The Promethean Crown
History is like a map of the future, but far more difficult to read than any geographic text. It bears more symbols, both hidden and pronounced, than any Alchemical note book. It covers the relations of more entities large and small than the most thorough Astronomical guide. The only facts in History (and all facts in History are debatable) are in the past, while it is the future that these facts illuminate. History is an onion of past human triumph and tribulation. Each skin peeled back reveals another, deeper mystery; another layer of fact and portent.
In our memories there lay only the bodies of our loved ones and the blood of our brothers. So many lifetimes of war, the numbers all forgotten. How many homes have we burned; how many mothers staked with their child watching? How much longer could our broken hearts leak? Our souls wasting away in the face of our daily atrocities? At the moment before our souls were truly lost to the horrors of the sword, He came to us, on our battlefield in the Plains of Steel and quelled our hating hearts and taught us the word Peace and what it meant.
Lord Gnasher of the Hundred Horsemen On the forging of the Crown of Prometheus Crown –14
In the beginning, there was the land, and there was the sky, and there was the waters. The gods put into this plant and animal, made of the three beginnings and living in them. Then there was fire and from fire was made steel and from steel was made the Sword. It was from the sword that man was made and it is to the sword that man shall return, as is the nature of all things to return to their makers with great zeal.
Heretical writings of the Cult of Steel, Outlawed in Crown – 1882
Each Baron shall forge a part, while there shall be only one to wear the whole. He shall be king in all things, save for Law. In this he shall be a counsel to the council of rulers. His word will be taken as the word of wisdom, yet he will be humble to the wisdom of the council.
Prometheus, On the Laws of Governance, During the Forging, Crown – 1
The King, the ruler of the Four Beginnings, the Crown of Prometheus upon his brow, the wielder of Truth and Justice above all others, whose words are as the words of a God, whose commands are as the Will of Blood itself, is beholden to none, and to whom all knees bend lest they be burned in the flames of his Righteousness.
4th King of the Crown, Lord Tarkenen, 13th Son of the Kingdom of Phillip, Slayer of the Wrym Bardestlan, Founder of the Champions of the Dawn, His annotation to the Laws of Governance, Crown – 1012
The written histories, when they can be found at all, cover a period of time from War –2112 to the current age of The Search – 1. There were 2112 years of the Era of War recorded, starting with a young man on what is now called the Steel Plains. A journal was found in the library of what is surely the greatest Scribe in history, Chelm Strongwitts. The journal was small, with hardened leather cover and stoutly bound (human) velum pages. The pages were filled with the most bare of information on battles fought. Usually the name of a place and a month and year. It appears there are number of different authors to this book, as if it was handed down, perhaps by generations, though death in battle was far too common then for that to be the exclusive means of inheritance. At any rate, later years of War provide us with a great deal more information on this bloody past, but this book is the earliest known recordings of those days. What we are chiefly concerned with here is the forging of what came to be known as the Promethean Crown, for this event is the single most influential event in all of recorded history. The years of war were in their darkest hour, with many armies manned solely by children not yet fully grown. The Barons of Salt, the Dukes of Phillip, the Ferry Dukes, the Lords of Min’land, none of these familiar names were found in those armies. The Sons of Blood, Footmen of the Grave, The Hundred Horsemen, Lance of the Forgotten, Justice of the Sword, The Armor of Blood, The thunderhead Archers, Dancers of the Last Breath, Crossbows of Bone, Marchers of a Thousand Leagues, and a hundred other small regiments of little import compared with these ten great armies. There are surely armies equal to or greater than those ten lost in the myriad thousands of years of war in the early unrecorded parts of that era, but of these ten, the histories are unequivocal. They lived and fought over the land now known as the steel Plains, for what greater reason that war itself is not known. There are recorded various political and economic motives, but they seem insignificant in the face of the suffering done on their behalf. Some other greater need drove these armies to wreak destruction, though we may never know what in these times.
A man, Prometheus, who was not a god, came to the Steel Plains and gathered to him all the Generals of the armies and together they forged a crown of power which would rule in law and peace for 2000 years. The crown conferred a suite of powers to its wearer, not the least of which was the charisma to lead the known lands. The Steel Plains were abandoned, and their ruins left to nature’s will. The Eastern Realms were settled with little effort, for they were a peaceful land, and here many new kingdoms prospered. Prometheus lived for 248 years, nearly 5 times the length of normal man, due to the power of the Crown. He handed the crown to his successor, as was the way of all those crowned in that era, an old man from a fishing village in the north. And this second died in an honorable duel, the victor taking the crown, and so this third was killed in duel, and the fourth through seventh, while numbers eight and nine fought to return the crown to its past glory. Both were murdered by unknown forces, but the ninth ruler, Lord Saloman of Heartsburr, a fealty in what is now Oakengrove, hid the crown in his 110th year, just before he died.
The Years of War 1 – Jonathan, bowman for the Marchers of a Thousand Leagues, begins to record battles in his journal.
128 – The Sons of Blood are formed from children and young men who escaped the bronze and iron mines of Baron Klanar.
135 – The Sons of Blood overrun the Palace of Baron Klanar and he is drawn and quartered after being forced to slay every child of his still living.
256 – The Footmen of the Grave are victorious in the battle for the Forges of Arcturus, evidently mythical forges able to make steel that would not break, and needed no sharpening.
300 – First recorded Invasion of Beasts from the Wilderlands to the South, or the Mountains to the West, the record is not clear. Monstrous abominations of mankind, as they were described, led all manner of crawling and creeping beast to destroy much of the war-torn south-lands. The Marchers of a Thousands Leagues, living up to their name, crossed the land from The Norch to the deep woods of the Wilderlands, where they joined with the footmen of the grave to slay an un-named horror and turn back the invasion. This march was said to have taken only four days; over 3500 leagues, nearly 1000 leagues a day, is well over 10 times any pace set in all the known histories. There is much debate as to how this was done.
321 – After some years of relative peace, the Lance of the Forgotten takes the fortress Ironholm and gathers to them a great number of soldiers. With this army, they conquer the central Steel Plains in 100 years.
526 – The Hundred Horsemen, who always numbered 1000 strong, defeated the Lance of the Forgotten, and drove them out of Ironholm. As the Lance was being routed, three more armies came to do battle for this most powerful of fortresses. Justice of the Sword, The Armor of Blood, and the Dancers of the Last Breath joined battle with the Hundred Horsemen and the Lance of the Forgotten. These armies would spend the next 1000 years in war to gain the citadel Ironholm. None of these armies would succeed.
1530 – The Crossbow of Bone sweep up from the South, destroying all in their path. All five armies battling for Ironholm are broken and sent running to the far corners. Ironholm is left untouched, and the Crossbows of Bone march on. At the Forges of Arcturus, still held by the Footmen of the Grave, they are turned back, but at a mighty cost. When they reached The Norch, the Marchers of a Thousand Leagues and the Thunderhead Archers lay in wait for them. This one battle lasted for 50 years. From it sprang a river of blood, and even to this day, it runs red – The Red River.
1600 – The Crossbows of Bone are destroyed. The survivors, of whom there are few, flee south into the Wilderlands. As tales of their invasion and defeat move across the land, it becomes apparent that this was the second Invasion of the Beasts.
1800 – Marie de Gaulier, by refusing the hand of General Mortan, sets in motion events which would start the War of Tears.