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The Rise of Orisis

by Marco Dalmonte

Cheimos was born in Taymor when the Nithians began to move the first steps towards their greatness and the Taymora were going downhill. Man of great intelligence and very talented in the magical arts, he quickly became apprentice of one of the wisest sages of his time, the venerable Eldrian, living in its tower on the northern borders of the empire, safe from the fiery political and military conflicts between the various sorcerer kings and necromancers. However, after one century Cheimos understood that he had learnt all that his master could teach him, and he reasoned that only two possible ways stretched in front of him: either remain in Taymor and enter the fray that by now was extended to every region of the nation, trying to defy weaker sorcerer in order to steal their secrets or to gain more political power, or leave Taymor and wander across the world looking for other secrets and hidden magic. Lacking ambition or a warlike soul and being thirsty for knowledge, he packed up and started to wander in the lands north of Taymor (basically in present day Karameikos and Ylaruam). He then came upon the newly founded Kingdom of Nithia, where he struck friendship with the local king, Orisis, and settled down there, becoming court magist at the service of Orisis and Maat. There he became acquainted with the cult of Thothys (Ssu-ma) and became first a devout follower and then one of its high-ranking ministers.

During her mortal life, Maat was a brave paladin renowned for her beauty, her courage and her virtue at the dawn of the Nithian civilisation. Being a worthy warrior, she took command of a numerous tribe in the fertile Nithian valley, her virtue and faith in justice a shining example to her followers during her life. So great was her dedication to the cause of Goodness and her respect of life that she succeeded to impress her patroness, Terra, finally discovering the path of the Polymath. After being reincarnated three times to recover the Ivory Plume, she finally set out for her last deed: the unification and the pacification of the tribes living in the Nithian basin.
Orisis on his part was a very wise and capable man, and his desire to give the Nithians a wide set of laws to prevent injustice and to allow the creation of a real nation with firm beliefs led him to seek for Maat's alliance. After a long military campaign she finally decided to join forces with the enlightened chieftain of the Western Tribes, Orisis, and she married him. After a series of oaths and political weddings arranged either by sheer force of the arms and or by diplomatic talks, the pair was then able to proclaim the foundation of the Kingdom of Nithia around BC 1600. Later the pair started to know each other and they fell in love, thus strengthening their leadership over Nithia.

However, Bachraeus coveted his older brother's power and so started to spin a conspiracy in order to assassinate the king and take his place both on the throne and on the wedding thalamus. Bachraeus lured Orisis outside the royal palace by inciting some eastern tribes to revolt against Nithia. He then set out to subdue the rebel tribes, but once there he faked his own kidnapping. Worried about his brother, Orisis travelled to that region personally to parlay with the rebels, and there he was first poisoned and later murdered by Bachraeus, who then cut his body into different pieces and scattered them along the river Nithia. Bachraeus then killed all of the people who had participated in his coup to eliminate uncomfortable witnesses, and travelled back to Nithia with sad news. After his brother's demise he made his claim on the throne of the kingdom and thanks to his allies' support and the lack of a heir, he was granted the title of Prince Regent.

After the rise of Bachraeus, Cheimos remained at his place without openly opposing him, but secretly helped Maat in her quest to find her consort and revive him. In fact, although struck deep at the heart, Maat didn't resign to the situation, and shortly before the crowning of her brother-in-law she fled the capital looking for the corpse of Orisis. Thanks to her determination and the magical knowledge of Cheimos, she managed to recover the thirteen parts of Orisis's body and mummified the corpse, succeeding to revive him as the first mummy. Orisis, aware of Bachraeus's deceit, returned to get a rightful revenge and reclaim his lost throne.
When Bachraeus got word that Maat had finally came back, he arranged for a meeting with her in his desire of securing his grip on the throne and wooing the widow queen as soon as possible. Great was his dismay when he found out that Orisis had come back too, and the rightful king unmasked his brother's fiendish plan just in front of the court, calling upon divine powers to defeat him and reclaim his position at Maat's side.
Bachraeus was then banned from Nithia and Orisis laid a terrible curse upon him, making him half man and half snake, the first male medusa. In his long wandering outside Nithia's borders, Bachraeus called upon the Immortals' mercy many times, but every time he got only the hatred and spite of all the tribes he encountered in his path, shunned and driven off as the terrible monster he had become. This poisoned his mind completely, and finally he began to make appeals to dark entities. Demogorgon answered his pleas, and led Bachraeus in the underground tunnels beneath Nithia, in the lost pathways and cities of an ancient but now dead civilisation of intelligent lizardmen. There she tested his wickedness and loyalty and eventually turned Bachraeus in the first weresnake, granting him demonic powers to further his vendetta.

