by Max Barry

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The Realm of
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Dust and the Chosen

A feature of the region of Septentria in which the Achesian Intercosmic Bastion lies is the prominence of a giant cloud of dust that surrounds the planets throughout the region. This dust is invisible to the naked eye up close (only far out images of the region reveal clouds of dust) but it is floating in space none the less. It is a fine substance that penetrates the most solid hulls of ships, though it cannot make it past a planets atmosphere. Once inside of a ship it mixes with the air and is inhaled as normal by the inhabitants aboard. 99.9% of space travelers are unaffected by this dust and continue without any knowledge they are inhaling it. .000001% or one in one hundred million die when inhaling the dust (typically passing out upon several minutes of exposure and then dying moments later), but .0000001% or one in one billion are granted with powers that some claim to be miracles.

A Follower of Shrauc

Those are called the chosen, and are among the most powerful, the most revered, the most ambitious, the most sought after, and even the most evil. The chosen have been researched to have far enhanced reflexes, ability to jump incredible bounds, heal mortal wounds, perceive biological beings with greater understanding of their thoughts, communicate telepathically with other chosen, and even move things with their minds. Latest research on these beings that was done during the times of the old empire eluded that the dust was a biological link to a higher dimension. One that intersects with ours that most mortals cannot see or interact with. This gives the chosen a great advantage, and unseemly power.

Discovery of these powers happened when the first men were sent into space on the home planet of what then became the Empire. The astronaut came back with these renewed powers, and returned with an ambition that cost the lives of 300 million people. After that and the eventual expansion of the old Empire into space, Chosen often under the pressure of the government registered and then took a vow of no harm, committing themselves to being healers and meditation. Some still chose the path of violence, and often caused rifts in the Empire, which is when these pacifist chosen were called on to combat those who would embrace the darker side of their powers. This was tradition for hundreds of years during the reign of the Old Empire. But now as it has crumbled so has the barriers that keep the chosen in check, while some still commit themselves to lives of peace, others now use their powers to either their own gain, or the gain of their fellow man.

It is tradition that when the peaceful chosen who swore to heal and mend their fellow man, when called upon to fight one of their own who took the path of violence, would fight with laser swords called, Kale. Reason for this is that a normal ranged weapon would be too easy to predict and dodge even in the hands of the chosen. Swords of this nature were elegant weapons that when wielded by a chosen were harder to predict their striking path when fighting other chosen, and therefore faster to strike ones opponents down. It is in this tradition that you find most Chosen wielding such weapons, and still those peaceful chosen training with wooden swords during their times of meditation. Kale come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, types, and colors. Whether they choose to use their blades for good or evil however seems to be something that is left to the battle within their own minds.

The Chosen are much like most "mortal" beings broken into many different factions and sets of ideals that make them each unique. Throughout the time since the Dust has been discovered the Chosen have been revealed all around us, and due to the fear that they cause in the normal population many different reactions have service about them, thus affecting their alignment in many cases.

An Aur'Vai Chosen

Within the Old Empire when the Chosen were first discovered the war the ensued entangled all the fear that mortals had of these super beings and the compounding misunderstanding of them. This led to the rise of Klemens Shrauc, an astronaut from the Old Empire who after the public opinion of the newly discovered Chosen faded, led a coup agains there government with one-hundred other chosen, nearly conquering the entire Empire with his hordes of followers who declared him god. Thought defeated his inspiration to many chosen has led to the establishment of what as known as the Followers of Shrauc (aka, Children of Shrauc, Shrauc'Vai, or Heir of Shrauc). These followers believe in the Chosen's dominance over the mortal beings and their right to rule due to their great power. They are labeled by the Empire as a terrorist group but some see it as an even greater threat, as they as the wise masters of Aur'Vai say "are the manifestation of evil intentions."

Though these darker chosen exist there is a counter balance to their ambition to rule over all of Septentria. The Aur'Vai who banded together to defeat Klemens Shrauc have existed to this day within the Empire. Though many point to the mandatory formation of the Aur'Vai to keep track and control over the Chosen within the boarders of the Empire, the Aur'Vai have not seen it that way. These Chosen are sworn to peace and not to harm any mortal being. The Aur'Vai spend their days on the home planet as healers, wisdom seekers, and religious leaders. They seek serenity within themselves at the world around the, and teach this state of mind to the mortals that visit their temples. They use their powers only for good and pass this along tot he generations of Chosen who are brought to the Aur'Vai by the government of the Empire. The only martial thought in their mind is to bring rouge chosen to justice, they train only to defeat other chosen and when called upon by the Empire will seek to destroy chosen who have used their powers to self gain or evil. Those Aur'Vai who seek out rouge chosen are called Aur'Vai Ro'Nynn, and spend their lives dedicated to bring harmony amongst the Chosen.

With the registration of Chosen with the government, the forced enlistment of Chosen children or those found to be chosen into the order of the Aur'Vai, many feel they only have two choices when they discover they in fact chosen. Not all however want to march the party of harmony, but even fewer wish to join the dark orders of Shrauc that lurk in the corner of the region seeking to gain power. Some Chosen have decided that their is a third path to take and make their own destiny. One such group is the Auvvath'Vai a more direct form of the Aur'Vai chosen. The Auvvath'Vai broke away from the Aur'Vai some two hundred years ago when the growing disdain with the directives of the Empire came to a boiling point within the order. Many of the Aur'Vai masters felt pawns in the Empire's games, and further felt a more direct application of their powers could be of good use to the peoples of the region, whether they be Imperial or not. These chosen set out to accomplish the mission of "the greater good" and promised to wipe out evil in any form whether it be a chosen or even mortal. This of course led to a large conflict between the Aur'Vai and the Auvvath'Vai as the old code said that a chosen would not harm a mortal. When the dust settled on the conflict and many chosen lay dead, it was mutually decided that neither group would have anything to do with the other, and that they would go their separate ways. To this day however animosity exists between the two factions.

Still some chosen do not fit the mold in these factions or any such faction. Since the fall of the Empire and the loss of its ability to control the chosen and regulate where they go, many more factions of chosen have risen as well as the proliferation of lone wolf chosen who follow no one. Many chosen have found lucrative careers as bounty hunters, assassins, or soldiers for hire, pimping themselves out for the highest bidder. This of course does not sit well with either the Aur'Vai or the Auvvath'Vai, but neither faction has resources enough to combat the numbers of chosen taking this path, so it is dealt with on a case by case basis.

The Realm of Achesia