A record of the general themes running throughout the Horizon Multiverse, pieced together by the Demarchic overhead and Seventh family member Poli'ahu. As it is composed of the "average" history of numerous realities, it is considered one of the most accurate accounts of the Horizon The Guardians of Zion
Entry 1 Edit
I: In The Beginning
Our Saga begins in the great northern Kingdom of Erkan, a economical and military powerhouse. During its first Golden Age, under King Aaron the great, a Council of the six greatest Wizards in the land served as an advisory body for the monarchy. Its leader, simply remembered as The Grandmaster, wielded magical and blacksmithery skill to create Thanatos, an enchanted sword of immense power. The Grandmaster gifted the weapon to the King, who in turn gifted it to his oldest and closest friend, the Chancellor Archontas. However, the Advisor had been unknowingly corrupted many years earlier by the brutal wars in the western islands. Armed with Thanatos and a growing lust for power, he became the King's chief enforcer and a symbol of fear throughout the Kingdom. Realizing his mistake, the Grandmaster set about crafting a second Sword, Ilios, imbued with light that would allow only a uncorrupted soul to use it. At the same time, Archontas had plunged Erkan into a civil war, driven on by the Council’s prophecy of Aaron being fated to destroy him. Before Ilios could be completed, Archontas slew the King in single combat and declared himself his replacement. The Grandmaster lead the Council in opposition, but was betrayed by one of it’s own. Unable to wield Ilios, because of his own pride, the Grandmaster reaffirmed the prophecy of Aaron destroying Archontas before being killed himself. Although the Council was apparently destroyed, two members escaped aside from the traitor. One of whom, Kylorn, discovered that the King’s son had survived his Father's “dethroning”. Aaron II was taken into the Wild South by Kylorn, along with his own two sons, before the great alchemist disappeared, presumably captured by the Chancellor's forces. Over the next two decades, Archontas consolidated his power and delved deeper into dark magical arts (Even creating his own Council of Six), while Aaron II, Jack and William grew up as slaves in the southern wilds. The last surviving loyalist member of the Council, Bearoz, spent the years setting up an uprising against the Counselor, before embarking on a recovery of the King's son (as well as his friends twins). The three young slaves agreed, more than willing to leave behind their currently torrid life and join the cause. Although Bearoz failed to survive the return trip, the three younger men successfully joined the revolutionaries and recovered Ilios, rallying Erkan’s citizens into a second Civil War. The final battle of the war was fought in the halls of Archontas palace, with Aaron striking the final blow against the Chancellor with Ilios. In any other story, this would be the end of it: Aaron II took his Father's place, Kylorn’s sons reformed and lead the military and Erkan began its second Golden Age. The three main leads even married Susan, Kathleen and Eleanor respectively, their betrothed since their time in the Resistance. However, Ixil’s new role as a Ranger on the Western border of Erkan lead to him discovering a secret buried deep in the mountains: A collection of his Father's life's work. This included a horrifying truth however: Archontas’s Dark council of six had escaped Erkan’s world using Kylorn’s greatest creation: enchanted Rings crafted via alchemy, allowing their wearers to pass between Universes. The method was not perfected, but it was refined enough to allow all but the original traitor to escape. William, Aaron and Jack soon followed using the Remaining Rings, determined to bring them to justice. To their surprise, they instead arrived in a futuristic, interstellar Republic. Before they could move on, they became embroiled in the conflict with the “War Droid Empire”, extragalactic invaders making heavy use of war droids (Hence the nickname). This proved to be a life changing event, especially for William. Never really moving on from his days in the Resistance, William became determined to aid any similar cause if capable. However, the original purpose of their Exodus was not forgotten, and the trio of adventurers traveled to a third, less advanced Universe in search of the Dark Six. This new reality came to serve as their base of operations, and a source of new allies. The P.T.D, a loose coalition of worlds and civilizations, gladly welcomed the trio into their ranks. Morgans Way, an ancient sect of sorcerers, were less trusting but occasionally