Ozlith: The Birth of an Empire and the Seven Legions

The Rise

Im going to tell you a story. Mhirriah, The Warrior Empress herself showed me. The vision was hard to discern at first. I saw white marble pillars and black marble arches. I saw massive colosseums and great armies. Then I saw what I hadn't expected. The men and women of a young republic coming together to create art not declarations of war. This was a peaceful nation that was barely in its infancy. The military was for defense in their minds, not conquest.   They called their land Ozlith, the land loved by the gods. Ozlith was a land surrounded by enemies. They fought a losing war on all fronts. Countless people died from pirates and the monsters in the Sea of Beasts, the tribes to the south of the island raided and pillaged. Those from the mainland sailed to their shores and stole all that they held dear from them. It was then that they turned to their gods. Seven living gods who loved their people so and their people loved them in return. They walked the streets of their city on the shore alongside the very people who worshiped them. These gods were of rebirth, of the sea, of madness, and of beautiful passion. They were gods of order, of chaos, and of justice and they saw the suffering of their people and watched in horror as they were slaughtered.
They desperately defended their borders, and the seven living gods knew their people would not survive much longer.      

The Bloody Sea

They traveled beyond the veil of worlds into the domain of war itself. It was there that they met a titan of battlefields . A horse of red, coated in flame with 7 legs and a crown of thorns placed on its head. The titan spoke to the gods who begged its help. They begged to know the ways of war, to be taught so that they may teach their people in kind. The gods who loved their people so abandoned their previous pursuits in exchange. The pact they made pleased the titan.

"The lesson first be this:" It said, "A warrior begs for nothing. The wolf does not ask for meat from the sheep. Come with me outsiders, gods from elsewhere. Come with me and war you will see." The titan brought them to the bloody sea, an endless battlefield where blood bleeds from the ground with every step. The warriors died and rose again to fight once more. They knew not how long they watched the slaughter, each god focused on different elements, eyes taking in what they asked and more, and when the gods of yore returned, they returned as gods of war.    

The Legions

The gods who loved their people so taught them a new form of art, and new philosophies with it.

The Legion of the Deep

 
When the seven gods of Ozlith journeyed into the domain of war, the deep was the first to leave. While the other gods watched in awe and horror, it didn't watch at all. For the deep knew well of the ways of war, taught by the many souls it claimed. The deep, however, was narrow-minded, and only knew the ways of war at sea. It called upon the fishers and sailors of Ozlith, giving them dreams of its keep in the ocean depths. It told them the secrets of the sea of beasts and why the colony ships never returned.

It was then that the fishers took up arms. They waded into the dark depths of the sea of beasts.

Their people were starving but their god was on their side. With trident and buckler, they slew a great monster and together dragged its corpse out of the bloody sea. The massive catch was called The Leviathan. They took its life, its meat, its bones and marrow and by their god's grace, they took its name too.
The Leviathan are trained to fight at sea both above and below, coordinating efforts to strike where it will be most deeply felt. On land, they can be seen running through the flow of battle like waves. Like showman, they perform for their ocean god. They taunt and poke at their foes as they search for the heads of the army and sever them one by one, for what is an army but another beast?  

The Tyrant's Legion

  When the gods of Ozlith ventured into the domain of war, it was the tyrant who found the trip most enjoyable. The chaos of the battlefield filled him with glee and to see that the warriors before him enjoyed the fight was all he needed to learn. He forged a legion of criminals and cutthroats, each becoming more than they once were. The training had changed them and brought them discipline, but they hungered for better. They scream and chant at their foes, pointing out mistakes in hopes that their enemies are made better. They lunge and stab with astounding precision and became through their love of the fight a vanguard legion to man the front lines.
       

The Mad Legion

When the seven gods of Ozlith ventured into the domain of war, the mad god was ecstatic. Chaos and insanity were his tools of the trade and he latched to it on the fields of battle with fervor. He watched as the warriors plied their trade. He saw their skills and their discipline, but something was missing.

He walked onto the field and tapped a warriors shoulder. The warrior lost all control and began cleaving violently with unnatural strength, cutting himself by accident numerous times until for whatever reason he started to enjoy it and found the more he did so, the stronger he got. The warrior made feral swings, never flinching at the many wounds he sustained until the warrior stood among hundreds of bodies bleeding to death in the end. The Mad God was elated. He continued this process, teaching into the minds of the soldiers and showing them more than they should ever see, he mastered this process, for the god of yellow was a god of art long before he was a god of war.

When he returned he took his followers and created a mighty legion. The Centurions of the mad legion, who called themselves butchers, were insane and lost to all reason in almost every way. They embraced the slaughter and collected trophies from their kills. Their god loved them so, and they did in kind for their rituals were performed in the heat of battle surrounded by their enemies.

