Empyreans, The

Over two million years ago, an advanced alien race known as the Progenitors visited the planet Earth. As they had done countless times before across the galaxy, the Progenitors experimented on the lower life forms showing the most promise. In this instance, they selected the hominids contemporary biologists classify as Australopithecus. This genetic tinkering would ultimately permit these early predecessors of humanity to evolve into Homo sapiens and, in modern times, Homo superioris. Nearly one and a half million years later, the Progenitors returned to conduct further experimentation, which gave rise to the First Generation of Homo immortalis, otherwise known as the Empyreans.

Unlike that of mainstream humanity, the genome of these first twelve Empyreans endowed them and their descendants with not only virtual immortality but also the ability to wield cosmic energy in a variety of ways. The Progenitors then settled them in an area that tens of thousands of years later would become the summit of Mount Pentelikon, which is situated northeast of the modern Greek city of Athens. After constructing a technologically and architecturally sophisticated city for their charges called Arcadia, the Progenitors departed the Terran solar system to further their mysterious agenda.

Under the benevolent rule of King Amlin and his wife, Queen Marya, the Empyreans lived side-by-side with their less evolved “cousins” for millennia. The remaining ten members of the First Generation dedicated themselves to the betterment of their enclave. Despite their power, most Empyreans chose to lead a life of quiet contemplation rather than venture to the world beyond the walls of Arcadia to seek adventure of conquest. There were some Empyreans, however, who felt obligated to provide aid to the fledgling race of Homo sapiens and left Arcadia to live among them for a while. Due to their great abilities, these Samaritans were often thought of as gods or even mistaken for the deities of those they protected.

Relations between the Empyreans and the other powerful races who called Earth its home would remain harmonious until the late Valdorian Age approximately 39,000 years ago. When the expansionist Lemurians learned of Empyreans’ immortality, they attempted to obtain its secret diplomatically but, when this failed, the Lemurians declared war on them. Despite the size of their armies and the destructiveness of their weapons, the Lemurians were routed by the Empyreans on every occasion. Unable to defeat their vastly more powerful foe on the battlefield, the Lemurians focused their energies on the creation of the Mandragalore, a magical weapon with which they could strike from a distance. However, the Lemurians could not control the magical forces powering the weapon, which backfired on them. The resulting explosion sank their continent beneath the waves and decimated the Lemurian population.

Cataclysm_Atlantis
The Cataclysm, a painting by the Empyrean artist Alitis that was bequeathed to the United Nations in 1965

At this juncture in history, the Empyreans living among humanity were recalled to Arcadia by Royal Edict until such time as the races of the outside world would no longer be tempted to wage war to obtain their gift of immortality as the Lemurians had. Without the specter of Lemurian aggression looming over them, the races of Earth were given the opportunity to flourish. By 33,000 BCE, the Kingdom of Atlantis had become the most influential, peaceful and sophisticated realm on Earth. Unfortunately, this new golden age would not last. Within two millennia, turmoil divided Atlantis as mages of incredible power vied against each other for supremacy. When the clash between King Vondarien of Atlantis and the dark creature called Sharna-Gorak erupted in approximately 30,000 BCE, such tremendous magical forces were unleashed that mountain ranges were leveled, continents destroyed and cities razed. One such city obliterated by what has come to be known simply as the Cataclysm was Arcadia.

King Amlin lead the Empyreans south to the newly-formed continent of Antarctica and founded the city of New Arcadia, which has been their home ever since. In time, the Royal Edict banning Empyreans from living in the outside world was lifted. For the next fifteen thousand years, scores of Empyreans would travel around the newly-reformed Earth, giving assistance and offering counsel to less sophisticated civilizations. However, Ogurn, one of the First Generation, believed that the Empyreans were the natural rulers of Earth. At first, his was the lone voice of dissension in New Arcadia but, with each passing century, Ogurn would sway others with his rhetoric, including Queen Marya. In 11,539 BCE during what Empyrean historians call “The Night of Shadows”, Ogurn and his supporters attempted to topple Amlin from the throne. Although the coup d’état failed, King Amlin was slain and Ogurn was missing and presumed dead.

