The Story of Medievia

Two millennium ago, the arch-mage Vryce searched long and hard for a place to create his new civilization, some safe world that it could inhabit. A place free from the strife that afflicted the known realms, and a place where life could flourish and thrive. Hope and ambition burned within his breast as he strode the universe, casting his eyes both far and near, hunting for his dream, looking for a virgin planet to create an ideal place for him to continue his study of magic and a world where he could form a new civilization based on hope, love, and magic.

Yet in time all things must weary, and just when Vryce was beginning to think that no planet would be perfect he heard a voice from afar. The voice would only say that his name was 'Jakob' and that there was a very special world he named 'Medievia' that could not be tamed, even by Jakob. Jakob refused to say how he knew all of this but he told Vryce that magic itself will be destroyed if Medievia was not domesticated. There are millions of worlds in this galaxy alone that have magic, and they would all be destroyed! Jakob would say one more thing, that there is one question, the most important question in the world, and the answer would first reveal itself on Medievia.

Vryce wasted no time starting his journey to Medievia. Medievia was on the far side of the galaxy and getting there fast would require many thousands of links between worlds. Vryce had a lot of time to think about Jakob but he could not manage to contact him again. It was as if Jakob slipped out of time itself and was not available, as if he never existed. There was just Vryce's memory of being contacted by what surely must be the most powerful being in the universe. What troubled Vryce was that there was no question that Jakob knew of Vryce yet Vryce had never heard of Jakob. Vryce should have known about a being more powerful than himself yet the feeling he got from that brief mindlink with Jakob was that he could squash Vryce like a bug, physically, mentally, and magically!

Was Vryce contacted by God? Vryce was immortal and he has visited countless worlds and he never put much faith in the idea of God. It seemed to him that every mortal or immortal who believed in God was delusional. There are many worlds that say Vryce himself is God, regardless of what he told them or the mistakes he made on their world. Vryce knew he was flawed and knew that he is no God yet Jakob's mindlink touched him as if he was touched by God!

Vryce felt that he was on a mission from God because Jakob felt that he was on a mission from God.

It took Vryce a few centuries to reach Medievia, centuries filled with endless pondering about Jakob and this mission as he hopped from world to world. Vryce made the last hop and stepped forward through space and time to take his first steps onto Medievia soil. It took Vryce just a few seconds to realize the truth.

This was why he was born! This is what he has been searching for! There was a power to this place that was beyond comprehension, even to him. It was not just the apparently infinite magic, it was something else, as if Medievia was alive, as if it had a soul, its own spirit! Medievia seemed to be alive and filled with a lifeforce of it's own, just as every being Vryce has come across has a soul, this world has a soul!

She spoke to him two seconds after he landed.

The life seeped back into his fatigued limbs nearly instantaneously, and he marveled as he gazed around his surroundings from the mountain summit upon which he found himself standing.

Vast deserts rolled beneath the steady winds, lustrous rain forests rustled beneath the warm showers, verdant plains and pastures spread forth beneath the bright sunlight, mountains speared the topmost clouds, hills and downs challenged the mightiest rivers, and fish swam joyously in the crystal-clear seas.

Vryce beheld all this and lost his heart.

Yet, in these lands, not all was well, for foul creatures roamed the realms and great was the injustice and pain they caused. Vryce beheld all and determined that he should rid this world of these evil beasts.

Casting aside mortal comforts and needs, Vryce summoned his powers, powers that must nearly have rivaled those of the gods themselves. A full year of preparation and meditation followed upon his lofty sanctuary, protected by the winds and the harsh ascent. As the hour appointed came, Vryce rose, face gaunt from hunger and eyes fevered with his labors. The chants came thick and fast as the forces of nature itself were wrought into a design of Vryce's imaginings.

Few of the beasts saw their doom approaching, intent as they were on their evil ways. Those who did gaped at the hideous beauty of the sky as lightning tore across it, flashing down to reach their souls. Charred corpses littered the landscape in the storm front's wake as Vryce's power was unleashed, destroying everything of foul aspect.

Monsters quailed and fled, but there was no hiding place for their kind. Hailstones battered at their heads, lightning flashed through their limbs, and vast tornadoes tore at their souls. Floods wrenched away those who hid in dank caverns for sanctuary, drowning them in their own lairs. For the course of a year, Vryce stood at the nexus of forces, sustained only by the power he controlled, and nourished by his wrath.

Vryce paused for a time as his spell ended, closing his eyes, and waiting for the energies to seep from his body. As the magic fled from his mind, he felt gentle hands touching him, imbuing his body with new life. His eyes opened to see a beauteous woman.

