Great War of the Castle in the Sky
The Guardians are members of an ancient counsel that dates back many millennia ago. It was formed as a protective measure to guard a powerful artifact, the same artifact that would eventually become the sacred Medallions. The most recent counsel had seven members until its disbanding at the beginning of the Great War. The Guardians have been referred to by several names including the Shepherds, the Counsel, the Keepers, the Sorcerers, among others.
Origins of the Counsel
At the dawn of the Alchemical Age, a terrible alchemist of unimaginable power constructed a huge and imposing fortress, which he thrust into the air. And there it stayed as his throne to rule all the people of the land. In this floating fortress he forged with the greatest of his powers a single orb that had the ability to mold the elements and bend them to the holder of the orb’s will.
However, he was not the only alchemist of great power. In fact, his twin sister was an equal in power, and she waged a personal war of retribution on her brother. At the end of the war, the secret of alchemy was lost along with the orb and the castle in the sky. The incredible power of the castle and the orb lay dormant for centuries…
That is, until they were again discovered by an adventuring wizard named Llewellyn. Upon realizing the sheer weight and importance of his discovery, he called upon the greatest minds of his era. Wizards, sorcerers, clerics, mages, and wielders of other various magics came from the far reaches of the land. They all met to decide what should be done – but few came without something already in mind. This is known as the First Counsel.
What ensued was an epic battle of the greatest proportions. The limitless power of the orb seduced many of the First Counsel’s members, which drew all its participants into a vicious and total battle to the death. Many perished in the fight, and when Roheim, a particularly clever but extremely devious Sorcerer, appeared to gain the upper hand, Llewellyn made a final and desperate act to contain him. He cast his most powerful spell and split the orb into seven distinct shards. Each shard landed perfectly at the feet of the surviving members of the First Counsel. With the power of the orb equally dispersed among the remaining, they were at a stalemate. Though some of them lusted after another’s shard, not one of the counsel members would allow it. They would neither give up their own shard nor allow another to take theirs or anyone else’s. And so they came to an uneasy truce. The first Guardians were not protecting the power of the orb from an outside evil, but instead from each other.
Establishment of the Shepherd Guardians
Slowly, as the shards passed hands from the First Counsel down to the successive counsels after them, the demeanor of the counsel changed. It changed from a violent fear to one of cooperation. With each generation the tensions eased until they formed a new kind of counsel, an altruistic one; one with the enlightened intention of protecting the world as it was; one that realized the real danger was not the other counsel members, but the self. And so this new counsel vowed to cooperate in order to stop the shards from falling into any hands, including their own, while collectively using the shattered orb’s power to maintain the balance of the realm. And thus the true Second Counsel was formed dubbed the Shepherds.
The First Counsel
The First Counsel refers to both the first gathering involving the orb of power and the surviving members of that gathering. The event occurred around near the end of the Great Awakening, a period marked by rapid proliferation and advancement of magic. At this time many great Wizards and Sorcerers came to prominence, and in their pursuit of power there was a dramatic increase in explorations searching for powerful artifacts. This led to a gold rush into the Lands of Azure where large amounts of ancient artifacts were found. And it was in this rush that the floating fortress was discovered prompting the First Counsel’s formation.
The number of participants in the First Counsel is thought to range from 40 to 30 magic wielders. The exact number is not known due to the inherently mysterious nature of these powerful magic users. It is known, however, that only seven remained by the end of the counsel: Roheim the Vraxian Sorcerer, Isheela the Dwarf Paladin of the Dark Order, Dwendler the Pirate Trickster, Bleerick the Gnome Illusionist, Apherial the Siren Wizard, Hrast the Desert Warmage, and Llewellyn the Lost Wizard.
In the aftermath of the Conflict of the First Counsel, each shard possessor ventured into the realm and forged their own Kingdoms. They used the power of their shards to carve up the realm, to build armies and cities, and to increase their strength. And with their armies hailing from the different regions of the realm, they waged war on one another. But never to the point of total annihilation for each member of the First Counsel knew, if anyone ever tried to make a play for another’s shard, their death would be swift at the hands of the Counsel’s cooperation against them. This resulted in an age of constant turmoil with no attainable resolution. This is referred to as the Age of the Warring Elements, and it lasted for over a century.
It was only the Exile of the Sirens that extinguished the flames of war. Apherial decided that she had amassed enough power to break the stalemate that had lasted for so long – and she almost did. She knew that she only needed enough power to take out one of the other shard holders, and just enough to defend her while she did it. Once she had two in her possession, her powers would be magnified exponentially. Despite there still being five shards against her two if she succeeded, she judged that the other counsel members would not be able to cooperate effectively enough to stop her. Her gambit initially paid off as she slew Bleerick and gained possession of his shard, but even as her newly gained power handily defeated the remaining shard holders, she was killed. An arcane fighter wielding two ancient artifacts known as Truth and Reconciliation appeared just as all hope seemed lost. This unknown warrior quickly dismantled Apherial’s power single-handedly. And after the final blow was struck, the realm’s savior just as quickly vanished.
With Apherial slain and the remaining Guardians dead or defeated, the shards traded hands to the chosen heirs. The kingdoms forged by the First Counsel remained, but lay mostly peaceful led by newly appointed kings or chieftains. The new generation of the First Counsel receded from the foreground, and while they were not as openly hostile as their predecessors, tensions remained. But this marked the beginning of the slow and eventual end of the First Counsel and transition into the Second Counsel.