In the Beginning, there was Darkness. All that existed was the Darkness that constituted the entirety of reality. Since it is meaningless to refer to absolutely everyting that exists if there is nothing to compare it to, it would be more accurate to say that nothing existed. For an infinity of eternities, all that was, was Darkness, as there had always been. Then, after an infinity of eternities, for no reason, there spontaneously came into existence a streak of light which straddled the cosmos. At that instant and forever after, there was Light. Also, it could be said that it was at that instant that Darkness came into existence, for only at that point was there something to compare it to or some way to define it. From that point forward there waged a never-ending battle between Light and Dark. For an infinity of eternities the struggle continued without any sign of abating. The primordial forces that constituted all of reality battled for supremacy and to subdue the other. At some points it appeared that Darkness would regain total control and destroy Light, only to fail. At other times it appeared that Light would vanquish its opponent and consume the Universe, only to be beaten back. For an infinity of eternities this continued without any sign of victory for either side.

Then suddenly a balance was achieved between Light and Dark. The Universe would be filled with darkness but also encompass an infinite number of points of light. The heavens would glitter in a spectacular array of dazzling pinpricks of light against the darkness. Neither of the primordial forces were satisfied with this compromise. Each wished to subdue the other but also realized that this could only be achieved through more subtle means than the all out headlong confrontation that had proven so unsuccessful. There then ensued the Epoch of Creation. Light created, through sheer omnipotence, what came to be known as the One. The One was an entity infintely more powerful than the most powerful god ever imagined. The One created spheres of matter to encircle the spheres of Light. Different numbers of featureless white spheres orbited the throbbing spheres of Light. The One created three sons, Viror, Renred, and Gigraz. Viror created different terrains to decorate the worlds his father had created. Some worlds he covered with forests, others with deserts, others with oceans. Then he decided to place all of the terrains he had invented, forests, deserts, jungles, swamps, etc., on one single world called Yur. The world called Yur became the centerpiece of the Universe. Yur was devoid of animal life until Renred filled Yur with animals of various types.

Everything to have occurred since the streak of Light had straddled the Cosmos had destroyed the Perfection to have existed previously. The Perfection was lost. The Darkness was intent that it be regained. To put a halt to the ongoing creation, the Darkness consumed the One's third son Gigraz before he had a chance to create anything. In response to this, Renred created petty weak beings whose existence would infuriate the Darkness. We call these beings Gods. From this point forward, the Light, the Darkness, the One, and his sons are so omnipotent that they can not exist in the Universe in the form it has taken. They fade into the background, forever influencing events but unknown to exist by even the Gods themselves.

The first and most powerful god was Anu, God of the Sky. Anu stood in the deepest ocean on Yur. Then he caused a primordial hill to rise out of the tepid sea. He called this enormous hill he had just created the Ongash, which would eventually become the major continent on Yur, and on which all civilizations would arise. At this time it was desolate. Anu created two children, Shu, God of the Wind, and Tefnut, Goddess of Dew and Cosmic Order, in order to help him in creating what was to be on that hill.

One day, Shu and Tefnut became lost out in the desolate wasteland of the primordial hill. Anu removed his left eyeball and sent it out to find them. In its absence, he created a new eyeball to replace it. Eventually the original eye returned with Shu and Tefnut, and was furious that it had been replaced. To calm its ragings, Anu placed the orginal eye on his forehead so it would have a prime viewing spot for the world he was about to create. Anu and his children then set forth to carpet Ongash with thick forests, luxurious fields, and meadows rich with flowers, coursing rivers, and lush glens. Shu and Tefnut then became King and Quenn of this world, and had four children, Osemori, Irkalla, Ravemir, and Klackra. Shu and Tefnut were wise just rulers and under their reign there was great prosperity. Eventually when it became time for Shu and Tefnut to retire, Shu declared Osemori to be the next king. Osemori had married Irkalla, and Ravemir had married Klackra. Thus Osemori, God of the Mountains, and Irkalla, Goddess of the Rivers, became the next King and Queen of the world Anu had created.

Ravemir was very jealous and very much wanted the throne for himself. He declared war upon his brother and a fierce war embittered the land for many years. Shu then mediated a truce between them and set forth an agreement by which Osemori would rule the northern part of the kingdom and Ravemir would rule the southern half. After this, Osemori decided that he would like an enormous monument built to himself. He did not want to have to personally build this great monumant so he created creatures to build this monument for him. We call these creatures humans. Ravemir was jealous of his brother's creation of humans and was never satisfied with the agreement to divide the kigdom in half but wanted to rule all of it himself. Ravemir then went to Osemori and cut him into fourteen pieces. He threw these pieces into a river, and declared himself King of all of Ongash. Irkalla then undertook a long search and diligently found every piece of Osemori except his larynx which had been eaten by a crab. It was beyond her power to restore him. She told Anu that if he were to tell her his true name then she would be able to tap into his power and restore Osemori. She proceeded however to trick Anu by using his true name to transfer some of his power to her and Osemori's newly conceived son Zormuz.