The woman was the embodiment of the very spirit of the world, and she had attended Vryce in acknowledgment of his victory over the foul creatures that had infested her. In gratitude, she tended to his wearied frame and endowed him with powers that made him more than immortal. Newly reborn, Vryce pledged his life to the world that he now stood upon, swearing fealty to the spirit that stood before him.

Thus began the Protectorship, and the scattered peoples of the world took heed and prospered greatly. Vryce watched over their affairs, consulting with the Goddess on many occasions and revealed to her his vision. He expounded on his desire to create a new breed of people whose abilities would merely be restricted by their own dreams and choices.

This vision filled the heart and mind of the Goddess and the dream took hold of her soul. To aid Vryce in his tasks she summoned forth her powers and sent her thoughts across the realms, searching for the few survivors from Vryce's wrath. These beasts, the most dangerous and hardy left alive, found themselves cast down into fresh chasms in the ground, crevasses that closed above them as quickly as they had opened, forever trapping them in the catacombs below Medievia. In this manner, the lands were freed of the remaining strife, and the monsters were condemned to a fate where the sun would never shine.

With the new-found tranquility in the lands, Vryce took it upon himself to increase the population by summoning peoples from across the universe. The fair and the foul were both brought; for all things need a balance, yet the foul ne'er rivaled the evil powers that had been overcome in the great purging. Some races flourished at the expense of others who withered and died, while some thrived who were fated to perish elsewhere in the universe.

Perhaps the most adaptable race that roamed the lands was the humans that Vryce brought from Earth, their numbers waxing and eclipsing those of the other breeds. Vryce opened up a link between Medievia and Earth because when he visited Earth thousands of years ago he witnessed something unusual, a planet with no magic yet filled with people with as much magical potential as Vryce himself had. It even made him wonder if he may have come from Earth. Vryce awoke twenty millennium ago as a man, a new man with no memory of the past standing on the top of a mountain on a planet with no people.

In recognition of the human's abilities, the Goddess worked with Vryce to create an arcane gateway that stood 'twixt the realm of Earth and of Medievia, which was named Medlink. This would be a safe harbor for all humanity, a place where people could talk and discuss in comfort, with the science of one world never far from the magic of the other. Together they formed a pact with the good dragons, such that they would provide far-ranging and swift transport for the gold that they craved.

Upon the face of the world, Vryce caused the building of a great city - the City of Medievia. A monument to the human spirit and his own strength, it was a place where life, philosophy, trade, and friendship grew. Travelers came from the far reaches of the world to marvel at the sights, trade in the riches, and to revel in the new-found prosperity.

In vain imitation, vast cities sprang up around the world. Karlisna, Vanlarra, and Trellor all attempted to outshine the magnificence of the City of Medievia. Though they had their own unique wonders and sights, none came close to rivaling Vryce's creation and vision.

Dwarves hewed many tons of pure crystal from Medievia itself and built their own town, diminutive in size yet perfectly formed. Their wealth became legendary, and their mines became a hunting ground for the greedy. Elves took to the forests and created their own habitats in the forests, defending their realms with stealth and magic. Giants forged their own territory, both in the clouds and in their rough-carved stone castles. From these they glared defiance at all who dared to intrude, casting scorn on the slightly built adventurers who came to seek their wealth.

Warlords, bandits, and great mages worked to build their own fortresses from which they could pursue their own ends, carving out their own principalities. Legions of followers were recruited and, as was inevitable, war broke out between the different factions. Battles sporadically marred the landscape as leaders sought supremacy, and this troubled Vryce's soul.

He consulted long with the Goddess and was soothed by her words, for this was the nature of the philosophy he sought. People were choosing their own ways and, despite the skirmishes that appeared erratically, the forces of good were still strong within the lands. Vryce meditated on this long and hard, placated at last by her words.

It was in the year we now know as the year zero that something terrible occurred, for such momentous events shape our calendars as surely as they change our lives. Vryce had sent out his summons to the Goddess and had waited for her attendance in vain. Time passed and, with every ignored summons, he became increasingly anxious. Searches of the realm were made, but no trace was to be found.

Rumors abounded among the peoples; she was sleeping in her palace behind the winds, she had died of happiness, she had assumed mortal form to observe her peoples, or she had moved onto another world having completed her work here. Every tongue wagged with a dozen tales, and every mind was panicked.

Reports reached Vryce of a number of ill-omened happenings. Vast chasms had opened in the earth and foul creatures had emerged to slay and lay waste the land. Vryce felt then that the Goddess was truly dead and that her enchantments had weakened to breaking point. His fury mounted as he realized that the freedom he and the Goddess had fought for was in peril, and his decision was to fight and uphold his pledge.

