A family of fulgen refugees was stopped by Qyo legionaries early in the month of Liparis, in the year 730 AT. According to official Qyo church record, the refugees were fleeing their war-torn homeland of Merasmius and had managed to reach the Northwestern Sarracene Mountains, when they were arrested by Qyo officers, on-sight. The family was stripped of their possessions and chained to saddles atop separate flying diptera, insectoid beasts loyal to the Qyo Canyon hierarchs. Though the language barrier of the time was a violently irritating issue to many in the Qyo ranks, it was lawful that a final word of religious explanation be delivered to all enemies of the Faith of Her Body. The Capitsan of the Qyo legion, a rugged war plant named Barrocheil proclaimed to the fulgen family, and I quote: “The Body has given to us these mountains for our humble devotion to Her Nature. The many holy and historic paths of this canyon are not to be walked by refuse, nor by those of unwashable feet. Were you a kylyy-neighbor, I would work to baptize your family here and now, as I am a good and reverend paladin. But you! you are a family of mold and of treacherous overgrowth! Were I to baptize a family of spores, I would be set ablaze by Her Furious anger. The dream of seeing Her Body Incarnate as she walks personified to bless us, her tearful monks would be ruined and stained with any service to your kind, and her anger would disrupt as far east as your Peninsula of birth. And so, silent and damned family of Merasmius, you are to be flown to your fate by diptera. Her Will Be Blossomed.” As the family struggled and whimpered almost soundlessly, Barrocheil then brandished an ornate chute-wooden fife and played the Qyo Song of Parting, and the legions at his disposal all sang their parts after the fife’s intro. The horsely dipteras quickly revved their wings and lifted up to a safe enough distance to then bolt, flailing wildly away from one another.
The fulgen family would never see each other again.
Missionaries such as Capitsan Barrocheil had become a commonly-encountered figure by spring of 731, from within and outside the natural and mountainous fortifications of the newly named Qyo Mountain Stronghold. This may seem like a natural progression to the amount of people converting to the faith of Qyo, thus filling a good percentage of the canyon’s overall population. Capitsan Barrocheil was a dutiful and overtly pious force for converting tourists and tradespeople through the ever-growing and finessing Qyo Canyon into an ornate and hopefully unforgettable religious capital city. A lot of pressure was placed upon city planners to map out each and every town and its function along the opposing mountainsides. By the early 700’s, The Canyon was groomed into a lush emerald city with early-style watering systems to feed the thousands of buildings and homesteads that were staged and grown throughout the Qyo capital. Therefore, it wasn’t difficult overall to convert the traveling merchant from Pachanoi or the herdsman from far down in Ordensus.
Outside Qyo Canyon, however, the religious Order acted without oversight. Many legionaries travelled with reverend followers, pestering travelers on the road from Qyo southward towards Pachanoi and Centareas, and outright abducting Lipid scientists and archaeologists working in the Topaz Mountains to the West. Secret teams of cultivators were sent to lay the foundations for high-vine outposts that were so sturdy-and-unmovable that most other countries can’t express the resistance required to defy these illegal attacks. This behavior would be ignored and even cheered on by members of the High Council surrounding the acting Monos of the day, though it remains a mystery whether the ruling Monos of the time was aware of the teeming corruption in his midst, with reports claiming that it was the Monos himself that contributed to the survival of the conspiracy. In 731, that Monos was a man called Wister Oledias.
Wister Oledias was regarded as a tall and handsome presence, seemingly born to play a role in the shaping of Qyo’s future, to both the delight and fear of his peers. A deeply reverent stalk, Wister Oledias was known to never attend get-togethers of the rich and famous, nor did he have much oversight in the layout of Qyo Canyon, leaving that more to his talented wife Iris Oledias, a flower no one seemed to say anything negative about, as the early foundations of Qyo Canyon were made with Iris Oledias’s keen premeditation for people’s structural needs. At the time of writing this, Wister Oledias is a historical enigma of sorts, much of it having to do with his friendships and alliances, and their relationship with each other in relation to their best friend Wister Oledias.
Sprouting from the highest peaks of Qyo-Canyon in times unrecorded, Wister Oledias was left to fend for himself upon waking. Rather than spend his time growing weapons to defend and shelter from the snow, the promising sapling Oledias simply analyzed the soils around, stood in the best spot he could find, submerged his roots and prayed. When approached by predators, legend has it that Oledias was able to solemnly inspire long and prayerful silences from the animals themselves with only his prayerful stature and piety. We would be remiss to exclude perhaps his most famous quote, in which he says: “Early in my life I committed my mind to the twisting and strengthening of the kylyy stamin, by means of Her Body Incarnate’s grandest inspiration. I access this as all people can, by deep and meaningful prayer, in the warmest spot you can, uninterrupted by the enemies of Her Body Incarnate.”