willing to aid them as well. On a more personal level, three became five with the addition of two like-minded individuals to the crusade: Mike Sanders, a sarcastic engineering genius and former bounty hunter, and later P.s, a highly private but heroic agent of Morgans Way. Although they did not have the shared past the other three did, they grew to be close friends over the years. Eleanor, William’s wife, would also occasionally join them and serve as their team medic. But the new frontier also brought a host of new threats. The Shadowmen and Xoks represented two more Empires to oppose, while Shade and Refrain of the Dark Six resurfaced with their own plots. By far the biggest threat though was the Blade Guild, a massive criminal organization with more influence and resources than either the Empires or the P.T.D. The battle between the Guild and the self-styled Explorers (a name taken from their custom-built starship, The Explorer) became deeply personal when the Leviticus project lead to the lengthy capture and torture of P.s. She was rescued a number of months later, although it took some time for everyone to recover from the ordeal, and the ferocity on both sides increased considerably. The Explorers eventually emerged victorious, albeit not without great personal cost and the P.T.D’s destruction. The Hand, chief Guild military commander and Williams personal rival, took control of the Guild from his less honorable predecessors and reformed it into a more benign mercenary organization. This, combined with the capture or death of the remaining Dark Six (Save Kratoria, the Emperor of the War Droids) was enough to convince Aaron and Jack to return home and settle down with their families. The newly-wed Mike and P.s joined them, leaving only William. The only one of the group to truly adjust to the Adventuring lifestyle, William traveled solo for a while, helping to refound the P.T.D and attending the peace conference between the Republic and War Droids. He also further pursued Kylorn’s fate, having discovered that Archontas was not responsible for his disappearance, but failed to unearth what really happened to his Father. However, the unstable magic in the Rings eventually lead to a dark, corrupted version of William attacking Erkan’s heroes. The original version only narrowly prevented the death of his friends and family, realizing in the process that it was time for him to return home permanently as well. Thankfully, there was already someone ready and waiting to take his place…
II: Continuing a Legacy
Sometimes, the best way to study a legend is to first look at their closest friends. “Born” on the industrial world of Axess 12, Skid was an experiment, genetically engineered to be the perfect soldier. As a publicity stunt, he was assigned to protect a conference between major corporate heads. This did not turn out as planned, as Skid turned out to have more free will than anticipated and fell in with an uninvited guest investigating the more shady businesses present: One “William Erkan”. In the end, the Axess executives allowed Skid to leave with the traveler, in exchange for his not turning them over to system authorities for tax evasion. Skid became a faithful companion to William during his later, solo travelers, and briefly considered joining him in retirement. However, his old friend had a request: Skid would continue his current role of ally and muscle, but with William’s son Jared. The soldier was at first reluctant, but changed his mind upon witnessing the younger man in action. The youngest son of William and Eleanor’s eight children, Jared was adventurous and outgoing as a child. As he grew older, this became a true lust for adventure and he followed his older brothers in their ranger work across Erkan. Unlike his Father, an intermediate swordsman, Jared proved to be a dueling prodigy and his skill in this area furthered his confidence to the point he was asking to accompany his father at the age of thirteen. His parents refused naturally, until an eighteen year old Jared “acquired” the Explorer and seemingly joined the Errant Prophets of Death. Upon confronting him, William learned that he had instead infiltrated the group, hoping to bring them down from within. Father and Son accomplished this together, and William reluctantly approved him as his successor. Skid, for his part, could see the potential in Jared, buried beneath the vigor of youth. Agreeing to serve as Jared’s bodyguard (Or just as often, advisor), the soldier leapt back into service as the two embarked on a series of peacekeeping and mercy missions. A return to Axess 12 saw the normal status quo reversed, as Jared kept Skid from angrily