"Purpose."

Few can fathom the primordial jungles to the north, a world so divorced from the arid sands, one might think it to be alien. Yet deep within that labyrinth of ancient wood, lurks secrets deprived of those in the desert's grainy bosom. Valerna knew this to be accurate, as she was a daughter of eternity. She was forced to migrate between the hostile regions, warding off the predators and narrow-minded denizens who call these expanses home. Her life was that of turmoil, while most children suckled on their mothers' teats behind the safety of erected walls. The giantess consumed the blood and ashes of tribulations, birthed into the purifying furnace of chaos that tested the mettle of all those caught within its searing flames. Enduring the myriad of tragedies sprawled before her path, not succumbing to misery, but becoming a jagged implement of war from those exposures.

She delved into the agony birthed via the magic of flesh. Feigning to once more meld her form to service the collective, being taught that pain was weakness ejecting itself from the body, communing with the bones and tissue. Through a turbulent process, the auburn-haired beauty started to bend the organic material to her will. At first, it was simple, drawing on a little blood to form a needle. But in time, her appreciation for the craft blossomed into vastly more complex manifestations of her mastery. Valerna was seen as a prodigy, and so she was taken by the former Matron and groomed for succession. Being granted a regiment of her kin, as the Giantess was sent into the virulent mire of the jungle.

With her trusty battleaxe and the protection of her ancestors, the defiant combatant stood against the horrors prowling the heartless shadows. Repelling writhing masses of leeches, the conniving sentient Toadlins, monstrous lizards, insectoids, flesh-eating bacteria, and fungus.  With each new post she changed, the language she spoke altering to communicate with the indigenous lifeforms that this resilient soul was forced to live alongside with. Learning expeditiously that language was a powerful tool; she sharpened her tongue on the whetstone of erudition, using her looks and robust artificially grown features toward her advantage. Contrary to widespread belief, her kind was not a flock of oafish masses of muscles, but a vibrant people with their unique cultures and belief structures. Using their prejudices to assist her units in the innumerable reclamations of prized resources and wealth, bolstering the tribe's influence as they eventually brought other wayward Giants into their fold. Their expanding presence was stoking fires, as soon they found themselves fending off the ire of jealous parties.

Her tribe was meeting these envious cretins on the field of battle, relishing the chance to prove herself against the despotic reality of their world. The universe was hostile; the need to believe in purity within the struggle for dominance seemed like wasted labors in Valerna's eyes. Eventually, a deal was brokered to prevent the bloodshed from escalating, as the other species were unsure if this was a fight they could win, or if the cost were worth the efforts. The Giants would be allowed to enter, cut their trees, gather some resources and train those enormous reptiles. In exchange for tolerating this, the tribe could not lay roots in the jungle, instead claiming dominion over the plains between the two vastly contrasting realms. A treaty was chiseled on stone, put on display as a reminder of this pact, so far all factions have honored it. Returning to the Warband Valerna knew what needed to be done to ensure her species survival, the bitterness, and suspicion of others would always remain a thorn and obstacle to be surmounted.  

Their nomadic lifestyle had serviced them well so far, but it limited their potential, and ultimately she perceived it as a liability. For a decade, she continued to fend off rogue attackers, hunt, gather resources, and spend her time reading the other races' paper parchments and dusty tomes. Her mistress, the former Matron, contracting an infection as her strength waned, Valerna standing by her side as the elder gave up the ghost due to a fever. The tribe wailed, as her body was soon grafted to the throne of skeletons, joining those before her so the next leader can gain wisdom from their successes and failures. Valerna rose to the position of Matron, having to do battle with a few seeking to utilize this trying time to usurp control of the tribe. Notwithstanding everything her teacher had taught her, the auburn fighter never longed for the powerful position, yet begrudgingly pursued it as the others were too inept at making the necessary choices. Their culture needed to change, and someone with vision and brawn had to clutch the reins.

For twenty years, she kept their way of life afloat, making many controversial changes preparing for her true goals, dealing with a rebellion or two, as the Giants were a headstrong lot. She was adding academic pursuits, farming, and constructing a vast city of bones for her kin to call their land. The grumbles slowly dissipated, as the fruits of her efforts had begun to bear, the harvest far too plentiful for significant descent to rise within their ranks. Valerna adopting a lead by example ethos, unlike most Matrons who sat on their throne and kept to the old ways. She joined her brothers in the theatre of combat, leading from the front while opening discussions with the other societies' representatives regarding political matters. She was welcoming them into meetings to voice their concerns, breaking up fights as she battered the obstructive ones into submission.  

