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"Like mists in the midst of time."

The beginning of every disaster is often ascribed to the incident that made it. But there are no disasters in the world, only a train of unfortunate coincidences that had not yet been recognized as an unincident. It was the same as well, with the beginning of the long night. Before the long night, there had already been signs, posts, warnings of the long night. The sands of the west carried with her a mirage of God, but were they ignorant? Was the long night something that could have been prevented? They could have carried torches, they could have prepared for the darkness. But what could have, what had been, what world that one could have grasped, what they once dreamed, it was beyond them now. It was too late. It was never dark in the midst of darkness, they were the mother of that unseen darkness. And when the darkness consumed them, they remained in darkness.
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"Buried, but not forgotten."

The long night did not begin when hell was unraveled, rather, it began a long time ago, when the sun still shone and the seas were still blue, it began not between the rivers, not upon mountains, but above the seas, in a time and place when there was yet to be a greater power on the continent, far before it, far from it, it began in a sleeping paradise hidden by its timeless peace.

Once, I heard, that in their peak, they once carried the people of all places to everywhere. They sailed on windeaters, living galleons of its time, and drank on the juice of their bright sweet-sour lime. Their food was brown and fried with fat, their homes were roofed and filled with carefully made rattan mats. They carried stringed instruments to tell the time, they sang in the evening to please the sun. They carved ivory, made them whistle, and they bent metals and made them chime.

Some others say that they made trades with even the little people of the far-far east. Some say, they even circled infinity, in their adventurousness, found the place where the sun set, long before Dhul Qarnayn even was. They said, that only these seaborne people knew what it was like, to witness the beginning of the day, to witness the beginning of night. "The seas bless them!" or so they were said to be, "A life of easiness," or so some believe.

"Whoever knows, knows with me, that there is no life in living, nor is there death in its dusk. What remains will solely remain. We will die, but no one who dies, dies in vain, and everything shall outlast."
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Unlike the other nations of its time, the seafaring nations were weak in war. Many were fierce and brave warriors, but not much beyond it. It might be due to the constraints of being separated by the seas, or the humid and hot nature of their climate bringing expedition expenses to an expensive high, that the wars that they waged against each other were small in scale, whereas the continent would easily be able to send out a hundred thousand men, the islands would only have wars involving a few hundred select warriors. Wars were not worth the effort, and the science behind these wars did not develop. But this weakness and relative peace came with a price, the archipelago was home to a variety of unique and flavorful spices, and unlike the mercury that filled the flasks of the alchemists, or the iron that were could be reforged from every piece of broken steel, these spices were consumables, they spoiled and remained priceless. It was not long before the islanders were destroyed by outsiders, and after the first outsiders fell, the continent took hold of them. Centuries passed in bondage, centuries passed into freedom, and back into bondage, and before long they developed their own acuity. In a world where they were weak, one had to become opportunists.

There were many kingdoms that gained their independence during the reign of the Empire, but many, they said, were secretly vassals. The Empire, long knowing that direct rule would not favor their resources, elected to tie down the archipelago with illusory power. Most commonly, the Empire would grant false sovereignity to a fief, concentrate political power to a single ruler, and tie down that ruler with a noose made out of carefully crafted tools. Kings would be deposed by their subjects, simply through the spreading of strategic information under the Empire's spy network. The church, on the other side of the equation, made sure that the slaves and peasants reacted in the exact way how they were supposed to be: as useful idiots.

It was high noon, and the scorching sun made it unbearable. But the actions of the Empire were blind to its own shortcomings. As these places changed hands, many of these nations started becoming aware. It took only a few wise rulers to look further into the future to unravel the rope around their neck. But it did not happen in a single generation, there were allies to consider, and who they needed to face, and the cost of resistance against them... these were not something that they decided on a whim.

"What is freedom? It is the sea."
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