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History of Norrath

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History of Norrath

Post by Ronson on Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:59 pm

THE CREATION

In the beginning, there was a perfect void. Empty of all; even time, and space. A vast and endless nothingness cloaked in a deep and all consuming silence. Within this void existed "The Nameless". A power so incredible and incomprehensible that in all the universe, it knew only itself to exist. Knew only itself capable of existing in the great expanse that was its realm. It knew not why it was there. Only that it was. In the quiet expanse of the void, it sent itself out. To probe this empty space. To seek it's boundaries if it had them. As it's awareness searched the void all it could think about was the discovery of something different. And there, as it willed it so, it found something different indeed. A pocket of space and within it the flow of time creeping inexorably on. Of all existence, this pocket of reality was the only thing different than itself. When it stepped into the space, something happened. Something terrible and wonderful. Something terrifying and exciting. The pocket had the elements of space and time. The Nameless knew naught of these things and when it entered the void, it could not be contained within it and a part of it lashed out in all directions to fill the space which had been empty with a force that knew no boundaries. The Nameless quickly drew back into the place it had known and looked into the space to see what had happened. But it was empty no longer. It was filled with swirling energies, light and heat. It's perfect emptiness was corrupted by the being of the Nameless. The new realm, sewn from his being, was now still part of him, but different from all he had known. The energies collided and crashed. They were born and died. They became new and different things, none of which the Nameless had seen before or could predict. The Nameless felt wonder for the first time. Through its will it began to shape the chaos that swirled within. To form new and interesting elements it was only now learning. Once the basic elements were formed it used them to form planets, both huge and small. Stars and swirling masses of light. All for it's wonder and joy. It operated on a grand scale and set it's universe in motion. Moving and pulsating with it's own kind of life. Throughout it's center it set the stars. Pinpoints of energy much like itself that it may watch over this new creation. Now the swirling ball of chaos needed shaping. He would need order in this new realm he had created. The changes that he wanted would need a fine touch. He needed a way within the sphere to manipulate this chaos material. And so he made the Gods of Power.

THE GODS OF POWER

The Nameless reached into the chaos and drew forth four equal portions of the stuff of existence. Of these he took a sampling and shaped it into the Gods that would divide the universe into form. The first of the these he named Rathe and set upon it the task of making solid the chaos, into the matter of which all things would be built. Rathe looked upon the task before it and saw the Chaos was immense. It's task was enormous and would require it to be many places throughout the cosmos to tend. It reached inside itself and divided into 13 equal parts. All to keep custodian over the multitude of mass that it would create and each of The Rathe went into the chaos and set about dividing a fourth of the material into the matter it would call Earth. It set this earth around it's Lord's eyes, the stars, that he may keep watch over all his cosmos and admire it's child's creations. The second he named Fennin Ro. And gave him the tasking of shaping the chaos. Fennin went forth and drew his portion that he named Fire, that he may set it upon the stars and shed light on his Lord's cosmos. He helped The Rathe shape the solid matter into that which would be pleasing to their Lord's eye. He gave warmth to the cold of chaos. The third element, Water, he determined would need many forms. For this element he took the portion and split it into three. Tarew Marr would be responsible for Water, the main state of the element which would give life to his worlds. E'Ci would lord over water in it's solid state, Ice, and the order and preservation it brought. Finally, Povar would lord over Steam, and that of life in motion. These three took their portion and cloaked each world with it's life giving touch. The fourth he named Xegony. Her's was the duty of drawing away the material in-between and setting each thing in it's place. Her portion of chaos she drew away and made into Air. This she used to blow the chaos away and blanket each world to cushion it from the harshness of the cold cosmos.

THE GODS OF INFLUENCE

The Nameless looked into its new creation and felt sorrow. It knew all that happened in this new place but could not experience it for it could not contain him. Only the essence that he could reach within told him anything of this new world he had formed. It left him feeling detached. He must find a way to explore this new existence. He called out to the Gods of Power and commanded them to make minions that he could share in their experience of his new worlds. The Gods of Power each reached into their elemental planes and drew forth a portion to commit to the task. They shaped it with their will into that which would be their eyes and hands and that of their lord. Beings of energy, much like the Gods of Power but able to influence the subtleties of each world. Beings of will born of the matter of the cosmos. The Gods of Power knew in their dealings with each other that their must be constant balance in the universe that it maintain it's shape and no one force threaten to destroy the others or the perfection they had strived to create under their lord's tutelage. Based on this most holy of precepts they began to create the Gods of Influence in the model of a scale. A force of darkness or destruction would be placed on one side. A force of light or creation would be place on the other. In the middle would be a neutral or balancing force upon which each side would be buffered. This would maintain the balance they sought without too much of their involvement. As needed, they combined their elements to create each God in turn.

THE AGE OF SCALE

While the Gods light and darkness began to flex their new found will and bicker among themselves and the neutrals attempted to keep the balance among them, Veeshan soared among the great new planets. There was much to be discovered and the keeper of wisdom must know it all that she would have the power of knowledge to serve her purpose. There was much to see, and many different worlds swirled within the space and passed each other seemingly oblivious to each others existence. There was nothing of particular size upon them as all life was plant-like or that of simple animals. Taking it all in, Veeshan realized that she could not keep her eyes on all it without some kind of help. Veeshan soared to what she felt was the planet closest to the center of all that was. Here she would place her progeny to grow and watch over her Lords creation. Here would be born the seeds of her watchful dominion. She named this world "Norrath", meaning foundation in the tongue of the Gods. Upon this foundation she raked her claws across the frozen continent of Vellious as a farmer would plow a field. Here she would sew her seed. She lay upon the world for many days and nights and laid her eggs within it's scars. The first Dragons walked the land and flew the skies. Powerful beings of great intellect, wisdom, and strength, they ruled the land as the first born of the Gods. Of all creatures that would come these would be the least diluted, the purest form of that which is born of the divine.

