Astral Saga: Stars of Strife
Welcome to the Rift
History of the Rift
The History of the Rift is an ancient one, going back long before it was known as a rift, and even before the closing of the Sea of Ursepheron.
Before the Closing of the Sea
Thousands of years ago, the Ursepheron Sea did not exist, at least not as it is today. There were two different Faydseas: Ursain and Epheros. Between the two seas was an area of space known as the Fields of Ursepheron.
Within the vast Fields of Ursepheron, there was a thriving empire. The Achorius Empire, dominated by the ancient Achiel, a species now lost to the galaxy. The Achorius Empire ruled over a thousand worlds, unchallenged by any other civilization. There were other, more primitive species that were a part of their empire: such as the Mol’Mata, Hejere, and the Absoli. However, all were far less advanced than the Achiel. The technology of the Achiel, in some respects, was more advanced than the technology at the height of the Age of Glory. However, the glory of the Achiel would not last forever. They were stricken with an affliction greater than any other: the Ire.
The Achiel were able to recognize the Ire, and its terrible affect on those of their people who were infected by it. They recognized the need to fight off the Ire, and were willing to go to desperate lengths to do so. Using the most advanced of their technologies, they were able to seal away those of their people who were infected, until they could find a way to cleanse them all. To make sure that none of their people were released from the seal, before the Ire could be cleansed, they activated a chain of devices, which would draw the Fayd of the Ursain and Epheros Seas together, drowning the Fields of Ursepheron in one vast sea.
A small portion of the Achorius Empire escaped, all determined to be clean of the Ire, before the Fayd filled in. While trillions of their people were sealed within the newly formed Ursepheron Sea, a mere million would continue on outside the Sea. They would seek a cure, whilst the rest of their civilization waited in quarantine.
Hope and Tragedy on Adosi
The Achiel began to re-establish their civilization, and seek a cure for the Ire, on the world of Adosi, which sat on the edge of the Ursepheron Sea. For over a century, they thrived on Adosi, building vast cities that sprawled across the verdant landscape of that world. And yet, the did not spread beyond that world. Eventually, the world became more crowded than could be sustained. The Achiel stubbornly refused to leave Adosi, however, having grown paranoid that the Ire was lurking in the void between the stars. As Adosi became overpopulated, those that remained of the Absoli were cast out of the new Achorius Empire, exiled to a distant world. They cut off all communication with the Empire, never to be restored again.
Hiding on Adosi did nothing to protect the Achiel from the Ire, however. After centuries on their new world, the Ire resurfaced. All along, it had been there, dormant, and waiting for the time in which the Achiel were vulnerable. When it was first noticed, hundreds of thousands had already been corrupted. Desperate measures were taken, and those who had been infected were purged. Great cities were burned to the ground, all in an attempt to keep the Ire at bay. It was all for naught. The corruption of the Ire could not be stopped so easily.
The Remnant of Achiel
When all seemed lost, there was a light that rose to banish the darkness. This light was Mar’ejal, the great, luminous star around which Adosi orbited. Mar’ejal was no ordinary star, but a home to a group of powerful immortal beings, the Udasji. The cried out to Mar’ejal, begging for aid from the celestial body. The star’s reply was to endow a handful of the Achiel with its power. Sixty-three of the Achiel were blessed with this power, and it protected them. While shrouded with this celestial light, the Achiel were changed, becoming ageless beings of great power. The rest of the Achiel perished.
For seven centuries, these sixty-three remaining Achiel dwelt alone. Their people were dead, and they were changed. They were condemned to an eternity as the last remnant of a once grand empire. And yet, they were protected from the Ire. They were victorious.
The protection that they received came at a great cost to the Udasji; far greater a cost than the immortal beings had originally expected. The power of the Mar’ejal was fading. The great and brilliant star was beginning to dim. As the light of the star faded, so did the power of protection that it offered the Achiel. The Ire returned. It was a single one of them that was corrupted, but just one was all that it would take. From that single one of the remaining sixty-three Achiel, the corruption spread, until all were enslaved by the Ire.
When the Udasji realized that they had failed to protect the remnant of the Achiel, they immediately recognized the threat that the corrupted posed. The Udasji had granted immortality to the Achiel, and now that immortality was infused with the Ire. The remnant of the Achiel had become immensely powerful beings. The Udasji braced themselves for a conflict that was to surely to come.
