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History of Norrath II

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History of Norrath II

Post by Ronson on Sat Jul 31, 2010 1:00 pm

THE TROLL MIGRATION

In the middle of the third age, the tribes of Trakanon were all but completely destroyed. The wars had continued for a century or more and when the seven tribes began to finally die out, mostly from starvation and disease, the trolls moved completely to the north of the field of bone and away from the swamp of no hope, the spot of their creation, forever. There the starving tribe of chief Kateera and the desperate followers of chief Nalikor squared off in one final confrontation. Across the northern shores of Kunark raged a battle so terrible elven bards dare sing of it only in the dark hours of the night. Troll was pitted against troll in the end of a war that would prove what tribe would rule Kunark, and each tribe fought with the single goal of completely destroying the other. Slowly, the two tribes began to die. Trolls began to consume the flesh of slain enemies, as was the accepted custom of the tribe wars, but also the flesh of fallen comrades. In fits of madness, trollish warriors would attack their own tribesmen and then commit suicide. The fights degenerated into scenes of utter insanity as trollish warriors started attacking anyone around them, friend or foe, to eat whatever they killed and to steal whatever they could grab. The two most unaffected by the insanity around them, being veterans of the tribe wars themselves, were the two chiefs: Kateera and Nalikor. Realizing that the battle they had begun would be the beginning of the end of the troll race, both leaders met face to face with a host of their most trusted warriors on what is named Nalikor's Mound by the ancient trollish texts with the simple intent of ending the war once and for all. Every text says Kateera was the one who issued the challenge, and some troll shamans describe Kateera as a foolish, rash young leader who could have never stood a chance against the older Nalikor. Others, however, say that Nalikor and Kateera entered in on an understanding that in order for the trolls to stop the war the young leader had to die. Either way, while the rest of the trollish camps settled down from the war if only for a brief rest under a new moon, the young chief Kateera was run through and beheaded by the old Nalikor. Rather then carry out trollish customs and consume the bodies of his enemies, Nalikor only took Kateera's head as proof of his victory, then buried the young chief and his fallen guards on top of the highest hill in the field of bone, the one most stained with blood. Here the old chief stacked the weapons of warriors that had been dead for centuries and the place was called Nalikor's Mound, a monument to the old tribes of Trakanon and the mark of a new age for the troll race. No one has reportedly seen the mound, but the texts speak of it as a horrible site: a small red mountain with spears and swords thrust through it, surrounded on all sides by the endless troll-skeletons which cover the field of bone. At it's top Nalikor set Kateera's severed head, grinning as it hung from a metal pike. The tribe of the now defeated Kateera surprisingly did not put up much of a resistance when they were told about the death of their leader and their loss in the war. For a week, the survivors of both tribes rejoiced in the end of centuries of warfare, feasting and dancing over the corpses of the dead, but many questions still remained unanswered and many problems were left unsolved. For decades troll shamans had prophecied that the tribe to win the wars would be given unimaginable riches and power by their dragon lord, but Trakanon never revealed himself to the last tribe even after the war was over. Kunark was now completely a blasted land and a graveyard. All the creatures were dead and the undrinkable rivers were red with blood. The tribe of Nalikor thought themselves the sole rulers of their continent, but their continent was left with nothing they could use to survive. When tensions started to rise again among members of the same tribe, Nalikor realized that his followers were ready once more to destroy themselves. Powerless and desperate, the old chief then decided to commit an act of trollish blasphemy: he would cross Trakanon's Teeth, steal his way into the jungle kingdom of the great dragon, and speak to the king of the trolls personally. Many different stories are written about the month-long journey of Nalikor into the forbidden territory of his once-god Trakanon, but all have these few things in common: It is said that the old chief did actually meet the great dragon and that he told Trakanon all but one of the tribes had been killed. The