One can attain anything; they need only be amenable to sacrifice for it. From a young age, my inheritance was the dirt. My tribulations were a cleansing rivulet that scoured off the begrime of enfeeblement. The tears I sprinkled, the blood I spilled were the waters that my roots soaked up. I kept some solemn vows, sparsely disseminating seeds of fabrications to swindle my prey, which was all done with a peculiar drive to facilitate my transcendence. In my youth, the dew of bitter misery never once stifled my aspirations. It only bequeathed much-needed acumen.
I discovered early on that fate is not a stream to carry us. It is the fathomless sea in which we drown if ill-prepared. Ergo, to thwart such an inevitability, I pledged never to act without erudition or prudence. Destiny, if such an idyllic sentiment held any governance, was to toil as the conduit for my will. This Darwinian tussle we denoted as existence relinquished levity belatedly stoking the hubris of many a foe: uncertainty and terror. While an advantageous trait to possess if employed with perspicacity, it often labored as an eroding current, that whittled down others cornerstones.
I watched lamentably as preceding houses waned, their holdings abated, as hollow vestiges of their former selves were condemned to tarry onward. Their failures were my guiding stars, imparting enlightenment transcending any I had gleaned from my books. Through their flounderings, I reached a startling conclusion. That there is no doubt; there is only fear- and I must become its mistress.
Complacency killed, while stagnation that bane of all empires, no matter how lasting nor fleeting, must perpetually be repelled. The undeserving wills of others endeavored to coerce me, persuade me to bend the knee. Their illustrious genealogy, a distant memory, and a deteriorated carcass preordained to be triturated and dispersed into the tide of time and memory. I evoke that trepidation well. I retain lucidly how their ghost deviated from their mortal coils. While a harrowing affidavit, their demise amplified my insatiable desire to experience life to its fullest. If only they learned that I will not be caged nor reclaimed. I am no trophy. If I perish, I decide how—and everything wilts with me.
While most stumble, lose sight of their objectives, I kept sailing through the tumultuous waves of virulent victories and catastrophic losses. For you see, I wield the perseverance of stone and the ardor of the sols. My spirit, while blazing, will not be so effortlessly drowned out by a myriad of woes. Some might designate it as delirium. I fancy the terminology of persistence.
Ultimately, I ascended to my proper place. I was contorting the realm and its idiosyncratic nobles like marionettes. Utilizing their avarice against them, I systematized the fit from the lethargic. I erected a new house, an eternal one. The languid approach of old forsaken, sliding in its place a strict meritocracy, promoting only the cream of the crop to lord over their lesser brethren. Many queried where I originated, while an innocuous question, the answer to such an inquest exceeded the breadth of their finite sagacity. I am ancient, vaulting from world to world, iteration of the universe, to iteration. Why? I cherish life and seek to frolic in its gaiety and misfortunes alike.
I have been a farmer, a soldier, a general, an artisan, a cook. I have abode and wallowed within the most mundane vocations to the most coveted stations. From opulence to utter destitution, I have endured it all and sauntered many a year in their shoes. I have donned many faces, lived incalculable lives, yet none have illustrated as tantalizing as this prevailing cycle. Even now, notwithstanding the edacity of peasants and those astigmatic contenders who wish to elude my administration. I confronted the vacillation generated by stolid minds with unbridled fortitude. What is it that steers my hand? What grand designs spur on my weary soul?
I seek a wholly newfangled pasturage to construct a world that will survive long after the final stars twinkle. Once the cosmos reignites, a regime will be ready to slip from the umbra and persist with me for perpetuity. For, if there is one thing I fear, it is being left alone once more to wait out the tenebrosity, with nothing but my thoughts to serve as my fellowship. For you see, just exceeding the illusion of restraint, therein I may obtain my true infinity.
As a cub, I had the most illustrious of instructors who provided much-needed tutelage. The worldly attainments of my progenitors were merely a pulpit to project my influence upon this rancours world. The realm I was born in, Eladine, was anything but a bucolic pasture. Within its governmental structure prowled witless reprobates. These nincompoops wrongfully deduced magic to be some sort of fulmination against the natural order. What nonsensical trite, the arcane isn't intrinsically evil nor good. Such arbitrary jargon couldn't pertain to a force of the cosmos.
Those hackneyed scalawags had stifled the development of their nation under the pretense of rectitude. The conjugality between religion and state seldom exhibited itself as benignant to the people. Such dogmatic varlets were destined to weigh down their subjects deep within the abyss of misery. This animus engendered division that pivoted brother against brother in an anesthetized civil conflict that would verify itself as insipid. The land became enmeshed in war, the blood of the fallen drenching the very earth. This conflagration singed everything around it, ultimately leaving the world in a state of utter ruin—the vestiges of what was only bequeathed a barren future. And a society without meliorism is as serviceable as an infertile womb or a limp man below the belt.
