Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

The Factions of Tertia – The Matriarchs of Kildu

In the early days, when the old gods chose to selectively introduce magic into the world, there was one particular nation that believed women to be more capable of attuning to the mystical energies. Women were already considered strong in this nation for the natural strife they bear, Nelaime’s leading status among the old gods only furthered their beliefs. The women of Kildu created a government hierarchy based on magic and at its peak were the matriarchs. These matriarchs, considered as the mortals closest to the old gods by the people of Kildu, were to be the absolute symbols of women’s power. They would guide, nurture, but above all prove that the country’s hailing of women wasn’t baseless to the nations around them.

There would always be five matriarchs in power at any one time. Each matriarch would represent a unique aspect which would drive the growth of Kildu during their reign. The matriarchs have the right to choose what their aspects are within reason, apart from one. These five aspects become the pillars of Kildu’s society, the guidance that keeps the nation strong. It is through this system that Kildu has managed to remain strong over the years, despite many wars and hardships. The people of the country need never despair, through the lead of the matriarchs they always know what to do. In return for their nation’s trust, the matriarchs viciously protect their people from all who would threaten them.

This remains truth to the modern day, where four of the five matriarchs fought in the war on alignment. With the battle for godhood on the horizon and Circadia encroaching from the west, these veterans know that more great battles are inevitable. The matriarchs intend to stand strong through the foreseeable strife for if they fail then the pillars crumble and everything will come crashing down on Kildu. However, in the minds of the people, this isn’t even considered a possibility. Not when they are protected by the reincarnation of Nelaime herself.

PILLAR OF ABSOLUTION – NITA CESSA

When a new matriarch comes to power, it is tradition that they should be allowed to choose what they represent as a pillar of society. Yet, there is one pillar that must be maintained as the generations pass. The pillar of absolution, a title that may only be held by the strongest of the current matriarchs. In the eyes of the Kilduvians, the pillar of absolution is equivalent in status to the old gods. This pillar represents Nelaime, the female archmage who graced the world with magic and who coordinated the other old gods. The hero who gave her life to defeat Gonel, the absolute representation of women’s strength.

Though, in all generations before Nita, the pillar of absolution has been little more than an echo. Consistently the most powerful mage in Kildu surely enough but merely a fanfare to Nelaime’s truest glory. What makes Nita different is her striking resemblance to old god, spurring the Kilduvians into believing her the reincarnation of Nelaime. If they knew the truth about Nita’s appearance, though, then they might not be so happy to hail her with such vigor. For Nita was not born with Nelaime’s face, no, Nita was conceived as just a regular little girl during the age before the war on alignment.

This was an age when the tensions were still rising and yet nothing had kicked off yet. Between the introduction of Virtue into the world and the political collapse that would result in the war on alignment. Kildu was one of the countries largely against the introduction of Virtue into their society but the nation was in a state of self-debate. The older generation at the time were the ones in majority with regards to rejecting the Virtue and that generation’s young wanted the country to embrace the powerful female deities that had come to the world.

The former way of thinking came out stronger due to the feats performed by Nelaime, a woman who fought with her life for Tertia’s sake. In comparison the new gods had nothing but words, they claimed to be of such status and yet they weren’t the ones who stood up when Tertia was in danger. Whether they were the ‘true’ deities or not didn’t matter, in the end the Kilduvians decided that the only god they would hail was Nelaime. This conclusion was not insignificantly spurred by the cult which fanatically hails Nelaime; the Archmage’s legacy. A cult which had found a comfortable home in a country of people who similarly held Nelaime in such high regard.

Nita’s family was a part of the Archmage’s legacy, which at the time was particularly vigorous in their attempts to revive Nelaime. This was an age where many were being led down another path, where Nelaime would no longer receive the respect she deserved. The cult saw the old god’s revival as the only thing that could bring back those who had turned to the side of the true gods. Only with Nelaime’s intelligence and guidance would they be able to overcome this time of betrayal. This meant their methods were getting more drastic and more psychotic as practices like ritual sacrifices were no longer off the table. Due to the amount of stress put on them, the cult also burned through Protesia at a quick rate.

They had to keep continually training people to be capable of wielding the Archmage’s body, so the cult took to abducting kids who showed even the smallest signs of potential to raise them specifically for the role. Nita’s family happily offered up their daughter, the most pride she could ever give them would be if she could wield a part of the Archmage’s body. She was subject to harsh and constant training among peers who just wanted to know where their mothers and fathers were. Nita knew that none of them were suitable, under these conditions she developed a superiority complex from a young age.