These events sent shockwaves through Empyrean society. Queen Marya abdicated the throne and departed Earth with the rest of the conspirators as penance for their rebellion. Where this group went is unknown. Hazor, who was considered to be the wisest of the Second Generation, was selected to succeed Amlin as King of the Empyreans. Hazor successfully guided New Arcadia through the political instability caused by Ogurn’s insurrection and into a new era of peace and harmony that continues to this day. That is not to say that Hazor’s reign has been without its challenges.

The first of these came from a most unlikely source. The philosopher Shaderon, a member of the Second Generation, had been deeply disturbed by the rebellion. This disappointment with his fellow Empyreans coupled with the ennui of immortality caused Shaderon to develop the belief system he called Silence about 4,500 years ago. In this philosophy, adherents would renounce physical reality completely by refraining from moving, eating or speaking. Once acolytes have transcended the physical and become Silent, they project their astral bodies and explore higher planes of existence. Over the course of the next few centuries, dozens of Empyreans have joined Shaderon in the Temple of Silence.

Perhaps the most notable challenge to Hazor’s rule came from his own brother, Prince Arvad. Like Ogurn before him, Arvad was not content with being within reach of power but forever being denied it. Yet, Arvad differed in one crucial point: he was loathe to harm his fellow Empyreans. He thus left New Arcadia with a handful of followers to become ruler of the Lemurians some two hundred years ago. Despite the enmity many Lemurians feel towards the Empyreans to this day for the near destruction of their civilization, the Lemurians accepted Arvad as their ruler. Since his ascension to the throne, Arvad has slowly begun molding the Lemurians into a force powerful enough to conquer the Earth.

Empyrean_Alphabet
The 28 letters of the Empyrean alphabet

Next to nothing is known about Empyrean society other than the fact that they are ruled by a constitutional monarch of sorts although the precise nature of their government is unclear. Apart from the practice of Silence, nothing is known of Empyrean philosophical or religious belief systems. On the other hand, they have rich artistic, musical and literary traditions, elements of which have clearly influenced humans throughout history. The Empyreans have made scientific and technological strides that are tens of thousands of years ahead of any made by humanity and it has been suggested that some of the greatest minds in human history have in fact been Empyreans.

Although the Empyreans are genetically related to Homo sapiens, the extent to which their genome is similar to humanity’s has not been established as specialists in metahuman biology have been unable to directly study their physiology. Generally speaking, however, they are both stronger, faster and much more resilient to physical injury than humans. Moreover, Empyreans have an accelerated healing factor and it has been asserted that nothing short of total molecular dissipation will end an Empyrean’s life.

For all intents and purposes, Empyreans are immortal. Although it is clear that they age, they do so at an incredibly retarded rate. Given the biographical data gathered from several Empyreans, it is estimated that a single year for an Empyrean is equivalent to approximately 50,000 human years. Furthermore, the aging process eventually stops altogether though when this occurs is apparently random: it has been reported that there is an Empyrean whose aging process ended before reaching puberty. A direct correlation between the age of an Empyrean and the extent of their power cannot at present be made yet it is logical to assume that there is a connection.

Empyreans have no physical features which distinguish them from humans, which accounts for the ease with which they have been able to assimilate themselves into human cultures. What sets them apart is that the typical Empyrean is slightly taller and, on a more subjective note, more attractive than the average human. Given the number of Empyreans, it is believed that Empyreans rarely produce offspring perhaps due to their longevity. It is unknown if Empyreans can intermarry with humans but, if there is any truth in the myths certain Empyreans have inspired, they undoubtedly can and the children of such unions invariably develop superhuman abilities.

There are currently 356 Empyreans residing in New Arcadia but, of those, 83 are Silent. It is estimated that there are another 50 Empyreans living in anonymity in various countries around the world. Although they have established no formal diplomatic relations with any human government, they have demonstrated a willingness to come to the aid of humanity when the need has arisen. The first instance where the Empyreans openly revealed themselves was during the first Qulaar invasion in 1965 when King Hazor dispatched Empyrean forces to help Earth’s heroes repel the invaders.

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