The Fifth Age - The Coming of Morphael
Under the new rule of the Eyes of Darkness, the Reflected Worlds fell further and further into chaos, anarchy and corruption. The Eyes of Darkness ruled through fear, and she did nothing to protect those outside her city, the Citadel of Sorcery. The worlds splintered, and there was much evil rampant in the lands. But there was a new power brewing; a being named Morphael. He created a new kind of army in secret, using undiscovered Reflections. There he took man and beast, dead and alive and through some fell power he changed them into horrible beings created from his twisted imagination. But he did all this in secret. The sorcerers of the Citadel had no warning of this impending peril.
And when the time was right, when the people blamed the Eyes of Darkness for destroying all cooperation between people of the Reflected Worlds… Morphael revealed himself and struck like a war hammer into unprotected flesh. It was a blow unforeseen by the Citadel, and Morphael's united armies of creatures marched across the lands, gobbling up little kingdoms, dictatorships and feudal lords. It was easy, for the Reflected Worlds no longer had a unified system of government to withstand the might of Morphael's armies.
Soon the Citadel was in a panic; lands were being taken across all the Reflected Worlds. The Citadel had to scramble, and tried to organize that which they had made chaotic. It was difficult, for no one trusted the Eyes of Darkness. The sorceress had left them to their own anarchy, and now she wanted them to follow her orders. So the Citadel created a line of forts extending out into these wild and anarchy laden lands. The garrison of a nearby Citadel Imperial fort would come to the aid of anyone in trouble from Morphael's forces, but they only came once. Afterward they offered a treaty where they were bound to help when called. In return the people would be required to give up 10% of their fighting age people to join the fort garrison. And unless the rulers of the people signed the treaty the fort would give them no further aid. Slowly… very slowly, some areas began to look to the Citadel garrisons for protection, but there is much yet still in anarchy. The forts do not extend everywhere and are only along the Imperial highways. Everywhere else Morphael's creatures have moved into the wild areas between civilization and the protections of the Forts.
And this is where the Reflected Worlds now stand. People do not trust The Eyes of Darkness, yet they are terrified of the armies of Morphael, for they take prisoners that are turned into more horrible creatures. There are uneasy alliances, and some protection by the Citadel forts for small towns and villages, yet much of the world is still held in the feudal system, and much evil is still about the lands. Ruin hangs in the balance. The war goes on, and Morphael's forces continue to take captives and use them to create even more creatures to bend to his will. He works toward the day that his army is great enough to destroy the Citadel of Sorcery.
The fifth free race came to the Reflected Worlds through the machinations of Morphael. Master of creature creation, he made one race more clever than most, but Morphael made the mistake of combining the quick witted and clever fox with humans. He wanted a race with the ability to be his spies. He needed creatures that could move through the wilderness or back alleys with equal ability. Creatures that could be clever enough to spy and steal what they needed, yet strong enough to fight when cornered, and powerful enough with Chaos and Elixir to fight magic with magic. He called them his furry spies, but they called themselves the Tyven.
But this breed was too clever to remain Morphael's slaves forever. In secret they developed a society of their own… one that spoke truths hidden in sarcasm and wit in a secret language of their own. And when the time was right, all in one night they disappeared. Every last Tyven was gone… along with many objects that had belonged to Morphael and his minions. They set up their own villages in places far from his realms, and there they developed for years before coming back into contact with humans and the other free races. And though they do not like the policies of the Citadel, they truly hate Morphael and will temporarily help even the Eyes of Darkness if it means putting a thorn in Morphael's saddle. In time their society branched out into more than the spies they had been bred to be, and castes emerged, like: warrior, mage and others.
Morphael was outraged when the Tyvens escaped and began to actively oppose him. He started the construction of a mighty fortress, one designed to keep his enemies out and his slaves within. This was a fortress of machine, rather than nature and magic. It was built of rusted iron and black steel, rather than of stone and wood. Smoke billowed from inside as his machines powered his fortress.
In order to construct his mechanical fortress Morphael used his powers to create a new machine that could modify captive free folk into a breed he called his 'builders'. The machine reduced their size so they could squeeze around gears, pulleys and counterweights, yet made them inordinately strong to lift heavy metal parts. The magic changed their eyes, making them larger so they could see in the dark recesses, and elongated the fingers of their small hands to make them more dexterous for manipulating small parts. He kept them under guard at all times, killing any of them that were not absolutely obedient. But their obedience was an illusion, for they only pretended to comply. The fact was that Morphael's guards killed off the ones with the least ability to deceive them, while the ones who acted the most compliant, were the best deceivers.
