In the year B.B. 112, a man became a king. In the year B.B. 89, a king became an emperor. And in the year B.B. 1, an emperor died. And the world followed him. Artus Fendrieg was a man with a dream. His dream became a kingdom, and his kingdom encompassed the world. It was a world of peace and perfection. The great city of Valern, capital of this world empire, was known as "the Golden Heaven" for its unbelievable living conditions and the gold plates that covered much of the city. War was nonexistent, save for those fought to prevent war with the barbarians that surrounded the Golden Empire. Famine was rare, even in the dangerous Outlands. But things are always subject to change. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Show Spoiler Hide Spoiler The story of Fendrieg begins with his childhood as an orphan, abandoned to the streets by a carriage driver in the kingdom of Gelfrey. There, he accidentally stumbled upon a portal to the Faelands, thought mythical, or at the least lost to man. It was there that he found a far better life. He was welcomed by the residents of the Faelands, who had grown docile towards humans. He never went hungry again, and found that any born in the Faelands could rise to wear a crown if they fought for it. Artus became good friends with a fairy named Aiela and the very king of the Faelands himself, Baelrick. On the most fateful day of his life, he exchanged blood with Aiela in a ritual intended to make him a Knight Faen, personal bodyguard to the king, which required him to have at least a single drop of fairy blood to work. This transaction worked, and Artus was knighted. However, the effects of a blood transfer between the two races had never been tried before, and the effect were immediately noticeable. Artus, always jealous of fairy magic, was suddenly able to wield it, and glowed with a radiance beyond the light of the sun to Fae eyes. His compassion, sense of justice, and righteousness were magnified immensely. Artus was destined to age far slower than an average man, and could not die by fairy hands. In short, Baelrick realized, Artus had become more like a Fae. The converse, however, was true for Aiela. She became jealous, suspicious, and hateful. Her magical powers were tainted, and she could not heal. On the other hand, she became far more physically powerful than her fellow Fae, and could pass this taint to others like a disease. As well, she became exempt from the bonds preventing Fae from killing Fae. Only the presence of Artus managed to bring out the old Aiela, and it was only on his word that Baelrick did not have Aiela thrown to the void of oblivion for the experimental murders of her fellow fairies. And for a time, despite many tensions, all was well. Soon, though, Artus longed for home. With his nigh-immortality, he had experienced much of what the Faelands had to offer. Yet he had never traveled farther than the capital in his homeland, never met others of his kind. And he desired to spread what he had learned in the Faelands to mankind. And with Baelrick's permission, Artus prepared to return through the portal to the human world. This enraged Aiela, and pushed her over the edge. She summoned those she had made like her and formed the Unseelie Court, the antithesis of the Seelie Court under Baelrick (the Fae had once not needed these distinctions, given by the ever human Artus). She bred the Dark Fae, terrible races formed from the corruption of Fae blood, some mutated with the introduction of animals or human blood. Those fairies who joined her willingly were corrupted as she was, and the Unseelie Court grew. For nearly sixty years, Baelrick and Artus warred against Aiela. Through the years, both sides developed their own plots to end the war. And at the sixtieth year, they were both executed. Aiela contacted Artus, and requested a private audience to discuss peace. During the night, the old friends met and discussed a treaty for a time, until Aiela seduced Artus, who, despite his best efforts, gave in to the temptation. But while she slept, her armies ordered to stand down to make real the façade of peace, Baelrick led a charge that scattered the unprepared ranks of Unseelie. Her armies defeated, Aiela prepared to face Artus's blade. However, despite all of his convictions, Artus could not bring his sword down. Instead, he exiled her, to forever wander the wastelands she had made with her war, never to be able to speak her words of corruption again to any, be they Seelie or Unseelie. His justice sealed with the flow of mana, Aiela was cursed with her fate. In the course of the battle, however, Baelrick was fatally wounded by an enemy kymarel. With his last breath, he appointed his son as his successor, and charged Artus with "healing what was broken". With the last of his strength, Baelrick hurled his blade, Calesvol, into the world of man, where it lodged itself in the rock of an ancient