Category: Tertia Worldbuilding

The Factions of Tertia – On Seraphim Wings

At the edge of Tertia’s atmosphere, one hundred kilometers above sea level, is a floating kingdom inhabited by an ancient race of Ignia named the ‘Star Ignia’. The Star Ignia are one of the oldest Magia clans that exist in the world, their roots found in the time shortly before Falme was devoured. The Star Ignia participated in the battle against the hungering creature and, when the fight ended and the creature gave its grave warning, they were tasked to look towards the stars so that they might warn the world when the creature comes once more. Their kingdom was elevated high into the sky and dubbed ‘Observatory’ and to this day its residents await the day that their fated mission must be carried out.

In the mountains below where Observatory floats there is a tribe of owl-like Vera called the Strigid who have based their society around the concepts of strength and freedom. The wings of their tribe represents their freedom to go where they please and they constantly train their martial abilities so that none can take their freedom from them. When a child is born to the Strigid tribe they are raised until the age of 9 and then taken to the base of their mountain territory to fend for themselves. They learn how to fight, survive and make their own decisions in the forests of Haust. They are told that they may return to the tribe once they are able to climb back to the lowest peak, yet they must go no further than that.

Each peak within the Strigid territory is a new plateau and each tribesman must prove that they are powerful enough to ascend by defeating a current resident of that peak. The Strigid believe that this trains them to fight all of life’s adversity, for no matter how far one goes there will always be those who attempt to take away freedom. The constant fight to ascend higher, to reach a freedom that none can take, that is the philosophy of this clan. The one who is most free, the Strigid who can go anywhere in the world is the one who makes their nest on the highest peak. In the current generation, the Strigid that holds this position is Asqir Terminus, the most powerful Vera to ever live.

THE WINGS THAT ECLIPSE THE SUN – ASQIR TERMINUS

Asqir was the son of Ingvild Terminus, the Strigid battle mother who had previously claimed the highest peak. Ingvild was revered for being undefeated in her time on the highest peak, it was only when she became pregnant with Asqir that she stepped down of her own volition. A majority of the tribe respected her decision and her legacy, proceeding to hold a tournament that they named the ‘Ingvild Summit’ to decide who would be her spiritual successor. Every Strigid in the tournament strove to live up to her legacy, though there was one of the tribe that was not satisfied with this. Qerek Ellzi, a magic specialist who had spent most of his life on the second peak looking at the highest from afar. He was a favorite to win the tournament but to the shock of the tribe he chose not to participate.

He had challenged Ingvild countless times for the highest peak, for his rightful freedom, and when she stepped down he saw it as little less than an insult. It was like having freedom handed to him, a pitying that insulted the ways of the tribe. He isolated himself in a hidden cavern and spent the months of Ingvild’s pregnancy concocting a spell, a curse that would make her child weak and undesirable. He believed that this would make Ingvild reject the child instead of raising it and that she would return to the highest peak so that Qerek could challenge her once more. So that he could be free of her, the one who limits his very being.

Qerek cast the curse, his machinations going unnoticed by any of his tribesmen. As intended, Asqir was born a sickly child who bore a disease that ate away at his beak, claws and feathers. The disease prevented the development of his wings and feathers, the sign of his freedom, and the outer layers of his beak and claws cracked and peeled away. The Strigid saw him as a condemned child, one whose sole freedom would be found in death. Some cawed for Asqir to be sent down to the forest young in case his infection could spread but Ingvild refused, raising him with all the love she could give until he was the proper age. Qerek was horrified, after all his effort Ingvild would not let go of this accursed, decaying child.

Ingvild wanted to be with Asqir as much as possible, for she believed that his 9th birthday would be his funeral. She hoped that if she had more time that she would be able to come to terms with his fate and yet she could not. Asqir was her freedom taken form and yet no level of strength would be enough to save him. So, she turned the tribe’s ways and personally took Asqir down the mountain to a Dendron tribe called the Hedera. Dendron tribes had knowledge of herbs and medicines, it was Ingvild’s only chance to give Asqir the chance at freedom that all should have the right to.