The The Matriarch's Legion

When the seven gods traveled to the domain of war, The matriarch watched the battlefield for years. Her gaze fixed upon the carnage in horror and something strange like a longing or maybe a form of admiration. She studied the countless warrior's and unlike The tyrant, who saw something decidedly entertaining, she saw discipline, structure, and most of all, she saw their skill. She loved this skill and the way their bodies moved, after a time, she began to love the warriors themselves. Many of them would be her lovers, used and studied to better understand how and why they do what they do.

She immersed herself in the battle and learned all the ways of war she could. When she returned, she took the mothers of Ozlith and gave them the power to avenge their fallen sons. She trained with them and fought in the endless battles along side her chosen few. For every kill they claimed, the centurions would whisper the names of their sons and scour the battlefield for the sacred cloth over every Ozlolithian man's heart, Nominubi, to ensure he wont go nameless.

While the tyrant saw the joy of war, the matriarch saw the skill. She studied long and hard to find the best way to craft the sack if flesh that is the body into a machine of war. Her centurions reflect this. They scream and cry out to their opponent not as a means to make them better but as a means of proving their superiority. They desire to be the best and will do whatever it takes to do so. It takes a lot to gain a matriarchs respect, and those who do are treated well in death. Those who fall under a matriarchs blessing will have a coin embedded into their forehead. The body is to be left intact. Looting is forbidden under penalty of death.

The Widow's Legion

When the seven gods of Ozlith ventured into the domain of war, it was the widow who chose to focus on the cost, while her fellow gods latched onto things like joy, skill, and coordination. A goddess of death and rebirth, the widow found herself at home on the battlefield. She was determined to do what the others would not. To join her legion, you will pay a price. The widow took her priestesses and taught them a rite of her creation. She told them to go forth and gather only the widowers of Ozlith, those men who have lost a part of themselves. When they did they performed the rite and the centurion who emerged was a changed man

The Alabaster Legion

When the seven gods of Ozlith ventured into the domain of war, Gehova saw pointless distraction. He knew not why they fought, he knew they didn't know either. Gehova was a god of order and justice, a god of peace and serenity. He was the first eldritch angel, and would, long after his death, father the Aldritch.

He turned from the battle, and what he saw before him was a woman. She sat upon a stone stained with blood, her eyes closed as if in deep prayer. Her hands rested palms up in her lap, and she smiled at him as he approached. He found her beautiful im more than just her looks.
"Child," he began "how can you know such peace...this tranquility in such a chaotic place?"
He couldn't even think surrounded by this never-ending war. She studied him with indifferent eyes, unmoved and unphased by his eldritch visage.

She didn't speak for some time as if she didn't fully understand the question. Eventually, she shrugged and said plainly "I was the first to wall this battlefield, I have known war for an eternity. All can say to your question is how can you not be? I see nothing that demands my attention. I have no reason not to be at peace."

This puzzled Gehova. He looked back to the endless waste of life and skill and back to the girl as if insulted. She stopped him before he could speak and scooted to the side, patting the empty space she made, gesturing for him to sit. He did so awkwardly and the first warrior touched what she assumed was his arm.
"Our universe teaches those who listen, god from elsewhere. Water flows and doesn't care where or how, so should we."   He thought on those words making an effort to Loosen the tension that his anxieties brought on.
"The earth is stable and unmoving but it is not without give, or how can rivers flow if the earth does not kindly move aside to allow it. We must be unyielding, but never shut out what we know to be true or ideas that challenge our own. To lie to oneself is a disservice."
She pointed to the battle and for a moment he saw what she meant. The battle had a flow, like a river. It ebbed favoring one side then the other and never cared which. He saw that each warrior fought in this war for reason only known to them. He marveled at the realization. Some even fought for justice. Some fought for peace. She spoke again,
"feel the air, outsider. Feel how it pulses and take in the scent. See how it carries the scents of war? We must carry others to victory in a similar way. Glory is meaningless in solitude.
Then there is lightning and fire. They cast warnings with the thunder. A call to move and be left alone before the strike. Fire only burns when provoked."

"A spark is passive but if it finds itself in the right conditions, it will grow and consume all who oppose it. Mercy is a virtue and in short supply. Give your warning and do not fear death as you will not be the one who seeks it out. In short be the warrior who will never seek to start wars but is more than capable of finishing them.

"There are many elements child. Can they all truly teach? "Only if you listen, outsider." "Then what of the void?" The woman's eyes widened and she spoke quite clearly.
"For years I listened and stared into that abyss. I heard nothing and grew angry for i knew something stared back. A day came, however, that i understood its lesson: the void does not speak, for it has nothing to say. It is peace made manifest, serenity in the inky black. the void is an empty place and its lesson frightened me. To know true serenity, your mind must be the same."
 

