It was but a late autumn evening in the 324th year since the Coming of Estarra when the Wheel of the Goloths rose from its dank, stinking pit in the Balach Swamp. Spinning faster and faster, an aura of cobalt energy grew to surround it and threatened the weft of time itself. Before doing any permanent damage, it released a charge towards the swamp and tore open a rift to the Vernal Wars. The First World responded, finding Dominators roaming through the mire and unusually, the crimson krokani seemed less bothered for their wanton destruction – their eye was focused on a distant place, and they waited not.
Shortly after the krokani arrived, a small battalion of tae’dae, riding never-before-seen woolly rhinos, burst through the rift and gave chase. With brutal and efficient strikes they tore through the Dominator forces, but their smaller numbers meant that a few Dominators made it to their target, where none of the Cavaliers did.
It was a Paladin by the name of Aegean Shinza Tharedia, Marshal of the Keep, with knowledge gifted her by the keen-eyed Servati of New Celest, who was the first to discover the true purpose of the Dominators’ visit to this age – the Meliashmora of Imperial Secrets.
As time passed, rifts continued to open all across the Basin of Life, allowing the Dominators to make attempt after attempt to lay siege to the Repository. They were always swiftly followed by the disciplined and oath-bound tae’dae, now known to be the Order of Shallah, whose overriding desire was to ensure that the Dominators did not accomplish their goal.
With the help of some of the Basin’s citizens, a number of Cavaliers made it to the Repository and they quickly took up a continuous patrol, guarding carefully against further attacks from the Dominators. Despite many asking, the Cavaliers withheld information on the Heart of Shallah, deeming it too powerful and too tempting for many to resist trying to claim. The Paladins of New Celest swore the full force of their guard to protect the Meliashmora, while Xynthin and Tacita, to name but a few, from Glomdoring, went to great lengths to stave off further assaults by the Dominators and ensure the survival of the Cavaliers. A young faeling, Skye, opted for the optimistic approach by simply planting a sign that stated: NO DOMINATORS ALLOWED.
Perhaps jaded and distrusting from the events of but a decade and change ago, when the Ice Angels collectively deceived the Basin of Life and brought about the rise of Zenos, some, such as Xaldrin of Magnagora, chose to attack the Cavaliers. The few dozen that had survived their trip to the Meliashmora were slaughtered and the path laid bare for further assault by the Dominators.
Had this dedicated group not been recklessly killed, the forthcoming final push by the Dominators during Roarkian may have failed. But it did not, and as the Repository was overrun, a rumble shook the heavens as one declared the Heart found. Drawing upon its power to protect him against the trip home, this Dominator rose to great power. With lumbering, slow steps, this Super Dominator, if you will, called out for the Everydying One to open a rift through which he could return and began travelling to the Balach Swamp.
The Basin of Life rallied to the cause of the Cavaliers and, with every organisation finally unified under one cause, fought to retrieve the artifact. It took almost an entire day, with deaths frequent and the Dominator’s power leading some to doubt it was simply invincible, but finally it was slain by Kiradawea of Hallifax. Many scrambled to retrieve the Heart, but Rafael of the Paladins laid hands upon it and quickly returned to New Celest, experiencing its awesome healing power first-hand.
A frustrated voice shattered the skies at the death of this Dominator, and the retrieval of the Heart. Rusacha, the Dame of the Weft, bellowed out a warning that the First World may have had their victory this day, but that time itself was at her disposal and she could take advantage of an infinite number of yesterdays and tomorrows to further her cause. This was the first time since the Vernal Wars that a Time Dame had revealed herself, claiming to be a servant of the Undying.
The Cavaliers called out for its immediate return, and to their slight surprise, were quickly met by Sir Rafael who promptly and voluntarily forfeited it. The tae’dae warriors resolved to store it, safely and out of the hands of all mortality, in their base to the south, near the Skarch Desert. They travelled slowly, discussing much of their time with some eager historians who accompanied them.
When they arrived to enter their base, they discovered that, over the years that to them had passed in an instant, its entrance had become concealed. Many gathered to help them excavate. A laborious afternoon passed, with many families of rockeaters being disturbed during the process, the entrance crumbled open and the Cavaliers moved inwards.
As the tae’dae locked the Sapphire Sinistral Chambers of Shallah’s Heart safely in plain sight, the effects of their time travel began to catch up with them. One by one, they turned to stone, standing before an effigy of the Goddess as guardian statues. Sir Tinno Hopekeep, the one remaining Cavalier, fought off this fate for long enough to accept one apprentice in his ways. This honour was granted to Sir Rafael, for his return of the artifact, and he was sent on a quest with his noble mount. As the two of them forged an unbreakable bond, Rafael returned and finally realised, with an epic wave of understanding washing over him, the true heart of a Cavalier – the bond between steed and master.
Thus was the skill of the Cavaliers drawn from the past and gifted to the present day, granting the Basin of Life another weapon to use against the Dominators in time to come. With the Heart denied to the Dominators and the Time Dame of the Weft, the timeline is preserved for another day, though the Wheel of the Goloths sits deep within the Balach Swamp once more, and its surface continues to flash with the images of days to come.