Aether

This is an NPC only Kingdom

Kingdom Summary

Humanity has a primordial fear of the darkness, and the seventh age is one of fears made manifest. The world is full of terror and suffering, but there is little that inspires more dread across the world than the Kingdom of Aether. Everyone, from the lowest peasant to the loftiest noble, harbors some nightmare in their heart that the abyssal lord Nul will turn his gaze upon them. The Aether is a kingdom of darkness and the essence of the Abyss and Oblivion made manifest on Earth. Populated by the fallen of every species, many believe the Kingdom of Aether seeks to destroy the universe and bring about everlasting darkness.

Dominant Races

Nephandi, Abyssal Demons, Fallen Vampires, Spectres, Black Spiral Dancers - the fallen and wyrm-touched of every species, who advance the cause of destruction and the final death spiral of the Earth.

Politics & NPCs

Little is known about the structure of power within the Kingdom of Aether, or if there even is a structure. Only a few individuals from that Kingdom have thus far been identified, offering only a faint glimpse of their politics.

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Allies

Iron Lotus, Stygian Alliance, Vechnyy Uzhas

Enemies

AvalonDischordia, Jukurrpa, Ukhu Amarumaya

Umbral Realms

Low Umbra - Shroud 5 (Oblivion - Shroud 0)
Middle Umbra - Gauntlet 3 (Abyss - Gauntlet 0, Malfeas - Gauntlet 2, Atrocity Realm - Gauntlet 3)
Dreaming - Mists 10 / Banality 10
High Umbra - Periphery 8 (Afterworlds (Hell) - Periphery 6)

Kingdom Views

I am that which came before and shall follow after. I am your father and your destroyer, architect of your destiny. You have known me by many names, O my children, but you know not the slightest part of my power. Submit to me and know the bounty of my love. Defy me and suffer the agonies of my boundless wrath. I am come to tell you the secret of life, the secret of death. The secret of heaven and earth, I am god. I am nothing. I am life. I am the apotheosis of world creation, I am the aim of aims, the end of ends. The world came from Nothing and to Nothing it must return. That which is created must be destroyed. The cycle once broken has been restored. We are the necessary balance. We are inevitability. We will end all strife, all struggle, all suffering. All kingdoms unite in the end. We will ease Reality’s passing into the Void. All light fades, and Nothing lasts forever.

Historical Information

War It Is

During the court of Vancouver in the Founder's Era, an unexpected guest arrived. Nul, the King of Aether, came to the court of Dischordia, seeking the return of the items Vancouver had been taking from his domain for years, and to reclaim an item in the possession of Elaina Williams, an Oracle of the Iron Legion under the Ashen Lady of the Domain of the Dead. Throughout the night, Nul, Siegfried, and Prince Ailil discussed the topic. It became so heated that Nul threatened war should Dischordia not comply. With the last breath of court, the Domain of the Dead presented the item before Nul, only to take it away from him to slight the darkness. Prince Ailil laughed, but Siegfried knew better than to be amused by this trick. Elaina’s refusal to return the item, combined with her condescending lack of diplomacy, led to Nul's final words to the court, “War it is,” before he vanished in shadow. The court was silent, awaiting attack from the shadows, but that war did not come... yet.

After war was declared, more treachery reared its head. Beric, a Kiyasid from Vancouver, diablerized a vampire into whom the darkness of Lasombra had been locked away. Nul, in league with Beric and the Abyssal Nosferatu known as Nada, attacked the Domain of the Dead and destroyed the Ashen Lady. When confronted with his crimes by the Invictus Imperium of Vancouver, Beric surrendered and was locked away like his predecessor.

Aether Strikes

After 250 years of silence from the Kingdom of Aether, many in Dischordia forgot of the threat Nul levied that night so long ago. Then, in the span of a single night following the conclusion of the Surveyor’s Court, Nul struck at every Domain Lord, inflicting crippling wounds against many of them, and few escaped unscathed. Among all the empires of the world, none can claim to have defeated Nul’s armies, merely ... survived. Legions of spectres, nephandi, fallen vampires, and creatures of darkness that defy description swarmed from bloody tears in reality itself. They swarmed with one mind, devouring or corrupting everything. At their head, always, is Nul’s general. A vaguely-humanoid creature of absolute darkness and skin through which starlight can be seen. The dark armies move at his unspoken commands. It has no name that any can recall, though some have come to calling it ‘Void’.

The night sky blackened completely. No stars could be seen. The temperature dropped across the land, and snow began to fall. Most of the major maelstroms vanished, and only small ones remained. Close to the land there was very little wind, and an oddly pure snow blanketed the ground. However, among the clouds, the wind raged. Over the next few day the temperature plummeted to -40 degrees. The Kingdom of Aether not only forever scarred the world, but echoes could be felt in all the realms that crashed there. Twenty years passed as the War of Aether raged in darkness. In the end, the kingdom still stands, but has been scarred by Aether’s onslaughts.

The Domain of the Dead, which would become a part of Samhain, remained a primary target for Nul and the Kingdom of Aether. Nul did not forget the insult paid to him by the Domain of the Dead, and they became first target shortly following the Surveyor Era. Nul’s first strike was to seek revenge upon the Ashen Lady and those who supported her. The Domain of the Dead and Samhain were consumed by darkness and silence. The Beggar Lord of Samhain became lost in the labyrinth and, without his power, the domain of Samhain fell. Many brave souls fought against the darkness there, but the curse of Samhain proved to be their undoing. Those who survived fled and became refugees in other kingdoms, many following Princess Maeve to the safety and security of her late husband's Imperial domain.

