It began just before the end of Estar 344, during the afternoon of the last day of the month. Rusacha, Dame of the Weft shouted her discovery, and her sisters soon shouted their celebration. The Wheel of the Goloths turned and churned forth dominators and wraiths, fought back by many of the Basin of Life who had come to thwart the Time Dame’s latest efforts. Instead of tolerating the continued fighting, Stepasha and Rusacha, the Dames of Destruction and Weft reclaimed the Wheel of the Goloths and departed with it, nearly losing it into the Razine Mountains as they passed.
Soon a strange sensation of temporal disruption comes to pass, and the distant presence of the Wheel of the Goloths – far removed from the Basin of Life – could be felt by all. Descending upon the Basin of Life, Stepasha, Dame of Destruction, lead a vast legion of Dominators into the Great Pass between the Razine and Southern Mountains, seizing control of the southern Imperial Highway. A flare of energy marked the Saphire Sinistral Chambers of Shallah’s Heart activating, calling to life Sir Tinno Hopekeep, Cavalier of Shallah’s Heart, the first to teach the art of polearms and mounted combat to Sir Rafael Lenu, the Lord General of the Armies of Light, more than a decade ago.
As the fighting raged, more cavaliers sprang to life, and Sir Breska Honepaw and Lady Mirila Lakeheart came to life, joining the battle from within the base as scores of warriors from across the Basin of Life battled hundreds of dominators in the narrow Great Pass, struggling to reach the old base of the Cavaliers. For nearly a day the battle raged, though those of the Basin of Life could not best them in time – for the Cavaliers, one by one, returned to stone, as Stepasha battled against them and wrest control of their half of the Heart of Shallah. Cackling with victory, Stepasha departed over the Razine mountains and out of view.
The question of ‘why’ was shortlived, for it was then the presence of Goloth Maxyenka was made known. Gloating, the Goloth remarked that with both halves of the Heart of Shallah, he had turned his enemy’s greatest gift to her followers’ into a tool for his own resurrection, defying that which would have caused his own demise countless thousands of years ago. Whispering into the minds of all that dwell upon and within Lusternia, Goloth Maxyenka offered them amnesty, to kneel before him and be spared the suffering to come. Whispering their defiance to one another they soon realized no thought was private nor safe, as Goloth Maxyenka’s presence built across the Basin of Life. It was Warden of the Moonhart, Rivius Tarsuhl who challenged the Goloth Maxyenka to come against them – and come he did.
With a mastery of time that spread doubt even within the vaunted halls of the Matrix Institute, Goloth Maxyenka ripped apart the aether above the Basin of Life, calling forth another of himself from a parallel timeline. Again and again they tore, and nearly a dozen of the Goloth descended upon the Basin of Life, feeding off of one another, combining their psionic presence and building together until they spread a network across the Basin of Life, ranging from Mount Wend to the Skarch, to the Shallach ruins, Grey Moors and the Seas of the Basin, from the depths the Illwater to the highest peaks of the Razine Mountains.
Rallying against the Goloth, warriors of New Celest, Glomdoring and Serenwilde charged against Goloth Maxyenka, and after a great battle, brought down but one of him. The remaining eight laughed in mockery, the aeonic wave released in the great anomaly’s destruction battering the whole of the First World, Avechna’s Peak, the spiritual nexus of Lusternia, groaning beneath the onslaught. Another fell before Sir Uldwar Lunarose, having already pushed to break the seals in an effort to stop the Goloth, discovered the terrible truth: For every Goloth slain, a Seal was fracturing. Some called for the fighting to cease, lest they risk the total destruction of the Seals – pressing on, the combined forces of the Basin of Life – save much of Magnagora and their leadership, intent to use the fighting elsewhere as a distraction to claim Domoths – destroyed the remainin Goloths, thinking their victory assured, though at the terrible cost of the fracturing of the Nine Seals.
It was not, however, at an end. Mockingly, the psychic presence of Goloth Maxyenka mocked and denigrated them for their efforts, dismissing them wholly. He lived yet, and soon he would come to control the Basin of Life – and further attempts to stop him would cause the Seals to break wholly, destroying Lusternia as the Soulless would be free, and not even Estarra the Eternal would be able to stop them.
It was then that Estarra the Eternal appeared, seeking to understand what had occurred. Departing to ensure the Seals held despite the temporal workings of the Goloth and his Dames, Estarra beseeched the Basin to seek out a way to reach them, despite the Wheel of the Goloths being far beyond the mountain ranges that form the Basin of Life.
Immediately Xenthos of the Glomdoring thought of the balloonist who had recently started experimenting with flight in the Inner Sea, and sought to help restore the balloon to working condition. Hearing the commotion Rivius, Enyalida and others of the Serenwilde came to help, as did Iytha of New Celest, and many more. Soon an entire group were in tow as the balloonist set off on what would be the wildest adventure so far in his ambitious life. With the help of Xenthos the balloonist, Sepehr Skytamer guided them through a swirling vortex of clouds and storm, sailing only vaguely westwards. Finally Sepehr set down at the destination he’d sought, having glimpsed it on a previous journey. Resting his balloon upon a sturdy cloud, Sepehr opened the gates, and Xena McCloud?, Queen of New Celest stepped forth, soon followed by her travel companions into this new land. Descending through a structure they came to know as the Pancopticon, they found a sprawling retreat filled with once-peaceful, blind krokani, terrorized by the dominators in Goloth Maxyenka’s employ. It did not take much, however, for those present to realize something very strange about the residents of what came to be known as the Lirangsha Retreat – though they were krokani, they shone with a powerful energy, their very beings infused with the light of the Immanidivinus.
Coming to the aid of the once-peaceful Lirangshans, the people of the Basin of Life ultimately came to defeat the Time Dames themselves, banishing them from Lirangsha then again in the Time Lock of the Goloth, in each battle destroying the husk that once was the powerful Goloth Maxyenka. With the Goloth destroyed and the Dames slain, the Wheel of the Goloths itself ceased movement and was banished from the depths of the Pancopticon, the shining light of the Heart of Shallah once more pure and untarnished, bringing peace to the Lirangshans. With the Goloth vanquished, it is said the history of that place unfolded for many, and may yet again should the Goloth ever return to power.
Yet, deep beneath the Pancopticon, beyond the place in which countless Lirangshans slumber agelessly, it is said there is a place of darkness and shadow, where whispers of those beyond time itself offer the promise of power.
But with the Nine Seals weakened and the Soulless Gods threatening to escape, the Elder Gods look once again to the mortals for salvation. The Nine Challenges will once again be initiated to find which mortal will ascend and save creation from destruction for yet another generation.