Since the dawn of eternity, four lights of hope have shone upon the world.
Ponies flock to these lights, around which they build four peristylia.
Each peristylium becomes their faith and society, the path upon which they are set.
The Vermilion Bird—wings of fire to lift the heart.
The White Tiger—steely arms by which to seize knowledge.
The Azure Dragon—unclouded eyes that see all beneath the sky.
The Black Tortoise—a rigid shield and a well-guarded blade.
But when nine and nine meets nine,
Tempus Finis shall be willed upon them.
For without the Agito, their world—called Equestria–
must persist in its spiral.
In the land of Equestria, it is said that 'when Tempus Finis arrives, the crystal will guide Agito, those who will balance the world.'
Many interpret this as 'saviors, called Agito, will emerge when the catastrophe, referred to as Finis, befalls this world.'
***"In this time of absolute darkness, we must unite to ring forth the light of hope! The time has come! Yes, this is the dawn of a new age!"
- Imperial Marshal Dusk Storm
And with these words, in 842 RG, the Lunarian Empire, home to the White Peristylium, invaded the neighboring Dominion of Solaris. As soon as the declaration of war was made, the Lunarian main fleet swarmed into all corners of Solaris. At the same time, a separate fleet was charged with a sneak attack on the Vermilion Peristylium. A l'Cie accompanied this task force. Using a l'Cie to invade a sovereign state was a direct violation of the Pax Codex, a treaty created by all four Crystal-States of Equestria. The besieged peristylium attempted to repel Lunaria's magitek armors with powerful magic, managing to initially repel the invading forces. Not even the mighty warships could withstand the awesome power of the summoned Eidolons. It seemed that the Lunarian offensive would fail. However, the l'Cie Trixie Lulamoon led a special unit past Solaris' defenses and activated a new weapon, the Crystal Jammer, neutralizing the power of the Vermilion Bird Crystal. Severed from the source of their magical powers, the Solaris forces were quickly overwhelmed and overrun. Imperial Marshal Dusk Storm demanded of Chancellor Solar Ray VI, the leader of Solaris, that he surrender and transfer the Vermilion Bird Crystal to Lunarian control.
"Your Crystal cannot protect you. Resistance is no longer an option. You have six hours. You must comply with our demands or face the full might of our forces - in which case I promise you, the roads of Solaris will run red with the blood of her people."
-Imperial Marshal Dusk Storm
Chancellor Solar Ray gazed out upon the destruction in the city of Akademia. He watched as brave mares and stallions fell before the Lunarian offensive. It soon became too much for the old stallion, prompting him to turn his face away.
"May the Crystal guide them to salvation," he prayed, as the battle began to intensify.
The cry came from a Lunarian scout unit, scouring the streets of Akademia, as he witnessed a beam of energy destroy the warships above them, jumping from ship to ship before beginning a descent to the street just in front of the group. The collision resulted in a great fireball, engulfing those unfortunate enough to be in the impact zone. The rest of the ponies were blown back, all of them falling into unconsciousness upon impact with the ground. All, but one lone scout. The scout raised himself off the ground just enough to get a glimpse of what had caused the explosion.
It looked like an enormous lance, intricately crafted with designs like gears on the hilt. As the scout watched, the flames engulfed the weapon, transforming it into a wicked, white blade, bearing the same gear design as the lance. A dark talon, or something that looked like a talon, was soon reaching for the blade, grasping it and pulling it from the ground. The scout moved his eyes to take in the black figure before him. It appeared to be a centaur, though no centaur he had seen before had ever looked like this. It was tall and black, its head had two great horns, and three glowing, red eyes. This was no centaur; this was Odin, death incarnate, and one of the most feared Eidolons of Solaris.
Odin, soon reared to his rear hooves, swinging his sword in a great arc, launching a wave of fiery energy over the city. This was the last thing the scout saw, for Odin's energy wave killed all who stood with the Lunarian Empire within a three block radius. If the scout had survived, he would have seen a red cloaked pony, trotting forward to stand beside Odin. This pony bent down, grasping a fallen Solaris standard that had survived the attack, raising it high and allowing the Vermilion Bird to be proudly seen. He then tossed it over his head, allowing it to dig into the ground beside him. And then, with a mighty roar, Odin dissolved into white energy, coalescing into a single arcane card that glowed with energy and gently settled into a pouch on the cloaked pony's flank.
"When nine and nine meet nine," the pony intoned, twelve more cloaked ponies rising beside him. "The depths of reason shall stir. When the seal of creation is broken, a voice like thunder shall sound, and thou shalt know -"
The ponies all threw off their cloaks, revealing themselves. Ace, a yellow colt with pale blond mane and tail, wielding a deck of arcane cards. Deuce, a light brown filly with a dark brown mane and tail, a flute floating in her magical grasp. Trey, a pale yellow colt, with bright yellow mane and tail, a bow aimed ahead of him. Cater, a red filly with short, flared orange mane and tail, a magic channeling pistol, commonly referred to as a magicite pistol, hovering beside her. Cinque, an pink filly with brown, braided mane and tail, an enormous mace resting on her back. Sice, a black filly with silver mane and tail, an imposing scythe grasped in her hooves. Seven, a silver filly with dark grey mane and tail, a whipblade dangling from her mouth. Eight, a blue colt with short auburn mane and tail, gauntlets gleaming on his hooves. Nine, a brown colt with blond mane and tail, he leans against a sturdy spear. Jack, a green colt with coiffed blond mane and tail, a katana glinting in the firelight. Queen, a dark grey filly, with a long black mane and tail, a short sword floating beside her in her telekinetic grip. King, a peach colt, with long blond mane and tail, twine pistol levitating to either side of him.
"We have arrived!" Ace finished, raising a card in his telekinetic grip.
Class Zero had entered the battle.