The Tellus were arrogant, pretentious, and blinded by their own hubris... but then, so were we. The planet was flooded by a sea of people, 15 billion on the surface alone. They were poor, desperate, and starved for energy. Energy meant food, protection, and power. The Tellus ruled over the masses through efficient control of energy and fear, but their hold was slipping.
We, the Zeph, lived in the sky itself. Above the poverty and pollution of the crust, we thrived and reveled in the warm glow of the sun. Our Skyholds were among the clouds where energy and food were plentiful. As we benefitted from the plunder of the planet below us, we thought of ourselves as betters, and as immune. We ruled with a different sort of fear, a fear of the planet-born. A fear that if we helped them, we would lose our place of ascension. By the time we realized our error, it was far too late.
As the situation on the planet degraded the Tellus became increasingly desperate. The oily fuels were depleted and their pollution had blotted out the sky. The seas spawned behemoth cyclones that pummeled the nations and spread ancient radiation throughout the cities.
The desperation of the Tellus led them to dangerous plans, with cataclysmic results. They were to challenge the planet itself. The mighty Tellus Dreadnoughts were to blast deep into the very core of the planet. There, a chain reaction would be started, and a new, infinite, and endless supply of energy would be forged. The Dreadnoughts amassed and bored into the planet’s heart. Within the scalding heat of the core, beside the rivers of molten metal, the reaction was started. The Tellus were right; they had created infinite energy, energy that they could not control. The reaction escaped its containment, the planet heaved for a moment, and then exploded into uncontrolled fury. Volcanoes spewed toxic ash across the land, earthquakes broke apart entire continents, the oceans churned and destroyed the great metropolises along the coasts. The planet-born and their Tellus overlords were shattered and fell.
The Zeph were not without causalities. Many of our sky cities were destroyed and came crashing down on the broken world below. But... we survived. Now assured of our own superiority we thought ourselves safe, but our imperiousness only led to more suffering. Although never admitted by either side, the Tellus and the Zeph were locked in a symbiotic trap. They needed our energy and clean food. We depended on their raw materials and labor to build our imposing constructs, and to maintain our opulence. With the planet engulfed in magnificent natural violence we slowly decayed.
One by one the Skyholds pitched and fell. We devolved into warring factions, fighting amongst ourselves for the scarce remaining resources of the planet. Bold action was needed if we were to survive. Fleets were hastily assembled and ventured down to the forgotten surface of the world. Fighting for no one but themselves some returned triumphantly to the Skyholds with treasure and glory, most were never seen again. Just as we dared to hope, as our renaissance seemed possible, the Dreadnoughts rose again.