mountain. Determined even more so by the death of his mentor, Artus left the Faelands with the blessing of Baelrick's heir Austael to return to his home. On the other side of the portal, Artus found his world rocked. While nearly a century had passed in the Faelands, it had only been a decade in the human world. Yet that was not the only shocking thing, and hardly the worst, for his hometown of Giliath was found in near ruins. The dead and dying lay around him, steel ringing around him. It was only later that he learned the true nature of the conflict (a border dispute between Gelfrey and the neighboring nation of Saxina that escalated into a full-blown war, with Saxina winning), but his step never faltered in his following actions. Picking up a blade, he single-handedly led a counterassault against the invading Saxins, rallying defeated troops to his call. Over the course of several weeks, the Saxins had been brought to heel, and the equilibrium of the world had been restored. Unsatisfied, and refusing the awards and lands promised to him by the Gelfrien king, Artus set out across the known world, searching for meaning. By then, he was chronologically 72 years old, but biologically 27. Finding famine and death wherever he went, Artus began to long for the peace of the Faelands. But, on his eighty-first birthday, Artus finally found the sign he had been searching for. What looked like some sort of carnival from a distance that was in reality a road-attraction that for years had duped knights, kings, and peasants alike: A sword that could not be removed from a boulder. Surrounding the blade were runes that could be read by all, no matter their homeland. They read "Let only the True, Once and Future King of Man Wield This Weapon. Let Him be Pure of Heart. Let Him Have Sacrificed All He Has Ever Known, and Sacrifice More Still in the Years to Come. Let The World Rejoice With His Coming, For He is Savior to All." Kings and heroes the world over had arrived at the legendary stone and attempted to remove the sword. Some nations had in fact collapsed into revolution when it was revealed their rulers were not the True King. And yet this was Artus's sign. With barely more than an ounce of effort, he removed the blade with a flourish and raised it to the heavens. Some were blinded from merely being in the proximity of his aura, which shone brighter than ever before. Almost all present recognized their king at that moment, but many still resisted. The sword was ordered stolen, but could not be lifted by another hand. Artus was ordered killed, but could not be struck down. As he marched across the land, peasants and lords alike flocked to his side. Nations rose and fell with a sweep from his blade, which he knew to be Calesvol, but his followers knew as Caliburn. Around him were his young bodyguards, or Paladins, of which there were nine: Lancel, the mightiest of his swordsman and most trusted of Artus's friends, but faulted for his vanity and arrogance; Belven, braver than all, but stubborn and headstrong as a mule; Galad, brother of Lancel, who was known not for his swordsmanship, but for his diplomatic nature; Keldegrant, the Black Knight, known for his ruthlessness and skill with the blade, and equally infamous for his sadistic disposition; Percel, zealous in his dedication to the light and right, but perhaps too zealous; Gewen and Garet, brothers in blood and bond, inseparable yet eternally bickering; Berkal, the Undefeatable, only once struck down in combat by Artus himself in an effort to make him join the Paladins, known for thirsting constantly for battle or combat of any kind; and Igraine, the Lady-Knight, who defied all tradition and became one of Artus's companions. By the year B.B. (Before the Breaking) 89, the known world had united under the banner of Artus Fendrieg and his Paladins. They rebuilt Artus's hometown of Giliath into the Golden Heaven, Valern, the city which his entire empire revolved around. There were no lords, yet his Paladins ensured justice was carried out and no riots (as if there were ever any) occurred. Berkal, Belven, and Percel were charged with defending the coasts or land borders of the empire, as there were many barbarians from across the water or mountains back then, some of the worst being the Amazyn, a tribe of fierce, all-female warriors who managed on several occasions to require Artus's personal hand in defeating. Gewen, Galad, and Garet were charged with managing the inner walls, a ring of internal defenses meant to hold for a time against any invaders who managed to penetrate the outer perimeter. Artus felt that he needed no bodyguards in his perfect empire, but gave in to Igraine and Lancel's demands that he not go around defenseless. As time went on, the Paladins received an honorary member, the wizard Magnus, who was Artus's closest adviser and one of his closest friends, even before Lancel, as he too had come