The Burnt World of Athas

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By:Dave Coleman

The Fall of the Wemics. the destruction of the Pride of Wemicdom by Tectuktitlay, Wemic Annihilator, was one of the fastest and highly environmentally destructive campaigns in the history of the Champions. The campaign itself consisted of only two major battles, the Battle of the Lion Spear, and the Battle of the Sorrowed Paw. Both have disappeared into Athasian history, but the legacy known as the Great Alluvial Sand Wastes began at the Battle of the Lion Spear.

The Champion known as Tectuktitlay drew his armies from the people of the plain, a nomadic folk who had been in rivalry with the wemics since the beginning of their history. The nomads were warlike in temperament, and their power was based upon great war chariots which inspired fear amongst the more civilized nations bordering the great plains. But while the wemic lived in relative peace with their environment, the chariot folk lived an existence of raiding.

Over time the nations bordering the plains began to fortify their territories, and the nomads raid became less profitable. Tec saw the tribes as being the perfect weapon for the annihilation of the Wemics, and easily manipulated as they were clearly seeking a more vulnerable enemy. With his silver tongue, his magical skills and psionic will, Tec convinced many tribal leaders that the Wemics were the source of their problems, and agreement was reached.

The Wemic were a unusual nomadic people, as they were clearly fused from man and lion. In the Wemic, the Champions fought a foe whose natural weaponry, size and speed outweighed that of the humans. But while they were individually strong, collectively as a nation they were too fragmented in their prides to pose much of a threat to the Champions plans. Compared with many others, Tec's army was one of the smaller in the Champions bloody history.

The wemics major kingdoms consisted of many prides scattered across two massive plains. Each pride consisted of many great warriors and hunters, shamanistic priests (with the exception of Fire Priests, possibly because of the Wemic fear of grassland fire), and wemics who studied the mental arts.

So when the Champion known as Tec set out to annihilate his chosen foe, he realized that magic was to be the deciding factor in battle. The Wemic themselves had few allies (or enemies) amongst the other non-humans, possibly because of their proud independent nomadic natures, so their battles were fought almost single-handedly. No real mages existed amongst the wemic prides, as they (like barbarian nations of other worlds) disliked and feared magic.

Initially in the southlands, Tec's champions skirmished with differing Wemic prides and suffered in most battles due to the Wemics fighting skills and mobility. At other time's when Tec engaged the Wemic in more favorable territory to his forces, many wemics would still escape because of their superior speed.

Eventually Tec tried a new tactic. Like Albeorn, the elf slayer, Tec decided to draw the Wemics into battle by destroying what they loved the best, the grasslands. He then started to defile the grasslands, drawing on the plant's life energy. Large expanses were desecrated into lifeless ash. Enraged by this destruction of their homeland, a horde was called for by a great wemic hero, Angry Spear. The prides responded to his call, and a great wemic horde formed to stop the defilement.

The horde descended upon the much larger human force, and initially caused great losses. Many Wemics descended into berserker fury, and allowed their lion-like natures to ascend to the fore. But the human forces were far more controlled, and their morale was high. The humans used magic to inspire fear, and excellent tactics to break-up the uncontrolled horde. So even the Wemic fighting fury failed at the Battle of the Lion Spear and eventually the humans ground down the barbarian horde. It is said the desertification of the wastes began this day. In their sorrow the air elements attempted to blow the ash away, but the damage was done.

Some Wemics escaped the battle, to rejoin their children who had been hidden from the Champion's fury. The pride slowly travelled north to join with the Burning Plains prides. The hero Angry Spear also survived the hordes destruction, but left the Pride to seek solace at his failure. In his sadness, Angry Spear came across the elvish nations, which were having troubles of their own. They helped heal his mind and soul, and began to teach him the civilized art of war. In gratitude, he aided the elvish armies, and distinguished himself in the field. The elves respect for Angry Spear grew, and then he mulled over the great prides defeat at the hands of magic.

Realizing that the Wemics needed to learn this magic, he overcame his fear and loathing, and attempted to study the Art. But the bestial nature of wemics did not allow him to control more powerful energies associated with magic. Sadly he decided that true magic was beyond the wemic nature. However an idea occurred that if the wemics could learn more about magical effects, they may overcome their fears. He then invited several mages on his trek north, along with a couple of elvish warlords whose hosts had already been defeated and yearned for revenge. In respect for his valor, and realizing that humanity was on the rampage, the Elves agreed to his request.

Angry Spear came to the Burning plains, and discovered that Tec's forces were on the way. The Champion had lost many troops at Lion Spear, and had taken time to rebuild his forces. The huge area of defilement had also alerted the non-humans to the danger, and the wemics had gained allies. Fearing that his plans may be in danger, Rajaat angrily had informed Tec to be more subtle in the next battle, which Tec strove to do.

