Eptian LXXV [75]

May 11, 2011

Eptih traveled a great distance with his caravan hoping to find some piece of land that was uninhabited and far from the troubles he knew where beginning. He also wanted to find a place of honor where he could bury the body of Thmascuid. As his journey took him further away from the Mortal realm, more of the Hetharcyp that were following him fell away from the caravan. Typically these men were the younger unmarried men who wished to find wives and build fortunes and when they felt they were getting farther away from those possibilities they could go no further and departed in good standing with Eptih. For his part he was happy to see them go to make better lives for themselves, he knew that the serenity he was seeking was no draw to the ambitious. In reality Eptih wanted to live alone with his wife but he would never turn away those that were following him and so he imagined himself living in concord with his wife and neighbors, farming his new lands and enjoying the spoils he had won in the war.

Eventually, Eptih found what he was looking for in a large valley that was encircled by hills with large mountains to the north. Here on the northern foothills, overlooking the valley, Eptih stopped and built his home. Many of the remaining Hetharcyp built homes in the same vicinity and soon afterward the land below in the valley was cultivated for farming, the land being equally divided amongst the Hetharcyp who settled their with Etih as the unquestioned leader. Many streams flowed from the mountains providing the necessary water year-round and the soil in the valley was richer then any they had seen before. It was obvious that the area had never been farmed and only a few old Sreoth ruins were scattered around the entire area.

Once his home was built, Eptih chose a special spot on his estate and buried the body of Thmascuid, he marked it with a small stone obelisk with the name “Thmascuid” carved in it. This spot would eventually become a place of pilgrimage where many would come in order to pay their respects to the man they felt as though had near single-handedly laid the foundation for Mortal freedom.

Eptih’s slaves and the other Hetharcyp worked the fertile land of the valley and abundant crops soon followed. The yield was so large there was an overabundance that needed to be transported to a far away market and sold off. This vast yield continued and as a result Eptih and the Hetharcyp became wealthy, but at the same time it drew many to the area looking for opportunity. Additionally as word spread about the place and the burial spot of Thmascuid the amount of pilgrims increased, many of which intended to stay, in hopes of making their fortune. The Hetharcyp did not relinquish ownership but they did allow some to work the land and build their homes there.

As the population increased and more people labored in the fields the yield from the farms increased and in time there was a constant flow of goods going in and out of the area. To make things more convenient many wanted to establish a town and a market but Eptih was initially not open to the idea. However when many of the Hetharcyp started to request these things as well Eptih relented and allowed the establishment of a town and market on the opposite side of the valley from his home. The mortals established the town and called it “Hero’s Tomb”, referring to Thmascuid’s tomb even though the tomb was a distance away and on Eptih’s private lands.

Eptih felt the establishment of this town was a bad omen for the future, it represented everything he had hoped to leave behind. He knew now that no matter how far he went to escape the evils of selfish men that evil would inevitably come to him. Due to these feelings he wondered if it might not be better to embrace the town and control it then to let if grow unimpeded and eventually control him.

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[ Eptian XXXII ]

April 26, 2007

Eptian XXXII

Thmascuid and Thiaraceph, after the defeat of the Vethrian army, had escorted a small band of the surviving soldiers back from the Great Chasm Fortress to what was at that time still Mortal controlled Existence. After this both of them helped prepare their towns defenses but by the time the Velidian forces got close to their town most of Mortal Existence had already surrendered and because of this the decision was made to not waste the town in a hopeless attempt. Eventually the Velidian onslaught came to them and they could do little but try and survive. They made sure that Othamar (Derram) and Eptih were kept safe. Once the Velidians had taken over Existence Thiaraceph and Thmascuid were rounded up like all the other Mortals and forced to labor building Velids new civilization. Othamar (Derram) being so deformed was not required to work and so she was available to take care of Eptih.

