MILESTONES: SECOND WAR OF ASCENSION

Nothing but Tombs

As a west coast kid living deep in the Republic of Texas, the Civil War comes up a lot. Especially in an era where monuments to southern generals have started to tumble and fall. My personal fascination with the war between the states precedes this modern movement to shun traitors, tracing its lineage back to Ken Burns. I don’t romanticize the generals and their cults of personality and I find slave owners reframed as plucky southern nobles intellectually dishonest.

But there is a stunning beauty to the letters home. Tales written by half literate children as they went off to war. Impassioned missives that rattled on about god’s place in the conflict or how hard it was to be a patriot when you face off against men you’ve known from across a dinner table.

CRUELTY’S CHORUS

From the east, the Wrought shambled forward. Men and women who’d replaced flesh and bone with bulky servo machines fitted for combat. From the west, the nine nameless clans of the Quiet approached with effortless silence. For weeks both armies attacked, counterattacked, and attacked each other again, leaving ghastly heaps of rotting dead to cover every inch of open field – most of the bodies split in two by the blades of their enemies. After weeks of brutality, there could be no surrender.

“…open field covered in ghastly heaps of rotting dead.”

While some scholars may differ, eyewitnesses can confirm two grand armies’ road out to face one another at dawn on that fateful day. Between them, the boy who would become the Chosen, begged for peace. Savaged and beaten, branded a traitor and a coward by his clan, he fell to his knees at midfield, screaming. The sound, like thunder, shook the heavens as waves of blinding blue energy radiated from his battered body, incinerating everything it touched within a square mile.

In the aftermath, the Dragon gods of the Coil, unseen for centuries, descended from their heavenly thrones to carry the boy’s broken body from the field. All who witnessed this knelt, touching their heads to the ground in supplication. Gods once again walked in the world.

With Ironclad Resolve

On Achades, the people who wrote those letters, they’re the Wrought. Sure, there are powerbrokers among them and their previous agenda to indenture the Shadowborn clearly created this situation. But for the rank and file, sacrificing flesh in exchange for Alduin tech, this war was simply a way to balance the action economy.

THE UNEASY TRUCE

For a century, all of Achades holds its breath. Along the way, there are moments when the ceasefire between the warring factions grows tenuous. Still, it endures – the will of the gods proving too powerful and terrifying a thing to contradict.

Deep in the bowels of what becomes Nine-Spires, the Chosen’s body floats on the edge of life and death, suspended within a giant Soul Battery as ancient machines knit top-of-the-line Augmentic limbs to his charred and broken frame.

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