizing for some of his actions, and that while everyone thought of him as a great hero, she was and always would be his weakness and that if she ever needs him, he will be there for her..
The Witch visits his grave and whispered the following words: “I forgive you, not because you did anything wrong, but because you deserve peace…. I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you too.”
Spotted visiting the gravesite and notified by the Archmages of Notarikon of her return, the 15th Paragon, Emperor Thibaud the Pale soon hears of her arrival, and invites her to dinner in the Imperial Palace with his family. While cordial and polite, she has a stone cold and intimidating demeanor and is quietly extremely disappointed with the Paragons descendants. She asks many questions about the state of the Empire and Elatreus in general, but gives only vague answers as to her own plans and activities and the meeting and news of her return is kept secret by Imperial decree.
Later that year, and for several years after, she secretly visits the Imperial Mage Capital of Notarikon in order to research the Heavenly Blades…..and whether or not it was possible to destroy them.
995 IA: Kira finished her research, and deducted that it was indeed possible to destroy the Heavenly Blades. However, while even the gods do not truly know what would happen once they are destroyed, her research concluded that their destruction would end the perpetual cycle of war that has plagued Elatreus ….And her own immortal life.
Unafraid, and resolute, she decided that this was to be her legacy. Death would never come to her naturally, and this new world was even less interesting to her than the old one, so knowing that the price to destroy the blades was the ultimate one did not bother her in the least..
Later that year, Kira visits Escia first and the Land of the Dead second. Her goal is to form an alliance between Temple Nimbus, Escia and Greater Khartoum in case the Brand of the Fallen or another Deathknight resurfaces and quickly destroy them, hopefully without any involvement from the Aelutian Empire since she is also planning to steal the Flame of the Host. Her other goal is to sway the only other magic caster who could be an immediate threat to her on her side, or convince him to stay out of her way.
Her visits to Escia were diplomatic and peaceful. The Escians still remembered the deal she had struck with their nation 1000 years ago and eagerly sided with her. This was also the year she met the young Akassir.
Her visit to Greater Khartoum was not as pleasant. The Lich King, T’shering the Eternal, was extremely cautious and deeply disturbed by her visit, mostly because they had fought on different sides during the Cataclysmic Wars, and as a result does not trust her. She finally appeals to the Lich King’s love for his nation, citizens and subjects, reminding him that the appearance of another Deathknight would not be healthy for anyone. And clarifies that her goal is to destroy the Heavenly Blades, thus ending the perpetual cycle of war that has plagued Elatreus.
The Lich King finally relents, and agrees to sign a non-aggression-pact between Greater Khartoum and Temple Nimbus. The first steps to an alliance between two of Elatreus’ most powerful magic casters are laid down.
998 IA: Temple Nimbus continues to import massive quantities of resources from Escia and Greater Khartoum, which has now agreed to export some of its resources to Temple Nimbus, further solidifying their alliance.
Temple Nimbus’ upgrades will take another 5 years to finish. In the meantime, coastal residents report many strange distant flashes in the sky and low rumbling sounds from far out at sea as she tests the weapon systems, further unsettling the Imperial population.
999 IA: Doomsday cults riot in Paragonia, and a huge fire breaks out, burning down 1/3 of Paragonia. The Doomsday cult is outlawed and goes underground. They name the next DeathKnight as the Deathless Witch and revise judgement day to 1049 I.A…
TWELTH AEON (11,000-11,999 YEARS)
1000 IA: Planned celebrations of the Empires first millennia are dampened by rebuilding efforts in the wake of the great fire. Pomedican alchemists unveil their new invention, fireworks.
The magi and the elves note that something has changed at what remains of the broken Kingdom of Thane and that the curse of these lands appears to have been lifted.
Some colonists begin to settle in its most fertile areas, tentatively at first, then in much larger numbers after gold is found at several locations.