ancient beast obviously admired the chief, as he awarded Nalikor with a magic blade and a key into his eternal kingdom, but the dragon also told Nalikor bluntly that he would give no aid to the trolls. It was then that Trakanon told Nalikor of the other continents and the other races, and that the chief could either lead his people away from Kunark or watch the last tribe die. Nalikor was especially outraged at the mention of more fruitful continents and the elder races, and it is speculated that the hostility trolls have towards all other Norrathians is spawned from this scorned jealousy, like a grown man emerging from a troubled childhood. When Nalikor returned to his tribe he found it in chaos, split among five different leaders each with different plans for Kunark. The old chief killed each would-be-leader quickly, his flaming sword easily cutting them down, and when word of Nalikor's new-found power spread the trolls once more united behind him and gave him the title "Trakanon's chosen." The old chief told all four hundred of his remaining followers what Trakanon had told him, and quickly began to lay out the plan for an escape off their island-continent. With a very limited supply of natural resources, Nalikor and his men built a fleet of five massive ships entirely out of wood, steel, and the bones of dead trolls. With nothing left on Kunark, the trolls gladly boarded the fleet of bone, leaving behind them their entire culture of war and death, and sailed aimlessly for many weeks until coming to the broken skull rock off Antonica, in the middle of the gulf of Gunthak. Even before they had landed, the ogres of Oggok knew of the formidable and ivory ships sailing for their borders. Thinking they had something to fear from the mysterious troll fleet, which was landing next to the weakest part in the natural defense of Oggok, the ogres immediately gathered a large force of warriors to stop the trolls from advancing. To their complete surprise, the ogres found the strange trolls to almost be their exact equals in combat and the warriors were turned back by the massive tribe of Nalikor. Over the next few days, the ogres would continue their attacks on Nalikor's tribe. The fierce troll warriors, still homeless and starving, were able to fight off the ogres many more times but were only barely keeping Oggok at bay. The Greenblood river is named for the many trolls who died in it's waters as a result of ogre raids. Nalikor, not fully understanding the ogre race or these recent skurmishes, sent word of a treaty to Oggok. To the surprise of all the other races, king Gharn, the eighth warlord of the ogres, whole-heartedly agreed. The ogres and trolls shared a mutual respect, as much a respect as members of those two races can possibly produce. The ogres saw the trolls as merciless warriors with strange powers, but with a harsh and warlike attitude the ogres found pleasing. The trolls, also, respected the strength and kill-or-be-killed ways of the ogre kingdom. Soon the two races found themselves fast allies. On the very place where Nalikor and his followers first landed, broken skull rock, the ogres and trolls signed an agreement that neither force would attack the other. Instead, the ogres would help the trolls establish a kingdom and routes of supplies on Tunaria in exchange for troll military support and magical aid. To seal the kinship between ogre and troll, Nalikor gave his own magical blade as part of the arrangement. The sword is still kept on broken skull rock in that same secret meeting place, encased in a magical field of crystal. On it's surface is etched "Here the great alliance was formed between king Gharn the slayer and Trakanon's chosen. May death come to those who seek to disrupt it." Thus the alliance was called the treaty of the burning blade. With the aid of the ogres, out of the ashes of the last tribe of Trakanon sprang forth a new kingdom for the trolls. Nalikor chose the edges of the Innothule Swamp for the trolls to live, which most closely resembled the place of their creation: the swamp of no hope on Kunark. The ogres taught the trolls how to hunt in their new land and how to build fortifications. Nalikor himself was deeply involved in creating the new hierarchy of the troll kingdom and ending the old tribal system of Trakanon, but he died before he could completely achieve his goal. His death resulted in many days of troll mourning, and the burial site of Trakanon's chosen was made the foundation of the new troll city of Grobb- named for Nalikor's successor and the first official king of the trolls. It is said that somewhere deep inside the temple depths of Grobb the trollish shamans still keep watch over Nalikor's key: the only remaining link between the trolls and the ancient kingdom of the dragon Trakanon.

