The Star

Hidden within the abandoned Mage's Library of Varlone are chronicles containing the truth about present crysis. Recently somebody managed to carry out several sections of them:

Section I: The Dawn

The Star

Centuries ago, this world was but one of many lifeless planets floating in the dark void. But then, one day, a bright star appeared in the darkness, rapidly approaching the planet. The star’s golden light fell onto the stone surface and assumed its true form, that of an unusual visitor.

A beautiful female visitor.

She looked around, smiled, and stretched out her hand. A blinding ray of light burst out of her open palm, hitting a giant hill nearby. All of a sudden, the lifeless stone grew green with a thick carpet of fresh grass, a patch of life that didn’t seem to belong in this hostile world. Like a giant painter’s brush, the ray of light glided over the canvas of the world, bringing it to life with bright strokes of green grass, scattered drops of red flowers, and vast expanses of yellow sand and azure waters...

The unusual painter’s name was Aura. She had been wandering from one world to another for centuries, always moving on. Was she fleeing from something? Or perhaps seeking something? No one knows. The gods’ ways are past finding out, and their thoughts and goals are often unknown even to their own selves... She came here from the black depths to breathe life into this world and make it her home. And that is exactly what happened. The newly created world was nice and cozy, and its creator was pleased. Its inhabitants worshiped their golden goddess and named their world Aura, after her.

Despite occasional wars and cataclysms unimportant in the grand scheme of things, Aura prospered. Whole civilizations rose and fell, leaving nothing but legends and ruins behind. Both good and evil deities emerged, as if from nowhere, to struggle with each other for pitiful gains in power over mortals. Scientific and magical progress led to the creation of ever more powerful weapons of destruction and means of fighting them. However, the core serenity of the world itself was undisturbed, as long as the Golden Goddess watched over it.

Section III: Unexpected Allies

The Chair

Visitors from another world arrived, out of the blue. A delegation showed up at the gates of Varlone, requesting an audience with King Roland, ruler of Elenia. Clad in dark robes, their faces concealed, they called themselves the Homuncules.

Taken aback by their sudden appearance at the heart of the capital, the King received the visitors. Very soon afterward, the humans formed an alliance with the homuncules. The strangers offered a helping hand: wishing to prove their good intentions, they visited the Perimeter to demonstrate their power and their usefulness to Elenia. Ignoring the attacks of the undead and the dark wizards, they spent several days installing their secret devices on top of the battered walls of the bastion. When they were finished, they struck back.

The land outside the Perimeter was flooded with acid and a mysterious glittering substance, a speck of which could turn the animated dead into ashes. Within a matter of hours, Lord Ngalu’s army of dead warriors, with their rusty armor and cluttering bones, had been literally scattered to the four winds. And the lands outside the Perimeter became uninhabitable.

- “It’s a miracle!” the archmages and best engineers of Technocom exclaimed in fear.

- “It’s alchemy,” the black-clad homuncules shrugged, unabashed.

And so they were called the Black Alchemists. The strange guests arrived from a faraway world named Terra, having escaped a terrible catastrophe. They were looking for help.

They started teaching the humans their strange art of transforming matter and flesh, an art they called alchemy. Alchemy was neither magic nor science, and it had its own laws and principles. It opened up new horizons and perspectives for the people. With the King’s support, the Central Alchemical Laboratory, an educational and research center, was created. The homuncules, the only bearers of the secret knowledge, ran the Laboratory.

The Black Alchemists became the King’s advisors. They helped triple the yield of the crops, taught the humans to make artificial gems, gave them the formula of the Philosopher’s Stone, revealed the properties of amalgam, and did much good. They penetrated all aspects of the kingdom’s life, from the economy to the mining industries. It seemed the homuncules possessed endless knowledge!

Section IV: The Most Precious Resource

The Spark

But did the humans have anything to offer their friends from another world? What did they possess that the all-powerful alchemists, who had unlocked the secrets of immortality, didn’t have? Indeed, they had something to offer.

Elenium. A unique mineral from the depths of Aura which, in large amounts, became lighter than air. Elenium could be solid, liquid, or gaseous, and it could make huge castles and islands fly up in the air. And the homuncules needed it badly.

As the new allies explained, elenium, extremely rare on other worlds, was widely used in certain fields of alchemy. They had long exhausted the supplies of their homeworld and were now traveling from one world to another, trading their knowledge and help for elenium. A fair deal.