THE ELDER AGE

Brell Serilis, being the God of Underfoot, felt the claws of Veeshan dig into his domain, the spine beneath each world. Immediately he looked upon Norrath and secretly saw what Veeshan was doing. Looking upon this, he saw a potential threat to the balance that had just been formed. From his Plane of Underfoot, a dark realm of vast caves and endless tunnels, he quietly created a magical portal to a cavern deep in the belly of Norrath. Through this portal the Duke of Underfoot seeded the depths of Norrath with all manner of creatures. Brell then returned home, sealing his portal within a labyrinthine chamber of mystical Living Stone. As the other gods came to Norrath, Brell Serilis approached each of them, and after some time convinced them to meet as one to discuss the fate of the world. The Great Mother Tunare, and Prexus, The Oceanlord were in attendance, and Rallos Zek, the warlord, was also there, yet in mistrust kept his distance. Brell, carefully avoiding all queries as to the origins of his information, told of Veeshan's discovery of the new and potentially powerful world in which she had deposited her brood. Words befit of the King of Thieves poured forth from Brell's lips and he proposed that they accept an alliance of sorts, to which all save Rallos Zek agreed, ignorant of the fact that Brell had already released some of his creations into the Underfoot of this new world. The planet that would be called Norrath was divvied up between these beings of power for the purpose of keeping the Wurmqueen in check. Each would create a race of beings to watch over Norrath and keep a vigilant eye on the schemes of Dragonkind. Brell claimed the bowels of the planet and created the Dwarves, stout and strong, deep beneath the mountains of Norrath. In the abysmal depths of the oceans Prexus left his children, the Kedge, hearty aquatic beings of great mental power and stamina. And on the surface of Norrath did Tunare create the Elves, creatures of limitless grace and beauty, and Rallos Zek the Giants, fierce and formidable beings, intent upon the defense of their lands. It was inevitable that such energies involved in seeding planets with life would attract even more of the gods, and it was the Elves who drew the unwanted attention of Innoruuk, Prince of Hate. In a decrepit tower overlooking the dark decaying alleys of the Plane over which he ruled, Innoruuk waited, stoking the fire of his Hate until it was a raging inferno. He cursed his fellow gods for not including him in their pact and vowed to make them regret such disrespect. From the halls of the Elves' fair city, Takish-Hiz, the Prince of Hate snatched away the first Elven King and Queen. In his realm of pain and anger he slowly tore them apart, physically and mentally, over the course of three hundred years. He then gathered the quivering remnants of these beings of light and rebuilt them into his own dark sadistic image, a twisted mockery of Tunare's noble children. In depositing the Teir'Dal, as Innoruuk's Dark Elven creations would come to be called, back into Norrath, the seeds for The Prince of Hate's final revenge were sewn. Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane and Cazic-Thule came next to Norrath, and Brell met them, concocting a second pact with these latter gods, wishing another excuse to create more peoples into the world. Rallos Zek again watched from afar, determined to add to his creation as well, and this time Brell convinced the Warlord to join the pact, assuring him that it was indeed an appropriate time to fulfill his desires. Deep in the earth did Brell return to create the gnomes, resembling dwarves to some extent, yet more wiry and gnarled, consumed with tinkering with devices more so than their cousins. On the surface, away from Elves and Giants, Bristlebane made the Halflings, short and stubby folk, agile and with a propensity to meddle and even pilfer at times. Cazic-Thule, Lord of Fear, was drawn to the swamps and jungles of Norrath and there created green-skinned Trolls and the reptilian Lizard Men and Iksar. Rallos Zek returned to the surface, pleased with his sanction to create even more peoples for his army. He made then the Ogres, massive, unmovable beings of questionable intelligence, and the Orcs, bred for battle and singled-minded in their desire for conquest. By this time, those who are now known as the elder races of Norrath had begun to expand and mature. Villages became cities, and cities became kingdoms. Several of the races became bent on expansion and warfare became part of their developing cultures.

THE IKSAR NATION

While the dragons took centuries to grow and organize, a race of intelligent snake men - the Shissir - assumed the forefront. The Shissir were a brutal race who enslaved the Iksar, using them as workers and food. From their capital of Chelsith in what is now The Overthere, they explored dark rites and forgotten evils. Eventually, the Shissir angered even their own gods and a horrible plague destroyed every Shissir; however, the Iksar survived unscathed. Over the next several centuries, the Iksar grew to greatness on the buried ashes of their former masters. They migrated outward across the continent of Kunark and formed five principal tribe-states: Kylong, Nathsar, Obulus, Jarsath and Kunzar. This last tribe-state was led by Venril Sathir, a young and powerful warrior-mage, who raised an unyielding army of undead with the assistance of dark magic. Sathir and his Kunzar armies conquered and annexed the remaining tribe-states under his rule as the first King of Sebilis, the renamed Iksar nation. In order to build his Sebilisan Empire, Sathir brutally captured and enslaved the Hill Giants, Forest Giants and Froglok of Kunark. Throughout Sathir's life, the Sebilisan Empire quickly grew in might, power and grandeur. King Sathir aged, but, of course, he did not want to die. To cheat death, he made an unholy pact with Innoruuk to rise, undead and immortal. Rile, Sathir's heir, had other plans and thwarted the ritual. Sathir's soul was trapped inside an amulet that was hidden away as Rile cremated his father's body. Rile assumed the throne; however, little changed in the kingdom. The son of Sathir seized more valuable land and his ruthless reputation increased under the terrors of his warlords: Kurn Machta, Karatukus, and the vampire Chosooth. By the time these warlords finished, most of the continent definitely belonged to Sebilis ... all but a few pockets of Giants and Dragons.

