As the afternoon sun rose high above the battlefield, Erebus surveyed the battlefield and surveyed the carnage; he had a moment of doubt. This last battle would forever go down in history as perhaps the bloodiest in the history of Talich. Tens of thousands were now dead, their mangled corpses and death stench now flooding Pyr as permanent monument to the unholy master that was war. The tanks were in pieces, the oil and mechanical fluids becoming intermixed with the remains of their pilots. Inside Pyr the carnage was even worse and less discriminating. The bodies of elite warriors, Morningstar armor and even the Emperor himself had become so great they were now forever part of Pyr’s very architecture. Where the red from paint began and the blood ended now was anyone’s guess. Erebus had seen this before, of course but never at this magnitude, and certainly not containing so many of his countrymen. Though he had finally won the war and freed the people from the tyranny of a violent ruler, it certainly didn’t feel like it. Aside from Jitta, not a single city in all of Talich had managed to escape the horrors of war. Lanstead and Neon were both smoking craters. Bask had had all of its resources stripped as if to feed an empire devouring what it could before life support gave out. While Aubade was mostly unscathed, it too was not without its scars on the outer reaches of the city.
Cult of Verore
Little attention had been paid to the fractured Cults of Verore. In fact, it is often questioned whether or not the Flame Dawn’s declaration of war ever even reached the dark witches. However, shortly after the unification of Talich, the cults soon followed suit and were also united under the banner of a new leader with untold power.
Only a few days after the Flame Dawn knights left Bask, the citizens tore down the banners of the flame dawn and restored those of the Firmament Foundation. For the most part the city had been unscathed and had developed a reputation as being a cursed city to conquer. For no explainable reason, every attempt to invade the city had always resulted in disaster for the Flame Dawn elsewhere. Thanks to their strong agricultural center and distance from the worst of the war, Bask became an agricultural hub supplying much needed food and resources to the rest of a devastated Talich. Over time, Bask became known as the indisputable bread basked of Talich.
King Edmond II sat comfortably on his throne. With the rest of Talich largely destroyed, Jitta found itself in a new position of power, being the only nation which was still wholly intact. Seeking to finally make his nation the predominant power in all of Talich, he ordered the construction of a Royal navy, while the rest of the world moved to pick itself up from the ashes… Unaware of the rifts and the apocalyptic events which sprung from them, all the greedy king could see was that an opportunity for a glorious Jitta had at last arisen…
Descendants of the Dragon
The withdrawal of overseer forces from Reisch had done far less harm to the Descendants than Sol had hoped. Though the Firmament Foundation had greatly exhausted itself against both the Overseers and the Old Empire, the Foundation sent troops nonetheless along with the advanced technology provided by Lanstead and Neon thus placing Erebus in high regard among the sages as he remained honorable and true to his word – despite the political difficulties it caused for him at home.
Jiro (Courtesy of Ben)
Jiro had never been popular among his people. Brash, quick to anger and quicker to action, a constant advocate of offense, his views ran contrary to the predominant military theory of the Descendants of the Dragon. That was why he had been kept away from the Wall when he returned from the Untamed World--even if he was given a promotion for heroism, made into a Captain. That was why when Erebus asked for help, Jinhai's military leaders knew just who to send, just who they wouldn't mind losing in some far-off land. He and his monks had been sent on a suicide mission, thrown away on the off-chance of success.
But they had succeeded, against all odds. At Aubade, they had broken the charge of the Morningstar Knights. At Pyr, they had taken the fortress and cut Aberion's armies in two.
And Jiro, Jiro had killed Aberion. His blow had been lauded as the strike that won the fray. Erebus had showered him with accolades, he had even been recalled to Jinhai to be given an award by the Sages themselves, with Gao Han looking on proudly. And then, then he had been sent back.
Exiled, in effect, though no one used such an unpleasant word. No, they explained that he was the best possible choice for the Descendants' IWDF representative in Talich. He knew the people there. They knew him. But none of that changed the fact that he was not wanted in his homeland.
