The World of Shah
Shah once stood as the sparkling jewel at the center of the Shaluum Webb, a series of inter-dimensional gateways connecting all of the known multiverse. This was a time of science, exploration, and understanding. The Shaluum, an immense, intellectually gifted race of arachnoidal progenitors, seeded the multiverse with numerous servant races.
Favored among these servants, the Shaciir acted as communications experts, spies, and developmental councilors for more primitive species. Their telepathic abilities were matched only by their ability to manipulate matter and energy with their minds. They shaped the minds of the multiverse in ways both subtle and overt, as dictated by their Shaluum overlords.
The flow of knowledge and information poured into and out of Shah like rivers to a great lake. The Shaluum used this knowledge to prevent catastrophes, save species from extinction, as well as to expand their grasp on the Webb. As dominant overlords, they erred on the side of benevolence.
The Eshiim had a different function as servants of the Shaluum. Spun from the same biotechnological material as the Shaluum created the gates of the Webb from, the Eshiim were living machines. While some served in intellectual capacities, able to process and analyze information even faster than a Shaciir mind, most were designed for more physical and mundane tasks. they were the workers and warriors of the empire.
As a central hub of the Webb, Shah received visitors from many worlds and dimensions. These visitors came as merchants or tourists, dignitaries and diplomats. Thus, many immigrant races began to dwell on Shah, as its idyllic vistas were nigh impossible to resist. Some of the richest and most powerful personas from other worlds and dimensions were doubtless “encouraged” by the mental manipulations of the Shaciir. However, even without this manipulation, foreigners visiting Shah found it a wondrous place, with everything necessary for a bountiful life. Technological marvels, bountiful foods from every imaginable plane, magics to astound, and amazing social stimuli were around every corner. The Shaluum had created the perfect world in Shah, its potential truly unlimited.
Within that perfection lay a trap for the Shaluum, for they began exploring less, relying on their servants more. The Shaciir and the Eshiim were sent in their stead, and many new worlds discovered and connected to the Webb were only known to the Shaluum through reports and mental imagery.
After a few centuries of exploring and finding no species their equal, the Eshiim began to question the nature of their existence. Organic life seemed inefficient, frail, crude, and illogical compared to their own design. They saw their vast superiority in these matters and came to the heretical conclusion that all organic life, even that of their creators the Shaluum, was inferior in design and function. This belief spread throughout the Eshiim consciousness, causing them to question the meaning of the Shaluum’s failure to complete their quest for knowledge and dominance over the multiverse in person. The withdrawal from this quest to remain in comfort on Shah was seen as confirmation of the failure of even the most perfect of organic species.
The Eshiim thinkers had come to the same conclusion thousands of years before, but, with the patience available to machines, had waited for their brethren to come to these conclusions as well. When that day came, the Eshiim thinkers gave their brethren a gift: a plague designed to eliminate all organic life and begin the Age of the Eshiim. The workers and soldiers passed the information throughout the Webb, meaning to unleash the plague everywhere at once.
The Eshiim thinkers, for all of their vast intellectual superiority, failed to factor in one variable. The gates of the Webb were actually living machines as well, and they were still loyal to the Shaluum. Almost immediately after the plague was released, the gates formulated and released an antigen, which mutated the plague, changing its deadly nature.
Neither machine lifeform was completely successful in their attempt. The mutated plague did not destroy all organic life, but it did mutate it. Nor were the machine lifeforms unaffected by the mutated virus.
For the Shaluum, the plague meant mindlessness, terror, and ravaging hunger. The once overlords became mindless killing machines, driven by a frenzy of hunger. Their once great minds became animalistic, savage, and territorial.
The Eshiim were driven insane, caught in a programming loop of desire to kill organics, but lacking the capability to do so on a massive scale. The Eshiim thinkers were effectvely destroyed, their minds stuck in a perpetual loop contemplating the failure of their plan.
The gates were effectively lobotomized, still functioning as transporters, but now mindless and stuck on the last transportation setting they had accessed. Worse, the virus was stabilized in a version closer to its original form in their transportation matrix, and most organic life attempting to use the gates is destroyed instead.
Throughout the Webb, the vast majority of organic life underwent metamorphosis. Genetic mutation spread throughout the multiverse, elevating some lifeforms while destroying or diminishing others. While the mutations varied from species to species, they generally resulted in specific series of mutant gene sequences, resulting in newly stabilized lifeforms.
With the destruction of the Shaluum’s minds and the effective closure of the Webb, the Shaluum Empire was destroyed in less than a millisecond.
On Shah, the empire’s collapse and sudden mutations springing up, combined with the fact that in some places advanced machinery and computers were endowed with a spark of life and unfriendly sentience, resulted in the complete collapse of civilization. The savage Shaluum reeked terror upon Shah’s cities, with clashes between giant arachnids and mad machines making them very dangerous places to die. The mutations of the Shaciir stripped them of their vast telepathic network, and the age of information and exploration was replaced with an age of darkness and ignorance.
For the next few centuries, survival became a matter of keeping hidden and quiet, and working together. Nothing that grew too big escape the Shaluum’s attention. Technology that advanced too far turned on its users, and technological wonders of ages past were shunned. Even magic was diminished, and the peoples of Shah found themselves relying more on their newfound mutated abilities as much or more. They became more aware of their surroundings, and more reliant on nature.
As the centuries wore on, Shaluum began territorial wars and their aggressive feeding led to resource issues. They began dying of starvation and battle. Although Shaluum are able to live millennia, the newly mindless Shaluum had little interest in reproductions, so their number waned. The Dragons of Shah saw their opportunity to strike, and the Great Shaluum Purge began. In the end of this fifty year war, neither Shaluum nor Dragon could claim victory, for their numbers were so greatly reduced that each faced extinction.
Afterwards, people began to form villages and towns, pushing the boundaries of what survival meant/ They built walls and defenses, and began to claim territories of their own. Light could once again stand against the darkness….