Welcome to the Resistance.
Legends tell of a time, not so long ago, when the world was different. The sky was blue, the plants were green. Life was hard, but good, and man chose his own destiny.
The Deepness came, choking the world to death, stealing the sun, humbling king and peasant alike. The world prayed, and the Gods answered, sending a man to save the land. He conquered far and wide, uniting the entire world under his banner. Mankind faced its fate united, and the Hero of Ages went on a holy quest to defeat the Deepness and restore the land.
And the people learned there were worse things than monsters.
One day, with no warning, the world changed in an instant. Five minutes of the world shaking, of burning skies then freezing cold then burning again, and when it was all over, the Deepness was gone. As was the sky.
Now, mountains spit ash into the dismal sky, the sun has been stained a bleeding red, plants and animals once taken for granted vanished in a blink. A few types of animals remained, but the plants… once green and healthy, now brown and scrublike, clinging to the soil as though afraid of the new sun their ancestors once strove for. The falling ash now needs to be brushed away constantly to allow them to grow at all, and they provide minimal nourishment, tasting like the ash which feeds them.
Perhaps most shocking of all was the realization that this land was the fortunate part of the world. Kingdoms awoke to discover their neighbors and allies were no longer where they once were, shuffled around like tiles on a board, and lands never heard of were suddenly right next door. And around a bare circle of habitable area stretched… the burnlands.
Nothing grew here. The ground itself was scorching hot, even at night. No one had yet survived one full day out there; even if one found or brought shelter, the sweltering heat killed within hours. A hell that made the new, broken lands seem like a garden paradise.
And then he returned. Calling himself now the Lord Ruler, the Sliver of Infinity, a man with strange magic powers at his command. Single-handedly, he took his first two kingdoms, not even bothering with an army. Finally, though, he did gather allies, and granted to them some of his own powers in exchange for service. He sent his armies, and sometimes diplomats, to conquer in his stead while he ruled from his Palace of Spires in a city he built called Luthadel.
But his armies were not without allies. Horrible beasts traveled with them, obeying the orders of human commanders. Blue monsters, called the “koloss”. They fought with massive swords and impossible strength, inscrutable, seemingly capable of speech but barely capable of making even simple decisions without direction, fanatically loyal to their masters.
The diplomats were also augmented with strange companions. Less well known, but hardly secret, the kandra were revealed to the world. Able to consume a human corpse and take on that identity, many a king fell when it turned out his queen, his commander, his heir, had truthfully died sometime ago and been replaced with a perfect impostor.
Very little is commonly known about these monsters, how they came to be, why they serve the Lord Ruler so fanatically.
More than a century has passed. Few kingdoms remain. The Final Empire, the land ruled by the Lord Ruler, stretches almost to the Burnlands on all sides. Our story takes us to one resisting kingdom, the land of Beryhill, and their quest to remain free as long as possible. Perhaps, the arrogant among them think, perhaps to carve out a place in the Final Empire where they can maintain some semblance of freedom.
Perhaps… just barely perhaps… hardly whispered even in the minds of the desperate… perhaps to find a way to surpass even the man who has touched the face of God himself, perhaps to end this Final Empire of his for good…