Like all Mortals who were under the yoke of Velid and who’s very life depended upon the whim of the Queid, Thmascuid and Thiaraceph were angry. Velid at this point had a tight control over Existence and made his will felt throughout. He had many allies, the Sreoth, the Siradyt and other Mortal groups and as such held sway over more territory with a stronger fist then anyone ever had and therefore was undefeatable. Many Mortals spoke of how the yoke of Velid might be thrown off but no one was able to do anything about it. Occasionally a Mortal might become fed up with his situation and cause trouble for the Queid but he would be killed before he could become any real problem. Mortals during these time found little joy in their lives. They were forced to labor for a majority of their waking hours and were not aloud to participate in anything that could be construed as military training. All sports, miscellaneous competitions and any gatherings of adult males were banned.

Velid took great joy in forcing the Mortal heroes to labor for long hours and continually pushed them to see what their breaking point would be. Many of the heroes died of exhaustion due to this. This disrespect further angered the Mortals but at the same time it caused them to loose what little faith they had remaining. As the years went on the spirit of the Mortals was nearly broken.

Thiaraceph, who was one of the Mortals Velid took joy in disrespecting, became very bitter. After many hours of laboring and being a spectacle used for the pleasure of the Velidians, he came home to a woman who he had once loved but no long had feelings for and a child who was not his but who he was forced to be responsible for. Thiaraceph felt consumed by burden and therefore withdrew from everyone including his friend Thmascuid. Because of this withdrawal which in actuality had begun long before the defeat of the Vethrian army, Thmascuid took Eptih as his son and so spent his free time with the boy teaching him as much of his own knowledge and skills as he could.

As Eptih grew many incidences occurred that reaffirmed Thmascuid’s suspicion that Eptih was no normal boy. Although less than five years of age Eptih’s exploits were becoming known to all the Mortals of the surrounding areas. Later on, because Mortal adults were not aloud to practice combat, the Mortals would have their kids compete in a type of combat fighting which was a combination of wrestling and boxing. They did this for entertainment but also to harden their children into future soldiers that might save the Mortal race.

Eptih began fighting in these competitions earlier than normal boys, mainly because he was so much bigger, and never was close to losing a match, always wining with ease. When Eptih was nine he was banned from the competitions when during a match he killed the other boy with one blow to his face. This incident resulted in a still more unfortunate occurrence when a few days later the father of the boy who had been killed and who was still distraught, saw Eptih playing near his home with some other boys. In a rage the man grabbed Eptih and tried to strangle him. Eptih broke free from the man’s grasp and in a wild rage proceeded to tear the man apart like a wild animal would its prey. Eptih then ran away fearing the consequences for what he had done but as the incident had been witnessed by the other boys the incident was deemed self defense. Thmascuid later found Eptih hiding, blood covered and brought him back home.


[ Eptian XXXI ]

April 20, 2007

Eptian XXXI

The remaining Mortal army retreated back to Mortal controlled Existence and tried to rally all available assets in order to defend the various cities and towns against the expected Velidian onslaught.

The Seven families now felt a deep fear and realized all to late that their salvation was only possible via the Vethrians, who were now no longer available to protect them. They also realized that to have manipulated the army as they did for there own welfare and in order to hurt the Vethrians chances of regaining power after their inevitable victory over existence was a shortsighted if not misguided strategy.

So purely based on self-preservation the Seven families worked closely with the returning remnants of the army to set up a home defense relying heavily on guerrilla tactics. They poured all of their wealth into the task at hand. Some key scorched earth policies were used along with numerous other defensive methods.

Velid, looking to conserve his armies energy allowed considerable time to pass. Mortal society was in a state of disorder, prepared for the coming fight and without the guidance of the Vethrians was doomed. Once Velid felt the Mortals were at their weakest he moved in for the final kill and with a vengeance that had not been seen in Existence for a long time.

The fighting at this time was very hard due to the fact that the Mortals were dug in and determined to save themselves. The Velidian army though was tenacious and eventually took over town after town crushing any resistance with a great ferocity, so much so that as time passed and stories were spread, more and more of the resistance gave in without a fight. In time the Velidians had subdued most of what had been Vethrian controlled Existence. An administrative system was set up by the Velidians that broke Existence up into various provinces, each of which was governed by a Sonimi territorial lord whose law was enforced by the ever-growing Queid forces.