 

Their lumber trade had kept them relevant, yet Valerna understood this too will eventually breed competition. And so she started constructing a naval fleet of enchanted bone and wood, amassing their pile of gold for armaments and brokering alliances with the Mothkela and Drumvars adding their forces to her Tribe. Before subjugating the others, creating the Verdant Dynasty, each collective kept their beliefs while melding with aspects of the Jorgenskull way of life.  Seeking to build bonds with the one thing her forces lacked, she reached out to the Goatkin, who seldom departed their mountainous metropolis securing Casterguns, siege weaponry, and technology. Shrinking her form while visiting Crystal town, and building a rapport with the Wulfgar, Gnolls using their similar fighter spirits to harmonize and breach cultural divides. When the horde attacked the settlement and college, the Giants opened their boney gates, which served as a barrier between the worlds. The refugees being treated fairly, as they waited out the storm before being let go with some supplies and tools to reclaim their ancestral homes once the chaos had settled.

 

Valerna not once making demands, tossing the kindness in their face, or seeking monetary compensation. This lowered their guards' formulating a line of proper communication as the wedge slowly diminished, leading to a secret alliance between the Goatkin, Mothekela, Drumvar, Slarkreen, Toadlins, and Giants. Valerna now resides on the throne, leading her people as she waits for the seeds she had sown to sprout and bloom for the next stage in her conniving plot.

"The Web."

Her alliance with the Goatkin had proven fruitful; the production of bone Casterguns only bolstered their intrepidity and prowess in the theatre of war. The Sands' populace blissfully ignorant of her plot, willingly trading gold for lumber, sugar, coffee, alchemical reagents, food, and sloth milk.  Each coin added to her coffers was wisely saved and spent to train and outfit her army. The analytical Matron was forced to tarry on that skeletal throne, peering at the arid landscape with covetous eyes. Knowing full well if she didn't move first, the imperial forces would eventually march against her people. She had the army, the resources, but what the chieftain lacked, was information on the lay of the land's infrastructure. Valerna had no interest in slaughtering the kingdom, instead of wanting to rule it to ensure peace and utter unification. Residing within taciturnity, left to meander in thought, the matron conceived quite the effective tapestry of deception.

 

She was spreading false rumors to rouse a useful pawn, dispersing data via her spies who had long since infiltrated the southernly territory. Those loyal agents parading around as unassuming roles, some of which infiltrated would be enemy factions. Sitting within that web, the ambitious soul needed only to wait until some fool worthy of her time manifested themselves. Many purveyors of opulence would drop by her camp, none proving worthy, as each failed to pass the series of tests offered to evaluate the breadth of their ambitions. Until one day, a myopic Cephalopod named Ara'Thyrel floundered into those walls, arriving by sea, as the pale Chieftain waited at the docks. On initial inspection, her slow movements made the seafaring creature appear deficient, though, once alone, her opinion shifted.

The two sharing the jungle's coffee, the sweet flavor of the sugar enticing the tendril beauty. In lieu of her impaired vision, she possessed a degree of insight that seemed to have eluded most. Those succulent lips broadened into a simper, as idle flirtations followed the affair. At first, the Matron had planned to use her body to tempt this creature, bend the woman to her will, and use her callously as another pawn on the board. But something unexpected unfurled; the heart felt a kindred bond, this titillating alien was a temporary worthy mate. The two shared an evening, melding their flesh, prodding one another's pliability and resolve inside those private chambers. Reveling with sensual delight, a most auspicious climax, as each had fatigued the other.

Valerna knew she had to employ this Jewel of the sea for herself, offering her body, delusions of love, as Ara'Thyrel possessed the half of the equation she was deprived of. The two received word soon after that her friend Matsumota had raised that blade against the Empire. This blood fox had not escaped her notice, having been recited countless tales of the Kitsune warrior's exploits. A diabolical plan being formulated on the spot, seeing how Ara'Thyrel was acquainted with this general. The auburn beauty offering her hand in marriage, in exchange swearing to win her Jewel the Empire they both coveted. Their fates bound for now, as the merchant was named Jorgenskull, riding off with their reptilian and arachnid mounts. They were bringing an army and a fleet of bone war vessels to assist with the coming struggle.

Meeting this alliance of beastkin at Crystal town, Valerna was received lukewarmly due to her outlander's status. As they eventually saw beyond their differences, their forces intermingled, splitting their two armies to challenge the imperial might. Matsumota headed to the Obsidian Canyon, while Valerna and her wife were to sail to Sandslout, securing the breadbasket, then join the siege at Clockwork City.  The farming community had suffered heavy losses due to recent infighting; subjugating them proved beyond easy, as they lacked the spine to offer resistance.  Once procured, units were left behind to fortify in case her plan unraveled, starving the residents an effecient albeit wicked tactic.  Their retreat delayed, buying time to ensure the utmost casualties between the Empire and the Khan's forces. Thinning out the herd, that way if they should contest her plan, they'd find themselves in a vulnerable state. The ships moved across the ocean, waiting to join the siege against the metropolis, eventually capturing the technological wonderment as the former king was beheaded. Ara'Thyrel had the crown promised, and by extension, the Empire was now Valerna's as she'd make a good vassal pawn.