THE LOST AGE

This next period of Norrathean history as it relates to many of the races is the least known. It is surmised by the more knowledgeable historians that while the elder races regrouped and reestablished themselves, a small group of Barbarians were suddenly transformed both physically and intellectually. Most believe this to be the last major and direct act of divine intervention, and perhaps the reason so little is known about this period is that the gods wish it to be so, deciding afterwards that they would have less to do with their creations. In any case, this small and enlightened group were the fathers of the Human race, and they rapidly gained a foothold throughout the lands, studying the lost art of geomancy. The Combine Empire, as this lost race of Humans is called, spread throughout the known world, but then died even more quickly than it grew, and for reasons still unknown. And while they are the ancestors of every Human on Norrath and their relics and ruins still litter the lands from Odus to Faydwer, little history of this period remains.

THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT


After the fall of the Combine Empire, the remnants of mankind dwelled mostly in the center of Tunaria, inhabiting primarily the vast and fertile plains of Karana. Villages appeared and prospered, several reaching the size of towns, and two even became cities. To the west a strong and noble band of Humans, lead by Antonius Bayle the First, founded Qeynos under the lofty principles of law. Freeport, to the east, became an active and dangerous port of call for all who dared to venture into the Ocean of Tears. Humanity, much to the disdain of the elder races who watched from afar, remained strong, even daring to rename their home after one of their own instead of one of the gods. The great continent of Tunaria would forever more be known as Antonica. This is not to imply, however, that humanity was at peace. Competition was fierce, and when resources grew scarce for one reason or another many groups abandoned the promises and alliances of their past and fought. A few leaders spoke out against the violence, urging the masses to remember why they had fled the cold north. Others reminded them of their former glory and the might of the Combine Empire. These leaders insisted that humanity adhere once again to those principals to which all had agreed. Explorers and adventurers returned from afar with tales of elves, dwarves, and other strange creatures, as well as descriptions of ancient abandoned cities. A few even came back with limited knowledge of sorcery and the mystic arts. And when that discontent minority of leaders heard all of this, they became both jealous and determined.

ERUDINE & HERETICS

A small, fragile man of great intellect called Erud led this group, and he formed them into a council. They quickly became irritated, even disgusted, by their fellow man. Leaving a small network of spies behind, the remainder of Erud's followers fled the city of Qeynos and boarded a small fleet of ships. They sailed to the west and landed upon the barren coast of the island of Odus. The land was sparse and uninhabited and quite appealing to the council and their people. They quickly built a city of their own, dissimilar in almost every way to both Qeynos and Freeport, for it was almost entirely a towering castle. Erudin it was called, and within it the scribes and scholars, who called themselves High Men, gathered and analyzed reports, captured books and scrolls, and other artifacts brought to them by their spies. The first human mages were then born - wizards, sorcerers, and enchanters occupied the great halls of Erudin and grew immensely in both power and knowledge. One of the more adept practitioners of the arts was named Miragul. Unlike and more extreme than the others, he not only abhorred his human brothers on the mainland to the east, but he also grew to hate his fellow Erudites. To him they were both short sighted and narrow. They created schools of thought, categorizing magic into three groups and assigning themselves to three classes: Wizards, Sorcerers, and Enchanters. Miragul found this limiting and thoroughly resented the thought of being restricted to one school of thought or another. He soon found others who felt similarly. They were a small but growing group of outcasts who often studied forbidden texts and other knowledge generally kept secret from the majority of students. The council was morally and ethically opposed to much of the information gathered afar by their spies. Miragul found that these outcasts not only studied the three schools of magic, but also a fourth. It was called Necromancy and a few lucky spies had returned from a distant underground city (Neriak, it was called, home of the dark elves) with both their lives and also ancient texts describing this