killing the corporation heads, who had engineered a second batch of Soldiers and strictly enslaved them as personal hitmen. Jared did agree to bring down the company however, and the two walked away with not only Skid’s freed brothers but also a squadron of Nightwing fighters to replace the ageing Explorer. The formerly unnamed Kid, Jobe and Boe agreed to join the duo and soon Skid found himself in the position of being a commander instead of a soldier. He also found some of Jared’s choices, such as partaking in a Multi-reality tournament to pick a new champion for the ancient Oni civilization, hard to agree with, but loyally performed his duty nonetheless. Skid was much more satisfied with Jared’s next ambitious endeavour: The freeing of Journeyworld, an endless fantasy era plain, from the cruel overlord Gisborn. Aside from the obvious benefit to the oppressed, it had a major positive effect on Jared in introducing him to Kate, an idealistic young revolutionary. As headstrong and outspoken as Jared himself, the young woman practically talked herself into the small group of soldiers and unanimously improved their overall effectiveness and unity. However, the small-scale revolution was still in the shadow of the previous generation of adventurers and their exploits. A far bigger issue Than lost fame and infamy were old enemies looking for revenge on the younger and supposedly less capable Night-wings. Lian, a mercantile warrior humiliated and crippled by William some years prior, staged a coup in the Centurion: one of the oldest, fiercest and effective orders of assassins in existence. Seizing sole leadership, Lian nominally reformed the Centurion, while secretly pursuing his own personal goal: the death of William’s son. With victory nearly in reach, Skid and the others were caught completely off-guard by Gisborne's new allies, arriving via Rings borrowed from Kratoria. Centurion assassins reversed almost every victory they had achieved, destroying resources, killing allies and frightening sympathizers away. Jared was targeted personally, his ability tested again and again by the lethal foes. Lian himself crossed blades with the young hero more than once, although he prefered to avoid battle directly. Even the Oni’s Tournament was affected, Jareds less scrupulous rivals freely hiring the assassins and providing them ample opportunity to fulfill their leaders desire for vengeance. The small glimmer of hope in all this was Wyvern, a centurion defector as bent on destroying Lian as he was on destroying Jared. With an in depth knowledge of how the assassins operated, she proved instrumental in keeping the revolution from simply being crushed. But Skid’s tactical mind could see the rising tension and pressure ready to pull the group apart from within. Tragically, he was proved correct when his own brother, Boe, was discovered to be a mole for Gisborne and Lian. Already driven to the breaking point, Jared abandoned the others on Journeyworld and set off on his own, looking for an escape. For almost a year, Skid did his best to hold together what was left of the group and offer at least token resistance against Gisborne. Even Kate considered abandoning her own home, before the unexpected happened: Jared returned. Nothing could have shocked the world weary soldier more than the formerly hot-headed young man returning as a mortified and reserved individual asking forgiveness for leaving in the first place. As he explained, Jared had joined an alliance of freedom fighters on the devastated world of Potrix, becoming particularly close to “One-shot”, a leading member of the rebels. Sadly, A disastrous ambush left the entire alliance decimated, and One-shot dead. Jared himself only barely survived, and The event had shaken him. After freeing Potrix, he eagerly stepped back into his role as leader of the Revolution, with more determination than ever. Skid gladly relinquished the title back to him, only remaining in command long enough to execute the treacherous Boe. The long fight for Journeyworld ended abruptly when Lian was forced to withdraw the Centurion assassin's, the other members of the Order fed up with his vendetta. Without their support, Gisborne's forces crumbled and were dethroned without ceremony. Not long after, in One-shot’s memory, Jared dropped out of the Oni’s Tournament, allowing a more deserving man to serve as their Champion. Not long after, he and Kate gave into long standing tension and eloped on a honeymoon that deserves a book in its own right. Waiting for their return in the family's home on Erkan, Skid took stock of his life and reflected that Jared, like himself, had been born a warrior, but made a Hero.
