The Great Knights were a conglomerate of numerous warrior cultures that participated in a series of crusades against the Serpentine and their followers (precursors to Chaos), founded by Belfaenar Rochir. After many years of war and even Rochir's death, the Serpentine were finally obliterated and their stolen treasures recaptured, save for their now-Queen, named Medusa, who went into hiding in the Maxilla Peninsula. Now lacking an objective, the remaining Great Knight leaders, led by Jygarn Invincibilis turned their attention to other races in Cranium, such as the Dirvishes, who had aided the Serpentine, and began attacking them, establishing their own nation in the process. Since leaders had to maintain authority to keep the patchwork of cultures and races in order, they became increasingly authoritarian. In the end, many of their members were killed or, ironically, joined Medusa, when Chaos arrived to conquer them, becoming her first Juggerknights.
The Great Crusades Edit
The First Great Crusade and the Gathering Edit
The Serpentine were originally foreign to the world of Inamorta, being summoned by a cult of mages to serve them in approximately 14 BCSE. These mages were, however, too weak to control the Serpentine, who instead took control, and began savagely attacking and pillaging settlements throughout Western Inamorta and seizing magical items which they saw as being sufficiently powerful. One of the victims of this was the Rochir family, who were traditionally all knights. When Belfaenar Rochir, the heir to the Rochir estate, returned from fighting in the Desert to his home in Westwind, he found that his entire family, save for his five children and his sister that came with him, had been brutally slaughtered by the Serpentine.
Unwilling to simply rebuild, he swore revenge on the Serpentine, giving an incredibly visceral speech and subsequently gathering many warriors from across Westwind to attack Cranium (Northern Inamorta), where the Serpentine were based. This first crusade navigated their way through the Murmurkos Straits (between the Maxilla Peninsula and the Desert), landing on the coast of Symphramus (the region between the Ice Hills and the Eagle Mountains, also referred to as the Ramus region) in the early spring of 13 BCSE, where the locals had been terrorised by the Serpentine, who at this point had begun to carve up Cranium into their own realms. Belfaenar's army set about targeting the Serpentine and destroying their armies, killing several in the process. Within six months of their landing, the so-called Great Knights had liberated most of the Ramus region and liberated many stolen artefacts, naming their expedition the First Great Crusade.
However, the Great Knights at this point were depleted to around a few thousand in strength - including local Ramal volunteers such as Jygarn Invincibilis and Darvink Havik, with many more wounded, and they knew that the Serpentine would return in full strength to crush them and use the artefacts for their own, nefarious purposes. Knowing that the fate of Inamorta was potentially at stake, Belfaenar sent messengers throughout Inamorta. While most of the nations in the East were still developing and fighting amongst each other, the nation of Pertland was eager to get rid of their vicious warrior class, having established a peaceful civilisation. Many of these warriors were reinvigorated with the opportunity to fight for a worthy cause other than Pertland's expansion or unification, and many left for Ramus to join these Great Knights, mostly under the banner of Hildalith Montcalon, a renowned Pertish warrior-general who had aided in the Unification of Pertland and was now eager to test her prowess in battle once again.
Another region that contributed many warriors was the island of Riff. Colonised by multiple warring clans, the Riff were a suitably battle-hardened people. Due to its location near the east coast of Ramus and a temporary peace with most of the clans, many thousands of Riff warriors led by the charismatic Malendor Sihanouk left to join as well.
The Second Great Crusade Edit
Belfaenar's sister, Saelara, had remained in Westwind to help the rebuilding process but was informed of the impending danger to Inamorta by Belfaenar and decided to lead a larger group of warriors to reinforce her brother in the winter of 13 BCSE. Having studied the Serpentine intently, she knew that they would almost certainly target Belfaenar's knights to recover the numerous magical artefacts which they required to refuel their powers to survive in Inamorta. Unfortunately, the Serpentine were sufficiently cunning to sabotage many ports along the Westwind coast, making naval travel much less possible. Still determined, Saelara decided to march the warriors she had with her into the Ice Hills, persuading the people of Westwind that this military expedition would end the Serpentine once and for all.
After several weeks of travel insurance the frigid winter conditions, the amassed column of warriors encountered Dirvishes, servants of the Serpentine, who were preparing to attack the Great Knights from the south as per the orders of the Serpentine. Saelara ambushed and destroyed many of their rallying points, leaving a trail of dead Dirvishes as they marched through the Ice Hills on the (at this point) dangerous Carotid Road for several months, and ruining the plans of the Serpentine. This was regarded as the Second Great Crusade as it successfully immobilised much of the Dirvishes' fighting capability and forced them deeper into the mountains.
