“Taveren are made so as the Wheel needs them to be.”

— Atharim text, author unknown, meaning unknown


The Atharim have a word to describe those born according to prophecy: Taveren.  However they do not understand their importance to the pattern of time.  To the Wheel, the great force driving the churning of ages, Taveren are vital to restore balance, but the Atharim know them only as harbingers of destruction and that a Taveren called Apollyon will be the one to destroy the world.  This is the being they are sworn to stop, as it is he who will herald the apocalypse.

After his intriguing and swift rise to authority, it is highly likely that the Ascendancy, the whispered Amulet of Man, is their Foretold Apollyon – and the Age’s first Taveren.

“Today, as far as the vast majority of his fellow-countrymen are concerned, he has reached a pinnacle never before achieved by a ruler. He has become – even to those who oppose him – a myth, a legend, almost a god…”

— New York Times reporter, investigating from Siberia, 2020

In the days after his discovery of Siberian oil, the media went to great lengths to uncover the mystery of this man’s past.  They tracked his origins to the mountains of southern Siberia, a largely Buddhist region adjacent to Mongolia.  

Investigation revealed he arrived to the area some ten years beforehand, but at the time it was never discovered where he originally came from nor why he chose Siberia to settle.  At the time, it was believed he was Western, as he struggled to speak the language and English was not known in this remote part of the world.   He spent an enormous amount of time in one of the recently rebuilt Datsan monasteries – apparently studying philosophy, not tantric arts, much to this reporter’s disappointment.

However when the reporter visited the Datsan he supposedly frequented, all that was found was a scorched hillside and a lot of graves.

Years later, a small story broke which revealed Nikolai Brandon was once an American expat living in Italy who arose in the forefront of Russian politics without a meaningful explanation of the time in between.  Details few remember and even fewer care about. 

“I do not say that to understand is to pardon … But I do say that understanding is absolutely necessary if the spread of anarchy over the whole world is to be prevented.”

— The Ascendancy, 2023