From an outside perspective, Kanos was nothing more than a crazy old hermit who just showed up on the outskirts of town one day. However, the truth was significantly more complicated. The third son of Kylorn, born to his second wife while captive in Azarium, Kanos is the lost step-brother of William and Jack. Although his parents felt to old to bother escaping from their reasonably comfortable imprisonment, Kylorn used his alchemic skills to craft another ring and send his son to his family in Erkan. William having passed away and Jared having already retired from Adventuring some time ago, Kanos could look forwards to a life of relative calm and peace, delving into mystic lore and expanding his considerable talent with the magical arts. However, the ceaseless coming and going through realities based around Erkan did not go unnoticed. The Cyids, mindless, ancient, all-consuming scavengers, arrived and began ravaging the surrounding lands. In order to save their home, Jared and Aaron II lead the various nations and adventurers in a desperate defense. By the time the last Cyid was destroyed, Erkan was saved but Kanos stood as the sole surviving member of his family. Broken by his experiences, Kanos simply left, traveling Universe to Universe in search of a quiet corner to isolate himself. He lived like this for centuries, refusing to get involved with anyone or anything, seeking out the next secluded wilderness. But two such trips forced him into action. First, he witnessed Kratoria’s Empire invading a defenseless primitive world, in identical fashion to the Cyid’s. Secondly, he arrived in the Place Beyond Time, a sky dimension home to the great Prophets. Brought before their leader, Kanos was informed that he was destined to slay Kratoria in single combat, at the cost of his own life. Deeply affected by his experience in the etherial plain, Kanos began iregularly performing heroics, slowly becoming more similar to the Adventurers of old. Debating whether to continue hiding or to prepare for one last fight, he sought out his farthest destination yet. This dedicated flight lead him to Frontier, a Galaxy sized planetoid, artificially constructed by a long forgotten race. Touching down near the largest settlement, Kanos buried his long time home, The Emperor, in the surface of Frontiers massive sand drifts. The Universe continued to conspire against giving him a quiet life almost immediately, as a squad of the locale defense Force came out to confront him. In the middle of a heated standoff, Kanos’s placement of his ship turned out to have awakened a hive of Makala, autominis metal scavengers fond of feasting on life. Kanos destroyed the hive, saving most of the squad. Initially dismissing the surviving Squad members, Kanos became intrigued by two of them, albeit for two very different reasons. In the leader, Isaac, he saw a prospective replacement should he indeed fall against the last of the Dark Six. Susan, the team's driver, survived a direct impalement that would have instantly killed a Human. With a little bit of examination, Kanos discovered she was a highly sophisticated Bio-android, much to her surprise. However, the weary traveler was still prepared to leave Frontier, if not for a most unexpected turn of events. While visiting the locale store one stormy night to pick up supplies, he witnessed a street gang chasing down a young woman. When they cornered her, Kanos intervened and rescued the girl, bringing her back to his ship for treatment. Quickly learning that she was an orphan, abandoned on the streets since birth, Kanos felt incapable of leaving the mute sixteen year old to fend for herself. Adopting her as his daughter, Kanos determined to stay on Frontier to raise her, and prepare for the future. With an obligation to stay anyways, he also began vigorously training Issac and investigation Susan’s past. Although still principly a loner, and less than fond of his new, desert laden home, Kanos felt continent for the first time since the Cyid’s arrival. His life continued to be frustratingly exciting though: The Settlement, Frontier Prime, proved inherently inclined towards trouble, with Kanos forced into helping the Defense Force against attacks from Makala, Off-world conquerors and Frontiers thriving criminal industry. Frontier itself, and the secrets surrounding its creation, proved an intriguing and dangerous mystery. Ancient cities, catacombs systems,seemingly endless waves of ruthless bounty Hunters: At times, Frontier was more dangerous than the war-torn planes inhabited by Kanos’s predecessors. One continual thorn in their collective side was Baron Rubert, a criminal mastermind bent on controlling everything within reach. Kanos slipped into his old pragmatism when confronting him directly, leaving the Baron to be devoured by his own vampiric bodyguards. On a much brighter note, his relationship with his daughter, Samantha, brought out the best in both of them. She grew stronger and more confident, overcoming much of her past trauma in his care. He gradually did the same, opening up and letting his past grievances go. Despite his responsibilities there, Kanos did leave Frontier, although only on occasional brief trips, always returning to his new found homeworld. All three of his “students nesitated these departures from time to time: His quest to discover Susan’s origins brought him to many different worlds, although she herself eventually decided who she was didn’t matter as much as who she became. Both Isaac and Samantha were brought off-world for mentoring, although Isaac eventually decided against becoming an Adventurer, on Kanos’s own advice. Samantha continued to be the closest person to her Father, and even accompanied him back to the Place Beyond Time. Wanting to clarify his future fate, as well as investigate the mysterious Seven Kings prophecy, Kanos used the dimension to augment his senses to see the future himself. What he saw instead was the Prophet's intended betrayal, their zealous leader's believing Samantha’s death was integral to the survival of reality. Kanos saved her just in time and Decided that prophecies had no real power of their own. He nonetheless saw that he was the only one capable of stopping Kratoria, who was now spreading his armies into multiple Universe’s. Enrolling Samantha in a naval Academy, and leaving Frontier in the capable hands of Isaac and Susan, Kanos left to confront the mad warlord. As predicted, the battle ended with Kanos emerging victorious, but fatally wounded. Seeing his last three years on Frontier as his best, he took just enough time to set his affairs in order before passing on. Years later, Admiral Samantha fondly remembered her Father as a great hero and attributed her success to his guidance.
