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Home an Origin Story
Phiam the Master Fisherman sat under a terevinth tree baiting his line by the light of the moon when he saw them. Three new stars appeared out of nowhere in the night sky. He blinked and rubbed his eyes. Were those always there? Are they new? He wasn't sure. He laid back on the ground for a better view and stared at the stars. The terevinth tree's slightly metallic leaves sounded like a soft wind chime in the soft breeze. Phiam loved the sound it made. It made him feel peaceful and happy inside. He looked up at the new stars and wondered how far they were and fell asleep.
In the morning he awoke to discover he had not put his line in the water before he fell asleep and so he had caught nothing. He was after a special MoonFish that only appeared on moonless nights. It acquired its name because it was rumored to be afraid of the moon.
Phiam made his living as a fisherman. There was good money to be made in fish. There was always a market for them. People would buy them as food, or pets, or even mounts. Some fish were so rare that people would collect them and display them in their freeholds. The city even had a special museum for the rarest of all. Phiam had learned the trade from his dad when he was a child so it was only normal for him to grow up and follow in his father's footsteps. However, his father had never attained Masterhood like he had. Phiam had a special knack for fishing. The entire family had a giant celebration when he achieved his title. It was glorious. Phiam however, knew nothing of astrology. He did not know if the new stars were a good omen or bad.
When he arrived home he washed up and changed his rumpled clothes then he opened the bait and tackle shop his father had left him in his will. His dad had been gone for 3 years now. Taken by a mysterious illness.
"Hello, good day! Have you seen the new stars yet?" He would ask every customer when they came in. Befriending the customers and making small talk with them helped build repeat business. Something his father had taught him. Later in the day as he was just about to close up a new customer came in looking for a rare eel. It was rumored the eel had the power of divination if it was prepared correctly before being eaten. This customer was an amateur astrologer by the name of Ulu. They talked about the new stars at great length. It turned out that Ulu was a member of an astrologers guild and that the entire guild was very excited. It was all they could talk about. Phiam gave the man a free fish when he sold him the eel if he promised to come back every now and then to keep him updated on the new stars. Giving away a fish to retain a new customer was a trick Phiam had discovered on his own. Ulu agreed and left excitedly.
Over the following months and years, Phiam tried his hand at astrology and Ulu tried to fish but neither one was very good at the other's trade so they laughed at each other's mistakes and became good friends.
Slowly new stars began to appear. First one, then two or three at a time. No one knew what it meant or what was happening. Some said it was a sign of impending doom, others said it was good fortune. The science node said they were comets, while the religious node said it was a portent of war. There were 16 stars in total when the astrology guild finally offered a reward of 10,000 embers to anyone who could figure it out. A small orc by the name of Miglet did the math and figured out that the stars were headed straight towards Verra but they would not hit it. Instead, they would pass within 20,000 km of the planet. A very close call by astronomical standards.
At the news, many people went into a panic and began stockpiling food, weapons, and water. Lest war break out. It was a good time to be a fishmonger. With the sudden extra profits, Phiam was able to expand the store to include aquarium sales and add more fish pets. Ulu was very worried. Both for himself and his friend because he knew some things that Phiam did not. Things the astrology guild had not told anyone about the stars. They seemed to be alive.
It was an ordinary day when the stars finally approached Verra. All the astrologers were excited almost to the point of panic, the religious node was gathered for a giant communal prayer in their city and the dwarves were busy at work. They didn't seem to care much about the stars since they lived mostly underground. That's when it happened. The stars began to explode. Firey streaks appeared in the sky followed by thunderous booms. Brilliant lights flashed in the sky that were too bright to look at with the naked eye. Then something huge crashed into Mt. Dünheim that made the ground shake for miles around. The peak of the mountain was blown clean off. Hundreds of dwarves died that day. It was the worst disaster in Verra history.
When the smoke and dust had cleared the Verrans had a small glimpse of a glittery white ship burning in the flattened forest. It was the size of a size 4 node. Tall slender creatures ran from it escaping from all sides. Later Phiam would learn that these creatures were called Humans and that they came from a world named Sanctus. For now, all he and Ulu could do is watch helplessly from miles away. They had been shaken off their feet when the ship crashed into Mt. Dünheim but they were a safe distance away on the edge of a canyon watching the events through Ulu's telescope. The other 15 stars continued on their journey past Verra and slowly disappeared over the following months and years.
