BUILD YOUR OWN WORLD Like what you see? Become the Master of your own Universe!

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

The Last Godstorm

Fall of Aveaas, Death of the First Aveaan Empire
In 1261, heat and drought swept across northern Avar more brutally than the ancient empire had ever before seen. It fissured the plains into parched webwork, and the ground trembled as if in anticipation. The city of Aveaas was driven into further madness that summer and then one evening, near the height of solstice, their stunning purple dusk was brushed thickly with gold. It was a divine omen, but whether it bode well or ill in nature was a subject of contention throughout the city. Some said it meant the drought would soon be over. Others claimed it a warning of Avenstern's due eruption.

In the early morning a rainfall began. Liquid gold, at first only a light drizzle that perplexed the city's earliest risers with its molten hue and heated sting. Then it began to fall in earnest, torrents of lethal element that coated the streets and rooftops, cooling to a cast over the entire city.

It killed savagely and instantaneously, seeping into houses through cracks in windowsills and down vents. The sky cackled for three days at its devastation, and then the final steam rose off like an artist's unveiling. For miles stretched a gleaming blanket; sleekened, gilded figurines and sculpture along the walkways, animals and children frozen in their cowering forms. One of the pantheon's richest works, and yet neither god nor mortal would ever see it as such.

A God-Ruled Empire

For over twelve centuries the Aveaan Empire had been ruled by the elusive Aveaan Empress, her identity being apparently as widely speculated upon during the first Empire as it now is during the second. Generally characterized by equal parts iron will and benevolence, the Empress' absolutism over Avar carried firmly until the mid-1200s with scant cause for uprising or civil unrest. Little is definitively known about the Empress aside from her being a prophetess, but it is that arcanic skill that is believed to have been the core of her steadfast power.

Throughout the early to middle twelfth century this began to change. The Empress had selected her Inner Council on the basis of prophecy that foretold their myriad imperial contributions and beliefs, however in the 1240s the prophecy began to more clearly solidify and the Empress realized that she had made a severe error in interpretation. The contributions and beliefs that were envisioned were not in regards to her own empire; they referred to the burgeoning nations of the Inner Council members themselves.

Secrecy Revealed

On the Coffers
At some point during the decade leading up to Aveaas' fall, Master of Imperial Commerce Szatisma Val'Eax began altering treasury records for the purpose of embezzlement by herself and several other high-ranking members of the court. Through the review and falsification of these records she inadvertantly uncovered a lengthy and consistently increasing history of the Empress' own pilfering from the imperial coffers, though where the money had gone or what it had been used for was still a mystery.

Even so, Szatisma eventually took this information to the rest of the Inner Council. The information sparked urgent dissent among the other council members—several more publicly honorable members dissaproved of Szatisma's own motives along with her reluctance to disclose such information, while many others were more concerned with the Empress' larger stolen capital and what it would mean for the empire's economy as a whole.
On the Private Legion
The Empress approached Imperial Generals Phaedrus Balassar and Minos Tiergarn each independently with the offer to privately fund an elite, reserved army, under complete control of its respective general. The proposal came with the caveat of a bloodbonded oath that required each man to come with his army to the Empress' aid, should there come a time of need. Both men readily agreed—Phaedrus in hopes of eventually commanding the entirety of the Empress' army, and Minos aiming to use the arrangement as a path to take Weston's place as consort and enable his own usurpation of the Empress' throne.

Phaedrus and Minos were known to be highly competitive and critical of one another both on and off the field, however the realization that they had similarly been misled by the Empress—brought to awareness by Adelaide Ryker—brought about a mutual distress on their own positions and their involvement in the Empress' hidden motives.

On the Council
Upon hearing multiple rumors on the defensive measures the Empress had undertaken, as well as experiencing the Empress' increasing detachment from the Inner Council members herself, Renee Baskle called together a private, inpromptu meeting with the Inner Council to discuss such issues. The consensus was that the Empress must be brought down, though the method of execution for said plan was hotly debated. After all, the council members had been expressly selected for their varying beliefs and expertise, nor could any one plan account for the Empress' prophetic nature and potential divinity. Thus the Inner Council turned to the pyramisic pantheon itself.

Dissent Among the Gods

There are various theories on which council member it was that proposed the idea of seeking the gods' aid. Some say it was Minos I, desperate for a throne. Renee Baskle, believing they would answer she who had as much divine right as the Empress herself. Perhaps Phaedrus under the urgings of his Cravven liaison, or Szatisma sowing discord that would distract from her own flaws.

Whichever it was, there still remains the more baffling question of why they believed in such preposterousness. Were they an idiot, or just suicidal?
— Annalist Kallen Val'Aun

Immediately following the Inner Council's request, two sides broke out in the golden realm of the gods. One, led by Beatrix and Casper, argued that natural law dictated the Aveaan Empress' right to her throne and that they should not aid the Inner Council. The other side, led by Necron and Xaltra, believed that they should help the Inner Council—it was in no way natural for any one god or man to rule so completely and eternally.

It soon resulted in all-out war, those in favor of aiding the Inner Council beginning to slip uncertainty about the Empress' rule into the innerworkings of the city. Drought fell upon the land, and Aveaas sweated and scrounged. And then Beatrix and Casper retaliated, drawing Phaedrus and Minos' private armies back toward loyalty to the Empress. The city the gods had begun watching with bated breath fell into anarchy; the Empress retreated into the deep chambers of her palace. Regret and fear worked their way through each member of the Inner Council and, with whispered insistence from their allied gods, they made hasteful plans to assassinate the Empress in her bedchambers.