This last line seems to be referred to as an obvious starting point for the crusading path of Wister Oledias onto the people of Northern-Qyo and into Sarracennia, dragging the fulgen into the matter by means of rueful acts of religious cleansing. Let’s begin.
The Northwestern landmasses of the early 700s were claimed by the Qyo Faith of State. To many who rejected the organization of the Qyo religion, this was an affront and seemed to be a point of hypocrisy based on their teachings. According to Wister Oledias in a pamphlet from 726: “The plains, for which our husk was thrown upon and our seeds ejected and nurtured were within these mountains. It is our creed that these mountains are the true home of the Kylyy people, from each declining base through each mountain chasm opening and out to the Damned Seas, these lands are claimed and protected by The Qyo and nurtured by the grace of The Body Incarnate.”
This was intended as a bold statement. The Qyo High Council were purposeful in calling out adversaries to the claim. While nothing happened immediately following the bold pamphlet that was produced en masse, arguably the first piece of successful press stirred the enemies of Qyo into action. The Lipids to the Northwest of Qyo had accumulated more than enough hatred for a conflict with the religious order, but needed the time to outfit their smaller forces with more sophisticated weaponry. The states of Pachanoi and Centareas to the south of Qyo simply fortified their own position as they didn’t see any benefit from acclaiming land within the canyon boundaries. Ordensus, even further South than Centareas, was largely content with their southern and eastern coastlines. From these three continents, there was no shortage of mercenaries willing to offer their arms and strength to anyone opposing Qyo, hoping to stake a claim in any lands awarded after a successful campaign against the opposing Canyon Cult-State.
The tall slopes just Northeast of Qyo were inhabited by tree-worshipping nomads known as the Sarracenians, perhaps better recognized today as the Moth Riders, due to their famous friendship and dependence with giant moths native to the tall-trees and bounding heights of the Sarracenian mountains. The Sarracenians were largely divided families or lone wanderers seeking the best plots of forest for which to settle down. This had the effect that many dwellings of individual kylyy or a small family with their moths and beast neighbors, in addition to many strange and dangerous beasts that foraged in and around the tall and daunting trees far to the North, formed somewhat of a functioning community separate from the busy cityscapes of Qyo Canyon. Fulgen refugees from Indusiatus passed safely through the southern plains of Sarracenia and many had hoped to relocate to the peaceful riversides of the Canyons, but were met with fierce resistance once the organization of the Qyo State had consolidated and solidified.
The stance taken by the Qyo Authorities regarded their religious practice of deforestation by fire. A clever tactic utilized to justify the overall behavior of the Qyo autocrats referred to the disorganized treeline of Sarracenia’s border as a reason to advance, literally that the upkeep standards of Sarracenia’s borders weren’t up to Qyo satisfaction. Not to mention their allowance of Fulgen refugees through their lands and into Qyo Canyon had a key influence on Wister Oledias’s advancement into the lands of the Moth Riders, in a push for dominance over the entire Northeastern landmasses of The Body Incarnate. Oledias quickly took advantage of Sarracennia’s lack of central authority and ordered Qyo Missionaries to push their Faith onto the Nomadic Moth-rider tribes, as well as scrawl-up legalwork to pass along to Sarracene figureheads. While this was met with a mix of friendliness and hostility for the touring Qyo priests, events were happening in neighboring countries that would raise the tensions for everyone involved in Qyo’s grand crusades.
In order to understand the Roses of War, one must keep an eye on our introduction, wherein a Fulgen family was separated and forced to fly to their mysterious doom. It is reported that the matriarch of the ill-fated toadstool family from Merasmius, a brilliant Fulgen individual whose name is lost to history, was an esteemed ambassador and friend to the Sarracenians, responsible for creating a trade route in which diptera dropping was traded for exotic spiders and plants native to the Fulgen Peninsula. Interestingly, there seems to be no historical account from this period that suggests the Sarracenians had any disharmony with the Fulgen at all. As a matter of historical fact, many kylyy families had strengthened due to the charm and intellect of their Fulgen neighbors, and the communities and cultures flourished within Sarracenia.
This must be reiterated to properly illustrate the rage and pain caused when a group of moth riders found a silk-wrapped fulgen body, dead and dried of its life and moisture by arachnids, the exoskeletal remains of a diptera mount nearby. Before the end of the week the entire population of the Sarracenia landscape was deeply invested in this unwitnessed and horrifying case. While it was obvious that the Fulgen had been found high in the Sarracenian mountains, that which was heavily debated centered around the will or reason for such a journey.
