THE DECILLENNIAL WAR CHRONICLES
Celestius at the Gates of the Universe
During the ten thousand years of war there arose a champion from the ranks of the Fifths. His name was Celestius the Wanderer, the light and the sword, who slew creature after creature, those evil beings of fire energy, till they hid in the shadows, afraid of this mighty warrior. His fame was known throughout the Universe. He was superior and evil feared him.
Celestius had learned much in his wanderings and had grown strong with many followers and though he loved his people they were not his to lead or to teach. He told them this, but they did not believe him. They were the domain of the Gods, fit only for war and death. He told them this, but they did not believe him. “Lead us, Celestius,” they cried, “Lead us!”
But Celestius was still not convinced. He alone had amassed great knowledge and ability. He alone now stood above the other Fifths who clamoured for his leadership. But was his the voice that should command them when a higher voice of authority existed? And so Celestius had built a boat to sail the heavens until he had come to the place that were the Gates of the Universe, home of the Gods.
At once, in the presence of the Place of the Gods, Celestius was assailed by the Storm of Stars, those of enchanted birth, who demanded of him the reason for daring to present himself before the Great King and Holy Queen. “Were you not created by us?” They thundered, “How come you to us, to our very steps and demand an audience with those beyond your imagining?”
Unafraid, Celestius answered in earnest: “I come to seek the wisdom of the all knowing, all seeing Great Father and Mother, those who hear the voices of all with compassion and justness. Are we not more than vassals of war? Do we not possess a destiny befitting a People who in total are greater than the sum of their parts? Give us the means to survive beyond the war.”
The Storm of Stars swirled around Celestius in anger: “How dare you demand this of us, we who gave you being. Be gone from here lest we destroy your bones.” But still unafraid, Celestius answered with passion: “No, I seek the guidance of the King of All and the mercy of the Queen of Life, that I may lead my People to their destiny, surely foreseen by the Great Makers.”
The Storm of Stars fell silent, flashing in deafening silence. They argued amongst themselves, as was their nature to, then their voices thundered again and their tone was ominous: “Give you more and you shall wont, whet your tastes and you shall hunger, let you see and you shall go blind. All these things we hold from you to protect you. What you seek is not real.”
Once again, the Storm of Stars fell silent, sparkling in unwavering brilliance, conspiring, mesmerising, warning: Be gone or be destroyed. But Celestius was undeterred: “If it is my fate to be destroyed for my People, then so be it. I will not journey back through the void to my People who await their destiny. I plead for the judgement of the Immortal Lord and the Timeless Majestrix.”
Thrice, the Storm of Stars flared amongst themselves then the voices thundered: “Your life is not price enough for what you would demand for your People. Your being is not worthy enough to be allowed to stand before us as an equal. Your kind is not esteemed by us, those who were made to pique our interest, and now we are piqued our interest gone. Prepare to be destroyed.”
But the Great Father King of All and the Holy Mother Queen of Life had compassion and mercy for Celestius and intervened: “HOLD,” they boomed in twin voice greater than that of the Storm of Stars, their offspring, “There will be no destruction. You out step your warrant we fear. Be gone now, our children, and we shall tend to the needs of this noble being you have created.”
Celestius felt their invisible eyes turn to him. “Have no fear mortal. We have heard your plea. Our fear is not for your protection, but for the protection of ourselves: It is foreseen that you shall grow; grow into beings such as us. And we fear that from beings made for war. Yet, we have seen the love and nobility that your kind can show, so we shall grant you what you have so dearly sought.”
And all at once, Celestius was struck in the mind with the seed of knowledge: of writing, of reading, and of the secret of numbers, of science, of the art of reasoning and understanding, of culture and industry, and all things necessary to grow off the land, and to build great cities that would be the culmination of all the knowledge in the universe interwoven into the fabric of reality.
And the seed of Celestius’ knowledge flourished to encompass the spirit world and the known in the corporeal world, so that they knew the call of the Starbird; the path of the Moonwolf; the way of the Skyserpent; the sign of the Rockmage and the magic four elements Matter, Energy, Psyche and Time that which they were made from and which were transmutable.
