Saturday, March 2, 2013

HUSK: History of a Hollow World Part II

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).

c.4,000 YEARS AGO

The Guruun Mogramahukom is honoured with the invention of Mogramid teleportation, although it is far more likely that he was simply in charge of a vast conglomeration of scientists, Imajioneers, architects and belchitects that found a way to teleport objects and creatures between two Mogramid devices. Given the ramifications it was to have on Viperium society, it is little wonder that the Narghwans would honour his efforts with the naming of the devices after him. While it first may seem odd that a Guruun would work for the Viperium, it is believed that the independence of Pushpanoi was the promised reward for his efforts. Up til this time Mogramahukom’s homeland was held as a tributary to the Viperium, and was excessively taxed by the Narghwan overlords. Despite the immunity of the Guruun to the Narghwans’ ability to control the minds of others, there were alternate methods of coercing the Guruun to work on the multitude of construction projects undertaken by the Viperium. The development of the teleportation research was under the secret auspices of the Nargwhan Queen Calishe.

Exactly how the Mogramids worked is a secret that has been lost for millennia, but here is a brief overview. The passengers or cargo would enter the huge tetrahedron shaped construct that hovered above the squat docking ziggurat. The operators would select another Mogramid as the destination, then the Mogramid would begin to flip and spin at an increasingly rapid pace. This is no mean feat - the first Mogramids were over a mile long on their edges; two millennia of technological advances reduced them to about half this size. Once the Mogramid had achieved an incredibly fast rotation, the contents were transformed into a searing burst of energy that danced through the Aether like a bolt of lightning. The bolt struck the spinning target Mogramid, but it then rapidly slowed down coming at last to a standstill. The contents could then be unloaded, untouched and undamaged in any fashion. The first successful test had the unfortunate side effect of completely levelling the surrounding lands for a hundred miles, vaporising over one million inhabitants of a neighbouring city and turning the surrounding jungle to ash. This swathe of destruction was never overcome in all the many years of Mogramid advances, although the area of effect was reduced to one-third this radius in the last Mogramids that were made. The other unfortunate side effect was the annihilation of the entire development team including Mogramahukom. Over the next sixty years the Nargwhans were able to piece together the remains of the research and were eventually able to reproduce the same effect. Mogramid teleportation was now available for the Viperium to develop. Mogramid construction began on every continent of the Orb, with the technology sold by the Narghwan Queen Calishe for incredible sums. Calishe achieved the pinnacle of her power and influence, which should have lasted for many centuries as a result. However, Her failure to honour the negotiations laid down by Mogramahukom led to the costly war against the Guruun.

c 3,800 YEARS AGO

The Guruun continued to work on the Mogramid construction for many years after Mogramahukom perished, believing that Calishe would honour the agreement between her and Mogramahukom. They built the vast majority of the Mogramids during this fifty-year period, teams of ten thousand Guruun shaping the surrounding earth into the Mogramid designs. The structures sprang up all over the Orb, with at least one Mogramid on every continent, and usually many more. The Guruun were reluctant to build a Mogramid in the land of Pushpanoi, reasoning that once they were granted their independence they would have little desire to maintain relations with the Viperium. However, ambassadors from the Narghwan Queen convinced them that self-imposed exile was perhaps not the best option. The Viperium would still have need of Guruun stoneshaping abilities, and that perhaps there were things that the Viperium could offer them. Eventually the Guruun agreed to the construction of the Pushpanoi Mogramid, but not without a sense of foreboding.

At this time a new rivalry sprang up among the Narghwan Queens, envious of Calishe’s sudden wealth and fearful that the Mogramids could be used against them. As the Guruun toiled on, around them the armies of the Narghwan Queens were massing for a new war. Sadly the Guruun never were a perceptive race, particularly with the machinations and deceptions of the minds of others, and they did not see the trap that had been laid out for them.

With the completion of the Pushpanoi Mogramid the Queen Calishe wasted no time in using the device to send through one hundred thousand of her finest warriors to invade Pushpanoi. Huge arcs of lightning scarred their way through the Aether from her staging grounds in Barambay and speared the Shapelands’ Mogramid. Ten thousand troops would come through at a time, and once clear of the destructive radius that surrounded each Mogramid they would signal back to the Barambay Lighthouses that they had arrived. Then another ten thousand would appear, and another. Within five days Queen Calishe’s armies had established themselves in the heart of Pushpanoi.