The Third Great Crusade Edit
Despite their victory, Saelara had also lost many more warriors and met up with Belfaenar to recuperate her forces over winter in the ancient city of Invinojug. There, all the Great Knights had rallied and prepared a defence against the anticipated Serpentine attack. During that wait a few other warriors from Inamorta came to aid the Great Knights, such as Speartons and Swordwrath, although their numbers were very limited.
Finally, the attack came three months after the end of the Second Great Crusade. Invinojug was sheltered by the Eagle Mountains to its North and so the main point of entry would be either through the Eagle Pass or the Theryn Coast to its west. The Great Knights successfully ambushed and defeated the Serpentines at the Eagle Pass, while they were defeated at the Theryn Coast. Regardless, the leadership of Belfaenar and Saelara's tactical genius ensured that the Serpentine army that broke through was utterly obliterated as it reached Invinojug, and all remnants were mercilessly hunted down and destroyed. Afterwards, they targeted the Dirvish strongholds in the Eagle and Engrin Mountains. This series of battles was known as the Third Great Crusade.
The Fourth Great Crusade Edit
Unable to take Invinojug, the High King of the Serpentine, Typhon decided to hunt for other magical artefacts and sources. His scouts found that the homeland of the Magikill was rich in a form of energy known as mana, and Typhon diverted his attention to attacking there instead. Realising that the Serpentine had discovered the Magikill, Saelara, Belfaenar and Hildalith left before the beginning of autumn in 12 BCSE with half of the Great Knights - mainly those that originated from Westwind or Pertland, as they were well-acquainted with the region - to destroy them at the Westerrun Isthmus (connecting East and West Inamorta). This was regarded as the Fourth Great Crusade, and saw the death of numerous notable Serpentine. In fact, during the Battle of Hyaromenduin Bay on the 27th of November 12 BCSE, Saelara's expertly laid trap ensnared and killed 6 of the 14 marine Serpentine in existence, a massive blow to their navy, and all 17 of the Serpentine tasked with invading the Magikill had been killed by the Great Knights by the 15th of February 11 BCSE, mostly at the Third Battle of Gondost, bringing the total losses to 23, inflicting irreversible damage upon the Serpentine.
The Fifth Great Crusade Edit
Weakened by their failed probe into Southern Inamorta, the Serpentine began to recuperate their losses, levying massive Dirvish and now Crawler armies to aid them. It was then that Belfaenar decided to attack: the Great Knights would not be receiving any significant reinforcements if they waited and the Serpentine were still weak. So began the Fifth Great Crusade.
Only a month after returning to Invinojug, Darvink's fleet of ships landed on the beaches of the Nasar Peninsula in the April of 11 BCSE, carrying with them many Great Knights. Yet, Belfaenar's attack was to be ill-fated. The costly naval Battle of Westmursea lost a quarter of the Crusade, albeit 2 more Serpentine were killed. When they landed, Typhon himself was leading the defence and the Great Knight beachhead was soon swarmed by Crawlers and Dirvishes. Only Belfaenar's contingent were successful in breaking through, and they were caught in a trap reminiscent of the Third and Fourth Great Crusades. Completely surrounded, Belfaenar had to fight his way out back to Darvink's fleet, losing several thousands of soldiers and even his eldest son. The Fifth Great Crusade had been a complete failure.
Notwithstanding, it still had a purpose. Saelara had refused to launch the Fifth Great Crusade, knowing the risks of fighting in a region the Serpentine had fortified, but she was also unwilling to leave the Crusade as a failure. Therefore, she led a small navy to sabotage the western harbour where a large Serpentine fleet, as well as two aquatic Serpentine, had amassed to assault Westwind. In a single fire ship attack, half the fleet was destroyed and both Serpentine were grievously wounded during the panic. Now, the Serpentine were unable to launch any other offensives apart from against the Great Knights.
The Sixth and Final Crusade - The Battle of Snake's End Edit
At this stage, Typhon had lost many of his children to the Great Knights and the 30 or so Serpentine, including Medusa, the granddaughter of Typhon and heir to the throne, were eager for revenge. Only two marine Serpentine were alive and Typhon planned to encircle the Great Knights in their stronghold of Northern Ramus, and subsequently cut off all escape routes, save for the Eagle Pass, where a few Serpentine were hiding in ambush. Typhon hoped to divide the Great Knights between those who would remain to fight, and those who chose to escape through the pass, and destroy both of them in detail.