Celestius had brought forth the knowledge thereby giving the Fifth People a destiny beyond the war. But it had come at a price. For his courage, Celestius had been taken by the Great Father and Holy Mother so that through his sacrifice, the Fifths would never forget them and their humility before them. And so that the Fifths would forever honour Celestius the Destiny Bringer, they had named themselves the Celestians.
Taken from the Celestius Chronicles
Adantus and the Antiqchronals Quest
In the year 8,002 of the Decillennial War, Adantus gathered us together and told us that he was going to seek out the Antiqchronals those who came before us- to reunite all the peoples in peace. But not everyone wanted to undertake this hazardous and seemingly impossible task and after a vote, only five thousand of us volunteered to accompany the illustrious Adantus and companion, Xal. We’d be venturing into realms never before seen, and though it could be a lifetime before we returned, the all glorious journey to find our forbearers was too great a temptation for many. Adantus was granted leave by the High Generals of Celestia and after a mighty feast and tribute, we bade farewell to our homes and set sail into the stars.
We forged ahead and decided to search the Stars of Blood, in the area called The Father’s Hands, a far off place of foreboding doom, a place where stars disappeared and reappeared as if the Great Father himself was raking his huge hands through the stars, hiding their light behind his long fingers. Great rifts streaked through this place and filled us with fear, but our sturdy ship of stars kept us afloat in the eternal darkness. We travelled for endless days, rocked to and fro by the stellar waves from this chaotic region that was tearing itself apart. Xal, the blue haired second of Adantus, had the strength of the legendary People of Matter and kept us together with his tales of heroism and magic. But even that didn’t save us from what happened next.
We were swallowed; engulfed by a hole the size of a star that appeared from nowhere, like a ravenous maw. There was no escape. But dauntless Adantus steered us straight down its black heart. We were torn apart; stretched to infinity; compressed into nothingness. We were everywhere and nowhere, screams shattering the aeon long moments of madness, and then suddenly we were on the other side of the monster. And we were somewhere else. Somewhere faraway. In that moment we truly comprehended our predicament and gloriously praised the Great Father and Holy Mother and rejoiced and wept. For ever since our creation we had sought a purpose beyond the War: Our destiny. And here beyond everything ever known to us we had surely found ours.
Before us lay a vast expanse of deep black fields, littered with brilliant points of light that didn’t embrace us in death upon our arrival as our enemies, the People of Energy, would have done. These lights were not alive. We were alone. In our wanderings of this new place, we came upon many spectacular sights, but crossed no others, no one else to share our stories, glories, and adventures with. Despite the abundance of stars, worlds and potential for life, we found nothing save emptiness and desolation; a magnificent universe devoid of life other than ourselves. Adantus led us to the zenith, he ordered us to the depths, to the furthest points athwart of us and then to the furthest reaches beyond and back. And in all these places we saw no sign of The Antiqchronals.
We saw galaxies eating galaxies; pulses of light shining so far away, yet so tantalizingly close that we despaired in ever reaching them. Adantus led us through countless starscapes of pure spun golden light; through seas of magenta stellar storms; past holes of black darkness; around swirling gaseous pools of red hot ember. Yet there were no Antiqchronals. Around and around the hub of galaxies our ship of stars sailed, great shards of broken worlds streaking by with their menacing tails of fire flickering. Some roamed alone, other times there were scores or hundreds of them. We left them to their fates and resumed our course, Adantus charting our way. But still our beloved forbearers were not to be found – Until...
It had beckoned us. A white swirling arm of a distant galaxy had seized our attention, combined as it was in our urgent quest. It was not compelling or worthy enough, yet it had called to us, our senses overwhelmed by a burning desire to seek out this unassuming clump of whelpling stars. We surged across the boundaries of the galaxy, Adantus sparing no thought besides the pursuit of this venture and slept for neither day nor night until we had reached the place that had so beseechingly called to us: a small system lying on the milky outskirts. A small yellow sun held sway over ten magical worlds and as we sailed into the system, five thousand minds contemplated the meaning of their existence as we prepared to encounter our destiny with the Antiqchronals.
Ten worlds marked this system and we searched for the Antiqchronals. Of them only the third was inhabitable and we named it Destinia, after Celestius’ mother. Divided into groups, Adantus explored the world, while Xal and the other leaders Orizel, Herm and, Azirius explored the other worlds. We should have known then that we sailed among evil and that death stalked us.
