08 - The Great Astral Campaign

In the year 965, a book titled “The Revelation of Tka-rik” fell into Skrakan’s hands.

Within its covers, the origin and nature of the demons were explained. The book claimed that they were an evil from another world, whose fundamental purpose was destruction. Tka-rik, and the whole of the Junes civilisation, had been searching for new sources of magic and his experiments unleashed the demons upon the world. The only way to stop the rush of demons, he discovered, was to shut the gates to this other world, and his methods were detailed within the book. Skrakan brought this knowledge to light, and the war between the factions ground to a halt.

The following year, 966, Skrakan and Nezeb signed a peace treaty, and sent a joint reconnaissance mission to the location of the Junes’ Gates. They discovered not one, but several gates, and the two Great Mages were brought to their thresholds. After a pitched battle with the demons, the alliance gained control of the gates and the allods they sat upon.

The Great Mages attempted the rituals, and failed three times. Their fourth attempt was successful: the gates were sealed. But as the Mages celebrated their victory, the skies above them were split asunder with a mighty Astral Storm. All those within the storm fell: the armies, the ships, and the Mages. Only a few ships on the edges of chaos managed to escape and bring the heavy words of bitter-sweet victory home again. Both factions had lost their leaders, and this changed everything.

The leadership of the league passed to the Conclave of the Great Mages, comprised of the Five Great Mages. Aidenus, the Great Mage of Kvatoh, led the Conclave and the League.

The transition of power in the Imperial territories was more turbulent. The sudden vacuum created by Nezeb’s death exploded into bloody confrontation between two Great Mages: Gurluxor , and old and experienced mage who was a mere shadow of Nezeb, and Yasker, a young and popular war hero.

Yasker managed to obtain the might of the Orcs and Arisen by promising each of them full rights in return for supporting his claim to the Empire. Overwhelmed, Gorluxor fled to a distant allod, and his location remains a mystery to this day. Victorious, Yasker ascended to power, declaring himself Great Mage of the Empire and, in keeping his promise to the other races, extended full rights of citizenship to the Orcs and Arisen.

Despite the success of this Astral Campaign, and despite the sacrifice of Skrakan and Nezeb, the Astral remained a perilous place, hiding demons and other monstrous and terrible Astral creatures. These risks, however, did not hinder travel and trade but rather encouraged it. With one threat gone, another rose to replace it: Astral pirates began to terrorise League and Imperial ships alike in search of treasure and profit.

The uneasy alliance formed to combat the Astral Demons crumbled as relations became more and more hostile. Small conflicts flared while overpopulation on the allods, dwindling resources, and fundamental ideological differences made the hostility between the factions more apparent. These were the first breaths of a new war between them.

In the year 1008, after many skirmishes, war was officially declared. The cause was a new allod discovered between Kvatoh, capital of the League, and Igsh, capital of the Empire. It was called Holy Land.