Man! I keep forgetting I even have an LJ. And that's terrible. But what's worse, I only have a handful of pictures over the course of nearly half a year, and I still suffer from issues regarding "sameface." Not only am I a hack, I'm a lazy hack! That said, I think I ought to post something. I mean, why not? However, I don't think I'm going to post the one picture I mentioned at the end of last post. And nothing of value was lost.
This time, I'm going to go ahead and post what I'd written for the Crimson Emperor in all of his known incarnations, along with a bit of revised setting history to create a consistent character throughout the Emperor's various rebirths and lives. Hopefully the changes help keep everything logical, and I'm pretty sure this one's a lot less complicated than past versions. I think. It seems to change every time a take a pen to it. That's not good. I'd better try to keep this short. Operative word being "try."
The First Crimson EmperorReign: (Mythological) Presumably around the year 10,000 BCE, corresponding with the end of the Ancients' Golden Age.
The Last God-Emperor, Oltimas Saramcarm
The Last God-Emperor, Oltimas Saramcarm
Relevant Volume of The Histories of the Wonderful and Terrible Age of Gods and Heroes: "Vol. 1, The Fall of the Ancient Empire"
History: Oltimas Saramcarm, the last Celestial Emperor, is synonymous with the collapse of the prehistoric "Celestial Empire." In the beginning, the Saramcarm was heralded as the reincarnated Avatar of the Celestials' first God-Emperor and many believed his reign would return the Celestial Empire to its former glory. The Empire's Senate was venal and ineffectual, each Senator preferring to govern over his or her own dominion as a petty god-king, exploiting and tyrannizing the mortals under their rule. The new God-Emperor was disgusted at the state of the Empire he forged in his most glorious past life. However, his attempts to combat the corruption and decadence of the Empire brought him in conflict with the Avatars of other Gods, sparking the civil war brought about about the collapse of the Celestial pantheon. The Gods were torn between those loyal to the Senate, the God-Emperor, and those who chose to remain neutral. The war raged across the far heavens, disturbing even the elder divinities, the Titans. The two factions sought aid from these elder gods against each other, and soon it was clear that the war would destroy the world as the ancients knew it. That was when the rebellion began.
Humankind won over those divinities who were sympathetic to their plight and began to fight back against the warring Gods. The Gods of the Senate suffered the brunt of the rebellion's attacks and were the first to surrender. The God-Emperor and the divinities loyal to him were pleased by this. Saramcarm extended his gratitude to the mortals in the form of a complete pardon for their mutiny during the Theomachy and a welcome to all rebels as loyal and just subjects of the true Celestial Empire. The rebels, however, were distrustful of him and not without reason. Both the Senatorial and Emperor's factions were guilty of terrible atrocities in the pursuit of victory, and it was their mortal subjects that suffered through it all. The rebellion refused to submit, and the Gods and Titans sympathetic to them stood firm before the God-Emperor and his minions. Thus the fighting continued. The surviving Senatorial Gods, in turn, were split between fighting against their bitter enemy, Oltimas Saramcarm, or fighting against a more fundamental threat to their divine authority, the rebels.
After years of fighting, the rebellion was nearly stamped out. An Empire-wide campaign of scorched earth tactics and infrastructure sabotage robbed the rebels of many of the weapons and resources they needed to challenge the Gods. While such a thorough ruination of the Celestial Empire hurt the God-Emperor as well, in the long run, Oltimas Saramcarm believed that the Empire would surely be able to rebuild after the rebels were destroyed. Had the war ended as he had hoped his ruthlessly pragmatic calculation would most likely have been proven right, but that was not the case and his decision would doom the fate of the entire Empire. The Imperial forces laid siege to the rebels' stronghold but they held firm. Within Fortress Gaia, the Gods, Titans, and mortal Heroes fighting for humanity readied a secret weapon to turn the tide of the war. In his characteristic zeal Saramcarm decided to end the slower and more prudent siege and personally lead a massive host to crush the rebels utterly and completely. The Empire's best and mightiest Gods and Men took to the field, and within a day the rebels' defenses had collapsed. But when the God-Emperor led the final assault into the heart of the rebel keep, he was struck down.
