::New New Lunaris City, Lunaris, Crystal Dimension::
Sahl Endeberg stood on the parapets of Endeberg Castle, casting his eyes out onto the bleak Lunarian landscape.
This land was his now, this kingdom his to protect. But it was an inheritance with a terrible, blood-soaked history, almost unbecoming one who was the most beloved of all the dragoon heroes in the Web.
From the nearby doorway that lead back down into the main tower, there was the trepid sound of a moogle’s throat being cleared.
“Duke Endeberg,” came the voice of Jay Peterson, “I have news that requires your attention.”
Jay Peterson took a moment to behold the heroic form of Sahl Endeberg. He was standing with left arm akimbo, and his red dragoon’s helmet tucked under his right arm. His blonde hair gently blew in the Lunarian breeze, and as he half-turned his head, revealing his firmly-set jaw and flashing green eyes, the wind caught his cape and it fluttered dramatically behind him.
“It was a wise man once told me: ‘news blows as easily as dust on a Lunarian wind,’” Sahl Endeberg said, even though that quote was something he’d just made up on the spot. “Tell me, Jay Peterson: do you know the history of our new home?”
“Well, yes, actually in my freshman year at the University of Kuvalla I was initially set to major in Web History with a focus on pre-modern Crystalese civilizations, and an emphasis on the Lunarian Civil War, but that was before I got with my ex-girlfriend who convinced me to switch to International Relations, and --”
“I thought not,” Sahl Endeberg said. He flourished his cape dramatically, slid his helmet onto his head, and kicked his enchanted spear, Furacao, up off the floor and into his hand. “Walk with me, Jay Peterson.”
The moogle stepped aside as Sahl Endeberg moved inside the doorway. Quickly, Peterson followed after him, and they descended together down the long, spiralling staircase.
“In ancient times, before history’s first glimmers of memory,” Sahl Endeberg began, “The Light Moon, Lunaris, was the home of the Lunarian race. Their beginnings were noble, savage and shamanistic. They are said to have been the first race to have awakened in all the Web of Worlds, the first to master the arcane forces of magic. They delved into the depths of their world, and mined from within Lunaris’ core the shimmering stones that they would then cut into the Elemental Crystals – the very same artifacts to which our dimension owes its name.”
Jay Peterson sighed. “I know all of this, your Dukeship.”
Sahl Endeberg laughed. “Your innocent ignorance is endearing, Jay Peterson. But I have not yet scratched the surface. There is so much more I’ve yet to tell you.”
“… You gave me this same monologue yesterday before d–”
"It was after the Lunarians had reached the apex of their civilization, when they had been touched by the Light of Tahran and had mastered the paths of both the paladin and the shaman, that a troubling duality fell upon them. There were some among their number who rejected the Light, who believed that the power they had cultivated over endless eons meant that they should be masters of all creation. These rogues would turn the power of Lunarian magic, of the Lunarian Crystals, upon all other worlds and races they could find. Before there was even a concept of a Web of Worlds, these Dark Lunarians sought to bring it to heel and crush any who would resist them.
“The paladins among the Lunarians’ number fought the Dark Lunarians and forced them into a retreat. Boarding great crystal ships, they fled Lunaris and settled upon Crystal’s Darker Moon, Krolunaris. There they awakened the ancient Dark God of Hatred, Zeromus, and under his guidance they became the Eldrakyn. And so it was that, where once there was peace in the skies above Crystal, now there was… not-peace… as the violent war between the Lunarians and the Eldrakyn raged.”
“Actually, some scholars believe that the Eldrakyn didn’t fully diverge from the Lunarian race until many --”
Sahl Endeberg kept talking as if Jay Peterson weren’t even there: “And so it was that the Master Stroke was stroked to end the war: the Eldrakyn, prompted by Zeromus, unleashed a magical attack that rendered Lunaris utterly uninhabitable. The destruction and devastation caused by the attack were so great and terrible that no history that survives today could abide the record of it. Both Light and Dark Lunarian alike were horrified; a great body of the Eldrakyn were aghast at what their sheer hatred and lust for power had wrought. And so the two halves of the Lunarian race came together on Krolunaris, the Darker Moon, and they enacted the Accord of the Lunar Sleep, agreeing to shelter in deep hibernation within the Lunar Sanctuary until such time as they might awaken and resolve what differences lay between them.”
By this time, Sahl Endeberg and Jay Peterson had come down from the tower parapets and were walking across a courtyard. Sahl Endeberg stopped in front of a grand statue in the center of the courtyard: the statue depicted a dragoon, clad in distinctive dragoon armor, heroically hefting a spear skyward.