The Giantess secretly angered, as the Beastkin followed that Kitsune general, refusing to bend the knee. Yet any chance of disdain manifesting on her visage dissipated, as the foolish commander requested her aid in constructing a massive city of bone. Valerna Jorgenskull agreed, having ulterior motives, as she sent her engineers with the command to assist, make thorough notes, and spy on their intentions. The tensions within their house agitated, as Matsumota requested her presence during a meeting at Nirvana. The Chieftain proved abrasive, using their petty squabbles to divide them further apart. As the Reptilian folk attempted to harm Zelena, Ara'Thyrel adoptive daughter. Feigning offense, a brawl had been triggered, using this moment to move the last pieces into position.

For you see, Valerna wasn't happy with just the Empire and Jungle under her banners; she had one last rebellious lot to break. Then, and only then, could her birthright be claimed, and the two realms could coexist without a threat of war. For it was through her ambitions and grace that the world would be led down the right path, no matter the cost, peace would prove a worthwhile pursuit...

 

The agitation worked wondrously, sowing seeds of discord. Hunter, Myrriah's, son, revealed that Djinn's empire, as Valerna needn't do anything but sit back and watch as they clenched jagged maws into one another's throat.  What nefarious fingers plucked such fortune onto Valerna's lap? The leaders behind these factions, the armies left rudderless and adrift in a soon-to-be tumultuous sea.  Nirvana was exposed, the Wulfgars and Gnolls culture to be used as a weapon against them. While they were off gallivanting about, Valerna pushed the pieces forward. Sitting on that throne, the chessboard was set up to best fit the coming change.  Those five thousand engineers still in the city, proficient warriors, prepared to use the very earth beneath them as weapons. Simultaneously, the Goatkin were granted unfettered access, scaling the buildings with their rifles under the illusion of setting up a defensive parameter. 

Those remaining officers oblivious, exposed, and ripe for the butchering. As the auburn beauty waved her hand, sending forth a series of messages to engage their trap. The ruse infallible, the unfurling events bolstering what was an already rigged game.  Across the city, the distant sounds of explosions reverberated across the air, forcing luscious lips to contort under a smile's influence.

 

The kitsune didn't love their commander, more or less following her out of an obligation, instead of a profound theological/ideological structure. Wholly surrounded, finding themselves in an inadequate position, the foxes were the first to cast down armaments. For fifteen years, the Giants dealt with the Wulfgar and Gnolls, Valerna often meeting their leadership in person to pave the way for her inevitable ascension. 
 

Seeing the efficiency in her webbing, drawn to brawn and tactical brilliance, the loyal bonds tethering them to the Khan deteriorated swiftly. Unbeknownst to those in that pocket space, time flowed differently within the mortal plane—their few hours absence encompassing several days. Couriers dispatched across the sands, organizing the Mothkela, Goatkin, and Giants at crystal town, while those stationed at the border marched toward the Whitestone college and Ashtown.  

 

The settlements being overrun, as what sentries were left proved far too lacking to offer effective resistance. A tactical blunder on the blood fox's part, bringing so many troops toward the capital without recognizing alternative threats besides the sullied Empire. What a grand orchestra, the defeat of the spirit proving more savory than the territory gathered. The college hunkering behind their walls, but even those academics understood it was only a matter of time before they starved or capitulated.  

What frivolity, as if anyone would rise to their aid, given the Empire's current entanglement, those scholars were utterly alone and cut off from the realm. The Matron, leaning over a map, repositioning her forces, as so far, the chaos guaranteed unfettered dominion.  Sentries posted at all commandeered territories, retaining vigilant eyes out for the recognizable and distinguished appearance of Matsumota.

 

What useful pawns, the party thinking themselves free, willfully carrying out Valerna's decree. Whether Myrriah or Mazana rose victoriously proved of little consequence, for, in the end, either faction would be licking their wounds.  The Eldritch horde, the civil war, events, while not set into motion by her hand, was thoroughly taken advantage of without prejudice. Let them fight, whittle each other down, then slide in fresh, armed and ready while they lay bleeding and feeble. 
 

The sound of those warhorns blaring, as she smiled, looking toward her stoic blonde spawn Bersia. That final act within this whimsical play, the conclusion of over two decades of tugging on strings. The spider stirring from her nest, stepping outside as she mounted that bone armored Allosaurus. The Matron joining the new regime as they marched posthaste toward the giant tendril reaching out from the heavens.  The sound of war drums thunderously resounding as a dense cloud of dust blanketed the horizon. Their number veiled by the haze of heat, making it all seem like some foreboding mirage instead of an actual army. The distance was rapidly dwindling, as the Banners of the Jorgenskull could be seen twirling within the heated breeze.