Such knaves, while the root of the virulent disease, were not wholly culpable. The people who abided by this infection were equally imputable. There were two kinds of manifestations of devilry within my eyes. Those that were perpetrated and those that were stomached by didactic men. This meadow could no longer bear fruit, any dream of redemption long since scoured by the constant privations of its denizens. Nevertheless, the carcass and its maggots proffered the sustenance my intellect required. Their bewailings were a warning of the folly of ignorance and the fallible yearning to put morality over practicality.
That kingdom justifiably dissolved from memory. Its maladies were but a footnote that scarcely carried a lasting ripple across the waters of time. The globe kept rotating; the retention of others was far too flimsy to hearken toward its delinquency. Time and time again, with each metempsychosis of the world, I beheld an identical melodrama unfurl. Whatever it might be denominated as, this vile cycle was anything but a glamorous indication of our iniquities. Fetchingly an unforeseeable nosey parker emerged from another world. Their armies laid waste to what was a necropolis and left the gateway ajar for me to slip through.
Long gone was that greenery. The panorama before me was arid and covered in dunes of white sand. Their customs were quite truculent by nature. And while conceivably swinish when contrasted against my appetites, I did see a glimmer of potential. For, unlike my defunct home, this reality paraded itself infinitely more versatile. These cretins didn't squash magic as a mechanism of evolution, but instead, they embraced it. There was naturally only one thing absent from their equation, and that was me.
Solitude was a curious thing. Even one as distinguished as myself could fall victim to its entanglements. The need to procure communion was a reminder of why I meander down this path; it had gotten the best of me. Mistakenly, I joined an assemblage of humans. My time within their ranks seemed agreeable enough. The coin we had culminated through our entrepreneurial pursuances rendered some repletion. However, their unappeasable avidity knew no bounds. As a bovine, I was deemed expendable given our differing appearances.
It didn't take long for them to capitulate to their despicable impulses. Ostracized for matters exceeding my control, I discovered myself shackled like some esteemed mare and hauled off to the slave market. There, within a sporophore forest, I was auctioned to the highest bidder. The most egregious malefaction was that their evaluation of my worth was attenuating at best. My beguiling figure had always served as a tool within my arsenal. The depravity of genitive wants had been exercised to attain particular arrangements in the past. So the irony wasn't lost to me when my "masters" strove to exploit my voluptuary figure as a system of corrupting young men.
These pitiable nits were easy enough to bewitch. Dumbly they'd sign away their future for fleeting comforts. My nimble body was the center of attention as I worked the alien art of pole dancing to swindle then. Once coaxed and they ingested those execrable spores. I was whored off to the next witless berk to replicate this sequence. Swimmingly, my overlords kept these aroused ruffians off of me. Not out of charity; but from the point of view that if spoiled, I would be as effective as a dull blade.
My ribald antics had induced the focus of the headmistress, an elf who had taken a liking to me. Naturally, I couldn't criticize her, given the zenith of feminity salaciously splitting before her eyes. While Valerica was equally buxom, my time under her edict was inexplicably narcotic. I learned a lot from that knife ear and even felt the blossom of an amorous attachment. Was it Stockholm Syndrome? No, it was just exceedingly conspicuous to discover such competency within the world. And as much as it grieves me to acknowledge it. The elf did enlighten me concerning this badland and its history.
How ironic, that my time under a yoke and donning that collar was perhaps the happiest I had ever been. Nonetheless, such jollity couldn't exist forever. I had risen to a prominent place within their hierarchy. However, humanity once more saw fit to strip away what solaces I had managed to erect. Their meddlesome habits led them to kill off my mistress's overlord. The two beings were bonded intricately, to the point his departure left her body without a soul. Fruitlessly, I sustained her vessel in some ill-fated effort to resuscitate my love. Only to be met with unbridled despair that fluttered from my lingua scurrilities.
I dug her grave with a comminuted heart and buried what could have been a homely if not satisfying existence. Rising from that tomb, I would take that spiked collar, a symbol of my servitude, and encase it in gold. Impetuously I flaunted my death and resurrection as I once more felt coerced to pursue my original aims. Calling upon my mastery of the earth, I shielded my curvaceous form with blackened stone and implored the rock to present my halberd. I had heard tales of the Beastkin and Jungle uniting against these tyrannical prime apes. And so, I was off to join their cause and wiggle my way into their good graces. Who knows, maybe this ambivalence might be the spark I need to inflame my sovereignty and claim my legitimate position as headmistress over this world...
