Introduction to “A Compiled Recent History of the World”
Presented to His Imperial Majesty Emperor Aristos I, Blessed Demonbane, Exalted of Heaven, Honored and Glorious Supreme General, on the occasion of his 103rd birthday, also 50th anniversary of the Grand Nexus, by his loyal scribe Requiem, Head Archivist of the Imperial Library of Vythinia.
Your Majesty, it is my great delight and privilege to present you with this, the history you decreed be bound and recorded 3 years ago on the occasion of your 100th birthday. Even now, at the end of the task, I am still flush with pride at what an honor it has been to gather the records and stories for this monumental work, which covers by your command the period of the past 75 years so that future generations might remember what came before and be reminded thereby of why we do what we do. It needs scarcely be mentioned, of course, that this period of history has been, beyond dispute, the most tumultuous and revelatory period in the history of our great nation, because indeed, it has been that not just for our little corner of Demigaea, but also for the entire world! And not just for Dhara, but also for Dedamizha, and all the other worlds we know exist beyond the deep voids of the sky, and beyond the walls between universes! This period is nothing less than the most important series of events that has ever befallen every plane of existence, known or unknown, in our entire cosmos, and indeed all of the others that Sidereal Cults insist are out there! And after reviewing the events, this humble scribe is utterly convinced that we could have wished for none better than you, Your Majesty, to lead us through it.
Since, by your decree, this work is to be copied and distributed to schools and libraries throughout the land, once you have given it your blessing (and I am quite confident that you shall), I have written the introduction such that it addresses the most momentous events in a broad sense, without overburdening the reader with details- which indeed, most readers cannot even be reasonably expected to know, before reading the rest of the work! This note I have penned to yours, the first and original copy of the work, is addressed to you alone, and will not be included with any copies that are made. The rest of the introduction, as indeed is the work itself, is addressed to readers of no particular station nor education. I hope you will therefore forgive any seeming impertinence in the writing style, as it was not meant for your exalted eyes alone, but also for those of the commonest of children or tradespeople.
Fifty-three years ago, the gods were silenced by a force greater than themselves. After months without guidance, mortal heroes discovered a crack in the wall which kept them out, and restored them to the world.
Fifty-two years ago, the Six Lost Gods returned, and brought with them warnings of calamities far greater, still to come. Mortals helped them spread the word and prepare the Plan.
Fifty-one years ago, the rest of the greater forces- those we name the Overgods, today- awoke from their eons-long slumber. The gods were forced to fight for their very survival, and we mortals again were left to our own devices.
Fifty years ago, the Overgods were themselves humbled and brought low by an Urge even greater than they. In this Grand Nexus, the name which we have been given by those gods and mortals who made witness to it, a Portal was breached to a region Beyond all that we ever knew, or imagined, or could imagine, or even could not imagine. This was the Final Gate, the Doorway to Transcendence, and through it passed many who were present at the opening- never to return. But some there were who came back, to bear witness to we who had not been there, and (some say) to tell us that the Way was still open and could be reached by those clever and determined enough to follow it. Empires rose and fell overnight, mighty heroes and villains lived, fought, and died by the hundreds, continents shifted, islands lifted from the waters and sank beneath them forever, new stars were born in the sky, while others were extinguished; centuries of astronomy were rendered moot in a day. Dedamizha was lost to us in the Sundering, by them called the Darkening, for in their world there had been no night before it. Fifty years ago, the fulcrum of all Reality spun, twisted, and finally came to rest in a new position.
Nearly fifty years ago, the gods returned, as did those they had feared and fought for so long. Nearly fifty years ago, the Truce began, and we mortals were told that a new Age had dawned- when new and heretofore unimagined possibilities began asserting themselves.
Nearly fifty years ago, we were told that Evolution had arrived. It was time to Evolve.
Forty-eight years ago, the Immortals left us, even as the gods were still realigning themselves into the Five Factions we know today. Forty-eight years ago, the WorldNet became functional again, and with it the promise from those departing that they could still check up on us from time to time- though nothing has been heard from them since.
Forty-eight years ago, we were left to stand on our own, to make of the world what we would.
Forty-six years ago, the Spiritwave, which those of Dedamizha called the White Burst, spread across both worlds. Unborn children were changed to new forms, powers of soulcrafting which had long been little more than a curiosity suddenly assumed new prominence and importance. Forty-six years ago, too, the Plane of Illumination began its expansion, which continues today and promises to do so far into the foreseeable future.
Forty-six years ago, our minds were expanded in new ways heretofore unimagined and unimaginable.
Thirty-two years ago, the Darkwall was breached at last, and contact with the new and changed Dedamizha was restored. We mortals saw the changes in their world and ours, read the signs, and knew that the old promises of unseen cosmoses existing just beyond our senses had been true all along. For Dedamizha was and is Dhara’s own Dark Reflection, and so too does every world and plane in our known cosmos have a Dark Reflection of its own. Thirty-two years ago, the promise of Illumination was revealed at last, and we learned that vistas previously inconceivable would open to those who only dared strike out into the unexplored.
Since the end of the Cleansing, we have enjoyed a time of relative peace and calm. True, there have been wars, there has been pain, there have been loss and heartbreak. But nothing like the events of the previous decades has come to threaten our new lives, those that we are building from the rubble and promises left behind by those who came before us. We mortals now have gods again, but also Overgods, and Urgic Magic, and the certain knowledge that we do not necessarily need them. We need not stay small and helpless and alone, as our ancestors so often felt in the era before the Grand Nexus. Indeed, this new time calls out to us to Dream, and to Build, and to Do. It calls upon us not just to Witness, but also to Act, for one refrain uttered over and over in choirs and temples and study halls worldswide has been: We Can Win. Time and again, mortals have stood on their own against terrors and powers beyond imagination, and yet prevailed in the end. Their example compels us to follow.
The Overgods are ancient and powerful beyond reckoning, and yet they are rigid and unmoving in the face of adversity. The gods are more powerful by far than any thousand of us, and yet they are trapped by circumstances and powers of which we can barely surmise. We mortals, at the bottom of the great scale of existence, nevertheless have the freedom to be what we will. We have the freedom to grow, to learn, and to do. We know, now, that this is truly a new age. We know, now, that we are the center of existence. We know, now, that we are the fulcrum of Reality. We need the gods, but they too need us, and although the Overgods do not deign to speak to us, we know that they do too. We know, too, that through hard work, guile, and perhaps a little bit of luck, mortals such as we can cross the lines we once thought uncrossable- and join those mighty powers in the great dance of existence. Where they are caught like flies in amber, unable to grow or change, we have the capacity to accomplish that. We can fulfill the imperative to Evolve.
What limits we encounter, we can break.
What forces seek to block us, we can overcome.
What powers others achieve before us, we can surpass.
This is our Age. This is the Age of Ascendant Evolution.