Dimension of Do’krice
Date Relative to our own Timeline: Jan 1st 2220 A.R.
Location: The Council of the Sylvan Warloechs, Land of the Sylvan
The chamber was massive, but seemed tiny in comparison to the size of the single tree from which it was lovingly shaped. The canopy of leaves went from one corner of the chamber to the other. Even here on the ground, as one’s eyes followed the path of large vines that snaked across the floor, one could see leaves large enough to be used as seats and benches.
In the center of the chamber were stocks made from hand carved Zela metal ore, studded with crystalline Zela outcroppings. Held inside the stocks was none other than I’tash. The elderly Sylvan Warleoch was bent and his old mummified skin was being ripped at and rended by the spikes on the stocks. He did not struggle in any way, and luckily, his undead nature meant he simply avoided breathing. But the pain was unbearable. It was one of the few things that set his animated nerves instantly into torment.
Sitting on a massive leaf was Iessa, and on her head was a regal crown made from crystalline flowers.
I’tash, former Grand Magi of the Northern Kingdoms, looked up at Iessa and said, “May I be the first to give thanks that you have taken over the Warleoch Council, and brought us up from the Necropolis to the surface again. Your wisdom is only equal to your beauty, Captain Iessa.”
“Empress Iessa,” she corrected, “And your flattery is as skillful as your management of the planet Refuge, and more importantly Warmonger’s imprisonment on Les’tas’tral. By that I mean incompetent and quite clearly above your skill.”
“My Empress, may this humble servant ask if you have considered my descendant Boriel’s request that I be released into his custody for a long retirement?” asked I’tash.
“Forced retirement is too good for you former Lord I’tash,” the newely risen Empress declared, “You had one responsibility as custodian of that planet. Prevent Warmonger from escaping Les’tas’tral by any means necessary. Warmonger now roams free, in a super powered Quall-Avatar body. A host of such destructive potential that even the Hive Queen Council had sent me their own diplomats demanding an alliance against this abomination.”
“I succeeded in holding Warmonger in check, until Calphas removed me from power and allowed a slave uprising to divert the focus of my PeaceLords,” countered I’tash thinking his logic might win him a way forward.
“Calphas may not agree with my rights as new Empress of the Sylvan, but he and I did agree on one thing when we spoke,” said Iessa, “Your slaver kingdoms were just used for a handful to live richly while the rest suffered. Your slaver kingdoms were only a riot away from full civil war, and in fact wasn’t that really what took you out of power, I’tash?”
“Just let me take control again, I can bring Warmonger’s Avatar in for containment. I can fix this,” said I’tash with so much passion that he ripped the entire arms of his clothing on the spikes holding him.
“No I’tash. You will be sent to be a slave of the Grand Magi of the Northern Kingdoms. You will serve as his slave and the slave of the I’tashi Alliance until such a time as this Empress decides you have felt a fraction of the pain of the victims of your slavery.”
“I did not invent slavery, the Falosini bred those creatures to be slave soldiers,” replied I’tash in confusion.
“If you had limited your slavery to the Children of the Falosini, I wouldn’t like it but I would agree with your premise. But you added new species to your slave stables didn’t you? Yyan Giants? Dragonkind? Earthers? And Olgogs?
I have recently been saved by Olgogs, I’tash, and I like those fuzzy green fellows for the most part.
And when I learned that the Earthers committed genocide against them, and you did nothing??? Those your alleged PeaceLords took in were simply enslaved? You consider that good stewardship of this planet?”
“Might Empress, please, you were not here, you did not see how the K’ias manipulated us all. J’kutu built an entire false religion just to draw us into war with the Earthers. But my PeaceLords knew it was a trap, and let the Earthers learn their own place on this planet,” said I’tash, “As for the Olgogs, just look what happened after I was removed from power? They turned to worshipping a false idol and created Kalok, a Greater Evil of such power even the four original Ancient Evils fear him and his followers.”
“You want me to believe that because of one misguided tribe and their influence, all the Olgogs of the planet deserved the slave collar?” asked Iessa, “Did not the other Greater Evil of this age rise under your own rule in the form of the Unity?”