art. Miragul was intrigued, and, by using powerful magic, created for himself four identities, four separate countenances and names, and joined all four schools without the knowledge of the council, nor anyone else for that matter. It came to pass some years later that the council, in its ever growing desire to know all there was to know, both in distant lands and also in its own city, discovered the group of Necromancers. They were branded heretics and great conflict arose. For the first time in several hundred years, the Erudites fought. They engaged in a civil war not entirely dissimilar to that which they had loathed and fled from back on the mainland. But there was one very significant difference - they did not use swords and bows, but rather magic, and the result was terrible. Lives by the hundreds were lost, great buildings and structures destroyed, and eventually the heretics were forced to flee Erudin, to hide and regroup in the southern regions of Odus. Miragul, being a member of all four schools, was not blind to the implications when the conflict began. He left the heretics before they fled the city, abandoning his fourth identity and siding apparently with the council. But this was only a ruse in order to buy time. He soon gathered every artifact and tome he could discreetly steal and then left Odus entirely, taking a ship back to Antonica and to the city of Qeynos. The lands of men, however, were not only to his dislike, but also filled with Erudite spies. Miragul grew afraid, even paranoid, and soon fled again. He headed far to the north and then to the east, wishing to avoid the barbarians of Halas. After many weeks he found himself near the great lake called Winter's Deep and he hid there for some time. While Miragul waited in secret his mind was not idle. He schemed and planned, and looked over every letter of every scroll and tome he had taken from Erudin. Time passed and his understanding and power grew. But he was unsatisfied and a deep hunger for even more arcane knowledge ate away at him. He soon left his hiding place and began to travel long distances in search of more ancient texts and artifacts. His power had grown and confidence overcame his fear of Erudite spies. Once again he cloaked himself in false identity and countenance and traveled the lands of men. Not far to the south of where his cache of artifacts lay, Miragul soon found another of the new races, the Halflings, and their town Rivervale. The mage feared these small people and their propensity to sneak and to steal, and as his treasures grew in both size and value, he eventually made the decision to move even farther north, and away from all intelligent life. He traveled leagues and leagues, far beyond the range of both Erudite spy and curious Halfling, and eventually came to a vast tundra. This land had no name, and was not until centuries later referred to as merely the Frigid Plain. This frosty and remote environment appealed to Miragul's heart, for it had grown cold, obsessed with only knowledge and the abstract, and filled with only hatred for others. Creatures with intelligence forced him to be discreet and slowed his acquisition of knowledge and items. He had as little to do with them as he could, only hiding amongst them when absolutely necessary. Under the icy ground of the Frigid Plains, Miragul created a large network of tunnels and rooms in which to hide and study his collection. He used no labor, but rather deep magic to remove the earth from his way. Room after room, passage after passage, he did create to house his store of artifacts. He split his years, spending one score out in the world, exploring and amassing knowledge and items, returning them to his cache, and then the next dabbling with them, experimenting in one of several laboratories he had created. Many years passed, even centuries. Miragul grew old, even though he did his best to extend his life using magical means. There was a limit to his enlightenment when it came to aging, and he soon acknowledged that one day even he would die. Only one aspect of death did he fear, and being no longer able to learn and collect wrought him with terror. As his skin grew wrinkled, and his breath short, Miragul's time was spent less exploring the world of Norrath and more studying the existential. He soon discovered the various hidden dimensions that neighbored his own, the Planes of Power and Discord. He discovered means by which he could traverse these planes, making portals that led between them. But his strength was leaving him, and his journeys into these realities were short and often unprofitable. More and more, his own mortality limited his reason for living, and the specter of death haunted him daily. The mage's research into life and death was built upon a foundation he had learned from his fellow outcasts centuries before in Erudin. Necromancy, more