The tribe was not used to treating Strigid, in fact they feared the tribe for their philosophy on power. The Hedera believed power to be something terrible and corrupting, a force that could turn people into monsters. It was the enemy of empathy, those with too much power would inevitably see themselves as greater than those around them and do terrible things as a result. To them, the Strigid concept of freedom was representative of the selfishness that the strong used to justify all that they did, no matter who they hurt. At first, they turned Ingvild away, believing that she would show no appreciation for their ‘weak’ people. Ingvild would not be deterred, she meditated with her son in her arms and refused to eat or drink anything until aid was brought for him. The only times she would move were for the resources that she gave to him, given her strength she was never gone long.

It was a shaman of the Hedera that approached her, five days into her protest. The magic in her Vera body had kept her from dehydrating but it was clear she would not last much longer. The shaman had brought Ingvild a jug of water and sat with her. He said that he could not convince the others of the tribe to move from their decision but he thought they were being hideously close-minded. What he saw was not a terrifying creature seeking to use the tribe, he saw the desperate mother that was giving everything for the sake of her child. He was sickened that his tribe could not see that there was no more selfless act than what she was doing and offered to do all he could to free Asqir from his condition.

The shaman was able to identify that Asqir had been cursed and Ingvild was confused as to how a curse would have befallen him. She put the pieces together and came to realization that the only mage within the Strigid tribe who could have cast such a subtle yet potent curse was Qerek. In a moment of rage she was ready to return to the mountains and tear his head from his shoulders when, as if on cue, a bolt of energy destroyed the shaman’s home. Dirt and roots were flung into the air and the treeline was forced to step back and when the chaos cleared, there stood Qerek.

The shaman was gravely wounded but still alive, having used his body to defend Asqir’s. Ingvild was much tougher, having taken little damage but her rage was uncapped. Qerek had forced the information of their whereabouts from the members of the Hedera tribe and she saw behind him a settlement set aflame, a tool used and thrown away for the purpose of the strong. Qerek wanted his final battle with Ingvild no matter what the conditions had to be; he didn’t care what he had to do, he didn’t care if he died for it, in his mind he needed to do this. Ingvild flung herself at Qerek with all of her might, she hadn’t fought since before her pregnancy with Asqir but she refused to let that stop her from ripping Qerek’s throat out. Yet, despite being driven by her intense bloodlust, she was still a weaker form of herself. In ten years her ability had stagnated while Qerek had all that time to prepare, and prepare he did. This was no honorable battle between Strigid, there were no rules or conditions, this was a battle for them to kill one another.

Asqir saw the gross entirety of the fight. How the Hedera tribe burned, the screams and panic as his mother and Qerek ripped away at each other like animals on a hunt. He was terrified and likely would have been caught up if the shaman did not muster the energy to grab him and limp away into the shadows of the shocked treeline. In a harsh conclusion, Ingvild won the battle but did not have the blood left in her body to celebrate. With the last of her energy, she limped towards Asqir and hugged him tightly. She told him to never repeat the actions that he saw that day, that even if he got mad and wanted to hurt someone that he shouldn’t. She told him that he would get better, that he would get stronger, and that when he did he should use that power to protect people. That was her last wish before she fell limp.

The shaman led Asqir away from the death and flames towards another Dendron settlement where the two could find aid. They came into the care of the Lavandula tribe, but shortly after their arrival they were accosted by other survivors of the Hedera. They pointed their blame at Asqir, claiming that he should be left to die for the pain that he and his mother led to their people. The Lavandula tried to diffuse the situation but the Hedera would not back down until Asqir was gone. They moved to hit the shaman when Asqir, with all the power his weak body could muster, pushed his way between them. He told the Hedera that he wouldn’t let anyone get hurt in front of him, never again. In the face of it, the Hedera were not heartless enough to attack the young Asqir who had already lost his mother.