After an hour smoke began rising from the glittery ship, then bluish green fire. Lightning bolts erupted from it every now and then. A high pitched sound pierced the air even from miles away. Phiam and Ulu covered their ears and hid behind boulders. "What's happening!" Screamed Phiam! Suddenly there was a huge explosion bigger than when the ship had hit the mountain and streaks of blue fire and debris erupted from the place where the ship had been. Pieces of it fell into the canyon igniting fires and setting the entire valley on fire. Two small cities and countless freeholds were lost that day. The death toll rose into the thousands.
Weeks later parts of the ship began appearing in the markets. First as jewelry then later as ingredients for potions and elixirs. Since the ship was from space it was assumed it had magical properties. Later it began being used as an ingredient in food dishes. The ship was not made of metal but a strange substance no one had seen before. It was stronger than metal but melted in hot water and had a sweet smell and taste similar to hard fondant. It was the animals that began to eat it first. The bits and pieces that fell into water dissolved enough to be eaten like soggy bread. Farmers then began feeding it to their animals as feed and finally, it became an ingredient in a popular stew despite the protestation of the Humans. Though they tried to stop it there were too few of them to make a difference. Debris that dissolved by rain was taken up by mushrooms and plants. Many parts of the ship were made of different substances that were not eaten and did not disappear. They were just lost and scattered around the valley.
127 humans survived the explosion of the ship. 383 perished. They called themselves The Founders since the name of their ship was The Founder. Later, it would become known as the fondant ship since founder and fondant sound similar, and the ship tasted like fondant. The crew of the fondant ship retained the name founders.
The founders were fleeing for their lives from a race of aliens named The Betrayans who had conquered their planet and enslaved their people. The Betrayans were the strongest and cruelest creatures in the Sanctus system. Their goal was domination by any means possible. The Founder and two other ships had managed to escape with 13 Betrayan ships in pursuit.
3,000 years later, after having chased down and destroyed the other two ships the Betrayans would return to Verra to hunt the remaining humans. However, due to some freaky space/time difference thing, only 2 1/2 weeks had passed for the Betrayans while 3,000 years had passed on Verra. Phiam and Ulu and the founders were all long dead and gone by the time they returned.
What the Betrayans found was a world that was vastly different than the one they left behind. Eating the organic material of the spaceship had strange effects on everyone who had eaten it. Plants and mushrooms began to glow and become sentient, animals morphed into strange new shapes. The humans that had eaten the ship had also changed into new forms never before seen. The Verrans called them gods but they were just ordinary humans mutated into new shapes. Everyone lived together in peace. New races sprung up and disappeared. There were the Merfolk, who became extinct when a virus killed them all. The Mole People who were related to Dwarves had a hard time reproducing and eventually became extinct. And the Tulnar who were a mix of all the races. No one knows how they came about but they were the only race that survived.
The Betrayans killed or captured them all. Their 13 Betrayan ships were more than enough to conquer the peaceful Verrans. The Verrans had no technology of their own so the advanced weaponry of the Betrayans made it a slaughter. Huge portals were erected to transport the Verrans to concentration camps on the Betrayan homeworld Sanctus. Sanctus is a planet six times the size of Verra with a similar atmosphere. From there the Verrans were sold into slavery or worse and dispersed throughout the local group. Only a handful of Tulnar managed to escape. Their animalistic nature made them stronger and faster than the other races. Some of the gods also survived by hiding themselves or using their superior powers to survive. In the end, 90% of the planet and it's inhabitants fell.
7,000 years later, it would be the Betrayans turn to fall. Like all great civilizations, it fell prey to its own greed and desire. After a series of horrible leaders led it into wars it could not win their armies were decimated and their economy ruined. Finally, they lost their home planet Sanctus that had once belonged to the humans. Sanctus became a museum planet that today stands testament to the evil that can arise when good people do nothing and look the other way. Many of the Verran portals have either been destroyed or moved to museums piece by piece.
In the Verran year 2018, a small group of activists began an online movement to restore some of the portals to allow the Verrans to go home. Home is a word Verrans have never heard before. It's a word that only exists in history books. None of the original Verrans still exist from 7,000 years ago. They have no art, no literature, no culture. They have no history, other than what has survived in oral accounts. Passed down from one generation to the next. Stories of haunted windmills and hopping mushrooms. Stories of beautiful flowers that glow in the dark. They all sound like fairy tales and make believe but there's something in the word home that calls to them. Something of their own. Home.