Tityana smirking as she had been dispatched to "spy" on Myrriah and document everything that transpired within Comm'Orra's world.  Valerna was an agent of chaos, revolution, and change, their unique infrastructure, weapons, and tactics an art form in and of itself. Indeed, the Giants were affiliated with the Elder one of those same spheres, albeit only momentary. The higher entity just another piece, unknowingly bent around Valerna's finger to service her ambitions. 
 

There would be no escape; if the heroes sought to flee, they'd be chased down and butchered. But, if they waited, Valerna would see their compliance as a positive gesture, bestowing them a most advantageous offer. The mounted units were inundating the diverse group, composed of Arachnids, reptilians, and insectoid mounts: caster rifles, revolvers, spears, and curved weapons all at the ready, five thousand in total. The hulking and terrifying manifestation of the Allosaurus stepping into view. Its sturdy muscles and scales covered in morbid ostentations of bone, as the Queen peered down from on high encased from head to toe in a skeletal edifice, with a lance in hand. Those brown eyes were bounding from one member to the next as she raised that free hand to quell any side banter.

"While you were away, I claimed my birthright. The Gnolls, Wulfgar, Goatkin, and Kitsune all bend the knee to me. Crystal town, Ashtown, the Whitestone college, Nirvana each sail my banners with pride. The Empire is broken, its human soldiers scattered, as my Dynasty conscripts or cuts them asunder. For twenty years, I sat by, watched your land become caked in blood and filth. The people, uncivilized, devoid of leadership, were forced to grieve within unfit rulers' hands. The age of turmoil is no more, as unification, a distant dream, has become a reality. Lay down your arms; you will see that my rule will be beneficial for all involved."

As the hand formerly gesturing now remained inert, keeping vigilant eyes out less one of them be obtuse enough to try anything.

 

"Before you retaliate with dull expressions of bile, permit me a few more moments of your time. But, before I can disclose your position, I feel it necessary to predicate. You are not needed; the truth is not hindering on your whimsical beliefs. I am a just woman, a lady of my word, and a ruler of compassion. Within our meeting, despite constant breakdowns of communication, I afforded certain positions and promises. Matsumota, you, and your child will stand as high ranking generals within this new world. Amun, the Jackals, offered their fealty, as a gesticulation of my sincerity, Emerald city is now yours. With your help and my resources, men, and wealth, we can construct the new White Sands Empire. If you feel so inclined to resist, plot against me, or attempt a rebellion, keep this in mind. The Jungle, your former masters, and the Beastkin have all bowed the knee to me, with minimum loss in influence or power.  I can afford this long and bloody affair, albeit ineffective, I query, can you? Each of your species will be afforded a spot within the council. Their voices heard as each faction will be sanctioned some autonomy. You will all join the Verdant Dynasty, gain access to our aid and protection. Congratulations on your citizenship; in return for this humbling opportunity, you need only offer 10% of your income and resource to the whole of this alliance, and of course, your armies should it be needed to deter certain aspiring troublemakers. Our once distant worlds will be joined, permitting open trade and exploration. With embassy's being placed in each stronghold for the offering of bones and discarded remains. Or do you genuinely believe you can build a new era from nothing, without decades of strife, famine, plague, and revolution? In truth, what I offer isn't opposition but tranquility. Of course, if I must, and if catastrophe can't be averted, I look forward to shattering your spines and wills on the battlefield. After all, everything earned, nothing given? If you truly hearken to this mantra, then you must see the folly in such juvenile antics. As I have merited this position."

Matsumota the Khan, her philosopher son Watari, hearkening to reason, observing the way forward as they adopted the shift in tides. Rakash, the wolf Aiveera, Pharoah Amun, and his wife had established themselves as delinquent in their quips or acknowledgments. Instead, they aspired to wrangle amongst themselves like children.  While some fools retreated within the sanctity of their minds. As if the reality stretched before them were susceptive or reliant on their acceptance.

Those paltry locutions from the Djinn, eliciting no outward expression, as the Matron stood stoic. The trifling squabbles of the Rat and Wolf, being deemed obsolete, her brownish pools were peering toward more plentiful pastures. If one perished, and the other persevered, would beget trivial ripples across the splendid tapestry that was her webbing. Amun's lack of utterances, the posture he assumed, reflected poorly on the contrarily astute cognizance Valerna had come to respect. Zelena's preamble,  spreading lesser befuddlement, as the Queen was left to contemplate what truth, if any, were interred within otherwise inane ramblings. The head of the Jorgenskull, smirking, chuckling, as the chieftain's chortle belayed any antagonistic retorts.