In her maturity, she was head-and-shoulders above any of the other kids that the cult had trained. Of the hundreds, only three of them had become strong enough to even have a chance at wielding a piece of the Archmage. Of those three, Nita was clearly the most capable by far. The other two were completely overwhelmed and destroyed when brought into contact with the Archmage’s body while Nita cleanly took Nelaime’s dagger into her hand. The tremendous power of the dagger flowed through her and she made it her own, taming it with her vast aura of sovereignty. Truly, she was a being compatible with the original archmage. Unlike the other Protesia, she did not even suffer any adverse effects from the attuning process.

Some time during her training, the war on alignment began. Unfortunately for Kildu, their beliefs weren’t compatible with those of their neighbors. Saraho and Knuse had accepted Virtue into their societies, though the latter of the two was unwilling to go to war. Tahtim was an ever-consistent problem with their oddly stubborn belief in the Hope but the real issue was Esnaquizar. Kildu and Esnaquizar were never on good terms, seeing as the latter had definitively rejected deities. Thankfully, Esnaquizar had to constantly keep their eyes on Frantumere, which left Kildu to deal with Saraho.

The Sarans were as cunning as they were infuriating. Of their surrounding countries, they saw that Kildu had no allies at all to turn to. The Saran army was strong, arguably the best on the continent in conventional terms. Kildu’s matriarchs had protected against Saraho in the past but the Sarans were more than capable of killing the powerful mages. Active war raged in western Kildu when Nita became a Protesia, a battle she felt the urge to join. She absolutely despised the Saran mentality, thinking they’re so superior because they have a few above-par strategists. Laughable, Nita thought, she would show them what superiority looked like.

Against the collective wishes of the Archmage’s legacy, Nita enrolled in the Kilduvian army and stepped on the battlefield as soon as she was able. Dagger in hand, she tore through the Saran forces and led Kildu to its first decisive victory against their cocky neighbor. The Sarans, not the type to admit defeat, would periodically send more forces into battle in an attempt to overwhelm this new threat revealed by the Kilduvians. Every time Nita would come, happy to dispatch them, until she was formally recognized for her efforts in battle. Since none other could stand against the Sarans as she could, it was clear that she was the greatest mage in the nation. For this fact, she was made Kildu’s pillar of absolution.

By this point, she had started to somewhat resemble Nelaime. Her hair and eye color were the same but she wasn’t quite the spitting image she is today. This is the effect of the Archmage’s body, each piece will slowly transform their wielder until they perfectly resemble Nelaime herself. The people of Kildu did not realize that Nita’s facial structure changed over time, in fact many don’t even remember that her resemblance to Nelaime wasn’t why she became the pillar of absolution. Regardless, Nita was a reliable protector during the time of war, up until the misaligned kin’s coming.

The misaligned kin were unpredictable, dangerous, but they held great value in the eyes of the Archmage’s legacy. From the way they interacted with the space around them to the way they broke magic simply by existing, one thing was obvious about them. They didn’t quite follow the rules of reality, some part of them would always just neglect to conform the existence around them. Nita was the one who suggested that perhaps it was that kind of rule-breaking the cult needed to make Nelaime’s revival a reality. It was obvious that resurrecting the dead was impossible through any regular means, after all it was something that even Nelaime herself could never do successfully.

So, instead of killing the misaligned kin, Nita attempted to capture them. This was particularly difficult given their existences would fade away if they were ‘killed’, so she had to restrain one while it was alive. Many cultists died aiding her in this endeavor but by the end of the war her research did bear fruit. She found that the misaligned kin were magical entities of some kind and somewhat managed to unravel the chaotic mess that kept them together. She even found ways of wielding this chaotic magic, though to only a very limited capacity.

With what she knows, she believes that it may be possible to break the universe and bring Nelaime back. However, her understanding and control of the chaotic magic isn’t quite enough to make it happen. Not yet. To make impossibility a reality, she would need more time to study the misaligned kin. Being an expert in magic, she knows that whatever seal was placed on the misaligned realm will not last forever. Nita tasks her branch of the cult to go out and find more about the seal so that she can speed up its deterioration. She eagerly awaits the day the seal breaks so she can practice her superiority over the very laws of reality and bring back the one being more worthy of praise than she. Nita recognizes that she is superior through Nelaime’s power, after all.

