Friday, March 8, 2013

HUSK: History of a Hollow World Part V

There's a whole bunch of references here to races and whatnot. I'm sure not all of it will make sense (I mean it does to me, but I wrote the thing) but check out the previous entries on the people of Husk over here (Part I) and here (Part II).

And for the previous posts on the History,

c 2,550 YEARS AGO

Slavation for the Naghwarans came in a most unlikely form, and was to alter the course of history. With all their focus on the terrors of the Sevenbred and the widespread starvation that was crippling the Viperium, little heed was paid to early reports that a great creature that was sighted in the waters of Trechilarr Bay. Soon it became clear that an unknown beast had risen from the depths and had taken to land. And what a beast it was ­– at over fifty miles in length and five in diameter, the great blood-coloured slug was the largest creature by far to roam the Orb. Its burgundy skin was slick and covered with thousands of vibrant yellow pores lining its slime red skin, and with each opening and closing of these orifices, giant red-leafed trees tumbled down its side to take root in the upturned soil of its passage. Its head consisted of a vast maw that was edged in long protrubences that probed the ground in front of it for the dead matter it voraciously consumed. It was named the Slitherseed Wyrm, as it devoured waste and gave off new life in return, leaving new forests in its wake. The Slitherseed Wyrm inched forward at a terribly slow pace, covering no more than a few miles a day.

The Viperium dispatched numerous patrols and scientists to study the Slitherseed Wyrm, which after exhaustive research concluded that the only threat it presented was the destruction of anything that lay in its path. Given that it was creating new swathes of forest at a time when the Viperium so desperately needed to reinvigorate their natural environment, the destruction of several towns and cities was considered an unfortunate side-effect of an otherwise most welcome blessing. The Narghwan Queens were also concerned about what would happen if the tried to harm it in any manner, and prudently decided that it was best left alone.

When the Slitherseed Wyrm finally left the coast and headed inland towards Djakarshi, Viperium harvesters were sent in to the newborn forests to see exactly what resources were offered by the strange red flora. They found that the forests were already occupied and guarded by a previously unknown species of small sentients. Little creatures made of root and soil, they spoke the Forked Tongue of the Viperium and called themselves Jyxi. Guardians of the trees, they claimed they had been sent to protect their brothers from the depredations of the Viperium. The Narghwans would not brook any resistance to their plans to harvest the forests, and soon violence broke out between the Viperium and the Jyxi. They were immune to the mind-controlling powers of the Narghwans, but they were few in number and relatively weak in comparison, and were driven away by the Breedtroops of the Viperium. The Slitherseed Wyrm continued its meandering trail across the continent, unmoved by the plight of the Jyxi.

Fortunately for the Jyxi they had unknown allies. It is at this time during the occupation of the Seedling Jungles that the tall Fael first appeared, mysterious humanoids wrapped head to toe in thick red shawls. Though very few in number, they defeated the Viperium’s soldiers with incredibly powerful displays of Imajion, the kind of which had not been seen since the First Battle of Vlata Yhom. The Jyxis were able to return to the forests, and have never left, for the Viperium was unable to press the attack as it was still exhausted by the Underwar with the Bhulkulbs. The Fael vanished at this time, but ever again they would reappear to harass the Viperium wherever it was weak.

While the Fael may have saved the Seedling Jungles for the Jyxis, it came at great cost to the slaves of the Viperium, for they hindered the restoration of the Viperium’s agriculture, worsening the starvation that plagued the Orb. However Viperium agents were able to remove a number of seedlings from the new forests before the Fael defeated them, and the seedlings were shipped across the Orb to each of the Narghwan Queens, who then proceeded to alter them using the lifeshaping technologies that the Bhulkulbs had used on the Hues. Combining this with the replicating technologies used to create the Breed, the Viperium was soon able to begin replanting the growing deserts that that crept into once fertile lands. Although it was several decades before the Viperium’s food shortages were overcome, hope was now at hand. With the essentials needs of the Viperium restored, the Narghwans were enamoured with a new era of creation and invention.