Shu, in response to Ravemir's actions, revoked from him his half of the kingdom and gave it to Osemori, so Osemori once again ruled all of Ongash. Irkalla then proceeded to civilize the humans who had previously been barbarians. She taught them to read and write, to domesticate animals, and to grow their own crops. She taught the women domestic skills. Ravemir was infuriated at losing his half of the kingdom. He decided to declare war on Osemori again and this time he would have the endorsement of the great Anu himself. He told Anu that he had been firstborn and was thus the rightful heir to the kingdom. Anu was not unwilling to ally himself with Ravemir against Osemori and Irkalla since he was deeply upset at how Irkalla had misused his true name. There then raged an enormous war between the Gods. For thousands of years it continued and throughout its course almost everything in Ongash was destroyed and nearly all humans were killed. Ongash was reduced to the wasteland it had been orginally. Then Irkalla with magic and seduction tricked Ravemir into admitting that he was not in fact firstborn. Anu was forced to withdraw his alliance. Ravemir was then easily defeated and banished from Yur. Osemori's son Zormuz assumed the throne and with Anu's power which he had within him, rebuilt the world and created a land of beauty and splendor surpassing that of the original.

As the millennia passed and the Gods retreated from Yur and up into the heavens, humans finally achieved a level of civilization. They slowly advanced through the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age, and built the first cities. They spread across the continent like a plague. This time was an age of great heroes. One legendary hero was Garenkarf who set off on a quest for immortality. His best friend was Effinzok was deathly ill with a lingering disease called the Onx. He could only be saved by breathing the fragrance of the fabled Plant of Life. Supposedly, eating the plant would bring immortality. To achieve immortality himself was an ulterior motive on the part of Garenkarf. There existed one human who had been shown the location of the plant by the Gods, and achieved immortality, King Upnaptism. He had done the Gods a great service and lived on the edge of the known world. Garenkarf spent many months travelling to the palace of King Upnaptism who told him that the Plant of Life grew at the bottom of a sea an enormous distance away. Garenkarf set off on this arduous journey. For many years he travelled and transversed many strange lands.

Garenkarf saw many strange things and had a wide range of adventures. He passed forests where the trees were made of jewels and gemstones. He walked through forests where the trees dripped blood, and waded through rivers which ran uphill. He was attacked by hordes of strange headless women. Finally he reached the sea of which Upnaptism had spoken. He dove to the bottom and picked the Plant of Life which resembled a pure white lily. After many years he arrived home. There he cured Effinzok. He went to see Upnaptism before eating the plant. King Upnaptism told him that his life was one of perpetual boredom. He dared Garenkarf to stay awake for one week. Despite all of his adventures, he could not stay awake that long. Discouraged, he buried the Plant of Life, and where he buried it a great golden tree grew. This sort of thing typified the Age of Heroes. It was during this time that humans built great pyramids in the southern part of the continent. Eventually however, humans acquired a level of logical reasoning and a different way of viewing the world. Humans lost all contact with the Gods all together and became preoccupied with their own affairs. The supernatural was known to exist only in the deepest recesses of the mind.

Heroes such as Garenkarf lived oner 100,000 years ago. Human history is divided into roughly one hundred Ages, each approximately one thousand years long. For most of the past 100 Ages, magic was unknown and unbelieved in. People believed that the ancient legends and even the stories of the gods themselves had been made up. People were preoccupied with the eartly world they inhabited, the world they had made for themselves. 80,000 years ago there arose the Selucid Empire. By 70,000 years ago it covered most of the continent of Ongash. This was an age of great enlightenment and reasoning. Science was born and in an age of logic such things were explained as the fact that Yur orbits its double suns of Selis and Rahm instead of the other way around, and the fact that matter is composed of the four elements: fire, earth, air, and water. The heavens were charted in detail and men sought to contruct complex models of the orbits of the planets in the solar system. There was the development of advanced mathematics. It was also an age of great cultural awakening. Art was developed to a level of perfection. Those who worked in painting and sculpture achieved a lifelike realism. Architecture saw the advent of the arch and dome, and thus the construction of enormous palaces and cathedrals. Great amphitheaters and aquaducts were built. There were impressive achievements in biology and medicine. The Selucese loved gold, and everything was covered in gold leaf.

