The Crystal Weaver Saga: An Ill Fate Marshalling
by E. Liddell
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It all began with the demons. If there hadn't been any demons, there would have been no need for Crystal Weavers. (Well, all right, actually it began with someone else's fanfic, but let's not make this any more complicated than we can help.)
Prior to the beginning of the Blood Millennium (2000- 1000 BC) Earth was a pretty demon-infested planet. The human race was being hunted to extinction by evil godlings. Now, demons as a rule are very territorial, and, with only a few exceptions, not very bright, so the only humans who were doing at all well were those living in areas so isolated that the demons starved to death while trying to find them. But what the demons did to such isolated villages when they did manage to locate them doesn't bear thinking about.
Demons hate being thwarted.
The ancestors of the Crystal Weavers lived in just such a remote village, located in a valley in the Himalayas. At the time, they possessed no more magic than the next group of humans. Their location spared them from the depredations experienced by their lowland cousins, until a very minor lowland demon lost his territory to a much more powerful one and was forced up into the mountains as a result. After many days of searching, it located the peaceful mountain valley and went into a feeding frenzy. It killed everyone that it could find, and not quickly or pleasantly, either.
There were about a dozen survivors, mostly hunters and herdsmen who hadn't actually been in the village at the time. Among them was a young man, considered unexceptional by his relatives, who was to carve himself a place in history.
No one knows what his real name was. He never recorded the details of his early life. But the name that he chose to be known by later in life was Adamant.
Now, as with most of the other survivors, Adamant had lost his entire family. But unlike most of the others, his reaction to this event wasn't grief. It was anger. And he prayed to the gods of his people to grant him revenge.
Those gods must have been exceptionally good listeners, as gods go. Adamant spent a night alone in the ruins of the village shrine, and when he emerged the next morning, he had been changed. (You didn't think that multicolored hair was natural, did you?)
The question of whether Adamant's new powers came with a complete instruction manual or whether he learned by trial and error as he went along is one that will probably never be resolved. In any case, it wasn't until several years later that he and his first followers emerged from the mountains to begin the long and arduous task of exterminating the world's demon population.
What followed was one of the bloodiest conflicts in human history.
It took them a thousand years to hunt down all the world's major demons and imprison them. By this time, none of the lesser creatures like the one that had assaulted Adamant's village were left--they'd been exterminated by the Crystal Weavers, and by vengeful human sorcerers.
The Blood Millennium finally ended with the development of the two major demon confinement wards. Having freed humanity of the worst menace that had ever threatened it, the Crystal Weavers withdrew back to their remote Himalayan valley. Normal humans had never trusted Adamant's people, or been comfortable around them. Adamant himself remained in the world only long enough to begin the initial terraforming of the Moon, and create the Sailor Scouts as a guard for his human ally Phoebe, who now bore the responsibility for the second major ward.
The years 1000BC to 0AD were known as the Golden Millennium. This era was a peaceful and prosperous time for Earth. It was during this period that the solar system's other planets were colonized.
The Silver Millennium followed hard upon the heels of the Golden. By this time, though, most of the human race was beginning to take its prosperity a little too much for granted. Although peace and plenty were still the rule, a subtle odor of complacency and perhaps even decay could be detected by the acute nose.
Demantoid, the oldest of the characters in the Crystal Weaver Saga, was born sometime around 400AD, during the last years of Adamant's lifetime, although it's doubtful that he ever actually met the older man. Adamant would have died, or, more accurately, disappeared, when Demantoid was still in his teens, chronologically speaking. His fate remains unknown to this day.
Since it was at first believed that Adamant would be returning, the Crystal Weavers set up a sort of regency council to rule themselves in the interim. As "the interim" lengthened, no one bothered to figure out a better system, so the council remained in control. Unfortunately, government by committee didn't work very well for the Crystal Weavers, and there was growing dissent among the population.