The case of the murdered Fulgen was helmed by a group of investigative enthusiasts, two of which were moth-riders that discovered the body of the fulgen victim. They were granted custody of the crime scene and carefully got to work. After a few days of scanning the area, it was discovered that the Fulgen was wearing ceremonial pilgrimage linens of primarily Merasmian fashion. Studies of the diptera carcass led the detectives to utilize the refined senses of their flying steeds. The moths were able to follow powder mucus from the diptera’s mandibles to the source from which it flew this fulgen individual to their cruel death.
Neighborhood Watch/The Exiled of Mount Zygote/The Knights of Sarracennia
While the moth-mounted knights were gone, word had reached the growing communal firesides of authorities in Pachanoi, seeking council with the riders of the sacred beasts. Their message survives to this day, and provides us with a clear understanding of the regard that Pachanoi held for the mountain moth-riders.
Their message reads: “Friends of the North, good of intent and ever-studious. We ask for your attention within our borders. Words of your case regarding flown-away refugees have reminded us of a recent occurrence here within our capital of Saguaro. We are eager to offer any service to your cause in return, as it is our belief these events are related, and may refer our attention to a neighbor led by malicious intent.”
This letter was swiftly delivered by carrier-moth to Dumort of Ericales while the Sarracene Knights were en route to the Qyo Border. As their moths followed the scent of the murder victims, fearful prejudices began to overtake the psyche of the Knights. Reportedly, it was the charm and influence of Dumort of Ericales that assured the search for clues remained ongoing. After receiving the message from Pachanoi, Dumort insisted the knights fly out of sight of Qyo and head to the confirmed second Fulgen-and-Diptera carcass combination. The Knights agreed, and they steered their beasts southeastward along the coast.
It was around the time of this passage that events were happening on a lonely mountain in the Northeast Territories of the Qyo Faith. Largely unexplored and thus unsettled, Mount Zygote would create an entire class of study regarding a revolutionary display of taunting and a flailing contested battle for the pride of the many peoples of Sarracenia; not to mention the unrelenting religious conspiracy and myth-making throughout the Eastern Colonies that spawned thereafter.
On a day of gentle-rain, a lonely Qyo explorer decided to engage her depression in battle by hiking deep beyond any confirmable path North of the Easternmost boundaries of Qyo Canyon. With madness on her mind and sadness in her epiderm, she scrawled on sheets of paper confessions of her desire to depart the world of The Body byway of suicide. In one letter, she writes of her family that had descended from admiration into bitter poverty and disease. In another, she writes of the police inquisitors that had executed her husband for possessing sumac, a capital offense still enforced to this day. It is her final note on that day in the month of Profetus, 731, that marks the tipping point, wherein the words contained a reaction to found evidence suggesting an attempted murder on a fulgen citizen.
Juss Atonia writes in a tear-filled entry, quote: “No matter how The Body sees me, if I am her daughter of light and of love, or if I am the daughter of her repulsion, I serve Her with undying love for life. I say this and weep painful tears, but if the Qyo Order sees what I see now, then they too will know pain. My part is to care for this, a new friend, injured by a great fall but without anger in her spores. It will be both heretical to the Qyo Order and yet simply good for me to aid this victim of their vile Inquisition!”
Atonia’s life has taken an almost instantaneous pivot when she discovers a dying young refugee of Fulgen descent, whose diptera had died of heat exhaustion and starvation. The young Fulgen was alive but in a poor state of health, having attempted to sever her own legs to escape the saddle for which she was forcefully secured. Atonia helped the Fulgen girl out of the saddle and shared what little water she had left. She offered the berries that grew from her shoulders to the Fulgen toadstool, who was able to express that her name was Telios, and the two new friends carefully made their way from the hilltop of their meeting and eastward towards Sarracenia.
Atonia and Telios were found hiking southeast into Sarracene borders. They were stopped by lawless Sarracenian highwaymen, who were quickly converted to their cause upon hearing the story of the flown-away refugees secured to the saddle of a diptera as a religious punishment by Qyo priests. The highwaymen were stunned and saddened by the tale, and agreed to escort the two into the care of a nearby lord. Thus Atonia and Telios were welcomed along with the Highwaymen into the Centres of Ericales, a town of which Dumort had founded alongside his siblings. The Refugee Telios was given grand accommodations and time to heal from her dangerous and wild flight. Before long, Telios was ready to address those interested with her description of her religious expulsion from Qyo Canyon. She told them of the ritual, of the Qyo Song of Parting that was performed after they were tightly secured to their saddles. The Sarracenians were horrified by this act approved by their Qyo neighbors. It was no secret that the power players within the Qyo High Order were attempting to stake claim within Sarracenia’s Mountain Ranges byway of their missionary callings, though Dumort and his family generally considered the religious will of their people to be a choice all their own, unhindered by the decisions of any overarching authority.