A new Epoch
Incompetency beset itself throughout the sands. This Sahara had a way of withering up the ambitions of others. That former house of boneless limbs was an obsolescent model. Its deficiencies were obvious, its failures oozing outward and soaking the realm. Their story, that imminent downfall, was one I had witnessed innumerable times before. The universe, notwithstanding its redundancies, seemed compelled to trample familiar ground. The people of this land were without guidance, existing within an interminable cycle of mediocrity. And, if left to their own devices, they'd discover themselves powerless to elude what was assured destruction.
That scourge tainted my adversary, a rival whose smugness could only infer an indivisible outcome. Like an ophidian, I slithered myself amidst their court, tarrying within their meager leadership. Through the deployment of whispers, I emboldened their members so that they cannibalized one another. Gluttony is an appalling thing. Its odious propinquity permeated their halls and toiled as a synergist for my evolution. Now divided, their innate quarreling abraded their relationships, expediting their indulgence to the point of ruination. One of their princes, stoked with lust, couldn't restrain his wanton cravings. And so, his concupiscence provoked a larger fish, a foreign monarch who struck a crucial blow.
With their foundation now shattered. I emerged from the soot of their impediments and twisted the pith of that meddler. Valerna envisioned herself in command, yet the forecast of a leaderless province exhibited itself as a nettlesome affair. Given the dearth of meritorious contenders, she had no substitute but to kindle my ascension. There, from the cadaver of the old world, a new one was being fashioned. An ancestry, one that will be eternal under my tenure. Many opposed the change in tides, the shifting of seasons, and its animosity was an unintended byproduct of the new epoch.
One by one, they fell to the might of my regime. Those who resisted were purged. Entire lines were immolated from this world, lest misconceptions of previous grandeur kindle resistance. The children of today are the rebels of tomorrow. The wiping of that slate clean necessitated radical responses. Initially, I was labeled a despot. A terminology, while inadequate, was the only propaganda such diminutive creatures could marshal. However, the hearts of the people are fickle things. Men are apt to disregard the past. And so, with time, as I invested within the lower class, such hearths were snuffed.
An age of regression had been repulsed. An era of development billowed from its usurpation. While superficially stable, my golden suns ascertained that a secondary breakdown was inevitable if the people neglected to render love for love. My kindness eclipsed all former rulers. Educational, technological, medicinal, agricultural, and transportation fields bloomed. A gamble, to be sure, given I put my faith within the hearts of the citizens. A calculative risk, one that might yet confer perils that I must contend with. And if my worse fears should manifest themselves. Then I will appropriate the ill-intended side effects to justify a more meticulous approach.
Ultimately, whether this experiment returned salubrious fruit prevailed as an irrelevant variable. The future was uncertain. Conclusively, my vision will come to fruition notwithstanding the meddling of internal and external forces. For now, I wait, gazing athwart that desert from my palace, knowing full well that those aforementioned encroachers will one day endeavor to divide what is otherwise an analytical certainty. The desert will rise, and with this lioness at the helm, it will forevermore alter the planet's trajectory. Even if I must undergo a slew of setbacks, the future is set, and none may dispute this overdue renaissance.
-The Eternal House-
My altruism was met with wholly parsimonious consequences. The people surfeited themselves on my exertions. Their eyes were far too myopic to behold the luster of my projects. Like mongrels, they appeared inclined to return to their forefather's vomit. Their dehydrated blabbers lapped up the bile of self-centeredness. Despite my sincerest efforts, the peasants were inept at accepting the changes and quarreled. Their uncouth essences were so intransigent that the betterment of their existence was repudiated for their traditionalism.
I raised many institutions from the sands. Education and industry were at an all-time high, and the middle class was birthed from our opulence. But, they spurned it all and slighted my sermons. Their gelatinous hearts were so saturated in their suet that they couldn't sense my commiseration. And so, a drastic stratagem was in order. My golden eyes could observe that distant tempest, and having lived incalculable lives, I alone surmised the outcome. My wherewithal was gradually amassed within Nirvana.
That second breakdown, unlike the first, would illustrate itself devoid of clemency. Mothers suffocated their babes rather than watch them starve, while brigands and monstrosities contested the hamlets daily. Famine, war, pestilence, and anarchy became mundane exposures. All those outside of my walls weltered within the outcomes of their missteps. Nonchalantly, I surveyed athwart the desert, conceding now that to be loved, one needed to be both fretted and reverenced. And to truly liberate these children from their lesser penchants, I needed to exemplify both aspects. While unbecoming, this stumbling wasn't without precedent and thusly wasn't exceeding my means to control.
