The Dreamer Wars
The Dreamer Wars began as nothing more than a series of skirmishes among the new breed of Dreamers. These Dreamers had no part in the construction of the City but were eager to learn the ways of the Dream and had more time on their hands than those who'd come before them. As the Freesoul-Illuminate debate grew, these Dreamers began to form groups around the most popular beliefs. There was no such thing as death in the Dream, and so many of these Dreamers practiced little restraint in evoking their Arts upon each other. The problem grew so profound that Mohteq the Elder formed the Order Patrol to suppress the open fighting between the Freesoul Knights and the Illuminated Front, but it was too late. Soon there were grudges and arguments everywhere, and the city of Underlight was no longer the place of peace it had been designed for. As the feuding Dreamers grew strong in their abilities, the chaos only spread. Threshold was a hub of constant combat as one faction or the other fought to hold or gain ground. And then one of the greatest achievements of the Dream came at the worst possible time: the construction of Talismans.
A group of Dreamwrights had become specialized, advancing their power to manipulate essence into matter. As they developed this to a fine Art, they found a process that allowed them to create Talismans of Power. The first was created by Poantes of Vorsage, and was called an "elemen"... a talisman forged of one element of the dreamstate in its purest form. Then Aybol the Determinus perfected a means of instilling in a talisman the energies of an evoked art, forging the first alterors. It wasn't long before talismans of many different types and abilities were being produced. The specialized Dreamwrights who developed this process became known as Dreamsmiths.
The impact on the Dream of talismans cannot be overstated. Suddenly many powers that used to take months to master became available in talisman form to any Dreamer. Many of the Dreamsmiths supplied talismans only to their own clans within the Dream. The demand grew so great that Markosh the Dreamsmith eventually perfected a process called "spawn-shaping". By specially treating areas in the City which possessed specific energies, Markosh created "essence fonts" which regularly spawn-shaped talismans of power. These spawn-shapers automated the process of talisman creation, producing an endless number of talismans, and making the rival factions in the Dream powerful. However, Markosh jealously guarded the spawn-shaping process, using it for his own gain, and the secret of how to do it died with him.
It was perhaps predictable that the first faction of Dreamers to build a significant surplus of talismans was the now-extinct Srechethan Kabal, which had always coveted complete rulership of the Dream. But their rivals were also large in number and well armed, and with the Battle of Sunroof Cavern open warfare ensued. No one was safe in Threshold or anywhere else in the City of Underlight. The Dreamers warred with abandon, reducing their enemies to soulsphere on sight. There was no death in the Dream, but a Dreamer's power could be eroded with every battle that ended in his dissolution. With this in mind, the warring Dreamers attacked one another endlessly in a bid for dominance in the Dream.
The carnage became so widespread and so prevailing that the Master Dreamwrights became alarmed. Their creation, the City itself, was being abused for the purpose of warfare. One group of Master Dreamwrights, led by Hartisan the Red and Turgin Lambent, became determined to put an end to the conflict once and for all. Their group would later become known as the Dreamstrike Masters.
Dreamstrike is the ultimate punishment any person can suffer, for it causes not only death of the body in the Waking World, but also the soul of the Dreamer. It is true death, final and complete. With this Art perfected, the Dreamstrike Masters entered the war-torn Threshold and moved through it as a group, collapsing and then Dreamstriking Dreamer after Dreamer. This infamous surprise assault, the Dreamstrike Offensive, changed the Dream forever. The boldness that fueled so many of the warring clans became fear as they were forced out of Threshold. They retreated to the far ends of the lands and began constructing great fortresses to guard themselves. So reigned another shaky peace, as the Dreamstrike Masters occupied Threshold and the organized factions of Dreamers squatted in the lands beyond. Skirmishing still continued in the open lands, but open warring had been put down by the coming of Dreamstrike. But this was only the calm before the storm.