The Nightmare Wars
The Nightmare Wars Not all the Master Dreamwrights were pleased with the coming of Dreamstrike, and in fact many were angered by it. A group of them, the Entropy Coalition, secluded themselves and began exploring ways to counter this new and terrible power. They turned to the deep chaos outside the city walls for their answer. They believed they could find a way to pull the raw energy of the chaos into Underlight and turn it against the Dreamstrike Masters. But their attempts to bring that energy inside the city would have disastrous results.
The chaotic forces outside had intensified since the city's creation... the pressure of the raw essence swirling against the city walls had only increased. As the Entropy Coalition furthered their efforts to breach into the deep chaos, they unknowingly weakened the walls of the city, the barrier holding back the chaos. Small rips and breaks began forming in the walls, just big enough to permit creatures of chaos to enter the city: Nightmares.
Many debates have been waged over the exact nature of the Mares, and many more are no doubt still to come. These debates do nothing to reflect the horror and carnage that drove across the City on the day the Mares first found entry... the Day of the Savaging. The Mares came in great numbers, masses of them, streaming from the outer lands straight for Threshold. Any Dreamer encountered was set upon and collapsed to soulsphere by the chaotic horde. Many were caught unprepared in their keeps and houses, for such a threat had never been encountered before. The Mares cast a thick vicious shadow over the entire City and forced the Dreamers to organize and cooperate... for a time.
Klin Benfar, a Master Dreamwright Elder whose powers far surpassed any of the Dreamwrights or Dreamsmiths, took the first step toward protecting the dreamstate from the Mares when he developed the first Sanctuary. The ambient essence of the Sanctuary area prevented aggressive actions and caused searing pain to any Mare who entered it. Klin Benfar and his apprentices constructed Sanctuaries throughout the dreamstate. Using the Sanctuaries, the Dreamers finally had a foothold with which to stand against the destructive tide of marauding Mares.
But still the Mares swarmed the city, and the lands were in total turmoil. The various factions of Dreamers in the land had banded together to deal with the Mare threat. Their fortresses became fortified as never before, equipped with sanctuaries and armories. Guards stood strong in strategic locations to keep the Mares from overrunning their Houses. Regular patrols were formed to seek out roving Mares and collapse them. And, as House organization grew stronger, their philosophers attempted to uncover the truth behind the Mares. What were these vile creatures exactly?
In an effort pioneered by Relminus the Blind, philosophers throughout Underlight began to study the essence left behind by a Mare that's been collapsed. But to ask the question "what is a Mare?" proved as hard as asking, "what is a man"? The Freesoul and Illuminate schools of thought began to divide into more defined ideologies as they explored the question. As these ideologies developed, they did so around the great Houses, which had been erected by Dreamers over the centuries. For centuries more the Houses developed around the study of Mares, and the problem of how to rid the Dream of their teeming masses. There was little warfare between Dreamers because most were simply taking refuge in the Houses and the Sanctuaries or combating the Mare threat. The last phase of this period when the Houses were aligned against the Mares was marked by the creation of portals.
In order to stem the never-ending tide of mares flooding the city, a group of Master Dreamwrights led by Syriand the Graceful and Lagumbar Staggern developed a means of fencing off sections of the Dream from one another. To do this they constructed "portals" at strategic locations. These portals operated under the same principle as Sanctuary and were impassable by the Mares. Later it was discovered by the Seekers of Knowledge that being contained by portals made the ambient essence within an area easier to harness. This would eventually spawn new varieties of Arts meant to take advantage of these areas of effect. It would also lead to the development of one of the most significant Arts ever created: Join Party.
Syriand and Lagumbar, assisted by an alliance of Dreamwrights and Dreamsmiths, moved through the lands, segmenting them with portals. They started at the Houses and at Threshold and worked their way inward. Gradually the never-ending flow of Mares was stopped. The Mares were still able to squeeze into the Dream through small ruptures but the portals prevented them from moving freely about it. The Nightmare Wars were over... but their most powerful legacy was just being created.
Even as Syriand and Lagumbar finished construction of the portals, a new artifact was being created in House Calenture. The reclusive Master Zordon and his team of Dreamsmiths known as the Forgers Circle were putting the finishing touches on a new kind of talisman that would forever change the Dreamstate: The Orb of Calenture. The Orb was an artifact unlike any ever seen before, for it could take the essence of a Mare and banish it from the Dream easily. The creation of this artifact sparked anger among those Dreamers who believed Mare essence was too valuable to banish and should be imprisoned. It also stirred envy among the other factions who believed in banishment. Soon other prime artifacts were created, talismans held sacred to the Houses. These prime artifacts could either banish or imprison Mare essence according to the beliefs of the House Dreamsmiths who created it.
Friction between the Houses grew as each practiced it's own beliefs and dealt with the Mare essence in it's own way. With The Nightmare Wars at an end, Sanctuaries constructed, and portals placed, the Houses found themselves strong and ready to defend their interests. Underlight was on the verge of another Dreamer War when the Battle of Rock Falls broke out. Two of the most powerful Houses in the Dream, Dreamers of Light and House Calenture, fell into all-out confrontation over the fate of the essences stored within their prime artifacts. When the battle was over, two Rulers of Light were dead by Dreamstrike. Skirmishes between Houses erupted, and each House began to take advantage of the portals to seal off their claimed lands. As each conflict arose, it seemed more and more certain the dreamstate was heading toward another period of all-out warfare. The reality of what was about to happen was far, far worse.