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The Third Age

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Summary: Willow's spell activates all the potential slayers, just not in a way any of them expected.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Games > Fantasy > ExaltedPenAndSwordFR1514,017171,05625 Jul 1225 Jul 12No
Notice: I'm putting this story on Hiatus for a while. The main reason is that halfway through writing the second chapter I realized that I'd bitten off a bit more than i could chew by trying to write this idea as my first fanfic. In the meantime, Check out my new story Twice Chosen for a different look at a Buffy/Exalted crossover. =)

Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Exalted. I'm not making any money off of this. This is a fan work by someone who loves both series. I'm just a starving artist, so please don't sue.
Pre-Chapter Author's Notes: Something that I've had on my mind for a while now that I finally decided to put to paper... so to speak. I'm currently without a beta-reader, so I apologize if it's a bit messy.
Prologue: A History Lesson

The world is older than you know.

"We know this part already."

Contrary to to what the Watchers may tell you, it DID begin as a paradise.

Just not one for us.

"... Or not."

In the Beginning, there was only the Roiling Chaos of the Wyld. It was a place of dreams with unlimited potential, but no stability.

"So, Kinda like a frat-party, then?"

"Do you want to hear this or not?"

"Sorry."

From what we know about this time-before-time, two types of beings existed:

Powerful beings of Order known as ... well the closest translation I can think of would be 'Primordials', although 'Titan' would fit as well, and the MUCH more numerous creatures known as the Fae.

"Wait, you mean faeries exist?"

"I bet that'll make a lot of young girls happy."

"Until the girls in question get their souls eaten by them."

"Wha?"

"As you may have noticed, few things are as seen in Disney films. Anyway,"

Again, what little we know of these times is all second-hand information. What we do know is that the Fae and the Primordials did not get along.

Finally, one of the Primordials set out to make a haven for all of her brethren. Crystallizing her Essence, she formed an island of stability out of the chaos of the Wyld.

Thus Creation came into existence, in the form of the body of the Primordial Gaea.

"Wait. I thought Gaea was the goddess of Earth?"

"A common misconception, Gaea is quite literally Creation; this dimension, if you will. It's a bit more complicated than that, but I digress."

At first, Creation was a barren place with little going for it other than it wasn't constantly in flux. However, this didn't last for long, Other Primordials soon flocked to Creation and with it, they brought their own gifts and creations. New concepts were slowly introduced to reality. At first, it was things like gravity, light, sound, and then came more complex concepts like art, morality, and life.

And finally, using the island-continent in the very center of creation they created Yu-Shan, also known as Heaven.

"So heaven does exist?"

"Yup, although it's probably closer to Mt. Olympus than what you're probably thinking of. Moving on,"

To help Creation run smoothly, they created gods to oversee all of it's facets and help protect it from the fae who would see this mass of stability returned to the Wyld.

Chief among the gods were the Incarnae.

"Who's in a car, now?"

*Glare*

"Shutting up!"

The Incarnae were the leaders, and most powerful, of the gods; created to keep creation running so the various Primordials wouldn't need to do the work themselves.

This was supposed to be a place to relax, after all.

"So this world was basically a giant theme-park/secret-club for higher beings?"

"Basically."

"So how do the demons fit in?"

"I'll get to that you if you'd stop interrupting"

"Sorry."

Anyway, it was some time after this when the Primordial Autocthon, the great maker, created the first sentient race in creation. He took some Fae that he had found trapped in jade since creation began, and from them created the Jadeborn.

"Jadeborn?"

"Picture tall and attractive humans that are really good a building stuff."

"Cool."

"That later had most or their race turned into dwarves. But that's a story for another time."

"Wha-?"

The other primordials noticed that not only had their brother created something amazing, but that the prayers of these beings were quite tasty. They decided to make their own. Rather than asking Autocthon how he did it, they took several of his children, including his firstborn, and basically did the metaphysical equivalent of dissecting them.

"Wow, these guys were jerks!"

"You have no idea."

From these experiments they created several different races, some successful, most not.