Meanwhile, on the surface, she maintains her image as the pillar of absolution. As a title she’s quite fond of it for it enables her to be praised for her superiority. She’s the top of the food chain, above men, women and even the other matriarchs. In return, she has no issue with simply echoing the words that the Kilduvians want to hear. Little more than patriotic respect to the hierarchy that was established oh so long ago. With control over both cult and country, she can effortlessly squash out anyone who would contradict her status. Should she wish it, she could become a major contender in the battle for godhood. Not for herself but as a gift to Nelaime upon the day of her glorious revival.

PILLAR OF WAR – MYST VADRI

In each generation of matriarchs, there is a tendency for one of the five to take on an aspect that relates to conflict. In the past there have been several who have simply chosen ‘war’ as their pillar, Myst is the sixth to hold the title. Unlike in the case of the pillar of absolution there is no necessity to this, it is the will of the matriarchs who chose this pillar to dedicate themselves to battle. Doubtless it is a glorious position to hold, given the legacy of matriarchs who have faced entire armies for the sake of Kildu. Myst took the title after the fifth pillar of war died during a battle against the misaligned kin.

Myst was born shortly before the misaligned tear, when any wars that involved Kildu had become cold. By this point the Sarans got wise enough to not just send their army on suicide missions while Nita led the Kilduvian forces. The Esnaquans had declared war on Kildu as well but refused to follow through with the risk the pillar of absolution posed. Esnaquizar would only take a battle they knew they would dominate, losing forces would mean making an opening for the Frantumerans to strike. Because of these facts, the people of Kildu were quite confident in their safety. They lived as if the war on alignment wasn’t even happening.

Myst was raised complacent, she was told that there were wars happening but that the current matriarchs were invincible no matter who attacked them. Myst, along with practically all the children of her generation, idolized Nita and the other matriarchs. It was all well and good for the matriarchs to just be strong but the fact that no one was even willing to challenge them was so cool in the eyes of the kids. It was a generation motivated to train hard to become matriarchs themselves one day but the misaligned kin threatened to take away that fact. Creatures that saw magic as little more than a minor inconvenience, making them particularly effective against the matriarchs.

Nevertheless, driven by the expectation for them to protect, the matriarchs faced off against the misaligned kin. They did all they could, unleashed the extent of their power but magic simply couldn’t bring the chaotic creatures down. Nita’s want to capture the misaligned kin instead of killing them didn’t help the number of casualties either. She told the Kilduvians that they needed another way to fight them, which meant they needed to find out more about them. The Kilduvians would do anything for the hero who saved them from the Sarans but the price ended up being the life of one of the other matriarchs.

This matriarch was replaced with Gladys Remeslo, who focused her efforts solely on creating fortifications to keep the countryfolk safe rather than fighting the invading enemies. This didn’t sit right with Myst, to her Kildu was meant to be a country built on the strength of women. Myst refused to believe that strength could be overcome to easily by some unknown creatures, so she intensified her training to prepare for her inevitable enrollment into the military. If the people she was taught to look up to truly weren’t good enough then she would take that place and become the icon of strength.

The war against the misaligned kin continued and the next major casualty came. The former pillar of war had been killed and the morale in the Kilduvian shelters was shot. People truly started to believe that the matriarchs stood no chance and that they would inevitably all be killed. The pillars were crumbling. An idea Myst continued to refuse. She joined the military and took a new approach to the battle. If magic didn’t work then she would fight with strength. With swords, spears, stones or sticks; anything she could find she would use to personally tear through the misaligned kin. She wouldn’t let them stain the legacy of the matriarchs she looked up to any longer.

It was a method of warfare that the Kilduvians weren’t trained in but they followed her lead. They stopped hiding and throwing ineffective spells from afar, instead they threw themselves into the fray and actually pushed back against their enemy. The result was miraculous, more soldiers survived than in any previous battle with the misaligned kin. Ahead of even the matriarchs and ahead of any strategy, Myst threw herself into battles with the misaligned kin with no fear for her own life. She earned the nickname ‘anti-chaos berserker’ before she was nominated as a matriarch. Matriarch was a title she refused to take until the war was over, she didn’t want her life to hold such value before then.

