To Death or Glory
The First and Final Days
It has been said that Creation is doomed. The world was raised from chaos, and one day it will fall just the same, returning to the chaos that birthed it. All the works of men and gods and all the spirits of Creation will be no more. This is how the story ends, they say, and none, not even the mightiest of the Chosen can change it. This is the tale of woe that is the capstone of this fallen era; this is why the world now lives in an Age of Sorrows.
But it was not always that way…
The Age of Exalted
In the time before record, in the blank vastness of prehistory, the gods of Heaven created champions to carry their power and glory, wage wars in their name, and fight the battles they never could. These heroic men and women were called the Exalted, for they had been uplifted. For their service, the gods gave the Exalted rule over all Creation—over all the peoples and the beasts and the spirits dwelling there. All the lands which they could see and grasp were theirs. Having done this, the gods of Heaven retired to Yu-Shan, the Celestial City, and left the world of man to the Exalted.
The Exalted were many, their powers as diverse and unique as the gods who bore them. However, one caste of Exalted—the Solar Exalted—rose through the ranks of the Chosen to become their masters. With unsurpassed skill and power, the Solars conquered every corner of Creation. With unmatched magic and sorcery, they raised up a glorious First Age. The First Age was an age of wonders and glories long lost to the current age. These splendors flowed from the hands and minds of the Solar Exalted, who ruled the world, its gods, and its Chosen as benevolent masters for five thousand years.
But then something went terribly wrong.
The Solars had labored for millennia under a great curse lain upon them by the vanquished enemies of the gods. In time the Solars grew wicked, deceitful and mad; their magnanimity turned to spite, their justice to tyranny. They began to turn against their subjects and each other, and the world was soon threatened by the very sorceries and machinations the Solars had used to protect it. As civil war loomed, the other Exalted saw no choice but to remove their masters. The Dragon-Blooded rose up against the Solars and slew them as they feasted the turning of the year. Most of the Solars were murdered and their Essences sealed away in a jade prison—for such was their power that they could reincarnate upon death. But some escaped this initial ambush, and in the decades that followed the survivors waged terrible wars against the host of the usurpers. During that time, much of the magic of the First Age was lost—expended or destroyed in cataclysmic acts of revenge. In time, the last of the Solars were hunted down and killed, and with them died the First Age.
Nothing lasts forever…
The fall of the Solars left their Realm a smoking ruin. The curse that had eaten away at them had also eaten away at their works. Without the Solars to steady the sorcerous mechanisms that ran their world, the Realm began to disintegrate. This was no slow winding down, but the agonal throes of a beast mortally wounded. Cities collapsed. Manses rained brimstone on farmlands. Mountains buried themselves, dragging down nations with them. Whole islands were blasted from the seas as the sorceries that birthed them unwound themselves. The Sidereals, allies to the Dragon-Blooded, helped to steady the world against the First Age’s dying. In the end, the world survived, yet it was vastly reduced.
In the ruins the Dragon-Blooded set up a military government and ruled for centuries. Their rule was without the grandeur of the Solars’ shining Realm, but also without the horror and madness that heralded its fall.
The Sidereals, a powerful group of Celestial Exalted, were the authors of the Usurpation. After helping the Dragon-Blooded rise to power, the Sidereals erased themselves from the pages of history, destroying records of their own existence and twisting the very stars in the sky to bring about a forgetting. To maintain their influence, the Sidereals spun the Immaculate Philosophy, a religion that teaches the inherent spiritual perfection of the Dragon-Blooded. Posing as monks and servants of the Philosophy, the Sidereals wove themselves into the shadows of Dragon-Blooded politic.
The Sidereals kept a close watch for the few Solars who continued to be reborn into the world. With powerful astrology and mystical instruments of detection, the Sidereals guided armed strike forces of Dragon-Blooded to destroy newly emergent Solars before they had a chance to gain power. Such groups came to be called the Wyld Hunt, and their inquisitions became inseparable from the Immaculate religion. For centuries, the Wyld Hunt rode down, captured and slaughtered the Solar Exalted with impunity.
Everything On This Page Comes Directly From The Game Book! I Did Not Write It!