Frontacian/Psycian War pt. 3
[This article was originally presented in the August 15,
1997 Issue of the Dragon Fire Chronicles, entitled "A Brief History of the
Frontacian/Psycian War" by Calondin Fflammdwyn.]
A Tale of Two Magi
In the account of the Frontacian Empire and the Fall of
Psycia, no two individuals played a greater role than the Frontacian mage Urios Zaarman
and the Pentathian mage Hirs T'Varia. While a great many others played significant
parts in the events that shaped this time in the world, had not these two been born,
lived, and done the things they had done at this specific time, one cannot imagine what
the world would be now.
The story of Hirs T'Varia is a simple one. Born during
the Age of Dominance, he spent his childhood under the rule of the mighty Frontacian
Empire. His father was a Pentathian of little consequence, following one of the more
mundane trades. Hirs, however, had the spark of magery within him, and it was not
long before he was enrolled in the area's university of magick. So it was that one
winter evening, returning home for a surprise visit, he found his mother, a local trader,
in quiet discussion with a stranger. Curious, he stayed hidden and watched.
From his account of the evening, as taken from his journal, the stranger gave his mother a
collection of small parcels and then, stepping back from the heavily laden woman, the
stranger glowed a frightful glow. The next thing he knew, his mother had
vanished. A moment later, the Psycian, for this stranger could be nothing else,
glowed again as he, too, vanished.
Hirs was, as most magi are, an intensely thoughtful individual. Thus he pondered
that strange event. He had heard the stories of the fantastic traders appearing out
of nowhere and bringing life saving goods in times of distress. Although the
Frontacians had done their best to quell such tales, those in the rural areas further from
Frontacian dominance tended to believe. If nothing else, it suggested one's
oppressors were fallible. So it was that Hirs waited where he stood, hoping for his
mother's return. Some few hours later, she did return, with her Psycian companion,
laden not with parcels but with gold.
Hirs took this experience back with him to his university,
where, in the deepest recesses of the university library, he set to work trying to
accomplish this feat of translocation. Perhaps it is the folly of the magi to
believe that anything can be done, given enough research. Whether this is true or
not is best left for philosophical discussion. In this case, Hirs was, after many
years of research, able to accomplish the creation of a new magickal weave. In the
annals of history, Hirs never became a memorable mage. His gift was not in the
invocation of runes, but in their development. He took his new translocation aura to
the Mages' Guild, where the resident Master promptly stole it and killed Hirs. Only
Hirs' journal remained to prove the discovery his. Nonetheless, the Master of the
Guild then spread the knowledge of this rune. That now any mage of sufficient skill
could effectively teleport himself or another of his choosing allowed magi to hire
themselves out to traders seeking to compete directly with the Frontacians. Thus
another link in the chain with which the Frontacians held the world was broken.
Unlike the tale of Hirs T'Varia, the tale of Urios Zaarman is
far from simple. The family Zaarman was one of the greater of the lesser
houses. At some time in its past, it had made a bit to become part of the
Council. That bid had failed, the Zaarman family not being able to put sufficient
pressure on the Council members to elect their inclusion. With that loss came a
great loss of favor as the cost of putting pressure backfired with the cost of not gaining
power. Even so, the family Zaarman was far from destroyed. Rather, though they
lived in disgrace, they still had sufficient resources to be a greater house, though not
one of the elite.
Urios was the first child of the family liege. That
made her next in line to control the family. Tales from the period talk of the great
abuse she suffered in her youth from her peers. Bearing the name Zaarman proudly,
she was disdained by her contemporaries. This, along with that special core that
exists in those destined to change the world, created a hard, chiseled woman. She
vowed to bring the Zaarman name not only out of disgrace but to the very top of the
The fire that burned within Urios' heart made her one of the
greatest magi in Frontacian history. Her father being in good health allowed her to
travel the world, delving into the great storehouses of knowledge. It is said that
she took as her personal bodyguard one of the greatest Arachnian minds of her time and
together they roamed the lands seeking to create new magicks. While this last may be
difficult to believe, given the nature of the Arachnians, it is said that with her aid,
her Arachnian compatriot was able, on occasion, to practice the arts of magick
himself. Perhaps had her life not ended where it had, she may have been the one to
undo the great UnMagick. Of that, the world shall never know.
After many years of travel, Urios was recalled to the
Frontacian homeland to assume her rightful position. Her father had taken ill and
was not expected to survive. Although there is no suggestion of outside influence in
his illness, Urios' twisted heart assumed that the Psycians were at fault. At her
father's deathbed, she vowed to remove the Psycian blot from the Frontacian Empire.
