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Mergerberger II

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In the most secluded part of the Vietnamese jungle, there had been for millennia practiced a religion known as "Si'ithis" to its followers and unbeknownst to the entire remainder of the country. However in recent years, with the expansion into the jungle of the Government via the Jungle Sight program, and the growing curiosity and fascination the Vietnamese people have had with the jungle, this religion, known as Sâu to the remainder of Vietnam, has become more known to the general public, especially in the south-central part of Vietnam, where the jungle is the thickest. Its ancient temple, deep within the jungle, has become a point of visitation for tourists, and those within have been uncharacteristically welcoming, if the old legends are to be believed. It was an ancient bedtime story that the 'Deep' would consume children if they did not go to sleep, and this 'Deep' was somewhere in the jungles of the West.

Legends had grown into myths of the ancient temple, what was once the history of a people became the legend of the Sâu devolved into the myth of the Jungle and was forgotten almost entirely. The Si'ithis did not speak the common language, and thus were labeled as beasts of the unknown, the demons of the unknown, the place from which travelers never returned. The Sâu were the epitome of evil for children to fear, because parents incapable of sending their children to bed invented an invisible boogeyman, in the process demonizing an entire aspect of now-forgotten Vietnamese culture, an ancient religion that had once reigned supreme over the people of Indochina.

[i]The Kour'si Temple, center of the World of the Si'ithis[/i][/center]

While the people of the Si'ithis have been unusually welcoming to visitors, a kind they have not experienced in what is surely millennia, the Government has closed off all access to the Temple except by Authorized Officials, that is, Theologists, Scholars, and others approved by the government to study the Si'ithis and bring the [i]truth[/i] not [i]ancient falsehoods[/i] back to Vietnam. The Si'ithis have agreed to cooperate with the Government and it has allowed partial access to its archives, to selected parts of the Histories section. No one is sure of what will be discovered here, but eagerly the nation waits for news of the Sâu and this 'new' religion.

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[size="2"]"Chinese [i]theologists[/i] and [i]scholars[/i] will be allowed to study at the Temple, however archaeological teams are not permitted by the Si'ithis, as they do not feel that their Temple warrants such a practice."

The following is a summary of the findings of the Vietnamese scholars sent to Kour'si Temple after two months of study and access to the Si'ithis Archives, taken from a paper published by a team of ten Vietnamese Theologists.[/size]

The Forgotten Religion of Vietnam

A study of the histories kept by the people of the Kour'si Temple has revealed information that bridges the gaps between periods of history previously thought lost to time, and reveals startling information as to the fall of Empires, and the former power and glory of the Si'ithis. What has come forth as most remarkable about these people is their stunning effect on the history of not only Vietnam, but of all of East Asia, while all the time remaining the true essence of myth and legend. There is nothing about these people that is not remarkable, and there is no part of their Histories that can be disproved or disagreed with by the Histories kept by the the Government of Vietnam, or of any other organization capable of organizing World History.

The history of the Si'ithis began twelve thousand years ago, when the earliest settlers of Southeast Asia began to settle, began to farm, and began to learn the ways of tools, and, for a select few, the ways of writing. There is no History (to which we could gain access) that describes how the Si'ithis became literate more than six thousand years before any other culture on the planet, nor is there any record of how the Si'ithis learned to farm rice, or how to build. However, beginning ten thousand years before the common era, the Si'ithis Archive documents the history of its people and of the surrounding people.

Ten thousand years before the common era, a man, who Si'ithis literature has called "Kour'ska", learned from an unknown source (the Archives state specifically the source is unknown, but he did indeed learn) the skill of meditation, and began to spread this skill to the members of his tribe, the Si'ithis, who had recently become a literate farming community of 7 large farms, each collectively owned, and 20 defenders, who would protect the farms from wild animals and nomadic tribes attempting to gather the food of the Si'ithis. The Si'ithis Village, called "Sith'ari", was made up of a total of 194 people, all of whom began to follow the meditative teachings of Kour'ska. Through this practice, invented thousands of years before Siddhartha would ever teach Asia of his religion, they learned many things, and they were granted many powers, principally over the minds of themselves and the weaker minds of others. Through meditation, they began to understand the ways of the world around them, and of people, and how to control the tribes around them instead of killing them. They learned many things about the self, and they discovered things which (the Archives are very explicit about this) would not have been discovered without the teachings of Kour'ska.