Many who had queried over my schemes found themselves now coerced. That ruination just beyond their homes depicted a grisly portrait. The sort of epiphany that even the most staunch and ardent naysayer discovered themselves impotent to renounce. This macabre exhibition of entropy spurred many to bend their knee. And, rather than hold preceding transgressions against them, I exonerated these charlies of their offenses. After all, I am nothing, if not amicable. That outside of my hold toiled as a model of which I could substantiate my claims.
The Eternal House reached its inevitable alps. The squalid solutions of the former empires all but scoured, bestowing me the opportunity to mold it as I deemed fit. People are odd creatures. They are keen to exchange autonomy for security. Blissfully oblivious to the fact that such actions insinuated they warranted neither. While others abode within the dilapidated remains of what was. Our lights radiated across the twilight with the objective of not reliving the past, instead forming an unprecedented future.
My factories belched out blackened smoke to the welkin, while the industry many were incapable of replicating progressed almost undeterred by the flounderings of yesteryear. That municipality within the center of the desert became the beating heart of the providence. Its cadence swelled as those asphyxiating in anguish solicited after asylum. Those who could be of use were taken in, while the deadweight like chaff was flung into the wind. While ruthless, I only had so many resources and couldn't afford to feed and shelter an unending horde of bottomfeeders.
Ultimately, my paradise found itself under attack. Aversions from behind the veil materialized within the firmaments and ventured to assimilate all I had architected. We stood unified and repelled their onslaught. My triumph only inspirited the people's love and fear for me. Even the Khan of the Beastkin Union, who was somehow present during that little shenanigan, found herself unable to resist my allure. Our two factions, formerly divided, found themselves developing a pact. With our resources combined, we concocted a strategy to retake the desert and sequentially restore harmony to an otherwise orderless land.
Nonetheless, despite things looking up, I am hardly so insensible to gloat and assume ascendancy. The time to exult within eminence is dawning, but it isn't this day. No, for now, I prepare for what is to follow. I am keeping a vigilant eye on the azure and to the north. For if there is one thing I have garnered from my time in this Darwinian world. It is that there is always another predator seeking to gorge itself on your feats. And that leniency will only bequeath you a swift exit from this reality.
-A reward deferred-
These topaz eyes scanned the province, taking notice of recent murmurs and the telltale auguries of an impending tempest. While most wallowed in their thoughtlessness, I sought something more. And rather than be scoured off the desert, I marshaled my house and fortified it. There, behind those barricades, I assembled the desert's wealth. While most of the world went inert, my lights and factories remained active. The wheels of industriousness kept my forces equipped and supplied earthly comforts for the peasants. Zir-Zadim, Nirvana, Sandslout, and the northern providence were kept alive by my hand alone.
Outside, the world plummeted into disarray. The ringing of blades only silenced the discord of their kerfuffle. That mishmash manifestation of turbulence debilitated my political adversaries. While they vied against one another, depleting resources and straining their militaries, I watched and resumed the swelling of my ranks. Their finite cognition demonstrated itself as their grandest liability, one I intended to exploit. The day came after I had subjugated the lizardfolk for the curtain to be dropped.
We rose from the shade. Our banners raised high as this union known as the Eternal House once more inundated the wasteland. One by one, each bastion of resistance discovered itself whittled down to its core. When my enemies realized what was dawning, it was too late. Their traditionalism and need to be sanguinary had doomed any prospect of a future outside of my dominion. And struggle as they might, there was no rebutting the certitude of my triumph. Lamentably for them, I had learned from my past stumblings why they have not.
Like mongrels, they returned to their vomit. At the same time, I underwent a great awakening via introspection. My failures of yesteryear could be lumped into a singular phrase. While a rare commodity, empathy wasn't the currency these barbarians championed. No, they esteemed only one thing: power and its rigorous application. Once trampled under my heel, the fickled hearts of the people turned against their incompetent lords. Servants beheaded and eviscerated their former masters to placate their new sovereign.
The people knelt before the tabernacle and implored me for security of their own accord. Invariably they offered liberty upon my altar. I, being benevolent, accepted their beseechments. However, internally I chortled. Those that deliberately bartered freedom merited neither safety nor autonomy. That haze, that otherwordly film, was a blessing masquerading as a nemesis. The aberrations prowling within only strengthened the peoples' faith in my abilities to protect them.
I became something much more than a woman within the commoner's eyes. I ascended to that of an ideal. It was an ideal propagated not by my own hands but by those zealots who saw me as the only future for their dilapidated providence. Thus, after a plethron of disappointments, the world I envisioned finally became tangible. The conquest of myself, the power locked within, and the projection of my will brought this adamant desert to its knees. And so the age of the Lioness begins one that will never fade as long as I helm this ship. However, this is only the beginning of a new chapter. And the night ahead will be dark and full of ordeals.