King Roland saw all the good that the homuncules had done to Elenia and agreed that the deal was indeed fair and square. He allowed the new allies to mine some of the elenium deposits and to send the mineral back to their own world. That’s when the Black Towers, built by the homuncules to mine the much-needed elenium, appeared.

Section VII: The Black Prophecy

The Pair

One day, Aqua the prophetess paid the King a visit. She is a seer who sees not visions but time itself as she floats among its currents, remaining young and beautiful for centuries. Surprised by her visit, Roland received the honorable guest. That day marked the beginning of the end of the alliance with the homuncules.

The King learned the bitter truth about his so-called allies when Aqua walked him through one of her dreams. He saw the death and devastation wrought by the homuncules upon other worlds. They left nothing but lifeless stones behind. Indeed, they needed elenium. All of it, to the last drop. Also, they needed raw material for their horrible experiments. Human material.

The King suddenly understood the reason behind the mysterious disappearances, which had become more frequent over the past years. In Aqua’s dream he saw his subjects trapped by the Black Alchemists in their secret laboratories. They took away human souls, and then used their bodies as raw materials to create chimeras.

Aqua told the King that Aura the goddess was growing weaker as thousands of souls left the world forever. The homuncules used elenium and human souls  to prolong their lives indefinitely. After multiple rebirths, the homuncules had become soulless inhuman creatures that viewed everyone as slaves and expendable materials.

Section VIII: The War with the Homuncules

The Terror

All keen travelers and adventurers are advised to muster their patience, equip a couple of fire swords, and visit these forests.

Naturally, the intruders didn’t wait to be arrested. Sheltered in their towers and laboratories, they tried to destroy the King by sending hordes of chimeras - their weapon of choice - to attack the castle. Artificially grown in the homuncules’ laboratories, these monsters served the sole purpose of destroying the enemy.

The castle defenders repelled the attack, but King Roland was heavily wounded.

An all-out war broke loose. Chimeras weren’t immune to magic, and the moral courage of the humans fighting desperately to free their homeland from the invaders from Terra proved to be the best weapon. Fortunately, there were very few homuncules in the world of Aura. In addition, the Welings supported the humans by sending their best technicians. And the Ashkalot mercenaries didn’t just help track down and destroy the sheltered alchemists: they started teaching humans their deadly art, too. United, the inhabitants of Aura were able to deal a deadly blow to the enemy. However, they too suffered heavy losses.

Section XI: Echoes of the War

The Deeps

The homuncules were banished from Aura. However, many of them are still lurking in their secret laboratories hidden deep underground, in the elenium caves. There they continue mining elenium. And there they are still kidnapping humans and sending them off to Terra. These laboratories are guarded by hordes of chimeras. The caves are teeming with them.

The furious chimeras and the air poisoned by elenium fumes prevent the caves from being cleansed of the hostile presence. Only the most daring souls venture down there to obtain the valuable elenium and destroy the remaining alchemists’ laboratories.

King Roland contemplated prohibiting alchemical studies. But his advisors persuaded him that alchemy was of great use to the kingdom. So only certain branches of alchemy, those dealing with the transformation of living creatures, were prohibited. In the meantime, a special alchemical control service was established. All alchemists were required to be registered and to conduct their experiments with the approval and under the supervision of the Central Alchemical Laboratory.

Section XIII: The Royal Call

The Mecha

After the homuncules were banished, King Roland remained firm in his commitment to reclaim the souls stolen by the alchemists and avenge his subjects.

The engineers assured the ruler that, with the mages’ support, they will be able to build a portal leading into the world of the homuncules. Under the King’s orders, the Star City was established in Andynopolis. There, an incredibly powerful techno-magical portal, capable of reaching the stars, is being built.

Also, the leading Technocom engineers have presented His Majesty with one of the most promising military developments in Aura’s history: a prototype of a piloted battle mechanism. Impressed with the demonstration, Roland signed a decree to launch the Gunman Project. At a newly created secret factory, the best engineers are working hard to create Gunmen, the perfect weapons of destruction. The Gunmen will serve the Terra invasion force.

And now the kingdom desperately needs new heroes! Heroes young and brave, capable of facing any danger and standing up to any enemy. Therefore a massive call to arms has been announced throughout the country. Young men and women from all cities and remote provinces are arriving in training camps, where the best mentors will train them to become true protectors of Elenia.

And you can become one of them!