The peoples of Medievia were in need of leadership and Vryce gave it in plenitude. The secrets of the minor magics were wrought into spells that mortals could use in anger, whilst the skills of the bravest and the best were honed and taught to a new generation of warriors. The wise mage Marious was commissioned to study the outbreaks of evil and formulate a plan to defeat the evil that erupted from the ground. His calculations and divinations were invaluable to the war effort, and with his assistance, the forces of the upper world were marshaled.

The creatures from below the earth now found themselves not facing helpless villagers and children, but trained warriors and mages, thirsting for blood and hardened by combat. Though losses were great on both sides, the creatures were forced into ignominious retreat and fell back to their gloomy domain. Vryce stood on the summit of the mountain, now named after him, and saw this occur repeatedly across the world. Pride swelled within his breast as he viewed his creation fighting in cooperation for its survival.

It was at this time that Vryce thought of Jakob and how he said Medievia could not be tamed. He wished Jakob would make contact and know about the success the humans have had against the evil creatures. The land was not tame but it now seemed possible. Medievia even has a road system now and many races were trading goods, building towns, and fighting evil on every front.

The ocean was as wild as ever. The humans were very powerful! They had a mastery of the land's Rae magic which rivaled any race Vryce has encountered in his long lifetime. They called the land Rae magic Mana, which is from an ancient Earth artifact about God called the bible. The Fae magic that filled the ocean was another thing entirely and like Vryce no human could control it, and nothing could be made to float on it. The ocean was pure Fae magic.

Time passed peacefully for Vryce, the spirit of Medievia was gone but when he tried to contact Jakob he no longer felt Jakob was missing. It felt as if Jakob was always getting closer but refused to contact Vryce. He could not know why but it felt as if contact between Vryce and Jakob would ruin both of their plans and the world of Medievia!

In these times, we only see the remains of the evil forces in the form of the Catacombs. This subterranean network of tunnels and caverns hold many thousands of the vilest beasts to survive and flourish from the time of the Purging. Tempered and strengthened by the harsh conditions below, they roam constantly in search of an opening to the surface to wreak their revenge. To abate the menace, the governing bodies of the City of Medievia offered a bounty to those who ventured into this place to destroy the evil below. Scattered within the myriad depths that make up the Catacombs are eggs containing the purest essence of evil, which hatch into the monstrous creatures that roam the tunnels.

For fully three centuries, Vryce remained on his lofty sanctuary, consulting with the brave souls who ventured to the high pinnacle, and sending out his thoughts to advise those in need. He lifted not his hand to assist directly, for he held true to his beliefs that those under his protection should face their own destinies and strive for their own benefit.

Nevertheless, there was always something missing from existence, and Vryce was was growing deeply troubled. Discontentment gnawed at his being and grew until he could bear it no longer. Traveling to the City of Medievia, he ventured to the chambers of Marious in order to seek his counsel. Now at this time, Marious was briefing a group of heroes on the location of the next outbreak from the Catacombs, and Vryce strode into this meeting. The map was laid out for all to see and this parchment caught Vryce's attention. Oblivious to all else, he stared at the markings bearing the legend "Catacombs" and paused, knowing his destiny lay deep within. Gathering an army of the mightiest mortals in life, he led them to the predicted outbreak and waited. Upon the expected turmoil in the earth, he gave a loud cry and his followers, led by his lieutenants Raster and Shalafi, gave eager voice and raced within the bowels of the planet. The monsters broke ranks quickly, for the frenzy of the inspired heroes was a sight to strike fear into the most bloodthirsty creature. With Vryce's guidance the heroes descended deeper than any had ever before, visiting caverns never before touched by mortal sight.

None before had ventured so deep within the world and yet they persevered, descending at every opportunity and continuously beating back ravening beasts. The moon waxed and waned, the sun rose and fell, and the seasons turned on their eternal cycle, yet Vryce and his companions saw nothing of this. For fully a decade, and yet more, their journey continued with ranks that thinned gradually as they fought.

With every day Vryce's guiding grew more sure, his sense of destiny ever stronger. Until one day, after facing some of the most stubborn resistance they had ever encountered, the companions found a mysterious cavern. Pure sheets of Mana'ite formed a chamber throbbing with Rae magic, and laid upon a marble slab was the Spirit of the world herself. Vryce gave a cry and rushed to her side, searching for signs that she yet lived.