THE CHILDREN OF RALLOS

Now, Rallos Zek did create the Orcs on Faydwer, and the Giants and Ogres on Tunaria. The Giants, being one people at that time, flourished in the Northlands, vast and fertile grasslands that stretched from the ocean to great mountains both to the east and south. In seclusion they made huge cities and castles, and built a civilization rivaled at that time by very few of the other intelligent races. They were a strong nation, and worshipped their creator, the Warlord. Armies and outposts guarded the passes leading into the Northlands, and the few times their home was attacked, the invaders were utterly crushed. Far to the south, another civilization grew to great power as well. The Ogres also worshipped the Warlord, even more fervently than the Giants. And of all the races, it was the Ogres who quickly proved the most interested in battle and plunder, and their empire grew outward from their mountain home until it eventually encompassed a large portion of Tunaria, largest of the known continents. Their knowledge of magic grew as did their greed, until they became weary of only Norrath, and when they learned of other planes and dimensions, invaded the Plane of Earth itself. While the Ogres to this day sing songs of their initial victory over these twelve mighty beings, it is also true that when one of these gods fell, soon another arose from the earth to take his place. The Ogres could do little against a foe eternal, and were eventually defeated, their armies forced to fall back through the portals that had brought them to that plane. Hoards of earth elementals and flesh-eating plants pursued them, even into Norrath, and southern Antonica fell victim to the wrath of the Twelve Gods. The empire fell, and the surviving Ogres lost both their knowledge and unity, and have dwelt ever since in small villages, warring between themselves over petty things, their former glory gone forever. Rallos Zek looked down upon the Ogres, and in seeing their defeat, grew angry. And while he was a lesser deity, he was still the god of war, and in his arrogance he too opened a portal to the Plane of Earth and led his forces to invade it. An inconceivable battle ensued, one of which history says little other than that the heavens themselves shook, and in the end even the Warlord was defeated by the Council of Rathe. He and his minions were cast back into the Planes of Influence, and the greater gods came together, creating a barrier such that no lesser god or creature could ever pass into the Planes of Power again. They also saw it fit to punish Rallos Zek for his treachery and arrogance. And so, in what some view as spite and others justice, the Gods cursed the Warlord's creations. The Ogres, being already dispersed and defeated, they chose to ignore. But the Orcs and Giants, also of the Warlord's creation, were to feel their wrath. The fate of the Orcs is almost totally unknown, for they are not a people to keep history, concerned only with the present. But the Giants remember, for the greater gods came together and in their combined might brought an age of ice to the Northlands. Their civilization fell swiftly - their cities and holds crumbled in the cold, their crops and livestock froze and died. Famine and chaos spread everywhere, and the surviving giants boarded a vast armada of ships and sailed east and then south to escape the curse. But the greater gods saw this too, and watchedtheir escape, conferring with each other. And when the fleet reached a point between Antonica and Kunark, they summoned a hurricane of unearthly power, with gales and waves greater than any sailor had ever seen. Many ships were sunk, and over two-thirds of the armada were blown by the mighty winds to the shores of the nearby lands, to be dashed against the rocks and cliffs. One third came ashore east of the Oasis of Marr, in the Desert of Ro, while the other landed in the Burning Wood, on the west coast of Kunark. The remaining third of the Armada sailed on, praying that they had escaped. But the Warlord could do nothing in their aid and Xegony, Queen of Air, drew wind to their sails and led them to the coast of Velious, where they landed short on supplies, and unable to sail further. Thus the greater gods brought their final curse upon the Giants, for they had fled the Northlands to escape an age of winter, only to find themselves marooned on an entire continent of eternal ice and snow. In the desolation that was the Desert of Ro, many of the Giants died from the heat and lack of water. The few who survived became a wandering band of nomads, fiercly afraid of others, attacking anyone who would wander into their ever-moving camps. They are called the Sand Giants by those who have encountered them and lived to tell the tale. Those who landed on Kunark became the Hill Giants and Mountain Giants, and were soon enslaved by the Iksar, rulers of the Sebilisin Empire. It wasn't until that empire fell that these giants became truly free again, able to begin anew. The final group of giants, those who landed on Velious, became the Frost Giants and Storm Giants. These were the mightiest in the armada, those who had survived the great hurricane, and it was their anguish and pain as they were blown south through the waters that named the Ocean of Tears. They eventually adapted to the cold, and began to rebuild a civilization in the parts of Velious, always careful to stay clear of the Ice Dragons who also dwell there. But whether Frost Giant, or Sand, or Mountain or Storm, they remember and they curse to this day the greater gods, the rulers of the Planes of Power. The goblins were also cursed, but no writings remain of their punishment as they no longer keep records of their history (which is perhaps some indication as to the severity of their curse).

THE RING OF SCALE

The Iksar had left the Dragon lands alone, but their threat was easy to see. The Dragon lords convened the Ring of Scale and argued about how to proceed. Trakanon, the large blue, advocated swift intervention on behalf of all races against the Iksar. However, Trakanon was voted down and the Ring of Scale decided to intervene only indirectly. Trakanon and a number of the younger dragons decided more direct action was required. They conjured a squall at sea that destroyed Rile's warship while the King was on board. This action triggered a spectacular war among the Dragons that lasted for almost a half century. Atrebe, Rile's first-hatched son, then became King. This young Iksar was different from his father. He was reclusive and enamored of the dark arts. All feared his use of the evil magic of the Shissir and his grandfather, Sathir. His foul experiments joined a dragon with an Iksar, creating the Sarnak, a race of intelligent Dragon-men. He also joined a Dragon with a Froglok, creating flying mounts for his armies, the Sokokar. On these flying beasts, the Iksar were deadly. Soon, only the hardiest Dragonkind stood unconquered by the Sebilisan Empire. Over the next half century, Dragonkind struggled against the Iksar' airborne army. Atrebe was succeeded by his son, Ganak, a most capable warrior. The war ended inconclusively over the Field of Bone with aerial duel between Ganak on his Sokokar mount and Jaled-Dar, then leader of the Ring of Scale. Both were incinerated by magic and fire. The Dragons retreated, but not before destroying the imperial palace and all Ganak's hatchlings in a daring final blaze of revenge. The Ring of Scale learned a valuable lesson from their dealings with the Iksar. They knew that others might rise to challenge them again and they must be watchful. The Ring sent several dragons, some lesser, some greater, off to the other continents and throughout Kunark as well to recruit allies and gather slaves that they may stand watch over Norrath and keep control. To this end, those they sent built elaborate networks of spies and threaded them throughout Norrath to report the slightest whisper to their scaled lords.