The Guruun had never been an aggressive folk, and while they are exceedingly tough, their lack of military organisation meant they were rapidly overwhelmed by the Calishan Invasion. However, they had two things that would aid them in their two centuries of resistance – their power of stoneshaping, and the envy of the other Narghwan Queens. Hewrabadiesjin was the first Guruun to use his stoneshaping ability as a means of violence, and while he regretted it ever afterwards, he saw no other option but to fight back against the Calishan oppressors. He co-ordinated the first successful counterattacks against the invaders, and remained throughout the Pushpanoi Wars a key figure in the defence of the Shapelands against the Viperium. At first the Guruun attacks involved rasing shield walls of stone, and tearing open rents in the ground before the feet of their enemies that would hamper their progress, but the Guruun became skilled at hurling shards of stone and catapulting great menhirs straight out of the ground, to have them come crashing down in the midst of the enemy. Still the enemy came on, and within a month there were over one million Calishan invaders - many had sailed across the straits to Pushpanoi, and others had landed in massive dirigible airlifts from Barambay and Calishe.

In order to keep the seaward invaders at bay, Hewrabadiesjin instructed his brethren to raise the great walls along Pushpanoi’s western coastline. An ongoing effort that lasted the length of the two hundred years of proper fighting, the sea walls eventually rose to over a mile in height, and with sheer sides quickly became impenetrable. This had little effect on the aerial invasion, save that the turbulent airs above this wall made flight more dangerous. It also did nothing to stop the invaders from using the Mogramid.

However, it was the Narghwans themselves who saved the Guruun in their darkest hour. Fearing that Calishe would gain control of the entire continent and increase her power even further, the other Queens began sending their own troops in through the Mogramid, under the pretence of allies. This was quickly seen through by Calishe, and soon there was open warfare between the combined alliance of the other Queens and Calishe’s own armies. Desperate to maintain her hold over Pushpanoi, Calishe then sent the vast remainder of her armies into Pushpanoi. Her determination worked for a time, for she was able to push back the new invaders. However, agents from the Narghwan Queen Djakarshi had been in contact with the Guruun resistance, and the two parties launched a co-ordinated attack against Calishe’s holdings. Djakarshi’s armies marched across the border into neighbouring Calishe and also invaded her homeland through the Mogramid, while at the same time the Guruun launched a new offensive against Calishe’s armies encamped in the Shapelands. Realising her homeland was under threat, Calishe immediately withdrew all of her forces from Pushpanoi, reckoning that she could always return through the Mogramid to finish what she had started.

Djakarshi had not counted on Calishe withdrawing her entire invasion force to fight against her, and a month later the two forces met at Vlata Yhom, in the largest battle ever to be fought on Orbian soil. Calishe, enraged by this act of treachery, threw her entire army into the fray, and Djakarshi, committed to the overthrow of Calishe, met her forces with equal animosity. The entire arsenal of weaponry ever known to the Narghwans was unleashed in that battle, and the vast quantities of Imajions used cause all manner of unforeseen side effects and disasters for both sides. Viethie Warmachines and Imajion Havocs clashed with grunt and soldier and slave. After a hundred days of fighting both sides were decimated, the surrounding lands were ruined forever, and no clear victor emerged. Of the ten million Djakarshan troops and seven million Calishan troops sent into battle, only half a million returned to each side. The dead remain untouched even to this day, preserved forever on the Warplains of Vlata Yhom.

Meanwhile the Guruun had not been idle. They were free at last of the presence of Calishe’s armies, and the other Narghwan Queens withheld their actions until the Battle of Vlata Yhom was decided. For the first time in the two centuries of the invasion the Pushpanoi Mogramid lay virtually undefended. The surviving Guruun descended upon the Mogramid, and in the space of one night of fury reduced the mile high stone construct to a pile of rubble. With the Ramparts now encircling most of Pushpanoi, the Guruun homeland was effectively impregnable by any land invasion. There was little they could do against aerial aggressors save knock them out of the skies with their catapults, but this was never tested, for the lands of Pushpanoi were never again assailed. The Pushpanoi War had ended, but what was to follow was far worse.

(Part III tomorrow!)

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