Keystone Alpha Unit 41 (Codename: Stimulus)
The Grand Kingdom of Niketos (the public history)
Planet: Chafesek (aka: The Crap-sack world)
One cannot tell the story of the Grand Kingdom of Niketos until they know the story of it’s first king, King Gabriel the Chosenblade. He was Prince of the small Kingdom of Niketos. He was young, weak, and inexperienced as to the ways of war. A few days after he succeeded his Week of Trials, strange beings of Chaos invaded Chafesek. Their dark sky-ships hovered amongst the clouds. Not long after these Outsiders arrived, the angelic-like Astrals appeared with their flying fortresses. They offered their help in repelling the Outsiders, and King Gaylord had no choice but to accept. The battle between the two extra-planar forces began, with Niketos being the battlefield.
With his people dying, Prince Gabriel prayed to any god that would listen. Help soon arrived. A righteous warlord, Titus the Chooser, and his fellow adventurers, the Eladrin wizard Lord Pashat Il-Atrova, the elven ranger Belmont the Twinfated, and the soldier Timothy Righthand arrived in Niketos upon a fallen Astral flight-tower. They had been traveling in search of a way to battle the Outsiders, and through their travels had encountered a deceitful rune-mage known only as Mizuno . Amongst the rune-mage’s stolen possessions were none other than the Twin Pearlblades of Governance and Security. They liberated Pearlblades and made their way back to the Kingdom of Naked. Titus sought to use the blades to their utmost ability, but knew it was not his destiny to use them, but to bestow them upon one who was worthy, willing, and able to handle the power and responsibility of them. Upon finding young Prince Gabriel, Titus knew he had found the blades’ rightful wielder.
Titus the Chooser informed Prince Gabriel of the blades’ power. He instructed them on their use. He warned him of the weight of responsibility they carried. Thinking of his world, caught in the precarious spot betwixt the entropic magic of the Outsiders and the cauterizing workings of the Astrals, the young Prince accepted. He immediately found the swords sharpening his mind. One blade, the Pearlblade of Governance, drew him to organization of his people into teams, appointing leaders, and establishing order within their ranks. The other, the Pearlblade of Security, honed his martial prowess, guiding him on how to best fortify his realm, deploy his troops to protect his people, and inspire feelings of confidence in his ability to defend the lands from the Outsiders. In a short few weeks, he had repelled the Outsiders’ encroachment further into his lands. But he could not push them back.
Reasoning the Astrals might have more help, Titus, Lord Pashat, and Belmont used their fallen Astral flight-tower to visit the Astral plane and surmise a strategy for victory from the Astrals themselves. the soldier Timothy, stirred on by his Prince’s bravery, remained at his side, earning him the title “Righthand.” Prince Gabriel hoped his new friends would return soon, but weeks became months. And the stalemate with the Outsiders was becoming more dire. As Gabriel expanded the walls of his fort, more refugees from more kingdoms poured in.
It was at this dark hour that Titus, Lord Pashat, and Belmont returned, now aided by a shifter named Flint and a small team of Astrals. Using the shifter’s tracking abilities, they ambushed an Outsider tactical party and took many prisoners. Through interrogation of the chaotic beings they gathered that they had to stop the energy flow into the plane. The prisoners quickly divulged the purpose of the “Valve Spire”: to draw energy from some unknown entropic plane to this one. It was slowly converting Chafesek into a chaotic sea. Whatever happened, the exchange of chaotic magic into the world had to be stopped. But with no such readily available method, they followed the visions of Lord Pashat to a Pyramid of Power that might divulge the secrets needed to halt the Outsiders’ advance permanently.
Plans were made swiftly. Titus consulted Prince Gabriel on his people’s defense. He commended the young prince on his ability to organize, but also admonished him on the state of refugees, how they would be scared and in need of a leader to embolden their souls. His last advice he ever gave the Prince was, "Remember Prince, the Twin Pearlblades chose you. Any man could hold those blades and become a good general. But these people have broken spirits. A good general builds an army. But a great general builds soldiers. That is why I bestowed the Pearlblades upon you. I saw that you could build soldiers. " The two embraced and parted ways, never to see one another in the mortal plane again.
It would be months before the adventurers would return. Prince Gabriel spent that time following the Chooser’s advice and renewed the spirit of his people. Under the shadow of the ever growing Valve Spire, he raised his peoples spirits. Every person, man, woman, and child, helped in the efforts to repel the invasion. Despite his internal fears that the solution they needed would never arrive, he steeled his demeanor and kept about him an air of confidence that they could not lose. That spirit echoed throughout all his people and they labored and fought with the strength of giants.
Months passed and Lord Pashat and Belmont returned. With them they brought new allies in the war with the Outsiders. First was an ancient ancestor of Lord Pashat, an Eladrin wizard named Vyrellis. It had been her visions that guided the Lord of the Thunderkeep to the Pyramid of Power. Another was a genasi vigilante named Damocles the Rememberer, whose blade had an unquenchable thirst for those that accosted the innocent. Another was a Dragonborn archer named Ssi-ruk, who had been encased in stone for a millennia and freed at the pivotal time he was needed to help stem back the tide of chaos. The other was the Gnomish female paladin, Fatesickle Genkee Revian, commissioned by the Raven Queen herself to repel the Outsiders, for it was not Niketos’ fate to fall. Upon being questioned as to the location of Titus the Chooser and Flint, the shifter that helped them track and capture the Outsider they interrogated, Lord Pashat Il-Atrova informed Prince Gabriel that Flint was chasing after Mizuno, in hopes of finding more magical artifacts like the Twin Pearlblades to help fight the Outsiders. With a sullen face he told the Prince that Titus, who by his selection of Gabriel as the wielder of the Pearlblades had saved the kingdom from certain doom, had met his fate in the Pyramid of Power. But his sacrifice hadn’t been for naught, as they had learned of a magic powerful enough to put a stop to the Valve Spires flow of chaos.