Aether Withdraws

The tide of darkness rose suddenly and, after twenty years, they receded just as fast. The world has been forever scarred by the darkness, with cities in every kingdom blackened by the touch of the Abyss. None really know why the War of Aether ended. Some say that it didn’t. Some believe the Kingdom of Aether has merely allowed the world to believe it defeated, to lull it into a false security as it did for 250 years. Some believe that it has become more subtle in it's machinations, but still moves it's pawns in preparation for its endgame.

Court of Empires Convenes

High King Balor and Dischordia weathered the War of Aether better than most. They opened diplomatic relations, via the Court of Empires, in the hopes of uniting and defeating the Aether once and for all. Throughout the first year of these diplomatic efforts, the Aether remained ominously silent, until they made their first overt move: seizing the islands of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea from Jukurrpa. With the assistance of Dischordia and the Jade Empire, Jukurrpa freed the islands from the Aether's control, but it's inevitable corruptive touch remained. Many wonder why the Aether has suddenly made such a move, wondering if it foretold a resurgence of open warfare, or if it was merely misdirection for a greater play.

War of Maelstrom's Rebuke

During the Court of Empires, diplomatic relations between Dischordia and Lazarus' Kingdom failed, and the longstanding hostility between those two kingdoms erupted into war. A coordinated attack by Dischordian nobles on the European domain of Carpathia and its lord, Alyosha Buljiev, precipitated the conflict, which would come to be called the War of Maelstrom's Rebuke.

For a year, Nul and the Kingdom of Aether watched while their two strongest enemies fought one another to nearly a stalemate. While the warring kingdoms were occupied with killing each other, Oblivion once again grew fat upon the souls of the fallen. Aether bided its time, waiting for an opportunity to strike a crippling blow against each side.

The Sublime Cataclysm

With the tides of the war turning quickly to their enemy’s favor, the Dischordian domain lords prepared a spectacular attack certain to bring a swift end to the conflict. Sultan Suleiman, unsurpassed master of spirit magic, led the largest ritual Dischordia had ever seen. Aided by New Faith ritualists, the Arcane Academy, and a million occultists assembled from every domain, the sky itself bled with the power they summoned. Chunks torn from the spirit realms themselves bombarded Lazarus’ Empire. As each realm impacted, it laid waste to thousands of miles of Lazarus' territory, destroying immense swaths of land and destroying millions.

The first sign of the Cataclysm was the haze on the horizon, blood-red and fire-orange, visible even in kingdoms across oceans and hemispheres. Storms of fire raged across the European continent. Those outside the destroyed cities saw clouds of dust and fire, and felt the ground shake violently from the impact. The reverberation of the catastrophy was felt all around the world. Tsunamis, floods, and hail storms devastated the Jade and Iron Lotus. Earthquakes rumbled and volcanoes erupted in Ukhu Amarumaya and Aztlan. Sinkholes opened in Jukurrpa swallowing stretches of land. Heat waves ravaged the Diamond Congo, withering the jungles and summoning great sandstorms across the African deserts. The Antarctic Aether grew even colder as it’s blizzards raged. Across the globe, maelstroms tore their way through the kingdoms of the world.

As Europe reeled from Dischordia's devastating attack, armies of Aether seized their chance to attack both of its weakened enemies. Territories which had fallen to darkness during the War of Aether now bled shadows like an open wound. Swarming forth from these tears in reality, the shrouded armies of Aether laid waste to surrounding areas. Shadow-eaten vampires, spectres, and darker things spead their chill touch, overrunning nearby cities and domains.

In several of the battles, however, both the Dischordian forces and the Stygian Grim Legion turned from their fight with one another to face their common enemy. The Aether vanished quickly back into the darkness, but they had succeeded in inflicting considerable damage on each side. Both kingdoms in the war had been reminded of the greater threat, and agreed that peace would be necessary to avoid total annihilation at the Aether’s hands.

Treaty of Maelstrom's Rebuke

In the aftermath of the cataclysm which ended the war, exactly one year after the events which marked its beginning, representatives from Dischordia and Lazarus met in Vancouver to solidify a treaty to bring an end to the hostilities and negotiate terms for a lasting peace. Diplomats from every kingdom were sent to witness the treaty, but each hoped to see their own agenda reflected in the final document. The Treaty detailed the terms of the ceasefire, returning of prisoners of war and withdrawal of troops from occupied territories, but also contained several initiatives designed to further specific agenda.

Unexpectedly, even the Kingdom of Aether sent representatives, who offered Reality a chance at peace in their own conflict, in exchange for certain concessions. They demanded that the Court of Empires, which had been formed with the intent of combatting the Aether, be disbanded from its current mission. They further demanded that all kingdoms, including the Kingdom of Aether, be welcome at all future gatherings of kingdoms. Though manny were hesitant about such an obvious political ploy, the Aether's representatives were quite persuasive. The delegates were convinced to support their agenda, though most agreed out of a desire to keep their enemies close.

The Aether's offer of peace required a difficult choice: accept the darkness as part of reality, and restore balance to the cycle of creation and destruction, or deny them and accept reality's ultimate end. Acceptance would require the sacrifice of a child, in order to house the darkness of Arhiman who, without a vessel to bind it, would consume the world.

Two children had been abducted from their parents for this purpose: one the Last Son of Gwydion, the son of Imperial Queen Maeve, and the other the Last Daughter of Eve, daughter of Hierophant Zachariah Baldric of Empyrean Dysambigua. As the night progressed, the guests pieced together the mystery, until ultimately it was Queen Calamity of Archive who offered up the Last Daughter of Eve to be sacrificed to name and bind the darkness, save the light, and end the darkness’ war on reality. Through this sacrifice, a path was chosen, and the next age was steered towards an age of enlightenment for mankind, an Age of Ascension and one in which the souls of all mankind would be safe from Oblivion.