It is also not a secret at this time in 731 that Qyo had been fortifying their position in a very paranoid and militaristic fashion, as had been noticed and recorded by observers within and around the Faithful Canyon Empire. Dumort postulated on the ramifications of Telios’s survival, and decided to bring his thoughts to the forum. In an oft-recited chorus, Dumort asks the Fulgen Refugee, “What can we do for you, Telios? For you have defied the ruling of the Inquisition, and when placed in the hands of Her Body Incarnate, She has delivered you to our safety, but foremost to the safety of the divine hills of that mount! The Mount of your gracious Zygote that had been travelled by the Juss Atonia, this brave and gracious pilgrim of Qyo descent, it is she that we have to thank for your safety and survival! What then does this mean, Telios of Merasmius and Juss Atonia? The will of the Inquisition has been abandoned; in accordance to religious law, am I to understand that the Mount of Zygote rightfully belongs to you?”
The question understandably sent shockwaves throughout the forum. Juss became flush, her leaves quivering while she pondered, and the featureless countenance of Telios was said to have darkened with the implication. She never meant to get involved with power politics, and in fact had fled from an intensifying Merasmius, where religious differences had resulted in atrocities over land-grabs and the collecting of religious spores that were protected by long-running family kingdoms. Telios kept silent, but Juss Atonia responded, firm and passionate:
“It doesn’t matter who the Mount belongs to, but to say it belongs to the Fulgen will only result in its destruction. Were you to provide the force, the Mount can be claimed by Sarracenia. If I am to know the political forces of my homeland, they won’t halt until their roots expand into new soils. I am of the opinion that Sarracenia must secure the mount, diplomatically if possible. If the Qyo Inquisition react with malice, you must show them what makes you unique. And do not forget, Dumort of Ericales, that justice must be served for the family of Telios, for this atrocity alone has brought us together.”
From that point forward, everyone involved with the forum proudly announced themselves as Knights of Sarracenia.
A very formal notice was sent to the Abbot Class of Qyo. The notice demanded their presence in a trial taking place at Mount Zygote, and since it wasn’t referred to as this until the Sarracenians invented the term, they included a remarkable map so as to show which mountain they were referring to. The notice concluded saying that representatives would be perched on the mountain’s peak each night until the turning of the season, with the Qyo representative simply required to confront the Sarracenian Knight in order to guide them to the grotto wherein the trial would take place. As it were, no Qyo representative arrived before the turning of the season. This was satisfactory to all parties involved within Sarracenia, as Telios was able to connect with other fulgen refugees living within the nearby hillside cities as well as conversing and strengthening the community of Ericales. It had been confirmed that Telios would inspire the Fulgen bishops to cultivate their dark prayers in case of military conflict, of which everyone was certain was going to occur. And so, while Dumort and Juss Atonia waited for a Qyo representative to come and explain themselves and their horrid actions regarding Fulgen refugees, the Knights of Sarracenia were strengthening their position and perfecting their techniques.
Juss Atonia and Telios quickly became intently involved with the planning of defensive positions alongside Dumort of Ericales and his court of generals. The Defensive Committee of Sarracennia knew their own advantages well; no one had any sort of air force in this early antiquity of civilized people across The Body. They had debated on a tactic that involved Atonia sending one of her letters to a guardsman to the Northeast, declaring her dominance over the Mount of Zygote and demanding stately recognition by both Sarracenia and Qyo itself. This was a daring plan, considering that Sarracenia had already given Atonia and Telios permission to govern Mount Zygote as an independent state, effectively taking a side militarily in any future conflicts Qyo would have with the matter. Though they liked the basic skeleton of this plan, Juss and Dumort were cautious to experience any response at all by the Qyo Inquisition. They wondered if the expediency of Wister Oledias’s Inquisition could be earned if Juss Atonia and Telios, alongside a group of coinciding fulgen-and-kylyy citizens and occupying Sarracene Knights, fully inhabited the Mount of Zygote as if they had lived their entirely lives on the wonderful landscape. Most daring of all, Juss and Telios would declare Mount Zygote as a free and independent state for all willing to live placidly in a helping community.
Dumort of Ericales and Juss Atonia loved this plan of action, and quickly got everyone on board to design a quaint and perfect little town on the eastern-facing hillside of Mount Zygote. They picked a spot near a recent rockslide. Dumort ordered a full construction site to be built, and within weeks the Knights of Sarracenia had outdone themselves in their architectural pursuit by building an ivy stronghold grown around solid iron framework, utilizing gro-construction within the fortress’s walls for inner insulation for sleep and comfortability. The stronghold became home to four-hundred moths and their riders, in addition to the six-hundred citizens that occupied the houses and filled the nearby fields and mountainsides of Fort Telios, as the stronghold came to be known. Within a month, the Mount of Zygote had become an entirely new place, almost utopian in its scale and implementation. Years after these events, a painter named Lock would say that during these initial parties within the Fort of Telios that, and I quote: “Never could joy and harmony be found before, after or anywhere in the world since those days upon the Mount of Peace.”