Using his last ounce of strength, Ishmael used his Enchanted Ring to travel to a ravaged and lifeless unnamed world, the last in it’s Universe to be consumed by the Omega-Maw. With one last defiant speech to the Nightmare Lord, he allowed himself and the Zion Shard to be swallowed by the reality destroying Black Hole, ending the Nightmare Lord once and for all. Any study of Ishmael and his career as an Adventurer must begin with this event, as it is the endgame he worked towards his entire life. Immediately before this dramatic finale, Ishmael had once again sent out a call to his loose collection of “friends” (Lacking a better term), with a surprisingly honest request: Help. Ishmael’s long chess game with the leader of Morgan's Way had come to a head, with the head mage preparing to enact a plan that would see the death of countless innocent lives, all in a mad quest to obtain the fictional Zion Stone and gain the powers of God. Ishmael needed the aid of Arthur, Violet and River to get past the ranks of scribes protecting the mad Sorcerer, hopefully in enough time to stop the senseless cataclysm. What made this call to arms unique was Ishmael’s uncharacteristic honesty about his ulterior motives: If he could get to the Head Mage’s Zion Shard, the last in existence, he would finally be in the position to destroy the Nightmare Lord and his influence, through his symbiosis with the powerful magical artifacts. The trio accepted and a successful covert mission resulted in the scene above. But Ishmaels game with the Nightmare stretched even farther back than the one with the High Mage: The later’s schemes only allowed Ishmael to bring the former directly into his sights. The High Mage and Morgans Way had begun with much smaller plots (Such as spreading their influence and beliefs to pre-space travel worlds, creating a massive, undetected empire) But over time, the Nightmares corruptive influence pushed them further and further towards more extreme measures. But the ancient sect of sorcerers was far from the first victim. The Nightmare existed in multiple realities for centuries and prefered to use one-off pawns to destabilize the laws of reality, bringing him closer to his ultimate dream of achieving corporal form. For a long time he went unopposed, and initially saw Ishmael as just another man to control. He only realized the truth when the last Zion Shard, the instruments of his influence and his only tie to the physical realm, plummeted into the Omega Maw. Before that, one of Ishmael's clearest prerogatives was damage control on the various breakdowns caused by the Nightmare. Armed with only a Enchanted Ring and River’s (A Starship captain he had hired for transport in exchange for providing her with the opportunity to see other Universes) help, Ishmael confronted alternate reality after alternate reality. Although briefly erased from history by Teckla’s own machinimas, Ishmael generally got by well with the constant changes and alterations. A bigger problem was a lack of resources: Although charismatic, Ishmael rarely informed others of his constant “games” and plans within plans, leading to more than one ally angrily storming away. River was only convinced to stay on by Ishmael straight up describing himself as a liar and highly manipulative, and even that had failed with Teckla (A mercenary who worked as Ishmael's agent, before swearing a vendetta against him for a perceived betrayal). For the most part, Ishmael faced the Universe alone, something he deeply regretted and strongly advised his successor against. But Despite this, Ishmael did not spend his entire career in long running schemes and repairing faults in space-time. The true danger of a man like Ishmael, as he himself admitted, was his ability to “play Hero”. A notable example was the crisis with the Kingdom of Everwinter, a medieval Empire using rifts similar to those created by the Enchanted Rings to expand to other fantasy planes. It’s Queen, Barbara III, was a warmonger, invading multiple countries at once. Her daughter was equally expansionist, but much more pacifist, leading to a small-scale civil war between the two. Ishmael successfully repaired the relationship between the two and convinced the older Queen to cease her conquests and return much of her stolen land. However, this event is again noticeable as the exception to the norm. From day one, when he ran headfirst into the devil-may-care smuggler and conwoman Violet, Ishmael was setting his plans to acquire and destroy the other Zion Shards into