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Let’s get to know more about the setting of my upcoming novel, A Bridge To The Quiet Planet. It’s out late this fall but you can find out about the world now . . .
Few things have shaped recent human history than the complex event simply called The War.
Happening some 300 years before A Bridge To The Quiet Planet, the War was a gigantic geopolitical conflict that lasted some fifty years until the Alliance and the rise of the Great Cities ended it. At the end, a great deal of the planet was war-scarred, 3/4 of the population had died (or in the case of the Lost Continent of Yeen, vanished), and the gods had rethought their role in the world. The start of the Reformation is considered the end of the War, but conflicts dragged on for decades, and inter-Province fighting was not unknown until 100 years ago.
The War to a human of the modern age (about 250, AR – After Reformation) is seen as a singular event in most cases. To scholars and to actual history it was a series of interlinked events; many of these are portrayed in popular media. If one discusses “The Battle of Pemmelock Vale” one discusses distinct events; but in the end to many it just becomes The War.
Discussing The War is made more difficult by the fact that, except for parts of the Unaffiliated Regions, the concept of a Nation has fallen out of use. Thus many people who don’t discuss the War in a scholarly context, or in the case of a specific book or piece of media, the world is usually discussed as battles among regions – The North, The Central Region, The South, etc. Often this obscures the subtle politics of the event, though it’s hard to talk subtelty when cities were flattened and cybernetic dragons terrorized the populatce.
Also, discussing Nations casually is seen as bad luck; some gods weren’t happy with them, wandering spirits of the dead might hear of them, and its terribly impolite.
A citizen of Telvaren or its affiliated worlds would probably describe the War as thus:
Over 300 years ago, the were minor conflicts among the different nations. Though held back my trade, by guilds and churches, and by common sense, they festered. In time, the creation of Bridges shook the world – the chance to reach other worlds provided new territories and thus new conflicts – however there were many old battles and old scars that were the real reason. Soon conflict intensified.
The great power of the Central Region, the Dragon Kingdom asserted itself at this time. The oldest Nation, it wielded magic and technology that was arguably the greatest in the world, from sorceries to dragons altered with metal and crystal. They allied with smaller Nations and decided to enforce a peace – on their terms.
This was not met well by any of their neighbors except nations of The South, who had been locked in their own civil conflict. They were glad to have a stabilizing force, though they also planned to stab the Dragon Kingdom in the back as soon as possible. To be honest, no one ever liked them.
In time, the conflicts exploded, with the Dragon Kingdom deciding to “pacify” its neighbors with it’s forces. Some Nations battled against it, others spread their forces. At this time, the first inklings of the Alliance arose as major metropolitan regions, the centers of commerce and immigration, made attempts to quell the wars. They called upon anicnet guilds and schools and other concerns to help them.
Things all changed when the Northern nations (indeed there was only one major nation, spoken of in whispers as Amallakon) made a push against the Dragon Kingdom with the help of the Confederation of Solu in the East. Much to everyone’s surprise, they won, but the war was bloody and vicious. The North, frightened of the weapons of the Dragon Kingdom, was indiscriminate in their use of armaments – great airpower, missiles, and magic.
It was hoped that was the end of the war, but it was only the beginning. Indeed, the gods themselves who had stayed out of the conflict were horrified – but also could not agree on what to do next. The great War Goddess Boldira had found the fighting honorable if messy, but her children and fellow gods disagreed – and indeed she felt unable to cope with the modern age. The gods found changes moving too fast for them.
With a power gap, The South, now unified, asserted itself, and quickly became belligerent much to everyone’s surprise. What was unknown at the time was that one of the smaller vassal nations, a center of hight technology but under the thumb of the greater nations, had been manipulating and bribing their way to power. Much to their surprise, they found they had several high-placed officials on their side. However they had also unleashed a wave of corruption and manipulation as their puppets were manipulated by different forces.