THE FALL OF THE IKSAR

Instead of a new king, the Iksar nobles created the Emerald Circle, a body of five nobles who wisely worked to enhance the Iksar cities and trade, rebuild the navy, and return prosperity to the empire. Unfortunately, whenever the ambitions of rulers are involved, strife soon follows and the empire was ultimately divided into the original five tribal-states. Even that treaty was soon forgotten, as the tribes began to wrestle for supremacy over each other. Unbeknownst to the Iksar, the Ring of Scale had also rebuilt and was meddling in every alliance and affair, pitting the tribal-states one against another. The slaves revolted in Sebilis. Goblin lords from Faydwer invaded Kunark. The Giants mustered an army and destroyed the warlord outposts before they attacked the cities. The final destructive attack on the Iksar came when Trakanon and his Dragon allies descended on what was left of the Iksar cities and reduced them to ashes and ruins. The grand Sebilisan Empire was no more. Free from Iksar restraints and rule, all the other races established themselves and began warring amongst themselves in their lust for domination.

THE AGE OF MONUMENTS

As the dust settled, the last of the gods came to Norrath. Mithaniel Marr, God of Valor, and Erollisi Marr, Goddess of Love, created the Barbarians, a hardy race who settled the cold and rugged northlands, near the ruins of the Giant empire. Being the youngest race, they were generally unwashed and rugged, possessing very few social graces. And while they too had a warlike culture, there were those amongst them who began to believe in something more. By this time the other civilizations of Norrath had either long since declined, or were well on their way, and this small minority of Barbarians saw an opportunity to triumph where the others had failed. Perhaps this was a seed of wisdom planted by the Marr Twins, or perhaps it was only by chance, but as the Barbarians spread out across the lands, warring with both each other and any other race encountered, this tiny movement continued to grow. And so even amidst desolation and war, there was hope.

THE AGE OF BLOOD

As the chaos of the Gods sweapt many of the parts of Tunaria, an occurrence stranger still was visited upon the Elves of the Eldarr forest. On a stormy night, amid the howling winds feeding the storms to the Northlands, a couple emerged from the woods, alerting the sentries on watch. The guards stared in dismay at frist and then rang the alarm summoning the captain of the watch. Captain Paetroen looked down at the disheveled pair to see their King and Queen, lost to them so many years, returned. Where they had been, no one knew, but the captain could see a wildness in their eyes. He imagined an incredible ordeal to be sure, to keep them from home these past three hundred years. The two were immediately brought to the palace of the new King, their cousin, who had taken rulership of the kingdom in their absence as was proper. The king of course began preparations of ceremony to return the kingdom to its rightful king and queen as soon as they were healthy enough to return to office. Sadly the cousin would never see this day and he and his wife died of a mysterious illness within two months of the king and queen's return. And so the new kingdom began in death. The royal family began to turn away from the ways of the forest and look beyond it to other lands and those that dwealt there. They looked on with envious eyes at their neighboors and soon spread the desires of conquest through the council. More and more friends of the forest in court began to move away, take ill, or disappear on hunting excursions all together. The ideals of the elves turned to empire. The elves built great armies and took to the primeval forests of Norrath, creating a vast empire that spanned several continents. Ruling from the city of Caerthiel , under the guidance of Innoruuk, their new elven god. The empire of the Elves was the last of the old races to begin its decline. The Elddar Forest spread across the entire southeastern quarter of Tunaria. Cities and villages were built high into the trees and marble cities stood sentinel over the forest's clearings and meadows, their white towers and spires climbing out of the forest, higher than the tallest tree. But then came the last curse of the gods, as Solusek Ro, Lord of Flame, bitter of the defeat of his son Rallos Zek and the persecution of his creations, arched the spine of the serpent mountains, bringing heat from the burning sun to the ancient forest. Where Rallos and his children failed, no other would succeed. The rivers ran dry, it rained less each year, and while the great elven druids fought long and hard, using their powerful magics to combat the change, they could only delay the inevitable. Slowly the forest gave way to desert, and eventually even great Takish-Hiz crumbled leaving those who would find it later to wonder what had befallen the once great city and the elves were forced to flee Tunaria, leaving much of their greatness behind. What had survived the great kingdom of the elves they loaded onto ships they built from the remainder of the forest, and sailed east toward the continent of Faydwer where their scouts had found suitable forests. Tunaria lost to them, they began to build anew on the continent of Faydwer and soon took hold of a large portion of the continent.