The Si'ithis began to bring neighboring tribes under their control, and, by the time of the death of Kour'ska in the Si'ithis year 98 (9,876 BCE, the Si'ithis time scale begins at the birth of Kour'ska on, conveniently enough, January 1st, 9,974 BCE, making the current date the same as ours, but in the year 11,994, had expanded their population to 240 Si'ithis and 744 "Rakathar" or slaves (the Archives note that they were not treated like slaves are in the modern sense. The Rakathar were used subliminally to do things for the Si'ithis, however they were never shackled, nor were they ever forced to do things that slaves in the way we think of them would do, i.e. farm, become professional soldiers, or do things for the entertainment of the Si'ithis. Indeed, they were used for all of these things, however only when times were dire and the need was great, and they are called slaves because they never objected).

What is interesting of the ancient Si'ithis is their system of government was not based on hereditary rule, nor was it a simple system of promoting whomever the Saarai-kaar (Ruler of the Si'ithis, lit. Keeper of Truth) determined before his (or her, interestingly enough) death. Instead, the community of Sith'ari would vote for the new Saarai-kaar from members of the community. According to the Archives, it was determined based on a simple majority. Whichever member of the community received the most votes won, a 50% majority was unneeded, however it was only not achieved twice in the history of the Si'ithis, and both times it led to a massive Civil War, the second of which the Si'ithis would never recover. The successor to Kour'ska was Feebon'ska. (Another interesting tradition of the Si'ithis was placing 'ska after the name of every Saarai-kaar. This has been done for literally every legitimate (in the eyes of the Kour'si Temple) ruler of the Si'ithis. Feebon'ska continued Si'ithis expansion in the same way that Kour'ska had. He subjected the neighboring tribes and forced them to do his bidding, expanding the Rakathar by more than 600%, to 4,476, nearly everything within two hundred miles of Sith'ari. The population of the Si'ithis continued to grow, reaching 520 by the end of Feebon's reign in 162.

When Feebon died in 162, the successive Saarai-kaar saw no more need for expansion and thus the Si'ithis remained relatively stagnant for a long period of time, neither losing nor gaining anything. The Massassi, the descendants of the original Defenders of Sith'ari, continued to defend the city, however there was little to defend against during Stagnation, as everything within two hundred miles had been already subjugated with no chance of rebellion. Nevertheless, the Massassi continued to train and master their fighting techniques, often holding war games with one another in an attempt to continue to develop their skills should they ever be needed, and also as entertainment to themselves and to those around them in Sith'ari. By 800, Sith'ari had grown to a population of 3,422 and the Rakathar had grown to 10,922. The Massassi constituted, at this point, 10% of the population of Sith'ari, 340 people.

In 1,072, the Si'ithis had reigned over Central Vietnam, Southern Laos, and Northern Cambodia for over a thousand years, with their Empire being literally the same size geographically it was in 162. A new Saarai-kaar was elected, Ulthrus. He was elected by an overwhelming majority of 92%, however it is unlikely that so many would have voted for him had they known what his reign of power would be like. He was the first Saarai-kaar to treat the Rakathar literally like slaves, forcing them to construct a massive wall around what his definition was of "Sith'ari". The wall covered an area with a diameter of one hundred miles. Sith'ari itself was merely forty miles at the time, including all of the large farms that produced the food for the Si'ithis and some of the more well-liked Rakathar. Ulthrus displayed a clear, deep hatred for the Rakathar, personally killing more than a hundred with his own knife, and ordering the deaths of some two thousand others. In 1,072, the beginning of his reign, the population of the Rakathar was 13,234. By the end of his tyrannical reign in 1,124, their population was 9,964. The Si'ithis population grew to 5,633. He also ordered the construction of a Palace, the first of its kind in Sith'ari, by the Rakathar. The Archives assure us it was a beautiful structure, unfortunately there are no photographic or portrait records of it to show what it looked like, as it was torn down the day after his death in 1,124 by the new Saarai-kaar, Ranathur.

