The History of Verindon

If you haven’t read The Reign yet, stop reading here. There are many spoilers written below!

Here I have written the history of the planet Verindon from when its inhabitants first began to communicate with each other to the present day. Enjoy!

The Vendel and the Verindal both developed as normal humanoids, although soon the Vendel began to exhibit supernatural traits. This included the ability to change their form when they were threatened. They would look terrifying as well as becoming stronger and more effective fighters. In the early days after the discovery of this ability many Vendel were out of control when they were in this state (fear of death or injury initiated the change), and it took a while before they learned to control themselves when in what came to be known as the Safety Zone.

The Verindal were jealous of this ability, and although they had freely mixed with the Vendel prior to this, they began to fear them. Battles broke out between the two races. They became more extreme when it was discovered that the Verindal did have one talent: some females had the ability to detect lies.

Like the Vendel’s supernatural traits, this lie detecting skill began to develop when the females were between the age of ten and thirteen. The skill was more pronounced in some than in others, and it was the possession of this skill that led to the formation of royalty amongst the Verindal. Their first Overlord was the female who had the greatest lie detecting ability. She was an ambitious woman named Orsa, and she began to segregate the members of her own race, keeping those who were in families who had members with a strong lie detecting ability and treating the rest as indentured servants. Orsa and her successors, Ilina, Marka and Milina, murdered any child born in the servant families who possessed this ability. Within a few generations the ability was almost wiped out in these families.

However, these families began to fight back, and since the Verindal were, by this time, recovering from a large scale war with the Vendel, the new Overlord gave them certain freedoms in exchange for their help in re-establishing their society. In addition, he was the first male Overlord, so the common people trusted him more than they had the females of the past.

The Vendel, seeing the Verindal form their own royal family, began to form their own. They had noticed that some of their women possessed an ability that at first was considered rare: they could focus energy with such power that it flew out from them in waves and destroyed their enemies. It was noted that they always needed a male with them to help generate this energy. They would link hands with the male and it would produce the energy, going out from the female.

The fact that the females who produced this energy always produced it with their bond partners was not considered significant at first. The women who could do this would not allow anyone to document or experiment with their skill, so no one knew what caused it. Instead, the women capable of producing it were lauded for their talents and they quickly used the adoration to create their own royal family in the Vendel race.

It was not until the following generation that the ability these women possessed was properly documented. Questions were raised when the children of these families grew up and did not possess the ability, though the husbands who had been chosen for them had a great deal of skill in battle. It was at this point that a few other females who were not part of the royal family also demonstrated the ability.

Under pressure, the royal family allowed their scientists to study the skill. It was discovered that female Vendel could only generate this power when in a true bond of love with their bond partners. The power came out of their joint union. For this reason it was decreed that no Vendel would ever be forced into a union, but all would be free to select partners who they loved, to keep this power available. Also, divorce was frowned upon, as it was discovered that although the skill lessened when bond partners were no longer in love, if the female remarried the skill was rarely transferred, even if she loved her new bond partner. Instead, partners were encouraged to keep love alive in their relationships and considerable effort was put into maintaining the love in any bondings that took place.

In the mean time, the Vendel and the Verindal were at war with each other. Learning the reason for the Vendel females’ special ability, the Verindal developed technology aimed at separating any bonded couples who came into battle. They also aimed their warriors at the Vendel females first and wiped many of them out. However, even when unable to use this skill, the Vendel still had the Safety Zone. Although no Vendel could stay zonal for too long, they learned to zone in waves – sending one zoned group forward to fight and then withdrawing them for replenishment (they had to have sugary liquid to enable them to be at full strength in zoning). A fresh group would be ready and waiting to replace the group being replenished. So the Verindals frequently found themselves in extremely dangerous positions, as the Vendel were so powerful. As a result, they relied more on long range weapons and ships so that they didn’t have to fight the Vendel face to face.

Because of this, the Vendel also developed their own technology. Unfortunately, they were not as good at it as the Verindals. The wars continued, with each group progressively gaining the upper hand and then being defeated by the others, for many hundreds of years.

This continued up until the time of the Vendel princess, Vashta and the Verindal heir, Brandonin. You can read about their story in The Verindon Alliance. It tells you all you need to know about the events that led up to a combined rule between the Vendel and Verindal.

After Vashta and Brandonin married it was soon confirmed that, having bonded with a Verindal, Vashta was unable to produce energy with him, no matter how much she loved him. Further study on this skill then revealed that both people had to be Vendel for the skill to work. This took some of the shine off their relationship, but they were still both dedicated to restoring their planet and bringing peace to all its people, and the people wanted that themselves, so no one worried about the loss of this power in her, especially since there were plenty more Vendel couples capable of producing energy themselves. It was also noted that Vashta’s daughters had the strongest lie detecting ability that had ever been seen.

As the Vendel were still better fighters than the Verindal, they became the army, police and secret agents the planet required, although Verindal were also involved as scientists creating better weapons (they were still doing this for the agents when Sarah returned to Verindon). So the planet settled into peace with the Vendel doing all law enforcement or military tasks and the Verindal taking up other positions.

They became familiar with beings from other planets about this time, and were assisted in their technology so that they could become star travellers and recover fully from the Arctal invasion. Once their planet’s internal politics had stabilised (publicly, at least) they became a member of The Seven Systems, a group of seven planetary systems (they are planet number seven in the third system) that has a joint governance and helps keep peace between the planets. All planets in the Seven Systems come to the aid of another Seven Systems planet if they require it.

