Reflections on our Past
(found in the personal library of Chanu Cheper, former Aeternus Grandmaster)
*This journal was penned by the Aeternus and as such, its objectivity can be questioned.*
At no other point in history had our lives been as bleak and oppressed as they were then. I was not there; in that age of chaos, but my grandfather spoke of his grandfather and how he helped stand up against the tyranny and corruption of the Neddarim. Neddarim. The word still lives a bitter taste in my mouth. They created us, the Aeternus to do their bidding. How quickly they turned their backs on our cause after all we had done in their name.
In their hysteria of losing control of their power to the Juggs, the Neddarim created the Aeternus and the Draconis. It was considered an honor to serve either side, as Aeternus would mobilize and suppress the dangerous rebellions, and Draconis would serve as the home guard to protect the revered Neddarim. My grandfather’s grandfather chose the battlefield while his brother chose to serve in the Home Guard under the banner of the Draconis. I wonder now if their decisions would have been different had they known what the future had in store.
Years passed and the rebellions continued across the world of Nedara. Aeternus had been away from home for far too long. It is my belief that they had grown so efficient in battle that the Neddarim now feared their own creation. After the last of the rebellions were put down, Aeternus was ordered to be stationed at the edge of Babylon, far from the center of the city and the council of the Neddarim. They were to be kept in reserve and not disbanded.
Perhaps it was the act of seeing so much unrest that stirred something within the commanding officers. Perhaps it was seeing one too many dead children lying bloodied on the ground. I don’t think anyone really knew what sparked the move, but rumors began to swirl through the army. My ancestor heard these rumors. I cannot imagine what he must have felt at the time. Pain, regret, anger? Perhaps it was sorrow or guilt. Upon hearing that the Neddarim were not interested in the preservation of life, but cared only for their power and the riches they had acquired, the officers became upset. What was their true purpose? Were they created solely to be a catspaw to enforce Neddarim rule? Was slaughtering dissidents and their families their only reason for existence? What started as a noble cause became contradictory to the core values and beliefs of the Aeternus. Where is the honor in slaughtering the weak? Where is discipline when negotiations are not allowed? And what of the people in our world that remain? Have their lives become better after Neddarim edicts and our sacrifice?
The officers left their post in the blackness of night; my great great grandfather being among them. In disguise, they visited the other countries and villages and saw first hand the struggle of rebuilding, as well as the cruel suffering that was happening to the residents. The people spoke openly to our men and women since they did not recognize them as soldiers, and informed them of the cruelty of the Neddarim. The officers were astonished to learn that the people were enslaved to the Neddarim. As such, they lived in near poverty, slogging through a meager existence while being forced to toil night and day to supply goods and resources from their province to Babylon.
The officers moved on to the next country, then the next, each time hearing the same story of misery. Once they had visited all of Nedara, they were convinced that they had been deceived by their rulers. The Neddarim were not the just and wise rulers they had presented themselves to be. Aeternus decided that it was up to them to save the people from this injustice. The leaders returned and planned their attack.
Commanded by a new General, a broad-shouldered, powerful man whose origins were unknown, Aeternus charged the stronghold of the Neddarim. However, the Draconis were there to meet them. A bloody battle ensued that did not cease for sixty straight days. Night and day they fought, never resting, making it truly a bleak time for all who survived. Finally, Draconis was driven back and Aeternus addressed the Neddarim face to face. Even when confronted with evidence of their crimes against the citizens of Nedara, the Neddarin refused to admit their culpability for the harsh conditions of the people and refuted every claim made by Aeternus as lies. In the moment that followed, the actions of Aeternus tipped the scales, forever changing the world as we know it. Our mysterious General and his host slaughtered the Neddarim, forever ending their oppression.
Unfortunately, our General was consumed by his blood lust and succumbed to madness. I believe that the horrors of war coupled with his own inner demons finally drove him over the edge. Whether it was a spontaneous decision or something born out of a personal grudge, no one knows, but after defeating the Neddarin, he ordered an assault on the Order of the Light; the conclave of priestesses who wield magical abilities. Aeternus followed his orders reluctantly, for they were tired of death, and saw no honor in killing women and children. Since we lacked the will to engage them, these women were able to repel our army with little difficulty without killing anyone in our ranks. However, their direct attacks proved useless against the General’s great strength and malevolent will. He singlehandedly decimated their ranks leaving only three women remaining, an Elder and two young acolytes. Using their combined power, these three women bound the General and cast him into oblivion which resulted in the death of the Elder. The remaining Aeternus soldiers, coerced into this senseless battle by the ferocity of the General, put away their weapons and withdrew, deeply regretting the slaughter of the Order. As a consolation, they took in and cared for the two children survivors and held them both in the highest regard.
Over time the two children became women and founded the T’haire Generis in honor of the fallen Order of the Light. The T’haire Generis have become a beacon of peace in my age. Their mission to work for the good of all Nedarans has indeed blossomed and borne fruit. Unfortunately, while Aeternus has freed the world from slavery, Draconis still survives, and we remain enemies to this day. They claim that they were unjustly attacked, but that is nonsense. We each performed to our purpose, and their failure in their duty brought them eternal shame, for which they now hold a deep-seated resentment toward our Cluster.
While there is no longer open warfare between the two of us, each Cluster has been engaged in undermining the other through skirmishes and a host of covert actions. I don’t know if this cold war will ever end, or whether we can broker a just peace between our two sides. I do know, however, that we have survived the worst part of our history, and Aeternus has played our part in saving the world. Only the Guardian himself knows what the future has in store for us.