The shaman crafted a home just outside the Lavandula settlement to avoid any more conflicts and worked day and night to remove Asqir’s curse. He had already been through so much, the shaman refused to allow Asqir to suffer his whole life from it. He studied magic day and night, including spells used by the legendary sage druids, and after five years he finally managed to create a ritual that could break the curse. He performed the spell and Asqir was finally free for the first time. It took a couple more months after that but his wings finally grew, his feathers grand and healthy. His beak and claws made full recoveries and the boy positively surged with power. It was as if daytime had finally broken a long and empty night, Asqir was invigorated and he was powerful. Able to fully use his body, he quickly proved why he was the son of Ingvild as he hefted Haust’s mountainous trees just to test what he could do.

The shaman was exhausted after the years of non-stop studying and practicing the powerful magic needed to save Asqir. His old body had taken a great toll and about a year after the curse was broken the shaman lay on his death bed. Asqir sat by his side as the shaman reminded him was he was told by his mother and that above anything else to remember her words even once he becomes powerful. Asqir took the words to heart and when the shaman finally passed, Asqir decided to return to the Strigid tribe.

Asqir cleared the climb to the lowest peak with ease and met with his people once more. None of the tribe recognized the older, reinvigorated Asqir, when they did eventually find out it was him they did not believe he had survived. Many of the tribesmen were eager to test Asqir’s abilities since he had grown his wings, found his freedom, and Asqir was ready to learn the tribe’s art of battle. He did not like that he had to contend with the other Strigid but he accepted that he would have to fight to attain the strength to protect. In terms of raw power, Asqir outmatched a majority of the tribe even at his young age. He steadily climbed the peaks, learning how the Strigid on each level further refined the martial arts practiced by those below them. Faster than any Strigid had done before, Asqir soon managed to take perch on the highest peak.

Once he had reached this peak he did not feel satisfied. He sat and meditated, lost himself in thought to try and figure out what was amiss. Then he was enlightened, the highest peak of the Strigid tribe stood for something that did not match his own goal. The peak represented the freedom that its champion held alone, to do with as they wished. It was a freedom for one’s self whereas Asqir wanted to protect the freedom of others. Unsure of how to present this idea to his tribe, Asqir made an odd and unbelievable move. At the age of 19 he moved the mountains that surrounded the Strigid territory and bound them together with a spell that he had picked up from the shaman. Given it wasn’t meant to be used the way Asqir used it but few would think to apply it in such a way. Asqir created his own peak that measured far above the Strigid’s previous highest plateau. He announced to his tribe that his freedom was beyond his own and that all who lived in the mountain’s shadow would be protected. If there were any that disagreed with his decree, they would have to take his peak from him. Asqir swore to never lose, for he had more than just his own freedom on the line.

Initially, Asqir faced constant challenge as the tribe did not immediately accept Asqir’s attempt at change. Though by then Asqir had far surpassed the other Strigid, of them he was the only force of nature immense enough to move mountains for the sake of projecting an idea. Still, Asqir accepted the contention of his tribe until one day the Qelki appeared in the skies above. The Qelki was a titanic, bird-like creature that would become visible only once every few years. The Strigid considered it to be a deific figure and used it as a symbol of freedom, even basing their tribal mark on it. The Qelki moved slowly, so Asqir used the time to gather as many tribesmen as he could and brought them up to his peak to gaze upon the creature. Asqir used the gathering to make a speech where he projected the message that there would always be higher places to reach and that the power of an individual would never let them go as high as they could. He reminded the Strigid that they were a tribe and not just one champion and that if they truly valued freedom they should aim to spread freedom to others.