than any other art, became Miragul's obsession. Eventually he discovered a means by which to create portals within his own plane and made them to travel great distances in mere seconds. He traveled back to Odus, to its southern regions, in search of the other Necromancers. Perhaps, he mused, they had unearthed by now a way to cheat death. The mage soon found that the heretics of Erudin had built a city into a great hole that led to unknown depths beneath the earth. This chasm was apparently the result of that huge civil war from which Miragul had fled centuries earlier. The city, called Paineel, though somewhat suspicious, allowed Miragul to enter and after a time he earned its inhabitant's trust. Many humored the old man and his claims, while a select few respected him and were willing to trade knowledge for knowledge, power for power. They revealed to him the true power of necromancy, the ability to raise the dead, creating zombies and wraiths obedient in every way to their master. Many of the heretics planned to assault Erudin with vast armies of undead, to wreak revenge upon the council that had exiled and made war upon them in centuries past. One important aspect of their necromancy interested Miragul, the fact that the undead ceased to age. Their lives appeared endless and the elderly mage knew that he must discover a way to be like them. He feigned interest in the heretic's goals, learning spells to raise the dead, helping them raise their undead army. All the while, however, he was experimenting himself, hiding much of his research in the small home he was given in Paineel. After some time he discovered that which he had sought, a way to transform a living being, as opposed to a corpse, into the undead. Unfortunately, time was scarce, for he was tired and almost dead himself, his body deteriorating with age, and the heretics were almost ready to make war once again. Miragul then left Paineel, using a small portion of his dwindling life energies to make a portal back to his cache hundreds of leagues to the north. Upon arrival, he withdrew silently to his most secret laboratory and prepared his final spell. Dreaming all the while of endless exploration and discovery, he slowly made ready his ultimate experiment. The enchantment laced with necromancy was finally made, and Miragul hid his remaining and fragile life within the phylactery, a small device he had pilfered from the other necromancers. Clouds of mystical energy gathered and then dispersed, revealing a shell of the man Miragul once was, an undead mage, what ancient scripts and legends called a lich. In his haste, however, Miragul had made a miscalculation. The lich, while retaining all the mystical power of his formal self, lacked a spirit. Only the mage's soul, now locked within the phylactery hidden deep in the cache, retained the ambition and desire to amass knowledge and power. The spiritless lich possessed none of these human traits, and Miragul's soul screamed in silence as the undead creature began to aimlessly wander his menagerie of wisdom and enlightenment, his rooms filled with artifacts of power.

EDRIL & THE PROPHECY OF TRAKANON

At the age of 450, Carandril of the elves became deathly ill. The emperor fought death for more then a year before his passing into the next realm. High elves and wood elves crowded the busy streets of Felwithe for a full day to witness the funeral procession, and Edril was saddened greatly by the loss of his mentor and friend. As per elven tradition, when Carandril passed away a new emperor was chosen by the council and the new emperor, after being crowned, chose a new head for the imperial army. Edril was awarded estates in the surrounding imperial lands, a hero's send off, and a large amount of gold coins for his retirement wealth. Nobody, however, expected Edril ever to lay his sword to rest. "He has the blood of a hero," emperor Carandril used to say, "try as you might, you could never keep Edril from the adventure." Thinking there was nothing left for him in the empire of the elves, Edril gathered what wealth was given to him and set sail for the far-off human lands of Antonica. Arriving in the city of Freeport, Edril was recognized as a wealthy elf only. His name was unknown to these western lands, but that quickly changed. Edril became almost instantly renowned in the Freeport area for his fighting prowess, as he helped many of the villages along Lake Neriuss against the raider Zellain and his band of dark elves. His real fame, however, came as a desert fighter. Edril held a chief role in defending an outpost in the Kithicor woods against a large goblin attack, and it was during this battle that Edril became infatuated by the deserts of Antonica. Whether it was because they were so foreign to him or whether he loved the danger, Edril spent most of his remaining time on Antonica