When the war did end and she became the pillar of war, her first act was to change how the Kilduvian military handled their training. It had been made clear that the country had valued magic too highly, even if it was representative of Nelaime’s great legacy. Just having five strong mages and some back-up dancers wasn’t enough any more, they needed to be strong in all regards. Only then would they be achieving their full potential both as soldiers and as women. In her mind, Myst had the end goal of making the people less reliant on the matriarchs overall. The fact was that the matriarchs she looked up to let her down during the battle against the misaligned kin. She wasn’t confident that she wouldn’t similarly let down those who looked up to her. She needed to make sure that, in that scenario, someone would be able to step up like she did and become the new face of might.

Contrary to what one may believe, Kildu’s pillars of war rarely want wars to happen. If at all possible, they use their influence to avoid wars happening in the first place. All things related to war are under their jurisdiction, not just the battles themselves. They’re pillars of society not warmongers, war always means casualties so it’s best to avoid it. The pillars protect the Kilduvians, they don’t throw the bodies of their people into the meat grinder. Though, in the foreseeable future, there are inevitable battles to come. Myst knows that and she knows that Kildu will have to be prepared. Regardless of whether or not these battles are impossible for Kildu to win, Myst intends on becoming the berserker once again.

She will give her life for her country because only then will she know she gave it her all.

PILLAR OF KNOWLEDGE – PYTHIA SEPHYR

A scholarly matriarch who concerns herself only with the arts of learning and teaching. A living library of knowledge who wishes to know everything about Tertia and everything beyond it. She was born soon after the misaligned tear, when the Kilduvians were suffering great losses due to their reliance on magic. Her early life was spent surrounded by people hiding fear under uncertain confidence. People who, for the first time, were in doubt over the ability of the matriarchs to protect them. Pythia had no one she could look to for certain guidance for no one was sure of anything. They didn’t even know if they would survive the war against the misaligned kin.

Most other children around Pythia’s age just became as reserved and uncertain as those around them but she was different. With no one to guide her, she became her own teacher. With the materials available to her, she taught herself about the history of the matriarchs and their greatest feats, about iconic Kilduvian public figures and the ways they inspired the masses and about the documented knowledge of planes. She started practicing as a public speaker with her family as audience before moving on to her classmates. Her goal was simply to raise morale among the Kilduvians, she knew it would make them more proactive and raise their chance of survival.

Her speeches mostly revolved around the tales of Nelaime, the country’s hero who fought against an extra-planar threat and came out victorious. It seemed simple enough, just a reminder of the history that the Kilduvians already celebrated but it was greatly effective. The people became more confident and they turned their support towards the matriarchs still fighting against the misaligned kin. Pythia wasn’t satisfied, though, she wanted to back up her speeches with logic. She wanted to describe exactly how the misaligned kin could be defeated and ways in which their plane could be sealed away. With her growing popularity she gained access to more materials to read from but there just wasn’t enough for her to figure everything out.

Around this time, she uncovered the presence of the Archmage’s legacy in Kildu. She found that the cult had numerous bases throughout the land and that their influence existed even within the matriarchs. These cultists had access to magical knowledge that Pythia would never find on the surface as they had collected all that they could from Nelaime’s studies. Pythia infiltrated the cult to find what they knew but still they had no more planar knowledge. Nelaime died before the age of major progress in that field so her studies were only useful for general magic growth. Pythia took advantage of this but it wasn’t what she wanted. Just being better at magic wasn’t the solution to the battle against the misaligned realm.

It was then that she found out what Nita was doing behind the scenes. Under the moniker ‘Nefarious’, she was capturing and dissecting the misaligned kin in an attempt to take hold of the magic that made them. The public knew that Nita was set on capturing misaligned kin to find out more about them but her reason for doing so was not as she publicly claimed. She told the people it was to find more effective ways of fighting against them but Pythia found that Nita had no intention of bringing the battle to an end at all. She wanted it to keep going so she could keep gathering test subjects.

Pythia felt betrayed, this was the same women that she guided the people of Kildu into supporting. A liar acting against the nation’s best interests. Pythia was intelligent enough to realize that she couldn’t bring this information to the public, Nita was considered a hero and no one would even believe her. At best, she would be abducted and sacrificed by the cult for knowing too much. She had to take things into her own hands, become the true guiding figure the country needed. To this end, she rose through the ranks of the Archmage’s legacy until she attained a position at the side of Nefarious. A hand who directly aided in the study of the misaligned kin, all so she could find out how to save Kildu.