Despite this cunning plan, Typhon had underestimated Saelara. Receiving reports of Serpentine movements towards the Eagle Mountains, when the attack came she revealed the information to all of the Knights, ensuring that they all knew they were completely surrounded. Although this demoralised many, Belfaenar roused their war fervour through his infamous speech, uniting all the Knights for war, proclaiming this to be the Sixth and Final Great Crusade. Typhon's plans had come to naught.
On the 31st of December 11 BCSE, the entire Great Knight army assembled on a field outside Invinojug, anticipating the enemy attack. Typhon wanted to starve them out, or at least wait to see if the Knights would divide, but the eagerness of some Serpentine for revenge immediately foiled his plans. A few of them split off to assault the main Citadel, but were rapidly overwhelmed on their own by Darvink Havik and Malendor Sihanouk's armies. Recognising how impetuous his army was feeling, Typhon ordered a direct charge against the Great Knights, aiming to both pincer the enemy and smash through their centre, specifically targeting Belfaenar himself.
As night fell, the Serpentine launched their final, and most ferocious assault. Hordes of Dirvishes and Crawlers poured into the valley outside Invinojug and began scrambling up the slope to weaken the Great Knight defences. These attacks were repelled with ease, but as they continued for several hours, the line began to grow weaker. Judging that now was the perfect time to finish his most dreaded opponents, Typhon ordered all the Serpentine and their Dirvish and Crawler subordinates, to attack the line all at once. The Great Knights who witnessed the charge were horrified, only to be comforted by Belfaenar's final speech - this would be the end of the Serpentine.
In an instant, 30 monstrous beasts hurled themselves into the defensive positions of the Great Knights, killing several but also losing a few of their own to cleverly placed traps and the sheer determination of the Great Knights.
Next up came the spellcasting Serpentine, who released pools of venom and sporadic petrification spells to disrupt them. At this point, Darvink and Malendor approached the Serpentine on their right flank, further blunting their attack. Undeterred, Typhon committed his vast reserves to the battle, falling back with most of his Serpentine while thousands upon thousands of Dirvishes, Crawlers and other infernal creatures they had discovered launched a fresh assault on the Great Knights, flooding the valley as they continued to tire out the Great Knights.
Yet, Saelara knew that these lighter troops also had significantly lower morale; they may have chosen to serve the Serpentine but they were still effectively slaves. In contrast, the Great Knights were now fighting desperately for their survival and all recognised that if even one person broke off and routed, survival would be even less likely. The Great Knights also had Belfaenar, the most impassioned speaker in Inamorta at the time, and he would not suffer another defeat by the Serpentine. He had rallied the best soldiers from across Inamorta to fight the Serpentine, and he knew that this would be the final battle.
Over the course of the Great Crusades, Saelara had studied the magical artefacts she had requisitioned, discovering how to use rudimentary forms of magic. She was aided in her studies by Tarconencis, a rogue Magikill who had abandoned his nation to fight for the Great Knights and specialised in his own branch of magic - Esotericism. To begin a mass rout among the Serpentine light troops, Saelara and Tarconencis used some of their magic to inflict massive explosions directly in the ranks of the Dirvishes and Crawlers. Although many Dirvishes were indifferent to this and remained firm, the many creatures that the Serpentine had deployed, ran away in fear and routed, trampling many Dirvishes as they did so. Within a few minutes, the vast army of the Serpentine had been rapidly reduced to a quarter of its strength.
Determined to win the battle, Typhon refused to retreat and instead ordered another mass charge of all remaining forces, including his reserves. He maintained that he could break through the Great Knight line, kill their leaders and inflict a mass route. He was wrong.
As the Serpentine advanced into the valley and began sprinting up the hill, Saelara had multiple boulders released down the hill, some packed with a variant of incendiaries. Although all the Serpentine themselves were unscathed, their army was further decimated by the explosives or crushed.
Belfaenar knew that this was the perfect chance to finish his revenge, and commanded the Great Knights to commit to a final charge. The Serpentine, charging up the hill as they were, were filled with horror as they realised that the Great Knights were about to come crashing into them from uphill. Steel pounded into the Serpentine, trampling several and slaughtering them. Having lost the core of his army and his followers scattered, Typhon attempted to retreat, but several members of his bodyguard were killed in his breakout attempt and Belfaenar himself and a chosen portion of his forces, including Darvink and Jygarn, rushed to pursue and kill him.