1003 IA: Imperial Engineers create the first firearm prototype. Rapid advances are made in the following years. At roughly the same time, Temple Nimbus’ modifications are complete. Kira ordered her Sentinels to construct more of themselves in preparation for the inevitable return of the Deathknight.
1005 IA: The Witch visits the Badlands, and purchased huge quantities of Coronatite from the Hobgoblin warlords currently controlling the mines. The amount she purchased could easily resupply an Imperial Cohort (1000 strong) several times over.
That same year, the Witch posted several of her Sentinels in Escia and Greater Khartoum in order to familiarize them to the tactics used by both nations and evolve tactics of their own. This was also the year she met the young Akassir, future unbeaten Grand Master and Champion Adept of Escia.
These Sentinels were later personally modified by her and became the Guardians of Temple Nimbus, unique Sentinel constructs that act as field commanders and her personal guard…and champions.
1014 IA: The Heir apparent, Crown Prince Zadicus the Fierce, is born in Paragonia.
1006-1018 IA: The Deathless Witch was spotted multiple times in every single nation in Elatreus, from the Abandoned Forest and the Elven Lands all the way to the Harmonious Isles east of Lhasa.
During this time, the Archmages of Notarikon devise a plan to protect the capital of the Empire with magical pylons that would destabilize the approach of the Temple and scramble the minds of the Sentinels, fearing that their sudden rise in power meant that they were preparing for war with the Empire. Small scale tests are successful, and construction of the Pylons begins in earnest.
1019 – 1027 IA: Temple Nimbus spends its next 8 years or so building new weapons systems and more Sentinels. By 1027 IA, there are 10000 Sentinels ready to unleash hell on the enemies of Temple Nimbus. The state in which Temple Nimbus is gaining strength deeply unsettles the young crown Prince.
1024 IA: Crown Prince Zadicus the fierce becomes gravely ill after swimming in the rivers of Mythbury and comes close to dying several times over the course of the year from a mystery illness. While he recovers physically, he is not the same person who swam in the river, and becomes increasingly agitated about Temple Nimbus and the Deathless Witch.
His father, one of the least impressive of all the Paragons, does little to discourage him – and he is only kept in check by his strong willed mother, who is the true power behind the throne.
1028 IA: the Deathless Witch visits Paragonia once again, this time in complete silence. During Zadicus’ 14th birthday celebration.
Zadicus by this point was completely paranoid regarding anything related to Temple Nimbus and the Witch. Days before his birthday, he claimed to Imperial Court Mages that he can feel the Deathless Witch watching him, but cannot prove it. The mages cast several detection spells at him, his room, and the Imperial Palace. They found no signs of any surveillance spells whatsoever but it does nothing to reassure him as he is convinced their magic is inferior to hers and she can cover her tracks..
Then, to add even more Paranoia Fuel to the mix, she proves that she can and will show up anywhere at any time by suddenly appearing during his birthday celebration.
1029 IA: Present Day. The Pylons are completed and erected to encompass all of Paragonia, giving the people some sense of security against the flying fortress of Death that is Temple Nimbus.
The Escians suddenly launch an all-out assault at Windkeep Fortress, the strength and ferocity of the attack pushing the Imperials back and forcing them to retreat. Rumor is rife that the sudden and dramatic escalation of the conflict is a direct result of the Witches previous visits.
The full strength of the Aelutian army manages to reclaim Windkeep Fortress, but the Escians do not let up, disrupting supply lines and continuing the siege. In response, the Empires military goes into overdrive recruiting and training new soldiers, increasing their overall military strength to levels not seen in many hundreds of years..
At the same time, calls for help from the New territories against an increasingly aggressive Orcish pushback against the frontier settlers there cannot be properly answered, and the Northmen – encouraged by the wars to the South, step up their raids and push hard against the Empires Northern borders, testing for any weakness that may allow them the chance to break through.
Something, somewhere will have to give – and the future of the Empire has never been so uncertain..