When Bachraeus came back to Nithia under the identity of Setis, Cheimos was the first to be influenced by his malign powers. Setis bent the magist's will to his own through a magical subterfuge and began to manipulate him first in order to discover the mysterious secrets that he guarded, and then to obtain Orisis's trust, becoming one of his counsellors. Thanks to his powerful divine and arcane magic and his alliance with the Entropic forces, Bachraeus spun his web of intrigue and deceit, murders and blackmailings, creating turmoil and hatred among the different factions behind the throne. These tensions culminated in a civil war and an attempted coup against Orisis and Maat, which Setis promptly used to murder Orisis (after discovering the weaknesses of his undead nature) and force Maat and Cheimos to flee in exile. Before Orisis' demise however, Maat succeeded in transferring his soul within her womb, getting pregnant by magic and later giving birth to Mitras, son and father of himself.
In BC 1570 Bachraeus destroyed the last followers of the old monarchs and through a firm grip on the army he subdued to obedience the princes that had caused the unrest in the kingdom, establishing a reign of cruelty during which Nithia knew the power and the corruption of the entropic powers for the first time.

After only twenty years a powerful and holy hero named Mitras, heir of Orisis and Maat, stood against Setis's fiendish rulership and with the help of Maat's charisma and influence over the Nithians, he led the people to revolt against the oppression spread by the corrupt rulers. After a civil war that last well over three years, Mitras forced Setis to escape after seizing the capital, and he reclaimed the throne of his father (his own throne), while Setis/Bachraeus crossed the border and completed his path in the sphere of Entropy around BC 1400.
Mitras ascended to the throne strengthening the dynasty of Orisis, bringing Nithia from the bronze age to the iron age and enlarging the kingdom to the point of creating a real empire.
On her part, after completing the construction of the Pyramid of Light, the first huge monument of the Nithian greatness (later destroyed during the fall of the empire), in BC 1520 Maat was surrounded by a moonlight in a gently summer night and disappeared, having succeeded in the Path of the Polymath. Following Mitras's will, the Nithians created elaborate rituals to worship Orisis and Maat, the first Pharaohs, starting to follow them as true Immortals (and thus granting a large following to himself well before he ascended to immortality). Mitras/Orisis later completed the path of the Dynast he had begun in BC 1500 after establishing the Nithian Empire, and he then joined with his wife/mother Maat to continue looking over their followers.
Maat and Orisis got a very important place in the Nithian pantheon: she became the Goddess of Justice and Honour, Mother of Nithia, while Orisis became the Founder, the Lawgiver, the Bringer of Light and the Keeper of the Dead, increasing the base of their faithful followers as a result of the expansion of the Nithian Empire. Orisis got a broad following even under the identity of Mitras both during his life and after his ascension, where Mitras was worshipped as the Justiciar, Warrior of Goodness and Destroyer of Evil.

When unfortunately Setis revealed his true intentions and Orisis was destroyed, Cheimos decided to flee Nithia, with the minions of Setis following his trail. Running for his life he came to the mountains of the northwest, in the broken lands created by the Glantrian catastrophe that had occurred a century before, where he succeeded in evading his pursuers. Unfortunately after rambling in this cold desert he contracted a terrible disease that began to corrupt his flesh and to eat away its memory, pushing him on the brim of the madness. Fortunately he was saved by a group of elven Wendarian scouts, and later carried in their forests, where they cured him with the Elvenstar.
From his rescuers, Cheimos came to know that a terrible magical catastrophe had turned the southern lands into that cradle of diseases and aberrations, and this revelation hit his mind in a very odd way. Cheimos (remembering his experience with Setis and the Taymora sorcerers) became convinced that magic was too much dangerous and powerful to wield, and that it should have been taught only to the wisest and most responsible people in order to avoid its misuse. Obsessed by this idea, Cheimos undertook a solitary quest in order to recover as many artifacts with arcane and divine powers and as many tomes containing precious secrets and knowledge as he could, so that they did not fall in the wrong hands. During this epic quest he got hold of an artifact of the Sphere of Thought that he used to hinder the plans of an ambitious Nithian wizard who lived in the Northern Reaches (who was trying to create an army of created using the souls of his slaves to power them), destroying the Entropic artifact that was the source of his power and therefore his infernal army. Finally Cheimos built a hideout on the mountains between Glantri and Wendar in a totally isolated zone, and an Endless Stair through which only the chosen ones could reach his hideout, where he hid and guarded all the artifacts he found in his voyages. Then, after choosing the wisest among the elven wizards as his assistant, he created an item to defend his shelter: the Throne of Power. After this feat Thothys (Ssu-Ma) appeared and announced him that he had completed the path of the Epic Hero, and in the XIV century the doors of immortality opened for Cheimos. Cheimos gave his tower and his inheritance to his apprentice, who became the Cheiromar, keeper of the secrets of the Endless Stair.