Roses Of War (Exile Reprise)
The inevitable and predictably expedited response from Wister Oledias’s Qyo Inquisition had reached Juss Atonia, Telios, and Dumort of Ericales in their new home fortress within a newly declared Independent State. On the first di Body in the month of Lovendra in the year 731 AT, a vanguard of ornately dressed and fruitfully-blossoming Qyo legionaries followed a tall and slender beetlesteed, the rider of which was the Capitsan Barrocheil himself, the general priest that had ordered the tragic expulsion of Telios’s family, causing the events that led to this meeting. Barrocheil arrived at the gates of Fort Telios, demanding that Juss Atonia return to the jurisdiction of Qyo with him at once.
To say that the hangover for this very brief peace was frightfully sobering for the Knights of Sarracenia is an understatement. Dumort of Ericales, dressed in full plated armor with woven spidersilk robes, was mounted on his trusted flying steed Waylon the Invincible, the regal crimson Atlas Moth that, according to legend, had familial ties to the first domesticated moths of Sarracenia history. Dumort and Waylon reportedly landed with unmitigated grace on the edge of the stronghold’s wall. Dumort called out to Barrocheil, his baritone voice carrying the claim of Atonia and Telios to this Mount and their protection under the Knights of Sarracenia. At this, hundreds of moth-mounted cavalrymen flew up and out of the Fortress of Telios, surrounding the Qyo Legionaries at varying points of elevation.
Barrocheil is said to have been unmoved by this show of force by the Sarracenians. He called out to Dumort, decrying that the Law of the Body is broken if the fulgen heretic Telios is allowed to live, much less elevated to a position in governance of an entire mountainside. A chronicler has Capitsan Barrocheil defending his actions against the fulgen refugees, claiming quote: “The family had behaved with unholy intent in our lands. Forced expulsion is the sentence within Qyo Jurisdiction for walking with dirt-caked roots atop the sun-blessed soils of Her Body Incarnate! For Dumort of the halls of Ericales to gift the unpunished heretic a mountain stronghold is abhorrent and ignorant to the law of The Body Herself, a law for which I defend to the death!”
Barrocheil continues: “A plague upon The Body is the rightful enemy of the natural Kylyy. It saddens me greatly to know the representatives of our neighbors the Sarracenians would balk against the wishes of our Goddess for the sake of a trivial and perverted friendship between a depressive atheist rebel and a refugee purged once before! Would you defend this lowly mount against Pachanoi, Centareas, Ordensus? To what end, Dumort of Ericales, do you see this charade possessing?”
At this, the fulgen refugee Telios descended from Waylon the Invincible. Her response would forever resonate among her kindred, despite the consternation of the Qyo Religion, and though it can be argued that in our current age the plight of the Fulgen is as bad as it ever was, at this time, Telios spoke for fulgen and kylyy alike at the top of the fortress that was named for her survival and bravery.
Telios proclaimed to Capitsan Barrocheil of the Qyo Inquisition, quote: “My family was pulled apart, if for nothing than for your own violent innovations and arrogance. What voice speaks to you but your own, Capitsan? Why do you see me as your foe, or is your faith a veil all its own?”
Barrocheil stared down Telios for a few full moments. Disregarding her claims of blasphemy, to everyone’s dismay, Barrocheil of Qyo told the Knights of Sarracenia that if they didn’t evacuate the area by nightfall, they would be subject to quote: “the merciless cleansing by live fire to your castle”. The legion of Qyo turned and left to their outpost at the base of Mount Zygote. Everyone wondered what they would do next, but Dumort knew it was abundantly clear that Barrocheil had the means of setting the fortress of Telios alight.
Dumort of Ericales, Juss Atonia and Telios of Merasmius wasted no time in preparing for the morrow’s conflict. Telios gathered together as many fulgen priests as she could under the descending orb of Her Mind’s Eye. The Fulgen Priests, all refugees from a war-torn Merasmius who were welcomed into Mount Zygote as friends and fellow persons, combined their ability of fungal transcendence, and worked toward summoning a protective barrier to surround the walls of Fort Telios with anti-flammable spore-shielding. The first practice seance had proven wildly successful, and so they set to securing the castle with the power only a fulgen can summon. To better understand this process, I am allowing myself to continue on with the narrative and study the phenomena as it happens, as the study of Fulgen Spirit Magic is a deep and difficult subject to approach head-on. Dumort of Ericales worked diligently to organize the attack patterns of his Lancers, who made sure that their moth-steeds were well fed and conditioned before the day of the battle. Juss Atonia, unsure of what to do in this critical waiting period, sketched the landscape in order to preserve the scene before her. Though she was unsure of what the morning after would look like, whether or not she and Telios would be dead or captured by the Qyo Inquisition or if they would stand triumphant over their oppressors, Juss Atonia records that at this moment she was “pleased to have seen my actions have an impact on the world and the people within it”.
