The First True Warriors

 

The First True Warriors were a group of sixteen individuals who, through either their discoveries or their innate abilities, were known for founding the sixteen modern classes of Terrium. Though the title of First True Warrior itself was reserved for Merlin, who created the first modern class, the group is collectively known as the First True Warriors. While the individuals were not necessarily allies of one another, they did garner a deep mutual respect for each other’s prowess. Merlin was the only one of the group to have met every other member, and with the exception of Macha, outlived the entire group despite being the oldest.

Upon each member’s death, their weapons and a vial of their blood were inherited by Merlin per their request. Merlin performed a ritual using their blood to infuse the weapons with the spirits of their original wielders, causing the weapons to wield incredible powers and become indestructible. His reasoning for this ritual was to provide the world with weapons of incredible power if ever another war with gods arose. Macha and her sisters bore witness to the ritual, and they were entrusted by Merlin for the safekeeping of the weapons, being then known as the Legendary Treasures of the First True Warriors.

 

Merlin, the First True Warrior

 

Merlin Flownaschilde was born into an ancient line of Fibblans who were highly regarded as the children of Flow. Their bodies could hold an incredibly large amount of flow despite their small frame. The Flownaschilde lineage was most distinguished by the snow white leaves in their crystal blue hair that glow a light turquoise in the dark. From a young age, Merlin was incredibly curious about the properties of flow. He began researching the effects of Flow’s energy on the physical body and its ability to augment the body as he had previously seen in the Arkhans during his travels. He believed since flow could be concentrated inwardly to strengthen the body, it could theoretically be expelled outwardly away from the body through a catalyst. He based his thesis on the fact that invokers could use their own bodies as catalysts to channel the power of nature itself, so channeling one’s inherent power into a weapon should be possible as well.

As a Fibblan with a massive flow reserve, he experimented daily with many different materials as catalysts. However, it wasn’t until he was ambushed by a group of roksors during another visit to Occasus that he picked up a broken piece of crystal and could focus his flow through it to create a blast of energy, turning his theory into reality. After defeating the roksors, he brought their mind gems with him back to Oriens, where he embedded them into a pair of silken gloves. His discoveries with flow control revolutionized the use of flow throughout the world, granting him the title of the First True Warrior, and he was later known as the first Flow Rupturor and the father of all modern warriors.

Merlin spent several years afterward inventing new techniques and skills, soon leading to the ability to focus flow through materials other than crystals, and taught them as widely as he could. Eventually, while he was teaching in Atlum, he met a talented Equirion invoker named Morrigan whom he took as his apprentice. After becoming satisfied with his teachings, Merlin’s life became far more private and mysterious. Those closest to him, particularly Morrigan, provided recounts of the remainder of his life. At some point, Merlin escorted Morrigan and her sisters to Cordegarde where they sacrificed their blood to become immortal. Soon after, Merlin had a falling out with Morrigan when she used her powers to manipulate him into impregnating her.

During their separation, Merlin achieved several incredible feats. First, he travelled back to Cordegarde to study the crystallized body of Flow with the permission of the gemstone dragons. During his studies, he determined it would be possible to break the seal and restore her body without ill effects on Terrium by splitting the total amount of flow between her body and the world. His ritual failed, almost killing him, but in his failure, he incidentally created a gem made of pure, solid flow which produced infinitely replenishing energy. Merlin swore never to perform such a dangerous ritual again, but kept the gem for his own devices. Although he never named the gem itself, it became known in the future as the Stone of Merlin.

To compensate for his inability to free the goddess, Merlin decided to spend the next few years reforming the Pillar of Ruin. By using his invocation magic, Merlin tore down the remnants of the destroyed tower and erected a massive cathedral in its stead to honor Flow and the martyrdom she was forced into. When he finished, Merlin named the cathedral the Cerg Eillys Cathedral, which translated from ancient Fibblan to The Cathedral Which Sealed Paradise. The gemstone dragons thanked him for his deed, and gave him permission to visit Flow’s sealed body whenever he pleased.