Despite how awfully Ulthrus had treated the Rakathar, and how much Ranathur had attempted to erase his name and legacy from history, he set an unfortunate precedent that many Saarai-kaar of the future were doomed to follow. The Rakathar population began to grow into its name, truly becoming slaves, the Archives details, by the year 1,320, beginning of the reign of Bal'thuurdir. They worked to construct a great many things, including a massive Temple deep in the jungle, named by Bal'thuurdir in honor of the original Saarai-kaar, Kour'ska. It was named Kour'si. The original Temple still stands today, with several additions added at a later date. There was also originally a stone path constructed that led from Kour'si to Sith'ari, however this road has been lost by time and neglect.

To be continued...[/i]

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[i]In 1,460, during the reign of Saarai-Kaar Hnukar'ska, the Si'ithis developed a new weapon. Its source, the Archives state, is unknown and its design was entirely lost after the Great Si'ithis War. Only one such weapon remains to this day and it is locked deep inside Kour'si Temple, and no Si'kaas (high ranking member of the Order, lit. a Lord of the Si'ithis) would allow access to the place in which it was stored. The Archives, upon further research, revealed that the weapon is only to be used by the reigning Aen'jari (modern term for Saarai-Kaar, used post-Great Si'ithis War). Called the Ek'arijau, the weapon was capable, according to the Archives, of simply slicing through anything other than itself, and in the process destroying it. The Archives is not clear as to how the weapon did this, but it has numerous depictions of Si'ithis wielding the weapon, one of which is shown below.

The above is an image of the Saarai-Kaar Tulak'ska, who ruled from 3,255-3,309 according to the Archives. The Archives states that the tattoos that are all over his head and arm were very common and customary of Saarai-Kaar. Each tattoo design was different from every other Saarai-Kaar, as it reflected the family history of the wearer, as well as the symbols for the values which the wearer held as most dear and those with which the wearer wished to govern. On the right side of Tulak's skull are the family tattoos, and on the left are the values. Those depicted are Honor, Power, Indulgence, and Bodhi. Bodhi was depicted on almost every Saarai-Kaar's tattoo designs. The weapon he is holding is an Ek'arijau in the color red, which seems to be the customary color of Power in Si'ithis tradition. The Si'kaas assure me that the lone remaining Ek'arijau is red, just like the one in this image.[/center]

The Ek'arijau came to symbolize and be the iconic weapon of the Si'ithis, and with it they were able to expand and also oppress more and more. The Rakathar became more and more like slaves, and were treated more harshly than ever after 1,460, without even a remote chance for rebelling because of the sheer terror that they felt from all of the Massassi that patrolled the grounds on which they worked, each of whom wielded an Ek'arijau. Because of this weapon, the Si'ithis were able to expand their Empire far beyond the several thousand square mile radius it encompassed prior to the weapon's development. By the end of the reign of Hnukar'ska in 1,487, the Si'ithis Empire was in control of the entirety of what would later become known as Indochina, as well as some parts of the region of Thailand, Burma, and southern China. By 1487, the Si'ithis population had reached 9,342, and the Rakathar, which had not only grown because of reproduction within the pre-expansion Rakathar, but also because of the great masses that came under Si'ithis control after what is known as the Hnukar Expansion Period (Interestingly enough, the word 'Hnukar' also now is the equivalent of 'second' in the Si'ithis language); this population grew to 22,732. It was a great mass of people, people with no hope of escaping their destiny in slave labor for a vast and powerful Empire.

