Epoch Star

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Stories and Legends

Birth of Life
Unearthed Darkness
Advent of Mandrala
Dawn of Destruction
Ignus Invasion
Eye of the Maelstrom
Rising Star
The Fallen
A Bitter End

Eye of the Maelstrom



Orbiting above the dead planet that was once one of the most proud and prosperous civilizations in the Union, the Enlar were jubilant in the aftermath of their success. They readily convinced themselves that the Ignus threat had been forthright eliminated, as they could detect no life on the “sterilized” world below: it had been leveled to dust by the immolating fires of their explosive weapons.

They mocked and scorned Mandrala as he left their vessel to return to his homeworld. Calling him a false prophet, they spoke amongst themselves: “If he had had his way, had we armed the Mandralor vessels—and had they attacked instead of fled the external colonies of our Union’s territory—untold numbers of his own kind would have perished needlessly, and to no avail…It is only through the administration of our superior intellect that his pitiful species even exists to this day!”


But as the Enlar stared down with glaring eyes to the now hideously scarred face of the world that was once their home, their exuberance over the committed deed slowly waned unto nervous excitement. They began to doubt the accuracy of their own technologies, and there came to be an ever-increasing need for reassurance that no living creature still remained upon the devastated planet below.

Not much more time passed before the tenuous equanimity of the Enlar aboard that infamous vessel slowly broke into a sort of semi-frantic terror. The refugees contained within the starship began to stir, while their electrically charged tendrils writhed and sparkled in anxious turmoil. Repeatedly scanning for any signs of biology upon the annihilated surface of their world, they tried neurotically to convince themselves that the deadly serpentine monsters had all been vanquished—until, finally, when no absolute certainty could be further accepted amongst themselves, fear overwhelmed them into fate….


After being hastily accumulated from the fleets of regularly returning messengers and cargo vessels, the first and most easily accessible Mandralor starships that entered the system were forcibly conscripted into the Enlar’s schemes. Several expendable Mandralor spacecraft were selected to scout out the planet for a closer, “hand’s on” scrutiny of its surface. In this fashion, the craven Enlar had hoped to once again reestablish their confidence in the situation: that the Ignus were, indeed, all dead.

Overwhelmed by the command of their freedom-giving benefactors of spaceflight, the naive Mandralor descended upon the shattered planet, while their Enlar masters remained in the safety of orbit. At first, the transmissions that transpired between those condemned vessels (the startled crews of which were all terrified at their first glance of the devastated world) and the Enlar mother ship were nothing other than what would be expected: the planet was lifeless, and absolutely nothing—no vestige of ecology nor civilization whatsoever—existed upon its entire barren vastness. But as the doomed Mandralor troupe began to walk out from their landed starships, into the scarred expanse of destroyed world that was once home to a mighty and fruitful civilization, a dreadful and sudden change occurred….

An abrupt, inexplicable profusion of life erupted upon the surface of the “sterilized” world for just a few short moments. At once, the transmissions from the Mandralor scouting mission grew startled and terrified, as their gurgling cries reverberated loudly through the air. The terrible, dying screams of those unprepared Mandralor on the planet below blasted from the Enlar vessel’s loudspeakers, while their scanning systems blared wildly in sudden alarm—until, just as quickly as it began, all became silent once again.


Of the dozen or so Mandralor vessels that had descended to the planet, only a single ship managed to limp away from the carnage. The damage it had endured was so great that its structure was now hardly space-worthy—threatening to implode at any moment, and kill all of the few, remaining inhabitants inside. Those aboard, as they were quick to proclaim to the Enlar in orbit, were either dead or dying, and begged for emergency medical assistance.

But, though their desperate pleas were so loud and pitiful that they rattled like incomprehensible static throughout the volumes of the Enlar’s well-equipped and hearty spaceship, the Mandralor refugees were provided with absolutely no help. The Enlar minds, cold and calculating, quickly concluded that the decrepit vessel before them was a threat….

They destroyed the ship, blasting it to a thousand pieces the very moment that it came within range of their overpowering weapons. In their paranoia, the Enlar killed whatever wretched creatures that managed to survive the holocaust of their own selfish expedition by fleeing onboard the vessel, eliminating any potential for allowing the Ignus a chance to escape. They did this “quarantine”, so it was rationalized amongst them, to prevent what they feared most: the “spreading of the disease.”


