Like a fire constantly stoked, the conflict between the White City and Dark City has endured for eons and gradually consumes anyone who gets too close. It is simply part of daily life for Twelvians, so much so that they no longer wonder about how it all started. All it took was a recent and unexpected surge of hatred to reawaken the deepest of buried memories…


Om’hega woke up with a start, her forehead damp with sweat. She had nodded off just a few minutes earlier when a yowling followed by the shriek of a crow had interrupted her dozing.

Behind the window of her room, a black bow meow was licking its right paw where a feather was trapped between its claws. The animal stretched out its whole body, then leaped toward a chimney outlet, which it narrowly missed, sending several tiles tumbling to the ground with an alarming crash.

"Mimine! Enough of that racket!" yelled a furious old Enutrof.

Om’hega had managed to close her eyes for more than 10 seconds for once. It was just her luck.

The little Xelor sat on the end of her bed and glanced outside. The city seemed so peaceful when it was sleeping. But it was deceiving. She knew better. The conflict never slept. Recently, fear had gripped the streets. Even though it could not be heard, it was deafening. It was this fear that prevented Om’hega from sleeping, although she had hardly been able to sleep since she was a baby anyway.

Om’hega grabbed her glass from the day before and took a big gulp of water. 


She immediately spat out the liquid along with a little arachnee, which shot her a disapproving look.

"Hey! Don't look at me like that. I never asked you to take a dip in my glass."

The creature shook itself off, then let out a little self-righteous "Hmph!" before turning around and walking off offended.

It had always been there, as far back as she could remember. Each time she slipped into her bed, she could feel its presence. It was as if it pulled back her covers, as if it turned on a blinding light or banged heavily on the door. Om’hega had long thought it ran in the family. Her mother and grandmother had always had trouble sleeping. They themselves used to say it was in their genes.

"But I think it's something else. I think it's something deeper."

Om’hega stood up and made her way over to the massive bookcase that occupied half of the room.  

"I'm sure of it now. Something is stopping me from sleeping. Something is stopping all Bontarians from sleeping."

She pulled out a book that was as heavy as it was old. The tome was not in the best condition. The spine was so broken that some pages were only held in place by the smallest amount of glue. Om’hega passed her hand gently over the cover. She felt the raised edges of the symbol that decorated the front, the Bonta coat-of-arms.

"I remember my city… So beautiful. So proud…"

Om’hega slipped into her bed again and placed the book on her legs. It was huge. How could it not be when it contained such a weighty past. She skipped over the preface, which she knew by heart, and went straight to her favorite chapter.




The little Xelor smiled a little. That was when it all began. Under the leadership of Jiva, Pouchecot, and Menalt, protectors of the months of Javian, Frauguctor, and Martalo respectively, a glowing city that promised peace and harmony was born.

Om’hega had not yet been born. But even so, now more than ever, she was deeply nostalgic for this era. The long evenings spent listening to her grandmother tell her the history of her ancestors undoubtedly had something to do with it.

Om’hega closed her eyes and let the memories come flooding back…

"What is it, my little moumouse? Can't sleep?"

"My eyes won't stay shut, grandma."

"Hmm… I see… Would you like to hear the Story?" said the old woman with a mischievous smile.

With tousled hair and tired eyes, the little girl emerged from under her covers like a small animal.

"Yes please, grandma. Tell it again!"

The old woman gave three little taps on her knees, and Om’hega immediately crawled over to curl up next to her grandma. She could smell soap and cinnamon. It was a scent she still hadn't forgotten, even four years after her grandma's disembodiment.

Even thought the Xelor knew the story of the creation of the White City by heart, she never tired of hearing it. Through her grandma's soft and husky voice, she was able to relive each of the events that would become the fabric of her city. The growing threat of Rushu's cult… The decision to confront it, whatever the cost. The encouragement from Jiva, whose voice boomed so loudly that even the gods could hear it:

"Stone after stone, this is not just a city you are building. This is your future. And your children's future! A wall stands between you and your enemy! Twelvians, Bonta the White is the cradle of a dazzling future, and you are the pioneers!"

The cheering of the crowd and the heralds' trumpets when the last stone was placed. The banquet and the mouthwatering aromas that filled the air. The never-ending festive party that went all through the night until the small hours to the sounds of the troubadours' melodies.

The cries of delight from the children…

Each time it was as if she had been there.

It was just a little less than a year later when it started… When the subject was brought up, grandmother pretended she couldn't remember.

"Ooof… My memory is not what it once was, my dear… I'm no spring chicken anymore! And it's now time you were asleep. I'll get a scolding from your mother if she finds out you were up so late!"

Then she pulled the covers over Om’hega, wrapping her in all her love, then left one last kiss on her forehead. The little girl waited until her grandmother had closed the door before cautiously making her way to the bookcase as quietly as she could. She then anxiously grabbed the book, as if it were a forbidden item.


