By Andiamo & NFDoggo
It is told in the legends that in the Age of Wonder, Magic was so abundant in Bridgeworld that it imbued its inhabitants with abilities and technology beyond our imagining.
The abundance of Magic, now the scarcest of all resources in the realm, came as a result of the the greatest Legions coming together, regardless of class, rank or pedigree, to form the great Crafting Guilds.
Each of these Guilds was guided by its chief architect and engineer, who designed intricate and sophisticated schematics for the construction of the Harvesters. No two Harvesters were identical, for their components, while similar in function, also bore the hallmarks of the Legions that crafted them, and the very same Magic that flowed through the veins and essence of each Legionnaire that contributed to the crafting of each individual part. From drill bits to each of the working components of the Harvester, each component was forged by Legions pouring their essence into the glowing forges, aided by the relics and Treasures of the Bridgeworld.
It is said that when these Harvesters were completed, they spanned the canyons where the Magic mines were located, with their drilling bits extending miles into the hearts of the land. Transport lines moved a steady stream of Magic crystals to the Guildhalls, where they were apportioned to each member according to their rank, their need and their purpose.
The Harvesters brought an age of wealth and abundance upon the Bridgeworld, not just because of what Magic could do, but also because it rallied all the Legion factions towards a common cause.
Yet, all good things unfortunately came to an end. Just as the ever-deepening mines brought up ever-scarcer Magic, the completion of the great Harvesters brought about an age of intense competition and paranoia.
The Crafting Guilds that once stood as the rallying point for the Legions gradually dissolved, as the focus turned to securing ever-growing territories for the purposes of mining more Magic.
Alas, it was that fateful day when the drill bits of two Harvesters placed too close to each other collided in the mines, igniting an inferno that destroyed the Harvesters and eviscerated the Legions operating them. The Lands around the mines were scorched and rendered uninhabitable, and the decision was taken to not only halt all mining, but also to dismantle all the remaining Harvesters.
The plans for each of these Harvesters were ordered by the Elders to be burnt and destroyed, for even in their hour of crisis, the animosity that had brewed for the centuries prior had grown to the point where each faction decided that what they couldn’t have, no one else would be able to have. The Chief Architects and Engineers of the Crafting Guilds, too, were either exiled or executed.
And thus, the Age of Wonder came to an end.
Or so it would seem, for there are rumours that some of the Engineers and Architects who were exiled, unwilling to let their life’s work fade into obscurity, etched the plans for various Harvester components onto stone tablets and scattered them across the realm. Their locations are said to be marked by guidestones, whose shadows point to their resting place on the sunset of the summer solstice, although even if these plans were to be recovered, few would understand how to reconstruct the Harvesters to the scale and grandeur achieved at their pinnacle.
Perhaps one day the Legions may once again band together in the pursuit of greatness and recover these parts.
Who knows if they may yet reconstruct a greater Harvester than those of ages past, and usher in a new era of prosperity.
Thrumming with an ancient power, the Fire Harvester rattles the surrounding rock, sending magma into the air, its machinations reverberating deeper into the darkness as its drills find purchase within pockets of Magic hidden deep in Bridgeworld’s core. Pulsating lines of bright red Magic provide a chaotic web of power to the great machine and bathe the cavern in an eerie crimson glow. Legions race across the Fire Harvester’s spans, darting in and out of its engine rooms, attempting to maintain control of the ancient construct and to ensure that the Magic continues to flow.
Water jets slice through the rock as fine mist permeate the massive cavern. The sheer friction from the water cutting through the rock cause some of the water to evaporate. Hundreds of water jets move in unison like a dance of deadly blades and to have achieved such efficiency and sleekness to a machine of that massive size is a wonder unto itself. Once a pocket of magic is found it’s blasted by the jets and turned to fine mist before a colossal air intake sucks the gaseous magic in and vents the excess mist.
The never-ending gale can be heard howling through the tunnels as the wind harvester seemingly inhales the magic seeping through the stone of the Atlas mine. Layers of frost creep up the sides of the massive metal frame as the machine continue its endless work. Pipes and tubes of a white glowing liquid run along its sides while deep within the machinery the slight orange glow hint at fire imbued magic being used to keep the machine from freezing over completely.
Earth shattering rumbles shake the tunnels as the earth harvester grind granite and stone like a mill grinds seeds. Rocks, stones, and pebbles fly through the air as the enormous machine obliterates everything in front of it centimetre by centimetre. As it strikes a new pool of magic the massive drill cease its spinning and gently lowers the drill into the pool of magic. Tubes snaking through the inner machinery all the way to the tank at the back begin to fill up with a lightly glowing brown liquid. With the pool drained the world returns to its trembling state as the earth harvester continue it’s endless work.
The golden arches span the breadth of the cavernous mine. From the apexes of seven golden arches, the harvester's drill bit is suspended and lowered deep into the mine. Constructed by the bearers of light, every component of the harvester itself holds a sliver of the light, allowing the extraction of Magic even in the deepest depths of the mine to be executed with precision and finesse. Not a single grain of Azurite dust is missed: while pipes carry fresh coolant to the drill head, vast suction valves draw in the fragments of Magic-bearing Azurite, ensuring that not a single grain is lost. The engineers that constructed the Harvester knew: for the Light to flourish, it needed to shine on everything. The Harvester of Light marked the pinnacle of engineering, the apex of technology and ingenuity taken to ever-greater heights after the Great Battle. It is said that the Harvester of Light drew upon the expertise taken to design and build the other four great Harvesters, and elevated that technology to the highest levels, infused with the brilliance of the Light itself.
"Silence. Deafening Silence. From a distance, a shadow can be seen on the mine wall, but do not be mistaken, where the shadow ends is not where this colossal piece of machinery begins. Not at all. Where the shadow ends merely marks the extent to which the darkness emanating from the harvester spreads. Deep within the cavern lies the Harvester itself: its machinery moving frictionlessly as if in a vacuum, the drill head pulverising the the walls of the mine face and consuming the chunks of Azurite ore and their magic as they chip off the mine face. Yet, there is no sound: for the darkness consumes all but itself. Nothing escapes: no sound, no light, no heat and some say not even Magic itself." While the other Harvesters have been built, destroyed and rebuilt many times over the ages, the Dark Harvester has not been seen since the Great Battle and the victory of the Light over the Darkness. Little is known of the Legions that constructed the Dark Harvester and the powers they imbued upon it, nor of the origins of some of its most critical components.