It is impossible for a historian to look back on time and
know for certain what chain of events created a given circumstance. However, all
evidence suggests that Urios' difficult childhood combined with her legendary power led
her to madness. That she was raised in a household fallen in an Empire dissolute
combined to put the focus for her madness on the Psycians. Whatever the cause, she
was the catalyst for the events to come.
When Urios took the seat of control in the family Zaarman,
she dedicated all its resources to finding a way to be rid of the Psycians. As a
trading house, the Zaarmans had Psycians in their employ. She found that
unacceptable and devoted her energies to ending that situation. With her Arachnian
aide, she studied the ways of her Psycian underlings. Perhaps it was her advanced
skill in magery that allowed this to happen, perhaps it was her dedication. Perhaps,
it was her madness. Whatever the cause, she was able, without outside teaching, to
awaken her own latent psionics.
As a Psycian, the birth of a latent into the Mind is a joyous
event. Latents are such rarities that they should be cherished and nurtured.
They, alone, have the greatest potential to bring understanding of the Mind to the other
races. Unfortunately, Urios did not share the Psycian mindset regarding latent
psionics. Her discovery of her hidden potential drove her deeper into madness.
To her, she was possessed of the very evil she sought to destroy. Rather than seek
greater understanding of what she had, she sought a way to silence it.
Now, because she was untrained, the only ability that she had
was that of telepathy. Yet even so, the influx of voices into her head filled Urios
with great self-loathing. She put all of her not insignificant magickal knowledge
and skill into excising that part of her she so hated.
You, the reader, living in the present with all the knowledge that did not exist in Urios'
time may well have already guessed what happened. Urios did successfully silence the
voices unlocked in her head. She created a new invocation that when cast upon
herself, took away her telepathy. Perhaps it was her joy at silencing her hated
mind, perhaps it was something else. The reason for the next momentous event in
history is lost to history. Whatever the reason, she invoked this new spell on her
aide and together they discovered that that same weave that silenced her telepathy would
grant it to another. In that instant of discovery, Urios had the answer to all her
needs. The Psycians had the Frontacians bound in a chain of need. She would
remove that need, thus breaking that chain that bound her race, her rage. She knew
she could leverage house Zaarman to the height of power, for with this weave, the
Frontacians would be free of the Psycians forever.
The Price of War
What remains of this history is little enough. The war
between the Frontacian Empire and the Psycians was long and brutal before it
started. However, once the war started, it was over in an instant. The world
has changed much since then. The changes are so great, it could be said we are still
feeling the repercussions of that brief moment of insanity. The last part of this
tale is difficult to tell. Even though the event is long since past, as a Psycian
the mere thought of it is difficult. Nonetheless, I came here to record what
happened, so record I must.
The Rise of the House Zaarman
True to Urios' vision, she was quickly able to leverage
herself to the Trade Council. This she did simply. First, she did away with
all the Psycians in her employ, replacing them with the lesser magi of her house.
The Trade Council heard of this and laughed to themselves at the idiocy of her
madness. To them, Urios had just doomed house Zaarman to poverty. Apparently,
this sentiment was agreed with by some of house Zaarman as well, for many of the house
were found dead during those first few weeks, traces of webbing near at hand.
The Trade Council monitored the fall of house Zaarman with
some amusement, always ready for amusement in these otherwise distressing times.
What they discovered was that the Zaarmans were not falling into poverty. In fact,
they were prospering, even more so than some of the elite houses. Eventually, they
sent a representative to investigate how this was possible.
Urios received the Council's factor warmly enough and when
asked how her house was prospering so, she simply replied that the moneys saved from the
Psycian commissions were greater than expected. Urios knew she could have used her
weave to gain a seat on the Council. However, her memories of abuse made her
unwilling to settle for that. She wanted to remake the Council under her.
Perplexed but unable to gain any more information from her, the Council factor returned to
report to the Council. They, in turn, unable to understand how house Zaarman
prospered, opted to wait and watch.
It came to pass that Urios learned of the discovery of the
translocation aura. With that, and her telepathy aura, she knew that magi could rule
trade as they had never done before. With the sure knowledge that Frontacians were
the masters of magick, she started plotting the final disposition of the Psycians.
In the meantime, her house continued to prosper, becoming wealthier than nearly all the
other houses. Not only was her house free of the fees paid to the Psycians, but
house Zaarman was also free of the misinformation the Psycians had been providing for
years. By having her own people performing the necessary communications, she was
able to all but obliterate competition from outside sources.
All this was not lost on the Trade Council. Eventually,
they invited her to join their ranks, an act unheard of without her putting pressure
first. They simply could not ignore what was rapidly becoming such a wealthy
household. In response, she offered them a simple exchange. She would give the
Empire the tools necessary to be free of the Psycians. In return, they would place
her in charge of the Council. Make her Empress of the Empire and she would end the
Psycian meddling once and for all.