An engraving depicting the famous battle spread over two full pages. The Bontarian army, noble, heroic and led by a supremely confident Menalt, marched straight to the enemy. Facing this army, a horde of rampaging Brakmarians were launching an assault with all spears to the fore.

On the old, yellowed pages, the armies seemed to come to life, to bring death more easily…

The howls of the Bontarians. The roars of the Brakmarians.



"I remember my city… So dark. So sordid…"

The metallic reverberation of steps from passersby reached her room. As did the heat released by the magmatic rocks. It was after midnight, and Dhaurys was still awake. But then her window did look directly over the Breastplate, which was probably the most lively area of Brakmar.

"Rrrrgh! Hnnnnnnng! Pffff…"

The little Sram struggled for the umpteenth time to open the lock on her window, without success. Her father had locked it tight.

"RrrrrHAAAAAA!! Useless piece of shushued shushu!!"

In her rage, Dhaurys violently kicked a chest, scattering lots of toys across the room. A figurine carved from dark treechnid wood rolled to her feet. Dhaurys squatted down to pick it up. It was in the likeness of Oto Mustam, the dictator that ruled Brakmar and the weapons master of its militia, the same militia her father had served in for many years now.  

"Its so unfair…" grumbled the little girl, turning the object over and over in her hand.

The first light of dawn could be seen outside. Dhaurys hadn't slept a wink that night. As far as she could remember, she had never really let the sandman take her to the land of nightmares for any length of time.  She preferred to witness the real one beneath her windows…

A few hours earlier, like every night, she had pressed her father to take her with him once night fell.

"Papa, is it good or bad what's happening out there?"

"Both good and bad, my child."

"I want to go with you. I'm ready now."

"You know my thoughts on that, Dodo. It's too soon for you…"

"Stop calling me that! I'm not a little girl anymore!"

The Twelvian suppressed a laugh.

"Just like your mother…" he murmured, his voice tinged with sad tenderness. "If she were still here, she would certainly be proud of you, very proud. Stop sulking and let me tell you your favorite story instead."

Dhaurys couldn't argue with that, despite her renowned stubbornness. The little girl calmed down immediately. She sat on her father's knees, eager to relish every detail of the Great Battle. How Djaul had managed to galvanize his men to crush the enemy. The adrenaline that coursed through the ranks of his army as the patriotic Brakmarian chants rang out, and through those who waited in the warm comfort of their homes for the victory that would honor their people.

And then the fateful moment, when the fighting finally started. The surge of goblin troops from the Sidimote Mountains as they piled into the Bontarian vanguard. The Karne Riders, relentlessly pursuing the few survivors of the Order of the Valiant Heart. The cunning of the Chafer army. And of course, above all…


Hyrkul, the Black Warrior…


Om’hega shivered all over her frail little body. The image of the colossal Black Warrior, Hyrkul, brandishing his sword, out of which escaped a dreadful lightning dragon, had the same effect on her each time. She huddled down under her covers so only her head was showing and continued to read.

A portrait of Menalt, depicted as a hero, began a new chapter. The little Xelor had often heard her grandmother praise the courage of Menalt, who was quick to rip off his cumbersome armor and confront the terrible creature. The white fire and black fire, locked in combat. Sadly, the centaur fell, as did the knights of the Order of the Valiant Heart, who all perished at the hands of Hyrkul. By chance, the Brakmarians did not emerge victorious. At least, not this time…

The gloom of this dark dawn lasted so long that the Bontarians thought they would never see the sun rise again. Eventually, the dark lifted, to be replaced by a red and smoky daybreak, known thereafter as the Crimson Dawn.

Since that day, the two largest cities in the World of Twelve have alternated between periods of war and peace, sometimes giving rise to conflict in unexpected forms, such as this written exchange with flowery language between Amayiro and Oto Mustam.


Om’hega closed the book and wiped a tear off her cheek. She was consumed with an infinite sadness. Because, evidently, none of that really belonged to the past. She turned to face the window when she felt this strange sensation: Ultimately, the night of Septangel 12 of the year 26 had never really ended. Recently, something had taken hold of Twelvians everywhere making them utterly fanatical. Even the most moderate Bontarians seemed to have gone mad and were defending their city with an aggression that Om’hega had never associated with her city's values. Even the efforts of the Huppermages to restore calm had been in vain…

The young girl suddenly frowned. She had heard a noise, from somewhere outside. She pulled back the covers and went to the window.


A black bow meow was licking its right paw where a feather was trapped between its claws. The animal stretched, then leaped toward a chimney outlet, narrowly missing falling. With its clumsy jump, it sent several tiles tumbling to the ground, which then smashed with an alarming crash.

"Mimine! Enough of that racket!"