At this time, Myst had taken to the battlefield and started the swing that would result in Kildu pushing back against the otherworldly enemies. Pythia spent all that time trying to find out how best to handle this dire situation and one berserker woman with simple weapons finds the most direct, effective and stupid solution. Pythia would be lying if she said she wasn’t annoyed but at least her country was gearing towards a more advantageous situation. In the end, the tear was sealed with Pythia’s studies not amounting to much of anything. Although, Nefarious assured that such a seal couldn’t possibly be permanent. It would inevitably rip open once more and when it did Nita would use its power to finally bring Nelaime back.

With the world relatively more safe after the misaligned realm’s sealing, Pythia left Kildu for a time. She ventured out to find the people who placed the seal and came across the druid sage Nairn Birchorn. Nairn explained the seal and how the sage druids were maintaining it and Pythia shared in return Nita’s plans to speed up the realm’s re-opening. Pythia asked if it would be possible for her to learn the magic that maintained the seal but Nairn was sad to admit that she would have to go to Iaxus to gain that knowledge. Nairn taught her what he knew but it was clear that Pythia wouldn’t be able to meaningfully contribute to the seal.

In return for Nairn’s knowledge, Pythia leaks to him the movements of the Archmage’s legacy. If that cult finds out about the druids maintaining the seal then they would assuredly attempt to kill said seal-bearers. When Pythia returned to Kildu, she attained her matriarchal position through conventional means. The matriarch she took the place of died of natural causes after giving all her effort in the war. Contests of leadership and tenacity took place and Pythia was fairly elected as being the most suited candidate for the position.

Since then, Pythia has made it her goal to open the minds of the people of Kildu to cultures beyond their own. They’re a people who have been stuck in their ways for so long and it’s only a matter of time before that stubbornness comes back to bite them. They had no allies during the war on alignment and that fact alone nearly meant their downfall. The moment their confidence in the matriarchs was challenged, the entire country was on the verge of crumbling. Just like that. Pythia supports Myst’s efforts in making Kildu’s military less reliant on the matriarchs but she believes they have to go further than that. They have to respect the ways of the other countries and make allies if they are to survive.

Using her sway, Pythia has also made moves to uncover and remove the Archmage’s legacy from Kildu. A difficult task given one of the cult’s Protesia is the pillar of absolution but one Pythia intends to follow through. She seems to have an almost psychic knowledge of where the cult’s bases are, which has led the Kilduvians into believing her some kind of seer. More often than not, she has knowledge that she seemingly shouldn’t have. This has drawn the suspicion of Nita but Pythia knows she has some level of safety behind her position as matriarch. Pythia’s will acts directly against Nita’s and if that gets her killed then that’s a fate she’s willing to face. The safety of the country is more important than just her life alone.

PILLAR OF CRAFT – GLADYS REMESLO

Protector and builder, Gladys is a constantly active matriarch who built the walls that protected Kildu during the war on alignment and now aims to rebuild that which was lost. Gladys was born about a decade before Myst, similarly during the age when Nita had singlehandedly assured Kildu’s safety from the other countries. Just the same, she was raised complacent among a community that believed the matriarchs could protect them from anything. No war nor weapon could ever scar Kilduvian land so long as Nita was around. However, unlike Myst, when these expectations were challenged by the misaligned kin, Gladys did not doubt the matriarchs.

When the matriarchs struggled against the misaligned kin, a sentiment that perhaps they were not as powerful as the Kilduvians believed started to spread. For years, they had cultivated this idea that the matriarchs were invincible only for them to be rendered practically useless in against this new enemy. Few were willing to come to the conclusion that the misaligned kin were just that strong, for to admit that meant to admit that the world was doomed. The Kilduvians saw the matriarchs as the highest beings on Tertia, on the level of the old gods. If they couldn’t defeat the chaotic kin then no one could. That was the despair which Kildu tried desperately to avoid.

Gladys was among the few who remained unconditionally confident in the efforts of the matriarch. Though things looked grim, Gladys was certain that the matriarchs would pull through in the end. People were drawn to her for her positive outlook and, though she wasn’t a matriarch herself at the time, she tried her best to be a figure they could turn to while the matriarchs were out on the battlefield. She trained her magic for the sole purpose of protecting these people, she decided early on that’s the role she would take. The matriarchs would handle things on the outside while she would keep the people safe from within.