On Verindon tension continued between their two species and for many years it was difficult to get them to work together at all. However, once it was decided to have an additional leader to govern the military side of things (known as a High Commander), that gave the Vendel a leader they could call their own, although the first few High Commanders, all being female and related to Vashta, remained dedicated to peace between the two races.

The matriarchal leadership of the Vendel was not appreciated by some of their kind, especially when they saw that the Verindal (and races on other planets) gave both males and females equal leadership opportunities. One particularly ambitious agent named Lesden convinced the High Council (which at this time contained six Verindals and six Vendel, with the Overlord representing both races) to allow a male to lead the military. As the Overlord was becoming increasingly like the Verindal (and was a male) he thought that this was a good idea, and cast the deciding vote that put Lesden in charge.

At first Lesden was an equal opportunity employer and valued both male and female agents equally (at least in public). But he was determined to see the rise of male leadership amongst the Vendel, and he collected other male leaders, young and old, who shared this viewpoint. It was during his time that the Vendel started to be referred to as agents, and he became head of the Agency. It was he who realised that, if men were to always be leaders amongst the Vendel, the energy producing skill needed to be played down. He made a concerted effort to utilise the Safety Zone over this other skill. This led to the agents becoming involved in more covert operations, rather than open battle, where the other skill was more useful.

Lesden’s successor, Octoren, continued his work. He staged a series of missions that he then sabotaged, claiming that they had failed because bonded agents who had worked together had put their bond partner’s safety over the success of the mission. This kind of thing happened from time to time anyway, so it had been a concern before now, but Octoren decreed that any agent involved in covert operations could not go with their bond partners. As covert operations became more and more common, the skill created between bond partners was seen less often, with Octoren orchestrating a public campaign glorifying the Safety Zone instead. Agents who could stay in the Safety Zone the longest were always given higher positions (as long as they were also male).

By now the other skill was rarely seen, and couples who possessed it were reluctant to use it, as they were usually sent on dangerous missions separately from each other.

Octoren made sure his successor, a man called Heral, was as patriarchal as he was, and he continued this campaign. Heral produced stories that claimed Vashta had lost her ability to generate energy because she had fallen in love with someone and had, as a result, lost her life in a failed attempt to save her family. This was not true, but it was long enough after Vashta had lived that people believed it. The High Command commissioned painters to paint this so it would be seen by future generations as history, although later the Agency played the union between the races down as mere legend. As the Verindal, by that time, were also anxious to play down any connection to the Vendel, everyone stopped believing the story was true. The High Command also removed from display a painting of Vashta’s sisters using this talent, although it reappeared a generation or so later with the painting altered to make it look like the sisters were producing energy when holding hands with each other, rather than their bond partners.

Heral also used this newly constructed history to insist that the Agency arrange bond partners, and they deliberately separated those who were in love so that there was no risk of this talent ever being seen again. Shortly before his death he outlawed love completely for an agent, claiming it would make them more effective. As it seemed to work, this law was not opposed by the reigning Overlord.

By the end of Heral’s life no one had used the other skill publicly for a hundred years, and people were starting to doubt it existed. Heral had, by this stage, instructed all teachers to warn their pupils against listening to the voice in their heads unless they were in the Safety Zone. This voice was only heard outside the Safety Zone by people who possessed this other ability, so those who heard the voice kept their mouths shut about it, afraid that they would be ostracised, or worse.

All this scheming within the Agency led to them becoming a separate entity from the rest of the population. Its leadership didn’t mind, as it gave them more power, if only over their own people. They still paid lip service to the fact that the Overlord ruled them as well as everyone else, and did all they could to protect their planet and its people, but they were happy to rule themselves. As the two races had never seen eye to eye the Verindal were happy to let the Vendel do this, and the High Council gradually became more focussed on the Verindal way of life, while the Agency looked after all Vendel interests.

Every leader of the High Command (by then they were always male) is made aware of the real reason for the anti-love ruling, hence they are carefully selected to make sure they are ambitious enough to want to keep it that way.

Marriage between the two species began to be frowned upon, although there were some who still insisted it was the best way to keep the two races on peaceful terms. However, there were people on both sides of the camp who preferred that it was not allowed. With love being outlawed for the Vendel it became harder to justify marriage between the races anyway. The only way it could happen was if the Verindal leader fell in love with an agent, and although this did happen on the odd occasion, it was dangerous for the agent in question to publicly return this love, although they usually ceased to be involved in missions once they were bonded to an Overlord.

When Sondalan came along the Agency were looking for ways to make sure that no agent was ever allowed to marry an Overlord, as they worried that this kind of alliance might lead to the Overlord overruling their law against love. So the High Command at the time allowed him to take charge, and seeing how reckless and ruthless he was, encouraged him to marry the Overlord. Once he had done so they quickly denounced him, although by then they realised that they had given him too much power, and most of them were killed in the subsequent purge.

Kandaharn was the only one who managed to survive (he was ruthless enough to ensure his survival over everyone else’s), although even he nearly lost to Sondalan’s strength. Eventually Kandaharn managed to beat him, and once Sondalan was destroyed it was quickly decided that no agent would ever be allowed to bond with an Overlord again. The High Council were happy to agree to this as the whole business with Sondalan had made them even more wary of the Vendel and they were anxious to distance themselves from them. The High Command had no problem with that, and since all other Agency council representatives apart from Kandaharn had been killed, their places were quickly filled with other Verindal. Kandaharn didn’t mind, as it made him the sole representative of the Vendel on the High Council.

This continued for many subsequent generations, the two races coexisting peacefully only because they kept to themselves most of the time. The Verindal began to view the Vendel as a lesser species. It was still this way by the time Sarah arrived on Verindon.

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