The following is an excerpt from Victor Strife’s Lineal Champions of History, a book chronicling the known history of the Champions of Light and Dark, pieced together by the Vicars Salamander throughout the centuries…

Victor Strife’s Lineal Champions of History
Circa 6800-6900 Champions Era (3200-3100 BC)
Champion Zero #284: The Catfish from Egypt
Champion One #284: The Scorpion from Egypt

The Vicars Salamander throughout history have done a remarkable job of tracing the dual Championship lineages throughout history, dating all the way back to roughly 10,000 BCE (or Year Zero of the Champions Era). It is an unfortunate reality that for much of the first seven thousand years we just simply do not know as much as we would like. We know of some specific figures and events, and we have strong suspicions about many others, but it is not until the Catfish and the Scorpion that we can definitively trace the lineal Championship lines in full completeness up to today.

Champion Zero was the leader of the peoples of Upper Egypt. Known as The Catfish, he sought greatness unlike any Champion before him. Champion One, known as The Scorpion, was a merchant in Lower Egypt, helping to bring in Mesopotamian knowledge through the trade of goods and ideas. The Catfish sought to unite disparate peoples through conquest. The Scorpion sought to unite disparate peoples through culture. Not much is known of their pre-war antagonisms, but we know what happened when they met on the battlefield.

Out in front, leading his army, The Catfish cut through his competition effortlessly, carving a path toward the heart of the opposition. His destination was not his opposite number in political/military rank, but rather his opposite in true power and strength. The Scorpion had willingly joined his people’s defenses, but was thrown into the inconsequential ranks of the untrained soldiers. Their duty was to put up as much of a fight as possible before being slaughtered. Yet it was this group of men, protected by their proximity to The Scorpion, who succeeded far beyond being mere speed bumps for the invaders; they were the steadfast wall, past which no enemy could pass.

The elite unit supporting The Catfish met the ragtag unit accompanying The Scorpion. The respective units fell – not from wound or want of will, but from wonder. They could not focus on waging war when greatness was dancing before them. The two Champions locked in an embrace, each squeezing in an attempt to incapacitate the other. Chest to chest, knees driving into thighs while the opposing legs tightened to retain balance. Arms strained and fingernails dug into palms. At first, ear to ear…then cheek to cheek…forehead to forehead…eye to eye…nose to nose…lips to lips.

One set of hands held while the other gave way. The Scorpion had fallen limp. Holding the mouth’s embrace for a moment longer, and the body’s grasp another moment still, The Catfish then dropped his fallen Other to the ground. The victor, too, then fell to the ground beside him, knowing what would follow around them. He closed his eyes to reflect on what he had wrought.

When the invading army was done slaughtering every remaining inhabitant of Lower Egypt, they finally claimed the victory for themselves that The Catfish had already secured. The more fractured existence of smaller dominions gave way to hegemony. In one of history’s many ironies, scholars would later refer to the Egyptian periods before and after this battle as Dynasty 0 and Dynasty I, though it was Champion Zero who was victorious and ushered in a new era.

The Catfish’s dynasty was, at first, out of balance, having destroyed his Other. Soon the next generation of Champion would rise, battling back and forth, with no clear victor for generations, restoring balance to the world and a golden age of human flourishing. It is these Champions, starting with The Catfish and The Scorpion, that have given us the world we know today. And it is the Vicars Salamander who have made it possible for this history to be known.

Often a shorthand for the meaning of life
The pursuit of which is eternally rife
Reconcile with the persistence of strife
Most readily found on the edge of a knife