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The Rebirth by Frank CarentzSUMMARY: Introduction to the Harrowed Earth Setting. This has been re-written as the Ortus (Prologue).
In the year 2249 mankind was in the midst of their golden age. They had settled on hundreds of planets throughout the galaxy, and had even terraformed the moon. Earth was saved from near ecological destruction by the advanced technology and cooperation of every nation on the planet. The seas and air were clean and many creatures once feared to be on the edge of extinction flourished.
However, all would not remain as such.
Deep within the bowels of the Earth, ancient catacombs were found that were built before recorded time. The world's greatest scientists and clerics examined the relics that were recovered. The most amazing item amongst the relics was a twenty-foot gem. As well as the gem, ancient scrolls were found along with the relics. Unknown to the general public, the scrolls had mysteriously disappeared during transport. They were taken before any transcription could be made; thus no one knew what they contained.
The gem was put upon display in the world's finest museums. Thousands and thousands of people from all over the Earth, and thousands more throughout the galaxy, made the journey to see the ancient treasure. Among the visitors was a group known as the Brotherhood of the Ortus or the Brotherhood of the Rebirth who had stolen the scrolls.
The leader of this brotherhood read the scrolls aloud in the ancient tongue that they were written. Upon completion of the incantation the gem exploded. Thousands of shards embedded themselves in every person assembled, inflicting massive carnage.
At once, all cries ended and silence befell the throngs. Born now unto the Earth was the last evil that the world would ever know.
A figure moved from within the epicenter of the explosion. A huge figure shrouded by darkness, with eyes of fire and a face made of stone, stepped forth. His deep voice filled the minds of all assembled in a language uttered before the creation of languages.
All whom had received a shard from the gem were now transformed. The red glow of his eyes now filled theirs and their howls lifted forth, as they were reborn as the evil one's army. Before the transmissions from the site were ended, the evil one only spoke three words in a language that humans could understand.
"I AM HOME"
The first few days were of utter chaos, as his evil minions tore apart all of creation. Many tried to flee the Earth, but only a few made it away alive.
The evil one personally devoured the leaders of the great nations, as all looked on in horror. No army could stand against the evil one's power. The billions of Earth's inhabitants all fell under his cruel grasp. The formerly proud people of Earth were now his slaves, and came to call him the One.
Those who left earth swore never to return. Even those as close as the moon fled in fear. Soon the Earth and its solar system were forbidden to all. The inhabitants of Earth written off as casualties of a great disaster. The "Bearers", as his minions were called, served as the representatives of the One. The immortal and mindless acolytes were they.
Great machines were built, for purposes that none could understand.