The Mage Rebellion
The Ultimate Betrayal
It has been 15 years since this dark period in Majeria’s history but the effects of the rebellion are still felt to this day. The Mages’ quest for power changed the landscape of this world and it is still unknown whether the outcome was for the better or the worse.
Five years before the fall of Crossroad City the majority of the Mage community began to meet in secret. While not all could meet in person due to geographical limitations, their control over Essence allowed them to magically communicate no matter where they resided. The purpose was very clear and very dire; the Mages were done catering to the whims of the Majerian masses. No longer would they serve these pathetic and lowly creatures, be they all-powerful wizards or downtrodden commoner. The Mages were the wielders of Essence, caretakers of the life-blood of their world and it was time they take their rightful place as rulers. The Mages knew much about the secrets of Majeria and they hatched a plan that would ensure them unquestioned rule over the people: they would become Gods.
The New Pantheon
Majeria’s founding divine beings were all but forgotten or dismissed as mere legend. Many, including a large number of the Mage community, felt there was no divine intervention involved with Majeria’s birth. Essence, they believed, had come together in this place to create the world. It mattered not; the Mages would ascend (or “evolve” as they put it), create their own pantheon and rule supreme. They would accomplish this via use of The Spire, an ancient divine artifact rumored to allow the faithful to commune with The Gods. The Mages had no intentions of worship however. Their calculations led them to believe the artifact could be used as a gateway to the plane on which the Gods resided. Most assumed these beings were long gone or perished thousands of years ago and the new pantheon of Mages would simply take residence in their new realm. Should they still be there, the Mages would simply stage a coup of godly proportions. After all, it was obvious their influence was weak since Majeria knew nothing of them and the Mages were already almost gods themselves due to their control over Essence.
While most Mages wholeheartedly embraced the rebellion, there were some among them they knew would resist. These “traitors” either failed to see the glory inherent in evolving or they sided with the very people who took them for granted. Those Mages of lesser stature were systematically eliminated once the plan was set in motion. Others would need to be dealt with more severely.
The Art of Deception
The Mages’ master plan was elegant in its simplicity. They would pit the people of Majeria against one another while the Mages would quietly make their ascension amidst the resulting chaos. And so it would be; and it would be done so quickly. The Mages serving the evil nations of the South and West began to aggressively “dry up” the veins of Essence that ran throughout those lands. Traditionally these factions would engage in endless conflict against one another, remaining true to their nature. Once the Essence began to fade, however, they all faced the same dilemma. Of course the Mages could not offer any explanation as to why the veins no longer flowed. What they could do is whisper in the ears of the warlords and suggest two things: they should come together under one banner in order to survive and they should take the Essence they needed from the lands to the North and East. It was the nation of Shar that best heeded the Mages’ advice and formed an army unlike any ever seen in Majeria’s history.
Around the same time of the formation of the evil army (or the The Black March as it came to be known), the Mages of the North and East began to sow their own discord. Their goal was to spark distrust and raise suspicion among the people, painting the ruling wizard class as corrupted by their absolute power. According to Mage propaganda (distributed under the guise of a subversive group comprised of working-class commoners but led by Mages in disguise) the wizards were becoming increasingly complacent and unaware of the dangers lurking in the shadows. To solidify this idea in the minds and hearts of the people, the Mages staged two world-shaking events.
The first was the fall of Crossroad City, a major city/center of trade in Maccordia. The Mage known as Virgil the Martyr would cause the major vein of Essence running below the city to erupt, destroying the city and essentially turning the ruins into a necropolis. The blame for the event was laid squarely on the shoulders of the Purists. The Maccordian people were filled with fear when the news spread, believing their all-powerful wizards were asleep on the job and the magic-hating Purists had infiltrated their cities to carry out terrorist attacks. The ultimate goal was to leave but a handful of survivors to spread the word of doom befalling Maccordia. Much to the Mages’ chagrin, the intervention of The Heroes of Crossroad City began to shed a sliver of light on strange Mage behavior.
The assassination of Everett Callow, The Overseer was the second catastrophe engineered by the Northern Mages. Knowing Callow would never agree to the rebellion, Robitai, The Grand Betrayer ordered his death. As with Crossroad City the Purists were made to blame. The impact of his passing would bring the world to its knees; to think one of the greatest Mages in history could fall prey to Purists within the walls of arguably the most powerful city in Majeria was inconceivable.
