Lyboria is going through a time of change...
For ages past peace has prevailed here for the most part. Apart from the well-known friendships and rivalries, not much has changed in this species-rich world.
It is all rather incredible when you consider that by this stage many races have found a niche in Lyboria and made a home here. Different races bring different interests and views, which in turn means a higher risk of conflict. Some had the impression that this peaceful land had become too quiet. Those few souls were proven right, for the gyre of history has turned again. The period of peace had reached its pinnacle, and the pendulum had begun to swing in the other direction. Minds changed, the races' interactions with each other became less civilised and some rivalries more bitter. Tensions bubbled under the surface, and it appeared that things were beginning to spiral out of control. Picture a cup full to the brim with water: all it would take for it to overflow was one more drop. It wasn't long coming.
The final drop which set the ball rolling on the inevitable came in the form of a series of visions. Each tribal leader had a vision which was to influence his way of thinking, his behaviour and above all the way he viewed his fellow races.
As King Halmund Boneshield was having his morning stroll through his fertile fields and taking in the breath-taking sunrise, he collapsed. A vision brought him to his knees. Through the clouds, he saw himself standing in the middle of a battlefield. His tribe appeared to be greatly outnumbered, and he was helpless in the face of their impending defeat. No longer able to stand around hopelessly, he reached for his sword. He noticed something unusual on the handle as he drew it. A moonstone had strengthened the blade.
He could truly sense the power of the stone. With one blow, his fear turned to courage and his doubt to resolve. He felt as though nothing could stand in his way. With this new-found power, he stepped forward before his troops. His warriors were impressed at the sight of their mighty leader, a much-needed source of morale. The king spoke captivating words to his loyal warriors, his chest heaving with pride. Then he swung his sword in the direction of his enemies, thereby ordering the final blow.
After the battle, he saw himself at a feast sitting face to face with Lord Hrulf.
That beautiful moment came to an abrupt end, however, for later the vision showed him scrappy images of intruders descending mercilessly on the Nordur, burning down their fields and houses. Nothing could be done to stop them. Feeling unsure, King Halmund Boneshield searched in vain for his moonstone. He saw the stone in the hands of the other leader - his nemesis. That also explained why his opponents were so strong. In this part of the vision, he stood on the side of the losers thanks to nothing more than a moonstone, it seemed. Before his fate could be sealed in the vision, a voice came to him:
“Open your eyes, my son! Your enemies never sleep. Take what belongs to you, or they will take from you everything that you already possess.”
He saw how his riches caused other races to fall to their knees. Spies were sent to reconnoitre his tribe, enemies invaded through the hitherto insurmountable fortress of mist, and the first inhabitants began to disappear on the edge of the marshes. All eyes were now on the moonstone and the wealth that it brought. Drarnok could see the greed and jealousy in his opponents’ eyes. At the end of the vision, a voice spoke to him:
“Riches float in the air, my faithful child. Our people has always been destined to rule. But be on guard against the others. You have seen for yourself how our wealth and power are met with envy and rapaciousness."
As Drarnok of the Naphas entered the great hall and gazed at the coveted stone throne, a vision seized him. He saw himself sitting on the throne in question, holding a powerful moonstone in his hand. At first, he had eyes only for the moonstone. It was as though he had been put under a spell. As he finally averted his gaze from the stone, he realised for the first time the enormous wealth that he and his people possessed. The great hall was full of gold and silver. Whether coins, goblets or jewels – everything was there in great store.
As if that wasn’t enough, the walls and ceilings were adorned with a vast array of gems. Emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and topaz. Everything was there. Yet the vision wasn't over.
As was the case with the other leaders, the vision took a nasty turn and images of triumph and might were followed by horror. Other races began to acquire moonstones. They torched the forest, leaving chaos in their wake and killing every eight-legged creature that they could find. Just as their enemies were about to desecrate the shadow tree, the vision was interrupted by the words of an unknown figure ringing in their ears:
“The forest, homeland and tribe long for growth. The impossible can be made possible. Sow the right seed and let our land bloom, or balk at the sight of immense power and the forest will burn.”
Nahila, Tagari leader, slept peacefully under the most splendid starlit sky imaginable. A vision came to her in a dream and it could not have felt more real. She sat meditating on a pasture. In her hand she held a necklace with a moonstone. She felt indescribably proud as she watched herself.
She was no longer an ordinary Tagari; instead she had nine tails. When a Tagari possesses nine tails, it means that he has reached the highest spiritual level. Each member of the Tagari strives to reach this stage, which is characterised by wisdom.
The vision faded, and the beautiful view turned to something more dismal. Races invaded the steppes and descended upon the Tagari. She saw her people captured behind bars, tortured at the hands of his enemies. The enemies were superior in all respects, as they had the moonstone and its accompanying powers. They enslaved her entire people. At the climax of this horrifying vision, an unknown voice came to her and spoke the following words:
“I have recognised your potential and know what you are capable of. You have seen what you need to make that happen. Seize the cosmic relics for the Tagari; otherwise suffering, sorrow and death will be the consequences of your failure.”
Moryana, Leader of the Arachnids and Head of the Spiders, was addressing the crowd at a regular council meeting of the 16 as she collapsed. She fell to the ground in front of the other council members and became helpless as the vision took hold of her. In her vision, she saw the shadow tree, but it looked strangely different. Moryana discovered something odd on the tree. An opening which had hitherto gone unnoticed by her or had only recently appeared. She saw herself approach the strange opening and take something out of her pocket.
It was a moonstone. As though led by a foreign hand, she took the moonstone and placed it in the cavity apparently intended to receive it. What happened thereafter was magical and without any logical explanation. The stone developed a power that restored the lustre of the forest. The tree's roots began to spread, and the trees became bigger and more powerful until the dark woods were no longer recognisable. It expanded, and the Arachnids won prized land and influence as a result. Never in the history of their people had they owned so much land.
The races in other parts of Lyboria had similar visions. Each was shown that there are two sides to every story and that many supposed verities have shaky foundations. If you understand that duality, you will be able to see the whole. The tribal leaders saw the mighty power harboured in the moonstones. The idea alone of owning such a powerful relic sets their hearts on fire. Their longing is even stronger when they consider that the others could also acquire this stone. Do moonstones really exist? The majority asked themselves that question. It wasn't long before the mythical moonstone became a reality and a force to be reckoned with. Rumour has it that such a stone has already been found. Was it only a rumour? Question upon question has led to a mountain of uncertainty which has spread across the land. Ties are on the brink of collapse, long forgotten rivalries have been brought back to life, and greed and jealousy have planted themselves in the minds of Lyboria’s inhabitants. The search for moonstones and the struggle for putative power has begun. But where do these visions come from? And who is behind them all? Questions that are not asked due to lust and desire.