The Hnukar Expansion Period continued long after the death of Hnukar'ska. His successor, Lukar'ska (who was his son, the first in-family succession in Si'ithis history) continued the expansion Northwards and Eastwards, eventually building the Empire north to Qiannan and East to Hong Kong. He conquered all of Thailand not on the peninsula, and a bit more of Burma before his death in 1544. In 1544, the Hnukar Expansion Period is defined as having closed with the rise of Saarai-kaar Bulkari'ska, who chose to focus inwards with the great mass of slaves that he had inherited from Lukar's Empire, now a population of 50,633.

In 1544, the Si'ithis still continued to live in and around Sith'ari, all 11,213 of them. They knew of the Sea from the tales brought back by the Massassi who had fought under Hnukar and Lukar, but it was very rare for someone not of very high rank in the Order to venture outside of the Wall of Ulthrus. In 1546, a band of 200 Si'ithis, hand-chosen by Bulkari'ska, set out Eastward towards the Great Sea, and were told to attempt to establish a new Settlement there and to see what resources could be found. They did as they were told, and they established the village of Tulruk, which the Archives tells us is in the same location as the modern city of Da Nang. These 200 were not stupid by any stretch of the term, and while they were not fortunate enough to have been granted the gift of several hundred Rakathar to help them in their quest, they were still very successful. They found that the Sea was fruitful, and that fish could be found for eating, though the water could not be consumed. It was because of the village of Tulruk that the Si'ithis began to build the first boats mankind had ever seen, and used them to help fish in deeper waters, where there were more fish, and bigger fish. The colony of Tulruk thrived, and grew at a pace far greater than the original Sith'ari, reaching 600 citizens by 1550 and 1,423 by 1560.

Because of the success of Tulruk, the population of the Si'ithis thrived, and began to expand to many new areas, establishing colonies everywhere from Saigon to Hanoi to Phnom Penh to Hong Kong. By 1600, the Si'ithis numbered 16,000, half of which still lived in Sith'ari, the rest spread among the assorted colonies of the Si'ithis. The Massassi class reached 2,000, and as a result of the colonies, began to establish a Central Facility for Governance in Sith'ari, a building from which the Massassi would govern its numbers spread across the Empire, issuing orders to the new communities and the Jen'ari (Military Governor) in charge of each. This was a great success and the Massassi had little trouble managing itself despite the vastness of its Empire. Bulkari'ska built a massive road from Sith'ari to Tulruk (the Archives tells us it was nearly 100m wide), and several smaller roads to each of the colonies. All of the roads led back to Sith'ari.

The successive Saarai-kaar continued this trend of establishing new colonies and then building infrastructure to increase trade. Yultr'ska, who ruled from 1782-1833, strengthened the central government in Sith'ari tremendously, incorporating the Massassi and the Central Facility for Governance into it. Called the Saarai Ruut, the building constructed by Yultr'ska in 1788 stood 100m in height and was a menacing sight to all those who glimpsed it. It was built, Yultr said, "To put fear in the hearts of men". For five thousand years, the Si'ithis would rule their empire from this building until it was destroyed in the Ithurian War (First Si'ithis Civil War). Yultr'ska also was the first to attempt to incorporate the Kissai into the Government, the Priests, most of whom lived and studied at Kour'si. There was little resistance, and the Archives speculates this was because the Kissai likely exercised a lot of influence over the Saarai-kaar to begin with.