The Queid forces were absolutely ruthless in carrying out the Sonimi lords’ wishes and as they were dead and controlled only by the possessor of the Firmornam could not be reasoned with. The Sonimi were unconcerned with the plight of the Mortlas and proved that on many occasions but the Queid were absolutely cruel. Some Siradyt Mortals acted as the eyes for Velid almost like a secret police force and so were hated most of all by the Mortals.

Once dominion had been established, and his hand was everywhere, Velid tasked his various provincial lords with eliminating the Seven families. The Velidian system being highly effective, the entire structure of the Seven families was destroyed and nearly all their numbers cleared away from Existence. Once this project had been completed the Mortals lost what little hope they had remaining, no longer was their a possibility of being rescued by some outside force that would set everything right.

With all previous power structures gone, Velid was free to remake Existence as he saw fit. Velid, copying the Vethrian system, established a Triad of Sonimi to handle the minor details by managing the provincial Lords. This Triad had three components much like the original Vethian Triumvirate and they were called the NuU, the XeuD and the RotiS. With this system Velid was able to enslave all the Mortals who had fought against him using them to build a new infrastructure within Existence. At this time, by way of Mortal slave labor Existence passed into a new area where the buildings went from having an ephemeral quality to a quality of permanence. Structures that had made from short-lived materials like wood were now made of stone and concrete. Many government buildings were built as well as a system of permanent roads in place of the dirt ones. The capital was moved from Avirenth to the Great Chasm. It was also at this time that the Sonimi created the Horse from the Beasts of Burden for the purpose of conveying orders, men and material around Existence quickly for the purpose of quelling any uprising that might come about. The horse quickly became popular. The Mortal groups that had not fought against Velid were treated better but not by much. The enslaved mortals developed a hatred for these Mortals as they had the Siradyt and they termed all of these trader Mortals , the “____” as an insult.


[ Eptian XXX ]

April 12, 2007

Eptian XXX

The Vethrian army was in a state of deterioration before it had been completely formed and it was far from being battle ready, progress having been slowed due to the conduct of the Seven Families, but it was decided that a surprise attack would be the best hope for victory. If the Vethrians spent additional time building and strengthening the army, relying on the Seven Families for men and material, eventually the growing disorder would destroy the army before it ever entered action. It could either be used now in the state it was or allowed to die on the vine never having been used.

The decision to act at once having been made, vanguard Elements of the Vethrian army moved out in force toward the Great Chasm Fortress. The idea was to send the best trained soldiers first in order to scare Velid hopefully convincing him to prematurely yield. If he did not a siege of the Great Chasm Fortress would be raised by that time the bulk of the army would be brought up acting merely as a battering ram. Disciplined soldiering would be less important for this plan and brute force more befitting the demeanor of the majority of the army. This plan had to work, the quality of the army leaving no other possible option if the siege should go wrong.

At first Velid and his seemingly meager force of mixed Sreoth, Queid and Syradyt mortals retreated back into the Fortress putting up little resistance and it seemed that it would not be long before the siege would be effective. When the bulk of the Vethrian force arrived victory seemed all the more assured and in this aura of inevitable certainty it became harder to keep the army organized. Disipline being what it was soldiers would frequently wander off searching for food or other spoils leaving their posts unattended. The Vethrians became furious with the laziness of the army during the siege and began to doubt their original rationale for the siege and faith in victory long before others did.

Velid sent out some of his best soldiers to fight single combats and the Vethrians accepted. Thmascuid did particularly good during these matches. But as the single combats went on the Sonimi continued their work of creating new Queid battalions unbeknownst to the Vehtrinas.