We should have known, but it was too late. We should have known. From the beginning all life, whether Celestian or Antiqchronal, had been inextricably bound together. We had all been cast from the four universal elements which represented the four fundamental aspects of the universe, yet were immutably one. We were as much a part of them, as they were of us and, of course, we could sense each other, that is what had drawn us here so strongly, but we had expected to find the exiled Antiqchronals. But they had never been here, only evil had. They had been like a beacon, luring us here, and now they were flooding the system.
Azirius saw them first. They rose from a giant clouded world in a swarm that caused a giant red scar to boil and swirl like a storm upon its surface. The Fire were upon us. Divided as we were, we fell like skystones. Azirius, Herm and their forces were swept away in a wake of obliteration.
Our ships were attacked; air was ripped asunder so fast that others were sucked into the blackness. They next swooped down upon my domain like raining stars, drowning all in seas of unbridled fire. Some of us escaped, only to see distant battles raging. Then a bright light erupted upon one of the worlds where we knew Adantus’ ship to lay. Adantus was dead. I knew not Xal’s fate. We were lost.
What was left of us, waited for the Fire of Hel to attack from the deceptive calm that now prevailed, but they did not come. Our ship’s eyes told us no People of Energy survived. We then journeyed to Destinia to find Orizel, the sword second only to Xal, and his one thousand warriors. Orizel related to us how Adantus had used his inner energy, the primordial elements that we all were, to lure the Lore to him on his ship where he to destroyed them all. But what would we do now with Adantus and Xal gone? Destiny was sweet in invention, but cruel in fate.
But Orizel had decided. The war still raged, but in a different place. Evil still reigned even here in the furthest of horizons. A constant and fervent vigil would be needed to detect and defeat the People of Energy. And here, on Destinia, he would continue Adantus’ dreams of searching for the Antiqchronals while starting a new Celestian civilisation in the distant reaches of space. Anyone whose destiny belonged here was welcomed to stay and those who did not would journey back to the Celestian home worlds and tell them of their heroic deeds and actions. I, for one wanted to remain, but the voyage back would be crucial and if Destinia was to thrive for future Celestians to return here some day, then I would command the voyage back.
I and two hundred departed in a ship rebuilt from the wreckage found after the battle. But the omens were not in our favour and the journey back was not a joyous one, fraught with danger and catastrophe. We’d been ravaged by starstorms, battered by starfalls, stuck in whirling maelstroms, left drifting to desolate worlds having to repair our wounded ship, become lost in a maze of galaxies so compact and strung together that beginning, end and middle had no meaning, and fought creatures and forces beyond our comprehension. I lost Celestians in every single encounter and after twenty-five years found myself alone in the void. I despaired, wandering aimlessly around the universe, lost. I was far from home, far from my companions and I would die a death alone, by far.
I awoke from a sleep that I did not know I had fallen into. A voice had called to me, but search as I might I could not find the source. It was everywhere and nowhere, a reverberating buzz that chorused into a thousand or more voices, voices that I recognised as those of my companions, all of them. Ship’s eyes and functions were long dead, but I suddenly knew where I was. I was at the bridge, the edge of reality that had swallowed us all over a lifetime ago and the voices I heard were the echoes of our first passage through. They had brought me home. I sailed through the Sea of Voices, down through the turbulent black maw and after emerging from the outer realms, steered homeward, with sadness and joy in my heart, destiny’s door awaiting.
The Knights Destina Tomes of War
The Tomes of War were the great Articles of Faith for the Knights Destina. They were destroyed once the Decillennial War was over and the Storm of Stars cult died out. However, particular War Poems and philosophies still existed after becoming part of Celestian folk tales. If any parts of the Tomes of War did survive, they were in the hearts and minds of lingering adherents.
O, the war, like constant twilight falling
O, the war, eternal darkness rising
O, the war, shadow of the Cosmos dreaming
O, the war, the war, the war, the war
O, the war, more than death; life’s length and breadth
O, the war, of blood and doom and fatal thunder
O, the war, echo of the Cosmos screaming
O, the war, the war, the war, the war
O, the war, immortal fire, forever fire, the final fire
O, the war, the dawn, the coming, the future, the end
O, the war, memory of the Cosmos dying
O, the war, the war, the war, the war
The first War Poem is interpreted as the Prophecy of the Return of the Lore. It was written by an anonymous Knight Destina who allegedly had the power of Sight, strong among many members of the Clan. Their goal was to produce at least one such member per generation who could foretell the calamities ahead and watch for the signs leading to the return of the Storm of Stars.