Not quite a hundred years after Adamant had vanished, there was a major ideological split among the Crystal Weavers. One faction, comprising about a third of the population, had been observing the gradual stagnation of human society and was of the opinion that they should give the humans a hand to help them out of this slump. The others couldn't have cared less about the normal humans one way or the other.
As you can see, the humans were not the only ones growing complacent.
The first faction left the Crystal Weaver city in a huff and never came back. There was some sporadic communication between these offshoots and the main Crystal Weaver population for the first century or so, but communication gradually petered off after that. After a couple of additional centuries had passed, the missing Crystal Weavers acquired the nickname of "the Lost", and were considered little more than a legend by the younger Crystal Weavers born since they had left.
When eventually some of the younger generation became curious, they discovered that the Lost were difficult to track. Instead of heading into the heartlands of the Earth Kingdom in eastern and southern Asia, Japan, Australasia, and Oceania, they'd gone west into more barbaric country, and vanished into those huge, disorganized lands.
A few of those who went out to search never came back. While it is possible that they fell afoul of some barbarian tribe with more luck than it deserved, it is more likely that these were the first victims of the Empyrean to come to the notice of the main Crystal Weaver population. The Lost were all long since dead, of course, except for the tiny remnant that went on to found the Enclaves.
Just to make it absolutely clear, the Eternal Light was one of the more powerful demons that Adamant had bound. The ward that had bound it to its location had been incorrectly set, so with Adamant dead, there was only one set of bonds to hold it back. It still couldn't escape the dimension to which it had been consigned, but it could experiment with what it found there. Hence the Empyrean.
The Empyrean were rather confusing to the Crystal Weavers, who couldn't decide whether or not they were demonic or figure out how to fight them until it was too late. In fact, most of the Crystal Weavers born since the end of the Blood Millennium had never been trained to fight at all. As a result, the Empyrean basically chewed them to bits, along with any normal humans who happened to be in the way. In the end, the badly outnumbered Crystal Weaver survivors killed off most of the Empyrean through a suicide strike. The only Empyrean warrior to survive was the creature who eventually became Citrine (although he was very young at the time).
Sometime in the aftermath of the last battle, Demantoid had a vision of the future which caused him to give his life in order to create the Imperium Silver Crystal, thus making his half-brother Onyx the only Crystal Weaver survivor. The events of "Little Lies" followed immediately thereafter.
The Silver Millennium ended with Beryl's War, which resulted in the destruction of the Earthan kingdom (the royal palace landed somewhere at the bottom of the Marianas Trench when the island that supported it was blasted, Australia's interior became a desert and most of its population was wiped out, and . . . well . . . I leave the rest to your imaginations again.) and the total depopulation of the other inhabited planets. All significant technology was wiped from the face of the planet and hundreds of millions of people died in the worst conflict since the end of the Blood Millennium.
During the Shadow Millennium that followed immediately upon the Silver, even the memory of the Silver and Golden Millennia was eradicated. Europe, which had been less damaged than the far East, became the world's major technological center, and humanity invented a world without magic.
The year 2002, when the ice came, is generally considered the end of the Shadow Millennium, but the Ice Millennium which followed wasn't much of an improvement. Not until the Crystal Millennium did humanity regain everything it had lost. With human and Crystal Weaver working side by side, the modern era promises to produce wonders undreamed of even during the Golden Millennium.
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Author's Note: This was supposed to be the last Crystal Weaver story. I meant for it to be the last Crystal Weaver story. But as Robert Burns once wrote, "The best-laid schemes of mice and men / Gang aft a'gley." (I can't believe that I can quote that from memory! My beta reader claims that I should "seek help".) So I now have another complete short story, mostly about Jadeite, and there's also an unfinished slightly longer work about events in Crystal Tokyo after the Dark Moon War. Aren't I just the busy little beaver? Anyway, "The Watcher" and "Choices" (working title, subject to change) should be coming soon to a webpage near you.
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