Only thirteen Serpentine had managed to escape the slaughter and Belfaenar's chosen caught up with them with a pincer movement. During that engagement, Typhon and five other Serpentine fled the Great Knights, who were pursuing several other Serpentine. Although Jygarn advised him against it, Belfaenar headed off with his bodyguard and two daughters to hunt down Typhon, determined to kill his mortal enemy once and for all. Noticing that only Belfaenar was relatively isolated, Typhon and one other Serpentine turned to face their opponents, using his overpowering strength to rapidly eliminate several of the Great Knights before Jygarn could come to their rescue. Although one of the Serpentine was beheaded, it was soon Belfaenar and his daughters alone facing off against the High King of the Serpentine and his heir Medusa.
Medusa attempted to petrify Belfaenar, but miraculously, he survived, only partially turning one of his eyes stone, possibly due to his overwhelmingly fiery spirit. However, Medusa did kill one of his daughters, and Typhon the other, which only enraged him further and he began grappling with Typhon. Jygarn, Darvink and all the other Great Knights had rushed to aid Belfaenar, but he was in fact prevailing, albeit at the cost of multiple stab wounds and venom sprays. With a final stroke of the axe, Belfaenar decapitated Typhon's head from his colossal winged body and held it to the sky, before immediately collapsing to the ground from his multiple wounds.
During the course of this battle, Typhon had instructed Medusa to flee and hide with the rest of the Serpentine to recollect her strength and eventually avenge his death by destroying all of Inamorta. She had done so, knowing that she would now be Queen of All Serpentine, despite the fact that there were only four other Serpentine and one aquatic Serpentine. Unluckily for her, those numbers were about to decrease to zero, when Darvink and his soldiers boarded their ships off the coast and harpooned the Serpentine carrier to death, presumably killing everyone carried inside, all except Medusa, who managed to cut her way out and escape to the Maxilla Peninsula, where she hid in a volcanic cave.
A severely-wounded Belfaenar was rushed back to Invinojug, but he insisted that he would not survive and rapidly named Jygarn and Saelara as his joint successors, which everyone but Darvink (who was still hunting down the Serpentine) agreed with. As his final act, Belfaenar requested the battle to be known as Snake's End, and that he would be celebrated as the victor and founder of the Great Knights. Finally relaxing as his oath was fulfilled, Belfaenar passed away in the first morning of 10 BSCE, which would later be known as the Day of Victory and the anniversary date of the battle, hence it was made the first year of the ASE (After Snake's End) Calendar. The Great Crusades had ended, and Inamorta was (seemingly) rid of the Serpentine.
The Beginnings Of A NationEdit
Succession to BelfaenarEdit
The Battle of Snake’s End had effectively ended the primary purpose of the Great Knights: to eliminate the threat of the Serpentine. On his deathbed, Belfaenar had never specified any plans for the Great Knights, so it seemed to Jygarn that him and Saelara were free to lead the Great Knights to achieve other righteous objectives achievable by force. Their coalition of Pan-Inamortan warriors was possibly the most formidable fighting force in existence at the time, especially given the destabilisation of many other nations in the build up to this period, which meant that most other militaries were collapsing.
However, Jygarn's first obstacle came from Darvink, the leader responsible for killing the last Serpentine (unbeknownst to everyone, Medusa had still survived). Darvink had not been present at Belfaenar's death to inform the latter of his accomplishment and therefore felt that he deserved more than his current share of power; he insisted that he should be made joint leader instead of Jygarn. Darvink had always been noted for his ambition, but this proclamation shocked everyone but his closest supporters, consisting primarily of fellow Falasians who he had previously ruled over, who shared his beliefs that more recognition was required.
Undoubtedly, Darvink's decision to oppose Jygarn rather than Saelara was fuelled by other reasons as well. Firstly, the Falasian League and Invinojug, the respective former affiliations which the two previously led, had always been at odds with each other. The Falasian League dominated naval trade in the region, while on land, Invinojug was the all important trading centre, resulting in some competition between the two powers if they ever tried to expand into each other's established field of trade. Although their rivalry never boiled into open warfare, there was still some tension between the two factions when they united under the banner of the Great Knights. This did not help the relationship between Jygarn and Darvink, seeing as they had previously led their separate factions.