Now by its very nature, the Council was made up of the best
traders in the Frontacian Empire. As such, the thought of double-dealing was not
completely foreign to them. After some brief deliberation, the Council agreed to her
exchange, fully planning on removing her should the need so arise.
So it was that at the end of the Age of Dominance, Urios
Zaarman was named Empress of the Frontacian Empire and in her first, and last, act, she
ordered the destruction of the Isle of Psycia.
The Death of Psycia
Magi are powerful. We all know this. However, the
utter destruction of an island was beyond the capability of even the greatest of
magi. When the Trade Council asked, shocked, how Empress Urios planned to accomplish
this unbelievable feat, she told them. With the delight at seeing an age old blight
exterminated, the Council agreed to her plan. If any had the foresight to question
the wisdom of the means, none spoke then. By the time anyone did speak, it was
Common education makes reference to the magickal bridges of
the Frontacians. In this account, I have often cited their use by the Frontacians to
further their ends. Little is known as to how they worked. The general theory
is that they warped the very fabric of the world, bending it so as to allow instantaneous
travel from one location to another. The mechanics of the magickal bridges is not
the same as the mechanics of the Psycian teleportation or the translocation aura. In
the case of the Psycian way, our philosophers tell us that we are linking into the Mind of
the land and through our will, bringing us to another place. The theory behind the
translocation aura is similar, in that it requires that the person traveling have visited
the destination. The theory of translocation is that the magickal fabric that exists
all around us is focused on the visualization of the mage. Neither of these means,
however, has the same capacity as the magickal bridges the Frontacians developed.
Urios' plan was a simple one. Her research indicated
that if a sufficiently large number of magickal bridges were built in sufficiently close
proximity, the very bending of space would collapse in on itself. Historical fact
has since, to my great sadness, validated her research.
Records from the Frontacian Empire describe that the creation
of a magickal bridge was a three-step process. First, the anchors at both ends were
built and infused with identical magickal resonance. Second, magickal energies were
infused into the corridor created by the magickal harmony between anchors. Finally,
the bridge was opened, creating portals on both sides. Urios determined that six
such bridges would be needed to destroy Psycia. Five would be put at the extents of
the island and the sixth, critical one, would be placed at the center.
The Isle of Psycia, being a client state of the Frontacian
Empire, was totally accessible to the Frontacian engineers. Thus, they were able to
build the anchors for the dooming bridges without difficulty.
The Psycians had watched the rise of house Zaarman with
growing concern. They were aware that somehow, a Frontacian house had found a way to
trade profitably without the assistance of Psycian communicators. However, their own
arrogance led them to believe that this was some strange coincidence and nothing
more. When Urios was pronounced Empress, the Psycians took note, but otherwise sat
silent in the surety that they were too important to the Frontacians to be in any danger.
The sixth and final bridge was built within what was being
described as the imperial residence on the Isle. Urios had let it be known that each
client state would have a central location designated as her home for when she was
visiting. She stated that when it was complete, she would hold court for her Psycian
Thus, the day came when all the bridges were complete and
ready to be activated. Urios traveled to Psycia to hold her court, naming that day
an imperial holiday and demanding that all Psycians be in attendance.
There, upon a great and open field, the greater part of the Psycian population before her,
Urios stood and gloated about her victory to come. She planned to activate the final
bridge herself, letting it destroy Psycia as she stepped through it.
Of what happened next, there is only one record, for none
present to witness it survived, save one. Urios' Arachnian aide was present on that
day. What he witnessed is lost to time, except for a brief mention in one of the
"And so Urios stood before the teeming masses, smiling
in the knowledge that they were all doomed. She said nothing to them. She
merely stood, a malevolent smile behind the mask of their beatific new empress.
Behind her I watched, knowing what was about to happen better than she ever could.
Today was a great day. Victory was mine. It was not total, but to catch two
flies in one web is a greater victory than just one, and what juicy flies these
were. She stood there, and then, glee filling her voice, proudly screamed, "For
all that you have done for us, we, the Frontacians, give our appropriate
thanks." She then turned to me, still smiling, and wove the final runes of the
"I considered letting her return with me, letting her
face the wrath of her kin for what foolishness she had wrought, but some glimmer of
kindness must have caught me, for I did not. Better that she live for a moment,
knowing what she had done, than die, torn apart by her council. So, as we turned to
step into the portal, the world around us already collapsing in on itself, I smiled up at
her and bound her in my web. Whether it was a trick of my mind or the warping of
space, I do not know, but I heard her screaming my name for a very long second as I
stepped through the portal. She never could pronounce it."
-- from the Codex Kxrxtoxkicalix
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