WAR OF THE BROKEN CROWN

As the corruption in the empire grew, so did the unrest in many elves hearts. They did not like the direction the empire was taking. They grew suspicious of the power of Innoruuk, choosing to destroy his works, and kill his servants. At first they were small in size, and weak in power. But as the years went by the rebels grew in leaps and bounds, using treacherous methods to slander the leaders of the Elven Empire. The first sign of the growing rebellion came at the Elven outpost of Wielle, located where the city of Freeport is today. Wielle was loyal to the empire, and therefore, enemies of the rebels. One of the few remaining elvish outposts on Tunaria it was far removed from timely reinforcements and therefore a prime target. A rebel army under Captain Paetroen savagely attacked it. The citizens of the outpost were killed. That action shattered centuries of relative unity. Suddenly the Empire had to face a new enemy in its midst. The Emperor, Kel'Anthinstion, called on all of the citizens of the Empire to fight for the cause of Innoruuk. He sent his most trusted advisers, all disciples of Innoruuk, to the far reaches of the empire. They were to gather support to fight the rebels and support the unity of the empire. The rebels had sent their own recruiters using underhanded tactics to undermine the populace's faith in the God. The war droned on for countless years. The war was a stalemate. That changed with the battle of Aerignon, named after the province of the empire where it took place. The loyal forces of the empire thought to catch Paetroen and his rebels unprepared. They attacked him at his home base, just north of Elizerain Lake. Forces were massed and placed under the direct command of the Emperor himself. He was to lead the army of Innoruk to destroy the rebels once and for all. As the army encircled Peatroen's military headquarters, a victory for the forces of Innoruk seemed assured. Out maneuvered and outnumbered, the Rebels could not get enough forces to turn back the impending assault, and escape by any means, was impossible. But the imperial victory was denied that day, as a third player in the war, the wild elves, tipped their hand. The wild elf was a term used by citizens of the empire for the primitive elves that lived beyond the borders of the empire. They had remained neutral throughout the war, but had succumbed to the rebel's promises of victory, and had joined the war on their side. What was supposed to be a day of victory for the Empire turned into its greatest defeat. The emperor himself was killed when an wild elf assassin slipped into his tent and slit his throat in the darkness. On that day the Empire was doomed. The war lasted for several years after the death of the emperor. In desperation, the remaining loyalists sent messengers to the Dwarven Kingdoms for aid against the rebels. They returned, saying the Dwarves were fighting their own war, and would send no help. With the help of new magics, the Rebels pushed the loyalists back to their capital, Caerthiel, which was in what is now known as the loping planes. Inside, the last of the loyalists huddled in their homes, holding on to the last remnants of their shattered empire. Without a leader to rally them, they were as good as dead. Help came in the form of a priest of Innoruuk, who rose up as leader. His name changes with every telling, but the fact remains that in the dark of the night, the day before the final assault on Caerthiel, the priest led the last of the loyalists in to the earth through a chasm that was opened and closed by Innoruuk himself. When the Rebel army assaulted the city the next day, they found nothing but a ghost town, devoid of any life. As the loyalists took refuge underground, the rebels thought themselves the winners of the War of the Broken crown. They took on the moniker "High Elves", while the wild elves became more commonly known as wood elves. Without the loyalists to guide it, the Empire fell apart. The elves that remained on the surface, the high elves, could not stand the symbol of Caerthiel, and in a fit of rage they destroyed it. They created their capital of Felwithe on the very spot where the emperor was murdered, in the battle that destroyed the empire. The loyalists fled east back to Tunaria. There they established the well guarded and underground city of Neriak, where they stayed for many years trying to rebuild their once great empire and all the while plotting for revenge against the rebels who forced them from Faydwer. Having been exposed to decades of low light in their underground kingdom and to harsh conditions, the skin of those elves still loyal to Innoruk has become darker and the elves themselves had been made into warriors guided by the power of their god. They are feared by the denizens of Tunaria, who call the loyalists "dark elves."

THE OGRE - DWARVEN WAR

For centuries while the elven empire grew to the east, the dwarves and the remaining tribe of ogres had thrived in the mountains to the west, surrounding the forest presently known as "Lesser Faydark." The dwarves settled into the jagged cliffs of what is known as the butcherblok mountains and there had established their golden kingdom of Kaladim, "The forge of Norrath." The ogres were able to wrestle control of nearby lands from the orcan hordes of Faedwer after a decade of warfare and established the first ogreian kingdom in the nearby Rakthokian ridge mountain range, named after the first ogre leader "Rakthok the Warlord." There in the Faydark west the dwarves and ogres lived in an uneasy peace. While the immense empire of the elves could have easily crushed either one of the kingdoms, the ogres saw the dwarves as a primary concern. Raised in a culture where only the strength in your arms and the size of your weapon mattered, the ogres of the kingdom of Rakthok considered only the dwarves to be their equal and thus a very large threat. The ogres were also greedy of the gold-rich mountain mines and the stone cutting skill of the Kaladim kingdom, and to make matters worse, the friendly disposition of the dwarves did not agree with the savage and chaotic tendencies of the Rakthokian ogres. What resulted was an intense racial hatred and many small fights between the two kingdoms. In the beginning of the fourth age, when the elven rebels against the god Innoruk began to surface, Dagnor the Butcher was chosen as the 5th warlord of the Rakthokian Kingdom. Clearly the most ambitious of all the previous Rakthokian kings, Dagnor was the first to realize that the small skurmishes between dwarves and ogres would never solve anything and that for the ogres to gain anything substantial, the dwarves would have to be completely overcome or slaughtered. He saw the mines of Kaladim as an infinite source of limitless wealth and power. Almost immediately after he seized the throne Dagnor began to assemble the largest combined army of ogres since the orcan clans had been overthrown. Dagnor was held in check for a long time, however, because Kaladim was a chief source of gold and weapons for the elven empire and the