THE SIEGE OF FORT TELIOS
The anxious pains that anticipate war had lasted through the night and most of the day without incident, though both camps stayed vigilant and prepared for anything. As the light of Her Mind’s Eye set behind the eastern Sarracenian mountains and cascading the Fortress of Zygote, Wister Oledias launched his attack, ordering Qyo infantry to charge the gate. Elite Cavalry on the backs of massive beetles stormed ahead, having been ordered to attempt to utilize the height of their steeds to scale the walls of the fortress, though records show that the Sarracenians were able hold firm against any brazen cavalry fighters. The first lines were easily repelled by the Sarracenians, who rolled polished boulders as well as dense and toxic tumbleweeds down the hillsides, causing dozens of Qyo Legionaries to be crushed and sent helplessly down the hill for which they hiked, thus sliding down and bouldering into the lines behind them. The battle had initially appeared to be in the favor of the Sarracenians, though the advantage wasn't held for long. The charging Qyo Cavalry were able to adapt and steer out of the way of the boulders after a Qyo general quickly adopted a system wherein leadingcavalrymen shouted the direction of the rolling projectiles to the crowds following. Swathes of legionaries made it up the path and onto the leveling trailhead, en route to Fort Telios. Dumort of Ericales ordered the first defense line of Moth Riders to dive in and impale the Qyo Cavalry with disposable ironhead lances, enabling the riders to fly away before the wings of their moths were clipped by the reach of nearby opponents. Dumort had staggered his cavalry to optimize the rehydration and rest time of his initial waves, and the plan seemed to be working with incredible results early on in the conflict.
Within the first hours of the siege, the Moth Riders had repelled each and every beetle-mounted knight in the advancing party. Hundreds of Qyo foot-soldiers climbed the hill, evading tumbling rocks, and guarding against the pestering Moth Riders. The Paladin of Ericales seems to have kept a straight head throughout the his defensive strategy, as he spotted the fiery munitions from the Inquisition’s Trebuchets began hurling supremely dense Ordensian-tumbled rounds of solid wood at the walls of Fort Telios. Though the rounds didn’t cause any serious fires upon impact thanks to Telios and the spells of the Fulgen Priests, the impact and recoil of the flaming munitions caused panic within the walls of the fortress as the civilians frantically worked to put out the flailing embers. A flock of moth-mounted Sarracenians attempted to approach and dismantle the trebuchets of the Qyo forces, though they were met with billowing bursts of spewing fire from the barrels of heavily-armored Qyo juggernauts. These Qyo Fire Bishops were violently uncovered to be the secret weapon Wister Oledias had in his assault against the Independent Mount of Zygote and their Sarracenian protectorate.
The Fire-Bishops of Qyo were able to push the Sarracenian ground defense all the way inward and right up to the ornate and untested walls of the City Mount. Archers and spearmen did their best to repel the advancing fire-priests, however the throwing flame of Qyo conquest had either singed a defending soldier to their fiery death or at the very least repelled the Moth Riders as they attacked from the skies above. It is famously said that not a single defending Sarracenian soldier fled that day. Nationalists within the Qyo State at this time were quick to point out the cowardice of the fleeing Moth Riders as they attempted to pierce their enemies from above. The perspective of the Moth Riders was recorded by only a handful of jockeys of the time, although many claim that their majestic warrior beasts valiantly persisted during the defense.
Dumort of Ericales can be congratulated for keeping his composure through the defense of Mount Zygote. Once the battering initiated on the fortress’s southwestern-facing gate, the Knotted Knight of the Freelands ordered that the gates be opened as soon as the Fulgen Monks were ready to unveil their method of defense in this fight. As the solid vineyard gate had begun to splinter away due to the fire-tipped batterers handled by the Qyo Legionaries, the Fulgen Monks showcased the fruits of their week-long Prayer-of-Spores ritual. It is said by the few kylyy eyewitness reports that remain that a mauve haze had risen from the soils beneath the stronghold’s walls. A few Qyo soldiers had begun shoveling under the door to the tightly-woven synthetic vine fortress when a feeling of unmitigated fright and discomfort overcame the shovelers, who keeled over in minutes in writhing, full-bodied pain. Their respiratory collapse and instant change-of-color from orange-emerald to a ghastly sheet of flaking epiderm had horrified the surrounding legionaries, who must have been quick to assume the worst of their friends conditions and set their own friends alight with their flame throwers.