The rebels' sages and divinities had long been at work on a vast mystic seal, one strong enough to banish all of the Gods and Titans across the span of the entire Empire. The Titans who designed the seal's central incantatory wardings intended to sacrifice themselves and their powers to keep their charges safe from the other divinities, and the sympathetic Gods had fought to buy them time. The focus of the seal's power was a sword blessed with a simple but earnest wish to protect humanity--the Sword of the Holy Flower, Hepatica Celestian. The sword was vital in catalyzing the reaction that would create the seal, as it contained enough magical and divine might that, should it come into contact with the divine core of a Titan or even a God, would create a chain reaction strong enough to send the seal across the known world. However, the Sword was peculiar, for by its nature it would not lend its power to those who did not seek to fulfill the wish from whence its blessing came. Only those with a true and sincere intent to protect humankind would be able to wield the the Sword, and by the God-Emperor's final assault, almost all such stout-hearted heroes were either dead or cut off from the site of the last battle. The God-slaying Sword would have been for naught but for the courage of one brave mortal. A young woman took the Sword in hand and cut through the Emperor's divine powers, slaying the Avatar within and setting off the wave of power that spread all across the ruined Celestial Empire, sealing away the remaining Titans and rendering hundreds of millions of Godly Avatars powerless--though at the cost of her own life.
Thus did fall the Celestial Empire, a vast superpower laid to ruin by its God-Emperor and without the powers of the Gods or Titans to rebuild it. The God-Emperor, for his crimes and brutality, earned a rueful sobriquet: "the Crimson Emperor," the man upon whose hands lay the blood of an entire civilization. The mortal girl, on the other hand, was dubbed the Saint Alunesca--though history now remembers her as the Swordbearer.
Nearly 8,000 years would pass before the Emperor would again be reborn.
The Second Crimson Emperor
The Generalissimo of Solandilea-In-Exile
The Generalissimo of Solandilea-In-Exile
Reign: (Semi-mythological) Believed to have existed circa 2,000 BCE, and to have caused the end of the Celestial Heroic Age.
Relevant Volume of The Histories of the Wonderful and Terrible Age of Gods and Heroes: "The War of the Giants"
History: In the ages since the fall of the Celestial Empire, the world took on a new shape. Once, the world was viewed as a vast void dotted with points of light and islands upon which life could flourish. Since then, humanity's concept of the world was limited to a mere handful of islands, such was the scope of the Ancients' lost glory. Thus, for thousands of years, each island was a "world" to its inhabitants, when once each island would be called a mere "planet"--and each islet a "moon." All that remained of the Empire was a remnant founded by a few surviving or reincarnated Gods and Heroes, a Celestial Republic to watch over humankind's new home. On one of the planets, dubbed the Greenworld or "Terra," new civilizations flourished. Three powers dominated the territory of the Greenworld, the realms of the Oulinshan, the Sildanes, and the Aurochs. From these three peoples emerged many of the finest mortal warriors and sages among humanity during the Golden Age of the Celestial Empire, and for their ancestors' courage and sacrifices they were granted governance over the Greenworld. However, in time they too grew corrupt and decadent. Those mortals who could not trace their ancestry to the three Great Bloodlines lived in servitude. Some among the low-born studied and educated themselves in the arts and sciences in secret, with the aid of kinder-hearted descendants of the three Highborn Bloodlines. The low-born and their allies rebelled, and founded their own domain, the island Kingdom of Sol Andilea--a center of learning approaching even the space-faring Ancients in advances of magic and science. On their island sanctuary, they flourished for several centuries in relative peace until they grew strong enough that they masters of the Greenworld saw that they could become a threat. In retaliation, the ruling councils of the Three Great Peoples declared a war that would last half a century and sought to bring their errant servants to heel. At the end of that war, they had won, but their victory came at a price--the awakening of a great and terrible power, one that nearly destroyed their world.
The magics of the Highborn sank the island of Sol Andilea beneath the sea. Its people scattered in their City-Ships, but the Solandileans-in-exile continued to fight with an iron determination and a thirst for vengeance. One survivor of Sol Andilea's fall, said to have been the bastard scion of the Royal House of Solandilea itself, took command of the expeditionary fleets and began a campaign to raze and destroy all the lands of the Oulin, Sildane, and Auroch clans as his revenge. The mysterious "Generalissimo," or Grand Marshall, of the Solandileans unleashed a power not seen since the fall of the ancient Empire. He unleashed his divine power and revealed that he was no mere Man, but the Avatar of an ancient and mighty Godhead. To a people who have only known life on one planet, the sight of a Godhead was terrifying and awesome in equal measure. Worse still, the Godhead he summoned was that of the God-Emperor--he was Oltimas Saramcarm reborn.
The Three Great Peoples petitioned their Celestial benefactors for aid, and the return of the Crimson Emperor was reason enough for the Celestial Republic to set aside its otherworldly affairs and throw the vast majority of its magical and military might into the fray--so much so that their own capital, the Celestial City of Ishan Yuga, was left vulnerable to attack. As Celestial Avatars and Heroes fought beside the Three Peoples, their own Godheads took the field. Mortal armies became mere hindrances in the face of the God-machines. Colossi and demigods fought with their titanic arrows of fire and their volleys upon volleys of mountain-slaying Godspears. But, inevitably, the use of force on the scale for which Godheads were designed caused destruction and loss of life the people of this planet had never before experienced. The horror shook them to their core. In a single month, what started as a war of vengeance led by the Solandilean survivors had erupted into the apocalypse.