The tribe stood together in contemplative silence at Asqir’s words when suddenly the stars in the sky appeared to come closer. Then, shining lights passed all around the Strigid mountains as it seemed the stars themselves were crashing down upon the world. The tribe fell into confusion while Asqir realized that the Qelki was at risk from the cosmic assault. He ordered his tribesmen to fan out and defend the lands below to the best of their ability while he flew up to the top of the sky to protect the avian god. As he surpassed the Qelki’s altitude he noticed that there was something attached to it, what looked like an entire kingdom that could not be perceived from below. He was unsure if they had the means to defend themselves so he took it upon himself to defend its residents. One particular falling star led a fated path directly towards the kingdom, its size enough to obliterate it in a single impact. Even though Asqir had the strength to move mountains, he struggled against this mysterious, blazing gemstone as it attempted to make the floating kingdom’s downfall an inevitability. With all his might, Asqir hit the falling ‘star’ with a great impact that redirected it all the way towards Venatoria. The struggle with the ‘star’ exhausted Asqir and he fell unconscious, fortunately landing upon the floating kingdom. The kingdom of the Star Ignia; Observatory.

The Star Ignia took care of Asqir and when he awoke he was hailed as a hero for defending them. He was brought before King Antares XVIII, current ruler of Observatory, and given praise for his great strength and selfless actions. The king asked if there was anything that Asqir wanted for his feat, to which Asqir requested that the Star Ignia only live free. Antares’ face stiffened at this prospect, he told Asqir that freedom was not something the Star Ignia were allowed to live. They were a people bound to their duty, to live freely would mean abandoning that task and potentially being to blame for the world’s end. Asqir asked if there was anything he could do and the king said that the one thing he could do for them would be to answer the call when the day for them to carry out their duty unveiled itself.

That was when an idea came to Asqir’s mind. He told the king that he would surely answer the call but also that he would live the Star Ignia’s share of freedom as well. Asqir had the idea to travel the world in mind for a long time and yet he had resolved to overcome his tribe before he did so. That was no longer an obstacle for him, so he told king Antares that he would go and see the world that the Star Ignia were unable to explore themselves. Whenever he could, he would bring back the knowledge and experiences that he had attained. He would be the eyes through which the Star Ignia could have their freedom, even if it was indirect. The heart of the king was warmed by Asqir’s kindness and accepted his offer, telling him that Observatory was open to he and his people any time.

Asqir returned to the Strigid tribe, who had defended the lands of Pradas with all of their collective might just as Asqir had requested. Many were injured from the occurrence but a collective air of pride resonated throughout the people. They had flown above their peaks and used their strength selflessly, they felt more exhilarated and free than they ever had before. When Asqir told them of his want to go on a journey, many of the Strigid actually shared him sentiment. Of course, there were those who still believed in their core the ways of the tribe, and to them Asqir said that he would accept challenges any time either when he returned or if they could find him. With one last cheer, Asqir and many other Strigid flew out to the greater world, truly free as a clan and not just as an individual.

Asqir carried out his promise to the Star Ignia, frequently returning as he explored new lands to excitedly share what he had seen. Whenever he did, he made sure to go down to the mountains where everything started. Every time, he was challenged by members of his clan who became increasingly resolved to defeat him. No longer to uproot the new status quo that he had introduced but to themselves become the protectors of peace. When Asqir brought word back to the Star Ignia about the musings that a competition that would choose a new deity was going to take place, they convinced him to try and attain the position for himself. Asqir initially wasn’t interested and did not want to enter any conflicts for the sake of it but the Star Ignia begged. If they had a deity on their side then they would be able to rest easily as a deity would easily be able to dispatch the hungering creature they awaited. Having the peace of mind of having a deity on their side would allow them their own freedom.

Asqir considered it for a while and concluded that perhaps it would be a good thing. As a deity he could become an eternal guardian, a true symbol of protection that could bring freedom beyond the limited reach of his current existence. The Star Ignia were elated with Asqir’s decision, once he accepted being their representative they sent out members of their people to meet with the other clans of Haust. Among the clans the Star Ignia were considered mythical, so their sway in winning people over to support Asqir was great. Now, even people in the other lands of Pradas are beginning to speak of the name Asqir as the one who will take the title of godhood. Regardless of who supports him and who doesn’t, Asqir intends to defend as many people as possible in the inevitable battles to come.