Now, it’s fair to say that with the limited research material available during this early era, we have at least a few shreds of the feeling after the Battle of Mount Zygote. To recount: Qyo legionaries laid siege to the Mount of Zygote after the Sarracenians and the Fulgen declared that Mount Zygote would be an independent state, one with free and open worship to any and all deities and practices of faith, so long as violence wasn’t inflicted on that of another citizen. Among the Qyo Legions were the infantry, the beetlesteed cavalry, the trebuchet operators and the elite Fire-Bishops, clad in silk-lined fireproof armor and wielding fiery wands that launched a fountain of flame at its victim. The Qyo Legions marched up the mountain from any and all sides, and having decimated the path to the city, they now had within their grasp the prize of religious dominance and control of the mountain. As soon as they began digging underneath the castle gate, the bio-hallucinogenic sporous attack on part of the ancient Fulgen Monks left the leading Qyo legions intoxicated and fighting amongst themselves. Barrocheil is heavily rumored to have been the first to react with his violent streaks of fiery wrath, directed at his bewitched and ill-fated soldiers of the bio-attack, killing his own as though they were Sarracenian rebels.
With the utterance of a powerful command, Telios guides the Prayer-of-Spores offensive into physically-safe, mentally-destructive torture. The Mauve Haze turned into a thick orange powder, quickly inhaled and exposed by almost four legions behind the leading Qyo besiegers. It is regretful to report that records of the experience are few and far between, as this powerful spell on part of the oppressed Fulgen Monks frightfully ended in extended memory loss for the Qyo Legionaries, so much that after this battle those exposed to and affected by the Prayer-of-Spores attack had their brainseeds plucked and stored by pious Qyo missionaries, as the whole of Qyo’s infantry force had been rendered into a withered and vegetative state. The brainseedless husks of the Qyo legions were quickly rendered into piles of compost. It is said that the mothers of the Knights of Sarracenia took upon the task of incorporating the husks of Qyo soldiers into the growing fields, where their matter would contribute to the feeding of beasts and animals, having the effect of warming relations between Qyo and Sarracenia if only for a moment of individual reverence beyond the borders of the conflict.
The Fulgen Priests had collectively summoned their expression of anguish and desire for vengeance for the oppressive law of the Qyo Inquisition and directed it at the attackers of Fort Telios. What looked to be a total besieging of a newly-founded state with scarce resources for a lengthy military campaign turned out to be a brazen display of cooperative and alchemical power by an ancient and powerful specie of people. This prayerful-offensive had shocked the world of the Kylyy even beyond Qyo. Dumort and Atonia were appalled and even frightened at the sight, but were able to accept the deed as a necessary one, as the Qyo Legionaries may not have been so merciful themselves if they were successful in breaching the walls of Fort Telios. Only a fraction of Qyo’s attack force at the Battle of Fort Telios had been eradicated before they turned to retreat, with many current historians believing that the Qyo Forces had been frightened into turning back towards the safety of their canyon strongholds.
Now, we must exit the narrative a moment in order to provide metaphysical context for the conditions regarding this historical account. The article you are reading, as I write it, is a text describing the Qyo-Kylyy rise in empirical faith upon this world of ours, The Body Incarnate. I, the Scribe of the Qyo Empire under Grandmaster Paiq, am not a member of the Qyo faith, nor am I of kylyy or even fulgen specie. I only say this to establish my plane of bias on the matter. This may seem brash to call out the behavior of a religious order of which I am a servant, but those who read this passage are meant to read it, as the task that has been put upon me to recall Qyo history in a readable volume so it may be read by the masses and forced upon newcomers to the delightful religious overlordship that is the Qyo religion.
So, for those reading this special edition of the book, hello! And I hope you will set aside your arguments against my strong words against certain figures within the Qyo-Kylyy Hierarchy. Back to the narrative.
A week after the Battle of Fort Telios, the Qyo Field generals met with the Commander-in-Chief, Wister Oledias, to discuss how and what happened at the battle, and how to move forward from a magnificent defeat. The general feeling within Qyo seemed to be that of embarrassment and boiling hatred for those of Fulgen specie. Famously, Wister Oledias did not let his anger get the better of him, and so the tactful and pious Qyo patriarch chose to pray to The Body herself for strength and keen guidance. A supporter of Oledias at the time recalls seeing the massively important figure in hemp fields, standing tall and outstretched and with his roots firmly underground, to pray to the heavens and the soil at once.
