Thursday, March 26 2009
Aion: Tower of Eternity History Screenshots by Craig D at 22:21
This latest set of Aion screenshots comes along with a pretty large back story document that looks like it's set to continue in upcoming days and weeks. I wonder if it explains why the weapons in NCsoft's upcoming MMORPG are so utterly bizarre, quite why they chose some sort of mystical glowing carrot and a razor-backed fish as swords is beyond me.
The creation of Atreia remains a mystery even to its earliest inhabitants. The existence of Aion, the powerful entity who created it, exists as the only immutable fact surrounding the celestial event. An ageless deity with authority over the cosmos, Aion took the shape of a colossal tower as it presided over the formation of Atreia, and its earliest species, called the Draken. As a master watchmaker would construct an elegant timepiece, Aion molded and shaped every mountain, valley and continent on the planet.
In its nativity, the world of Atreia stood as the pinnacle of creation. Beautiful and pure, life flourished within the interior of the planet where Aion had positioned itself as a wondrous structure known as The Tower of Eternity. The tower pierced the sky and connected one side of the world to the other. A monument to the greatness of Aion, The Tower of Eternity eclipsed everything on Atreia.
The Tower anchored the world as much as the lives of the Draken living on it. However, the Draken were not the only species on the planet. As mysterious as the creation of the world itself, and of the powerful Draken, stood the birth of other sentient species, known as the Sapiens. Humankind was another such species. Humans lived and flourished throughout the known world, nurtured physically and spiritually by the Tower of Eternity and a reverence to Aion. Humans served Aion with humility and were provided with everything they needed through the nurturing glow of the Tower. Life prospered for thousands of years under this celestial arrangement.
Until the day the Draken grew tired of their role as simple stewards of the planet. A mentally and physically superior race to the Humans, and also the Sapiens, the Draken proved a sobering test for the sentient species of Atreia as they grew increasingly violent, bent on conquering everything in their path. As the years dragged on and the Draken’s thirst for power grew stronger, the fertile pastures of Atreia were stained crimson with the blood of the dead. Entire species vanished under the cruel eyes of the Draken; others were enslaved and used against the Humans, who stood as the only species on Atreia who fought valiantly against their new adversaries in hopes of stabilizing their way of life.
The Draken swelled in numbers in their campaign against the races of Atreia and they grew increasingly confident and prideful. Before long, the Draken would turn their backs on their creator altogether and forge ahead as a completely autonomous race. Organized through a leadership caste of five Draken – christened the Dragon Lords – the Draken relinquished the name Aion bestowed on them and chose another, the Balaur. The awakening of the Balaur changed the course of Atreia forever.
The humans gathered their numbers and rallied in defense of their world and of Aion, who they still served through their struggle against the Balaur. Sadly, the Humans offered little challenge for their cruel oppressors. The Balaur massacred thousands upon thousands of Humans as they fought to dominate the planet. Out of desperation, Aion created an elite group of 12 guardians to assist the Humans in protecting the Tower of Eternity and restore order in Atreia. These guardians became known as the Empyrean Lords. To further assist the Humans and their newly appointed protectors, Aion created a substance called Aether that lent strength and powerful abilities to those who knew how to manipulate it.
The stage had been set for a battle that would literally tear Atreia apart…
The twelve Empyrean Lords, who Aion appointed to protect the world of Atreia and its inhabitants, fought bravely against the Balaur oppressors for years. Appearing as winged and luminescent beings, the Empyrean Lords were admired and worshipped by the Humans for their bravery and unflinching loyalty to preserving life and a reverence to Aion. The two leaders of the Empyrean Lords – Siel and Israphel –assumed guardianship of the Tower of Eternity. While dissimilar in thought and character, Siel and Israphel united in defense of the Tower.
To assist in the battle against the Balaur, Aion gifted the Empyrean Lords with a powerful substance known as Aether. An energy source with limitless potential, the use of Aether was limited to the pure and devout. This included a select group of Human followers. The Empyrean Lords would identify and handpick certain Humans to undergo a physical and spiritual transformation known as Ascension, which saw each Human candidate infused with the power of Aether. As part of the Ascension process, massive wings would erupt from the backs of each Human, gifting them with the power of flight.
More and more Humans experienced Ascension and received the gift of flight. These select Human followers became known as Daevas and streaked through the skies of Atreia as god-like beings, revered and admired by all followers of Aion. Humans incapable of experiencing Ascension came to believe the Daevas were sent by Aion to destroy the Balaur and protect the world. In a way, that perfectly described their arrival and purpose. The numbers of Daevas multiplied under the watchful eyes of the Empyrean Lords, who led the Daevas into battle against the Balaur forces day and night.
But the ancient Balaur proved formidable opponents. Organized and guided by the five Dragon Lords -- Fregion as their leader, followed by Meslamtaeda, Ereshkigal, Vritra, and Tiamat – the Balaur clawed their way through Human and Daeva alike in their campaign for domination. The conflict between the forces of Aion and the Dragon Lords soon escalated from isolated battles into full-scale war. Unimaginable carnage and terror gripped the once peaceful hillsides of Atreia for decades. In hopes of protecting itself from the advancing Balaur, Aion manifested an Aetheric Field around the colossal Tower and the surrounding area.
