The plot I was steadily building toward was the consolitation of the six nations of Alter-Mana into two larger alliances: the “Holy Mana Empire” (Naba’al, Wendel and Laurent) and the “Empire of the Restored Faith” (Forthena, the Beast Kingdom, and Altena). In the latter group, none of the original video game protagonists are still in power: Duran was killed and replaced (both as King of Forthena and as Alter-Mana’s Mana Knight) by a warrior named Irzoile, Kevin was challenged, deposed and sent into exile by a “beast knight” named Larc, and after learning of Duran’s death, Angela entered the “Sleep of Death,” making way for a half-demon named Irwin to become the new Witch King.
Meanwhile, Naba’al is still ruled by the rogue Hawkeye, the Holy City of Wendel by Bishop Charlotte, and Laurent by Queen Reisz.
This is a war of ego, religion and revenge: both Empires claim to have the right of Alter-Mana’s particular brand of the Elementalist faith (and they each have what they feel is a valid claim: the HME controls Wendel and its Bishop, but the ERF’s ruler is the Mana Knight, appointed by the Mana Goddess herself); both Emperors (Hawkeye and Irzoile) have a strong desire to see themselves enthroned as the undisputed ruler their world; and Hawkeye, knowing that Irzoile murdered Duran and then somehow succeeded him as both Mana Knight and King of Forthena, wants vengeance for his friend.
In both the Proper and Neo timelines, everything proceeds right up to this point: the Battle of Wendel.
In the Neo Timeline, Hawkeye’s forces win out. But in the Proper timeline, Irzoile calls upon his alliance with the shadowy Mavoles of Mindas (Irzoile himself being secretly half-Mavole), whose dark magic helps tip the scales in Irzoile’s favor. The HME suffers a rout at Wendel, and while Hawkeye escapes with his life, Reisz (secretly Hawkeye’s paramour) goes down fighting, and Charlotte becomes Irzoile’s hostage as the ERF forces occupy the Holy City.
Naba’al and Laurent gather their strength to wage a final assault on the ERF, but this is right around the time that the GA Civil War begins.
The Holy Mana Empire
Hawkeye, having now lost two friends (one of them his lover) to Irzoile, seethes with desire for revenge. Knowing that Forthena, with its space fleet, and the Beast Kingdom, with its Klingon-like system of warrior’s honor, have more to lose from capitulating to White Cell’s demands, Hawkeye makes contact with Erdeny and pledges support and materiel to White Cell on behalf of both Naba’al and Laurent.
Empire of the Restored Faith
Irzoile is present at the conference where Celiose tells the Fringe to scuttle its industry. He walks out of the meeting, insulted, but returns home to Alter only to find that White Cell has landed, they’re allied with the HME, and it’s all the Forthenans, Altenans and Beast Men can do to hold the attackers at bay.
The head of Forthena’s Grand Fleet (comprised of hand-me-down spaceships from the Confederacy days), Commodore Oderic Basla, normally known better for his loud booming voice and taste for very spicy wings than for his tactical acumen, hatches a desperate plan to save Alter-Mana from White Cell…
Talina Svensgaard’s disappearance (and the stepping-up of Guardia’s campaign against piracy in the Fringe) had taken its toll on the Unbound’s ranks over the years. One of the last big plots I did in Proper while the old boards were still up was the “Day of the Unbound,” where a bunch of the remaining pirates all gather together and, under the leadership of the undead pirate captain Marbles Marlowe, attack the Gatian colony of Redemption (Merge V).
Commodore Basla reaches out to the Unbound (through contacts at Jolly Roger’s) and actually contracts with Marlowe to come to Alter-Mana’s aid. The combined Forthenan-Unbound fleet manages to repel the small SAGA force sent to Alter-Mana, but SAGA returns in greater numbers and frightens off the much smaller, less-badass rag-tag space fleet. That’s when Marlowe officially takes command of the force, and, despite usually being played solely for comedy, actually manages to organize both the Unbound and Forthenan ships into an effective piratic supply-raiding force.
The result: after the first two months of SAGA pinning down Alterspace, absolutely zero White Cell supply ships made it past Marlowe’s raiders. Running virtually on empty, the SAGA invasion fleet was forced to leave the Dimension – and by this time, White Cell needed those ships elsewhere and could no longer spare the resources trying to take Alter-Mana. Meaning that, effectively, the Unbound pirates had saved Forthena and the rest of Alter-Mana.
So… What Now?
With White Cell gone, open hostilities between the forces of Forthena and Naba’al reopened. Without White Cell’s backing, and finding no sympathy from traditional Gatian allies (due to siding with White Cell), the forces of Naba’al and Laurent are eventually overrun, and both Hawkeye and Charlotte are executed as White Cell traitors. All six nations now answer to the throne of Forthena, where Irzoile, Emperor of the Restored Faith, sits ascendant.