For many years humanity prospered. They built cities and towns where they lived and worked and worshiped their goddess. In return, the goddess rewarded her peoples with wealth and peace. As nations grew in size and strength, she personally appointed kings and queens to rule. The most powerful of these were King Heleimus of the North, King Ergeitus Warhand (named so for his strength), Queen Elfeiné of the Hidden Woods, King Siri who ruled over Cocosera (a warm, coastal region) and Queen Lilly the Pure. These five rulers eventually joined together to form a ruling body known as Fortune’s Hand.
The five rulers were young and strong and governed their people well. They ruled over the largest and most powerful nation amongst the nearby kingdoms, and were often relied upon for wisdom and might to keep the peace, which they did very effectively.
As they got older, the kings and queens took husbands and wives from the nobility and royalty of other nations, which strengthened alliances and increased prosperity in their ever-growing empire. Soon their empire was so large that it encompassed a large portion of the continent known as Erone. Most of Fortune’s Hand remained satisfied with the extent of their nation and power, but eventually, King Ergeitus became arrogant and overly ambitious. He implored the other rulers to go to war against the last few nations that were not part of the empire.
“No, we cannot,” said Queen Lilly as they sat in King Siri’s Palace. “We have forever maintained a peaceful existence between us and the other rulers of the surrounding nations; and we are in fact surrounded on three sides. If we go to war, it will be the end of us. The goddess will not look favorably on petty violence. We would gain nothing. We are allied with the other nations and we can pass freely through their lands. If we attack one, they will all ally themselves against us, and I fear that alliance would be powerful enough to destroy us.”
“That is why we gain control of them now!” said King Ergeitus. “If we take them now, they will have no chance to attack us. We would have control of the entire continent and all the port cities. We would control all the trade and if anyone wanted to attack us, they would have to cross the ocean, which would give us the advantage of time, distance and higher ground. We would be unstoppable! And why stop with the continent? With all the resources we would gain, we could develop faster larger and stronger war ships. We could cross all the seas and take the entire earth!”
“You are out of line, Ergeitus!” said King Siri. “The four of us do not support this plan, nor will we agree to aid you in any kind of war effort. We must maintain the peace or face the wrath of both the people and our goddess. The people of our nation will not agree to this either. They may even rebel. We have never had a war, and we will do everything in our power to avoid one.”
Ergeitus persisted however, so to ensure that he would never pose a threat to the peace, he was stripped of his title and power and banished to the nearby country of Elnearma. There he and his wife lived in comfort and solitude. Fortune’s Hand had made sure that they would have every luxury they wanted, but they were not allowed to leave the citadel where they resided.
Eventually, Ergeitus and his wife, Helena had a son whom they named Rebellious. Like his father, Rebellious was strong and ambitious. In fact, even from a young age, the boy possessed an inhuman strength that awed his parents. The boy was eventually allowed to leave the citadel in order to attend a boarding school in the city of Annatheens. Many of the other boys hated Rebellious for his strength, and this led him to become angry, arrogant and bitter.
In time, he learned about Fortune’s Hand and what they had done to his Parents. He hated them, and he hated the goddess, Ce for their unjust actions and their simple-minded beliefs. In his eighteenth year, Rebellious decided what he wanted. He wanted revenge. He wanted rebellion, and he wanted war; not only against the people who had robbed him and his parents of their honor, but also against the countries that his father was never able to take. Most importantly, he wanted to take the nation ruled by Fortune’s Hand.
Being the persuasive speaker that he was, Rebellious convinced several of his fellow classmates to join him in what he hoped would be the first and greatest rebellion the world had ever known. He and a band of ten other young men easily took the schools armory – in which were kept the weapons for training the students; for although they did not believe in war, their mentors deemed it necessary to know how to defend one’s self – and then taking the school itself was an easy task.
For several days, the rebels used the school as their home-base, and eventually captured the city of Annatheens. On the last day of the battle, Rebellious and a young man named Argus successfully captured the lord of the city and smote him. Rebellious then proclaimed Argus as the new lord of Annatheens and had all those who still opposed him put to death. Their force grew as many people feared for their lives and hoped they would be spared if they fought for the rebels. They then freed Ergeitus and Helena and moved on to capture several nearby cities which took little effort and their force grew after every battle.
In his triumph and arrogance at his victory over the city of Rosenia, Rebellious proclaimed, “None can oppose me, not even the goddess herself! Ce may be the Queen of Peace, but I am the King of War!” Some of his troops were apprehensive after this proclamation. They had praised the goddess for their victories and for sparing their lives. Rebellious continued on his blind tirade however, and said, “Come, oh goddess! I challenge you! If I can take all these lands with such little opposition, than I can take you as well! Cowardly princes! That is what you are! You cower in your starry chambers while your followers fall at my feet! I will command the earth, oh goddess! My strength is all that I will ever need! I do not fear you! Come and face me!”
Then there was silence. A slight breeze was all that seemed to move in the world for a long minute. Then the stars seemed to fade and glow ever-so-slightly darker. There was not a cloud in the sky, but a low rumble of thunder sounded nonetheless. The moon went black and in its place seemed to be a hole in the world. It was so dark that the soldiers could not see a foot in front of them, and some began to panic. Then a voice was heard seemingly from nowhere. It was sweet and light and filled with beauty and also sadness, but no one could see where it was coming from. Rebellious had made a point of not allowing women to fight among his men.
The voice said, “Rebellious, I have heard you. I am the goddess Ce. It saddens me greatly that you have caused such pain and sorrow among the people of this land. My people fear for their lives. They do not respect you but hate you. I had hoped that they would be able to repel you, but it seems that they require my assistance. I can allow you to oppose me no longer. I will accept your challenge on one condition; we fight in my realm.”