Among these 'failed' races created were Humans.

Humans looked similar to the Jadeborn, but had no innate powers of their own, had to put a lot of time and effort into using the most basic of magics, and were (despite their large numbers) considered little more than sources of tasty prayer by our creators, and were basically abandoned.

Having pity on us Autocthon and the followers of the Incarnae took us in despite our origins.

"So our race was created..."

"By the metaphysical equivalent of rape, yes."

"Wow, that's... kinda humbling to hear."

"It's one of the reasons that most demons can't conceive how humans can be dangerous; their lords believe that humanity is a failure of a race that only achieves anything due to the power granted to them by the gods, and their creations believe them."

"No one ever accused demons of having common sense."

"A trait they inherited from their creators, believe me."

It was around this time the gods started realizing exactly how much of jerks the Primordials actually were.

They were reckless, had no regard for those who were affected by their actions, leaving their messes for others to clean up, making sport of entire civilizations, you get the idea.

It was Sol Invictus, the Incarnae of the Sun, paragon of the Four Virtues and-

"'Four Virtues'?"

"Some other time, right now I'm explain how Creation came to be as it is, not the different facets of it."

-and the leader of the gods who first began talks with Autocthon and Gaea about what could be done about about their siblings.

After much debating, it was decided that since the other Primordials would not listen to their pleas, drastic measures would have to be taken.

"Good, I hope those meanies got what they deserved."

However, the gods were bound to obey the Primordials.

They could not openly fight a war against them.

However, their children were more than willing to fight, both for them and to be free of the Primordials mad whims.

Autocthon knew, however that his siblings had in-depth knowledge of exactly what their children were capable of, they needed an edge.

Surprisingly, the answer came from the weakest of their numbers.

"let me guess, us humans?"

Humanity was odd among the sentient races in that they were 'mortal'.

They had no innate powers.

They had short Lifespans.

The had only the most rudimentary control of essence when they had control at all.

"Essence?"

"Magic. Mana. Whatever. Essence is the most accurate translation from Old-Realm; the language of the gods."

"It's a bit of a mouthful."

"Can I finish the story?"

"Sorry, sorry."

This however, made them perfect for Autocthon's plans, as Humans had souls with no set pattern with which to use it's powers.

And thus, Autocthon taught the Incarnae and the 5 Elemental Dragons (Aspects of Gaea) how to break off a tiny shard of their divinity and shape it to imbue humans with the power of the gods themselves. Not only would their souls allow the shard to grow over time, but as the humans would be in control of the power, they could attack the Primordials directly.

And thus, the Exalted, humans chosen by the gods themselves to be their champions, were born.

Sol Invictus, The Unconquered Sun, created the Solar Exalted the mightiest of the Exalted who were paragons of righteousness and capable of nearly anything they put their mind to, who became the leaders of the Exalted.

Luna, Goddess of the Moon, created the Lunar Exalted, masters of nature, trickery, and thinking-outside-the-box. They had the ability to shape-shift, and were a more subtle power compared to their more direct solar-counterparts.

The Five Maidens of Destiny: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn;

"No Sailor Moon jokes, Xander."

"Would I do that?"

-created the Sidereal Exalted, masters of Fate, reality and martial arts, who worked to coordinate the forces of the gods against their foes and who used the Loom of Fate created by Autocthon against the Primordials.

And Finally, The Elemental Dragons, aspects of Gaea, created the Dragon Blooded, the weakest, yet most numerous of the Exalted, created as the rank-and-file soldiers of the gods, they were imbued with the power of the Five Elements of Gaea.

"Five?"

"Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and-"

"Heart!"

*Smack*

"-Wood, or plants, actually"

"Wood? Seriously?"

"Can we just get on with this?"

And so plans were made. The Gods created their super-soldiers. Autocthon and his children made powerful weapons for them to fight with. And the various races allied with the gods made ready for war. Then, when the time was right, the forces of the Gods made their move.

A great war was fought. And in the end, it was the gods who were triumphant with humanity and the Exalted at the lead.