‘QELKI AVATAR’ YEZIV GILLIGAS

During Qerek’s time concocting the spell that would curse Asqir he considered the possibility that he would be found out. He knew the rage that would befall him not just from Ingvild but from the entire clan, at that point just exile would be a blessing. Knowing the risk of death, he sought to extend his freedom such that not even mortality could restrain him. Though, just immortality was not enough for Qerek’s vision, if he would live forever he wished to do so in a body far more powerful than the one he had. He took trips to the base of the mountain and hunted down young Strigid who were still training to complete their first climb. He was stronger than them, so he took their freedom. He brought their bodies back to his hidden cavern and he used them as components to craft the form he envisioned. The Vera that was produced resembled the Qelki, it bore the image of a god.

The next step for Qerek was to craft a spell that could bind his own soul to the body he had created. He preserved the body in a magic circle and performed countless experiments to attempt to transfer his soul to it. Yet, until the battle that resulted in his death, Qerek was never successful in these efforts. So, the body that he had created lay unused and undiscovered for years, until the day the stars fell from the sky. On that day the Strigid did their best to protect as many as they could, though despite those efforts one of the meteors managed to crash through the Strigid peaks as it made its way to the lands below. A Strigid child was killed during the impact and his body was flung down into the crevices in which Qerek’s cavern could be found. The spirit of the young Strigid left his body but was drawn into the still active magic circle that kept Qerek’s creation fresh.

The component that the body had been waiting for entered it and suddenly it made its first breath of life. It did not bear the memory of the soul that now inhabited it, all it knew were basic thoughts and movements. It slowly emerged in the wake of the destruction from the singing starfall, much to the confusion of the recovering Strigid above. They immediately noted the similarities between the form and the Qelki but there was no way for them to know why it had appeared, what it was, how it came to be. The conclusion that the Strigid came to was that it was an avatar of the Qelki that had been sent as thanks from the entity so that it can protect the Strigid in return in the future.

After Asqir and many other Strigid left the peaks to practice their freedom, the body stayed behind and was taught by those who remained. It adopted the name ‘Yeziv Gilligas’ and took on male pronouns as he developed into a normal member of the tribe. Although normal may not be the correct word, from day one Yeziv’s massive strength was obvious. He was reminiscent of Asqir when he first returned to the mountain, a prodigal entity that had far more raw power than any average Vera. Even before developing the more refined skills of Strigid martial arts, Yeziv easily rose up to the peak only below Asqir’s. Due to being hailed as an avatar of the Qelki, Yeziv built up a god complex as he became undeniably the strongest figure on the peaks. Though he always had the doubt in his mind, he decided that to truly prove his connection to the Qelki that he would have to defeat Asqir.

On one of Asqir’s visits to the peaks he was swiftly challenged by Yeziv, who was impatient to prove himself as the figure the Strigid believed him to be. Much to the shock of Asqir, Yeziv managed to give him a real fight, one that risked to quake his self-crafted mountain apart. In the end, Asqir still won convincingly but by no metric did he come out unharmed. Yeziv was heartbroken when he awoke from being KOed and realized his defeat. He had truly come to believe that he was a god, that his power was above all others. In that moment he was lost, until Asqir visited him personally. Yeziv confided in Asqir how he felt, how he struggled with his sense of self and didn’t know what to be or what to aspire to. Asqir told him that he didn’t have to be a god to be free, that it was OK that he didn’t know who he was yet because there was so much world in which to find himself.

Yeziv was inspired by Asqir’s words and decided to search the world to find the meaning of his own existence. Asqir told Yeziv to challenge him again when he managed to become the whole of himself, to challenge him as a proud Strigid and not as a god. Yeziv accepted this task and promised Asqir that the next time they fought, he would defeat him so badly that the Star Ignia would want to make Yeziv their champion.

