The centuries following the event that came to be known as the Descent, when the System applied itself to the peoples of Pangera, remain shrouded in darkness. The Cataclysm that came afterward destroyed almost all records, but those scraps we have access to speak of great upheaval, followed by an age of enlightenment before the Dungeon opened on the surface.
Like most things that fall into a civilised society's hands, the System was quickly seen as a weapon that would give a tremendous advantage to those who were able to master it first. This is largely conjecture on my part, but it is highly likely that the people of that time engaged in the same sort of questionable practices that were seen in the post-Rending era, when people sought to recapture that which was lost.
In that time it was unheard of to die of old age, not just because of the many conflicts, but allowing a person to pass away naturally would waste a tremendous resource. It was common for children to execute their parents as they lay on their deathbed, so that they could inherit the experience gained for the kill. Compared to other atrocities, that practice could be considered mild. Slaves were forced to endure unimaginable horrors in the name of experimentation, all to secure an edge over their competitors.
Many hoped that the storied 'golden age' would re-emerge after the age of suffering and secrecy, but in many ways that veil still remains. Knowledge of the System is hoarded between societies, faiths, even members of the same delving teams have been known to withhold what they've gleaned of its inner workings. Builds, classes, fusions, any piece of information can lead to a competitive advantage.
And that is meaningful. The System allows a person to rise to unbelievable heights. With the power of mana, and the knowledge of how to wield one's inner strength, incredible feats become possible. Firing blades of light from your weapons, weaving the elements or even bending light with one's mind. Those few who managed to scale the heights and achieve the pinnacle, the highest level, the most powerful classes, all had a deep, lasting impact on Pangera. Many founded their own kingdoms, others destroyed empires that had existed for centuries.
In the pursuit of that sort of power, people will do almost anything. The question I have is, how this conflict was managed during the 'golden age'? The only answer that seems plausible, is that someone so powerful arose that they were able to enforce their ideals on the entire planet. If that is indeed the case, what happened to them?
Excerpt from 'A dissertation on the consequences of the Descent and its impact on modern society' By Innirit the heretic.
It's a shame that I had too much on my plate to participate myself, but the other members of the council were more than capable of running such a simple mission. Enid's idea to simplify the negotiation process was simple and ingenious. It hadn't taken her long to realise what the problem was, what exactly was causing the talks to be so painfully slow and make the natives of Rylleh so intractable. The people in charge were wastes of space.
They weren't stupid or anything, at least, not in her opinion, they just existed in very comfortable circumstances and didn't want to see that change. For the most part, they were born into those circumstances, inheriting their positions as descendants of those intrepid delvers who managed to gather enough wealth and power that they were able to carve out their own independent space which eventually grew into the city of Rylleh.
So how to deal with these well-to-do leeches? Simple. Under the direction of Sloan, and working with Wallace on the inside, the Colony abducted each and every one of them, moved them to Renewal, dropping them on the doorstep of Beyn's church like lost lambs. While they were at it, the ants looted their mansions and broke them down to rubble, carting away the precious materials watched by, oddly enough, the cheering masses. Generations of discontent erupted once people got wind of what was happening and in a dramatic shift in public opinion, the Colony became the champions of the people in one night.New novel chapters are published on lightnovelworld.com
Not to say that there wasn't unrest, you can't simply uproot large family units unilaterally and expect everyone to be happy about it. The ructions in Rylleh were largely overshadowed by the outpouring of goodwill the Colony experienced, a worthy trade. In Renewal, the once noble class were now destitute and dependant on the support of an ant worshipping community. It only took a day before they gave up trying to convince people to take them into the Dungeon in exchange for promised riches. The next day they banded together to launch an expedition of their own. I'm told they made it about two hundred metres outside the town before a detachment of scouts chased them back. The next day they took up farming.
With the talks on hold until elections could be arranged in Rylleh, a much more cheerful Enid spent her time drinking tea and chatting with myself, Corun and Torrina, and occasionally Beyn, when we managed to stop him wandering around the tunnels.
For my part, I had to meet with the Council, minus Sloan, to try and work out what our next steps were. We gathered once more in the somehow even more luxurious council chamber, the ant chairs now lined with soft fabrics and the table topped with a beautifully carved wooden surface instead of the rude stone we'd had before.
What the point of the fabric is, I've no idea. We're ants! We have a skeleton on the outside of our bodies! Although it does mean there's less chance the stone will scuff my diamond carapace…
It can stay.
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