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Lost Histories: Empire of Aran

by Andrew Theisen

"The Chosen" by Shu-rak, planar spider theologian, and High Pontiff of the Mother Progenitor (spoken on the Isle of Night, 1015 AC)

"In the beginning, there was the First Sac, from whence sprung our creator, the Mother Progenitor, and her brethren. From them was woven the fabric of the planes as we know them, whole and interconnected. For countless millennia it was thus, until our Mother deemed the time right to reproduce, and share her creation with her offspring.

"She chose as her mate the Silent One, but was seduced instead by the Great Deluder, in false form. When their mating was complete, the Deluder revealed his true colours, and fled the death ritual which is our custom. From then on, his existence has forever been our Mother's cause of shame.

"The Second Sac was woven, and the Mother Progenitor's eggs deposited therein. From thence sprang we, the Travellers, gifted with our Mother's ability to fold between scales. With this talent, we soon established a mighty empire, spanning the Ethereal strata.

"Alas, contacts with other cultures diluted our race. Material minded Travellers abandoned the Great Mother's ways, seeking the simpler comforts of lesser species. Worse, some even forsook our Mother for the worship of false prophets pretending to cosmic importance. Others still took to embracing the Phanatons, those creatures created to be our Servitors among the scales.

"Outraged by these betrayals, our Mother led her most loyal followers here, to Atlach, a world far removed from the scales travelled by our treacherous brethren. In a distant land of dense forests we settled, abandoning the decadent practices of the other Travellers, and dedicated solely to worship of the Mother Progenitor.

"To strengthen our numbers, the Mother Progenitor oversaw a grand experiment. Controlled matings with the indigenous arachnid species resulted in the birth of a new class of citizen- the Aranea. Our new brethren proved capable warriors and labourers, expanding and defending our homes and overseeing the work of the Servitors. The Travellers were free to fully tend to the Mother Progenitor and address the spiritual needs of the flock. Our majestic city of Aran was built, and new colonies were founded. The empire was flourishing.

"It was then that the Great Deluder returned. Once more betraying the law of our Mother, he began to whisper words of sedition to the Aranea. The Deluder lied to our brethren, made them step outside their place in the order of our race, and attempt to usurp the positions of the Travellers as the Word of our Mother. The Rift began, pitting arachnid against arachnid, and weakening our mighty empire.

"With the power of the Mother Progenitor behind us, the Deluder's minions could not long stand, and they fled. They settled in a far distant land, where they continued to practice their sacrilegious rites for centuries. Eventually, they were eliminated from Atlach by Man, though tales of their evil live on to this day.

"Mankind. The bane of our existence. Their existence is tolerated by our Mother as a test- that we will continue to better ourselves, not to become complacent.

"Even as ours was a flourishing empire, Man was still a mewling, simpering maggot, clawing his way for survival. Millennia after our arrival on Atlach, they established their first imperial legacy- the damned Empire of Thonia- in lands distant from our own.

"In their outpost of Blackmoor, later to become a kingdom of its own, they constructed powerful, blasphemous magicks. Beyond their comprehension they were, and nearly led to the doom of the entirety of Atlach. Seas roared, mountains burst; only by the grace of the Mother Progenitor were we spared. Her power shielded us from the devastations wrought by Man, but even still, the land was marked by their folly. Our empire was shaken- split off from the rest of the world; our lands lifted by the cataclysm, becoming the great plateau we live upon. Contact with our colonies was lost, and we withdrew to Aran, determined never again to commerce with Man.

"For millennia it remained thus, as we of Aran expanded into the surrounding plateau. Though evidence of Mankind's continuing expansion surrounded us, never did they venture into the realms of Aran. Even the plague unleashed by the outscalers of Alphatia, which cause the infected to assume the forms of beasts, did not penetrate into our lands.

"Alas, during the Satusar dynasty (founded by an Alphatian outscaler), those Men living in the lands known as Thothia began to found settlements in the areas around the lower valley. Those colonies nearest Aran were destroyed, though the settlements on the opposite side of the valley were left, lest Aran draw attention to itself. Still, our Mother formulated a plan to halt the further expansion of Mankind. "The successor to the Satusar dynasty, Ramenhotep X- resuming the line of his ancient forebears- was singled out by our Mother. She sent her daughter Aketheti, first of the Aranoids, gifted with the ability to assume human form (inspired by the outscaler plague), to contact him in the Temple of the Dawn. Ramenhotep X was converted to our faith, and brought it, in modified form (to conceal our existence) to his people. Though he attempted to betray our Mother in the end, he and his successors managed to bring Her word to the Thothians. Settlements of the plateau were ceased, and our Mother's teachings, passed via the Aranoids, proved sufficient to control the population growth of the Thothian Men.

"Recently, the false prophets that Men worship drew their followers into a global conflict. As a result of this conflict, the Mother Progenitor's existence upon the plateau was discovered by Man, and She was banished from Aran. Her daughter, Aketheti, was also discovered, and disappeared, leaving the Men of Thothia once more to their own purposes. Our empire was sent into disarray such as has not been seen since the Rift, without the guidance of our Mother.

"Yet despair not, for our Mother has sent word that She yet lives. Though unable to return at this time, She has not forgotten her beloved children. She has given orders and a plan by which we shall once more bring the Men of Thothia under our wing. No longer shall we hide from Man, She declares, but we shall expand our borders, and dominate them, as we have the Servitors. Those that will not submit, shall be destroyed. Thus speaketh the Mother Progenitor.

"This is the dawn of a new era on Atlach, an era marked by the dominance of arachnids!!!"