dwarves would find the elves a strong ally if war broke out. The ogre king was smart enough to realize that his kingdom could not survive an attack from both sides and so he did not advance and the dwarves did not regard him as much of a threat. While the indomitable elven empire loomed over western Faedwer, war was not an option for either the dwarves or the ogres. Dagnor is sometimes referred to as the destroyer of two empires. When he began his campaign against the dwarven kingdom of Kaladim he began the fall of his own kingdom of Rakthok, but also he stopped the dwarves from giving aid to the elven empire against the ever increasing elven rebel armies. Many historians surmise that if the dwarves had not been pulled into war with the ogres, their help would have caused the downfall of the rebel army and the old elven empire would still be in existence. In any case, with the war of the broken crown raging to the east, Dagnor knew the elves could not afford to lend aid to the dwarves and he took the opportunity to launch his own campaign against the kingdom of Kaladim. The warlord knew that the key to beating the dwarves was through the less guarded lands of northern area Kaladim where the dwarves had primarily established trading centers and peaceful mining villages. So in the middle of the fourth age, the 5th warlord of the Rakthokian kingdom marched his army of ogres and orcan slaves west across the hills of shade directly to northern Kaladim without fear of elven intervention. Old dwarves still tell the horrible tales of the first ogre attacks. Ill prepared to meet such an invasion force, the peaceful cities of northern Kaladim were swept over with tremendous speed. Ogre warriors burned everything they could put a torch to and killed every dwarf they saw be it man, woman, or child. In little less then a week the forces of Dagnor had surprised Kaladim and caused the deaths of hundreds of dwarves. The warlord had found the weakness in the impenetrable kingdom of Kaladim and now marched directly for the capital. It was Dagnor's unnecessary need to stop and make sure everything was dead in the wake of his army that gave the time the dwarves needed to prepare. Word reached the capital city of Kaladim days before the ogres arrived. Hearing the startling news of the advancing army, the 12th dwarven king Grimmly Fireforge, an excellent fighter and brilliant military tactician, began to assemble a defensive force. Dagnor also did not anticipate the speed by which the dwarves could gather into a force large enough to repel his own. It was the warlord's first mistake. When the army of ogres reached the Crakthorn ridge, just one mile from the capital city of Kaladim, they were met by an equally large force of dwarves lead by king Grimmly. The fighting on the ridge was savage and brutal, but being less skilled at fighting in tight tunnels and with low light then the dwarves, the ogres were forced to flee. Dagnor ordered his army into the hills of shade where the dwarves and ogres could fight on equal ground. Day and night the battle raged across the hills of shade above the lesser faydark and the grass was bleached red with the blood of the fallen. Both armies were fueled by soldiers from their respective kingdoms and soon the war had ground into a stalemate. Thinking that the war would either be won or lost on the hills of shade, Dagnor ordered his southern most forces guarding the forest of lesser Faydark to move north and add more strength to the army in the hills. He left instead a handful of ogre soldiers and mostly a host of orcan slaves. It was Dagnor's second and most fatal mistake. For the first time in history dwarves and orcs came to an agreement and entered in on an alliance. The dwarves promised the orcan slaves of the defeated orcan clans their freedom if they would not interfere in the war in favor of both sides. Completely in favor with the plan, which gave the orcs freedom but did not require them to fight, the orcan slaves retreated from lesser faydark to the east, deserting the armies of Dagnor and leaving the southern hills wide open. King Grimmly took this opportunity to assemble a second force to the south and then attacked Dagnor's army from both the front and the undefended flank. The ogre forces on the hills of shade were demolished. Dagnor fled with few others and the Rakthokian kingdom was now completely vulnerable. Grimmly gathered his remaining forces and headed straight for the ogre capital, leveling any fortresses he came to and burning Rakthok to the ground. The Rakthokian army had been broken. The last official battle took place beneath the forest of lesser Faydark as the remaining ogre forces, lead by Dagnor, attempted to flee to the south. They were met there by a small force of vengeful dwarven soldiers who were able to hold them off until the arrival of the main dwarven host. When King Grimmly and his army arrived, the forces of Dagnor fought viciously and were able to kill many, but were ultimately defeated. A story tells that Grimmly and Dagnor met eachother face to face on the shores of a lake to the south of lesser faydark during one of these fights, and that Grimmly stabbed Dagnor with a spear with such intensity and ferociousness that the weapon shattered into thousands of pieces even as it cut straight through the ogre lord's chest. The story goes on to say that the warlord fell to his death immediately in that same lake and that the evil in his blood made the water boil and turn red. Thus the dwarves mockingly renamed the lake Dagnor's Cauldron and thus the final battle of the ogre-dwarven war was called "the battle of the shattered spear." Barely more then three hundred ogres had survived from a host of thousands and, saying their prayers of forgiveness to their god Rallos Zek for losing the war, the survivors hastily retreated to the south-west. For two weeks the ogres fled and the forces of king Grimmly hounded them at every step, killing all those they could catch up with. The ogres plundered every small city they came to, even the shattered ruins of the elven capital of Caerthiel where they found ships and supplies they could use. Finally fleeing all the way across the Loping Plains, they set sail across the eastern oceans and away from the closing dwarves. The first Ogre-Dwarven war had officially ended. The ogres: beaten, wounded, and without a leader, reached the then barren continent of Antonica a month after setting sail from Faedwer. Day and night the forces of a once great Rakthokian Kingdom marched tirelessly through the endless desert of Ro and soon to the empty mountain range of what is now known as the serpent's spine. Wanting some time to rebuild and recuperate, the ogres found the mountain's natural geography a good advantage over any invasion force. Here they started the foundations of a new ogre capital, guarded on all sides by two rivers, a desert, a lake, jagged mountains, and a thick jungle, where they could start to assemble again and build a new army for the second ogre-dwarven war. They called their new kingdom "Oggok" which in ogreish means "Revenge."

