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“Only Mylertendal Could Go To Aasla”

by Rodger Burns

The Alphatian wizardess Mylertendal is undoubtedly an incredibly competent individual. She's a master of magic, capable, focused, patient, determined, charismatic as all hell... and still not capable of single-handedly upending the entire society of an ancient and sophisticated magical kingdom. Not without help, anyway, and some... special circumstances.

There's a reason why Terari's history of Alphatia skipped over exactly why and how Mylertendal's cultural message gained such traction. It's because the kingdom of Haven, before Mylertendal, was not exactly a nice place. The common people weren't too bad off, as long as they did their jobs and kept their heads down, but the wizard-lords and aristocracy were all enthusiastic practitioners of the ancient art of Politics, specifically the Snakepit Cutthroat subschool. Think ten thousand Fu Manchu candidates, all wielding charm spells, ESP, magic jar and disintegrate, and it's not too hard to see why Haven had, at the time, a reputation about equal with Blackheart's.

In the long run, Haven definitely had to change. It was simply exporting too many demagogues, insurrectionists, would-be evil chancellors, and other unsavoury sorts to be allowed to continue. The problem was in staging a revolution that could both succeed against the existing ruling class of Haven, and at the same time not cause massive death and civil strife or leave behind a raw gaping power vacuum to be occupied by something even worse. The keystone of the solution was Mylertendal and her philosophy of beautification - providing an idea tame enough to not directly threaten the Havenite elite, but at the same time being durable and appealing enough to pull uncommitted wizards away from supporting Haven. And while she was doing that, attracting attention and making people think, agents of the kingdoms of Stonewall, Eagret and Theranderol, backed by the Emperor, started fighting a vicious and ruthless shadow-war against the elite of Haven, which eventually resulted in a total collapse of Haven's aristocracy.

Now, all of the above would just be ancient history and not worth more than passing interest were it not for two things. The first is that a whole LOT of pre-Mylertendal Haven history and scholarship has obviously been suppressed; this is because a fair amount of it was outright dangerous. Magically-powered political tracts and dirty-tricks guides, blackmail and atrocity files, Alphatian versions of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”... they all had to go, and three centuries of spadework has mostly succeeded in making it all a footnote to history. But if any of these lost works were to turn up - in the library of a would-be tyrant, or maybe just in the hands of an intrepid group of adventurers unaware of the precise nature of their prize - there could be a massive, Empire-shaking fallout.

The second point has to deal with Mylertendal herself, and her progress on the Path of the Paragon. See, Haven isn't just the site of Mylertendal's Testimony... it's also her Task. She's committed herself to proving her superiority over all her fellow wizards indirectly, via social engineering; redoing Haven's culture and coaxing its wizards onto a less destructive set of interests is key to her demonstrating her worth to become Immortal. And unknown to even her, the Task isn't finished yet. Most of the old Haven regime is centuries dead, but a few of the kingdom's most powerful wizards realised what Mylertendal was up to (tipped off by Entropy) and became liches in order to oppose her. They're waiting for a time of turmoil to strike against her, undoing the work of three centuries and returning the Kingdom of Haven to a new dark age... and without help, even Mylertendal may not survive.