The Heritor | Age of Wonders: Planetfall

The Heritor | Age of Wonders: Planetfall


This episode is sponsored by Paradox Interactive. A dark age persists across the galaxy. On ruined worlds, the battered remnants of
civilization war against usurpers, mutations, and corruptions of their own making, desperate
to bring some semblance of order to the universe. Petty factions prey on one another for the
scraps of the fallen Star Union, seeking lost knowledge and power in forgotten places. The vaults are now open, and terrible secrets
await any with the courage to seek them out. But those who dig too greedily and too deep
will find something else waiting for them in the dark. At its height, the Star Union controlled the
galaxy, but it was hardly the first to do so. An ancient power is rising and its prophets
have already begun to sway the minds of many. By their will, a dynasty will be restored
and control of all life will rest solely with the Heritors. Hidden across a thousand worlds lie the tombs
of the Es’Teq. Before even the ascent of the first Emperors
of the Star Union, they had travelled to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. The empire they ruled was not built from dreams
of discovery or wealth, but from fear of death. To the Es’Teq, life was the ultimate creational
force in the physical universe, and nothing lay beyond. To die was to enter a purposeless void, to
persist in endless darkness. Their society devoted itself to the conquest
of death, devising methods to entomb themselves in purgatories of their own creation. Here they were safe beyond the call of the
void and could await the day they might live once again. A hierarchy developed among the Es’Teq. The lives of unbelievers, heretics, and disposables
became a source of energy for the those who anointed themselves “The Eternal”. Through the transfer of an energy they named
“Essence”, life could be prolonged and entropy staved off. Essence became the center of their faith,
the center of their civilization. The elite of their society extended their
lives many times past normal limits, feeding on the life energy of the thousands under
them. But this system relied on a downtrodden underclass
and the Eternal fell into conflict against those who found salvation not in Essence,
but in technology. With control over Essence limited to the elite,
the less fortunate placed their bodies, or even just their minds, in stasis, while others
uploaded their consciousness into machines or merged them with artificial intelligences. Now presented with an alternative to drawing
the Essence they could never hope to claim, untold masses embraced the temptations of
a virtual life. The Eternal declared this “artificial afterlife”
an abomination, with AI named the greatest sin against the sanctity of life. The theocratic Eternal sought to contain the
influence of these reformists, but coexistence with those who had cast aside religion in
favor of technology was unsustainable. When the inevitable civil war between the
two split their empire apart, the doomed Eternal sealed themselves in hidden vaults. Only their most worthy were preserved, the
devout and loyal, who would wait for the moment when they could return to the galaxy, unchallenged. Their priests foresaw a time when an apocalypse
would scour AI from existence and with the Star Union destroyed by a great cataclysm,
that time has arrived. The scions of the Es’Teq have already awakened,
anointing themselves the Heritor. They move with purpose across the galaxy,
secretly converting the weak minded or those amenable to their cause, promising everlasting
life in return. Such promises are empty. While dormant, the Heritor had no choice but
to feed on themselves, linking their Essence among one another to ensure that the strong
could survive off the weak. The Drained souls the survivors left behind
became entropic and lifeless. So great was their fear of death, the drained
clung to their mortal existence at any cost, becoming the slaves of those who had consumed
them. This is the destiny of all those who swear
loyalty to the Heritor, for Essence is just another form of power and those who possess
it are loathe to give it up. But the Heritor were not the only remnant
of the Es’Teq to escape the fate that befell their empire. Some vaults were never intended to be opened,
used to house the sick and the infirm, criminals and other undesirables. They were to be forgotten, forever trapped
so their weakness might never infect the remainder of their race. But the Cataclysm that ended the Star Union
forever changed these vaults as well. Many were mutated, corrupted; and tombs never
meant to open have begun to stir once more. The Essence of the living is of no use to
them, instead they require the Essence of the dead. Both the Heritor and the Forgotten have been
unleashed across the galaxy. When they operate in the open, entire armies
are drained of life, but they are far more dangerous when they remain in the shadows. Of all the forces fighting for a better future,
how many truly seek to learn from the failure of the Star Union, and how many have already
been lured by something far older? The Heritors and their servants believe that
the Essence they so greedily desire are shards of their creator. Such shards must be seized and closely guarded,
taken from the unworthy and preserved inside the pure. Together, a new paradise will emerge in the
galaxy: a place where death and entropy holds no dominion, a place befitting the return
of their god. Thanks to Paradox Interactive for sponsoring
this investigation into the ancient mysteries of the Heritors. Revelations, the first expansion for the critically
acclaimed Age of Wonders: Planetfall is out now, and along with the Heritors and Forgotten,
adds a ton of new features. If you’re planning on buying Revelations
so you can influence the factions of the galaxy to restore the Es’Teq Dynasty, use our affiliate
link in the description.

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