As coastal colonies, specifically Tulruk and Lukarna (Hong Kong), became larger and more successful at fishing and harvesting the fruit of the Sea, they began to construct far larger vessels, boats capable of going as far as fifty miles out to sea, into the Rough Waters of the South China Sea. And so as this technology advanced on its own, so did the Saarai-kaar take a larger interest in it. In 1904, Bulthar'ska commissioned a fleet of 20 enormous ships, capable of navigating the Rough Waters, to be constructed as a joint project between Tulruk and Lukarna. The project was completed in 1908, and the fleet was launched on an expedition to attempt to see what was "Beyond the Sea" in 1909. Bulthar'ska himself commanded the fleet, and was gone for six years before his return in 1915. He told tales of islands populated by strange creatures that could only crawl, and by strange new birds. We speculate now that he reached the Hoang Sa island chain in the South China Sea.[/i]

Edited by Mergerberger II
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>>Called the Ek'arijau, the weapon was capable, according to the Archives, of simply slicing through anything other than itself, and in the process destroying it. The Archives is not clear as to how the weapon did this, but it has numerous depictions of Si'ithis wielding the weapon, one of which is shown below.<<
I hope to god that one lightsabre you've left there doesn't work anymore because if it does I'm going to drop the hammer.

Edited by Lynneth
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[i]I sat there, pouring over books, attempting to translate as much as I could with the guides they had given me. It is remarkable how incredibly complex their language is, how intricate and how deep it is. I suppose it is to be expected, after all they have spoken the same language for over 12,000 years. I translated their histories, attempting to complete my report on the third millennium of Si'ithis history. Wars, expansion, destruction, construction, death, betrayal, this was by far the most exciting yet, and as I scoured the books for every drop of information, I still wanted more, more answers to all of the questions that had developed in my brain. I knew that I could never fully understand their language. Archivists tell me that even they do not understand parts of the Old Tongue. I can only do so much, and as I attempt to decipher their language, as I am in a deep concentration, going from book to book to cross-reference and understand, I feel a hand on my shoulder. I jump in shock.

"You are finding that for which you are searching, Vi'ithir?" The man asked me. I could not see his face, as it was kept facing towards the floor and his large hood kept it deep within the shadows. I had been called Vi'ithir since I had come here and no one has told me what it means. i cannot find its translation in any of the books I am permitted to read, which I assume is intentional. As I began to calm myself, closing my eyes and wiping my face with my hands in an attempt to refocus my eyes, I respond.

"There is much difficulty in this task, Sy'ficuu, but I am finding far more than I could have ever imagined. I have learned more in these halls in these past few months than in all of my years of schooling and education." Sy'ficuu (See-fishoe) is what I was instructed to call the elders. I assumed it was some sort of term of endearment.

"Please, Vi'ithir, my name is Yul'va Vaalku. Call me Yul'va," he paused for a moment, and removed his hand from my shoulders, turning his back to me and walking towards the enormous bookshelf to my left, "Do you know, Vi'ithir, what the word 'Mirthir' means?"

"I do not, Yul'va."

He smiled at the sound of me using his name. "The word 'Mirthir' is an ancient term, and a word which has no direct translation into Vietnamese or English or the languages of the Nu'!@#$a [non-Si'ithis]," he removed a book and began flipping through it, then replaced it, then picked another, "I can only describe it to you as some sort of an emotion. It is the state which you achieve when you are truly interested in a subject, the feeling you feel deep in your abdomen, a feeling that you're on the brink of something glorious, some great revelation, and you are so wrapped up in what you're studying that you completely lose yourself, and you know only the new things that are coming into your brain from the books you are reading." He paused. "Do you know the feeling of which I speak?"

"I am not sure, Yul'va."

"I think you do, Vi'ithir. I think you know what I'm talking about. I think you know the feeling and you love it and that is why you are here, and that is why you jumped when I came in. I was hesitant to disturb you, but I think you need to know."

I think he wanted me to respond, but I remained silent.

"In the Temple of Kour'si, we are in a constant state of Mirthir. We feel this feeling all the time, so much that you could, potentially, state that we are 'addicted' to the feeling. We are constantly studying, through our meditation and through our Archives. We desire this feeling, this Mirthir, and we know that there is something beyond it. A feeling you get when you know all, when all becomes clear to you. Kour'ska had this feeling, and he called it Lin'luvia. In this temple, we pursue Lin'luvia, though few have actually achieved it."

"Why are you telling me this, Yul'va?"