to understand the magic of the Fae. Artus eventually married, and started a family with the lady Egwin. They had little luck having children. He was chronologically 93, and biologically 30. All was not meant to last, however. On his 112th birthday, Artus was visited by two travelers: Morgain and Mordrin. The former was a sorceress, and rivaled Magnus in his abilities. The latter was a warrior, nearly the equal of the strongest Paladins. Suddenly, out from the Faelands portal poured a small legion of Unseelie monsters. Rallying behind Artus, the Paladins, Mordrin, Morgain, and the city guards managed to push the creatures back through the portal. As heroes of the attack, Mordrin was made a Paladin in full and Morgain the apprentice of Magnus. Determined to have answers, Artus entered the portal once more, and found the Faelands nearly as they once were. Austael greeted Artus as an old friend, and they discussed much. But when the subject of the Unseelie came up, the mood darkened greatly. So the tale of Aiela was told once more: Of how she wandered the wastes she had made, unable to speak to any of her brethren; how she had constructed a fortress for herself using her magic, and had lived there in isolation for years since; and of how she had given birth to twins, crimes against nature in themselves, and inherently evil in nature. They were named Morgain and Mordrin, and were bred to kill their father: Artus. Leading the Unseelie in their mother's stead, the twins (at the same time lovers) had devised a strategy to keep their mighty father away from his precious empire. Rushing back to the portal, Artus found himself unable to go through, blocked by some unseen force. With the help of Austael, Artus managed to break through, but found the effect of the Faelands had been reversed: What had been little more than a day in the Faelands had been three years in the human world. Artus returned to find his kingdom burning with a war he had sought to root out forever. The Unseelie monsters ravaged countryside and cities alike, and his Paladins were nearly broken. Galad had been murdered when Mordrin had betrayed them, and Igraine's spirit had been broken when her brother-in-arms raped her. But with the reappearance of their king, the remaining Eight Paladins rallied and assembled an army once more. A daring rescue later, and Egwin was back in the arms of Artus. They spent one night together before he led his army and Paladins into battle against Mordrin. Morgain and Magnus dueled with their magic and spells in the skies, while Artus fought with his son on the ground. As the army of light gained the upper hand, the most crippling of betrayals was revealed: Lancel, who had been Artus's confidant and friend, plunged a knife between his ribs. He revealed that he sought Egwin for his own, and had wished Artus dead for years. Yet Artus fought on, and Lancel was attacked by his former brothers and sister. Six of the Paladins were killed in the ensuing melee. Gewen and Garet were decapitated swiftly with a deft motion of Lancel's blade. Belven nearly charged into Lancel's sword on his own. Percel took longer, but was inevitable killed with a thrust to the heart. The last left, Keldegrant, Igraine, and Berkal, fought with the strength of a thousand men, hammering Lancel again and again with blow upon blow. In the end, however, Berkal sacrificed himself so that Igraine and Keldegrant could kill Lancel. So it was that the Paladins were finally shattered, and Igraine rode to the Lady Egwin, spiriting her away to safety. The battle between Artus and Mordrin lasted nearly two hours, and long after the Unseelie horde had been swept away by the vengeful humans. None interfered, nor could they. The aura of Artus glowed bright like a dying star, and Mordrin's was a void, draining the light away. Finally, the killing blows were struck: Mordrin finished with a stab through the chest; and Artus killed by one last chop from Mordrin's sword. This final strike was so powerful, it broke the nigh-invincible Calesvol, breaking it into nine shards. Mordrin died almost instantly, and Morgain's screams of rage and loss caused earthquakes across the world. She managed to draw Magnus away, where the final movements of their duel resulted in the leveling of a mountain range and the disappearance of both magi. Artus, however, stayed conscious, slowly bleeding out, and in his fever dream saw the world fade around him. So it would be that Keldegrant, most questionable among the Paladins, was the only man to stay by Artus's side as he died. His last wish, heard only by the Black Knight, was this: "Do not let it break again." Though not precisely aware of what Artus's wishes meant, Keldegrant laid his friend to rest, gathered the shards of Calesvol, and met with Igraine and Egwin. As they fled into the shadows, the world crumbled and reformed around them, lords and ladies seizing control and