The newly erected Aetheric Field sparked with energy as the Balaur attempted to break through it. In spite of their efforts, the field withstood even the strongest of attacks and gleamed steadfast in the face of the Dragon Lords and their Balaur followers. But the field had a vital flaw, which the enemies of Aion exploited to the fullest. While the field provided absolute protection for everything it reached, anything left outside of the field lay vulnerable to attack. Knowing this, the Balaur showed no mercy and tried to lure the Empyrean Lords out of the sheltering glow of the field. Everything outside of the field vanished under the burning hatred and malice of the Balaur. Rivers turned red form the blood of the fallen and mountains turned to cinder.
The war raged on the outskirts of the field where Daevas and the Empyrean Lords fought bravely against their enemies. Despite the bravery and ferocity displayed on each side of the conflict, each soon realized the futility of the situation. The Balaur could not enter the field to destroy the Tower and the Empyrean Lords and their Daevas could not venture outside the Aetheric Field long enough to secure a decisive victory.
The Millennium War raged on with massive casualties on both sides of the conflict. In order to better organize their ranks of loyal Daevas against the Balaur, the Empyrean Lords sanctioned a new body known as the Nobelium. The Nobelium would then move throughout the Daeva recruits and organize them into finely honed combat groups, known as Legions. These newly appointed combat groups kept the Balaur at bay and helped establish years of tepid peace alongside the impenetrable Aetheric Field, established to protect The Tower of Eternity.
And for a time, life went on for the Human inhabitants of Atreia. Protected by the Aetheric Field, and the Daeva Legions, Humans would go about their business and try to forget the hordes of Balaur ravaging the countryside. After years of violence and terrible bloodshed, this limited existence marked a huge improvement for the population of Atreia. But the stalemate came at a huge cost to the Empyrean Lords and their Daeva followers. While life prospered within the radiance of the Aetheric Field, thousands of Daevas lost their lives in defense of it, as the war continued with no end in sight. The cost of the war began haunting the Balaur, as well, as the Five Dragon Lords committed more and more of their number to attacking the Daevas.
Both sides realized the war would never end if things continued unchanged. And then, whispers of peace sprung among the Empyrean Lords. Initiated by Israphel, one of the more daring Lords, the notion of peace soon blossomed into a full proposal brought before the other Lords. Though noble, the proposal divided the followers of Aion for the first time since the conflict began. Certain Lords desired peace, while others considered the Balaur and the Dragon Lords as a cancer on Atreia, long overdue for removal. Israphel believed a truce was the only way to end the war long enough to stabilize Atreia, and seeing no other alternative, Israphel tried convincing the other Empyrean Lords to present his peace plan to the Dragon Lords.
A string of heated debates and discord followed. The Lords would argue the particulars of the plan, for and against. One of them, Asphel, dissented more than the others. He vehemently disagreed due to his utter revulsion of the Balaur and stood firm, preferring to fight until one side eventually triumphed over the other. Knowing full well that Daevas and Balaur alike were dying while the Empyrean Lords argued, Israphel decided to forge ahead with a sole ally, Lady Siel. They would offer the Dragon Lords peace without approval from the remaining Lords. And that’s exactly what happened.
Before long, the Dragon Lords and their escorts stood outside the Aetheric Field, having relayed acknowledgment of the peace proposal. They simply stood and waited, apprehensively. Uncertainty still plagued the Empyrean Lords, though the Balaur had made the first gesture of good faith by appearing with only a small contingent of elite warriors. The Empyrean Lords made the next move and lowered the Aetheric Field for the Balaur to enter. For the first time in many, many years, the Tower of Eternity sat vulnerable to attack, with the Balaur a stone’s throw away. As a further test of good faith, the five Dragon Lords were asked to enter the Tower alone.
They agreed and entered. The discussions began peacefully. Dragon Lord Fregion and Empyrean Lady Siel began the arduous task of healing centuries of hatred and violence through diplomacy. Each side presented their terms during the ceremony. And for a fleeting moment, it appeared as though Atreia would experience peace for the first time since anyone could remember. What happened next remains a mystery on both sides, as neither side has a full recollection of the events that transpired during the ceremony. What is known is that violence erupted in the middle of the proceedings from an assassination attempt on one of the Dragon Lords. In the blink of an eye, a ferocious battle broke out within the very heart of the Tower. It happened so unexpectedly, in fact, that Siel and Asphel failed to activate the Aetheric Field.
The Tower of Eternity, which lay at the heart of the planet, began to fracture and crumble as the Dragon Lords and Empyrean Lords fought for their lives. Lord Asphel headed to the North end of the Tower while his opponent, Lady Ariel, took to the South, each hoping to play their part in the saving of the world. Regardless of their courage, all of Atreia would break apart unless the Tower itself survived. The two harbingers of the peace proposal, Israphel and Siel, took it on themselves to save the Tower. In an act of pure desperation and guilt, both Lords consumed themselves saving what they could, extinguishing their Aetheric Energy in the process. Their actions, brave in the face of certain death, succeeded in rekindling the Aetheric Field. The two Lords narrowly saved the whole of the planet.
These events, known as the Epic Cataclysm, would usher in a new era for Atreia.
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