But there was more than just factionalism. Jygarn's youngest brother named Rhyscar, who was only 26 at the time, joined the Great Knights as a warrior and participated on the ill-fated Fifth Great Crusade, on which he died. However, the circumstances in which this happened were much more different: When Jygarn discovered that his brother was fighting, he actively sought out Darvink, the leader of their fleets, to promise Rhyscar's safe return. Unfortunately for all of them, this was not the case. Rhyscar's ship was destroyed in the Battle of Westmursea, a major blunder on the part of Darvink, and he drowned. Upon Darvink's return and report to Jygarn, the latter was besides himself with grief and mourned for multiple days, while blaming Darvink for his death. Darvink's rejection of these claims with a reckless attitude and stubbornness to match Jygarn's, the situation escalated rapidly, especially as more of their family members began to fall in battle against the Serpentine. By the Battle of Snake’s End, the mistrust that both of them harboured for each other was very prominent, with the two refusing to have their contingents anywhere near the other, instead requiring the Riff, Pertish and Westwind groups to separate them.
When it came to Darvink's claim on the leadership of the Great Knights, Jygarn staunchly rejected it, as well as most other Great Knights, who did not want the relatively young and reckless Darvink to be leading their new nation. Regardless, Darvink continued to press forward his opposition to Jygarn, adamantly refusing any proposals that he made during Council meetings. Eventually, by the end of the year, the rest of the Council voted in favour of reducing Darvink's powers to reduce the threat that he posed to maintaining order, although this was passed by only a small margin. Those who voted in favour reasoned that Darvink had the potential to stir up widespread rebellion in their Western regions, where he had the most influence, and potentially start a civil war.
To their credit, Darvink was indeed planning a rebellion - he had mustered the Falasian armies in preparation for war, concealing them in the Engrin Mountains that separated the Falasian region from the rest of the Great Knights. Jygarn successfully intercepted some of these military manoeuvers, and only by Saelara and Malendor's insistence, decided to offer negotiations at the city of Geirus rather than provoke him further.
The Geirus IncidentEdit
Geirus was nestled in a pass between the Engrin Mountains, and a suitably neutral location for the two factions. The purpose of these negotiations were to establish a suitable deal that would subdue Darvink's incessant complaints and ensure that rebellion was to become unlikely, while reducing his potential influence on the Great Knights as a whole.
Ironically, the terms that were agreed on resulted in increased Falasian autonomy - the Council would no longer appoint its own candidates to manage the regions, and instead the Falasian Region would be allowed its own governance, although laws would still be uniform with the Great Knights. However, this arrangement only extended to certain Falasian cities, and Falegobar was one of those that did not come under the agreement, instead remaining under direct Great Knight control to allow Jygarn to keep a firm grip over trade in the Murmurkos Straits and explore the rest of Cranium for any lasting residue of Serpentine influence, something which Jygarn sought to destroy entirely.
This final point prevented the deal from advancing to completion, as Darvink refused to allow Jygarn to have a stronghold in his home city to find threats which the former deemed "non-existent" following his supposed extermination of the Serpentine. The negotiations broke down as the two leaders and their supporters began bickering openly, displaying their characteristic stubbornness. This culminated in the Geirus Incident of 1 ASE, or 10 BCSE: on the morning of the 21st of October 1, several of Darvink's supporters had rallied at Geirus to show their support for their leader. In doing so, counter-protesters loyal to Jygarn began clashing with them, triggering fighting between the two factions on the streets. Desperate to contain the situation, Saelara and Malendor began deploying soldiers to separate the two groups, but there were still many casualties as they attempted to do so, and their numbers were too few. Much of the city descended into complete chaos, with Jygarn's mob pushing back their opposition in most areas due to the lack of peacekeeping soldiers. By midday, at least 200 people had been severely injured in the riot.
Word of this reached Darvink on less than hour of its occurence, who, rather than berating his supporters for jeopardising the peace, openly embraced their rebellion, and during their final round of negotiations, Darvink declared his secession from the Great Knights, failing to see how they could allow such a "foolish leader with a lack of consideration for the very people he was supposed to lead in the creation of the nation that would guard Inamorta from all evil" to be the one responsible for the formation of the Great Knights. He subsequently stormed out of the chamber, escorted by his guards.
This undoubtedly infuriated Jygarn, and he ignored the pleas of the other leaders to allow this to occur peacefully, marching out and rallying the forces he had gathered at the city. Simultaneously, Darvink had deployed his Falasian Marines, his own elite shock troops, to Geirus, emerging from their mountain strongholds and marching towards Darvink's location. The scene was set for what could potentially be the first civil war of the Great Knights.