"Woohoo! go us!"

Those Primordials who surrendered were sealed away from Creation inside the body of their king Malfeas. A place that would later come to be known as Hell.

"Harsh."

"Remember what they did?"

"Didn't say it wasn't justified."

Actually, it didn't start off as a bad place, so to speak. However, the defeated Primordials, now known as Yozi, were furious, and their hate and rage twisted them, and thus their prison into a place of pain and misery.

"So they really have no-one to blame for their living conditions but themselves?"

"Yes, but try explaining that to them."

"No thanks."

In Creation, Humanity, lead by their new champions were left to protect and rule over Creation while the gods retired to Heaven and the luxuries formerly reserved for the primordials, with the Sidereal Exalted to help run the Loom of Fate. They still had jobs to do, but now they could do it in luxury. The Solars ruled Creation and created world spanning peace and prosperity ushering in a time of wonder and glory.

However, that's not where the story ends, with their dying breath, the slain Primordials cast a great curse against the gods to turn them against one-another.

"Aw, crap."

However, the gods had planned for this, and had protections up to protect them from things like that.

"I sense a 'But' coming."

What they didn't expect was that the curse, unable to find it's target, latched on to the closest match it could find. Their Exalted.

"Fuck."

Unknown by all but a few, the Great Curse swept throughout the ranks of the Exalted, slowly growing more powerful as it's hosts did.

Among the Solars, the curse slowly turned their virtues into hubris and arrogance, and slowly magnified their vices beyond all realms of reason. The curse made them prideful in their powers and exploited their virtues to drive them into fits of madness.

The Lunars became more animalistic and dissatisfied with civilization as a whole and would occasionally have lapses into a more animalistic mindset, especially under a full moon.

The Dragon Blooded, least affected by the curse, became more prideful and affected by their elemental nature.

But it was the Sidereal Curse that was perhaps the most Insidious. As the Overseers of the Loom of Fate, it was their job to help Ensure that the fabric of reality remains undisturbed and to help guide the future in a way that's best for Creation. What the curse did to them is increase their hubris to a point where they could never agree with each other. As the curse progressed, they were filled with their own self-importance and the impression that all of their peers were idiots and only that individual sidereal was capable of seeing the truth.

As the years turned into centuries and then millenia the chosen of the gods slowly became more and more twisted, and with them, the shining civilization they had created.

The Incarnae in the meantime had seen how corrupt their chosen had become and turned their back upon them, burying their attention into their Games of Divinity.

"That's the toy they stole from the Primordials?"

"The big one, yes."

It all came to a boil when the Sidereal got together for a grand scrying to predict the future.

The outcome showed that if the Solars continue ruling Creation, there was a large possibility that creation would be destroyed. In the end, the majority of the Sidereals decided that the Solars had to go.

In what was later known as the Usurpation, the Sidereals incited the Dragon Blooded to Overthrow their Solar masters and take over as rulers of Creation.

The Usurpation went as planned, the Solars were slain, their divine shards captured and sealed away by the Sidereals, and the Lunars were chased to the edges of creation.

"Wow, that sounds familiar."

"Yeah, the irony wasn't lost on us, some speculated later that it may have been part of the curse."

"By the way, were were the gods when all this happened?"

"Hey, yeah. I find it hard to believe none of them knew about the curse?

We believe that Jupiter, the Maiden of Secrets knew about the curse, but it was against her nature to speak of it. Lytek the god of Exaltation knew as well, but he couldn't remove the curse, and he didn't tell anyone for fear that he'd be out of a job.

"How much longer is this going to take, anyway?"

"Hey, I told you it was a long story."

Having triumphed over their masters, the Dragon Blooded began fighting amongst themselves for control of the Solar's territories. Only stopping in there battles if a Lunars or one of the few escaped Solars appeared to dog-pile them, before resuming their fight.

This began the thousand-year period of civil war, known as the shogunate, that slowly and methodically destroyed the wonders that the Solars had created either by overuse or collateral damage.

