Stirling City Stories
A Brief History of the World of the Earth-Shadow
During the Enlightenment (on Earth-Shadow) the Seven Luminaries (the leading practitioners of Light Magic in the world) came out of hiding to help guide western civilisation to a more enlightened period. This highlights the much more open existence magic has led on Earth-Shadow than on Earth-Prime.
Time passed and Earth-Shadow’s history didn’t diverge that much from Earth-Prime’s, despite the prominent role of the Luminaries in western civilisation. One change was that without the guidance of the Luminaries, the Order of Druids then began its gradual fade into irrelevance, culminating in the group ceasing to exist by the mid-nineteenth century.
Being mortal, the Luminaries passed their abilities and titles on to those they found worthy. However, where the original Luminaries had been raised and trained within the Order of Druids, their replacements had not. Over time ideals were lost and compromised and power was diminished, so that by the time the secretive Grey Hand appeared in London in the late-nineteenth century, the six remaining Luminaries (one had inexplicably been drawn into the space between worlds) were ill equipped to combat them. Even outclassed as they were, the Luminaries were still able to defeat the Grey Hand on that group’s first two attempts to summon their Shadow Lord (although after the second attempt, the Luminaries had been reduced to five).
In 1938, in Nazi Germany, the Grey Hand were able to succeed where their Earth-Prime counterparts (The Blue Hand) had failed: they enlisted the aid of Nazi Occultists and managed to open a portal for the Shadow Lord to directly influence Earth-Shadow. Over the following few years, the Grey Hand (at the bidding of the Shadow Lord) worked tirelessly with Nazi Occultists (soon to be Nazi Shadow Adepts) and Nazi Scientists so as to begin the process of transforming ordinary humans into advanced Shadow Humans (or the “Master Race”).
With WW2 in full swing, the Shadow Human process was perfected in 1942. The process involved the draining of life essence from two humans to transform a third into a Shadow Human. With so many undesirables around, the Nazi regime felt that this was a most excellent procedure. They soon refined the procedure so that two varieties of Shadow Human could be created: the Leaders and the Underlings (the only real difference being that the Underlings were made susceptible to mental attacks, to make them more easily led).
In late 1942, the figure known as Geheimnis Krieger (Mystery Warrior) appeared practically out of nowhere and began attacking German supply depots (when he wasn’t just ripping Nazis apart with his bare hands, or freezing them solid with his ice vision and then shattering them with his shockwave clap). The actions of this one superhuman inspired the aged Luminaries, who came out of retirement to lead the American Patriots (a band of minor meta-humans) into war against the Nazis in 1943. This may have succeeded… if not for the Shadow Humans and the growing number of Shadow Adepts… and the Shadow Armies!
In January 1943 the beleaguered Nazi army near Stalingrad was relieved by a force out of nightmare. Accompanying Shadow Human soldiers and adepts were Shadow Beasts, Shadow Drakes and a lumbering Shadow Juggernaut (a precursor to the Shadow Colossus of today). The supernatural forces changed the face of the war and sent the soviet army into a full retreat. This new army continued to push further and further into the Soviet Union, eventually forcing the red army to capitulate by March 1943. The rest of the world was largely skeptical of the scattered reports of monsters fighting for the Germans… until June 1943, when the 2nd Shadow Army was deployed to Northern Africa. The British and American troops that had been slowly beating back Rommel’s forces were completely unprepared for the nightmares that they now faced and were soon defeated.
In June 1943, the Luminaries and the American Patriots invaded Europe and managed to contact Geheimnis Krieger; however this only resulted in them being an easier target for the Grey Hand. Outgunned and outmaneuvered, the heroes sold their lives dearly. Geheimnis Krieger and one Luminary were they only two figures to escape the bloody battle that day, as all of the American Patriots as well as the Grey Hand were slain.
From that point on, Allied defeat was inevitable and the Shadow Nazi regime slowly spread to cover the whole world.
Geheimnis Krieger died in 1944, decapitated by an Uber Shadow Juggernaut. The Last Luminary went into hiding and is rumoured to be out there still, teaching others the secrets of Light Magic in the hopes of one day throwing off the villainy of rule by Shadow.