The Sanguine Legion

When the gods of Ozlith ventured into the domain of war, The Red Maiden couldn't help but feel out of place. The warriors on that endless battlefield were so cold and calculated. The blood they spilled had little meaning.
She wandered the fields far longer than the other gods searching for anything that may catch her eye.

Eventually, it came to her.

Warriors who killed out of passion and lathered the blood they spilled on their hands like a holy sacrament.
It was love at first sight for the young goddess. She was, after all, a goddess of passion...of extremes. She was the goddess of red and commanded power over the red within us all. When she returned, the term maiden was no longer accurate, for she experienced a rapture and felt as if her body had been ravaged by the sight. To the maiden, the joy of fighting her brother, The Tyrant, had come to find was fleeting. The skill that The Matriarch desired was cold and the narrow view of The Deep, she found meaningless.
War is more than the fight, she found, and when she looked to her closest sibling, The Widow, she lamented. The Maiden felt that fighting for the kill ends the passion too quickly.

To the maiden, it was the passion that mattered most. It wasn't just the thrill and love of fighting for her. It was having something to fight for....
She once asked of her siblings
"What drives mortals to violence." She looked at their befuddled faces and she shook her head at each of their answers. She gestured to their people and smiled.
"Passion, the passion for one's country, faith, or creed. Passion is what moves one past the pain. Passion is what drives one to excel in skill. Passion is what leads to an enemies death, and passion is what drives those to seek out the watery depths."
  The mad god laughed at the other gods' confusion.
"It seems our sister has grown wiser than us all." Gehova smiled and spoke to his siblings.
"What purpose is passion if it cannot make life better? War can never do that."
"What good is meaning, of purpose, without passion dear sibling?" The mad god chuckled,
"Passion is what drives us all towards purpose." The maiden smiled. She knew that even her maddened brother didn't understand, and that none of them ever will. She had been changed and felt it deeply. She took those who would see her ways, less than a thousand men and women, and ravaged them in kind.

They experienced a passion not meant for mortal minds. She didn't just create warriors, she created artists. The gladius was their brush, the blood was the paint and the field of battle was a canvas.

The Empire

Each eldritch god established their own centurion order, each with their own ideology and skills. The seven centurion legions pushed their enemies back.   They cleaved a path of blood and death beyond their borders. They purged the sea of beasts and used mighty ships to raid the raiders on land and sea. They slaughtered the tribes and foreigners until the island was theirs. Then they set their eyes to the North. They colonized the mainland and the Ozlith republic celebrated the sacrifice of the gods they loved and the gods who loved their people so watched as the long war began.   The long war lasted centuries. Young men and women fought and died in a war never knowing why they fought or how the war even started.   The gods who loved their people so lamented at what their people had done. The republic fell and an empire would rise is its place.   Cultures merged, customs changed, and the gods who loved their people so fell out if favor and worship. They watched in silence, taking worship where they could, looking over their people as any loving god would.   The long war ended and Ozlith stood strong, its people diverse and colorful.   The gods who loved their people so saw the damage they had done. The people longed for peace, but the many years of war had changed them. While once they were peaceful, they longed for the wars of yore. They sat restlessly, waiting for a foe to conquer.
 

The Fall

However, something happened. She wouldn't tell me what. The nameless king and a devil prince broke the kingdom from within. The Infernum's crusade spewed forth only a few years after Mhirriah's reign began. They were forced to flee. It was then that the exodus began. The gods who loved their people so called their legions forth. "Fight with us at your side and die in glory." They said. "Mhirriah and the 23 gathered who they could, and are leaving for a promised land, but an army follows close. We will stop their advance and ensure their success but only if united we stand."     The gods who loved their people so made the greatest sacrifice of all. They died on the field of battle, and their legions are said to have followed suit, at least those who stayed behind. The legends are true, my friends. In her exodus, she built the Ozolithian Markers and wants her story told. Help me show these nonbelievers the truth, and in so doing, we may walk The Gods' Grave together."
   
~Mhirrah, Chosen of Mhirriah

Cover image: by Ryse: Son of Rome video game

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
15 May, 2019 15:16

Powerful imagery, especially with the horse. I also like how you brought in common folk like fishermen to better illustrate the impact. This read was very intense.

15 May, 2019 16:32

Thanks so much. This one has been a labor of love. The legions and Ozlith itself is kind of my price and joy. om glad you enkoyed it. sorry for the errors too. I need to rework this one.

Powered by World Anvil