motion. He had been in the presence of a Shard since a very young age, and almost his entire life since (Perhaps explaining some of his unorthodox outlook) and was probably the one man in reality with the full picture of just how dangerous the Nightmare Lord was. Unfortunately, his tendency towards secrecy proved to be a large obstacle from the start. A member of the Paladin Order (descendants of the Republic William had aided against the War Droid Empire) by the name of Arthur was the sole survivor of a task force sent to neutralize Xerxes, Kratoria’s understudy and replacement as Emperor. Both he and Violet assumed Ishmael convincing them to band together with him was just the actions of a heroic wanderer, planning on taking down the young would-be warlord for it’s own sake. This new trio mostly operated out of a space station in Violet’s native Galaxy, fighting the barbaric Ravager tribes dominating the area. When the trio finally confronted him, Xerxes took great joy in taunting Violet and Arthur over their misplaced trust, and Ishmael over his doomed to failure plans. Ishmael payed it no mind and used Xerxes’s own Zion Shard to destroy him, only to find that his two compatriots had simply walked away upon learning the extent of his plans themselves. Happily, The three would meet again, and there final departure would be on amicable terms. But From this point on, Ishmael distanced himself from others as much as possible (Likely resulting in the rift between him and Teckla). After this series of disastrous early plots, Ishmael wandered relatively aimlessly, taking time out to “play Hero” on a number of worlds, before locating the last Zion Shard in the hands of Morgan’s Way. Although some saw him as cold and heartless, Ishmael’s point of View reveals his life as a series of determined choices, leading up to the destruction of one of the worst beings to ever exist. And it all began with a young boy named Ishmael being approached by a stranger named Kanos, claiming to be his Grandfather and apologizing for failing to realize how dangerous one of his heirlooms, a seemingly innocent stone, was. And That brings this tale of intrigue and guile to an end (Or its beginning?)
Some would say Zara was destined for greatness by her lineage alone: Her Mother was next in line for rule of the Golden State and her Father was the Great Grandson of Jack, famed member of The Explorers. None of this meant anything to a young Zara unfortunately, who grew up in a broken home. With a missing Mother, neglectant Father and abusive older sister, Zara took the first opportunity to leave home possible, enrolling in her homeworlds military. She found herself at home among soldiers and combat drills, accelerating through the ranks at incredible speed and being placed in direct contact with the primary Battle Computer. Zara paid no mind to her ancestry, up until her world was attacked by a horde of pirates. In the battle that followed, the planet's defenses were overrun and Zara sustained extensive injuries. Without outside intervention, she would have certainly died. As fate would have it though, the battle computer directing the military was far more than it seemed. Zara awoke in a deep underground compound, her injuries “repaired” by cybernetics (Including her left arm, right eye and spine). She found herself in the care of Venus, a highly sophisticated A.I dating back to before the world was colonized. Intelligent and self aware, with records from multiple Universe’s, Venus informed the young woman of the full extent of her father's family line, and the Adventuring dynasty he was a part of. With nothing left resembling a home, Zara eagerly jumped at the idea of such travels, convincing Venus to accompany her. After months of recovery and preparation, Zara and Venus Used the powerful artifacts stored in the Compound (Including one of the Mythical Enchanted Rings) to free the planet, before beginning their adventures. Despite her youth, and relative lack of resources, Zara quickly adapted to the lifestyle and proved a idealistic, heroic force for good. Although she ventured into numerous Universes, Zara mostly remained in her native dimension, exploring the intricate social and political situations that appeared to be leading to a war. Zara’s homeworld was only one colony in a large interstellar Confederacy, a mostly benevolent (If corrupt) faction promoting unity among all worlds and races. However, a crisis was forming in the shape of the conflict with the Heretics. A theocratic monarchy