THE ORCAN EXILE

Little more then three months after their betrayal of Dagnor and their march to the east, the newly freed orcan slaves were left stranded with no place to call home. None of the orcs had ever lived without the watchful eye of an ogre master looking over their shoulder, so now they were like children: wandering without knowing exactly what they were to do. The dwarves had made it clear in their pact that, while the kingdom of Kaladim was responsible for freeing the orcs, they were still very much enemies. It was not an option for any of the orcs to return west, so they eached began plotting for a new place to live. The decision was split three ways and the orcs began to revert back to the methods of their ancestors: splitting into three differing clans. One clan marched north, taking residence in the familiar northern peaks of Rakthok's ridge and away from the careful eyes of the dwarves. The second clan decided to make the grassy fields of the loping plains their home. Even today this clan remains there, looting and plundering any caravans who happen to pass by. The third, and the largest clan, was lead by a young orc named Gharol. He convinced the majority of the orcs that true riches lied to the fertile lands of the east. There, he said, the orcs would find their new home and the crushbone clan, as he called his followers, would grow strong. It was at this time, as the crushbone clan started making their way further east around the wayunder lake and straight for the greater Faydark, that the elven lord of Kelethin began to take notice of their advancement. The elves of Kelethin were tentative at first and the lord of Kelethin, an old elf by the name of Carandril, sent many messages to Gharol to ask what his plans were in moving his clan eastward. To this day no scholar can really be sure if Gharol was able to decipher the letters or not, as it is general knowledge that most orcs can't read a word of any written language, but it is certain the orcan lord was angry to find that another race had already taken residence in the eastern lands. Carandril never saw any messengers he sent out again, as they were all killed by Gharol immediately as the letters were exchanged. Acting purely on his instincts, the leader of the crushbone clan told his followers of this "new" race and how they had "stolen" the east from the orcs. Gharol then started to plot a new plan which would entail the complete destruction of Kelethin and the enslavement of the elven race, as he thought kelethin was the only city of elves and the center for the entire elven empire. Both assumptions were false and the forces of Gharol were met with bitter, however surprised, resistance on the borders of the greater faydark. Most of the orcs leading this first attack were killed and the rest were turned quickly away. Angry at this new defeat and jealous of the elven strength, Gharol started to plot a new system of attack. He understood that most of his soldiers had been slaughtered from elves high in the treetops who would rain showers of arrows down on his forces. So for the second attack, Gharol put his orcs into a long line of attackers, gave each soldier his own makeshift torch, and then ordered the entire host to run into the borders of the greater Faydark and burn whatever they could touch. The Crushbone orcs set fire from everything to the tops of the trees to the grasses on the forest paths. Nothing but ash was left in their wake. The elven archers high in the trees were burned to death and the remaining elven soldiers, horrified and shocked at the tactics of their strange enemy, began to make a hasty retreat. The wood elves would later call the incident "the great burning." Gharol, seeing how effective his new methods were, gathered his clan into many small camps around the greater Faydark and ordered the construction of hundreds of torches for a second assault. The lord of Kelethin, desperate for help, sent word of his plight to the heart of the empire: Felwithe. The first elf to take interest in Kelethin's request was a young soldier named Edril. Edril had lived his entire life in Felwithe, schooled by the best teachers and raised in a wealthy family. Around his 30th birthday, young by elven standards, he admitted himself into the imperial school of soldiery where he impressed his teachers with both his knowledge of military science and his deadly accurate fighting skills. After graduating and performing many deeds of merit in the imperial army of the elves, he was chosen as a personal guard of the emperor at the unprecedented age of 50. What brought him everlasting fame among the elves, however, was not how he excelled in schooling but what he chose to do for Kelethin. Going straight to the emperor himself, Edril asked that he be allowed to lead the attack against the orcs. When the emperor granted his wish, Edril hand picked 100 of the best elven warriors and the best horses, and rode quickly to the woodland kingdom of Kelethin. He was met at Kelethin with a large reception, but decided to ride through quickly. He was there for only one purpose: to make a name for himself by destroying the orcs. Little more then two days after arriving in the city, Edril and his men rode outside the greater Faydark and headed directly for the first orcan encampment. It was the middle of the night when Edril made his first strike, and the orcs were completely caught off guard. Edril's men rode straight over the orcs, slaughtering every clansmen they saw with little casualties of their own. Edril is said to have fought like a madman, tallying over 20 kills himself. Without even stopping to catch their breath, Edril's soldiers rode for the next camp so as to keep the element of surprise. One by one the camps of the crushbone orcs were destroyed quickly and brutally. The orcs, still preparing for their second assault on Kelethin, were always caught by surprise. Edril and his men moved from one battle to the next so quickly, the elves called them the legion of wind. The strategy worked perfectly: Gharol was never able to get word of the new attackers in time to plan a defense and so most of the orcs were slaughtered. The final battle, lasting longer then the rest, was against Gharol's own camp. Many of Edril's warriors were killed in this fight but all of the orcs, including Gharol, were driven away to the deep growth of the wild Greater Faydark. Here they have made their makeshift kingdom. When Edril returned to his kingdom, he was proclaimed high protector of Kelethin with over 150 kills to his name alone. This would not be the last time Edril's name was written into elven history, however. It is believed that only weeks later after their retreat, Gharol was killed by his own followers. The fourth age ended in war and death with the promise of a new beginning. The petty squabbling of the elder races on the continent of Faydwer had ended tragically and none of the kingdoms would ever fully recover. The seeds for revenge had been sewn and the entire world had changed for all the elder races. With the immigration of the dark elves to Neriak on Tunaria and of the ogres to Oggok, new lands had been discovered and none of the elder races had the power anymore to stop the kingdoms of the gnomes and halflings of expanding nor did they have the strength to control the ever increasing population of the humans. The fourth age was a time of death, sadness, and change for Norrath.