wandering it's deserts, from the eastern desert of Ro all the way to the dead hills in the west and the plains of Karana. His most noteworthy exploits in these areas included capturing Ragoth the sand giant and his "dust marauders" in the desert of Ro as well as flushing out an entire nest of frogloks around lake Rathetear. He soon was recognized back in Felwithe as a remarkable cataloguer of strange creatures, as he would write notes about all his adversaries and send them to the imperial library. As he made his way to Qeynos, he even fell in love with an erudite female mage named Almaril and they were wed. For a time in Qeynos Edril forgot about adventure or Carandril or his home back with the elves. He loved Almaril deeply and she took him back and forth from Erudin to Antonica, teaching him everything he wished to know. He was as much interested in her crude but powerful magic as she was his graceful fighting styles. For the first time in a long time Edril was satisfied and happy, and to the astonishment of all it seemed that the elven warrior would actually settle down in Qeynos with his wife forever. But fate moves unpredictably and Edril was called into service once more. An old merchant noble from Freeport, a long time friend of Edril, sent him a letter detailing the problems he was having with a band of local trollish thieves. The thieves, however, were not everyday thugs. Goods from merchant caravans had increasingly been stolen to fund for a splinter trollish army somewhere in the desert of Ro. The army, whom the kingdom of Grobb wanted destroyed very much, was lead by an obnoxious would-be-preacher troll named Zisstrik the insane, who lead his band of trolls on what he called a "religious crusade." Edril agreed to help with the problem. The troll bandits were easily found and easily dispensed with, but more important was what Edril learned during the hunt. Zisstrik spoke at length, before he was killed, about the troll dragon-god Trakanon and how the dragon told Zisstrik in his dreams to steal and kill the local human merchants who "pollute the desert and the swamps with their presence." Edril dismissed most of what the troll said as crazy dribble, but he became increasingly interested in the tale of Trakanon. In return for the destruction of the splinter army, Edril only wished in payment that he be allowed to speak with the shamans of Grobb about the great dragon. The trolls, however bitter and tentative, agreed. The elven warrior was immediately in love with the story of the troll heritage. He was fascinated by the idea of dozens of glorious armies dessimating eachother because of hunger and confusion, fascinated by the imagery of the far off and blasted land of Kunark, but even more fascinated by the character of Trakanon, a powerful being once a god to the trolls and only seen by a single chief. He immediately thought Trakanon was evil both for what he did to the trolls and because of what Edril knew about all dragons. The elf silently vowed to make the hunt for Trakanon his final and most glorious quest. Utilizing ancient trollish texts and learning what he could, Edril soon had plotted a course to and over Kunark. Almaril protested greatly and called Edril crazy for trying to carry out such a silly fantasy, but the elf couldn't resist the pull of perhaps the greatest adventure he would ever have. Leaving his wife sobbing behind him on the docksides of Freeport, Edril set sail for several weeks before arriving at what he hoped was the lost continent of Kunark. Frightened by the horrible site of the field of bone before them, the crew of Edril's ship told the warrior they would remain on the coastline until his safe return. Packing what he needed for a long and arduous journey, Edril made his way alone across the dead fields of the ancient trollish homeland until he arrived.at the jagged cliffs of Trakanon's Teeth. What happened next no one knows for sure, as Edril was careful not even to divulge it to his wife before his death, but it is rumored Edril had to escape many clever traps and fight through several horrendous challenges before reaching the throne of the great beast. Even then, he did not kill Trakanon because what the dragon had to tell him was of far greater importance then any quest. Herein lies the complete text of Trakanon's prophecy, as Edril himself never forgot the words of the great beast and later told his wife in order that the whole of Norrath may read the message. From "The Book of Edril" by Edril's late wife Almaril: The great dragon looked on Edril as a father on his son and smiled widely. "So," Trakanon spoke in a voice that shook the very ground, "at last you have come." Edril, great among the elves, felt himself begin to tremble as he stared deep into the dragon's fiery eyes. "You have no reason to fear me, warrior, even though you have come here to kill