The Four Stages of War:
Purpose: to drive us
Death: to hold us
Victory: to remind us
Life: to let us go
What is War?
If not a way to fight for what one knows not then what is war’s worth in the cosmic scale of things?
What is Evil?
If not a way to seed menace and to proliferate chaos unseen and unknown then is it to openly flaunt as enemy to none when thou art to all?
What is Secret?
If not the elusive answer behind the Universal Truth?
Then what is the question inherent in the Cosmic Lie?
War is secret
Evil is secret
Yet they yield and perish in the wake of the all-enduring Secret.
In the eternal struggle, only the Secret survives, outlasting the cycle of War and Evil, which cannot exist without the Secret; forever sought by constant vigilants forever opposed to War and Evil.
But the Secret wears on.
It is the Way of the Universe.
The Knights Destina were obsessed with the belief that something else was happening beyond the war: The Secret. They believed that this secret was the reason for Evil’s existence, for Evil had always tread the unknown, and nothing else could generate such ceaseless capacity for war, unless something, somewhere, somewhen was at stake; a Secret existing within the all-powerful Cosmic Machine that Evil sought at all costs. It was seen as the Universe’s Great Leveller; its way of keeping everything in balance in a universe where everything was in chaos. The Knights Destina believed that long after the war had ended, the Secret would still be there. Central to their philosophy were the two Principles of the Universal Truth and the Cosmic Lie.
The Cosmic Lie was the Knights Destina heretical line of reasoning stating that the Celestian’s divine creation was true and that the veneration of the universe was a Cosmic Lie to deny their true heritage. No one (outside of ancient texts) had actually seen the Great Father and Holy Mother or the Storm of Stars even though they were portrayed as real entities throughout history. But the Knights Destina awaited the return of the Storm of Stars at the end of time to prove themselves right. Even though the People of Energy were real, they had been mythologised by an ancient peoples to explain their existence. The whole war was a lie to cover up the non-divinity of the Celestians. So a perpetual balance of War was kept to preserve the Lie. The Cosmic Lie was a sin of the past.
The Universal Truth was the unknown factor, for it existed beyond the known future. The Truth would be revealed when the War had been won, but Evil and the Cosmic Lie prevented such an outcome. For now, War existed to protect the Secret, whatever it was. So it was thus reasoned that if the Celestians were fighting to preserve a known lie then the Knights Destina might as well fight to preserve an unknown truth. The Universal Truth was the hope of the future.
War existed to protect the Secret and destroy Evil; Evil existed to prolong the War and unravel the Secret. Both were the spawn of the Secret; one could not exist without the other two. But it was the Cosmic Lie and Universal Truth, the past and the future that held the key to the Secret. Reveal the truth of the Cosmic Lie and unveil the Universal Truth then the Secret would be discovered. And in that time beyond past and future would War, Evil, and the Secret be bound together in the ultimate fate of the universe.
Whether the Secret existed or not the Knights Destina firmly believed it. But their days were numbered as the Decillennial War ended and the Great Father and Holy Mother and the Storm of Stars faded away. But the Knights Destina spirit secretly lived on and they awaited for the time they could rise and claim the Universe for themselves.
It was destined.
O, the war, like flame of blood descending
O, the war, from tide of poison vengeance
O, the war, future of the Cosmos changing
O, the war, the war, the war, the war
O, the war, order of the heartless stone
O, the war, where ether drowns the newborn souls
O, the war, chaos of the Cosmos veering
O, the war, the war, the war, the war.
O, the war, destined fearless suns and sons of suns and sons
O, the war, lost in memory of forgotten remembrance, no more
O, the war, crescendo of the Cosmos ‘wakening
O, the war, the war, the war, the war.
The last War Poem is interpreted as the Prophecy of the Return of the Storm of Stars and the First Peoples – the Antiqchronals, whereupon they would rebirth the universe with its chosen Peoples, the Knights Destina.
Only time would tell if the Knights Destina were right.