Then the captured slaves, some of whom Morphael had already altered into his builder race, began a great plot against him. They could not stop him from taking more of them and using his Grim magical machine to alter them into his builders. But they found a way to cheat him. They sought amongst their ranks until they identified those who were accident prone, or had abysmally bad luck, or just couldn't pass up a practical joke, or were good saboteurs, basically, the undesirables of society… and had all of these misfits volunteer to go through Morphael's alterations into his 'mechanic' race. The results were devastating. The worst mixture of these traits ran true as these new creatures bred. They called themselves the Jenemos. And a day came when they banded together and sabotaged all his machines. Morphael's great fortress came to a halt. Had the Citadel been ready, perhaps Morphael would have fallen that day, but they were not. After the great sabotage, the worst of the Jenemos disappeared into the inner workings of the vast fortress. Morphael had the ones he could catch killed, and ordered the machine that made them destroyed… but it did him no good. The Jenemos were master builders, and they had already constructed a second machine in secret, then smuggled it out piece by piece.
For years after the great sabotage the inner workings of Morphael's fortress would suddenly break down, or spew oil onto the workers, or start producing blunt arrows or some other mistake. Morphael brought in new human slaves to work his machines, but there were always rumors of little nasty creatures seen in the shadows just when something broke or did something unexpected. A program was started to wipe out the Jenemos… but it didn't work. They were too clever, and something bad always happened to those that hunted them in the dark recesses. Eventually, some of the Jenemos escaped into the Reflected Worlds. They developed a nomadic society, preferring to be alone most of the time, keeping to dark places. They gather at certain times of the year in secret enclaves to trade and pass on their skills, stories and jokes. Most free folk shun their company, but there can be no doubt… when it comes to fighting Morphael, the Jenemos reach new heights of mischief. They are the sixth and final race of free folk in the Reflected Worlds.
Meanwhile, even with the setbacks of losing his spies, the Tyven, and dealing with the sabotage of the Jenemos, Morphael's armies of other creatures continued to wreak havoc. The Citadel sought a new strategy to fight Morphael's fell armies of horrid creatures. They found their answer in the past. When the Heroes had gone down into the Darkhalls to Rescue the Enchantress, many had fallen and had their spirits trapped. Their souls were held in torture for centuries of agony as payment for their audacity in attacking the demon clans, and worse, succeeding in taking away the prize, the Enchantress.
These souls of the Fallen Heroes still had the full potential of the Blood, and with training, they could regain their amazing powers and abilities, if they could just be liberated from the Darkhalls. The children of the Enchantress, now Grim sorcerers of great power, were sent to retrieve these trapped souls and sneak them out of the Darkhalls. After rescue they were given new bodies, and sent to retrieve other souls of Fallen Heroes still trapped deep in the Darkhalls.
So the sorcerers formed a new army of resurrected Fallen Heroes, based in their mother's once wondrous city, the Citadel of Sorcery. The Eyes of Darkness sent the Fallen Heroes into the Reflected Worlds in small autonomous groups. Since each of them was strong in the power of the Blood they could wield Chaos and Elixir. Thus even a small team of the Fallen Heroes could take on quests of epic proportions and face the might of Morphael even when greatly outnumbered. The sorcerers of the Citadel used their power to bring their spirits back in new bodies, and to resurrect them each time they fell, for only those of the blood can be resurrected. In this way, they were like the demons; the sorcerers could not easily obtain more, and each Hero was more powerful than a host of the creatures that Morphael sent against the Citadel. But Morphael stole many bodies, converted them into horrible creatures and sent them back out into the Reflected Worlds to take on the Citadel's forces and the Fallen Heroes.
But each Fallen Hero the Citadel brought back took time to train, for their former memories were gone, only their powerful spirit could be retrieved from the Darkhalls. So at first the Citadel lost ground in the war while they trained and indoctrinate their new force. To speed up this process they trained some of those they resurrected to aid the Citadel in bringing back more lost Spirits of the Fallen Heroes. It was their job to find, resurrect and train other Fallen Heroes.
During this time, Morphael made great strides and took much of the Reflected Worlds into his fell grasp. Slowly The Eyes of Darkness added to the Citadel army of Fallen Heroes, and this is where time finds itself… the dark sorcerers control the Citadel, and they have built garrison forts along some of the old Imperial highways. But vast portions of the 'free' lands are still in anarchy and chaos. The Fallen Heroes are sent into this wild land to bring order, to protect those loyal, to defeat the many pockets of evil and stop the incursions of Morphael's forces and agents. The fate of the Reflected Worlds hangs in the balance between two powers of evil, one that would drag them into chaos and darkness, and one that would change all humans into monstrous slaves.
Into this terrible time the Fallen Heroes return, and it is their task to save all the Reflected worlds from the evil of Morphael, and secretly, to bring down the evil sorcerers who control the Citadel of Sorcery. For the Fallen Heroes followed the Enchantress, and they live and remember her words: "All is not lost as long as one Hero is true… be the one."