[user command: ‘y’]
Entry 1 – An Overview of Understanding
I cannot speak to the Nephilon of thousands of years ago, of the planet as it existed before my time, but I can speak to how it is now, in the year 376 of the Age of Ash: in short, fucked. It’s a far cry from the legends of the planet’s old rulers, the Ori, but that’s all they are today; legends, myths, stories told amongst the remaining species still surviving. No one seems to know exactly why they are gone, or be willing to explore the reasons behind their catastrophic collapse. A purge of understanding has left behind only confusing and contradicting memories, remnants of a culture fragmented by this huge event. I can only find accurate and detailed histories reaching 400 years into the past – at a stretch. After that, everything becomes vague and incomplete, with the Ori at the centre of a mythos that has no clear origin. No timeline offered to me or constructed of my own accord follows the rhythms of natural evolution; at some point, this planet faced a catastrophic event. A civilisation at the height of its power simply failed, erasing millennia of history as it died.
The Ori are a species that seem to persistently haunt Nephilon. They were bipedal creatures, familiar in look and sound to the species called ‘Null’ that inhabit much of the planet today: two legs and arms attached to a torso that supported them, along with a head that held their brain, two eyes to see, two ears to hear, a mouth to eat and breath through and a nose to smell. Simple exteriors hiding incredibly complex biology and the basic structure that almost all sentient and civilised life on the planet today follows – more or less. The biggest difference between them and the Null of today’s age? Simple: the Ori wielded the greatest Magick this planet has ever known.
I have journeyed across Nephilon for hundreds of years, since the dark times right at the beginning of modern history. In that time, I’ve not found anything beyond ruins and wrecks, telling the stories of a brutal, imperial regime gone wrong. From every possible piece of evidence which I have found up to now, I can come to only one conclusion: the Ori may have been mighty, but I do not for one second believe they were good. There are texts, surviving documents, ancient murals and architecture that all tell stories of one kind or another, just nothing even a little indicative of the chronology of events. They seem to have enjoyed an age of prosperity, thriving on the resources and powers they had access to whilst dominating most of the major landmasses and subjugating those species that did not willing work with them. Then, after some unknown amount of time, that ceased to be the case.
The world, as it is now, will not last much longer. Peace has never been known to these peoples and survival is the paramount concern of the population. Species like the Krannid and Urok, who were subjugated by the Ori for presumably thousands of years in the past, now find themselves free and have returned to ancient rituals to maintain a desperate relationship with the planet. The Null are less lucky, especially estranged from the Magick energies that fed their ancestors and without such shamanistic methods of reconnection. And the Titans – well, they barely leave the barren lands of Cal’Grim anymore, content to live out their strange existence isolated from both their kin and the wider world.
There are newcomers, too. The Fey have only recently arisen from a deep slumber underground, appearing on the surface with abilities and physical features that put a target on their back for slave drivers. Their awakening seems to be heralding something new. A shift in things. I will be monitoring that closely.
Don’t get me wrong – the population has grown substantially during my lifetime here. Every breakthrough in deciphering a piece of Ori technology allows for another boom in territorial expansion, the subjugation of some clans by some other larger ones and the construction of a new settlement to industrialise. Unfortunately, however, such expansion does not imply prosperity for anyone involved; only some species are benefitting from such growth and no one, not even them, is actually thriving. It’s all just scraping by, on different scales and with different end goals. Survival. Nothing greater.
I am telling you this in case all is lost again in the coming years, as I suspect it might be. I am telling you so that you might understand what came before you, whether you’re a young species rising from the ashes or alien travellers discovering the planet anew. If I do it right, you might not have to do again what I endeavour to do here.
You may not understand what I’m talking about yet and that’s okay. You will.