‘THE IMMORTAL’ ORDANCIL

Ordancil is the strongest warrior of the Star Ignia and would have been their champion in the contest for godhood had Asqir not accepted to take the position. She is considered a part of the kingdom’s military and was formerly an adventurer who roamed the world on a quest to achieve immortality. The truth of Ordancil is one that not many believe, though rest assured the tales about her are true. They say that she was among the first generation of Star Ignia and even fought in the battle against the hungering creature. She saw first hand as the old gods fended it off and heard its chilling warning with her own ears.

Ordancil sought immortality because she feared that as generations passed they would no longer respect the terror that the creature exuded and that its warning would lose its grave effect as it passed through the years. She wished to become a figure that could carry the severity of the Star Ignia’s mission with her, to keep the fear of the creature alive no matter how many years passed. Her journey led her to the kingdom that Nelaime ruled over, believing that surely the archmage of archmages would have knowledge of spells that could grant immortality. Though, she worried at the prospect of taking her plea directly to the old god for she thought Nelaime might perceive her objective as heathenish. For a mortal to seek immortality and dare to try and tread upon the level of the old gods, Ordancil believed that she would be executed on the spot.

She was fortunate that Nelaime had decided to spend the century with the others of her clan, the old god’s perceptive gaze pointed towards the stars and not what was below. Ordancil was in the best situation possible to sneakily investigate Nelaime’s kingdom and eventually the palace she formerly ruled from. She obtained the role of a maid within the palace, one of many who were being brought in to assure that the palace would be at its most pristine when its owner finally decided to return. Ordancil spent years of service slowly earning the trust of the other servants and in that time was met with the revelation that none of Nelaime’s secrets would be so easily revealed. Everything of value to the old god was protected by multiple layers of powerful magic; alarms, barriers, teleportation runes that led to unknown places and those were just the start of it.

In secret, Ordancil improved her magical abilities so that she could subtly undo the protective spells and reach the knowledge she sought after. She used every little piece of material she could, she would memorize every word from even the most basic of books on magic on the chance that it could make her a little stronger. After spending over thirty years as a maid in a palace with an empty throne, she managed to bypass the protective magic on a book in Nelaime’s bed chambers. It was one of the lesser protected objects but it still contained notes from Nelaime’s time studying and unraveling the various limitations and attributes of magic. With that, Ordancil was set on the path that Nelaime had taken before she became an old god.

Ordancil’s pace of improvement increased drastically from then on, one-by-one becoming able to undo Nelaime’s more complex seals. This eventually led her to discovering Nelaime’s secret chamber, the one in which the ritual that made the old gods was performed. That chamber held all the knowledge that Ordancil required, she rapidly copied down every last note on immortality that she found and once she was done she quit her service at the palace. Although, not before recreating Nelaime’s various protective magics, whether she became immortal or not Ordancil believed that Nelaime could find a way to bypass it if she were angered.

Years of practice and gathering information led up to this moment, when Ordancil crafted her own version of the spell that had once granted immortality to the old gods. Hers was a little different than the one Nelaime eventually concocted as Ordancil’s spell implemented aspects of time magic. Nelaime’s notes on time magic were unfinished, so Ordancil took it upon herself to complete them and in doing so unlocked a realm that not even Nelaime had reached. First, Ordancil reversed the age of her body to be as it was at its peak. Then, she cast her version of the immortality spell, which locked her body into that peak state eternally. With this, she obtained the old gods’ inability to die from natural causes, but more importantly she could not be killed by wounds either. The time aspect of her immortality spell would always revert her body back to its fittest and most healthy state, even if she took damage. Her body could be totally blown apart and her spell would still recreate her perfectly. She made certain that her immortality was absolute.

Although she had succeeded, Ordancil was too fearful to return to her people while Nelaime still walked among them. She knew about the extent of Nelaime’s knowledge, she knew that the old god would be capable of recognizing her body’s state in an instant. Thus, for a time, she wandered around Tertia’s lands to experience the things that her people would be unable to. On her journeys she found out that a couple of the other Magia clans that fought against the hungering beast had gone mad and had started to hail it as their new god. They claimed that they could hear the voice of an entity called the ‘Realm Star’ in their heads and that it had knowledge that made the old gods sound like morons. Although she had gone behind the back of one, Ordancil was still loyal to the old gods and thus took it upon herself to snuff out the spread of these Realm Star cultists.