As Velid peered out from the Great Chasm Fortress he laughed at how the Vethrian army had walked right into his trap. Not only that, it was now obvious that if given time the Vethrian army would destroy itself right where it stood. But eventually Velid became tired of waiting and called on Ebrel to advance, Ebrel having been set up for some time behind the Vethian army hidden from their view. Ebrels army which was much smaller then the Vethrian army but highly disciplined, pined the majority of the Vethrian army up against the Fortress and at that moment the forces from inside the Fortress were unleashed and carnage ensued. The Vethrian army was trapped in this spot and was destroyed. The Vethrians abandoned the dying army and fled into hiding only a small number having been killed in the battle. The Mortal heroes, including Thiaraceph and Thmascuid, did their best to stall the Queids efforts, breaking holes through the Queid lines allowing some of their own numbers to escape. Many of the Mortal heroes were killed during this time. Thiaraceph and Thmascuid however did survive and managed to lead a small element of soldiers back home. This bravery gaining them more fame, adding further luster to already stellar reputations.

The Velidian army had pursued the fleeing remnants of the Vethrian army at first but were eventually called back by Velid. He had come to the conclusion that the hardest part of his plan had been executed and that now he could establish control on his terms and when and how he saw fit. All the dead soldiers that were scattered around the Great Chasm Fortress were immediately converted into Queid by Velid and the Sonimi and thus the Velidian army grew larger and larger.


[ Eptian XXIX ]

April 5, 2007

Eptian XXIX

The one Vethrian who Velid allowed to return eventually did and told the Triumvirate everything he had learned. With this new knowledge of Velids rise the Vethrians became fearful that they might not survive the coming troubles and secretly wondered if all of this wasn’t the work of Aeyrom. Had Aeyrom set up a situation that was hopeless for them or was this possibly a test, one that if they passed would earn them the right to ascend back into the Continuum. These questions loomed large over the Vethrians and brought about two distinct and opposite possible responses. Regardless of Aeyroms possible manipulation, they knew that this was a defining moment. Should they run and hide, using their power to maintain their very survival, abandoning the rule of Existence to whomever possessed the ability to take it, or should they take control of the situation taking the initiative and settle the score with Velid before all was lost.

The Vethrians at this point had little control over Existence. The seven families had managed to usurp most of the power and had reorganized existence as best suited them. This was only possible however because the Vethrians themselves had lost faith in their plan for Existence and were slowly pulling back from their responsibility. They had been played by the Mortals and most especially the Seven Families but only because of their own ignorance.

As the Vethrians began a debate over these matters the Mortal populace somehow learned of the Velidian threat and became fearful which in turn began to cause the organization of the society to begin to break down. The mortals quickly demanded that the Vethrians and the seven families do something to defend their way of life. At a meeting of all concerned parties the Vethrians were persuaded to help the effort and at the same time the seven families were urged to do their part. After this meeting the Vethrians decided to make a stand and thereupon took control of the situation. The seven families however were not happy with what appeared to be a resurgence in the enthusiasm of the Vethrians. As they saw it, much effort had been spent to bring Existence to this point and they knew they were on the verge of removing Vethrian rule for good. Even though, they did not what to appear to be undermining the effort wich might cause them to loose the support of the Mortals and so being in control of most of the resources and assets did the minimal that was necessary while feigning strong support. Their main goal quickly became not allowing the Vethrians to regain their former power, which diminished the effort.

A ragtag army was quickly built with conscripts and volunteers. Many able-bodied male Mortals were utilized including many of the heroes. Problems did arise when some towns and cities refused to send soldiers out of fear, by some previous arrangement or out of some hope of gaining from the final result should they not participate. However at the moment nothing could be done about it as more urgent matters were pressing.

Because there had been no previous custom of large organized armies there existed no tradition or skill for it and as such no necessary foundation to build upon. Because of this the army was quickly thrown together, poorly trained, insufficiently supplied and completely disorganized. All of this caused a great uneasiness to develop in the army but most especially in the Vethrians, making them feel that victory would be up to them alone. They were however committed to seeing the project through to the bitter end.