His next incredible feat came several decades later when Monn the Earth Dragon uncharacteristically left Cordegarde and began wreaking havoc on the southern half of Oriens. Merlin made a pact with Kamiya the Topaz Dragon, allowing them to combine their powers. Using the nigh unlimited flow within his gem, Merlin coated the topaz dragon’s entire body in lightning, and they struck down the earth dragon with a single attack. Using the same principles, Merlin developed his ultimate attack, the Lightning Snap Dragon, which brought about the advent of daily skills.

Merely a few years later, Lucefell the Dark Dragon launched a surprise attack on the Cerg Eillys Cathedral. Caught completely off guard, the gemstone dragons were heavily injured, and resorted to employing Merlin’s help once again. However, the gemstone dragons could not aid Merlin themselves as they were too weakened from their previous battle with Lucefell. Standing alone, Merlin faced off against Lucefell, but he could not overcome the dark dragon’s massive strength on his own. He fled, briefly, to seek aid from the guardian deity Altina. She informed Merlin that even with her blessings, the Jarri are far too powerful in comparison to the guardian deities since the Jarri are direct descendants of a god instead of mere creations. Altina suggested to Merlin to implore an even greater power although such a power might not even exist. Merlin assumed she meant for him to call upon the forces of nature and the Vast as mages do when they activate an invocation, but Merlin decided to take it a step further. Returning to Cordegarde to face Lucefell once again, Merlin risked everything and invoked the source of creation itself. It took an incredible toll on his body, similar to when he failed his ritual to free Flow, but he succeeded and the resulting invocation completely erased Lucefell from existence. Merlin kept the details of the invocation a secret as he deemed it far too dangerous for anyone to use or for it to fall into the wrong hands.

Merlin’s accomplishments inspired countless others to grasp their own way of manipulating flow. Over the course of the next couple hundred years, fifteen more individuals, including Morrigan’s sister Macha, would take the fundamental techniques discovered by Merlin and transcended to become immensely powerful beings themselves. Collectively, they created the modern classes and became known as the First True Warriors. Throughout their lifetimes, Merlin met with every other member of the First True Warriors, and whether they were friendly encounters or not, defeated all of them in combat. Although there were no official records of these accounts, it is said that Merlin went undefeated in all encounters he had with the other Warriors. His unanimous victories garnered their respect, and as a result, they entrusted their treasured weapons to him upon their deaths.

During the latter stages of his life, Merlin became far less active, and was scarcely ever seen. He continued to participate in the Blood Moon Festival every decade to eradicate demons, but that was the extent of how often people saw him again. According to Morrigan, she had reconciled with him a few hundred years before his death. They restarted their relationship with one another, and eventually had a proper child. She described him as being content in his final years, spending most of his time meditating and taking care of their child. She attributed his exceedingly long life and youthful appearance to his possession of his stone. However, she stated that according to Merlin, his youthful appearance was merely a side effect of his extended life, and he was far past his prime by the time they reconciled while relying heavily on his stone to perform most feats of magic.

By the time of his death at the age of 1,204 years old, Merlin was hailed as the single most important individual in Terrium’s history, and his official full title was Merlin Flownaschilde, the One True Child of Flow, Master of the Mystical Arts, Father of Modern Magicks, the Alpha Flow Rupturor, Protector of the Four Continents, Champion of Terrium, Slayer of Jarri, the First True Warrior.

"My father died peacefully... of old age in his sleep. I do not remember him for how he died, but for how he chose to live. I cannot die, so I will do everything possible to honor who he was."
- Lady Chiffon

"There are only two truths of the Vast: that my lover was the greatest man to ever grace this world, and that no one will ever come close to replacing his excellence."
- Morrigan Imerskilth

“I had the rare opportunity of having a one-on-one demonstration of Merlin’s full potential. There was a small island off the shore of Lunara nearly a mile away. I asked him to show me what he could do, so he did. And the island was gone.”
- Robyn, the Sky-Treader

“Without him, our current understanding of flow would not exist. He will outlive me by many lifetimes, but I am truly honored that I would even remotely be considered an equal to him as a fellow founder of the modern warriors.”
- Davis, the Mighty Wall

“When I heard there was a Fibblan who could level mountains with a wave of his hand, I thought they were the words of mad men, so I sought him out. At a glance, all I saw was a small, weak man barely a third of my size. I was sorely mistaken.”
- Herakul, the Iron-Fisted Hermit