“The Unity was a rebellious force, Techo Magi who would not stop until they unleashed a terrible demonic force upon the wireless networks,” said I’tash slowly, “I admit I did not understand Earther technologies they introduced nor the Technomancy it gave birth to, as fully as I should have.”
“Good,” said Iessa, “You will learn all that must be learned. As a slave to the Alliance. So declares the new Sylvan Empress.”
“An excellent decree of course my Empress,” said I’tash, “And what should I tell detractors from your great rule, the fools who ask, Isn’t a Warleoch excluded from the rights and ranks of Empress of the Sylvan because only the living may rule the living just as only the dead may lead the dead?”
“There are no living Sylvan who have not been poisoned by the bestial curse, and are little more than animals in behavior and thought,” said Empress Iessa, “The Earthers and Olgogs and their fight is an example of failure of the Sylvan to lead. Refuge is still a split world, a contested world.
Entire chunks of it were Nightmare Lord territory even after the K’ias Wars, and only the Uthvelor and Pelebor drove them from those places. They were siezed by martial force, but not by the Sylvan.
Many other sections were claimed by the Peace of Falos, though most were forgotten by the Warcouncil of S’vana.
And two small sections on one continent are held by Earthers.
But still half the planet is held by the Sea Kings, Warmonger’s most devout followers. Until they are driven from their holdings, these Sea Kings represent the greatest support group to the Avatar of Warmonger.
Our council has already recognized the United Tribes as the true heirs of the ancient Olgogs of Der’al. And I will formally recognize them, and the other settlements of Olgogs as the true heirs to these lands we retake from the Sea Kings.”
“That sort of world war…you would be feeding the Warmonger, can’t you see that Iessa,” said I’tash in exasperation.
“Don’t you see Warmonger has already won,” Empress Iessa, “He has been freed, and is now physically gathering his army. Either we side with the Olgogs, or we leave them to be rolled over by his armies.
They protected me once from Warmonger’s forces. It is time we returned the favor.”
Suddenly a horn sounded, the alarm horns of the wild Sylvan. One of the few tools they used were horns made from passed elders and heroes, along with bone and wood spears. These horns gave a loud pure note, and could be varied to suit the need. And when sounded in alarm the meaning could not be confused.
I’tash looked up to see two hooded and robed figures were removing his restrains and freeing him from the stocks. Empress Iessa, first Sylvan Empress in aeons was already gone, left via treegate to lead her army in defense of this newly reclaimed settlement.
I’tash looked into the grey hood and saw a concerning face.
“Ahh good, In this moment, right as you enter the role of slave, I wanted to have you see my face,” said the Krato General who was hidden in the cloak.
“General Tharr, but how? Even the Uth Seers say you are dead, well and truly final death,” stammered I’tash, “Your Krato they are here, even in this inner sanctum?”
“No, luckily for you, I don’t truly serve Warmonger any more than I served the Kasanthians,” said General Tharr, carefully removing the Zela from the wounds of the elder Sylvan, “My Krato are here with me just to help you escape this place, and safely return to Refuge. Now the Armies of the Krato Generals who truly serve Warmonger, they are ringed around this new city.
They believe they are scattering their enemies among the Sylvan by shattered this new center of power. They are of course wrong. They are simply beginning the next war, in what Warmonger hopes will be endless war to power his true goals.
And this attack is just part one. All holdings across the distant shores allied or recognized by the Sylvan will be under attack by the Krato Generals loyal to Warmonger.
But I have made sure that at least the Krato Ur-Kings will not stand beside the evil Generals. And even the Krato in their way will serve the Balance in defense against Warmonger.
But like the Sea kings, the Krato Generals are true believers in Warmonger.
It will be bad for Refuge. The speaking races of Refuge will need your help, and your redemption in action to save them. I have made sure to train an army of people who will aide you in this. People I helped and people I hurt, but I made sure they became the agents of change you will need to help Refuge survive this Age of Warmonger.
The Rumors of my death were not lies, I’tash. It did cost me my life to get you here, no matter how many different ways I tried. But to bring you so low, to force you to live the pain you caused so many, and to free those millions you made slaves, it was worth my life.
And I don’t want Warmonger to win, I’tash, no matter how I may personally hate you.
So you get to live, I’tash. I hope your new slavemasters are kinder than mine were, Grand-Magi-No-More.”