 

The blood fox and her painter of a son, seeing their deficient status, accepted the prescribed extension of goodwill. This former Khan was nothing, if not unyielding to her word. This epiphany was permitting them the required furlough, as the Matron motioned with her hand, as an external signaling method to let them pass. So far, everything had continued to bear the desired fruit, though such fortune may not last. To construct Valerna's fancied outcome, such established persons' assistance would prove a beneficial tool to expedite the propagation of that grandiose vision. But before they could move forward, leaving behind the ruination of yesteryear, the Chieftan needed to be confident toward their resolve. Change is a precarious thing; progress can quickly become undone due to a singular lapse in awareness.

The porcelain maiden was anything but haughty, possessing no delusions of infallibility, furtively scrutinizing each thought before it could germinate outward. The mind, her most prized implement, could efficiently be utilized as a double-sided blade if proper prudence was not administered. The denizens of this arid hellscape, this lair of iniquity, a bastion of incivility, would slowly conform. Ultimately, not by the might of the blade, nor the drums of war, but by ideals and language, intangible concepts far transcending the intrepidity of any archmage. Their fall, coming not in the design of a siege or an invading force. But by their cultures' manipulations, being inseminated by foreign postulations. The others' granted ample time to meditate over her conferred messages, not wishing to dawdle; the Giantess would press this pitiable lot one final time.

 

"The blood fox and her child have answered, accepting my decree. The architecting of a new era is anything but a mundane affair. That work sprawled out before me, exceeding even the breadth of my fathomability. The sooner we can come to terms, the more punctual this initial step can be made, the quicker your world can mend. I understand your apprehension, your fear, and your paranoia excusable given the flow of history. But, I assure you, in due time, you will see such ill-begotten worms wiggling within that consciousness was solely an echo of your primal nature keeping progress at bay. So I query, will you be willing to take such a leap of faith with me? Or, perhaps you prefer to wallow in internalized despondency? As an era of extensile dread is permitted pursuance? I am a busy woman, the amalgamation of worlds rarely a mundane achievement, so do not tarry too long within the shade of taciturnity..."

"Vision fulfilled."

Most would presume the tribulations had expired, though, Valerna knew better than to permit complacency to slip through. The mire that was to follow would prove arduous, for the architecting of a new epoch was anything but a homely feat. A pinch of luck, some patience, and an exorbitant amount of prudence-ingredients that were vital to formulate the aspired effects and disseminate her ideas. The matron was under no delusions; she comprehended the gravity of her actions. She placed their kin in positions of authority, serving as vassals while parading around the Relic of a Khan to facilitate her transition. The scorn these beastkin felt toward the preceding Empire, producing a fleeting opportunity, investing the Verdant dynasty's resources, income, and workforce into the sands. The queen was personally commanding countless campaigns against those few unable or unwilling to use their sagacity.

These savages conceded one thing, power, which toiled as a timeless commodity within the grainy wilderness. If Valerna were to persuade them of her intentions, convert this obstinate lot toward embracing the benefits of her vision, she'd needed to get her hands soiled.  The Giantess being well versed in ambivalence, drew on her copious amounts of experience, leading her army against the Human insurrections and the Ysstmar opposition to conform. The embers of what was kindling spreading sparse flames, the fires were failing to ravage and annul the seeds sown. Valerna bequeathed the people their ancestral homes and territories. True to her word, rendering unfettered assistance while gracing them with liberty.  The bounty of food keeping famine at bay while a new infrastructure to sustain agriculture bloomed. Medicinal powders, alchemical reagents, and the Mothkela healers were deployed and distributed, thwarting off pestilence's encroaching influence.

The Jackals and Varnekun offered Emerald city the reconstruction efforts utterly funded by Valerna, as she bestowed them the corpses of the fallen to add in their undead regime. Tugging on those deeply entrenched connections with the Goatkin, to start mass-producing caster arms to modernize their obsolescent military. Stationing a few officers to guarantee precise discipline, reverence, and handling for those war tools was imparted. Those displaced humans were forcibly relocated out of the capital, herded into the bowels of Obsidian canyon where a careful eye can be kept on them. The Kitsune charged with being their wardens, as the Goatkin were supplied a steady stream of precious ores. Those Wufgar and Gnolls disputed their new overlord, only to witness the matron wallop down those bodacious challengers. The unbridled manifestation of dominance, extinguishing any future contest, as they learned to espouse their new mistress rule unquestionably.