During the Wemics defeat at Lion Spear, he had observed the berserker fury that the Wemics often descended into. Suspecting that it was in their natures, Tec studied the Wemics and decided that Wemics were a blend of Man and Beast. Tec then set about preparing spells that would increase the berserker fury, and descend the Wemics into full beasts. If the Wemics were fully bestial then they couldn't fight a pitched battle, and thus become easy prey. By this stage, Tec was thinking like the wemics, that they were not foes, but prey to be overcome.

He developed a psionic enchantment, Bestial Fury. The enchantment required the hearts and blood of sentient creatures, and his folk scoured the land for appropriate volunteers. Tec told his followers the hearts were needed for a great ritual which would destroy their enemy’s heart and minds.

At the Battle of Sorrowed Paw, the nomads began the battle with their wemic foes. The wemics, with the help of their allies, had developed better tactics and fewer of their members allowed themselves to fall into berserker fury. The Wemics begun to have the better of the fray, and the elvish mages offset some of the Champions mages full power. Then Tec cast his spell. All the wemics in berserker states automatically reverted to their bestial natures and started striking out at their allies. Those other Wemics who failed their saving throws also descended into madness. It became a slaughter.

Angry Spear was one the few who managed to hold his wits and rallied the other survivors. They made their way back to the great prides tents , and awaited their destruction. By this stage the Wemics had realized that this was genocide. At the tents, the Wemic began their final hope. Before the battle one of the Wemics elders had discovered the Planar Gate existence in Guistinal, and the plains of lions. Deciding that their remaining hope lie in this unknown land, the wemic had convinced Taraskir to allow the gate to be smuggled to Sorrowed Paw. Here, some of the battle's survivors were chosen to lead the children into exile. But Angry Spear had realized that the Champion would follow the wemics to finish his task if he knew of the Planar gate, so he and many survivors volunteered to spirit away the Gate.

Angry Spear mind-spoke to the Taraskir the Lion-headed, and asked him to guard the gate. Taraskir agreed, but the Planar Gate had to be transported across the wastes to Guistinal, owing to its nature.

The final pride travelled and fought a running battle across the wastes with the Champions army. But slowly the champions army wore them down. Eventually Angry Spear and his pride were the last to defend the gate. The Champions' army had trapped them in a small canyon. Angry Spear brandished his spear into the air one last time, and then broke his namesake across his right paw. He then finally allowed himself to descend into the fury, and began the last battle. That day, enhanced by his psionics and magical gifts from the elements, he fought as the final hero of his race. Led by his example the pride fought without quarter and full of resolve. Even Tec's psionic enchantment failed to break their minds. But the wemics fell, one by one, until Angry Spear was the last. Feeling his life ebbing, he called upon the great spirits of the air, who had failed the pride at Lion Spear, and then fell upon the earth. The spirits heard his pain and a great wind appeared, the Scirrocco of legend. It whirled around the desert canyon slaying much of the Champions army and created an impenetrable barrier over the fallen hero.

Even Tec could not enter the winds to find out what the last pride was hiding, and bided his time. During these winds several lion-headed champions of Taraskir entered the winds and retrieved the Planar Gate. The elements allowed this to happen because of the giants leonine natures. They bore the Planar Gate away to Guistenal and hid it in the under city at Angry Spears request. They did not change the plane shown on the mirror face, because the remaining wemics had vowed they would return from exodus to live amongst the great plains once more.

When the winds had died down enough, Tec returned to find Angry Spear’s body and the rest of the fallen pride. His spells revealed that they were the last wemics on Athas and thus he returned to his citadel well satisfied.

Not long after, Guistenal fell to the Champion known as Dregoth and thus the Wemic’s secret was lost with the fall of Taraskir. Dregoth, who found the gate later, did not discover the significance of the lion plains, believing it had something to do with Taraskir, and the Wemics disappeared into history. The bloodied sun, already red, grew darker with the fall of another race.

Tec led his victorious army from the field, but the folk realized that the tribal life would have to change owing to the depleted numbers of their people and the ever increasing fortifications of their neighbors. They asked Tec to be their King. He led the survivors across the plains to a small lake close to the disappearing sunlit sea, and began the construction of a small city.

His people remembered their victory over the wemics with relish and craved more. Wisely Tec continued the traditions of war, but pushed their energies in directions with little true risk. They preyed on human and non-human refugees of the wars that passed close to the small city, and over time the Draji culture of blood arose. Tec furthered his experiments with the Bestial fury spell, and to do this he called for more blood to appease the elements. The folk responded to his call, and prisoners became sacrifices for great rites upon the pyramid. In the inner ring, Tec constructed Two-Moon City to be his home, and moon worship arose amongst the people. Perhaps this was a final legacy of the wemics, for Ral and Guthay were their powers.

In the canyon where Angry Spear fell the winds gust, and leonine cries echo from the walls. The broken spear returned to the earth's embrace and a small tree grew.


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