playing their Game of Power, until only nine kingdoms remained to rule the ruins of Artus's worldwide empire. All was not lost, however. It is said that Egwin had nine children from her night with Artus: The Three Firstborn, strongest of their brood, destined to be lords and warriors; The Three Silenced, the second children of the brood and quietest of it, destined to be wisemen and magi; and the Three Roused, the last children and most energetic, destined to be adventurers and heroes. Egwin died soon after childbirth, and in the grief they experienced, Igraine and Keldegrant forged nine swords, each infused with a shard of Calesvol. The Weeping Blades, as they are known, were given to each of the nine children, who were then left orphaned and alone, one to each kingdom, so that they might one day come together again, and with them the once and future empire. If you've managed to get through all of that (as it is key to understand the background of the world), I'll get to basic RP direction now. As you may have guessed from the last paragraph, the players in this RP will be the nine children of Artus Fendrieg: The Firstborn, the Silenced, and the Roused. The Firstborn have been integrated into the noble families of their kingdoms; The Silenced have begun training under the magi of the world, and the players who choose them may interact more than others; and the Roused, who were raised among the lowly of their societies. All have been born with the gifts of their father: Extended life, natural affinity for magic, righteous hearts, and natural skill with a blade. All are destined to reunite their father's empire, referred to by the masses as the Once and Future Kingdom. Where do you come in for RP plotting? Each of the nine makes their own kingdom. Not everyone gets to rule, mind you. Only the Firstborn are in that sort of position. But each player, no matter what character they choose, is obligated to create their kingdom as well. With some player help, I'll construct a basic skeleton for what each kingdom should adhere to, but from there, it is up to the player. These kingdoms are HUMAN kingdoms. The Unseelie stuck in the human world operate in the northern Blighted Lands under the rule of Morgain, now known as Morgain the Fae; Popular opinion is against the fae in general; there is no controlling of the barbarian tribes. I control them; Keldegrant and Igraine are my characters by default, but won't make too many appearances. I will explain this later; and the portal in the ruins of Valern (the only accessible portal, mind you) is OFF LIMITS till I say so. Those are some basic rules for creation of a kingdom and characters. Here are play rules: Much of the RP will be buildup. Politics for the Firstborn, studies for the Silenced, and side adventures for the Roused. People will not meet each other immediately. In short, we won't hit the ground running with the plot. It'll take time, and it'll take patience. Therefore, I ask for people who can dedicate themselves to this RP, and aren't likely to be going anywhere any time soon. If you have major plans at ANY TIME in the near future, you should not join until these plans are done, if there are any spots left. If you have any medical conditions that make you incapable of playing as frequently as necessary, DO NOT JOIN THIS RP. You get the gist. I expect posts at least every week, at most every day. Don't get too caught up in a back and forth with another player, since other people want to post, but don't be afraid to post frequently. The writing here is INTERMEDIATE TO ADEPT. If you can't handle it, get back in the Language Arts class. Mature content is to be expected, and I generally allow people to do what they want, adult or teen. I know teens to have freakier minds than adults on some occasions. However, despite me allowing both to do this stuff, adults and teens CANNOT DO IT TOGETHER. DO IT BY PM with someone else, or at least put it in a spoiler that's only meant to be viewed by someone in your age range. I encourage people to report anyone trying to pressure you into sexual scenes that isn't in your age range. If I find anything between an adult and a teen, it results in an immediate banning from this RP and me reporting you to the admins. However, if it ends up being an all-adult roster, sexy stuff can be displayed openly. Expect free-flowing swearing and political incorrectness as well, regardless of age. I expect everyone to contribute to worldbuilding. The RP will kick off from this thread into an OOC/Signups elsewhere, with all lore and kingdoms in tact there. If I get my nine over here, there's no need for a signups page. As well, do not expect me to make a character or claim a slot. From the beginning, there are nine slots. My only characters are the Lost Paladins Igraine and Keldegrant, who won't appear too frequently. I hope to see some people soon, and maybe test my banner-making skills.