UraniumEmpire's Study
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After the fall of Man but before Existence deigned to offer a second chance, the forces of magic bestowed their blessings upon beasts more deserving.

Those that ruled the land, the Old Bronze Beasts, allied with themselves Ruminants. It was they who tended to the fields, who sowed themselves into the earth for future generations to reap, who offered themselves to the hungry and thirsty for sacrifice. Though they claimed no rule over the lands, all that walked bowed in reverence for them, and so the most magnanimous among them was bequeathed the title of "Manu", their word for "King".

Those that ruled the Sea, the Deep Ones, were not so humble as to consider such an alliance. They waged war upon the depths, cannibalizing the sea bed for the base of their vast and terrible empire. And yet, for all their power, the Deep Ones could never conquer the mighty Whales, thick in hide and sharp of tooth; and so the Whale was appeased, the mightiest (a warrior-artist known only as Tiamat) granted a Duchy over the open ocean, that it may not level the abyssal cities of the Deep Empire.

Those that ruled the Sky, the Fair Folk, who cavorted and capered in their tree-top villages and cloud cities, were too mercurial of temperament to think so critically. Their gifts were bestowed not according to the laws of pragmatism or reverence, but solely of fascination, and there were none so fascinating than the Insects. And so the most beautiful of Insects, a butterfly of vibrant wing and passionate demeanor, was crowned the Great Purple Emperor, establishing the Seelie Dynasty.

Together, the three bestial kingdoms rebuilt the world ruined by Man, aided by the wisdom of Manu of the Ruminant tribes, the ingenuity of Duchess Tiamat the Brave, and the creativity of Emperor Seelie I.

And then there were the Centipedes.

Nature scorned the Centipede, for it was perfect in its abominability.

The Centipede's chassis was strong and beautiful, a living armor suffused to their skin, and yet such armor marked them permanently for war. Their legs, quick and graceful, but ending in sharpened, venomous points. Tragically, the Centipede was unable to even express their sorrows, for their faces were obscured by wicked jaws.

Hindsight is a benefit afforded only to the future, but can one blame the tripartite kingdoms for scorning the Centipede? The world had hardly emerged from a millennium of poisonous fire and warring apes, and here stood a walking engine of warfare.

The Centipede could not be tolerated.

The Centipede was not tolerated.

And so the Centipede crawled into the dirt, to await the End of Time in solitude.

At the edge of the world stood Gonggong and Huandou.

Gonggong was a vicious and spiteful beast who knew not but violence and misery. It is said he bathed only in the humors of his victims, that all may know him by the scent and color of death. He stood as tall as an oceanic trench, adorned in the colors of rust and blood, coated with tarnished bronze jewelry and wielding an engorged, suckerless tentacle as a scepter. But, lacking in wit and wisdom, Gonggong was forced to consult Huandou in his actions.

Huandou, in contrast, was a frail thing between paper and stardust. She stood barely the height of a man, scuttling about on eight limbs and iridescent violet wings. The poor wretch lusted for power and influence she could never have, for the art of war was lost upon her. Without the strength to wage war, Huandou was forced to rely on Gonggong's might to enact her wicked desires.

And oh, what wicked desires they were.

On the four-hundredth and forty-fourth convention of the Centipede Clans, two very peculiar guests arrived uninvited.

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