An Abbreviated History
As Told By Andromus, Scholar-Emeritus-Thesol College, of the Green Magisterium
The Beginnings of Knowledge
In the ancient, ancient days of time, when the world was new and fashioned out of the Void, the Elder Beings played at Creation. These Elder Beings were dark and horrible in aspect and soul. They dominated Creation, the Void and the World with their might. It was then that the paragons, the Titans, came to our World and warred against the Elders. How such a thing was possible it is not known but the Titans, in those days, were great and good and possessed many secrets. They threw down the Elders and sealed them away outside the Void so that they would never trouble us again. This was the Titan’s first mistake for, as is known, the beings we now call the Elderwraths are ever-hungry for our Reality and our Souls.
The Titans stood above all other life on the World. They fashioned cities of gleaming marble and metals. They strode the land and brought light to every dark corner. They were merciful and powerful, fearsome and compassionate. The Titans drew together the threads of civilization for the first time and all dwelled under the aegis of the Solar Assembly. The vassals of the Titans, the Ehlovanni, were a gifted and beautiful race that served the Titans faithfully for long generations of their lives. And so Light was brought to all of the World.
But the Titans first mistake was soon to haunt them once again. With power comes corruption and the eager, grasping minds of the Titans strayed from the dictates of their own civilization to walk dark paths of exploration and experimentation. Magic was used to create life both wondrous and horrible. Relics of unstoppable force were forged and then mislaid. It was as if the Titans lost all sense as they stood further and higher above the other races below them. Haughtiness became hate, pride became prejudice and hearts once pure turned dark in their imperiousness. Those Titans who dared, who feared nothing, went too far and breached Beyond the Void where they found the Elderwraths waiting.
Rise of the Shaitan
From just a few cracks did the darkness of the Elderwraths spread like a cancer amongst the body of the Titans. Their hearts turned dark and cruel, their passions sick and depraved, as they strode further and further from their civilized ways. Abominations of sorcerous experimentation, cruel blood-sports amidst their servants and the outright slavery of the mortal races. All of these sins the Titans took to their bosom as if renewing an old friendship.
These new Dark Titans, the Shaitan, were discovered by their brethren in the Solar Assembly and war was inevitable. The sorceries, might and all of the power contained in darkened hearts struck out and shattered the Solar dominion of Titans over the World and Beyond. The Shaitan brought forth monsters of war created in sorcerous rites, drew on dark powers from the Elderwraths themselves and even bargained freely with otherworldly nether-beings in search of victory. The mortal armies of the two sides slaughtered each other indiscriminately as Ehlovanni and mortals chose sides in a war that would not allow anyone to survive. In the end, the Shaitan reigned supreme.
These years are so dark that no one has sought to reimagine them and I will not do so here for fear that my imagination will become Reality. But, with the Shaitan in power, Reality grew bleak and murderous for all. The weight of oppression over all of the mortal races was crushing and the Shaitans power served to keep it there for hundreds of years as their hearts grew darker and darker.
In the end, it was conflict between themselves that opened the way for the mortal races to rise up against them. A few hundred years of slavery was enough to light the fires of war amongst every mortal race and the War began in fire and blood. This was no military struggle but a never-ending massacre that drove each side to greater darkness in search of victory. Imagine it, a multitude of ants warring against the titanic powers that wielded the powers of Reality and the Void itself… it must have been a sight. But it was a losing war for the Mortals could not stem the Shaitans nor meet them on the battlefield without loss. Each step taken by a Shaitan was a bloody footprint on the ancestors of all Mortal races. Again, the Shaitan and us turned towards sorcerous life to field armies against each other. It was here that we first conceived of the Wartorn and the beastmen that plague us to this day.On one side, the Shaitan with their Ehlovanni slaves and sycophants, the Wartorn of their creation, and the power of the Elderwraths. Arrayed against this, we numbered the Mortals such as Mankind, the Duergar, the Hin or Halflings, and our own Wartorn legions. Standing beside us were our once-mortal Heroes now gifted unto divinity as well as light and dark powers from around the Omniverse. With our worship, they grew stronger and each battlefield was a sacrificial altar of offerings. Even some of the Ehlovanni cast off their shackles and joined our ranks although they were few and ill-trusted for their strange and eldritch ways.
Pendaros The Right King
The Emergence of the Young Gods
But no power based on the cause of the Elderwraths can prevail in the Material for Reality itself fights back itself when threatened by extinction. And it did, by taking our heroes and raising them up, the first of the Young Gods were uplifted from our greatest heroes, most powerful sorcerors and most dedicated defenders. They rose up and ascended to Immortality, drunk on the power of the divine, and returned to fight alongside us. It was only then that the tide began to turn and yet we still struggled against a tidal wave. The confrontation drew Powers from elsewhere such as the Abyss, the Hells, dark and light dimensions alike, and we worshipped them such that they would fight on our behalf. So, with our Young Gods and the aid of Powers from all places, did we bring the fight to the Shaitan.
Shaitan In Defeat
A Doomed Victory
Time is meaningless when life means so little. It is unknown how long the War of Wars, the Titanomachia, lasted but it ended with the knowledge that destruction of our enemy was a goal ever on the horizon. In the final analysis, we strove to imprison them and thereby scored the singular blow that would end the War. The Shaitan and their twisted Ehlovanni, called Maelovanni or the Black-Hearted People, were stripped of their worldly powers and sealed within the City of Brass that rests within the Sanguine Coil of the Omniverse. They sit there still and brood and plot and wait for foolish mortals to call upon their power and patronage. And, despite all we have learned, many mortals still do so.