Her intention was to end the cultist activity, however in battling against them her undying body was revealed to anyone who saw her be harmed. Without her intention, other cults formed around her, composed of those who wanted the knowledge of how she became immortal. They were obsessed, anywhere Ordancil went they would follow even when she ignored them. She feared that this attention would lead one of the old gods, worst of all possibly Nelaime, towards her. If they believed that she wanted to contend with their rule there was no telling what they would do, so Ordancil hid herself away. She ventured down into the Dull, into the caverns most dark where she could not be followed. Those who tried would be killed by the creatures, a fate Ordancil could not suffer.

She spent centuries in the cavern, slowly forgetting her purpose as she waited for history to be forgotten. Her abilities were kept sharp by hunting the creatures of the Dull but her mind, her sense of self, suffered greatly. It was only when Gonel emerged and the Dull was turned grey by a great ripple of power that Ordancil spurred into action once more. She tracked down the source of the disturbance and came upon the scene of Gonel’s battle with Kovec, the latter heavily injured. Her loyalty to the old gods came like muscle memory, Ordancil swiftly moved between Gonel and Kovec and gave the old god the opportunity to retreat. Ordancil attempted to do battle with the demon but was just as easily defeated, saved only by Gonel’s patience for fighting weaklings waning.

In the face of such a foe, Ordancil’s purpose suddenly came back to her. The reason why she had become immortal in the first place was so that her people would not forget the history that she had spent centuries waiting out. She cursed herself for her stupidity and emerged to the surface for the first time in too long to seek out her people once again. She returned to the Star Ignia, who were astonished at the existence of a Star Ignia from the original generation. Ordancil was pleased to see that her people had not abandoned her purpose and apologized that she had not been there for them for so long. She stayed with her kind and for a time became a teacher who taught her people how the surface world was before Observatory was raised. It took a while but Ordancil recovered from the years she spent in isolation in the Dull.

When she was ready, Ordancil returned to to the world below to finish what she had started. She knew that she had not defeated all of the Realm Star’s followers when he hid herself away and in a worst case scenario the cult that followed her would still exist as well. She decided that she would defeat these cults once and for all, no more running or hiding. She infrequently returned to her clan to tell them tales and to keep her mentality strong, on her most recent visit learning the name Asqir Terminus. When she heard that the Star Ignia were going to attempt to make Asqir a god who could fulfill their purpose, she supported the idea. As resolved as she was to defeat the cults, Ordancil had grown weary of her immortality over the years. She has not met Asqir, yet she supports him for if he becomes a figure that can defeat the hungering creature and bring an end to the Star Ignia’s waiting then nature can finally take its course and she can afford to die.

STARLIGHT VEGA

Vega is the current head figure of the Star Ignia military. While the Star Ignia are separated from the world that does not mean they have no need to train powerful warriors. When the hungering beast comes they intend to do more than just holler and leave the hard work to the people of the world below. No, they intend to be the first line of defense and make it as difficult as possible for the creature to do any harm. The Star Ignia have developed many great weapons over the centuries for the sole purpose of combating the beast that not even the combined power of the old gods could put down. If these weapons fail, the Star Ignia military are ready to put everything on the line even if it’s just to slow the creature down a little.

The most powerful among the Star Ignia military is dubbed that generation’s ‘Starlight’. While this normally would make Ordancil the indefinite starlight, she does not believe it is a position she is fit to hold. Each starlight is entrusted with the knowledge to activate and use the Star Ignia’s anti-calamity weapons and they are taught the procedure of engagement for if the day comes that they have to use said weapons. Vega, the current starlight, was personally trained by her predecessor after she mastered the Star Ignia’s archaic combat techniques before she even reached eight years old. She then went on to learn and master the other fighting styles of the old age just from reading about them in her people’s texts. In her maturity, she created her own evolution of the Star Ignia way of fighting and is by far the most combat proficient individual among the Star Ignia sans Ordancil. Fighting to her was like an unhealthy obsession, she would constantly ask to spar with her peers so that she could practice new moves on them. She would sometimes wake the previous starlight up in the middle of the night to show him a maneuver that she had perfected.