c 2,500 YEARS AGO

The long process of rebuilding their decimated empire commenced. It was clear that the Narghwan Queens had a change in their philosophy – their rivalries and jealousies remained, but they began expressing their competition through creative processes instead of destructive ones. While the bitterness of the Thousand Year War always remained, the Queens sought to outdo one another through acts of culture and civilization. With so much destruction to be over come, the Renaissance first took hold in the field of architecture. At first small but beautiful buildings were raised to commemorate heroic deeds during the Thousand Year War, as well as temples honouring the Flesh of the Carcassanc who had since become a widely worshipped member of the Narghwan pantheon. The small works slowly gave way to grandiose monoliths and structures as the Viperium economy recovered and the Children of the Narghwa grew in number once again. Sculpture quickly followed suit, decorating the new architecture with scenes of violence and glory. The heat sculpture technique was developed at this time to appeal to the Narghwan ability to see into the realm of warmth and cold. While quickly emulated across the Orb, the art was never as beautifully rendered as in the capital of Sinvashi where the first heat sculptures still stand today. Other artforms benefited greatly from this new era of cultural growth, with the Narghwan Queens eagerly seeking out new talent to patronize. Painting and music both underwent massive changes, and all manner of strange creatures were constructed in the name of art using the Breed technologies. Some were truly horrifying perversions but other did attain widespread recognition as the most beautiful beings in existence. It is said that the Fing artist Biansara was the leading visionary of the biotapestry field, and her art is rumoured to have moved her patron Queen Vinvasleen to tears before her untimely disappearance. A clandestine network of artist kidnapping grew in the shadows of the cultural regeneration, as the competition between the Queens grew fierce. Yet violence between the Queens was a thing of the past in this new era, and even the threat of it was considered a breach of new moral standards. The Mogramid question still remained – Queen Calishe had seized the Barambay Mogramid by force before the war with the Bhulkulbs, and the few Mogramids that remained operational after the Bhulkulbs’ sabotage had been claimed by the others. Each of the Queens had access to at least one Mogramid, but for now it was believed that to use one as a Wrack weapon was something that no Narghwan would stoop to.

It was a golden age for the Viperium. With the Sevenbred returned to their slumber, the Bhulkulbs defeated, starvation overcome, and peace between the Narghwan Queens, the Viperium appeared more united than it had been since its founding. With only the inconveniences of the Slitherseed Wyrm to deal with and the occasional acts of treason by the troublesome Fael, the Narghwan Queens turned their minds to the deeper questions of their existence. That they were gods was clear, for the claimed mastery over the Orb and there were none that could defeat them – even the Guruun, who had remained in isolation throughout the Thousand Year War, had opened up new dialogue with the Viperium, and now sought trade in return for the Guruun’s healing of the lands that had been ruined by war. Nargwhan society functioned smoothly and required little guidance from its Queens. They had what they wanted – complete dominance ­– but it slowly became clear that it was not enough. It is at this time that perhaps the greatest evolution in Narghwan society could have been achieved. Though the Children of the Narghwa had no voice of their own, it became fashionable in certain Narghwan circles to speak of freedom for their slaves. It was easy to command respect and obedience by force, but what of worship given freely? It is said that Queen Harioc began experimenting with such notions, and her courts were renown as a place of advanced thought and free speech. It is possible that at this time Narghwan society could have evolved into something greater than the legacy of violence and repression by which it is now known. Had Queen Harioc but a few more years with which to toy with such ideals, it is possible that they could have spread to other places and been the next step in the new morality which was blossoming in the Viperium. Sadly, the greed of the Narghwan Queens was to take hold once again, and Queen Harioc turned aside from her experiments in order to stay in competition with her rivals. For while she had explored philosophy and her sisters were enamoured with the arts, Queen Gharda was ever mindful of her former conquests, and was determined to take back what was once hers.

c 2,300 YEARS AGO

The Palace of Storms was first seen off the coasts of Asharca – a towering bastion of huge golden blades and spines that hovered in the skies of the Orb. There had been rumours of a mysterious flying juggernaut for several years, but when Queen Gharda unveiled her newest creation, the other queens feared the worst – that she had returned to the ways of old and had constructed a new weapon. Ambassadors were sent from across the Orb to maintain peace, but when Queen Gharda granted them audience she assured them all that war with her sisters was furthest from her mind. Instead she invited her fellow Queens to send what flying vessels they were willing to spare to aid her in reclaiming the planets from obscurity. A claim of the planets equal to the portion of the aid given was what she offered in return. Not all of the other Queens trusted her, but none would be excluded from the chance to recolonize what was once theirs. Both Sinvashi and Harioc made sizable contributions to the vanguard fleet that was to take to the skies, but rumours of a return to the age of conflict began to spread, and warmongers began to hold sway in the courts. Quietly the war machines of old were prepared, readied for any possibility, but this only served to increase tensions between the Queens, and was unnecessary as Gharda kept to her word.