The Rakatta, Kobolds, and Ysstmar yanked from their nomadic lifestyles, as, one by one, their spread out tribes were pulverized under her heel. Those burrowers left behind quaint abodes, trekking and integrating into Nirvana, which served as a melting pot for both the Jungle and desert cultures. The years passed, as the anticipated tussles quelled, stability returning to an otherwise dysfunctional domain. The Jorgenskull name was remaining in good standing for the most part. As it became increasingly hard to fuss given the disaster circumvented by her intervention. Even the most obdurate dispositions found themselves waning, as her newfangled governmental system ensured their qualms could be expressed without restraint within the courts. That perpetual period of war, finally being laid to rest, as for the first time in a long while, the White Sands knew placidity.  

Watari and Matsumota handling what few sparks remained, yet despite all her accomplishments, the head of the Jorgenskull's refused to repose. Those brown eyes were scrutinizing across the sea of dunes, apprehending that such serenity will inescapably be contested. That everything, no matter how well-devised, atrophied with time A decade went by, thirteen years since the ambitious spirit expropriated authority, placing her daughter Bersia north to maintain the homestead. At the same time, Valerna rested on the skeletal throne constructed at Nirvana. While Tityana, maintained control over their robust network of spies, planting a few shrunken giants within the human settlement. She kept close tabs on the past powerhouse, as they were the most probable offenders to endeavor to recapture the "glory" days. 

Valerna spending her days in court, training, leading her military, and attending summons, sparring with Matsumota and Zelena, as she often fancied visiting their territories and palaces. They were exchanging words over tea as they went over the current affairs brewing just over the horizon. The matron finding it most rational to be as proactive as possible, to scatter nettlesome organizations or factions, long before they had the chance to delve their roots too deeply into those knolls. The otherworldly spawn that Amun, king of the Jackals fathered, having brief run-ins with their offspring. Before returning to Nirvana, where she sat within the skeletal edifice, sitting on that boney seat of power. Spinning another web, as the Giantess prepared for the coming storm, a threat only she was privy to prowling the umbra beyond perspective gaze.
 

That arid domain served as a canvas, while this Machiavelli drew on ethereal strings. Like marionettes, they danced to the tugging of her threads, haughtily presuming themselves in command of their destiny. Meanwhile, underneath the veneer, the spider's true aims eluded the cerebral grasp of these obtuse-minded troglodytes. The nobles of this land schemed, weakening one another further, as discord's seeds were disseminated within the wind. The weaver of webbings fostered a rapport with those species that would serve her fertile dynasty the most. These advantageous diplomatic relations budding, blossoming into quite the assets, as she prepared the final stroke of her masterful plot. The stage was now set. All the arachnid needed to do was recline and wait within her webbing.

 

Amun's house waned. Their endeavor at treachery inflicted a malignant blow. The brood mother commandeered another seat of influence, sliding within that vacancy a Tiefling named Samara. The crimson jezebel and the Lilac princess Almalexia now wed, as unquestionably their voracious appetite for power would result in the dissolving of their power base. While tyrannical, given the depression tormenting that grainy bosom, the sands' lack of structure necessitated such resolute hands. Fleetingly their relations may have been marred, the wound seemed improbable to persists for perpetuity.  

The newfangled leaders' disdain toward humanity facilitated a divide. Her trusted officer Watari remained in control of Obsidian Canyon, where the remnants of man were housed like cattle. While dismal, such precautions were deemed unavoidable to ward off extinction due to the other species' intolerance. Those occupants frolicked about their seething wrath as a sort of penitence. Subjectively, the Chieftan observed such evaluations to be unbecoming. To pulverize the cycle of anguish, an organic shift concerning such inclinations was inescapable. Notwithstanding this internalized quandary, the marionettist conceded the commodity of free will or the delusion of it. She knew full well that societies devolve and that the populace willingly traded their freedoms for the misconception that is security.

 

This voluptuary puppeteer dispatched a courier, enlightening her vassal governor Watari what she sent into fruition decades ago was soon to mature, ripe for the coming harvest. While her most faithful Kitsune handled humanity's smuggling, Zanryue, head engineer of the Goatkin, prepared her kind and the Dwarves exodus. The reclusive technocrats dismantled all machinery they couldn't carry. They were melting it down into blocks while burning any documents to ash, leaving their mountainous metropolis as useful as a barren womb. All the while, those Gnolls, and Wulfgar loyal to the Jorgenskull banner congregated within Crystal town. This bustling hamlet, an unassuming trade hub, was to be their rallying point. As all this transpired, the femme fatale trekked across the sea of blanched dunes, convening with the recently delegated leaders of this parched province.

Within that palace of white stone and jade glass, a diplomatic treaty was drawn—a concordant to ensure healthy trade while temporarily averting any meddling. The Aranaea made the most out of her position of superiority, dictating balanced terms given their precarious and wanting position. While Samara and Almalexia were dubious at best with their intentions, the spider in secret pondered how their rule would bloom before its inevitable conclusion. The Tiefling contemplating why this svengali didn't usurp totalitarian control over the known world? The absurdity of world domination, a pipe dream, a goal beyond grasp. Many empires have strived to subjugate all beneath the firmament. Yet, none have managed to withstand the corroding essence of time. Spreading themselves thin, as anarchy and atrophy chipped away at their once magnanimous cornerstone.