THE KINGDOM OF THE GNOMES

Ever the since the first days of the elven rebellion, it had been decided by the emperor of Felwithe that the gnomes would be a free race allied with the elven empire and able to live on elven lands, much unlike the almost slave-like persecution the little tinkers suffered under the rule of the dark elves. The gnomes had been granted lands surrounding the fertile Elizerain Lake and there existed for a century or more in peace with their elven neighbors. However, being on elven lands also meant the gnomes would have to follow elvish customs, and increasingly the gnomes began to feel out of place. The gnomes were builders, not artists, and they could not sing or dance or play musical instruments. Elves prided themselves on their use of the bow and their long, graceful blades but gnomish arms couldn't support the lengthy elven weaponry. And while the elven language was meant to be spoken in long, descriptive, and fluid verse, the gnomes were always prone to speak in jittery and incredibly fast sentences. Slowly, a general concensus began to form among the gnomes that someday a separate gnomish kingdom would have to be formed. The gnome most responsible to bring about this change was named Biddyn. Biddyn was born the fourth son to a poor farmer on the east of the Elizerain Lake, the gnomish territories closest to the heart of the empire. Almost immediately he recognized how much he, and even his brothers and father, hated farm work. The most joyous times in his life, as he later wrote, were the monthly festivals the gnomes held where they would gather and build all manner of fascinating machines. This, he thought, is what gnomes should be doing and he bestowed upon himself the responsibility to make sure this came to pass. Studying elven mannerisms and rhetoric on his market voyages to Felwithe with his father, Biddyn soon became a speaker the likes of which no gnome has ever equaled. His very charisma charmed everyone around him into the idea of a separate gnomish kingdom, and he soon was ready to bring his demands before the emperor. The emperor at this time was none other then Carandril, past lord of Kelethin, who had appointed the warrior Edril as his first soldier long ago and also as the head of the imperial army. Edril had served loyally and skillfully as Carandril's guard for more then a hundred years, the warrior elf being only a little more then middle-aged for his race. Charmed by his determination and skillful speaking, Edril supported Biddyn for a separate gnomish kingdom. Even the emperor was attracted to the proposition, as a new allied kingdom would open new opportunities for trade while the gnomish loss would not be a big drain on the imperial economy. After only six days of deliberation, Carandril granted Biddyn's request and plans were immediately formed for the creation of a new gnomish homeland. The emperor severed the southern part of his empire, mostly unused and barren fields beyond the steamfont mountains, and gave it to the gnomes. The land was renamed "Akanon" which is elven for "Gift" and ten gnomish settlers as well as five elven guards were prepared to make a journey into Akanon and chart the lands. The fifteen settlers rode out surrounded by the cheers of elves and gnomes alike, but were not heard from for many months. Finally after the fifth month of their disappearance, only one elven soldier, his clothes torn to pieces and his weapons shattered, rode solemnly through the gates of the empire. He was the last of the settlers who remained alive, and recounted his tale before an astonished imperial council. A plague dragon, with scales of an oozing black, had attacked the party soon after they had crossed into the southern lands and had claimed that the lands of Akanon were his own. For months the plague dragon chased them and hunted the gnomes and elves down. The soldier had watched each man die a slow and horrible death, and believed the dragon only let him go to give this message to the elves. The gnomes were instantly furious that Carandril had given them cursed lands to settle, and the emperor immediately ordered the death of the dragon. Frightened by the terrible story of the soldier, most of his warriors were reluctant to volunteer, as Carandril would not force anyone to fight such a terrible beast. Edril, however, immediately offered his services as a personal favor to the gnomes. When Biddyn himself volunteered five more gnomes joined the hunt, and together with his gnomish friends, Edril rode to the steamfont mountains to meet the terrible beast. What happened next is best summed up by Biddyn's own "The History of the Gnomes": I admit as much, that even my legs were shaking when we approached the mouth of the demon's great cave. From our previous encounters, and from the memories of our lost friend Dolyn, we were all terrified of the beast. All of us, that is, except for Edril, but I don't think Innoruk himself could scare that elf. He thrives from fear as much as I do the tobacco in my pipe, it is to him as some sweet nectar that clears his thoughts and hones his blade. So while we trembled before the plague dragon's domain, Edril simply lifted his sword to his shoulder, looked back at me, and said "wait here." With a proud determination he marched toward the black cave entrance, a portal to the lower planes if ever there was one. He marched to his death, or so we thought. But when we saw him next in two days time he pulled behind him the head of the evil beast, which left thick trails of a green poison behind it. He breathed heavily, and painful scars covered his body. I laughed, thinking that while Edril was obviously hurt, the dragon must have felt much worse before his death. Anything that inflicts that much pain to the elf must be prepared to receive the same thrashing tenfold. The skull of the dragon sits still on the entrance to the gnome's own Fortress Mechanus. Edril and his band of gnomes would be written into gnomish lore forever as for the next weeks they rode tirelessly through the lands of Akanon, fighting back fierce creatures and charting the perfect hillside location for the first ever kingdom of gnomes. Edril spent much more time in Akanon then originially expected, personally overseeing the kingdom's construction. When the first houses were made and the first gnomish settlers came pouring in, Biddyn was selected as the first king of the gnomes and he in turn erected a statue in honor of Edril. The statue depicts Edril's battle with the great plague dragon, and gnomish craftsmanship made it enormous and actually useful: it sits in the heart of Akanon even today, acting as the central part to Akanon's extensive irrigation system. When Edril returned home to Felwithe he was greeted by hundreds of proud soldiers and again proclaimed a hero.

THE TRIBES OF TRAKANON

The present day kingdom of Grobb has always been fairly secretive about it's heritage, but common trollish lore tells us that the kingdom has it's roots in the blasted continent of Kunark, a land of venomous rivers, gray wastes, and seething deadwood forests. It is written that here, nestled on the banks of the Murkdweller river, Cazic-Thule chose to taint the bodies of man with cruel magics in his attempt at further having a hold on the prophecied surge of human power in the third age. But with the advent of the war of the broken crown, sages tell that Cazic-Thule eventually forgot about his trollish abominations and left them to die on Kunark. What followed for the trolls was decades of brutal combat as they struggled for the scarce natural resources of their dead continent. It was at this time that the ancient dragon Trakanon took notice of the slowly dying race. To call the ancient one a dragon is purely speculative, as no one has ever seen the terrible beast many think is reponsible for the present condition of Kunark, but the garbled texts of the trolls describe him as one. The dragon is said to have gathered the entire population of Kunark onto one island in the broken teeth chain and there offer the trolls a pact: Trakanon would supply the forgotten children of Cazic-Thule with food and water from his personal jungle lands if they would become his servants. The trolls agreed, regarding Trakanon as a powerful savior, king, and god. Trakanon organized the trolls into separate tribes each to occupy a certain part of eastern Kunark so he could control them better. It was at this time his servants adopted the name "troll" which is a shortened form of the phrase "troll quel'dom gik Trakanon" which meant "the green children of Trakanon" in dragonish. It has never been in the power of either man or troll to determine the great dragon's reason for his abandonement, but we can't hope to understand the ways of the immortals. Every text simply states that Trakanon may have just changed his mind. Nevertheless, after centuries of relative peace and harsh rule under their godlike king, the twenty-five tribes of Trakanon entered the second age with their food supply dwindling and shipments coming in less and less frequently. At first there was no panic, the tribal leaders sent messengers to their king to ask forgiveness for whatever they had done wrong, but the messengers started to come back with word that they had been denied an audience with the great dragon. Trollish caravans by the hundreds started to crowd the dark hills of disdain, waiting for the gates to open into Trakanon's hidden kingdom, but that day never came. When word of Trakanon's seclusion started spreading throughout Kunark, each tribe began to move closer and closer to the east where food had once come through. They arrived next to Trakanon's kingdom only to learn that the great dragon king had not been seen for more then 50 years and just recently had closed his gates to all messengers and caravans. The trolls were confused, distraught, and starving, and so they waited in the Kunark east for some word to come from their god. When that word never came, the tribes of Trakanon started to grow restless. Battles started to erupt haphazardly and tribal villages were attacked and plundered. In the shadows of the mountain range "Trakanon's teeth" a new trollish war erupted. The 25 tribes of Trakanon attacked eachother viciously for food and water, and for ten years they battled nonstop until only 7 tribes were left. These 7 tribes retreated to every corner around what is now called the field of bone, named for the countless trollish skeletons which cover the ground. For centuries more the surviving trolls would fight what has been called the war of the seven tribes in their attempts at stealing whatever they could for food and drink, even the flesh and blood of other tribal members. Trollish shamans say that every day while the war raged beneath him, Trakanon sat perched high above his jungle throne, watching his trolls die with a grin on his face. The war would almost cause the complete destruction of the troll race.

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