Eager to intercept his rival before his elite forces could arrive, Jygarn's small army of 500 soldiers attacked Darvink's column in the rear during the evening, killing several of the latter's soldiers as they retreated further westwards. Unfortunately for Jygarn, he was unsuccessful in dealing the killing blow upon Darvink, and overestimated the speed at which the Falasian Marines would arrive, despite having known that Darvink would call for reinforcements.
The result was that Darvink was able to draw up a small battle line to oppose Jygarn, who was suddenly caught in the streets of Geirus between two Falasian armies. However, both Jygarn and his soldiers would never surrender in a fight - it was their intention to either achieve victory and crush the rebellious Darvink or die trying.
This bloodbath was only prevented by the intervention of Malendor and Saelara, who had requested reinforcements from across the region, especially from Hildalith, who commanded the Pertish contingents, and met with Darvink and Jygarn respectively. They reasoned that war would instantly tear the nation apart and utterly destroy it, revealing both of them to have completely betrayed Belfaenar's last wishes. The mention of their former leader, and the only force that could have successfully united them, did persuade both belligerent Great Knights to stop their fighting, and they were brought back to the negotiation table.
Darvink was now arguing for the succession of the Falasian League territories as his own independent lordship, while maintaining trading relationships with the Great Knights, something which frustrated Jygarn, but was ultimately out of his control - without any trade agreement, the Great Knights would be wholly cut off from the lucrative trade routes to their west. Eventually, this was granted to Darvink, provided that the lord would never attempt to exert his own authority over the Great Knights, and a non-aggression pact was signed between the two nations. While only barely satisfactory for both factions (Jygarn had lost control of a vital, prosperous and militarised region; Darvink had lost any hope of being made leader of the Great Knights), at least a full-blown civil war had been prevented, and the Great Knights were to look to their future, with Darvink's newly established Falasian Lordship now sundered from them.
The Reconstruction and Settling of SymphramusEdit
Putting the Geirus Incident behind him, Jygarn celebrated the first anniversary of the Battle of Snake’s End on the New Year's Day of 2 ASE, inviting Darvink over to Invinojug as a token of respect to his now-estranged, but neutralised rival. This would prove to be the only meeting of the two leaders from now on.
With the problem of Darvink resolved, Jygarn and the other leaders began reconstructing the devastated region of Symphramus. The depopulation that had been caused by the relentless Serpentine assaults meant that the land was ripe to be recolonised by other peoples, most notably the Riff, who under Malendor's invitation, arrived en masse in the ruins of the Vinusian Kingdom, a minor nation that controlled most of the cities south of the Juggerian Desert (their name for the desertified region that lay in the centre of Symphramus). The sheer number of Riff immigrants effectively revived the Kingdom, but Malendor, Jygarn and Saelara all negotiated with the former Vinusian nobles, who had lost their King, to incorporate their realm into the Great Knights as a semi-autonomous region, which Malendor would effectively administer, which would be made easier by the fact that the majority of the populace was of the same culture as him.
Meanwhile, immigrants from Pertland and Westwind, under the guide of Hildalith and Saelara respectively, arrived on the western shores of Symphramus, entering through one of the many Falasian ports and going through Darvink's territory to reach their kinsmen with the Great Knights. Although these demographics did not immigrate in large numbers and have as significant an impact as the Riff, they certainly added many cultural contributions to the Great Knights. The influence of these immigrants was also pronounced in the military, with halberds and axes, the typical weapons of the Pertish, Riff and Westwind Armies, becoming the most commonly used.
The variation of cultures amongst the Great Knights also contributed to the creation of the Great Knight Crest - the official symbol of the Great Knights from 3 ASE onwards - which employed the designs of multiple different flags: Rochir's Line was a golden diagonal line which cut through the centre to represent their founder Belfaenar, and his sister Saelara, who had masterminded most of the operations; a circle with a cross within represented Westwind; the red half of the central shield symbolised the Ramal people; the grey background represented the Riff who had united in the Vinusian region; the multiple lines dissecting the shield was a reference to the Pertish warrior flag; and the lower golden sections beneath the shield were symbolic of all the other warriors who had aided them in their struggle against the Serpentine, most notably Tarconencis the Esoteric Mage.