For the mortals of the Greenworld, the Solandileans and Highborn alike, this was no longer a war. Survivors from all nations and armies thought only of escaping the sudden and seemingly inevitable death of their world. Millions begged for sanctuary, for forgiveness, for mercy. The Generalissimo--the Crimson Emperor--was deaf to their pleas. As the Celestials were slowly but surely being driven back, it became clear that the Emperor's Justice was upon the world and their position grew increasingly desperate. The Republic still held the Sword of the Holy Flower in its possession, but among the Celestials none were true enough in heart or intent to wield it. Among the war refugees, none had enough courage left to try. With time running out, and the Crimson Emperor on the brink of launching an invasion on the now-defenseless capital of the Celestial Empire, hope seemed lost. However, if it was possible for the Crimson Emperor to have been reincarnated, it was possible that the First Swordbearer could have been reborn in response. The chances were slim, and there had been no evidence that the emergence of the Lady Alunesca in the last battle against the God-Emperor had been anything other than a singular fluke--a miracle.
When the extent of the Crimson Emperor's madness was revealed, a number of his retainers had fled. One such Knight of Solandilea had joined a desperate band of refugees attempting to flee the fighting, and defended them well enough that their numbers swelled. The refugee convoy was filled with Solandilean and Highborn alike, including the surviving members of the Highborn Council and their families. When the Generalissimo caught wind of this, he ordered the convoy destroyed in order to make an example of them, Highborn and traitor alike. A force of three Godheads was sent and in a desperate ploy, the Knight of Solandilea sought to buy the refugees time to escape. What historians are still dubious on, however, is how the Sword had managed to find its way into her hands. That the Knight was later confirmed to have been the Swordbearer reborn explains little.
From a wholly historical perspective, three Gods were forced to retreat that day, and it became clear that the Sword of the Holy Flower was more than merely a catalyst for a mystical warding. It possessed the power to cut through mystic power, divine or elemental, and render the magical elements inert. It was a perfect anti-magic weapon whose only weakness was that of application--as a sword, it could only be used against that which it could reach. Godheads, the ultimate expression of divine might and glory, were themselves vulnerable to the Sword, and the presence of the reincarnated Saint Alunesca would force them to change their tactics. Gods, as Godheads, were and are notoriously resource-hungry. Vast amounts of mystical power are required to summon and field these giants of magic and metal, while a single person only requires the basic necessities any human would need to survive.
The Celestials and the people of the Greenworld had at their command a nearly perfect weapon against Gods and their Avatars, one that was infinitely easier and more efficient to field. Even if the Crimson Emperor had the momentum and the brute force to continue his campaign, the Sword of the Holy Flower would continue to whittle down his mightiest assets while draining him of the logistical capacity to field those that remained. From a strategic level, his advantage was turned into a weakness. Furthermore, the reborn Swordbearer, the Knight of Solandilea, was once one of the Emperor's subordinate strategists and she knew him well as both a tactician and a rival. It was only a matter of time before the Emperor's campaign slowed to a halt, and in his attempt to counterattack against the Swordbearer, he was again cut down. The Generalissimo than he was as the God-Emperor, and continued to grow weaker with every death at the Swordbearer's hands. The Sword, on the other hand, grew stronger, though at what cost, scholars are not entirely sure. For in this war, as with the last, as with every War against the Crimson Emperor, the Swordbearer perished along with her enemy.
In the end, the body of the Generalissimo was found and unmasked. All along, "he" was actually young Yeoman Vaeshiva Regaulde, officer of the Solandilean Royal Navy and illegitimate daughter of the King of Solandilea. Today, historians and writers alike still ponder what would fuel a bloody drive for vengeance on a worldwide scale, such that even her own countrymen would be horrified by her deeds. In comparison to the other Crimson Emperor incarnations, Vaeshiva is remembered as a beautiful monster, and has inspired an archetype in fiction all of her own--the tragic, avenging villainess. Of course, the probability that she is remembered as such chiefly because of her beauty is lost on no one.
The Crimson Emperor would not return again for roughly another 3,000 years.
That's the first two of six (plus one, sort of) bits on the Crimson Emperor. If you're wondering why I'm using the "C.E./B.C.E." notation, it's because if I were to date the Crimson Emperors according to Anno Domini, the real timeline becomes a lot more silly. Calling it the "Current Era" comes with the benefit of relativity--what's current to us might not be current to them, after all. Safe to say, renumbering the years according to the AD calendar would be something of a mild spoiler.