None of that changed that almost all of his soldiers had died at Pyr, that his requests for reinforcements during the war had been denied. That even now he was only given a pittance of an honor guard, a medal, a pat on the back, and told to have fun over there while his brethren fought and died against the abominations of Torment and the Demon Wastes.
In that battle, he had broken Aberion. Bested him who had never been bested. Killed him without chance of regeneration or return. But something had broken within Jiro as well. With so many of his soldiers slain around him in the bloody chaos, his elite men and women who he was so proud of, with his rejection at home and subtle alienation abroad--"different," "foreign," "odd," were just a few of the whispers that he heard as his back was turned--with all of the loss and punishment and pain, Jiro wasn't sure he was as eager for battle as he once was. He despised his diplomatic position, his desk job, but he now harbored doubts that perhaps this was for the best.
Overseers of Solace
While not by any means destroyed, the Overseers had been dealt a blow by the multiverse which would take them decades to recover from while their innumerable resurrections took place. Having lost to a force that many of the Angels thought were fighting for a worthy cause, many saw the rash actions of Sol to be erratic. Whether it was vowing the destruction of a united human force or the abandonment of their long-time Monk allies in Reisch, the angels not currently undergoing regenesis were both confused and appalled by their roles in the mortal realm. More importantly, Ethan had sent scores of the winged beings back to solace where they would take even longer than normal to resurrect – many of whom were Sol’s greatest supporters. As with Talich, Solace began to prepare for a civil upheaval of its own.
The Angel of Vengeance had been humiliated. Not once, but thrice by a mere mortal. The first was his humiliation when the mortals managed to sneak right in front of his nose to the city of Avarrach. The second was when they used Sol to destroy the Knights of Gold. Finally the last humiliation came when they managed to pit him against his archrival causing untold damage to the standing forces of Solace. These uncouth mortals, despite their inferior technology and existence had managed to humiliate him and force him back to Solace. Ethan. Erebus. Mew. But mostly Erebus. The names drove him to near insanity as they had managed to outwit, outmatch and fail him at every turn despite Sol’s superiority. All the while, his anger with the incompetence of the flame dawn only served to further fan that frustration. His anger had become so great that his vengeance turned to an anger so great that it malformed his wings and were it not for his weakened state of regeneration would have caused natural disasters wherever he was near. Whatever gentleness and kindness had once been a part of Sol had been long since extinguished. Though it would be many years, Sol swore his vengeance and no longer saw humans as a mere tool that could be used, but as a pestilence that must be squashed before their infection could spread. When he returned, his fury would become one of the darkest times for men as they would face not Sol, the Angel of Vengeance, but Sol, the Angel of Destruction – and he would be the mightiest angel ever to walk the halls of Solace.
After the final battle, Ethan simply vanished without a trace. Erebus believed he left to seek out the lost splinters of his love, though it would be many years before the two men ran into each other again. Satisfied that the local fragments were safe under the eye of Erebus, he began to track down the part of Aleta that had proven to be the most elusive and difficult to find, The Immortal Traveller who could manipulate the rifts just as he – making the search for her a perpetual game of cat and mouse.
As their stock price had collapsed as a result of their conquest and destruction the entity Genesis Industries had, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed. Their leaders dead, the countryside ravaged and their cities in ruin, most CEO’s within Genesis Industries found themselves forced to liquidate their assets to avoid the same fate of their workers. Very little of the old industrial sectors and massive skyscrapers remained other than Orion’s Grave, which by some miracle had survived the war for so long and was a beacon during a difficult time for the ruined state. With their access to both gather and harness and even utilize the most basic of resources so mercilessly ruined, the citizens of Genesis soon found themselves desperate for even the most basic supplies such as food and water. Thankfully, due to the strong bond now shared between Neon and Aubade, such help was not far away. Once again, soldiers of a foreign nation entered Lanstead but this time instead of coming with guns and swords, they came with food and medicine. Though it was never easy, the Foundation became a beacon of hope in what was an otherwise dark era for Genesis. Over time, Neon and Lanstead were rebuilt and though Genesis Industries had long passed, the New Genesis Concord was built in its place. It was only during this period of absolute poverty and devastation did the citizens of Genesis show their true, noble faces.