After only a few days of spiritual reflection, Wister Oledias ordered a vicious assault on the small settlement of Alta, a Northern-Sarracenian village wherein many champion riders stayed during military operations. The people of Alta were caught off-guard in the darkness of early morning when smoke began to fill the settlements built into and around the ancient trees, who are said to have adopted the earliest moth-riders into their leaves. The invisible culprits set the trees alight and fled, and to the grand dismay of the iron-willed and vengeful Sarracenian knights that pursued the arsonists, the Qyo Fire Priests were able to flee without a trace, as they set blaze the vengeful predator moths of Alta with discreet, high-propulsion flame throwers. The fires decimated the Sarracenian mountainside climbing Northward, luckily never passing the river east of the Index mountain range. Those that managed to escape with their lives said that the fire rampaged on until the highest mountaintops allowed their snowcaps to unthaw and douse the soils, however, this would still have been over a month after the first spark of the arson on Alta. As survivors from these dark days somberly reminisce when their minds allow it, they would claim more than anything that the Northwestern Index of Sarracenia would never recover from the violence committed by Wister Oledias.
After the blackened earth had cooled, groups of Qyo Legionaries occupied the barren lands, raking salt into the destroyed soils and rendering it barren for generations to come. Animals would eventually occupy the lands, and Qyo would one day pump clean water from far below the singed layers atop what once was the beautiful Northwestern Index of Sarracenia, but this plot would be largely contested for generations, first by Sarracenians replanting trees and their namesake pitcher plants to protect around the starts, and Qyo missionaries planting bitter and poisonous orchis vines in the soils to attack the opposing saplings. Interestingly, by the time of the Grandmaster’s ascendency so many years in the future, this plot will still be contested, but in more jovial fashion, with starts of hops or hemp being planted around the few trees Sarracenia gets away with planting.
The attack was quick and debilitating. Wister Oledias had successfully sent a message to the Knights of Sarracenia by reverting the cream of the cavalry to ash. This had a severing effect on the morale within Sarracenia proper. Civilians walked in a zombified haze beyond measurable sadness, and could be forgiven if they were to submit to the will of Oledias in order to trade rebellion and anarchy towards the massive-and-growing religious order, to study alongside the strict and unabashed preachers and warriors that make up the figures of the faith of Qyo-Kylyy. The enemy had offered an olive branch of stability to those who were put through retaliations to extravagant displays of artistic expression towards the Qyo Faith Structure. To say that the construction and mixed-specie occupation of Fort Telios was regarded as an offensively scandalous move towards the severity of the Qyo doctrine, as it could be visibly seen from Oledias’s tower, albeit by binocular. In early 700’s legal terms, the religious freedom of the Qyo Empire and its surrounding lands warranted that the Monos has the right to protect the surrounding landscape if it is seen to have fallen into ruin. No one in their right mind would legally contest even with a strong argument to this, lest they be tortured and relocated, never to be seen again. To Oledias, he was of sound moral mind that sending an army to destroy Fort Telios was the right thing to do. Oledias is a study in contagious confidence. So brutal was he to his enemies and conspirators that it imprinted upon his subjects an attitude of proud complacency and control, because of the way he framed his decisions he was seen as a firebrand Paladin elected by The Body Incarnate to hold the sword of faith aloft, with brilliant and beautiful white orchid petals blossoming from his back and facing the shining light of Her Mind’s Eye.
The triad of Dumort of Ericales, Juss Atonia and Telios of Merasmius were hard at work on the next stage of the campaign. The burning of the Northwestern Index was close to a vital blow to any unified idea of Sarracenia as a state, but over the course of a few weeks, Dumort had noticed an influx of immigrants and volunteers into the city of Fort Telios. This was fantastic news, as thousands of veteran cavalry had been lost to recent battles, the twenty-thousand or so that remained were thought to have scattered to the independence of the Northeastern Capes, where they would regroup and tend to their wounded steeds.
The rebuilding of Sarracenia’s defense structure was helmed by none other than Dumort of Ericales. He began this daunting venture by attempting to reinvigorate the mood within Sarracenia. One of the few surviving sources from this early age was Damo the Loud, a troubadour that had found friends among Kylyy and Fulgen knights, tradespeople, mystics and inventors alike, though no one knew where he originally came from. Of the brilliant leader Dumort of Ericales, Damo the Loud writes in his war journals, quote: “That great paladin of the Sarracenian hill, his grace and kindness an aura felt by all, mostly by those enemies of freedom in Qyo Canyon, who felt the optimism and energy return to us with the smile and knowledge of the unwavering Dumort of Ericales. Humble, honest and strong, he of Ericales was the envy of anyone clutching negativity, which would wash away within his orbit. To be met with this great knight is to be led by his eager command.”