Prologue: Boriel’s dark dealings
Boriel I’tash was the heir to the Sylvan Lord I’tash who once ruled all of Refuge. Since the end of the Border Wars in 2218A.R. Boriel had been a Lord in Exile, ruling hundreds of PeaceLords and thousands of slaves at his living keep, Boriel’s Retreat.
Boriel’s Retreat was made from the same living crystal the Sylvan used to cultivate on their home dimension of Do’krice. The crystal was shaped in its initial growth stage into the beauitful crystailline rose that has lasted the test of time. The Retreat had originally been a secondary castle set up by Lord I’tash after the uprisings in the Kingdom of Kasanth in the year 999. But the centuries had been kind, and it had not known real war against external foes before.
Boriel was a baribur, but less cheerful than most. His sullen mood was only made worse when Slavemaster Malice entered his chambers with concerning news.
“The Grim and his army will not act to crush their enemies, my lord,” Slavemaster Malice said, “And his advisors continue to plot and plot about releasing all the slaves of the PeaceLords attacking them.”
Boriel sneezed, wiped his nose, and then said, “Grim has always wished to free all slaves. He was an Order of the Ice Pick member long before he joined my employ. But I had hoped to see him crush the other PeaceLords.”
“Crush them….but why….they have been loyal to you Boriel for two years since the capitol city of I’tash fell to the terrorists of Elijah Morte,” said Malice.
Boriel raised a hand. An earther slave, bound hand and foot in metal caps forcing them to crawl across the grouind, as they brought their lord the cask of binber wine strapped to their back. Boriel refilled his goblet from the cask and looked at Malice quizically for a few moments.
Then he said, “They are loyal to me yes. But the PeaceLords in question have given up their loyalty to my great Ancestor Lord I’tash. They advise to stay here, and isolate ourselves. To build for a few centuries until the EEF and their Northern Kingdom allies are distracted by other wars and other threats.
By then the Terorrists will have won. They will have convinced everyone to believe in their new order. To See Lord I’tash and his Sylvan as little more than servants of the state instead of the very reason the state exists.
Lord I’tash was tasked by the Sylvan Warleoch Council to keep the threat of the Warmonger at bay. When Warmonger fled the Prison dimension, the Warloech Council demanded Lord I’tash be punsihed. Yet look at the final result. The Warmonger was granted final death. His cult scattered again, and his armies for all intents and purposes disbanded.
In the end Lord I’tash’s course of action set into motion the final death of Warmonger. He should be lauded praised and given the retirement in style that he deserves. To spend his days ruling in peace.
Instead he is in irons, a kue’lo set to dance and prance for Elijah Morte’s enjoyment. That cannot be allowed to continue for hundreds of years. By that time Elijah Morte will be dead of old age, and his line will take the throne of I’tash.
And that is the crux of the problem. You see Lord I’tash had a rivalry that lasted millenia with a great and old enemy… ”
“I’m confused, by the old enemy, you surely mean the Warmonger?” asked Malice.
“No the Warmonger was a force, a power, but not a personal enemy of Lord I’tash. I would be surprised if the Warmonger even knew Lord I’tash was one of his jailors for the past aeons.
It was a slave of the Warmonger who freed himself that I truly worry about. The Krato General Tharr. A criminal and time traveler, who once lead Warmonger’s Krato Generals in the old wars. But for the past decade I have seen him acting as a free agent, going against the Warmonger cult…”
“Going against the Warmonger cult should make him and ally not an enemy my Lord. Im sorry I just don’t follow,” replied Malice.
“Tharr broke with the Warmonger Cult because he wanted to hurt my beloved Lord I’tash. He was one of the hidden backers and supporters of Elijah Morte’s uprising. Reports brought back from the Tarrisian front during the Border Wars, leads me to believe that General Tharr was involved in the transaction that sent the slave Elijah Morte from Tarris where he had been trained as a professional bodyguard, to a new PeaceLord working in the lands of Tal Hanon where he faced PeaceLord Harrow and began his rise to power.
And now Tharr succeeded, My Lord I’tash is a lord in chains…”
“But my lord with all due respect, there have been no reports of General Tharr since he was granted final death by Lord Roan and Yohai Horosha. Do you suspect he is still running around somewhere?”
Boriel said, “Tharr was a time traveler. He doesn’t need to be alive for his plans to be in motion…”
“So how do you beat a time traveler?” asked Malice.
“I get one of my own,” said Boriel, he lifted a commcrysal and said the words, “Mighty Holys, I thank you for your offer of aide during the civil war that plagues my lands. I accept your offer of aide and support in the coming months.”
Many many miles away, on the opposite end of the continent, Holys the Chronomancer held the commcrystal and listened to Boriel I’tash with a sense of glee and anticipation.
Into the commcyrstal Holys replied, “Excellent Lord Boriel. I can guarantee you that General Tharr will not interrupt your plans in any way shape or form. I have some agents in the field that will guarantee that…”
One of Holys greatest experiments involved a half-breed child of the Daemonsbane monster called Roan. And his experiment in automated life was going splendidly. They had been very influential in many ways. They collapsed trust in the VLAD agency by its own members, until the Colony Generals’ greatest supporters and protectors were all in jail leaving him vulnerable, killing General Tharr, preventing the EEF from allying with the Nightmare Lords of the SteamGate Hidden Dimension.
Holys laughed aloud after putting down the commcrystal. Right now he could feel the timelines drifting apart from the moment he had activated himself as a chronomancer. It was disorienting living in multiple timelines at once, he wondered if this was how a da’uhnb felt all the time. Lucklily his eyes only saw the timeline he was focused on, so he was at least able to see what he needed in this timeline.
He could feel three distinct paths forming under his feet.
Three experiments that he was so excited to run on the unsuspecting people of Refuge. The mad scientist, the chronomancer, the necro-technician in him would each get one to play with, and all would be run from his new Hub of Worlds, hidden away far from prying eyes…