Eve of the Storm

The Failed Coup
The Empress' assassination was doomed from the start, in part because the Empress herself had already disappeared from the city. Phaedrus had also disappeared at some point prior with his two sons and Adelaide, who had been the Inner Council's last key into the Empress' inner chambers.

When the council members came upon the rendevous point where they were to meet Phaedrus and Adelaide, they were met instead by the great Eava herself. The goddess insisted they gather their remaining loyal citizens and leave the city at once, revealing to them the war that waged among the gods in their golden realm above. It was a violent swelling thing, she told them, spilling the divine blood of the gods till it might soon burst out of the heavens onto their own shining city.

It is said that Minos rang the city bells just as the first drops of gold dappled the streets, and that his shouts could be heard in every city dwelling. He slandered the Empress' name with claims that she was Psyche herself cast out of the divine realm and seeking to puppet any mortals who might fall under her dominion. He bid all who were still loyal to the council to leave the city at once before the gods fell upon the city to punish her.

The brewing storm only served to back Minos' claim, and the people flocked to the sewers, into shelter and towards escape. Hundreds of men and women, arming themselves for whatever perils might come, cramming into the grimy tunnels.

The gods are not fit to meddle in the affairs of men, just as men are not fit to meddle in the affairs of the gods.

Eava told her bastard, 'If you must play with the strings of mortal fate, dear boy, then you must have just reason. The others do not understand such considerations but I have hope that you may.'
— Pyramisic Doctrine, 1532

Death of the Major Deities

Up above the war halted, as Beatrix, Casper, and Axen had been slain. Their children looked upon their bodies with horror at what they had done, and then at the barren, golden city in the mortal realm below. Eava, who had foreseen the tragedy not through prophecy but by mere awareness of the natural order of consequence, gathered her remaining kin. The gods vowed never again to interfere with the lives of mortals, lest another godstorm wreak such havoc, and then each slowly disappeared to their own domain.

The prince consort no longer speaks of such intimacies to me. I don't know how to relay the unsettling turn of our relationship to you but he has turned away to the empress' anxieties, and cast me aside for less speculating women. What little he does tell me is troubling still—the empress knocks at members of the outer council like they are pieces on a chess board and she the only player. I asked him if she was angry, and the prince looked away. He never responded.

If this is the price of playing with the gods, I do not think I should like to stay any longer. Please, dear Phaedrus, if you have any misgivings then come with me. I beg of you.

A. Ryker

The Turncoat Mistress

Adelaide Ryker, originally a spy and knight under the Cravven Imperium, was sent to Aveaas to serve as a companion to the Empress' consort, Westen the Gentle, and report back to the Cravven Imperium on the Empress' political manuveurings. However, during her time there Adelaide developed a close friendship with Phaedrus Balassar, a highly-regarded general under the Empress' Legion and member of the Inner Council. Phaedrus often goaded the courtesan into topics of discussion that were well outside the knowledge of her supposed rank in the Empress' court, and when he finally accused her of possessing an ulterior background, Adelaide conceded to reveal her secret to him.

By the time Adelaide found herself privy to the dark musings the Empress had surrounding her Inner Council, she found that her alliance no longer laid with the Imperium; her coded warnings were to Phaedrus, urging him to remove himself as a target from the Empress' suspicions. Despite his care for Adelaide, and value of her opinion, Phaedrus elected not to heed her advice. Instead he and several of the other Inner Council members called on the gods to aid them in overthrowing the Empress, thus increasing the conflict exponentially.

Revised Oaths

Even before the Inner Council's final meeting, the gods had taken notice of the tension brewing within the city of Aveaas. They grumbled and contemplated themselves upon whether someone such as the Aveaan Empress was fit to rule such an empire, though none cared to take action on the squabbles of mere men.


When Phaedrus and Minos came to Siran Marnise asking him in exchange for a generous sum to bend the will of their bloodbond oaths so that they might command their armies while not bound to serve the Empress, Siran promised he would do what he could. And when Siran, a realistic yet also devout man in regards to his arcanic abilities, prayed to Necron for a solution to bend the will of such a bond, Necron obliged. The bloodbonds were inked, their correlating oaths undertaken. But Necron indeed bent their will—he annulled two separate oaths with the Empress in favor of one between the two men.

Whispers from the Traitor God

The night before the eve of the Godstorm, Phaedrus was awoken to wolven howling. It was a particularly strange occurance considering wolves rarely ventured into the city, not to mention the fact that none of his servants or family were stirred by the noise. Yet he followed the sounds outside and allegedly met with the god Ulfur.

Presumedly, Ulfur warned him of the consequences of the Inner Council's plan for assassination and told him instead to flee the city while he still had the chance. Ulfur's motive for warning Phaedrus against the assassination is unknown, as is the exact whispers that were passed that night. It is, however, generally agreed upon that had Phaedrus not recieved Ulfur's warnings, the Balassar line would've ended the following night.

Character | Dec 15, 2022

By the time drizzle had given to downpour the Inner Council, along with nearly a thousand civilians, had safely fled Aveaas. The rest of the city was a gilded graveyard, the final screams still echoing from the sewage pipes as gold drained out behind the fleeing civilians.

Those council members who had managed to escape would begin the crusade across southern Avar to Armistace. There the path would split, Minos leading his followers to found Ethana and the rest of the Inner Council eventually forming the Beourjen Confederacy. Eventually the Aveaan Empress would return as well to reclaim her throne, giving rise to the modern Aveaan Empire.

Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild

Cover image: by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo


Please Login in order to comment!