The Millennium War raged on with massive casualties on both sides of the conflict. In order to better organize their ranks of loyal Daevas against the Balaur, the Empyrean Lords sanctioned a new body known as the Nobelium. The Nobelium would then move throughout the Daeva recruits and organize them into finely honed combat groups, known as Legions. These newly appointed combat groups kept the Balaur at bay and helped establish years of tepid peace alongside the impenetrable Aetheric Field, established to protect The Tower of Eternity.
And for a time, life went on for the Human inhabitants of Atreia. Protected by the Aetheric Field, and the Daeva Legions, Humans would go about their business and try to forget the hordes of Balaur ravaging the countryside. After years of violence and terrible bloodshed, this limited existence marked a huge improvement for the population of Atreia. But the stalemate came at a huge cost to the Empyrean Lords and their Daeva followers. While life prospered within the radiance of the Aetheric Field, thousands of Daevas lost their lives in defense of it, as the war continued with no end in sight. The cost of the war began haunting the Balaur, as well, as the Five Dragon Lords committed more and more of their number to attacking the Daevas.
Both sides realized the war would never end if things continued unchanged. And then, whispers of peace sprung among the Empyrean Lords. Initiated by Israphel, one of the more daring Lords, the notion of peace soon blossomed into a full proposal brought before the other Lords. Though noble, the proposal divided the followers of Aion for the first time since the conflict began. Certain Lords desired peace, while others considered the Balaur and the Dragon Lords as a cancer on Atreia, long overdue for removal. Israphel believed a truce was the only way to end the war long enough to stabilize Atreia, and seeing no other alternative, Israphel tried convincing the other Empyrean Lords to present his peace plan to the Dragon Lords.
A string of heated debates and discord followed. The Lords would argue the particulars of the plan, for and against. One of them, Asphel, dissented more than the others. He vehemently disagreed due to his utter revulsion of the Balaur and stood firm, preferring to fight until one side eventually triumphed over the other. Knowing full well that Daevas and Balaur alike were dying while the Empyrean Lords argued, Israphel decided to forge ahead with a sole ally, Lady Siel. They would offer the Dragon Lords peace without approval from the remaining Lords. And that’s exactly what happened.
Before long, the Dragon Lords and their escorts stood outside the Aetheric Field, having relayed acknowledgment of the peace proposal. They simply stood and waited, apprehensively. Uncertainty still plagued the Empyrean Lords, though the Balaur had made the first gesture of good faith by appearing with only a small contingent of elite warriors. The Empyrean Lords made the next move and lowered the Aetheric Field for the Balaur to enter. For the first time in many, many years, the Tower of Eternity sat vulnerable to attack, with the Balaur a stone’s throw away. As a further test of good faith, the five Dragon Lords were asked to enter the Tower alone.
They agreed and entered. The discussions began peacefully. Dragon Lord Fregion and Empyrean Lady Siel began the arduous task of healing centuries of hatred and violence through diplomacy. Each side presented their terms during the ceremony. And for a fleeting moment, it appeared as though Atreia would experience peace for the first time since anyone could remember. What happened next remains a mystery on both sides, as neither side has a full recollection of the events that transpired during the ceremony. What is known is that violence erupted in the middle of the proceedings from an assassination attempt on one of the Dragon Lords. In the blink of an eye, a ferocious battle broke out within the very heart of the Tower. It happened so unexpectedly, in fact, that Siel and Asphel failed to activate the Aetheric Field.
The Tower of Eternity, which lay at the heart of the planet, began to fracture and crumble as the Dragon Lords and Empyrean Lords fought for their lives. Lord Asphel headed to the North end of the Tower while his opponent, Lady Ariel, took to the South, each hoping to play their part in the saving of the world. Regardless of their courage, all of Atreia would break apart unless the Tower itself survived. The two harbingers of the peace proposal, Israphel and Siel, took it on themselves to save the Tower. In an act of pure desperation and guilt, both Lords consumed themselves saving what they could, extinguishing their Aetheric Energy in the process. Their actions, brave in the face of certain death, succeeded in rekindling the Aetheric Field. The two Lords narrowly saved the whole of the planet.
These events, known as the Epic Cataclysm, would usher in a new era for Atreia.
To be continued in part 3 – The Age of Isolation