More and more of the Mandralor harbingers began to return with the shocking news of what happened on those infested planets on the periphery of Union space, sharing their gruesome tales of the ravaged frontier worlds that had fallen to the Ignus Scourge. Their vessels, having been terribly slow, outdated and overused, took years to return to their homeward destinations—but they were of the few, lucky survivors who had lived through the hazardous journey.

Word of what happened at the decimated outer worlds proliferated like wildfire throughout the Union; and at once, the Enlar was set into a state of mass hysteria. They became aware that, everyday, the Ignus conflagration raged closer to the heart of Union space; and so the Enlar, having no other options available at their disposal, were forced to elicit more duplicitous means of ruthless cunning to protect themselves…


Thousands of newly ordained “priests” began to spring up like weeds throughout Mandralor civilization. Preaching to widespread throngs of Mandralor eager to receive any news about what had happened upon the Union’s ravaged frontier worlds, they wove half-truth tales that depicted the suffering that their kind had endured while simply defending themselves against the “wicked servants of Chaos” Their fiery words and relentless passions caused all those who listened to reject the long-honored sanctity of non-violence that had been imposed by Mandrala thousands of years ago, cleansing their minds from the voice of rational thought while twisting their religious zeal into an instable lust for vengeance.

Mandrala did everything within his power to denounce these “false prophets.” He tried to reveal their true intentions, but many of his people simply lost faith in his words. Only the truest of believers truly listened, while millions of others readily filled the vast volumes of the Enlar’s interstellar transports vessels—endless legions of carnage-bound fanatics ready to be sacrificed for “the Preservation of Order.” Hauled away like sentient chattel to the slaughter, the brainwashed minds of the Mandralor recruits had no comprehension of the sheer magnitude of the horrors that awaited them….


The makeshift armies soon landed upon the surface of their destination, intending to easily retake the Ignus infested world, and set it free from the clutches of Chaos without much effort or bloodshed. But as they departed from their grounded vessels, taking their first steps upon the planet’s ashen ground, which had long since assumed the corpselike color of consumed charcoal, the Enlar driven transports that had brought them there suddenly blasted off to the safety of space—taking refuge from the hostile world below.

And as the retreated Enlar transports shone like brilliantly glowing stars in orbit above the condemned, the forsaken Mandralor looked about their surroundings to see a planet utterly ravaged by the effects of war. They had been duped into expecting a recently conquered world that still bore the full splendors of Union civilization. Instead, what they saw was a lifeless rock covered in countless unnatural canyons and craters that stretched across the vastness of its barren expanse for as far as the eye could see.

And this is when the unsuspecting army of Mandralor was sent crashing to its knees, as the very ground beneath its myriad feet began to rattle and quake. The Ignus then erupted from upon the horizon, blasting into the heavens in twisting, billowing geysers that rained down upon the broken landscape. Like oozing liquid gushing onto the face of the planet, the fluidic Ignus hoards spread outward to encompass everything beneath its writhing, oceanic mass.

The serpents shook the very earth with their undulating movements while they slithered across the landscape, traveling faster than the deadly waves of a tsunami, as if guided directly toward the Mandralor by some unseen hand. Mere moments passed before their bodies, having grown to gargantuan sizes and lengths from feasting upon the planet’s previous inhabitants, let out a noisome bellow before they reared up upon their back segments, with heads arching ominously through the clouds in the sky to loom over the frightened army of six-limbed creatures like some towering forest of nightmarish monsters. Thousands of fidgeting talons protruded from each of their scaly underbellies, methodically clenching and slashing in grisly anticipation of the feast before them. They had awakened from their slumber, at the beckoning call of fresh meat….

Though the Mandralor were, of course, terrified at their first sight of the Ignus, they held their ground. The overhead canopy of serpents cast a pall of darkness upon them, strangling out the light of day as Ignus’ gaping mouths glistened with drooling saliva and countless razor-sharp fangs.

But the unabated Mandralor ranks then let cry an almighty cry of war to the heavens, which boomed like thunder through the twisting maze of snakes around them. They dashed toward the nearest Ignus within their sights, sinking their primitive, dagger-like weapons into its armored carapace. They swarmed upon its sinewy body like ants scaling some enormous tree—crawling over one another and slashing in every direction with fiery eyes and a hell-borne lust for the creature’s blood.


