The Fires of Vesta
Death of a World
The reasons why the demons came to Vesta are not known. Some speculate that it is the strong presence of good in the world that attracted them, evil beings seeking to tarnish what is pure and holy. Others believe it is revenge from long ago, servants of the evil gods from ancient times that had long sought a way past the Divine Trinity’s defenses. Finally, there are those who believe that there was no purpose, that the demons merely came by chance, and that Vesta’s death was not a cruel injustice but the impartial hand of fate.
Twenty years ago the demons first began to arrive. Few outsiders would show up in various parts in the world. In Engal, the paladins were more than happy to put long-unused techniques to the test to protect their land. In Agurst, small mercenary companies developed to protect people against the occasional demonic appearance. Yulien saw druids, who had long been accustom to seeking out remnants of evil, turn to hunting the newly arrived threats and destroying them. In addition to these various groups, clerics in service to various temples called strength from the gods to exorcise or destroy the evil outsiders they came across.
The earliest days of the invasion were believed to have been attempts to destabilize Vesta from the inside, which were for the most part unsuccessful. Religious organizations remained strong despite a thousand years of peace, and the active role the gods in preserving and bettering the world made arguments to betray them weak. Perhaps angered by their early failures, the demons used stronger magics to sway individuals to their service. Notable examples include high priests of temples who were dominated by fiendish magic, or the High General of Duntren, Lord Karlon, who fell victim to the seductions of a succubus.
As years passed what seemed at first to be small skirmishes and localized acts of terrorism began to be recognized as the precursor to a larger invasion. Generations of peace had softened many of the people of Vesta, but the timeless gods knew that the situation was dire. The people’s faith in their gods allowed them to train and organize armies that had not existed in a millennium before the full scale invasion began. It was ten years ago that the first permanent portals to the abyss opened up and the armies of hell marched onto Vesta.
The resistance had been prepared though, and war waged across lands that had long been at peace. For a time, the threat was contained. But as stronger and stronger fiends emerged from the portals, which themselves grew in size and number, the resistance was pushed further and further back. The gateways to the abyss spread across all three continents, and even into the depths of the oceans where fiends surfaced on beaches to flank the resistance.
At first the Divine Trinity attempted to bolster the strength of their clerics, to wield the strongest divine powers. Secrets of arcane magic were revealed by Del Agnito, and Sol Victoria blessed paladins with mighty weapons and armor, while Vis Feritas called upon druids to rally nature. When the very weather and land of Vesta turned against their invaders the people’s hope was renewed that victory would come soon.
As strong as Vesta was, it began to shrink. The portals merged with the world itself, and the landscape of the abyss covered, transformed, and consumed that of Vesta. The planet was encased, mile by mile, and resistances were separated by the landscape of hell. Divided, the gods themselves took the field as mighty avatars of power to defend the last bastions of civilization. Their power was mighty, but ultimately not enough. Demon Princes emerged at the head of their armies and in a final, world-shaking battle, the gods themselves were slain.
With the death of the gods one year ago, the resistance fell apart entirely. Hope was forever lost, and Vesta was made part of the abyss. People became the slaves and toys to the demons. All that was good was blackened and destroyed. Few escaped death, slave camps, or meat grinders. Those that did survived knowing their time wouldn’t last, as eventually the demons would taint or consume everything.