After meeting with Asqir, Vega requested to be allowed to go and meet with the Strigid for a short time. Initially, she was refused as she was the most important figure to have around in case the creature was to emerge. She did get her chance during a visit from Ordancil, who offered to temporarily take the role of starlight so that Vega could do as she wished. Excited, Vega descended to the Strigid peaks and met with the tribe, much to their confusion. The purpose of her visit was no simple meeting, she wished to see how far she could go within the Strigid hierarchy with her abilities. The idea of being able to learn martial arts from the world below excited Vega, the intricacies of combat were her passion and she would do anything to master all of them.

The Strigid had never experienced this before, until then their tribe had been isolated enough that no outsiders had ever attempted to live as they do. Still, they gave her a chance and placed her on the lowest peak where she immediately proved her ridiculous ability. Due to a bit of miscommunication, Vega defeated every Strigid on the second peak instead of just one, though she proposed that she would learn faster that way. On each subsequent peak she made an open challenge to every Strigid there, in her time there she wanted to fight as many of the tribesmen as she could. In dominant fashion, she quickly defeated the entire tribe with the exception of Yeziv. By then, she had already perfected the Strigid way of fighting and implemented it into her own style.

The battle with Yeziv was one that none of the tribe wanted to miss. Both Yeziv and Vega were monsters, though much of the tribe honestly just wanted to see the cocky outsider lose after embarrassing swathes of them simultaneously. They could have never predicted that the two would engage in combat for three days straight, only stopping when Vega fainted from a lack of water intake. It was a brutal battle, one Yeziv only got through with his resolve to not lose to someone who wasn’t Asqir. Yeziv personally carried the unconscious Vega back to Observatory, where the wounds amassed from the long battle were taken care of.

Vega woke up sixteen hours later, more refreshed and happy than she’d ever felt before. There were so stronger people out in the world, ways of fighting yet to be learned and surpassed. She may not be allowed to leave Observatory due to her role but she excitedly awaits the day Asqir reached godhood so she can go out into the world and live out her aspiration.

KING ANTARES XVIII

The current royal figure of the Star Ignia, king Antares Brandwond Lidenskap. The Star Ignia royal family is tasked with carrying on the knowledge of every previous generation before them; every decision that has ever been made, every weapon the kingdom has developed and how many, the names of every starlight, the ruler must know everything. The Star Ignia royalty must dedicate most of their lives just to learning everything from the previous generations and as a result each of them tend to become sagely in nature. They must have perfect memory of all the information they take in and have the wisdom to then take the kingdom forward in such a way that it will be more prepared for the fated time.

Antares XVIII was the king who thanked Asqir for his deed and was the one who asked for him to participate in the contest for godhood. With any luck, he intends for his generation to be the last that has to live out such a stressful and taxing rule. He is still a young king, one who took the position from his mother after she died from overworking herself. Though he is far from done learning all he is inclined to know, his wisdom is that of one far beyond his years. Asqir’s visits and stories of the world beyond just Observatory is a breath of fresh air for Antares every time they come. They keep him sane and in return Antares helps his people to thrive to the best of his ability.

THE QELKI

The Qelki is a massive elemental of wind and light that has the form of a bird. It was created by Nelaime to carry Observatory on its back. As well as keeping Observatory perpetually afloat, its body masks Observatory from being seen from below so that none of the ground-walking races would attempt to disturb them. Due to living in the high-altitude mountains below Observatory, the Strigid clan could sometimes see the Qelki and have hailed it as a guardian figure. The mark of their clan was crafted to resemble the Qelki, the massive bird-god that came and went as it pleased.