Simultaneously, As the Vethrians were consolidating their power and designing battle plans in hopes of a quick and decisive attack, Velid had made the decision to descend into the great chasm. Now that he had the power of the Firmornam he would descend establish command over the Spiritforms and use them for his own purposes. When he descended into the Great Chasm he was able to communicate directly with the Spiritforms and in that way learned that Othamar had in fact made it out alive with her baby who was also alive when they ascended. Velid, incensed and having established his command over the Spiritforms ascended and upon his arrival at the surface sent out a search band to find Othamar and the baby. These groups, scouring Existence quietly, discovered the Mortal armies assembling and quickly reported this information to Velid. As more search groups were directed to reconnoiter the movements of the Mortal armies it was discovered that the Vethrians were playing a big part in this operation. Velid who was increasingly confident due to his power over the Spiritforms could not bear that his power had yet to establish dominion over the Mortal and his hatred for them only increased knowing that they were making plans to destroy him. Quickly he began to build his own army with the help of the Sonimi. Also the Siradyt and the Sreoth were enlisted to help in the effort. One by one corpses were gathered and Spiritforms were applied to them creating a horrible army know as the Queid army.


[ Eptian XXVI ]

March 15, 2007

Eptian_XXVI

Once night had fallen they moved Othamar and the baby to Thiaraceph’s house unnoticed. Othamar and the baby were to recover from their wounds with Thiaracephs care in this place all the while keeping their presence secret. As they convalesced Thiaraceph and Thmascuid would have time to devise a plan to reintroduce Othamar and the baby into their community. After some time had passed when Othamar had recovered her mind, she decided it was time to name the baby and so she did this calling him Eptih.

In the time it had taken for Othamar and the baby to heal Thiaraceph and Thmascuid had not been able to devise a sound plan to bring Othamar back and yet keep this information from Velid. Othamar and the baby were to live with Thiaraceph but they could not live together as a family, if anyone had an idea that Othamar was back it would almost certainly get back to Velid and he would come looking for her. So needless to say the situation was precarious. Othamar could not hide in Thiaraceph’s house unnoticed forever, and certainly the baby could not be kept hidden especially as he grew older and would be needing to experience the world beyond Thiaraceph’s doorstep.

Between the three of them, Thmascuid, Thiaraceph and Othamar they could not come up with any way to resolve the problem and although many suggestions were put forth, none resolved all the issues before them. They had to be careful now as time was running out and suspicion would be likely to start forming as all of their actions would by necessity become increasingly odd to outside viewers.

Eventually Othamar on her own decided what needed to be done. As she was the most beautiful woman in Existence she would always be recognized no matter what disguise she wore. And so for hers and Thiaracephs sake, but most especially for the baby, she used a knife and cut into her face disfiguring herself so that never again would she be recognized as Othamar. She endured more pain then she ever had in this act of self-abuse but it was justified in her mind and seemed to her the only real viable option.

Thiaraceph who had been out discovered Othamar laying in a pool of blood with her face horribly disfigured. He began to provide her care and called a local boy to deliver a sealed message to Thiaraceph which told him to come to Othamars aide immediately. Once again Othamar had brought herself close to death with her actions and would again need time to heal but the her plan was not yet complete. When Thmascuid arrived he was astonished by what Othamar had done to herself, and felt as though she had acted to rashly. He knew however, as did Thiaraceph, that something of this magnitude was required. A show had to be made now and in her state with Eptih in her arms she was taken out quietly by Thmascuid and dropped off so that she could return with the necessary drama required so that the story she had devised would be sealed in facts.

A few hours later Othamar returned to the edge of the town with screams and blood covered clothing, baby in hand where she collapsed and was helped by the people there. These people heard her speak of how her family had been destroyed by Sreoth raiders, all except for her and her sister’s baby. They heard her speak of the horrors she had witnessed and how she had made her way to this place seeking sanctuary from a relative she had never seen but knew by the name of Thiaraceph which all the people listening knew of. She told them her name was Derram and that the baby was Eptih. After hearing her tale a messenger was sent to bring Thiaraceph. He arrived in the night and was given shelter till morning when he took Othamar, now called Derram, and Eptih back to his home. The ruse was complete.