At this time, Vasikon Zek, the great experimental city on the sea, withdrew from all the nations sponsoring it. This is regarded as the inspiration to form the Alliance of Great Cities, though it rarely gets the credit for it as they idea had been brewing for some time. Indeed the Alliance would prove crucial because the South and the North came to blows.
With the Central Regions a mess, with the East recovering and the West trying to make peace, the North and South wished to be powers as the powers to order the world. However vicious the North had been, the North had showed some restraint in the weapons used. The South, armed with techno-biological weapons, having focused on making sure any war against them would be devastating, was not so kind.
The South had terrible weaponry, often based on plants. The worst was the Red Willows, infectious spores that, when breahed, quickly grew inside a person, bursting out of their bodies. The South begant o make belligerant threats.
The North and the growing Alliance ran separately to contain the threat. the North witih threats and displays of their missiles on supposedly uninhabited areas, the Alliance used politics. The growing Alliance, ironically, won – and lost.
Revolutions were fomented against the ruler of the South, who had gone slowly mad and called himself The King Of Green after a famous legendary figure. These were, however erratic and unfocused, as well as bloody – the corruption in his government had led to many interests battling it out, often with propaganda. In time the King committed the most horrific act of the war; fearing deposition, he unleashed the weapons of his country on The South, slaughtering millions.
To this day it is called the Silent South. There are ruined cities filled with plants growing through bones, poisonous weapons left behind, toxic foliage that was weaponized. The only reason demons were not spawned from this horror was it was too deadly even for young demons.
The North’s reaction was simple; it was time to unify the world. Under them. It was not an inarguabe stance, but it was made worse because of divisions among the gods. The Marksman, son of Boldira, Goddess of War, incarnated in physical form to lead the military. he felt he would end this conflict that others could not. The Young god declared he would unify the world – by force.
The Alliance of Great Cities knew a battle was coming, and wearily assembled the remaining militaries of the world. Tired, scattered, they felt they could resist the North. They wanted peace, but not under the foot of someone else; they had grown weary of Kings and Nations and the like. They proposed a more regional alliance, but the North would not have it.
What could have happened in the final War was often estimated, and it would have likely been decades more of conflict. Except The Marksman, the god in human form, was assastinated – one of his fellow gods had given secrets and advised a legion of human assasins how to disrupt his physical form. It was said it took twenty-five people, none of whom survived, to inflict enough damage for The Marksman to die.
When he died, like all incarnated gods, he greated a great Wound in the world – in the middle of a major miltiary base outside a major city. The ground twisted, madness struck people, communications were disrupted.
The Alliance’s loosely aligned military was ready. One of the great northern cities, Kalstaff, had joined their alliance and happily provided enormous amounts of military information. The North was bombed, spelled, and blasted into submission in what eventually turned into a bloody campaign of simple rage and fear. Refugees streamed away, many meeting a horrible fate. In the end, the final battle of the War was as awful as anything else that had happened.
In the end, attempts to make peace were brokered by Boldira, goddess of War. Ashamed, she appeared before the leaders of the gathered armies and a summit she had called. She dropped her weapons, crying red-ruby tears, and whispered secrets to some of the leaders. What she said is unknown, but the war ended.
The Goddess of War, often now called Boldira Repentant, had decided War had to change. But, showing her bravery, so did she. War had to be remade for humanity to survive.
The War had ended as Boldira walked the land, weeping. Her solid tears are sought by her clerics as a sign of faith.
There was much to do. The Alliance gathered, the Twelve Great Cities were recognized. Demons still plagued humanity, feasting on the soul-fragments of the victims until the final battle at Pemmelock Vale when they were cast into the sky to Pandemonium.
But, humanity had won. The gods had won.
It just didn’t feel like a victory.
Thus to this day, people are still recovering from the war. Old spells and ancient technology is unearthed. Secrets are found – and sometimes re-hidden. Scrappers still tear apart devestated cities two centuries later while Delvers dig into hidden places looking for knowledge and treasure. Humanity has ventured slowly outside of the Great Cities, because the Cities were all that was left for long they were reluctant to go forth.