 

Robyn, the Sky-Treader

 

Several years after Merlin’s discoveries, an Equirion woman named Robyn noticed that his abilities were extremely powerful and destructive in nature, but lacked precision and finesse. She then decided to climb her way up to the floating islands of Atlum and wander the Sky Tree Forest. While there, she crafted a bow from the wood of a Sky Tree and placed a gem within the bow as a focusing catalyst. However, she discovered that a regular bowstring was unable to withstand the pressure of flow, and the bow itself was both unstable and inaccurate. She replaced the bowstring and the ends of the bow with gems to triangulate the focus of flow, and used the sturdy feathers of a harpy to help stabilize the bow while generating energy. With her new bow, she sniped a lizard on the ground far below the floating islands with perfect accuracy, becoming the first Arcane Ranger. She returned to civilization and taught others of her new skills, but later decided to live the rest of her days in the Sky Tree Forest and became known as the Sky-Treader.

“When I first encountered Robyn, I was amazed by the way she could leap from tree to tree. It was as though she could fly without the use of magic. Truly, she was the pinnacle of Equirion grace.”
- Merlin Flownaschilde

 

Davis, the Mighty Wall

 

Stories tell of a blacksmith boy who lived by himself and aspired to be more than Human. He trained for hours on end every day to strengthen his body, but he knew that training alone could not make a simple Human even remotely as physically strong as an Arkhan. When his body reached its physical peak, he turned to flow augmentation to further strengthen him. One day, a colossus mysteriously appeared near his village and began attacking the locals. Not knowing what else to do, he grabbed a pair of newly made shields with him to confront the beast. Facing the beast head on, the colossus easily swept him aside, but he refused to fall. With every hit, Davis stood his ground better and better. Eventually, Davis infused his shield with every bit of flow he had left and threw it at the exhausted colossus, slicing the colossus’s head clean off its shoulders. As a prize, he took the shoulder blades of the giant and plated them with iron, creating a pair of shields. His village honored him with the title of the Mighty Wall, and his home founded what would later become known as Noble Gallants.

“Once, while discussing our theories of flow, we were attacked by a rampaging mammoth. I offered to slay the beast, but he refused. He merely stood there, an immovable object, enduring hit after hit until the mammoth exhausted itself and calmed down. Then he turned back to me and we continued our conversation.”
- Merlin Flownaschilde

 

Herakul, the Iron-Fisted Hermit

 

In the deserts of Occasus lie the underground homes of the most frightening land beasts in all of Terrium, the behemoths. Arkhans never dared travel through the desert in fear of accidentally running into one of these monsters. However, one Arkhan who was said to stand more than twelve feet tall did dare to tread their territory. Others called him a fool and a recluse, for he spent most of his time alone meditating in caves. When he left to journey the deserts, he was easily considered a dead man, but one day, a tribe of Arkhans felt the ground quake from afar. The recluse had returned, dragging the dead carcass of a behemoth behind him, and brandishing a large scar across his chest. The tribe kneeled and praised the Arkhan for his unbelievable feat of strength, who they named Herakul, the Iron-Fisted Hermit. Herakul then taught the tribe how he fought using a pair of gauntlets the tribe helped him forge from the teeth of the behemoth, and they started the practice of being Crush Avatars.

“During his lifetime, many doubted the stories that revolved around him. ‘How could a single man take down a behemoth with his bare hands?’ they’d ask, but when they met him, when they saw him tower over even the largest of Arkhans, their doubts were gone.”
- Arkhan acolyte

 

Thanatos, the Ruler of Death

 

In ancient times, there was an Arkhan whose sanity was lost since birth and could only think of killing. He wielded a mysterious, massive scythe forged from the head blade of a cuttroch, which he used to mow down everyone around him. After developing the power to absorb the energy of souls, his thirst for murder and death was so grand that he became known as Thanatos, the Ruler of Death. It’s said that with every person he slayed, the blade of his scythe grew more and more red to reflect his bloodlust. His senseless slaughter of innocents led a group of Arkhans to finally hunt him down, but they were not met without resistance. Thanatos was able to ravage through several tribes and kill a thousand kinsmen before he himself fell and his scythe became lost. Despite his insanity, those who witnessed him in battle and lived described his movements as poetic and awe-inspiring. From this, he became known as the first Infernal Reaper. Since then, Arkhans attempted to emulate his soul energy techniques, but none have ever come close to Thanatos’s impeccable killing prowess.