Why did Othamr not claim Eptih as her own son? Othamar had removed the beauty from her face but the grace of her figure remained and would still be known, it being so unique and unlike all of the other women of existence, and this would need to be hidden also. The best way to do this she reasoned was to play an old cripple walking with a limp and otherwise strange gait, she would become a woman no man would take as a wife and so to have recently bared a child would be proof of deceit. Othamar had given away her beauty for Eptih and any hope of a life with Thiaraceph as husband and wife, she had committed herself to the ruse wholly. She may have been at least partially animated by her hatred and fear of Velid and the wish to never return to the Great Chasm Fortress.


[ Eptian XXV ]

March 7, 2007

XXV

Just as Othamar was about to give into death the force keeping her down relented and she was then able to lift her head out of the mud and take a breath, quickly re-energizing her to take on the search for her baby.

She stood up and saw around her many corpses who were focused on something else very nearby. She began to walk toward that direction weaving through the corpses until she came upon one who was holding her baby. Othamar came face to face with the corpse and as he noticed her he gripped the baby tighter, squeezing it very hard causing the baby to scream out but then cutting off its ability to scream with a further increase in force. Othamar raised her hands and began to place them on the corpses hands and at that moment the corpse fell to the ground, the spiritform that had possessed it having been ejected from it. Othamar managed to catch the baby as it dropped from the corpses grasp as it fell. Othamar then turned and ran with the baby in hand using her clothing to cover the baby. She ran for a distance and became exhausted again only this time she refused to rest, denying the urge to close her eyes again for even a moment.

The Corpses no longer followed her and so she walked and walked for what seemed to be days, always cloaked in the darkness of the Great Chasm refusing to stop until out of the Great Chasm. Othamar was now almost completely consumed and devoid of strength by the trials she had and was experiencing. She was becoming a shell of herself, hollow but regardless continued to walk and search for a path to ascend from this horrible place. The health of the baby also seemed to be faltering, and Othamar could no longer supply the baby with sustenance as she herself was starving.

Eventually she came to a path that appeared to head toward the top and so she climbed. She, in time, reached the top and was glad that she had ascended far away from the Fortress, although she did not know where she was. She was not free of Velid’s grasp as of yet as the territory she was in was Sreoth and they had become allies of Velid. Because of this she moved quietly avoiding the trails and roads, preferring to move in darkness.

As Othamar traveled and she became ever weaker feeling death may be near, she decided to move back to the roads in case she drop dead someone might find the baby and care for it more easily then if she fall in some untraveled area. This decision was wise because it was not long after she move back to the road that she in fact did drop unconscious where she stood. She lay there for two days with the baby tucked at her side under her clothes until she was discovered.

Thmascuid and Thiaraceph, having traveled the same road that Othamar was returning home on came upon her. At first they did not recognize her as she was covered in filth and gaunt, but stopping to assist a Mortal who was obviously out of place in Sreoth lands discovered it was in fact Othamar. They discovered the baby when they moved Othamar and the baby rolled out, still alive. Thiaraceph and Thmascuid moved Othamar and the baby off the trail and set up camp. Here they began to care for the pair, preparing them for the journey home but first making sure they would survive the night.

In the morning Othamar and the baby were alive but unconscious. After getting Othamar and the baby cleaned and fed, they packed up camp with the intention of setting out for home. Although both Thiaraceph and Thmascuid wanted to inflict damage upon Velid, or at the very least reconnoiter the fortress, they decided Othamar and the baby had to be returned home in order to assure their survival. It was as Thiaraceph was washing Othamar and the baby that he noticed Othamar’s wounds were fresh and the baby’s wounds were nearly healed leaving behind only scars but he just assumed the babies scars were older. This however intrigued Thiaraceph and so he looked over the baby closely thinking to himself that it somehow seemed different from typical babies.

Eventually, after a few tribulations, they neared their town stopping short to wait for nightfall so that they might enter the city under cover of darkness. They did this to hide Othamar and the baby in secret for the time being so that word would not get back to Velid that Othamar was alive.