This new Crest was a symbol of the diversity of the Great Knights, but by enforcing this as the official Crest, the Great Knight leaders hoped to encourage unity amongst their people - they could not allow their differences to drive them apart as with Darvink and the Falasians. Jygarn was a particular advocate of the idea of brotherhood and sisterhood amongst all people, and that it was a person's duty to serve their country - now the nation of the Great Knights - and act as the defenders of Inamorta.
The Fall of TarconencisEdit
One of the greatest opponents of Jygarn's nationalism and unity was the Esoteric Mage, Tarconencis. He had been allowed to set up his own magic academy in Invinojug by Saelara, who was one of his pupils with regards to the study of magic, but he felt that he had no personal obligation to the state. Rather, he felt that the state was obliged to him for sharing his magical knowledge and assisting in its purpose of ridding Inamorta of the Serpentine. Although most saw this as Tarconencis simply being overly self-centred and egoistic, he remained a vocal critic of what he called "tyranny in the guise of unity". As a result, most historians consider him as the earliest advocate of Anarchism within the Great Knights, as he hoped to be able to practice his magic freely without being duty bound to the state.
Tarconencis' opposition to the idea of unity and collectivism lead to the increasing isolation of the Esoteric Exiles from the rest of Great Knight society as a means to prevent his students from being influences by this ideal. By 3 ASE (8 BCSE), the Esotergnos Academy, the main Esoteric base of operations in Invinojug, was completely cut off from any form of visitors, and Saelara was in effect the only member of the ruling Council who had permission to enter the academy in order to report on the status of the institute.
However, one of the students who constantly escaped to outside the academy was ironically Tarconencis' best pupil, Tarramiso-Katos, who would constantly slip out of the academy at night to experiment with other forms of magic, such as possession, which was a very sophisticated process, away from Tarconencis' watchful eye in the countryside outside of Invinojug. These experiments included possession of random animals for a few minutes, before returning to his original body and returning to the academy. Unfortunately, it was one of Tarramiso's experiments which would ultimately bring about the first major conflict of the Great Knights since the Battle of Snake’s End.
During one of these ventures on the 19th of September 3 ASE, Tarramiso-Katos chose a stray wolf as his target of possession. Unexpectedly, the possession somehow backfired, contributing to a disruption in his brain while attempting to enter the wolf's mind, which caused him to go insane. The mad Tarramiso-Katos began rampaging through Invinojug during the night, destroying many buildings and assaulting military blockades and civilian houses alike with destructive spells, killing many in the process. This came to the attention of the Council immediately, and Malendor Sihanouk was assigned to deal with this sudden threat, as most of the other leaders were in other cities at that time. With a small army of 500 soldiers, Malendor surrounded Tarramiso-Katos in the western district of Invinojug, and began pelting him with bolts and arrows in an attempt to kill him. When that failed, Malendor began retreating, luring Tarramiso into a more constricted location. Due to the disruption of his enhanced abilities with the failure of the possession, Malendor was able to leap out from an alleyway in an ambush against the young mage, taking him by surprise completely and enabling Malendor to decapitate him.
Malendor's initial hypothesis as to why Tarconencis' best pupil had attacked them was in some way related to Tarconencis himself. After all, he had become increasingly isolationist from the rest of the Great Knights and may have wanted to instigate some sort of revolution to immediately overthrow the system of unity. While being a far-fetched analysis of the purpose behind the attacks, certain Great Knights certainly believed this wholeheartedly, despite Malendor's pleas that the actual cause was yet to view found.
As news of the attack and Tarramiso's death spread, it came to the attention of the most senior leadership of the Great Knights, most notably Jygarn, Saelara and Hildalith, who all returned to Invinojug at once from their respective locations. The attack had killed over 300 civilians and 160 soldiers, impressively high for a lone teenager. But Tarramiso-Katos was no lone teenager - Tarconencis prided him as his model student and the most powerful of those who were capable of harnessing the most advanced spells discovered within Esotericism. His death at Malendor's hands was an affront to Tarconencis, who initially refused to recognise that Tarramiso had gone on a rampage. As with everyone else, he was also completely unaware of Tarramiso's experiments, and could offer no plausible explanation. This combination of stubbornness, pride and slight ignorance would be his undoing.
On the 29th of September 3 ASE, the council convened in a court hearing to hear Tarconencis' statement, since he was technically Tarramiso's guardian. What resulted was an utter failure on both sides to understand the actual investigation (how something like this could occur) and instead lead to disputes over who held the blame and how they would be treated. This complete lack of coordination and progress only antagonised Tarconencis further, who was being targeted by almost all the accusations, and he eventually stormed out of the court to return to his academy.