ruled by the titular Green-skinned “Heretics” (Merely a Confederate nickname, their real name being unpronounceable by Humans), this splinter faction abjectly refused to be a part of the Confederacy, remaining fiercely independent. Unfortunately, they as a whole and their unnamed Queen in particular were victims of one of the most effective smear campaigns in history, depicted as violent barbarians fond of massacring civilians. The Queen's own ruthlessness and practice of raiding Confederate worlds in retaliation to attacks on her people did not help matters and even Zara tentatively supported the spread-thin armies of the Confederacy. Despite her determination to remain neutral in the looming war, Zara was drawn into the conflict personally when her sister’s (Now a member of the Confederate Navy) suicide attack on the Heretic Queen resulted in open war, with the out-numbered Heretics making a desperate drive towards the Confederate Capital World. Forced on to the Confederacy's side by the Queen’s hostility and extreme tactics, Zara was uncomfortable with the entire situation and furious when the war ended in the near genocide of the Heretics, betrayed by their own double agent, Gip (A killer for-hire with a deep-seated hatred from Zara’s entire family). Zara barely had time to take stalk of her life, including the additions of Mercantile sniper Wayne, charismatic duelist Clark and the Heretic former-slave Qiana to her and Venus’s team, before being confronted with an entirely new problem. Angered at her denouncement of the Confederacy's actions and support of the remaining Heretics, the zealous general Tharen began another smear campaign, this time directed at Zara and her crew. Depicted as traitorous terrorists, they were forced to cut all ties with the Confederacy and relocate to the Imperial Collective, a tiny three-system faction in unclaimed space. To everyone’s surprise, Zara was soon installed as the newest Emperor, their previous leader having abdicated and disappeared. Keeping her friends closeby, (Via reforming them as the elite “Emperor's Guard”) and adding the feline Sarah to the group, Zara was set to be a benevolent, peaceful ruler. Meanwhile, a war ten times the size of the Heretic incursion was brewing. The Golden State, the oldest empire in existence, was slowly decaying and looking to expand and survive. The Confederacy, whipped into a fervor by Tharen and his followers, was ready to begin another crusade, this time against the symbol of everything they were nominally against. The Imperial Collective’s attempts to intervene were ignored (And sabotaged, by Gip) and the two civilizations ignited the fires of war once again. Once again forced to the front lines, the soldier did her best to bear the heavy burden of wartime leadership, doing the best she could to intervene with her limited military and fleet. The pressure, as well as a humiliating near-death defeat from Gip, was enough to cause Zara to leave on a journey of self-discovery. But she was incapable of abandoning her responsibility and returned with, among other things, the advanced titian class warship Maiden Voyage. Bolstered by her return and the new equipment, the Collective used a major battle between the Confederacy and Golden State as a distraction to attack the State’s capital. Confronting it’s Emperor, who was her own mother by now, the younger Emperor proved victorious and left the State leaderless and disabled. With the Confederacy crippled by the battle (And Tharen dead) the two factions had little choice but broker peace. The celebration was somewhat ruined for the Guard by Zara’s collapse immediately afterwards. She reluctantly admitted that, in addition to her numerous still lingering war injuries, she had contracted a fatal virus during her Mid-War travels. Although she spent most of her life in perpetual (and pointless) war, Zara was content with her accomplishments, focusing on the good she had been able to do. After one final confrontation with Gip, Zara collapsed again and was rushed to a Oni medical facility. Although her life was saved, the Virus caused irreversible damage to her mind and left her amnesiac. With the original Zara effectively dead, the Guard made the decision to allow her a peaceful life on a unotable grassland world. Aside from a brief and torrid marriage to The Dark Father, she did indeed have a quiet and uneventful life, only occasionally wondering about where she came from or her origins. She was finally at peace, A fitting end for a soldier, really.