 

The Lilac octopus handled such negotiations well, considering her inexperience within this theatre. And while they mayhap disapproved of this migration being thrust on them, there was little their debilitated house could do to thwart it. With all impediments whisked off the board, Queen Valerna and her forces marched toward Crystal Town, guiding her newly acquired children to the land of milk and honey. The odyssey proved arduous. Precautions were taken to make such a sorted affair less wearisome. The last fifteen years were spent architecting two cities, one for the Humans, Kitsune, Wulfgar, and Gnolls, who departed their ancestral home with their Chieftan. The other the heart of a newly instituted industry, sparked by the Dwarves and the Goatkin.

With her navy fully constructed, forces bolstered, the only fulmination of the south neutered and the one thing deprived of the Jungle, that being technology now resolved. Valerna was confident with proper supervision. That a new era of exorbitance prowled just beyond the horizon. The puller of strings needed to only keep herself from succumbing to a complacent spell. The state of being lethargic was the most prominent bane and scourge throughout all of history. The Arachnoid loathing how most considered this to be her destiny. Fate was a word that rang artificially. A nomenclature bequeathed by the stolid-minded. To compartmentalize forces beyond the breadth of their sagacity. Valerna Jorgenskull, her age surpassed what one might glean with their fallible eyes. Under the shade she did cast, the spinner of thread connived once more. For the veracity of her tenacity knew no bounds. This struggle, just another step up the ladder that is her peoples' evolution.

"Introspection."

Free will, while a persuasive hallucination, established itself paradoxically as immaterial as it was tangible. The sands, nearly obsolete concerning her grand design, still had one menace sulking beneath the earth. That network, a collective intelligence, disseminating an interminable and speedy transfer of information between the Varenkuns. Valerna, sitting on that skeletal throne, fathomed the true scope of this threat. Her perspicacity, no matter how honed, couldn't compete with such cooperation. Thankfully, the people of the realm appeared far too obtuse-minded to ascertain the substantive value within that spongey organism. Thus, her prefatory scheme to destroy it using Zelena failed. 

 

It was there, within the sanctuary of her web, as those feelers strummed those organic strings. The silence waned, as within the solitude of the umbra, inspiration sparked. Sometimes, it is best to use your "enemies" to achieve your designs. Samara, her regime, their nomenclature alone stood as an monument of arrogance. The eternal house? How ludicrous, nothing could subsist unendingly; all things must ultimately confront the bitter mistress that is oblivion. But how would this self-proclaimed Jezebel bend to her caprices? Eureka, while hard to classify, yet when encountered, is assuredly recognized. So stoke the fire, apply some pressure, and watch as the Queen of the Sands thrashes about like a child.

 

Her forces had yet to relish defeat, and while most might savor the triumph, a life without flounderings can only propagate debility. So, once more, she roused from her abode, a den unlike any within that southernly region. Her people mobilized, accumulating their armaments, as a small team was dispatched to face the Emerald City's army alone. There, within those affluent streets, unendingly disgraced by the varnish of piss and blood. A struggle ensued, sending forth a boisterous cacophony. The hoarse cries of their blades clashing. The tears of their victims and the billows of smoke dancing toward the atmospheres, painting a morbidly aspiring landscape. War, while unsightly, was a critical currency if one yearned to procure success. 

 

Samara and her children pressed against the wall. Meanwhile, even forces within her court endeavored to take advantage of the anarchy: this vociferation, a masquerade meant to conceal this Spider's true aspirations. A wounded cub, when backed against the wall, still posed a formable threat. A fact that Valerna depended on as she peered with those amber eyes scouring athwart this field of carnage. It was then that the Tiefling monarch yielded to her lesser nature. The fungus network ravaged, affixed to her body, yet, while intimidating, this immeasurably diminished the peril posed. Who knows, conceivably with this addition, her "neighbors" might demonstrate themselves as worthy prey? The horns were sounding, reverberating against the taut alleys and cobbled streets. Her units, withdrawing, suffering that all too necessary degree of humility.

 

Many lives were lost, and while the ripples of this perceived omission would be nettlesome to dispel. Nevertheless, the remuneration for the gamble was well worth the long twilights to follow. The trek back home met with much squabbling as the weak within their military ventured to question their Chieftan. The fools, exhibiting their lack of resolve, having their faith so effortlessly broken from the repelling of a skirmish. Those spineless louts promptly met their end; their vessels made quite the sumptuous delicacy and incubators for her spiderling offspring—one more threat off the table, one more soul to the call. Soon, given enough time, perhaps the storm thats been brewing can be averted...