“The way he could move in battle with such a large weapon was incredible. I must admit that even my martial arts could be improved by watching the way he moved.”
- Herakul, the Iron-Fisted Hermit

 

Kouhei, the Tether of Souls

 

Even in his youth, Kouhei was a most curious Equirion. He was fascinated by the tales of Thanatos, the Ruler of Death and Davis, the Mighty Wall. Through his own volitions, he decided to create his own weapon that combined the scythe with the shield’s grapple system. People took him for a fool for creating such an impractical weapon, but he persevered to master his own creation. In just two years of practice, Kouhei could fight on equal grounds with Arcane Rangers by quickly closing in the distance between them with his chain, and knowing he would be at a disadvantage in range, he used the chain of his weapon to channel his flow and steal energy from his opponents. He studied the quick and precise strikes of the giga mantises that littered the outskirts of his village to improve and expand his own techniques. Eventually, he slew a giga mantis on his own, and used the bladed tibias of the mantis to fashion his own personal chain sickles. Kouhei easily became the youngest member of the First True Warriors as the very first Essence Abolisher, and gained the title of The Tether of Souls.

“His youthful ingenuity was matched only by his tenacity to prove those around him wrong.”
- Robyn, the Sky-Treader

 

Orpheus, Tamer of the Ocean

 

Long ago, there was a Fibblan named Orpheus who traveled the world, befriending creatures of all sorts wherever he went. His home in Oriens was nothing but a small grass hut on a beach next to the ocean. Whenever he returned, a woman would always approach him to listen to stories of his travels. One day, upon his return, a storm began brewing around his home, and a nine-headed leviathan appeared before him. The leviathan spoke, to Orpheus’s surprise, and demanded he sacrifice to the leviathan his most prized possession. Saying he had none, the leviathan spotted the woman who came to see him and swallowed her whole. Orpheus ran away in fear, but vowed to one day get revenge. He climbed up to the plateau of a mountain and entered a forest with a small pond. He swam to the center of the pond, and there, he spoke to a nine-tailed fox spirit. Begging the fox spirit to help him, Orpheus offered his soul. The fox spirit did nothing but pluck a hair from each of its tails. They wove themselves together at one end and grew to create a whip with nine tails. Orpheus thanked the fox spirit, which merely nodded back, and left to confront the leviathan. He called to the beast, and once it appeared, Orpheus was quick to lash out his whip. Each tail of the whip seemed to magically grow and wrapped around the heads of the leviathan. The beast immediately bent to his will, but instead of killing the creature, Orpheus decided he would spend the rest of his days commanding the creature to do his bidding. From then on, other Fibblans would call him the Tamer of the Ocean, and Orpheus was known as the first Flow Assimilator.

“There was a certain… darkness in his heart. When I looked into his eyes, I could see a man who lost everything and then took everything in return. He was powerful and frightening, to say the least.”
- Merlin Flownaschilde

 

Tomoe, Master of the Elements

 

Having observed the Flow Rupturors of the Fibblans and the Arcane Rangers of the Equirions, Humans sought out a way to incorporate magic with their swordsmanship. Many tried to channel their flow through their blades, but all they could accomplish was a strengthening of the sword. Any further enhancement or attempt to expel their flow as energy caused the blade to shatter from instability. One of Mugio’s most decorated swordsmen, Tomoe suggested forging swords with thinner blades, and embedding a gem into the pommel to concentrate flow. She also found it much easier to expel the flow as different elements as opposed to pure energy. As a result, she could imbue her sword with the properties of the elements to suit her needs in battle. In one such battle, she imbued her sword with fire and shot a beam of concentrated flames at a hostile roc, whose talon she later used as her sword’s guard. Humans called her the Master of the Elements, and Tomoe then became the first Runic Chevalier.

“Funnily enough, she never intended to become a master of the elements. She always relied on her skills as a fencer first and empowered them with the elements second.”
- Merlin Flownaschilde