Wars that only ended with an attack from outside Creation.

The Primordial War, and more specifically, the slaying of Primordials damaged creation. in a way that created what we call the Underworld.

The Underworld was a dark mirror of creation where souls who refused to pass on after death instead of reincarnating stayed.

"Wait a minute, that's the answer to what happens after we die? We either reincarnate or hang around as a ghost in some horror world? We don't go to heaven or hell?"

"You go to heaven to be reincarnated. You won't go to hell unless you were stupid enough to make a binding contract with a demon for your soul. As far as the Underworld, that's a bit more complicated, I'll get into it another time. Can I continue, now?"

"Sorry. It's just not every day you have the answer to something mankind has been wondering for years just handed to you."

"...Alright, I see your point. Continuing on,"

Many of the Solars killed in the Usurpation were sent to the underworld, out of pure shock if nothing else.

"Sorry to interrupt again, but is it true if you're really good, you reincarnate into a cow?"

"What? No! Your soul is still a human soul, so you only reincarnate as a human."

"Whew, I was feeling kinda bad about all the hamburgers I've been eating, there."

Many passed on, but there were some, that stayed behind. Of the ones who stayed behind, many of them wandered the dark and dreary landscape looking for answers.

But there are dark things in the underworld.

Ghosts of the slain Primordials, that have very little power themselves, but ...

"Oh, no. They made a deal with them didn't they."

Thirteen of them, the most corrupt, decadent and vengeful of the fallen Solars, discovered the tombs of their ancient foes, and there they indeed forged a pact with them. They became something more than ghosts, containing powers that were a dark mirror of those they had as Solars, they went on to conquer the Underworld and generally make being a ghost an even more miserable existence.

However, that was not enough. Not for them, and certainly not for their dark masters.

Fortunately for us, these Deathlords, the worst of the worst even when living, began plotting against each other as much as they began plotting against creation, and they were the easier targets.

"That's the problem with evil people, they're just not team players."

"Evil doesn't have the monopoly on that, though."

Finally, one of their number finally managed to act out against Creation. The Dowager of the Irreverent Vulgate in Unrent Veils, Unleashed-

"Wait, what? What kind of a name is that?"

"It sounds better in it's original language, but yeah it's a mouthful."

"But who names their kid something like that?"

"They named themselves. They lost their old names when they made pacts with the dead primordials. Can I please continue?"

"Be my guest."

-Unleashed a great plague across the entire world. The plague, later known later as the Great Contagion, wiped out nine tenths of the population, and greatly weakening the fabric of Creation in the process.

"It didn't cause a zombie apocalypse or anything, did it?"

"Thankfully, no. At least, not much of one. The power of the Deathlords was greatly weakened outside of the Underworld. Anyway,"

At the same time, someone sabotaged the walls of reality letting the Fae free to ravage Creation and return it to the Wyld.

It was only through the actions of one Dragon Blooded soldier, who would later be known as the Scarlet Empress, that Creation survived.

"How-"

"Let me finish and you'll find out."

This soldier made her way into the heart of the long-abandoned Imperial Manse at the center of creation, and there she activated a security system that was constructed during the Primordial War. Once activated, she went to work systematically annihilating the forces attacking creation and activated the emergency systems to seal up Creation's borders.

Seeing how close they came to the end of everything, the Sidereals decided to help unite Creation under the Scarlet Empress' rule. Even though Creation was blasted into the dark ages by everything that happened, things slowly started to recover and there was peace for a time. Then, seven hundred years after the scarlet empress took the throne, she vanished.

"Aw, crap. Now what?"

Reports around this time are varied, so we don't know exactly what happened. What we do know is that about 5 years after she vanished, the Solars suddenly started returning to Creation, along with new types of Exalted that Creation had never seen before.

Somehow the forces of Hell found where the Solar Shards were stashed after the Usurpation. They made some sort of deal with the Deathlords that if they steal the shards, they would split them and show them how to corrupt them.

