In one continent on the planet Ferma, a great war began that didn’t end until after its one thousandth birthday. Although it was a bloody war, it became a way of life over time. The young knew no other life but fighting and the old could not recall stories of a more hopeful, peaceful time. War became the natural state of existence.
Sometime around two thousand years before the beginning of this story, a small, isolated religious organization began to reach out to its surrounding communities. This organization lived on a monastery called Antanelis that stood at the top of a mountain called Divine. This outreach was very successful and the movement was soon widely known as the New Beginning. The leaders at Antanelis declared one particular day to be a launching of the New Beginning. That day became the point of reference for most measurements of time throughout the land. The time element of every other event that occurred was described as it related to the New Beginning, by counting the number of years before (BNB) or the number of years after (ANB).
Missionaries called Viators carried the lessons of their religion, Consumma, to everyone they could. They taught their neighbors to dedicate their efforts and faith to discovering and obtaining the optimal potential of human beings. This was the basis of Consumma. They believed in no deities. They believed that the ultimate power of the universe existed within the bodies and minds of humans. The Viators worked toward Consumma’s goal under the guidance of their Elders.
The title Elder was given to Viators who had gained vast wisdom through their age and experience. They did not travel much, however, doing most of their work in an advisory role. They spent almost all of their time living in Antanelis Monastery. The Viators also spent their time there when they weren’t away on missions.
They did a lot of good work at first, helping those who were poor and without families. Soon they discovered that those surrounding communities, the people they were trying to help, were constantly at war with each other. They continued teaching as many people as they could about the ways of their religion with the hope of accomplishing peace. They soon saw that it wasn’t enough, however. The farther they spread their word, the more people they found, all of them violent by nature. At least, in their eyes.
The large populations became an obstacle, too. There were so many people in the world that the Viators could not spread their message effectively. Around 1000 ANB, they responded to their own frustration. They knew they had to organize their followers and forcefully spread the word, so they began a war that lasted for a thousand years. As they conquered foreign lands, it became increasingly difficult to maintain control over them. Unrest built up quickly among their newer citizens the farther they expanded. It was difficult to rule over their significantly increased population, especially when those people were far from the monastery from which they ruled. As Antanelis’ power and influence grew, the Elders named the land they ruled Eklesia. Eklesia encompassed the majority of the continent.
Eklesia had officially become a nation by 1200 ANB. The Elders found themselves distracted by the duties of running a country and its society and the Viators found themselves carrying out menial tasks in order to help maintain power over the land. Distracted by their expansion, they lost their focus on Consumma and the religion’s meaning was diluted. The Viators and Elders continued improving themselves through their studies and various forms of physical training, but they had lost the sense of purpose behind what they did. They all but forgot the ideals of Consumma over time, although not its goals. They eventually even forgot the word Consumma.
This also slowed their expansion. They learned that they had to be patient. They had to take the time to spread their message among the people from whom they seized control. Then they had to assimilate the conquered people into their religion and into their culture. Each time they conquered new territory, it took longer and longer to assimilate its people before they could continue. After a long time and lot of work, the Eklesians were in a position to control the world as they knew it – all the land that existed up to where it met the oceans.
With the extensive resources, people, and knowledge they had gained through their conquest, the Viators were able to come closer to what they believed was the true human potential, though they stopped referring to it in the terms of Consumma. Those who had natural abilities or those who were willing to work the hardest became stronger and smarter. They quickly became military leaders and lands were taken with much more ease. Eklesian leaders quickly began training new Viators to increase their efficiency even more. They were elite warriors and brilliant thinkers.
These quick and easy victories eventually became unpopular, however. Eklesians and non-Eklesians saw the Viators’ easy victories as barbaric. Even the Viators who were merciful and fair in battle were seen as unsporting simply because they subjugated their opponents so easily. As a result, the Viators didn’t lead Eklesian armies as frequently. Many of them took roles as wandering scholars, traveling to learn about different cultures. In the eyes of many previous critics, this made the Viators appear to be less like conquerors and more like the peaceful missionaries they pretended to be. The real intention of this action, however, was to gather the knowledge to create even smarter, stronger leaders and soldiers for when they could use them again.
Around 1700 ANB, people everywhere could see that there were fewer Viators leading what had become widely known as The Great Unification, also named The Thousand Year War by some, and the speed of the conquest had diminished. However, people were disturbed with the unsporting nature of the few battles still led by Viators.
Then in 1980 ANB, following a horrific encounter that was known as The Battle of Suffering, the unpopularity of Viators as military leaders became too much for the Eklesian leaders to control. With only one small but stubborn area remaining, the Elders realized that if Viators were used in the conquering of the remaining land, it would create a disturbance in their entire nation. They stopped using Viators as military leaders after the Battle of Suffering, in which many innocent people were killed by Eklesians to gain a simple strategic advantage. That battle almost caused a wave of support for the remaining free lands among Eklesian citizens. The Elders were able to prevent an uprising by using a vast public relations campaign across Eklesia, but they decided to be cautious and suspend the use of Viators indefinitely.
The absence of Viators participating in battles over the twenty years that followed provided the people of the remaining free land the chance to learn how to resist invasion. They formed their own nation, the nation of Prosta. It was significantly smaller than Eklesia, but uniting the rest of the free world was an effective method of fighting back. All across Eklesia and the free lands, the Battle of Suffering was considered a turning point because the resulting unrest was one of the most important factors that led to the free people working to unite.
Prosta was careful to draw its borders strategically. To the east lay a mountain range, to the north was a virtually inaccessible marshland, and the south and west borders were blocked by a wide river that would be difficult to move an entire army across. These geographical factors helped Prosta maintain its freedom for years, although it was still a difficult task to defend against the Eklesian invaders.
What no one could have foreseen, however, was how extensive an impact the Battle of Suffering and the creation of Prosta had on the rest of The Thousand Year War and its conclusion. As the stories of that battle, and soon several other atrocities, spread across the land, Eklesians and Prostans alike developed distrust for the residents of Antanelis.
The vicious tactics employed by the Eklesian rulers also inspired action from a small group of heroes with the power to do something. The following tells of how this handful of heroes was able to influence the course of a continent, and then a world.