With the War ended so did the alliances, the peace and the tolerance of each other. The mortals and Wartorn alike drifted their separate ways and sought to rebuild individually instead of together. The beastmen and other Wartorn were created for one thing and it was not long before they succumbed to their impulses. It was a dark age that fell not so much of oppression and wickedness but of loneliness as the numbers of the Mortals, even augmented by the ranks of the Wartorn, were but one speck of sand remaining from a sandy shores reckoning of the War’s toll. Civilization was a tattered dream as existence sank to red teeth and claws, and hunger, and self-preservation ruled all.
Rise & Fall Of The Theran Empire
It was the rise of the Therans that brought civilization back. The great island-nation of sorcerors, explorers and grand warriors in the old tradition. They uncovered the old knowledges and pledged to bring the light back into the world. And this they did, by setting out and stepping forth on each continent and place that they could find the mortal races. Their powers were great and their rule was mighty. Their language and writing formed the basis for many cultures as well as their histories which became ours and their magics which they taught to those trusted. The great Dawn of Man was heralded by the Therans arrival here on the west coast of our continent of Aneloria. They brought all of the wonders of civilization with them and shared with those who would join them.
The Therans conquered those who fought them, assimilated those who joined them, but merely assisted those who would ally with them but wished to remain separate. Theran goodwill and peace brought the gifts of civilization to many cultures that did not bend their knee to the Theran throne. And so it was that civilization returned to the World.
It must have seemed an endless Golden Age but it was doomed to failure. The gifts of sorcery and arcane invocations drew upon the lessons never learned by people long past and the darkness grew again. The Therans were troubled on their many borders and sought armies that would secure their future so they delved again into the arcana of the Wartorn. Instead of drawing on the souls of mortal races, they utilized the animals of the land and eventually brought forth the Beastfallen. Legions of animal-soldiers that could strike back against the beastmen hordes that threatened their glorious empire. And so began a long period of war, insurrection and bleeding by all.
The Sinking of Thera
We do not know what caused Thera to fall beneath the waves. But fall it did and a diaspora of its people and multitudes of others from all over the World spread out in search of safe havens. Some found what they searched for but, with the light of Thera gone, many more found the darkness of savagery and war. The Beastfallen fell into old ways violence, the beastmen hordes of goblins, orcs, ogres and others descended on the remnants of the Therans in never-ending waves. The Sylvanni and Duergar, ancient folk that had seen similar times, closed their borders and sealed their gates.
Here on Aneloria, the remnants that survived formed the Mantherian Empire and its sister dominions. Hemmed in by the northern and eastern lands full of savage beastmen and dark powers, the Empire moved slowly in restoring the lands of mankind to a semblance of their past glory. They rediscovered kingdoms that had weathered the fall and strove against the darkness. They formed alliances, sponsored the founding of satellite kingdoms, and brought the worship of good Powers back to those who had spent too much time placating the Dark.
And so it went for hundreds of years in western Aneloria, the Mantherian Empire buttressed the civilized world and spread its fruits of knowledge and civilization far and wide. It was during this time that many kingdoms rose and fell for not all was peace and happiness. Wars were fought, populations enslaved and slain, treasures stolen, magics went awry. A true peace will never be our inheritance, it is said, for in our very bones lay the dark potential promised by the Void. The civilized world was ever arrayed against the dark powers, the beastmen hordes and the treason within every mortal’s heart. But it was a grand time and a fitting succession to the Dawn of Man inspired by the Therans.
And so, it had to end.
A few centuries ago, the forces of inhumanity, hatred and fell power united to deliver a death-knell to the civilized world. They nearly succeeded. Hordes of subhumans swarmed the civilized lands, the skies filled with the beat of millions of wings in support, and behind them walked forces of fell aspect…forces unknown; powering the madness and slaughter. These forces ripped a hole through civilization and crushed the mighty kingdoms of man before them. It was an onslaught that did not end until they had nearly stamped out the light of mankind and civilization of western Aneloria.
The destruction claimed countless kingdoms and peoples in its bloody wake. The great empire of Mantheria fell despite an awesome struggle that destroyed the very land on which the war was waged by all beings. Their names and legacies are written in the blood-soaked stones that are all that remain of their time. The civilized peoples were driven back, mile upon mile, league upon league. They abandoned empires and kingdoms, temples and homes, family and friends in the panicked rush to a sanctuary that never manifested.
And, as humanity cowered in submission to extinction, the forces were stopped. Throughout the lands the reasons given varied from infighting to the mercy of the Young Gods. In the former Mantherian Empire, it coincided with the Battle of the Last Generals. A battle that cracked the spine of the murderous hordes. The onslaught was stopped, at great cost.
The Future Hangs In The Balance
For over two hundred years, the civilized world caught its breath, marshaled its resources and sought the strength to once again take back what was once its birthright. That time is now. Mankind and its allies reach out, clash with the savages that have taken their homes, explore the wilderness that was once their birthright.
Lands once dominated by civilized folk lay under the yoke of evil and inhuman forces or has degenerated into savage wilderness of which nothing has been learned for centuries. The death toll was cataclysmic and the forces that thrived on death only grew in power and malice; creating massive boneyards of cold undeath. As humanity fled, the dark forces smashed and occupied the former lands of wealth and power. Kingdoms, in mockery of the old powers, rose up with dark beings and monsters atop the thrones and beneath the crowns that held sway over these now dark lands. The subhuman took up residence where once wealth and mortal power reigned. The foul forces erected institutions to mirror those that they threw down but the monstrous lack the propensity for true governance resulting in a savage world.