We don't know what went wrong, but somehow they were only able collect about half of the shards, the rest flew back to Heaven and back into the system of Exaltation.

The stolen shards were used to make two new Horrifying types of Exalted.

The first were the Abyssal Exalted. Dark Mirrors to the Solar Exalted who's powers revolved around murder, un-death, and dark glory. They were designed to help drag the world into Oblivion.

"Eep!"

"Yeah, sound like really nice guys."

The Infernal Exalted, on the other hand, were designed to corrupt Creation and help their masters escape from their imprisonment and get revenge on those who betrayed them.

We don't know much about what happened in the next ten years.

Undead Armies marched against the living.

Demons attempted to corrupt entire nations to their dark designs.

Solars and Lunars came out of the woodwork to fight for (and sometimes against) the forces of Creation.

Autocthon returned after millenia of self-imposed exile, in dire health but bringing with him his new Alchemical Exalted.

"Alchemical Exalted?"

"Humanoid robots with human souls that become bigger as they get older."

"Like Transformers?"

*sigh* "Yes Andrew, like Transformers"

Finally, after having been gone for ten years, the Scarlet Empress returned to unite her realm that was now tearing itself apart trying to find a new ruler. What we didn't know at the time, was that she had spent the last ten years as a prisoner of the Ebon Dragon in Hell.

"Who?"

"The most twisted of the Yozis, and quite literally the root of all evil."

"Seriously? How bad can he be?"

"He created the Unconquered Sun because he wanted a beacon to give hope to the people so his monstrous actions would seem even more horrible, and delighted in the fact that the Incarnae was bound to be unable to stop his depredations."

"... Okay, that's pretty bad."

The Scarlet Empress was placed under a hideously powerful geas to marry the Ebon Dragon and help him escape into Creation.

"Wait, he forced her to marry him?"

"He has an odd fascination with the concept of marriage. Then again, none of the Yozi are what you'd call sane."

We may have lost everything if it wasn't for all the infighting between the different forces that were trying to kill us

In the end, while the Deathlords were either Slain or sealed away, and the forces of Hell and the Wyld were fought back, but Creation was in even worse shape then before. While none of the Yozi actually escaped, they came awfully close at times, and we had to fight armies of their spawn.

Reality itself partially unraveled at one point and in order to fix it, a lot of things were lost and even more was changed. Humanity was blasted back practically into the stone age. and civilization had to start all over again.

As punishment for the damage they did trying to escape, The Incarnae altered the Yozis' prison; separating each of them into their own plane, Which is how we got the different hell dimensions.

"Um, so each of the hell dimensions are actually a Primordial's prison?"

"Well, they're actually the Primordial itself, much like Gaea is this dimension, but yes, That's essentially it."

In order to help repair Creation, Gaea went into the equivalent of a deep sleep sealing away most of Creation's ambient magic with her to help heal.

"Then what happened?"

After that, we're getting to the times covered in the Watchers' books and scrolls, where the last of Creation's champions pushed the invading forces out of Creation. If you want more information, ask them. Ever since then, we've been in a Cold-War with the forces of darkness; keeping them sealed away while using as little power as we can get away with in order to not harm Creation while we're fixing it.

The important thing is, Gaea is starting to wake up. Magic is coming back into the world, and while this will help bring creation back to it's former glory, it also gives it's enemies a lot more inroads. In this Third Age, the champions of Creation are needed once again, so-

"We're in."

"I had a feeling you would be."

"Um, Just one question before we go any further."

"Just one? What is it?"

"How do we stop glowing?"

*****

Author's Note: Those of you who are familiar with the Exalted Mythos may notice that the story told here is not totally accurate to it's history, and deviates at the end. The reason for this is a combination of: the fact that the story is being filtered through the storyteller's perception of it and changes I've made for the purposes of this story. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which. For now, anyway. I'd appreciate any constructive criticism.

The End?

The author is currently looking for one or more beta readers for this story. If you are interested, please leave a private review.

You have reached the end of "The Third Age" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 25 Jul 12.

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