By 60,000 years ago, the Selucid Empire was in decline. There was a mild shift in the world's climate that caused far less precipitation to fall on previously fertile farmland. Also, the fact that the same soil was used over and over again led to a depletion of the nutrients, and these two things together led to mass famine. The sons of the last king Aruha-ahur fought over succession which led to a crippling civil war. Finally, the Empire endured waves of war-lke barbarians flooding in from the east. Therefore, by 50,000 years ago the Empire had totally collapsed and fractured into hundreds of tiny feuding kingdoms and stretches of wasteland overrun by barbarians. For the next 20,000 years there were no stable political units. Kingdoms winked in and out of existence overnight. The majority of the population was made up of wandering barbarians who rampaged the countryside in roving packs living off pillage and plunder. They conducted raids on all accessable villages where they killed all man, raped and killed all women, took anything of any value, and burned the village to the ground. There existed a few more stable baronies that were immeshed in eternal warfare with each other. The rulers were ruthless merciless tyrants who had invariably siezed control by murdering their predecessors, ruled through blood-curdling fear, and eventually ended up having short lifespans themselves. This was a time of profound ignorance and extreme misery. Many people were burned at the stake for witchcraft. Famine was so widespread that many people resorted to eating human flesh.

This persisted until about 30,000 years ago when there came a force that could bring order from the chaos. This was the Cantonese Empire. The Cantonese were extremely extremely warlike people who believed in self-punishment. They were strong believers in self-flagellation. The men would whip themselves with leather lashes and chains until their backs bled. They wore furs and dressed like barbarians even when they achieved a high level of civilization. They had an elaborate and rigid code of honor. Their original kingdom existed high in the mountains but they spread southward across the plains until eventually the Cantonese Empire covered almost a third of Ongash. Through brute force they imposed order on the land they conquered. They took it upon themselves to rid the whole of the continent of the scourge of barbarians. They sent out armies with the intent purpose of chasing down the last of the barbarian bands and eradicating them. Finally, relative peace was restored. The Cantonese Empire was doomed to fall apart however. They lacked the political structure and centralization to keep it together. Unlike the Selucese, there was no extensive goverment bureaucracy, only the single king. Their empire encompassed so many different languages and different cultures that it was impossible to keep together. Futhermore, the Cantonese themselves were extremely unpopular, and by 20,000 years ago, their empire had dissolved.

It fractured into about twenty major kingdoms and about a hundred smaller ones. There ensued a long period of constant warfare while they continually battled each other over land and borders. Eventually all of the smaller kingdoms had been swallowed up, and there remained five major kingdoms. These kingdoms were locked in never ending conflict. They were equally matched so they couldn't defeat each other. There were shifting alliances between them. A few of these kingdoms were internally unstable because they were actually composed of what had previously been many kingdoms which had been acquired through conquest and forced into submission. The names of the major kingdoms were Amerdale, Grafferneg, the Ujalis, Tammerung, and Vornexis. At this time warfare shifted in its character. Previously, armies had been made up almost entirely of conscripts. Only the officers, and the cavalry through which they had risen were proffesional soldiers. However, they were drilled very hard and the training was very rigorous. By the end of the five years thry were typically in for they would generally be hardened veterans. This shifted somewhat about this time. The majority of the army were conscripts raised for a specific battle and had no expirence whatsoever. They were yeoman farmers who fought with agricultural tools. This was counterbalanced however by the rise of a whole class of proffesional fighters. These fighters may be mercenaries who would fight for anyone or may be sworn to fight for a specific king. These were the first armoured knights. This new class of knights took warfare to an art form.

By 15,000 years ago, the Kingdom of Amerdale had defeated Grafferneg and the Ujalis. Tammerung was immeshed in civil war. Vornexis wasn't in the immediate geographical vicinity. It lay some distance to the north and thus was not as acutely involved in the continual warfare of the region. There was then discovered in the mountainous regions near Vornexis, a rich vein of mineral deposites, especially gold and silver. The true extent of these deposites have probably been exaggerated, but it sent off a flurry at the time. Vornexis claimed it immediately and set up its own mines in the region. Amerdale also claimed rights to the deposites and sent an army to the region to secure these rights. Vornexis foresaw this and had its own army stationed around the mines. There erupted a bloody battle, much of which was underground, and resulted in a bloody cave in. Amerdale had sent such a large fraction of its military to the Carpathian Mountains that it was unable to keep Grafferneg and the Ujalis subdued. The two nations siezed this momment to try to free themselves of the Amerdalian yoke. The Amerdalian monarchy was unable to put down the rebellions. At this point Amerdale came apart. Meanwhile in Vornexis, there was a general who disagreed with the king's policy of clinging so tenaciously to the mineral rights so he had the king assassinated. Those who supported and opposed the king polarized and there was touched off a civil war.