“And so Lunaris, the Light Moon, the home of the Lunarian Race, lay dormant and dead for millennia. Until during the Great War when the mighty Dragoon hero Kainsaku came here and established the great Kingdom of New Lunaris.” Sahl Endeberg wiped a tear from his eye as he looked up at the statue. “Oh Kainsaku… how heroic. How tragic. To have perished against such evil, in defense of so noble a dream…”
“… Isn’t this a statue of you, Sahl?” Jay Peterson asked.
Sahl Endeberg cleared his throat. “No. No, of course not. This statue is a tribute to Kainsaku and all the noble heroes who died at the Siege of New Lunaris…”
“… no, now that I can see the face, that’s definitely you…”
“Anyway, moving on,” Sahl Endeberg walked quickly away from the courtyard. “Whoever the handsome dragoon depicted in that statue may be, the point remains: New Lunaris was a dream unachieved. With the Eldrakyn assault on the castle, and the death of Kainsaku during the battle… the hope of New Lunaris would have been dead forever…”
Sahl Endeberg stopped in front of the gates of the main keep of the castle.
“Until now. Do you see, Jay Peterson? What we do here is so much bigger than ourselves. We carry on our backs the legacy of Kainsaku, of all the dead souls of Old New Lunaris who perished in the Great War… we are the heirs of the very Lunarians themselves!! With Baronian leadership and engineering, with Damcyanese artistry, with Toroian women and with Mysidian magic and Fabulian karate and Eblanese xenophobia, we are rebuilding what the Dark Lunarians of centuries ago sought to destroy forever!! We are rebuilding the Lunarian homeworld and we are populating it with dragoons from all of the Crystalese nations together, and we are doing it by virtue of the leadership of the greatest dragoon of all time!”
“Sahl Endeberg,” Jay Peterson said (as he had been trained to in response to the set-up).
Sahl Endeberg nodded and leaned on his spear. “All right, that time was near perfect. Some of your off-script interruptions were grossly inappropriate, especially in the courtyard at the Kainsaku Memorial Statue, but I think if we do it one more time we’ll have it down for when the media’s here. You said you had something for me?”
Jay Peterson lifted up his tablet and did some swiping through pages. “You know, you really should start paying for satellite use. Tomorrow we pass out of range and can’t steal omninet access from the Guardian colony of Defiance anymore.”
Sahl Endeberg took the tablet from Jay Peterson. “It’ll be fine. Isn’t there a SRAN outpost coming up that we can piggyback off of? I’m sure they’d be thrilled to keep the beloved Sahl Endeberg online.”
Jay Peterson sighed. “I’ll… talk to IT and see what our options are.”
“What am I looking at?”
“Right there, the page I left up for you.”
Sahl Endeberg furrowed his brow. “I think I accidentally closed some tabs when you handed me the thing.”
Jay Peterson sighed. “I didn’t hand it to you, you snatched it! Here, let me see --”
“Whoa!” Sahl Endeberg whoaed. “What’s this!?”
“I don’t know, I’m three feet tall and can’t see what you’re looking at --”
“Space race!” Sahl Endeberg said. “Oh wow, SPACE RACE!!”
“… that’s definitely not what I wanted you to --”
“Diamond, Inc is holding the FIRST EVER TRANSDIMENSIONAL GRAND TOUR to promote peace and Web harmony! Sponsored jointly by Diamond and the GACA Alliance Congress, registration is open to all parties across the Web!!” Sahl Endeberg dropped the tablet. Jay Peterson dove to catch it and keep it from shattering on the cold stone floor. “Vice Duke Peterson, I hath decreed that we shall enter this tournament on behalf of the nation of New New Lunaris. Henceforth, it shalt be so!!”
“But, can we please talk about the --”
“NO TIME, I must confer with PollBot 3000 and see to the spaceworthiness of the New New Lunarian fleet!!”
Jay Peterson sighed. Of course, the article about the space race had been just beneath another article about the Alliance Congress passing a resolution offering reconstruction funds for small nations that suffered damages during the fighting in the White Cell conflict… and even though New New Lunaris didn’t technically exist during White Cell, Jay Peterson knew a guy who knew a guy who was part of the Baronian AC delegation who could probably kick some of those funds toward the stalled New New Lunarian construction efforts…
Maybe it would be better, Jay Peterson thought, if he reached out himself rather than trouble Sahl Endeberg with doing anything that actually mattered.