Perhaps due to the pivotal role they played in overthrowing the empire, and their tireless resolve in fighting for their nation, Genesis was no longer disregarded as a simple nation of spineless scientists, but as a testament to being a nation of wise scholars and resolute warriors. As the IWDF would call upon the Aid of Talich more times than it could count, many of their finest warriors would inevitably come from Genesis and many more of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in the multiverse would come from the Concord, particularly with access to the magical prowess of the Descendants. Magic and Technology (known now as Thaumaturgy) would be united to provide some of the most important advances for mankind in the coming years, not just abroad in the fires of war but at home for domestic use as well.
Those few Elite who had managed to survive almost a decade of perpetual war would establish the Genesis Rangers – a military arm of the NGC. With their unparalleled experience in warfare, the Rangers became a symbol of the protection that had been established with the newly formed IWDF and would be called upon as the vanguard for future operations by the IWDF numerous times when danger threatened. Among these rangers – the 1st regiment which was formed almost exclusively from hardened war veterans developed a reputation for their ingenuity both on and off the field of battle.
With Genesis in ruin, Aleta had little desire to remain in Genesis territory. Aubade on the other hand, needed scientists and had working labs. She emigrated there without a second thought and was welcomed as the Chief of Science with open arms by the new ruler of Aubade, Syn. Through the years Aubade would flourish as a center for knowledge – something which would never have happened under the former regime. Though she refused to become an instructor of any sorts in her own right, scholars around the world flocked to her and through their convergence the Aubade Academy for Thaumaturgy was established becoming the predominant knowledge base for the fledgling science.
Her original world destroyed, the Aleta of Avarrach never truly found her place in this strange new world. She did what she could, aiding the native Aleta when possible, but ultimately found herself as a champion for promoting the responsible use of science. Having first hand witnessed and experienced an extinction-level event she vowed to do anything and everything in her power to ensure that the same didn’t happen to this Talich. Though the new world had much growing up to do to ever match the glory that was her former home, she saw its potential and that alone was worth trying to preserve. Eventually she would found the Scientific Oversight Committee whose mission was to understand and prevent potentially catastrophic events from occurring before they began. Before long she even held a position in Syn’s esteemed cabinet as the Secretary of Science. Her position oftentimes brought her into conflict with the native Aleta and they both more than once made the comment of the frustration of not being able to win an argument with herself.
Battered and Exhausted, many turned to Lucca as a leader during the dark days ahead of them. Though in her heart she never fully forgave Erebus for the first battle of Lanstead, she did also realize that though he did ultimately take the city, his tactics had kept bloodshed minimal and his occupation policies were far more merciful than other of the Old Empire’s invaders. In many ways, Erebus reminded her of Bromich who had long since passed. If there was one thing the two men shared that was an anomaly of the old empire, it was their sense of justice and the value they had placed on their soldiers. Moreover, Erebus never forgot that it was her leadership and her soldiers that were responsible for the ultimate victory. Though the final win had come at a high price – it was the only path on a narrow bridge over a large chasm.
Chosen almost unanimously by the citizens of the NGC, she became the Executive member of their council responsible for the governance of many of the actions of the NGC. Though officially NGC had a system of checks and balances – Lucca’s influence ensured that more often than not she got her way.
Having devastated the ranks of the Overseers, whether he intended to or not Ethan had provided the beasts of the warpath some much needed breathing room. For the first time in years the packs could finally focus on rebuilding their numbers and restoring glory to the great tribes ravaged by the recent warfare. Unfortunately, discovery of a rare and powerful medicinal plant by the botanists of the newly formed Genesis Concord would result in a great many herbalists and apothecaries would flock to the region resulting in a difficult diplomatic position for the IWDF.