Merry Christmas, Ascendants! New story content inside!
Seasons Greetings, Ascendants!
Hello everyone! I hope you all are doing well and are enjoying the holiday season. I would like to update you on the current status of everything, and also give you some new content in celebration of the Christmas holiday!
In the last update, I mentioned how I had been in the hospital. I have fully recovered now and am feeling much better. I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers.
The process of the game manufacture is still underway, there have been some modifications that were needed for the box design and it is looking very cool! There is a lot of back and forth when working with the China manufacturer, so I appreciate your patience as I await to receive a fully completed production copy with those said final modifications. I can’t wait to show you, it’s really awesome how the whole game is presented when you open the box.
Ray Dillon (Marvel, DC, Game of Thrones) is in the final stages of finalizing the Graphic Novel. WOW! I can’t believe the level at which the story and artwork have come together for the book. I am confident you will be very pleased!
Speaking of story, as a Christmas gift I would like to share with you 3 sections of the Pocket Guide to Empyrnea (the lore book) with artwork by Elizabeth Leggett that nobody has seen yet. The sections are "Children of the Light", "The Pilgrimage and the First Magi", and "The Wayward Sentinel And Death Of The High King." These stories within the Omega Mundus Universe are written by Nick Macari; they are so cool! Stories within this lore book provide a glimpse of Empyrnea's backstory, setting the stage before the Graphic Novel begins. You can scroll down to see this new content after the Omega Mundus Seal below. I hope you enjoy! (Note that while the 3 story sections are in chronological order, there are some additional sections before, between, and after which are not presented here but will be present in the final lore book.)
I am excited about how much closer we are to getting all of your rewards completed. I anticipate that within the next month I will be able to send out the surveys and begin the process of fulfillment for you all. Thank you again SO MUCH for your support and for believing in our project. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Jason M. Allen
Children of the Light
The boy retreated into complete darkness, pressing his back against rough, jagged rock. The bottom of his skirt soaking up cold stagnant water of the cave. His heart raced with hope and desperation that the voices drawing near would fall silent. It was his day of birth plus three, and he couldn’t shake the sinking feeling in his gut, he would not live to see his fourteenth year.
An impulse reaction more than a plan, Usi fled to the caverns near his small village at the first sign of amber sky. He knew they’d find him eventually, but somehow he thought if he could just hide until morning, perhaps the village would forget. He slid down to a fetal position, clasping his arms around his knees.
The torchlight shimmering in the puddle before his feet confirmed his fears.
“Usi, what in heaven’s name are you doing?” The boy’s father shook his head in disappointment, his thick, full beard masking his grimace. “I’ve got him… in here.”
Usi reluctantly rose to his feet, his eyes still trained on the ground. Placing his hand on the boy’s shoulder, Semir’s face softened behind his bright hazel eyes.
“I understand. But running and hiding won’t change what must be done.”
As the two exited the cave hand in hand, an old woman scowled at the boy. In this distance, Usi’s mother, a slender attractive woman in her late twenties, rushed towards them. The torch held high above her head revealed wide eyes filled with panic and grief.
“You don’t know what it’s like father. Living every year, in fear of a single day...” The boy’s shoulder’s melted as a whisper escaped his lips, “I wish I’d never been born.”
Aht’Ninni collapsed around her son, fondling him as if he had been missing for weeks, not merely a couple of hours. “Look at him Semir. He’s absolutely terrified.”
Recoiling from his mother’s embrace the boy turned to his father with eyes that could not remain still. “I’m no different than anyone else. Why must I be treated like some kind of… monster?”
The old woman turned away from the three, focusing on a soft red glow in the distance. The swell of light announcing the ceremony was overdue.
“Because boy you are different,” her voice gravel-like in tone, scratched against the wind. “You are a child born of the light.” She turned facing the family with her eyes clenched shut, searching the vast tomb of her memory. After a moment, the wrinkles in her face cracked with recognition.
“I remember it well. A single ball of pure white light sinking through the sky, like spring’s last blossom falling from the branch.” The old woman’s eyes blinked open, focused on some unseen point as she continued, “For an entire year, the night sky came bright and clear. We did not know it then, but from that day forward our world would never been the same.”
Usi stepped towards the distant lights and sighed. “I’m not one of them. The light didn’t do anything to me. I’m just a normal kid.”
“We know son. But it’s the law of the village. Every child born of that year, must perform the ceremony. We have to prove to the others it’s safe.” Without replying or looking back, Usi moved off toward the village. The old woman nodded and followed. Behind, Aht’Ninni looked to her husband with anxious eyes. “And what if he fails, Semir? What if this is the year there is a sign?”
Usi’s father stepped hastily towards the village, pulling his wife by the wrist. “Bite your tongue and take comfort in knowing that no ceremony in our village has ever ended in death… The gifted are only sent away.”
Moments later Usi stood before an upturned barrel, surrounded by every member of his village. The crowd watched in silence, only the crackling of their torches breaking the warm night air.
The village elder, stepped alongside Usi, holding a simple cloth sack under his arm. Extending it to the youngster, he motioned the boy to the open it.
Usi looked one last time to his mother and father, then up to the night sky. The stars shone bright, and seemed to stretch without end. Staring up at the pinholes of light, the ill feeling he had earlier returned. The boy felt as if he’d never sit with his mother or father and gaze the stars again. Usi took the sack from the village elder and reached in with one hand for its contents.
The boy withdrew an obsidian crystal. He showed it to the crowd then placed it atop the upturned barrel. Returning his hand to the sack, he withdrew a chunk of red metal ore. Again he presented it to the silent crowd before placing it carefully on the barrel.