After hearing of the inspirational speeches of a young girl named Pythia, Gladys used her position to give Pythia a higher platform. After hearing such a speech herself, Gladys decided she would do everything she could to support this girl. Gladys saw a lot of potential in Pythia and believed she would be the type of person worthy of becoming a matriarch. She was shocked when she herself was offered such a title through the will of the people. One of the matriarchs had died on the battlefield and there was no time for proper contests and official decisions to take place. When one of the pillars needed a quick replacement, the nation turned to Gladys.

Not that her position as matriarch wasn’t controversial. There were still those who believed that she should have to go through the regular process and those who believed that Gladys wasn’t enough of a warrior to be a matriarch. She had never touched the battlefield, all she did was build walls and hide. This didn’t change even after Gladys became the pillar of craft. Her focus continued to be on the preservation of lives rather than going out to win battles. Many saw her as a coward because of this but, with the advantage the misaligned kin had over the Kilduvians before Myst stepped on the battlefield, such defensive actions were what saved countless lives.

Even after the war ended, there were those who called for Gladys to be removed from her position. In the face of these people, Gladys remained all smiles. At that point, her focus was on rebuilding the settlements that were lost during the war. When on her own with just her thoughts, she thinks that maybe she isn’t good enough. Not when compared to how great her peers are. Still, while she holds the title it is her duty to keep doing her best. As the pillar of craft, she will continue to build herself up until she is worthy. With the same title, she will help the people of Kildu to build themselves up as well.

She wants to aid the survivors of the war in picking themselves back up. Even decades later, those who saw the war are still shaken by its effects. Fear plagues the lands but it is not absolute. The people of Kildu are strong and Gladys will help them rise up above their own doubts. They will craft buildings. They will craft their culture. They will craft their future.

PILLAR OF LOVE – FATIMA CHAREMI

The youngest of the current five matriarchs who took the position after the death of her mother, Karama Charemi, the pillar of dignity. Fatima was given the title at the young age of 10 because of the vast potential Pythia and Gladys saw in her. Normally, familial ties wouldn’t factor in when it comes to the appointing of a new matriarch. Countless women in Kildu train tirelessly for the chance to prove themselves worthy when a position becomes vacant. Any of them have a chance given the only qualifications necessary are competency and strength. In that regard Fatima is an exception, which made her not particularly popular in her younger years.

Even in these youthful days, Fatima wanted to see the good in everyone. The problem was that the people around her refused to show their true faces. Her mother’s abused servants only ever forced pained smiles and the others who would have contended for her position as matriarch hid their disgust under congratulatory guises. Looking for good in them would be like looking for good in an actor’s character. It would all be fake and that infuriated Fatima. She wanted the people around her to show their true selves so she could see them for what they were. Even if those true selves were jealous of her or hated her, she thought that would be better than continuing to know only fictional characters.

She tried to speak out but she commanded no respect during the time when she first received her title. No one was willing to listen to what they saw as an immature child unworthy of being a matriarch. Fatima remained repressed for the duration of her training under the guidance of Pythia. Her first venture out of the fictional life chosen for her was when that training finished and she was moved back into her mother’s old mansion with nine servants specifically trained to serve her. Her first order to these servants was to reject the ‘proper’ ways of acting they were taught and be who they wanted to be.

It took some time before Fatima was able to ring their training out of them. She insisted day after day that her servants not act based on things like expectation. They weren’t robots programmed to act a ‘right’ way, they were each unique people with their own quirks and personalities. As Fatima spotted these quirks, she would tease her servants about them until she wormed her way into their true selves. Eventually, her servants were comfortable acting casually around her. Though, this loose relationship between Fatima and her servants could only rarely leave the mansion. The servants were still bound by social expectations so they defaulted back to their training on the outside. This was something Fatima aimed to change.

Originally, she was dubbed the ‘pillar of youth’. Her aim was to be a means for the younger generation to connect to the matriarchs and have their own voice, an aim she diligently worked towards. She would often go out onto the streets of Kildu to visit schools, youth groups and other places where young people gathered. Her speeches would be largely inspirational to drive her audience towards sharing their perspectives and opinions. It was after she managed to get her servants to open up to her that she changed her aspect to the ‘pillar of love’. Her speeches became more focused on guidance as she worked towards the ideal of a society without toxic predispositions.