The end of the Udasji, and the end of Mar’ejal, came when the corrupted Achiel sought to drain the remaining power from the star. The Udasji were powerless to stop these terrible new beings, as they tore the star apart. From the core of the star, the last of its light was devoured by the corrupted Achiel, and with the death of the star they called their home, the Udasji were defeated. The immortal beings slipped into a comatose state, wracked by dreams of insanity.
With the only known threat to their existence eliminated, the corrupted Achiel returned to Adosi, to plan the next phase of their plan: the return of the Achorius Empire, an endless army of servants to the Ire.
The Praetors of Novianost
For several centuries more, the corrupted Achiel were seemingly dormant, on the dead world of Adosi. They were biding their time, patiently seeking a way back into the Ursepheron Sea, wherein they had sealed their old empire. Even if they could pierce the Fayd, and find their lost empire, the seals that had been placed on their people could not be opened by any of their own species – a genetic lock implemented as a safeguard in case the remaining Achiel ever fell completely to the Ire. They would need another approach. Their answer came from the nearby star system of Novianost.
Novianost had recently been colonized by the Sanctarchy, for industrial and scientific endeavors. More than one hundred years after the settling of Novianost, a team of scientists discovered Adosi, orbiting a broken star, and sent a team in to investigate the dead world, and their presence roused the corrupted Achiel from their contemplative slumber. The Achiel saw an opportunity in the people of Novianost, so they hid their true nature, and immediately established themselves as friends to the colonists. The Achiel were brought to Novianost, where they were treated as honored guests.
It was the Achiel who encouraged the growth of Novianost. For their designs to be successful, they would need vast numbers of mortal subjects.
Denizens of the Rift
An independent star system, acting as a hub between the three factions. It began, centuries ago, as a simple colony for the Sanctarchy, but grew rapidly. More than a hundred years before the Rending, the colony seceded from the Sanctarchy. A brutal war of independence was fought. Those fighting for independence were led by the Praetors, a group Immortals awakened from the artifact world of Adosi, and eventually the Sanctarchy decided that the system was not worth their time and effort.
Novianost continued to grow in power, maintaining neutrality, but most of its growth occurred during and after the Rending. As it was one of the few neutral systems with enough power to sustain itself, it was the destination for refugees of all kinds. It has become a melting pot of species and cultures; the Praetors welcome them all. Although every major species, and most minor species, can be found on Novianost, the dominant species are the Parlanz, Human, Endrai, and Kroll. The population of the system, spread across four planets, is nearing sixteen billion.
With the opening of the Rift, the Praetors have made it their duty to watch over it, and ensure that no one faction gains control of the powers that lie therein. They aren’t barring anyone from entry into the Rift, but instead are making sure that all interested parties are able to go through. This extends to to some of the visitors to the region: the Aos’Hajaar and the Azure Legion of Nexus.
It is rumored that the catalyst which began the opening of the Ursepheron Rift is located somewhere in the Novianost System.
Formerly owned by the Sanctarchy of Balaat, the Ysoth system is still ruled by the Endrai, but has all but been abandoned by the crippled empire. With the absence of their sacred leaders, the people of Ysoth looked to a new source for direction: the Eye of Uthos. The stellar anomaly, in close proximity to the Ythos System, became the center of a new belief system, and provided direction amid the chaos of the Rending. The people are now led by the Speakers of Uthos, a caste of priests who commune with the Eye.
Once a small outpost of the Minon Confederacy, it has since received a massive influx of refugees, with a population now nearing its first billion. Those once in charge of New Badris were quickly overwhelmed by the incoming refugees, and could not possibly watch over them all. Instead, they reached out to the leaders of various groups of refugees, and formed a rough council of leaders, each responsible for a portion of the population. The result was the formation of the Guilds, hundreds of small nations, maintaining an uneasy peace on a world not prepared for its present state.
Once a minor colony of the Sanctarchy, known then as the Hakai System, it was later claimed by the Eko-Djalba, through one of their worldGates. However, the goals of the Eko-Djalba here were not to conquer, as in other parts of the galaxy. Instead, they made alliances with other factions in the System, and the end result was a new faction, not ruled by the Eko-Djalba, but heavily influenced by it.
Worlds of the Rift
Colonies of the Rift
Artifacts of the Rift
Secrets of the Rift
Legacy of the Mol’Mata
Within the Rift, there are several worlds that were once inhabited by a lost species: the Mol’Mata, hailing from the world of Fjot’Mol. The Mol’Mata are now lost, presumed to have perished by the expansion of the Ursepheron Sea. Their technology had reached Stellar Standard and, in some ways, far surpassed it. Many worlds within the Rift are home to Molic ruins.