At this stage, public opinion was strongly against the isolationist Tarconencis, who they still accused of ordering a treasonous offence against the Great Knights. As he walked briskly through the streets, he was pelted with rotten vegetables and fruit from angry civilians who were eager to take out their revenge for Tarramiso's rampage. Just as he was about to enter the academy, he was blocked off by a substantial mob, led by Robin Curbew, a particularly visceral ex-soldier whose family had been killed in the recent attack. The mob argued for Tarconencis' imprisonment and even execution for his failure to keep one of his students in check. Word of this small mob reached Jygarn's council, and he quickly dispatched troops to contain them. Unbeknownst to them, it was already too late.
Robin Curbew continued with his impassioned speech to argue for Tarconencis' death, citing the deaths of his family. At that point, Tarconencis interrupted, firmly stating that: "I have done nothing wrong! If anything, there have been dark forces at play that must have somehow influenced my student beyond control!" He was disrupted by further refuse being hurled at him, egged on by Robin Curbew, who was booing him alongside the rest of the crowd. Frustrated by their inability to listen, he warned: "Robin Curbew, if you and your followers refuse to heed my words, you will suffer the same fate as your family!"
In an ill-fated move, Robin Curbew tossed a rotten tomato at Tarconencis' face, with a huge cheer from the crowd. What followed were torrents of hellish flames and bolts pouring onto the mob, and screams of terror and pain as a huge ghost landed in the centre and began crushing multiple protestors. The Esoteric Mage had unleashed all of his fury and anger upon the mob, killing several hundreds as he slaughtered them mercilessly. Robin Curbew lay burning to death, with multiple summoned bolts protruding from his spine. To finish him off, Tarconencis simply summoned more fire to melt his face off completely in a satisfactory move.
When the Great Knight security forces arrived, they encountered a scene of massacre. The sheer numbers of mangled carcasses paved the road up to the academy, and the remnants of flames and magical bolts signalled that this was the work of Tarconencis. He had committed an attack on the people of the Great Knights, and was now in a position to be tried for his crimes.
The Beginning of the Esoteric Uprising Edit
Following his massacre, which he escaped from physically unscathed, Tarconencis hid well within the depths of Esotergnos Academy, refusing to negotiate with the Great Knights for fear of being captured and executed, while still seething at the ignorance of their people. This decision inadvertently increased the public and political hatred for him, seeing as it appeared that he was outright denying his crime of slaughtering hundreds of civilians. Despite delegations being sent forth to communicate with him, Tarconencis refused to be seen.
It was at this point when Medusa returned to the stage, ready to sow the seeds of destruction amongst the Great Knights as an act of revenge. However, this time she needed to be much more subtle than when the Serpentine first arrived on the continent - she needed to manipulate people into following her and utilise her own cunning to bring down civilisations, no longer relying solely on brute force. The Battle of Snake's End had taught her that. In her time of biding over 4 years, she had come to the conclusion that she would be able to make the most ground with magic users, fellow mages and spiritualists who were discontent that they were either being suppressed or discriminated against. They would serve as the perfect demographic for Medusa to influence over the next hundred years.
On the 30th of October 3 ASE, Medusa infiltrated the academy, possessing a variety of hosts in the form of her mobile, distilled Essence to eventually reach Tarconencis in his private chamber. After a long debate, she eventually convinced him to rise up and make sure that the commoners would finally understand the power and prestige that came with his abilities, and that the Great Knights were worthless as allies, given that they had killed his best apprentice. Although initially apprehensive, Tarconencis eventually agreed to rebel against the Great Knights, setting multiple plans into motion to try and disrupt them as much as possible. The Esoteric Uprising had begun.
The Dirvish Invasion Edit
In the aftermath of the annihilation of the Serpentine, part of the Dirvishes had drifted away from their previous masters, driving division between the Dirvish tribes. Infighting became prominent amongst them.
War For Balance - The second round of crusades Edit
The First Crusade and the Portals Edit
As was spoken about in a War For Balance in the first 2 chapters, 8 Magikill who escaped the first Stick Wars, 2034 years after the Battle at Snake's End, founded the Chaos and Elemental empires. After they each obtained a special power in the corresponding cave, a portal in each of the caves opened. Out came empires who waged was on a new Inamorta to them: The never before seen Space Empire and the revived Serpentine Empire and Great Knights Empire.