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Gleaming Road Faction
Gleaming

Leader

Kastor

Founded:

4600 AE

Military wing:

Thousand Sun Legion

Sorcery wing:

Zenith

Status:

Defunct

     The Gleaming Road, sometimes called the Kokushi, was a militant cult that operated in Aquila after the Kilran War. Founded in secrecy by a collective of sorcerers, terrorists, mercenaries, and ex-military officers, the Gleaming Road sought to resurrect the fallen celestial Herobrine and regularly engaged in sometimes violent rituals to do so, culminating in a military campaign to depose Empress Tatha. Their leadership was eventualy defeated by the Outlanders and the faction thereafter disbanded, though rumors of revivals persist.


























History

The Gleaming Road has its roots as an almost direct successor organization of Herobrine's army during the Kilran War. The devastating conflict which shook the entire continent of Kilran ended with the death of the tyrant god and the disbanding of his massive army, though Herobrine's inner circle of mages survived and retreated into the mountains of Ertdor. The Archmage of the survivors, Kastor, who was regarded as Herobrine's de-facto right hand, retained leadership of the bokors and led them in a series of rituals to further bolster their power. Within the crags, the cult vowed to find some way to revive their fallen master, though their motives ranged from fanatical devotion to hopes that gaining the god's favor through resurrection would result in further spiritual power for themselves.



Eventually, Kastor and the inner circle began recruiting new operatives across Kilran and Aquila, among them many disgraced remnants of Herobrine's military as well as a small army of professional assassins, outlaws, and terrorists. Kastor's visions led him to believe that the resurrection of Herobrine would require ritual sacrifice on a mass scale as well as the elimination of any military threats in the region which may intervene. The Thousand Sun Legion was formed, comprised of the thousands of newly recruited devotees, acting as a disciplined army to act as the fist of the new cabal. The inner circle declared their collective actions as part of the Gleaming Road, at the end of which was the ultimate victory of the return of Herobrine.



The mages who once served as the prophetic wing of Herobrine's army were part of a centuries-old tradition of individuals collectively known as the Attuned - those who could commune with the celestials and thus harness a modicum of their power to be used as magic, the manifestations of which depended on their patron god. Some throughout history had chosen to walk the line between a wide pantheon of patrons, though most such mages chose to devote themselves to one deity so as to maximize their power. Conventional knowledge held that, as the power of a celestial would slightly diminish with each Attuned they had chosen to favor, it was ideal to only groom a small cult of devoted mages and occassionally imbue their regular followers with a burst of celestial power in the form of magical objects, such as legendary weapons, the use of which would not sacrifice the power of the god in question.



Herobrine upheld this theory to great effect during the Kilran War and his surviving mages carried on the tradition for some years into the history of the Gleaming Road, fearing that seeking out new spellbinders could weaken Herobrine's spirit even further; the activities of the Knights Thash and the Templars, both militant monatic orders which mercilessly hunted down magic-wielders, had also vamped up after the fall of Herobrine and had largely cemented their hold over all Aquila, leading to fears that recruiting new mages into the cabal could expose them. However, Archmage Kastor eventually caved and made the executive decision to seek out potential Attuned across Aquila, reasoning that the powers of the mages had diminished so severely after Herobrine's death that carrying out the rituals would be close to impossible without fresh blood. He claimed the order came from the spirit of Herobrine himself.



Elsewhere in the world, a Freyrist revolutionary movement in Audax had collapsed, violently put down by the Knights Thash as it threatened their imperial interests. Though the revolution had swiftly been squashed, rumors of elite warriors and strategists within their scattered ranks led Kastor to guide them towards Ertdor for recruitment into the Thousand Sun Legion, which had began small-scale raids on peripheral villages to fund the growing army. Among the exiled revolutionaries to arrive on the shores of Ertdor were the alchemist Ben Holliday and his firebrand accomplice Josef Furnace. They and their comrades were given food and shelter by the Gleaming Road and eventually recruited in, mostly through intimidation, though commissars within the Legion assured them that a victory for Herobrine and his cult would result in favorable conditions for further Freyrist and other anarchist uprisings across the world.



Furnace instructed the Legion in guerrilla tactics whilst Holliday began to mass produce potions and chemical weapons for the movement, which greatly improved the raiders' efficiency across the continent. Ben's mastery of alchemical processes drew the eye of the cabal, whom had recently begun to seek out potential battle mages for the Road's newly formed occult wing, Zenith. Essentially given no choice, Ben undertook the arduous trials required for entry, discovering his Attunement and emerging quickly as an Adherent of the elite order. There, he swore allegiance to Herobrine as his patron and began the path of the black mage, specializing in destructive dark magic and taking the name Benthamic to signal his ultimate devotion to the dark celestial. He was also made a lieutenant in the Thousand Sun Legion alongside his comrade Furnace for his skill as a Seer, scoping out potential targets for attack and allocating logistics accordingly.



The Gleaming Road made themselves officially known after their strike on the fortified castle of Krak in far eastern Kilran, raiding the massive cache of weapons, gold, and emeralds using a combination of Furnace's horseback partisan tactics, Benthamic's chemical weapons, and Kastor's psychological warfare against the defenders. The stunning raid sent the entire continent into a panic and drew the attention of the Templars from far-off Olexia in the absence of the Knights Thash, who had recently entered a state of reclusion within their stronghold in Occa. With no effective government in Kilran to raise any sort of standing army with which to repel the increasingly powerful Gleaming Road, the Templars spearheaded the new war against the cult, which had come to be known as the Kokushi within their native Ertdor. The order sent out a rallying cry to all heroes, adventurers, and mercenaries-for-fire in preparation to drive back the plague of Kastor.



To be continued...

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