The Black March and the Battle of Darmordir
Robitai’s planning was precise and deadly. He was careful to make certain Callow’s assassination coincided with the entry of The Black March into Maccordian lands. His campaign of deception was equal parts psychological and physical. The nations of The Black March were manipulated into thinking war was their only recourse and the good/neutral-aligned nations were fear-stricken. The army was merely a means to an end. Robitai would steer this massive smoke screen to the legendary dwarven city Darmordir. The Spire laid within its formidable walls; carried there by Simon the Lightbearer, one of the few Clerics that existed during this time. It would be impossible to remove it without a grand distraction and The Battle of Darmordir served his purpose well. The combined forces of Maccordia, the Elves of Loral’eil (thanks to The Heroes of Crossroad City) and the Dwarves banded together to engage The Black March. The battle was epic in scale lasting several months. Thousands on each side died agonizing deaths in seemingly endless skirmishes. In reality, the battle was truly over shortly after it had begun. The Mages secretly penetrated the previously impregnable walls of Darmordir and left with the ultimate prize: The Spire.
Chasing The Spire
The Mages’ theft did not go fully undetected. The Heroes of Crossroad City, already suspicious of the Essence-shapers, caught wind of the crime while defending the inner walls of Castle Darmordir from a subterranean threat (another surprise in the Mages’ boundless bag of tricks). The Heroes gave chase through The Plainlands, further South into Essencia, over the Spire Mountains, through the Iron Fields of Orderhehk and finally into the fabled Holy Lands. The group encountered numerous trials and tribulations along the way but they never wavered in their pursuit. Their diligence paid off; they finally caught up to their quarry (on more than one occasion) and uncovered enough evidence to reveal to the rest of Majeria the Mages’ plot. The Mages maintained their ruse until the bitter end. The traitors duped a group of power-hungry evil wizards to serve as the face of the insurrection until they no longer needed to hide. Now, the true evil was revealed but the Mages’ plan was too far along to be stopped.
The Gods Return
The Mage Rebellion’s climax took place within ancient ruins in the Holy Lands, Majeria’s western-most territory uninhabited for countless years. Legend states (for those who believe it) the Holy Lands housed a paradise created by the Gods for those worthy enough to inhabit them. Modern Majerians know it more as an area to completely avoid. The prehistoric monsters and untested magical energies there spell certain death for those who dare to enter. It was here the Mages needed to activate The Spire in order to reach the Gods’ realm. Their lofty goals would never be achieved. The Heroes of Crossroad City faced the most powerful Mages (referring to themselves as The Pantheon) and overcame them… with some divine intervention. The threats facing Majeria at this point were so dire the Gods decided their time of separation from the world must cease. The God of Light appeared to Prince Furnok Darmordir and imbued him with strength to overcome Robitai. The God of Darkness manifested before Crolin Orcslayer and allowed him to defeat Lord Cathist thus preventing a literal Hell on Majeria. Finally, the God of Shadow aided the elves in defeating their comrade-turned-traitor Nathan Radcliffe.
The power of the Gods once again present in the world created a ripple-effect across the land. Their mere presence caused a worldwide awakening. The people of Majeria could “feel” them (though not necessarily understand or fully grasp the event). The Gods could hide their existence no longer; they had returned and all would bear witness in their souls.
News of the clash in the Holy Lands spread quickly (due in no small part to the shared consciousness of The Gods’ return). Majeria was in chaos from war but managed to unite for a common cause: the extermination of mage-kind. They had perpetrated the ultimate betrayal and now they must pay. It was an easy sell to the people, regardless of their inclinations (i.e., good, evil or neutral) since the Mages were too dangerous to leave alive. Nations of all alignments banded together to strike down these still-formidable villains. Some Mages were given the option to surrender and serve nations as they did before – as shapers of Essence. It was clear, however, this was no partnership as in the past. This new arrangement was pure indentured servitude and the exchange was the Mage’s life. Those who resisted were hunted down and killed. The practice continues to this day whenever a rouge Mage is encountered. This period of time was known as The Cleansing and the extent of its impact may never be fully known.