Next the boy pulled forth a glass vial partially filled with clear liquid. He held the glass up to the crowd, then shook it violently. After a moment, the vial lay filled with bubbles. The crowd’s curiosity intensified. Some pushed and prodded to get a better view as the boy placed the vial on the barrel.
Finally, Usi withdrew a handful of raw earth. Stretching his fingers open one by one, he spilled the dirt into a small pile atop the barrel.
As Usi stood behind the four items gathered on the barrel, the village elder circled the boy. Never once letting his eyes leave the boy’s.
Then without warning the elder froze, peering at the boy’s face one final time before slowly turning to the crowd. Outstretching his hands high above his head, his white teeth appeared between his lips. “This boy is untouched.”
The entire crowd sighed and nodded together. Usi’s mother clenched Semir’s hand. Casual whispers broke out among the villagers as a group of musicians emerged from their ranks in preparation to play.
But just before the musicians started, a sharp clatter rang out. The glass vial of bubbles hopped and skittered across the barrel top, on no power but its own. Simultaneously the crystal took on a deep blue glow, followed in turn by the red metal vibrating with such speed it hummed. Finally, small green growths emerged from the pile of earth, increasing to weeks’ worth of growth right before everyone’s eyes.
Usi froze, the foreboding feeling in the pit of his stomach replaced with overwhelming fear. The thought of running raced through the boy’s mind… but the ceremony was circular in nature for a reason. “There!” someone in the crowd shouted, “His eyes.”
The village elder spun around, making direct eye contact with the boy. Usi’s eyes momentarily shifted from brown across a scale of iridescent colors: blue, red, purple, white and green.
The crowd gasped and huddled closer. “Spoiled!”
“Kill him now, before he burns down the entire village” a second voice cried.
At the plea for violence, Usi’s mother fainted into Semir’s arms. The rock that followed, just barely missing the boy sent the father howling. “No! No! He’s just a boy.”
The faces Usi had known his entire life surrounded him. Friendly, loving, caring people, who now looked to him with squinted eyes, furrowed brows and clenched fists. Usi spun in place, desperately searching for some means of escape. There was none. As another stone flew, a heavy robe shot up before the boy, protecting him from the projectile.
“Stop!” cried the village elder. “This is not us! We are not like other villages. We live by a tablet of laws. And it is written in the tablet, a gifted child of light, is not to be harmed… but sent away.”
“That’s right!” Semir scooped up his son in both arms, and stepped toward the crowd. The villagers clearing away at their approach, as if father and son contained a contagious disease.
“We can’t risk it. Our crops will spoil. Disease will come. Kill the boy while we still can.” A voice howled in the background, as three men stepped well before Semir to block his path.
Coming up behind them, the village elder pointed toward the nearby mountains. “Gather his things and take him to the southern mountain pass tonight.” The elder grabbed Usi by the shoulder. “They are afraid young Usi. Too many of them have heard the rumors of what children like you can do. Even with our laws, I cannot keep you safe for long. When you reach the mountain, do not come back… do not ever come back.”
A few hours later Usi stood with his mother and father on the road leading beyond the mountains, to parts of Empyrnea unknown. The boy held a sack filled with food and belongings. Aht’Ninni and Semir did not stop weeping since they left the village, since the ceremony Usi trembled uncontrollably.
Stepping onto the road, the boy looked to the horizon, then closed his eyes and raised his face to the heavens. He breathed deeply finally forcing the tremors from his body. “Ok,” he whispered under his breath.
“Do not be sad father. Somehow, I think I always knew this day would come. I can’t explain why.”
Semir embraced his only son long and passionately. Words no longer came to him. Usi’s mother buried her head in her husband’s shoulder as the boy slowly walked off.
Ahead of the small boy, the sun rose above the mountains, announcing the first rays of daylight. Usi turned back one final time. “And somehow father, I also know, this is just the beginning.”
The Pilgrimage and the First Magi
When Apsu granted the mystics their freedom, this did not absolve them of their responsibility. They remained stewards of Empyrnea, now answering directly to the people instead of a council of six.
As mystics, the Children of the Light spent their entire existence guiding the people of Empyrnea; it was a duty the newly appointed Magus welcomed with open arms. And a role embraced by the people.
In an effort to purge the new attendants of any remaining influence from the wizards, and repair any frayed relationships among the people, Apsu created the Pilgrimage.
The journey required each Magus to travel the four kingdoms (and the capital city) and study the foci of each land. When successfully completed, the pilgrimage installed a mastery of all four primary foci and Ylem itself, allowing each Magus to consciously change their foci at will. The completion of the Pilgrimage also graduated the Magus into the larger official body known as the Magi.
The Wayward Sentinel and Death of the High King
In the year 1545AD, the Magi’s protection finally yielded and life in Empyrnea changed forever more.
For on this year, the Wayward Sentinel, the largest sentinel ever recorded, a massive monstrosity as big as a small mountain appeared off the coast of the Capital City.
Unable to stop the creatures approach, the Magi retreated to Aeterna’s center and sounded an evacuation. As the citizens fled in terror, Apsu himself moved to defend the city.
The greatest battle in Empyrnea’s recorded history followed. And while the High King successfully destroyed the sentinel, he did so paying the ultimate price.
The death of the High King shook Empyrnea to its very core. Setting things in motion that would fundamentally change every life on the continent, Apsu’s death ushered in the Age of Immolation. A downward spiral into social strife, disease, war and Empyrnea’s darkest pages in history.