What these predispositions entailed were the expectations for servants to act as servants and that men should invariably be underneath women. In Fatima’s childhood, she saw her mother abuse her male servants countless times. In Kilduvian society, the terms ‘male’ and ‘servant’ were practically interchangeable. These expectations for people to act certain ways or take on certain roles was unforgivable from Fatima’s perspective. She knew everyone was different, had their own needs and aspirations, it just wasn’t right for anyone to have their lives chosen for them. The ‘love’ of her pillar was a call for the Kilduvians to love themselves for who they were and to love others for who they were. No lies, no fake smiles, no arbitrary expectations.

Predictably, her vision appealed to the youths she had already connected to but was heavily criticized by older Kilduvians. In essence, she wanted to changed the status quo that Kildu had followed since its founding. The older demographic believed that the country’s enforcement of its hierarchy is what allowed it to survive all of Tertia’s harsh ages. Changing it, especially at such a volatile time in the world, would only invite Kildu’s destruction. A political divide was created but Fatima remained confident in her way of thinking. Her servants supported and criticized her decisions, with their feedback Fatima could always state her words confidently.

The trust and bond between Fatima and her servants grew and when she was out on business she encouraged those who stayed in the mansion to bond with each other as well. It seemed completely natural when their relationships began to become more intimate. The servants would blush whenever she requested they take her hand and Fatima started to hug them and give them kisses on their cheeks. While matriarchs would commonly get into relationships, this closeness with servants was odd. Most matriarchs in the past would go out of the country to find their soulmates, believing relationships with their subordinates to be below them.

After speaking with each of the servants personally, Fatima came to a conclusion about her feelings. Cheeks bright red, she gathered them all up in the main hall and confessed her love to all of them. No longer did she want their relationship to be of master and servant, she wanted them to be together as equals. If they would have her, as lovers. The servants mutually reciprocated her feelings and from then on that’s what they were. Her lovers. Until tragedy struck in the form of a deck of cards. It appeared before Fatima after a regular meeting of the matriarchs, curious she drew from it and upon the card was the Wheel of Fortune.

Time seemed to stop as she was drawn into a pocket dimension. The table in front of her flipped up and the deck of cards assimilated into it as it turned into a sectioned wheel. Driven by a powerful compulsion, Fatima spun the wheel and it landed on ‘the Lovers’. The world returned to normal and the deck was gone. Instead, there were nine diamond-shaped trinkets. She entrusted the trinkets to Pythia, hoping that her elder matriarch could determine what they were. Swiftly after giving away the trinkets, she felt as if something had been stolen from her. Like a piece of her just went missing. Worried, she returned to her mansion to find that all of her lovers had fainted.

No method she tried could revive her fallen lovers. They weren’t dead but they were trapped in a dreadfully deep sleep. No doctors could aid them and worst of all, Pythia claimed that the trinkets had disappeared. Fatima found similar trinkets on each of their bodies so she knew that they and that deck of cards must have had something to do with this. However, whenever she tried to take the trinkets from them, she felt herself losing consciousness. Because of this she could not study them without putting herself at risk. Not knowing what to do, she cried as she recalled the memories she had with her lovers. What she didn’t realize is that there was a name missing in her mind.

She was then drawn into the misaligned realm by Binko. Binko explained what the deck of cards had done and promised that he could return the lost diamond-shaped trinkets, at a price. Fatima would do anything for her lovers so she accepted before even hearing the terms. Fatima was sent back to Tertia no longer a woman of freedom. Her life was no longer to do with as she wished. Driven by Binko’s will, her public speeches suddenly took a dark and drastic turn. Her positive and inspiring image turned into propaganda against the countries that surrounded Kildu. She claimed that the borders only existed because of their stubbornness and that if they would not join with Kildu of their own volition then they would have to take it by force.

She based her reasoning largely around the spread of Circadia. It had quickly become a force far greater than any of Crobayoris’ individual countries and yet those countries chose to fight the nightmares alone. Separation had been what plagued Crobayoris from the earliest days, their absolute inability to work towards a common goal. It would be what destroys them should they not change and it’s obvious words won’t do the trick. To beat the deepest fear the people of Kildu need to emulate it, expand and become their own super-massive nation. On the surface the other matriarchs object to Fatima’s logic but Nita and Myst are slowly being drawn in by it.

In truth, Fatima no longer cares what happens to her country. Whether it is destroyed in a war she starts or if it’s swallowed into Circadia, all she wants is her lovers back. For that, she will do anything, destroy any nation. Underneath everything, that self-destructive passion forms the true self of Fatima Charemi.