Little is known of what happened that day, as there were no survivors of the battle itself to tell the tale; the few, tattered accounts later recounted by the Enlar vessels watching in orbit over the mayhem depict a scene of the a most senseless carnage. Though every one of the death-bound Mandralor fanatics fought with the utmost courage, attempting to bring down the colossal serpent with nothing but a small metallic blade in each of his four hands, it is said that the beast went entirely undaunted by the miniscule creatures’ valiant efforts.

Flailing its enormous length about in every direction, the serpent easily disposed of the engulfing Mandralor blanket, sending many to their deaths as they were simply hurled to the unforgiving stone floor of the planet. Those few, frightened and unprepared troops who managed to survive the great fall were left to a far more hideous fate, as they were helpless to do anything but watch while their ranks disappeared like dust in the wind. And soon, the Mandralors’ battle roar had become completely overwhelmed by the screaming cries of their dying brethren, as the air became rancid with the stench of death, and the very earth was stained unto the dark, crimson color of blood.

Having few leaders, very little military discipline, and absolutely no organization whatsoever, the scattered remnants of the Mandralor army became easy prey to the ravenous horde of surrounding Ignus. The mammoth serpents, gnashing and clawing at one another like hounds bickering over scraps of flesh, flayed and slaughtered the Mandralor with their lacerating talons, and swallowed them by the dozen in their gnashing jaws. Many of the Mandralor, it is said, were still screaming as they were forcibly shoved down and into the black abyss of an insatiable Ignus’s belly, to be eaten alive while their bodies slowly dissolved in a torturous pool of digestive acids.

Those unfortunate wretches who were not immediately killed faced a far worse and more terrifying fate. After rounding the remaining Mandralor into condensed masses, the Ignus herded into the numerous cave-like openings that littered the surface of the infested world.

After crossing the threshold into the very mouth of hell itself, their fates became sealed, as the Mandralor were then driven further underground into the subterranean network of the Ignus’ burrowed tunnels: deep into the heart of the serpents’ lair. Separated and in total darkness, they had nothing but their own horrid screams to accompany them into the afterlife, as their nutritious bodies were slowly torn asunder to be nibbled upon by the smaller Ignus yearlings that had not earlier risen to the surface.


And that is when the Enlar, hovering in orbit and watching the battle below from the safety of their transport vessels, opened the storage bays to the vast arsenals of incinerating weapons at their disposal. Though, they realized, that even the valiant efforts of the Mandralor would not be enough to stop the Ignus, their mere presence on the planet below had been enough to lure them away from the protection of their underground lairs. The prospect of food had awakened the serpents from their state of metabolic hibernation, bringing them to the surface and exposing them to attack. The Enlar then, seeing their moment of opportunity, bombarded the entire globe with powerful explosives until every square inch of its entirety had been charred unto lifeless ash and fiery brimstone—killing all who remained below, Ignus or otherwise, for the “good of the Union.”

And so it came to pass that the Union begat its systematic “sterilization” of every planet within its boundaries. Repeating this process over and over again to any world deemed to have even the remotest possibility of Ignus infestation, the art of slaughter was practiced to perfection.

If too few Mandralor were sent to lure the Ignus out from their subterranean dens on any given operation, then some of the deadly serpents would simply linger beneath the surface out of harms way, apparently not awakened by a strong enough presence of life. And though countless Mandralor died with every successful cleansing, the Union took great pride in the care that they took to not squander their “living resources.”


And so it is said that Mandrala, having heard the cries of his people, became enflamed with anger. Though greatly saddened to see such senseless devastation done by the Enlar, the Prophet was enraged to learn that they had been lying to his people for centuries. The brainy administrators of the Union had always stockpiled their own starships with a plethora of devastatingly powerful warheads, while the Mandralor were denied any arms aboard their largely outdated fleet of dilapidated vessels.

Mandrala knew that his own people could have prevented the Ignus from spreading beyond its insipient stages whilst their reconnaissance vessels happened upon the very first infestations of the outer worlds. Because of this, he realized, the Enlar could no longer be trusted to take care of the Ignus conflagration; and that, if they were left to their own barbarisms, the entire universe would soon be engulfed in its ever-consuming flames. He came to the conclusion that He, personally, would have to put an end to this dire threat, if the now weak and dying Union were to have a chance at survival…



Epoch Star  - Space Adventure  / Space RPG / Space Game - Free to download and play

©2004 Battleline Games