"In the year 1433 BCE, the Si'ithis experienced the devastating Great War. At the time, the Empire was still recovering from the massive splintering we experienced after the Ithurian War, and we never had really full recovered. Before the war, the Empire was spread across continents, from Persia to Japan, with more citizens than you could imagine, and more technology than this Archives could possibly relate to you or to any of us. But that great expanse of land was unmanageable, and it was impossible to maintain a homogeneous culture across that entire land. The culture and social web of Sith'ari was not the same as the culture of Shuusi, the city that became known as Susa later on. And the disasters suffered by our citizens to the West did not help the government to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the distant citizens of Persia. In 5644 BCE, there was a massive flood. A massive flood. You have read the Bible, yes? You know of the story of Noah's Ark? Indeed, that flood did occur, and the Archives makes record of this as one of the reasons the Persian people turned from the religion of the Si'ithis, back to their barbarian beliefs in a system of 'Gods'.

"The Empire attempted, once it regained control of a good portion of its land after the Ithurian War ended in 4107 BCE, to establish puppet governments, to attempt to promote local religions instead of the Si'ithis religion, which can also be called Ithuria, and hence the name of the war. But this plan did not work, and by 1433, the Empire had become so divided that the government collapsed, foreigners attempted to claim the throne, and the Empire was almost entirely destroyed. Sith'ari was burned to the ground, and the ancient structures were demolished. In a century, Ithuria was forgotten, and the SI'ithis became a legend. What few remained retreated to this temple, and were sheltered by the Kassai, the priests of Ithuria. Since then, this has been our base of operations of sorts. But the Empire did not die at the time of the Great SI'ithis War.

"The Si'ithis began to recognize that it could not control a worldwide Empire like it had in the past, at least not obviously. So, after the memory of our people had faded into legend and the truth had become myth, the Kassai set out on a new mission, a new way to control the world, to bring them close to Lin'luvia and to ensure the survival of our Empire, as well as to make sure that the savages left behind by the Ithurian War after the Rakathar were freed did not kill each other off. We built and destroyed empires, we influenced all major global events, and while there were indeed some things that were out of our control, these were not many. We helped the Huns to weaken Rome and then Alaric to sack it. We built Constantinople and made it the Capitol of the World. We helped Mohammed to build his Arabian Empire, and we set the divisions between Shi'ites and Sunnis that would last for thousands of years and be the downfall of Arabia. We built and destroyed the Library of Alexandria. We helped Qin to unite China and then we poisoned his mind with Mercury. We built Imperial Japan and we helped America to destroy it."

"But why," I asked, enthralled in his story, "did you allow such terrible things to exist? The Shi'ites and the Sunnis killed each other for thousands of years, the Japanese raped and murdered innocents in Nanking. Why did you allow these things to happen?"

He smiled a bit, "Now you must realize that while the Si'ithis are powerful, we are not so powerful as to control the hearts and minds of every man on this earth. We believe in free will, but we also believe in the rights to life and liberty above all else. Rome became oppressive and disconnected with its people, Japan, as you said, became filled with racist Imperialists. The Sunni/Shi'ite conflict was an unfortunate unforeseen consequence. We did not intend for it to grow into what it has, and fortunately the Rebel Army has done a wonderful job of uniting the people of that region, virtually eliminating conflict between these peoples.

"You asked me earlier, Vi'ithir, why I am telling you this. Over the years, as we have looked to control the world's governments, we have looked outside of our borders to open up to those who we deem worthy as being true followers of Ithuria, true descendants of the original Si'ithis philosophy. We have watched you for many years, Vi'ithir, and it is not by coincidence that you were the one told to come here. We believe firmly that you posses the Mirthir, and we have confidence in you."

I was stunned. Speechless.

"And through that, I am proud to be the one to formally invite you into the Order of Ithuria. To join the Si'ithis and begin your own quest to finding Lin'luvia."[/i]

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  • 2 weeks later...