The fighting continued unabated until it stabalized about 10,000 years ago. The western and eastern halves of the Amerdale have taken different courses of history. The western portion of what had been Amerdale eventually became the Mathekis Empire, a vast unstable polyglot state. It was in the eastern portion of Amerdale that the Republic of Barmoth sprang from the ashes of the formerly powerful state. The Kingdom of Yavin was founded on the remains of what had been Vornexis. The Mathekis Empire, the Republic of Barmoth, and the Kingdom of Yavin have been the most powerful nations for the past 10,000 years. The last two are currently vying for the dominance of the civilized world. The Republic of Barmoth and the Kingdom of Yavin are very different from each other, and more than that, each is very different from anything to have existed previously. Each is sort of an enigma, and up until recently they have had very little to do with each other.

Barmoth was originally a monarchy. It consisted of little more than the city of Barmoth and the surrounding countryside. It was one of about a dozen such city-states to arise during the collapse of Amerdale. Through military skill and good luck, it defeated its neighbors. Originally it was a monarchy like almost every single state to have proceeded it. However, after a series of oppressive kings, the popular general Roland mobilized the people who rose up and overthrew the king. King Xlexis was publically beheaded before a cheering crowd. Most people wanted Roland to be crowned the next king. Instead of this, Roland established one of the world's first legislatures. He founded the Senate which was to rule the country. At first the Senators were elected to office but this did not work. Either demagogues would promise free food and other things if they were elected, and once elected do as they pleased, or powerful individuals would hire gangs of thugs to intimidate rivals, or even murder people who didn't support them. Roland then changed it so that senators would be chosen by lot from the entire population. Supposedly any citizen would have an equal chance of being chosen to serve in the Senate. In practice, the aristocrats would use their influence to rig the selection process so only they or people they control would be chosen to serve on the Senate. The Senate thus became the implement of the rich.

Roland did not live to see Barmoth become essentially a military dictatorship. The Senate was made up of the wealthiest citizens. This could never be changed since anyone who wanted it changed had no voice in the government. The Senators raised the taxes on the lower social classes so that a mojority of the population lived in absolute squalor and at near starvation while a privileged few lived luxurious lives of extravagant opulence. Many thousands died of starvation, disease, and exhaustion from supporting the extemely expensive tastes and lifestyles of the Senate. Obviously the Senate needed some way to enforce its decisions and do the support of the military was crucial. The Senators ensured this support by making certain that the high ranking officers were very well paid. Still, the final fact was that the actual power lay in the hands of the military. The military could demand whatever it wanted and the Senators would have no choice but to provide it in order to maintain their cooperation. Therefore the leader of the military was the true leader of Barmoth, and in this sense Barmoth was a military dictatorship. There were about 500 Senators and the military dictator was usually chosen by his predecessor, usually having been his second in command.

The primary preoccupation of the Republic of Barmoth is military conquest. They take military conquest extremely seriously and view eventual control of the continenbt to be their manifest destiny. Their borders have expanded greatly in recent centuries. Originally a landlocked nation, they now stretch southward to the Azure Sea. In Barmoth the military is very highly regarded and is the most highly respected faction of society. Barmothians are fiercely patriotic and believe that the truest expression of this patriotism is the subjugation of other people. Warfare has been highly romanticized in the public imagination. The reason that most Barmothians are willing to endure the very harsh conditions they do is because the surge of pride that Barmoth's territorial acquisitions bring them makes it worth it in their mind. Barmothians love tall buildings. Barmoth is filled with palaces, cathedrals, and castles whose towers and turrents kiss the sky. The Tower at Nockmar Castle is nearly 100 stories tall. Barmothians also love black. Most castles and palaces are made of an oppressive black stones called balsartz. The armor worn by the Barmothian Knights is jet black.

Several centuries after the fall of Vornexis, the area that it once covered was a region of unbearable strife. There were six different people in some way related to the deposed Vornexian royal family who were claiming the throne. Each had his supporters and mercenaries, and they fought each other bitterly. Futhermore, as Barmoth which lay to the west expanded its borders, it generally sent displaced people scurrying, often in the direction of what had been Vornexis. Each wave of angry intruders fought those who were already there. One of the self-proclaimed kings was Epsilon. He told the other five kings that if they were to band together and join forces, they could fight off the intruders. The six self-declared kings decided to do this, and under Epsilon's leadership, they successfully defended the borders of a newly created state they called Yavin. Epsilon was declared the first king of Yavin. He was a wise and just king who was loved by his people. After the waves of newcommers had dies down, there followed a period of great prosperity. When Epsilon died, his troops played dice for the bones of his left foot. Yavin was some distance away from Barmoth, and thus they were left alone. Yavin spread southward until it too bordered the Azure Sea.

