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Meine Exalted Kampange

First Day of Calibration in Realm Year 768

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Diese Welt dient als Kampangnenwelt für meine Exalted 3rd Runde.  

The First and Final Days

It has been said that Creation is doomed. The world was raised from chaos, and one day it will fall just the same, returning to the chaos that birthed it. All the works of men and gods and all the spirits of Creation will be no more. This is how the story ends, they say, and none, not even the mightiest of the Chosen can change it. This is the tale of woe that is the capstone of this fallen era; this is why the world now lives in an Age of Sorrows. But it was not always that way.

The Age of the Exalted

In the time before record, in the blank vastness of prehistory, the gods of Heaven created champions to carry their power and glory, wage wars in their name, and fight the battles they never could. These heroic men and women were called the Exalted, for they had been uplifted. For their service, the gods gave the Exalted rule over all Creation— over all the peoples and the beasts and the spirits dwelling there. All the lands which they could see and grasp were theirs. Having done this, the gods of Heaven retired to Yu-Shan, the Celestial City, and left the world of man to the Exalted. The Exalted were many, their powers as diverse and unique as the gods who bore them. However, one caste of Exalted— the Solar Exalted—rose through the ranks of the Chosen to become their masters. With unsurpassed skill and power, the Solars conquered every corner of Creation. With umatched magic and sorcery, they raised up a glorious First Age. The First Age was an age of wonders and glories long lost to the current age. These splendors flowed from the hands and minds of the Solar Exalted, who ruled the world, its gods, and its Chosen as benevolent masters for five thousand years. But then something went terribly wrong. The Solars had labored for millennia under a great curse lain upon them by the vanquished enemies of the gods. In time the Solars grew wicked, deceitful and mad; their magnanimity turned to spite, their justice to tyranny. They began to turn against their subjects and each other, and the world was soon threatened by the very sorceries and machinations the Solars had used to protect it. As civil war loomed, the other Exalted saw no choice but to remove their masters. The Dragon-Blooded rose up against the Solars and slew them as they feasted the turning of the year. Most of the Solars were murdered and their Essences sealed away in a jade prison—for such was their power that they could reincarnate upon death. But some escaped this initial ambush, and in the decades that followed the survivors waged terrible wars against the host of the usurpers. During that time, much of the magic of the First Age was lost—expended or destroyed in cataclysmic acts of revenge. In time, the last of the Solars were hunted down and killed, and with them died the First Age. Nothing lasts forever. The fall of the Solars left their Realm a smoking ruin. The curse that had eaten away at them had also eaten away at their works. Without the Solars to steady the sorcerous mechanisms that ran their world, the Realm began to disintegrate. This was no slow winding down, but the agonal throes of a beast mortally wounded. Cities collapsed. Manses rained brimstone on farmlands. Mountains buried themselves, dragging down nations with them. Whole islands were blasted from the seas as the sorceries that birthed them unwound themselves. The Sidereals, allies to the Dragon-Blooded, helped to steady the world against the First Age’s dying. In the end, the world survived, yet it was vastly reduced. In the ruins the Dragon-Blooded set up a military government and ruled for centuries. Their rule was without the grandeur of the Solars’ shining Realm, but also without the horror and madness that heralded its fall. The Sidereals, a powerful group of Celestial Exalted, were the authors of the Usurpation. After helping the Dragon- Blooded rise to power, the Sidereals erased themselves from the pages of history, destroying records of their own existence and twisting the very stars in the sky to bring about a forgetting. To maintain their influence, the Sidereals spun the Immaculate Philosophy, a religion that teaches the inherent spiritual perfection of the Dragon-Blooded. Posing as monks and servants of the Philosophy, the Sidereals wove themselves into the shadows of Dragon-Blooded politics. The Sidereals kept a close watch for the few Solars who continued to be reborn into the world. With powerful astrology and mystical instruments of detection, the Sidereals guided armed strike forces of Dragon-Blooded to destroy newly emergent Solars before they had a chance to gain power. Such groups came to be called the Wyld Hunt, and their inquisitions became inseparable from the Immaculate religion. For centuries, the Wyld Hunt rode down, captured and slaughtered the Solar Exalted with impunity.

The Doom Out of the Darkness

Then the Great Contagion came. A virulent disease that traveled by blood and by lung, the Great Contagion spread a black blanket of death across Creation. Nine tenths of all people and animals perished. There was no cure and no one to burn the bodies. Cities were draped and filled with corpses, and the screams of the bereaved soon gave way to silence. Those left alive believed it their darkest hour. They knew nothing. Creation, it has been said, is doomed to fall into the chaos that birthed it. The Wyld—chaos, the inchoate precursor of reality—surrounds Creation. Creation floats upon it like an island. The Wyld licks at the borders of the world, forever nibbling away at its edges, always held back by the solid substance of human beliefs and mystical armaments that were remnants of the Solar Realm. The Great Contagion put paid to these. Entire nations fell to ruin, and those who were charged with unleashing the defensive sorceries of the Realm had died at their posts. The borders of Creation cracked and fractured, and the Wyld flooded in. With it came the armies of the Fair Folk, who had always lurked beyond the edges of the world: watching, waiting, and hungry. The Fair Folk swept across the lands in endless legions, and Wyld storms and vortices of pure chaos came with them, rending apart the landscape. Vast stretches of Creation crumbed and were lost forever. The lands and seas were reshaped, and everywhere the Fair Folk camped, Creation was left twisted. The beleaguered and sick-ravaged Exalted expended even more of the lost First Age’s magic in trying to throw back the legions of chaos. Even the mighty Lunar Exalted, the former mates of the Solars, could do little more than slow their monstrous advance. As the armies of the Fair Folk marched toward the center of Creation, a lone Dragon-Blooded officer braved the nigh-impenetrable defenses of an ancient Solar weapon system. By luck or by fate, she took control of one of the mightiest weapons the world has ever known, awakening it from its slumber. With the power of the Realm Defense Grid, she annihilated the Fair Folk hosts and sent them screaming and boiling back out of Creation. With control of the Realm Defense Grid, the officer was now the mightiest being in Creation. There was little left of the old shogunate—the shogun whom she had served, and most of his children and children’s children were gone. With fire and fury, she wrested the remnants of her world from the hands of her enemies and cowed oaths of fealty from the rest. From her isle at the center of Creation, she consolidated allies and resources and named herself Empress.