[i]I stood immediately. I had read for months about the proper rituals of the Si'ithis inductees. With the invitation, should I determine to accept it, I would become an Initiate, and begin my training. Once complete, I would take an exam that would mandate my graduation into the realm of the Acolytes, wherein I would learn the ways of the Si'ithis, and study for what, according to the Archives, could only be described accurately as 'a very long time'. I would be assigned to a Si'kaas, from whom I would learn the depths and complexities of the Si'ithis religion, as well as the ways of their warriors. I would go with my Si'kaas wherever he chose to take me, and do whatever he required, until such a time that I was ready to challenge him. I would challenge him, and should I win, I would become a Si'kaas and he would become a member of the Rulthura Hu Sith'ari, the Council of Sith'ari, essentially retirement for the old Si'ithis. From the Si'kaas is chosen the Saarai-Kaar, perhaps, one day. And all that was left was for me to agree.

"Me?" I regretted my response immediately.


I was silent, looking at the floor wide-eyed, pupils darting back and forth as my mind raced.

"Your answer, Vi'ithir?"

I looked up at him. His eyes looked back at mine, imploring me to give him the proper answer. We stood at the same height. I could see his eyes and the bit of face around them, but no more. Some piece of cloth covered his nose, cheeks, and mouth, and his hood hid what was behind his eyes. His eyes narrowed, burrowing deep into my own. I could feel him clawing at my soul.

"Your answer?!"

His patience was growing thin. He had yelled, though without moving any part of his body in anger. I could tell from my readings that these were not people to be kept waiting, nor were they to be trifled with. "My lord Si'kaas, I Vi'ithir, do accept the challenge so you have placed upon me and I do so with the greatest humility and honesty swear unto you and Ithuri my eternal allegiance."

"Excellent," his voice was far more inviting. He turned. I followed.

I cleared my throat, "Si'kaas, earlier you mentioned that the Si'ithis never ceased controlling, they have always looked for new ways to manipulate the world for their own good, but you have not given examples in the recent past, nor have you said why it is that you decided to come completely into the open on this occasion instead of remaining cloaked in secrecy, darkness, jungle, and silence. Why?"

He continued in silence down the corridor, without answering my question. I was dressed in what I had been told were the yellow robes of a visitor to the Kour'si Temple. They bore no hood, and I stood out vehemently against the far darker robes of the Kassai that inhabited the Temple. Down the hallway we walked. Far down, it opened suddenly into a massive room, with pillars standing so high that they faded into the black darkness far above me. Each was intricately carved with fantastic designs that could not possibly be described with adequate justice done to them, and yet each was the exact replica of the last. There must have been fifty pillars in that room, each identical to the last.

"Vi'ithir..." he paused for a moment as we entered another corridor on the other side of the room, "Vi'ithir, I know these things I intentionally did not mention earlier, and they are questions that I was certain you would ask. We do indeed continue to control the masses, the weak-minded and the impressionable, with our deception and deceit. Many decades ago we created something known to you as the Chaos Cult, which itself has manifested into a remarkable success that we could not have imagined. It is now the primary religion of the Holy American Empire and of significant size in France. With it, we control nearly the entire nation of South America, manipulating their population to the point where they became a single nation. Did you not wonder why a nation spanning two continents has not collapsed because of internal turmoil? They are united by their false religion. And indeed, I said two continents. Central America is a continent. Your geographers need to go back to school." He paused again, and I laughed to myself. We turned a corner to the left. "As for your second question, it is a fine one, and all will become clear in time, Vi'ithir."

The hall ended, and we arrived at a door made of a material I could not quite place. It resembled steel, but it was smoother, as if it was all of the same element. Si'kaas spoke, and the door opened. I entered, he remained at the doorway. There was a bed, a footlocker, a table near the head, a lamp on the table, and a desk. In the corner was a single book with an ancient look to it. "This is your room, Vi'ithir. I would advise you get some rest. Tomorrow will be the most important day of your life." He closed the door, and I fell asleep.[/i]

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