In recent centuries, knights everwhere have gained more clout and political power. The kings relied on their knights for support. This was more true in Yavin than anywhere else. The knights formed an elite caste which looked down upon everyone else. There are about 100 knights in Yavin who essentially constitute the government. The Knights of Yavin are sworn to faithfully serve and obey the king. The King of Yavin, who had usually been trained in tilting and such things, usually included the knights in the decision making process. The Knights are sworn to uphold a precise code of ethics and conduct. Often kings put forward codes of conduct that their knights were supposed to follow but these were usually ignored. In Yavin however, the Knights followed these codes of conduct religiously. They were deeply committed to the concepts of chivalry, honor, and virtue. They firmly believe in fighting fairly, sparing your enemies, and protecting the helpless. They provided protection for all farmers in Yavin without asking for taxes in return. They supported themselves through Yavin's natural mineral wealth. They released captured prisoners unharmed. This sort of selflessness was so alien in the world at this time that they were viewed as weak by most other people. They were shunned by most people outside their borders except for a steady influx of refugees escaping the conquests of Barmoth.

This depiction of Yavin may be overly optimistic. Realistically, there are probably some knights who are entirely self-serving and only go through the motions of chivalry to gain the king's favor or to improve their position. Still, this is an ideal they supposedly strive for. The idea of actually caring about the welfare of the people within a nation is an almost unheard of concept. Bear in mind however, Yavin has always been an absolute monarchy where there have been no attempts to put restrictions upon the power of the king, while Barmoth has been the only attempt at actual democracy to have ever occurred in the history of the world. Yavin stretches from the Carpathian Mountains south to the Azure Sea. It encompasses some of the most fertile land in the world. They love nature. The headquarters of Yavin is Valorius Castle, which clings to the top of an unassailable rock which is surrounded by thick forests. They have a colossal Krystal Cathedral whose widows serve as a prism and cast the rich hues of the spectrum upon the marbled floor. Yavinians relish bright colors. The royal vestments of the King flash in every color of the rainbow and are festooned with gemstones.

Those in Barmoth had been completely unconcerned with Yavin until recently. Indeed, they were hardly aware of its existence. The southern edge of the Ongashean continent borders the Azure Sea. Barmoth and Yavin both border the northern shore of this sea. Barmoth is on the west. Yavin is on the east. A hundred years ago there was about 200 miles of wilderness between them. Over the course of the last century however, the Barmothians have closed this gap. They have taken over the intervening 200 miles until Barmoth and Yavin now essentially border each other. The Barmothians feverishly hungary for conquest, have now set their sights on Yavin. Having decided with triumph that Yavin will be their next acquisition, they will stop at nothing until it's been crushed from existence. There are other factors involved. Before now Barmoth had been preoccupied with the Mathekis Empire which had laim to the west. However this sprawling polyglot state which had been their perennial enemy has just within the last month very recently collapsed due to internal forces as well as Barmothian attacks and fractured into several small warring states. Barmoth is now free to turn to the east and focus its attention on Yavin. Secondly, Yavin has signed a trade agreement the strange and almost totally unknown people who live on the southern shore of the Azure Sea. Yavin's economic prosperity resulting from these trade routes and the recent influx of exotic goods has incurred Barmothian jealousy.

The current leader of Barmoth is technically General Yorkle, who is 60 and not very intelligent. However the real power lies in the hands of his son Luther, who is 27. Luther has taken to calling himself "Prince Luther", although Barmoth is not a monarchy and it's a meaningless title. He may be descended from some long forgotten king. He may also have designs on starting a new monarchy. He feels that since he will eventually be the official ruler of Barmoth, he should build up a popular base of support. The easiest way to do this would be to head a series of successful military campaigns. He views Yavin as a perfect vehicle for this purpose. The conquest of Yavin shouldn't be difficult. Barmoth has a much larger highly trained military. One hundred knights couldn't defend Yavin from the onslaught of Barmoth's military machine. Futhermore the benefits would be great. With the collapse of the Mathekis Empire, Yavin is the only other remaining power in the world. With the acquisition of Yavin, Barmoth could rule the world unchallenged. The King of Yavin is King Gareth who is 35 and one of the best kings Yavin has ever seen. The greatest knight in Yavin is Laverdere who is said to have never been unhorsed.

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