Although her skin was cold, the breath was still within her body and Vryce tended her as she had tended him so many years past. His companions guarded the passageways around, their prowess augmented by the Mana'ite that sustained and fed their energies. None intruded, and in time the Goddess responded to Vryce's ministrations, the color returning to her skin and her pulse strengthening by the day. Fully a decade passed in that place before she regained her previous strength, yet something was different.

Whilst on her slab she had spoken little, and then only to Vryce's ears and rarely to respond to his questions. Now she spoke, and all the companions heard clearly. She explained that the creatures within her had poisoned her body, and that she could not remain in this state. Something must change, and she now knew the course that she must take. A bright light suffused her body and she slowly became transparent, her body turning to ethereal matter as she worked her final spell.

Small sparkles of light emerged and sped in all directions, passing through rock and people with ease and filling all with wonderment. A large light moved slowly to Vryce himself and softly entered his body, melding to his being with tender gentleness as he accepted the central core of her soul into his own. Sorrow and joy were mixed within his mind as he knew that she was now gone, but that she would also be within him evermore.

A great peace descended upon the thoughts of all present, a peace that was mirrored upon the surface of Medievia as the Goddess's final act of love for her creation was completed. Every living being shared part of the Goddess's soul, yet the greatest part had entered Vryce and empowered him beyond anything known before. He now had the ability to grant new life to the worthy, but nothing he could do would aid the Goddess herself. She had faded from existence, apparently sacrificing her being willingly for her world.

The journey to the surface was no less fraught with peril, and yet the companions, newly reborn in their bodies and skills, persevered. Thirsty for the light of day, they battled onward, ever seeking the exit to the fresh air of Medievia. On the day they emerged, rejoicing at the clean smell of life and the pure light of the sun, they found wonders they had never expected.

After consulting with the councils and wise men of the lands they affirmed that at the time the Goddess had given up her life, a wondrous thing had occurred. Every single female of breeding age, of every single species, had become pregnant with offspring that formed a new generation. Each one of the new ranks of prospective heroes had the ability within them of rebirth, the path to progress.

Peoples now flocked to Medievia from both the known and unknown worlds in search of new adventure and wondrous sights. Peoples from Earth, came in their multitude to take on the eternal challenges, living their dual lives of Medievian magic and Earthly science.

Upon seeing the new arrivals, Vryce commanded Shalafi to create a new defense for his peoples, both old and new. Castle Medievia was soon built, hewn from the true magic that formed the universe and built to last the eons. In a voice that proclaimed everywhere for all to hear, Vryce let it be known that those who sought to preserve the world by defeating the beasts of the Catacombs would be rewarded beyond the bounty already on offer. When the aspirants were ready, he declared, he would bestow upon them a new life, taking a new course in which they would learn new skills. Mages could learn the healing arts of the Clergy, Warriors could become as stealthy as the most cunning Thief - all would be possible.

Further to this was one final promise. Any who mastered all four paths of life would be granted immortality and great powers, with which to fight the greatest battles. From this number were chosen a select few who were granted powers to aid the freshest newcomers to the lands, and these became known as Avatars.

Above all, others were raised and imbued with the powers of divinity to watch over the world and to aid in its defense. Instilled within each of these is a portion of the Goddess, and in time they began to be immortal themselves.

Unknown to mortal minds and unseen by all, the Goddess yet abides, her substance spread within the rocks of Medievia itself. Such is her love for the peoples of Medievia and the visions of the times to come, she aids in the only way she can. The creatures of the Catacombs still yearn for the surface and strive to break through to the clean air, but she foils their designs, twisting her world into new forms to confound them.

Her time shall never come again, yet those hardy souls who traverse the depths of the underground chambers see the evidence of her handiwork. Fresh tunnels and mazes combine with twisting streams and lakes to alter the paths while fissures bar passages once traversed. The rock falls both bar and clear caverns.

The legend of the Catacombs is eternal and enduring, untouched by mortal strife on the sunlit lands above. Ranks of mortals fight in skirmishes inconsequential in comparison to the battles fought by the true heroes beneath the crust of Medievia. It is a war against evil, a war that the foul shall never win as long as Vryce maintains Medievia's life through the spirit of the world and rebirth.

Story of ships: Challenge of the Sea

This place had always been an enigma, and Vryce hated enigmas with a passion. Two simple islands that had been thrust up when the continents had merged - that was all they were, and yet they were marked as special by their very shape. There could be no way that random chance could have brought such geometric designs into existence, but it had occurred. A crescent moon and a star, defying the power of the Sea of Infinity, mocked at his understanding of the world he ruled.