Once all preparations for the expeditions were complete, Queen Gharda unveiled the full might of the Palace of Storms as the planet Mephiyeh hung low overhead. In the sky above Avrusheen the Palace came to life, its many rings of blades began to spin, and strange cloud formations began to appear in the surrounding aether. The faster the blades spun the denser the gloom, and soon long swathes of mist were being drawn in towards the palace. A great thunderstorm began to brew beneath the Palace of Storms, and above it a huge funnel began to form. The surrounding lands were battered by the worst weather even seen, but in the hollow core at the centre of the Palace the vanguard fleet waited in peaceful calm, sheltered from the Storm. The funnel grew to immense proportions reaching ever higher into the sky, a vast grey tendril of twisting cloud wreathed in lightning – and as Gharda had planned, the Duskeyr came. A storm of this magnitude was too tempting for the lightning eaters, and they were irresistibly drawn to the bolts of energy that danced between the Palace of Storms and the maelstrom it created. Gharda called this inverted hurricane the Writhe, and like a hurricane the heart of the Writhe was calm and safe, from the palace through to the tip of its funnel. The top of the funnel whipped across the sky, seeking out the planet Mephiyeh which it eventually found. With the connection made between the surface and the planet, Gharda commanded the vanguard to fly up through the funnel at the heart of the Writhe, protected from the Duskeyr by its raging winds and lightning storms. Unassailed the vanguard reached Mephiyeh in a matter of hours and immediately set about reclaiming the planet for Gharda. The Duskyr were trapped in their gluttony of feasting and were unable to take any preventative action. They had lost control of the skies, but not all things went in Gharda’s favour.

With the successful invasion of Mephiyeh the captains of the Palace of Storms were commanded to power down and dispel the Writhe. To the captains’ dismay the Writhe would not dissipate, and the vast storms continued to rage for days after. The continent of Avursheen was plunged into a never-ending assault of blizzards and tornadoes. Avrusheen was slowly covered in a blanket of snow. Worse, the altered weather patterns were mirrored on the far side of the Orb and similar but less violent effects were becoming common in Karjnivarj. Fortunately the Writhe remained fixed in central Avursheen, but Queen Gharda was forced to relinquish control of the Palace of Storms for safe keeping in Serpentia. Within two years both Avrusheen and Karjnivarj were covered in thick sheets of ice, and Gharda was forced to pay Harioc vast sums to compensate for the ruination of her land – but Gharda cared little for such burdens, for the expeditions on Mephiyeh were going better than she had hoped, and the Guruun she had secretly transported there begun work on their new creation.

How Queen Gharda convinced a crew of Guruun stoneshapers to work for her has always remained a mystery, but it is clear that they were more than willing to create a new Mogramid on Mephiyeh despite the old memories of betrayal. It had been nearly two thousand years since the last Mogramid was constructed, but the plans and knowledge to do so had not been lost. The dreaded Warck capabilities of the ancient Mogramids was disabled to allay the fears of the other Queens, and with its completion Gharda relocated her courts to her new domain. Her namesake lands she kept for herself, but as a token of apology for the inadvertent ruination of Karjnivarj she handed over control of Djunat and Benopoca to Queen Harioc. It appeared that Gharda was intent on claiming all of the planets for herself, and the pride and envy of the other Queens could not allow this to happen. Yet Gharda was content with controlling only Mephiyeh and its moons ­­­– instead she assisted the others in laying claim to the inner planets by granting use of the new Mephiyeh Mogramid to transport armadas of colonists. Gharda’s Guruun also assisted by building Mogramids and Lighthouses on each planet and their moons. Only the innermost planet of Pheocudi lay beyond the reach of the Narghwans, for it orbited too close too the Heartsun and was bathed each day in its fiery brilliance. In every inhabitable corner of the Orb the Narghwans now ruled.

(Part VI tomorrow!)

No comments:

Post a Comment