The Birth of the Realm

Through alliances and coups, the Scarlet Empress brought her enemies to heel. Through marriages and liaisons, she gave birth to a dynasty of heroes, who formed lesser and greater houses through which the Empress could filter her power. To keep her place, she set her children against one another in endless bids for power, resources, and favor. In time she seeded her legions with soldiers and commanders from her own household and from the houses of her closest children. In a matter of decades, her forces marched out into the Threshold—all the lands that were not her island—and forced her enemies to kneel. One coalition of heroes in the East managed to resist her conquest. Of the rest, only the most remote barbarian kingdoms of the Lunar Exalted escaped her rule. Vowing fire and steel to her enemies, the Empress threaded the boundaries of her empire with legions and set about draining conquered lands of their resources so that her Realm could grow mighty and wroth for a return. Throughout the centuries, the Empress kept the Sidereals close at hand. Their advice and protection afforded her great advantages in governing her mighty nation. In return for their service, she made the Immaculate Philosophy the state religion of the Realm, and through the Immaculate Order the Sidereals maintained the Wyld Hunt. In all the 763 years of her reign, the Wyld Hunt never once faltered, and the Dynasty grew vast and powerful on the yolk of Creation.

Into the Time of Tumult

Five years ago the Empress vanished. Almost overnight, the Realm began to deteriorate. Through her sorcerous might, the Empress had planned to live forever. With no order of succession, the Realm entered into chaos. Some thought that the Empress had been assassinated, or fallen prey to the fell magic that gave her such power. Others believed she was watching from the shadows to see who might try to take her place, or that she had reached a state of perfection and had left her Realm behind. There were rumors without end, but only one thing was certain: the Empress was gone, and her throne sat empty. The Great Houses of the Scarlet Dynasty—each longing to place one of their own on the throne—began to summon their forces. Legions were recalled from the frontiers, satrapies were bled for every obol, and the heroes of the Realm were called home from vigil and from quest to take up the banners of their families. A political stalemate saw a figurehead Regent placed on the throne while the Houses marshalled their resources and maneuvered their forces, built alliances and seeded the feasting halls of their enemies with spies and traitors. Forests were stripped to build siege weapons and ships, war machines were constructed, the old spells were chanted, and old warstriders rose from torpor to shake off their rust. Meanwhile, the massive recall of Realm forces left certain borders of the empire manned by skeleton crews, often consisting of poorly-trained citizen soldiers and conscripts forced into service at spear-point. Sensing the mystical and military defenses of the Realm had weakened, many of the Dynasty’s subject states began to withhold tribute, while others fell into open rebellion. At the same time, the Lunar Exalted, who had fought a long and bitter war with the Dragon-Blooded, began escalating their attacks. Barbarian hordes emerged from the outlands of the Threshold to test the might of the remaining legions, while the Realm’s ancient enemies unveiled new fighting forces from states beyond the Realm’s borders. But the Empress’s disappearance presages even more dire consequences than these. In the dark heart of the Scavenger Lands, the Deathlord called Mask of Winters rose on his living corpse-mountain throne to march an army of the dead against the citystate of Thorns. It was sacked and taken. A tributary of the Realm, its Dragon-Blooded defenders died to a man, and their bodies were dragged into the corpse-flesh kingdom of the Deathlord’s thrall. Far and near, the enemies of the world have begun to rumble and quake, testing the chains of their bondage. The Fair Folk, still fuming from their last bitter defeat, have begun to speak war words and sing the chaunts of battle, from their septs within Creation and from within their halls in the deep Wyld, while the dark lords of the Underworld unleash horror and cataclysm never before seen.

The Return of the Solar Exalted

After a millennia of vigilance, the Wyld Hunt has lapsed. This is the world into which the Solar Exalted have returned. After centuries of imprisonment, the doors of the jade prison have been kicked open, and the heroes of old have come again. It has been said that Creation is doomed. The world will end in fire and flames. Darkness will descend. The seas will dry up and the land will crumble into the maw of chaos. Nothing can stop this. Nor could the Solar Exalted slay the enemies of the gods. Nor could they master the sorceries which wrought the world. Nor could they ever return from their endless death amongst the stars. This is the world into which the Solar Exalted have returned — but will they save the world, or will they destroy it?