Many of the bold adventurers who inhabited his world had paid dragons just to stand on these shores, and yet they had no inkling of their purpose. Vryce had also spent many hours on the windswept islands, pondering their function. Ignoring hurricanes and tornadoes, he had brooded over the meaning of this place, and still no reason for them occurred.

"How can I be steward of this realm if I know not all its mysteries?" he muttered angrily, kicking at a loose piece of rock. The stone skittered away and hit another of its kind, against which it shattered. For a long moment, Vryce stared at the fragments and took one for the unusual shape into which it had broken. Mimicking the island upon which he stood, it had taken a crescent moon shape with surprising accuracy.

"Perhaps Soleil would like this for a gift," he mused as he turned the shape over and over in his hands. Even as he pondered the curious shape, the sun set, and the unearthly glow of moonlight shone down to illuminate the land. Vryce glanced up at it to see the shape was at a crescent, and he started. "What trickery is this?" he demanded in a sudden rage. "This island and the rock, and now the moon - this cannot be a coincidence! Do you all seek to mock me?" he shouted, flinging the rock with a rush of passion. Far out beyond the shore it soared, and plunged to a watery grave in the Sea of Infinity.

In a flush of shame at his temper, Vryce watched the ripples in the pale light far from the stony beach. "I should spend my time on more productive matters," he mused angrily as the ripples subsided far from the shore. Bathed in the early evening breeze, he turned to make his way back home to his mountain when something caught his eye. "What is this?" he demanded, staring out to the place where the fragment of stone had fallen. Something dark bobbed on the water, occasionally visible at the whims of the waves.

"That is no creature of the sea," he muttered as he regarded the object. "Yet the only other thing it could be but stone does not float! Nothing can float against the Fae magic that suffuses the waters of Medievia!" In defiance of this statement, the fragment did indeed happily drift across the surface of the ocean, a mass of water that had ever forbidden any to venture onto its surface.

The experimentation was swift, and soon Vryce had lashed together a number of larger fragments with wood taken from the few scrubby trees that dared this inhospitable island. In disbelief did Vryce find himself the first to sail, however precariously, upon the oceans of Medievia in the first rays of the new day's sun.

"Oh, destiny, you were not mocking but guiding," Vryce muttered even as he caused the wind to rise and propel him across the choppy waves. With a rising hope in his heart, he skimmed the surface and watched the schools of fish far below his impromptu craft.

Marious, the great wizard, was charged with investigating this phenomenon and brought his report to Vryce a full year later. "I have made careful divinations of the nature of the material and of the oceans, and yet I believe that there are more mysteries than even I have unfolded."

"Then speak, mage," Vryce commanded, and settled back to listen.

"The material that you found with the properties of flotation is most strange, Lord Vryce. I cannot figure out where it came from. This material, which I have taken the liberty of naming Frae, is resistant to the wild Fae magic that prevents us from taking sail. The material of the Star Island only has its properties if taken from there during a Solar Eclipse, and it also exhibits peculiar natures. That material, Stae by name, is capable of taking the Fae magic from the sea and its creatures and storing it. My experimentations are working to the end of fathoming the purpose of this magic and how we can use it. We have collected all of the Frae we could find. The good news is that we have enough to build a few hundred ships, the bad news is that when these ships do eventually sink there will be none to replace them."

"Then let the clans rejoice," Vryce commanded, in a voice that could be heard across the lands, "for a new frontier has been opened unto them. The bravest and best shall venture forth and explore this new realm and make preparations." The voices of many came to him in prayer beseeching knowledge - preparations for what? Yet to these entreaties Vryce remained deaf, for there were things he would not tell of.

For the next waxing and waning of the moon, Vryce took his mighty dragon mount and watched the feverish activities of the clans as they built their vessels. Full pleased was he with their labors, but from their docks and shipyards, he flew out farther than any had gone before. Many were the curious thoughts as he flew beyond human or divine and into the areas that lay beyond. Vryce went afar to other worlds to search for Jakob.

Few thought much on this matter, concentrating as they did on their new ships and on the salvage value of their neighbors' vessels. Yet when they saw him return on his draconian steed, they did wonder at his grim expression.

Entreaties were sent to Vryce, asking as to the source of his consternation. "Build well your hulls and grow in strength," he told them. "For a storm shall come to pass, and only the strong shall weather it. I have seen vast armies building their numbers afar, and they hunger for this world. Take my blessings and be strong and fruitful - the time shall soon come when your numbers and strengths shall be tested. The end is near and we shall face it together."

Thus the world was warned, yet only the wise kept this in their hearts.

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