The final part of our Saga (For now) should be told by someone who was there and, indeed, was the center of events:
Before we begin, may I just ask our dear author (Who may or may not be my great, great, great, great, Step-mother I’m not sure) why they left the formation of the Triumvirate out of the last chapter? Since this book is about them, it seems like a important event to leave out. For those of you who don’t know, the Triumvirate is A) a really stupid name for a group containing more than 36 people and B) a family business. Unlike most family businesses though, it A) mostly includes friends of the Kylorn Dynasty, rather than actual members and B) mostly deals in heroics rather than trinkets or quilts. For those of you wondering how, it’s all due to those lovely little Rings which A) by nature create an almost infinite number of alternate versions of us and B) aren’t time relative (Meaning person A can travel from Universe 1 to Universe 2 in 100 AD and person B can do the same in 1,000 AD, and they could very well arrive at the same time in Universe 2). So again, A) pretty big detail to leave out and B) I just realized I’ve been rambling. Many apologies, let's get back to the story: Over 5,000 years before I came along, a member of Archontas’s Dark Six known as the Dark Father was captured and imprisoned in Erkan by the Explorers. However, the devastation of the Cyid’s invasion destroyed his prison and allowed him to escape that plain. Deciding he’d like to rule all of reality, he formed his own cult known as the Nomads, fashioned out of beings who shared his shape-shifting ability and delusions of grandeur. He remained in the shadows for centuries, avoiding the discerning eyes of the Triumvirate while planning his rise to power. For reasons I don’t quite understand, he then decided to marry and have a son with the mind-wiped Zara, leading to me. My childhood is my own business thank you very much, so let's just say that by my coming of age I was… less than fond of my predecessors. Although I have since come to learn my Father was the one responsible, I initially blamed the Triumvirate for pretty much everything (The corrupted version of William running around again helped with that). This lead to the in-hindsight embarrassing situation of me attempting to raise an army to oppose my own family. The only thing good to come from this was my encounters and resulting friendship with Grace and Tam, two of the most faithful, heroic, brave, smart, beautiful...okay, getting off track again. Grace was a blind Human, seeking redemption (Again, personal) while Tam is one of the legendary Samaritans, energy beings tied to physical forms, completely immortal (Barring something like the Omega Maw). Aside from meeting these two woman, who no one (Least of all myself) deserved as friends, my brief stint as a villain was pathetically unsuccessful. The Triumvirates chosen successor to Zara, Brian, walked circles around me, Before he fell in love with a princess and promptly retired. When I finally managed a direct attack on the Triumvirate, I...well, got a speech on doing the right thing. William may be a great man, but he’s also incredibly long-winded. I’d like to say this humiliating defeat was enough to turn me straight, but It took a much higher and nobler intervener to get me where I am now: Most know him as a man or a spirit, but I know him as The Great Lion. The meeting was personal and not really any of your business, but I had second thoughts about my crusade against the Triumvirate. Neither of my traveling companions were particularly fond of villainy (Tam only stuck around for my aid in rescuing her sister from Corrupt!William) and soon I was spending more time saving people than stewing in thoughts of revenge. At the risk of losing my humility, I could give the great Mike Sanders, builder of the Explorer, a run for his money in terms of genius. Fighting for the cause of good is a lot easier when you can build an army of combat droids and mobile Battle-Station to help do the “heavy lifting”. Naturally, they were put to good use against a host of much more successful villains than I: First Corrupt!William, than the insane Ex-P.T.D agent Diana and finally my Father and the Nomads. Although my lingering reputation as, well, evil, sometimes interfered with my work, (The Paladin Order had a bounty on my head for ages) life was relatively easy. Even My Father joining my small group of Adventurers (In the guise of a Paladin medic the Order was kind enough to inform me died years before hand) didn’t shake things up much. Than we discovered an undead plague spreading through dozens of Universe’s. What can I say, it's a strange life. On the bright side, saving countless people from being zombified redeemed us in pretty much everyone’s eyes. It also gained us an invaluable hero in the form of Jade, an adventurer who had the misfortune of falling under the control of the Dark Father. Eager to rejoin the good guys, she managed to break free of his control and carve an impressive legacy in her own right. Although my Father wasn’t responsible for the Outbreak (Agent Diana was), he did try to take advantage of it, repurposing one of my solutions to kill entire worlds. The only possible way to destroy it would douse the operator in, you guessed it, the power of an Omega Maw. Grace, may she rest in peace, sacrificed herself to save us and many others. Needless to say, my tolerance for dear old Dad instantly disappeared and he suffered from a severe case of decapitation soon after (On the bright side, this brought me a lot closer to my mother). From this point forwards, the story becomes more of Jade’s than mine. I largely stepped down as the head Adventurer and let her deal with the various conspiracies and sentient starships that always crop up. I’m told I go out in a blaze of glory saving the Imperial Collective from the Xoks, but obviously I haven’t experienced that yet. With the addition of the Triumvirate, that about sums up my story and this entire Saga. If there’s one thing I hope you take from all this, it's that Good doesn’t triumph over evil: Good PWNS evil.