 

The embryonic southerners had neglected to ascertain the rationalization behind the architecting of that web. Those sand apes were the true savages notwithstanding their espoused didactic rhetoric: their genealogy, that sullied history, could only be inferred as unbridled ambivalence. No longer would her dynasty need to fear their incivility. The days of groveling within the mire had long since expired. This new epoch, an age of placidity, whisked liberally across the abundant foliage. Their rulers, both those whose spines were triturated and the cadavers left to tarry, lacked perspective. They were too occupied dealing with the perceived action. Unwilling or unable to pursue that quintessential query, not what, instead, why she behaved in such a manner? The magician's trick, while archaic, had cemented itself as an effective tool to bend their dull wits. Keep them focused on what is ostensible so that their mind never consider what might be lurking outside of view.

 

Ergo, while they might fancy that minor victory as laudable, the fools disregarded the nefarious tugging of threads that had moved them about like marionettes. Nonetheless, having stripped that arid domain of all appealing resources, Valerna became uninterested in that pestilent ground. Those amber eyes convinced with what had been earned that her people will find genuine succor within the approaching dawn. The Goatkin and Dwarves were hard at work, rebuilding that antiquated architecture to best suit the modern era. Indoor plumbing, heat, artificial lighting, and instruments to aid with the provender of this budding empire. Education, the thirst for erudition unquenchable, as the Machaveli identified herself palpitating for more. Not stoked by some wholly self-indulgent appetites, but a hankering to further bolster her children. A queen is nothing without her subjects. A lesson that Samara seemed to have woefully omitted.

 

This process, while necessary, was anything but expeditious.  Punctuality, while commendable, had to be foregone given the absolute myriad of hurdles sprawled out across the path. The road to innovation, no matter how altruistic, was never without barricades to surmount. Ironic, that craving for conquest within her blood, that barbarous glimmer of less cultured times. It couldn't be snuffed out; instead, the Matron steered its immolating thrashings to more refined targets. For what was change? If not antagonistic? Though the terrain might have shifted, the landscape far less miserable, the wisdom disinterred within battle still found some advantageous entanglements. While haughtily assumed to be entirely toxic, the necessity to dominate still held jurisdiction within these rational times. For though our wealth might swell and the breadth of our information might broaden, one couldn't simply scour away millions of years of evolution within a few generations.

 

While philosophers might quarrel over the soundness of her conjectures, their capricious misapprehensions held no governance over the reality of their universe. The spider shunted such flighty ventures, concluding them to be saturated with as much delirium as they were vapidness. The truth, while nebulous, could scarcely be so effortlessly denounced. Her eyes, veering toward more material pursuits, kindling that ever-growing industry. Her army was reoutfitted, her spiderlings enhanced with the modern armaments furthering the shadow of her empire. That illustrious oral muscle, ushering winsome murmurs, mollifying any sense of trepidation as the people grew accustomed to the ever-shifting climate. The wolf, kept further at bay, as even disease lost a degree of prominence.  The roads safer than ever, guaranteeing the further pollination of culture between her people. 

 

Those seeds long since propagated, yielding an actual harvest, as unity, priorly a far-off thought had been embraced. That age of tranquility, not since relished since the second era, was reborn anew. History was circulatory, and so valerna understood that such prosperity was doomed to wilt. For a while, it might be spring; however, winter and its approach couldn't be repelled. Those schisms mended as the varying races worked from one heart, be it together or apart. This coalition, comprised of those natives and foreigners who had adopted the light of her methodology.  Standing on her balcony, looking across the river, Valerna deliberated if what she had accomplished even mattered? Was it plausible to stop their return? Between the veil slumbered beasts beyond even her comprehension. Forces of nature devised for a singular purpose, the extinguishing of all life.

 

And even if she somehow did fend off such horrors. How long would it be before the acidity of our most vile predilections eroded at her foundation? If war never changed, nor did this universe's propensity for enmity. Perhaps it is our hearts that must shift, maturing into something new to promote the shattering of that dreadful wheel? Maybe the Mothkela were correct? Could the source of all bane be ignorance? Or perhaps, our amplitude for devastation would only become more pronounced? Was understanding the solution or an accelerant? Time, that most obscure of arbiters would have to be the judge. And while she was curious to know the truth, this spider feared what epiphanies might creep into view the longer she peered into the jungle...

"I do not know what happens after death. And while I have stood at the bedside of many passings and witnessed the ghost escape from one's vessel innumerable times. I never once considered the concept of an afterlife. No, we only live on through the memories of those we leave behind. And to be forced to tarry onward for perpetuity, that is a fate that weighs more onerous on one's soul than facing oblivion."

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