With no time to shed tears, this team of Chaos Breakers marched forth. With Lord Pashat and Vyrellis in tow, Prince Gabriel led the small team into the heart of Outsider infested territory. The Prince, Sir Timothy, Belmont, Damocles, Genkee, and Ssi-ruk used their might to take control of an Outsider flying pod. Vyrellis cast a barrier around the pod and they took off to the heart of the Valve Spire. The barrier held strong against the river of chaos as Lord Pashat built a runestructure to stop the energy exchange. Pushing Vyrellis to the brink of passing out, Lord Pashat finally finished his spell. The flow of chaos stopped. But without power their vessel began plummeting to the earth. Belmont, using his ever-present elven grace, piloted them to safety.
Upon returning to his kingdom, Prince Gabriel celebrated victory with his people. But the celebration was short as they had a kingdom to put back together. He bid the Chaos Breakers to remain and help rebuild his kingdom, and take their place as rightful leaders of Niketos, but they refused the offer. Lord Pashat’s band had other causes to fight for. Gabriel rewarded them mightily for their deeds and bid them farewell.
Seeing that his son was no longer a boy but a mighty man, King Gaylord ceded the throne to his son. Now King of Niketos, Gabriel the Chosenblade set out to organize his burgeoning kingdom. With the refugees of the various neighboring kingdoms having flocked to Niketos, Gabriel sent the refugees back to their homes and established new royalties over them, each one a vassal state to the now Grand Kingdom of Niketos. Among the vassal states established were Kambling in iron-rich mountains to the east and Undoko near the southern frozen wastes. In Skadar, the region closest to the northern orcish lands, he sent his most trusted soldier, Sir Timothy Righthand.
With a focus on the safety of his people, growth of their culture, and a commitment to justice, the churches of Erathis and Moradin spread throughout the land. In order to strengthen his ties with the Dragonborn clan of Lawscale that was scattered throughout his kingdom, King Gabriel granted the Platinum Monastery a seat on his advisory council. This allowed for the spread of the worship of Bahamut throughout Niketos (although the King did worry that at some point the unofficial head of the Monastery, the crusading bronze dragon Aryterelgr, would become a problem if he tried to pull his people into a war against chromatic dragons). Finally, King Gabriel pulled in the island nation of Iratia into the alliance by marrying its princess. With their union, Gabriel had full control over all the Human nations of Chafesek.
With Lord Timothy keeping them safe from orcish attacks in the north and the navies of Iratia keeping shipping lanes free of pirates, King Gabriel’s focus turned to what he felt were the greatest threat his people faced. It had been the extra-planar threat of the Outsiders that started the whole ordeal and the thought that there were more forces beyond this realm who could potentially invade his lands bothered him greatly. They could come at any time without warning. And should they come again, he would have nothing but his primitive (though formidable) defenses and the hope that the Astrals could offer aid again. But if the Outsiders were bad, the Astrals were potentially worse with their “cauterizing” solution he had been informed they used on other worlds. Combined with their immortal lifespans and Human-like reproduction capabilities, should any segment of Astral society go rogue, they could be an even greater threat. For this reason, he started to form extra-planar alliances.
He started with the only extra-planar group he knew for certain he could trust. The Eladrin House of Il-Atrova had been re-founded by the Chaos Breaker, Lord Pashat Il-Atrova. Most importantly, his Thunderkeep had been merged (with the help of the mysterious race known only as Frums) with the Astral flight-tower that had guided Titus’s team to Niketos in the first place. Somehow the Eladrin wizard-lord had repurposed it’s ability to visit other planes into an inter-planar causeway. This had turned the House Il-Atrova into a powerful portal city for interdimensional commerce. With a solid financial basis, Lord Pashat re-established the Thunderkeep’s once vaunted Academy of the Arcane Arts. With the House of Il-Atrova as a valued ally, King Gabriel had a strong economic, academic, and arcane background. Most importantly though, in Lord Pashat Il-Atrova, he had an ally that he knew shared his same concern for Interdimensional threats.
Roughly 65 years after the attacks of the Outsiders, King Gabriel passed away. By the time of his death, King Gabriel’s alliance had been formally dubbed the Planar Confederation and officially included Humans, Dragonborn, Eladrin, Elves, and Gnomes among their number, as well as various kingdoms, clans, churches, and powerful business interests. As diplomatic as King Gabriel was though, his son, King Jonathan the Unityblade would go on to far outdo his father. More and more allies would be made throughout the centuries. The Kingdom of Niketos has enjoyed unrivaled peace for 450 years. Intermittent wars with their orcish neighbors to the north remain the biggest local threat, but the King of Niketos, armed with the Pearlblades, is ever vigilant and ready to face whatever threat is around the corner.