me. But I doubt that even you could perform such a task. You see, child, I was born before the stars were made, before the foundation of this world was ripped by Veeshan's claw, and before the gods gave birth to the elder races. I have been and always will be the eternal mystery between life and death and gods and man." With that said, Edril bowed his head in awe and somehow knew the great beast spoke the truth. "And yet," the dragon continued, "I am but a watcher. For while I claim this world as my own I am forbidden by laws forged millenia ago to change it's course. It is the curse of all my kind: to love a world so much and to have to watch it die. Take heed, warrior, because Norrath's death is fast approaching." Edril lifted his head, his eyes wide in a look of shock and fear. The dragon simply nodded. "Yes, Edril, Norrath's fate was decided long ago, or so the gods think. But the visions of your gods are often warped by their own vanity and selfishness, the future is never set, and the elder races may yet prove them wrong. The gods made you all as a means to an end in their struggle and as the wars of the elder races escalate, so shall the gods descend from their planes of existence and make the whole of Norrath suffer. But there are those among the races untouched by the taint of immortals whom I have chosen as the saviors of man." Trakanon then stabbed deep into the ground with his left claw and ripped the bottom of his cave dwelling asunder with one powerful stroke of his arm. Edril looked over the sides of the newly formed chasms and noticed the walls glowing a bright red. A face began to form from the blackness deep within the cracks, and Edril could clearly make out the aging face of an old man. The face had sad eyes, gaunt cheeks, and long silvery hair. "His name is Miragul," said the dragon, "a human mage, gifted in all talents of magic and able to bend the laws of life and death to his will. He exists now as an empty shell, wandering his tombs filled with powerful magics." The next face that formed was that of a troll, but surprisingly it was a noble and proud visage. Scars ran from both eyes down to the troll's mouth, and the troll's eyes were strong and unwavering. "He was called Nalikor. He was the troll first to enter my kingdom and find me. He ended centuries of brutal war, was greatest among his soldiers, and was able to lead his people from death and starvation to a powerful kingdom." The dragon then turned his eyes to Edril. "You, elf, are my third chosen. You are Edril the warrior, a brilliant soldier and great hero. Death haunts you at every turn but you are always able to overcome your obstacles. You are a deadly fighter, a wanderer of Norrath, and a lord among elves. And now I award you with a much bigger destiny." Trakanon spoke deep in a language Edril couldn't understand, and suddenly a small pendant flashed into existence around Edril's neck. "To Miragul I revealed the existence of artifacts that would enhance his powers in the arcane arts. To Nalikor I awarded a flaming sword to enhance his warrior prowess. To you I give this: a small pendant that will allow you to talk with me always. But it does much more. My strength is finite, Edril, and already my powers begin to weaken. Soon either the gods or the elder races will find the means to my destruction, and when that happens then the final war for Norrath shall be waged. But when I die, before I leave for the afterlife, I will impart my power to the bearer of this pendant, and he shall have all the wisdom and the strength of the most ancient of creatures." Trakanon then laid his serpent-like head on the floor of his cave. "That time is fast approaching. Here is my prophecy, young one. Everything I say now shall soon come to pass. When the wars of the elder races begin to come to fruition, the gods shall take notice and plan for their coming into the world. Then, on the third day of the third season, in the dark of the night on all the continents of the elder races, shall be reborn my chosen in the bodies of other men, representing all of the three virtues: good, evil, and the gray neutral between them both. They will arise to the call of a fourth chosen, great among them, who will collect my gifts unto himself: the magic enhancements of Miragul, the flaming sword of Nalikor, and your dragon pendant. The peoples of Norrath will revere this one as Trakanon's chosen, and he will watch the whole world burn." When he returned home he was changed forever. With his greatest achievment completed, Edril the warrior, feared of the orcan clans, slayer of the plague dragon of Akanon, first soldier of the empire, and desert wanderer of Norrath, hung his sword to rest forever. He lived many happy years in the arms of Almaril, his wife, and they even gave birth to a son, something no one thought possible between a erudite and elf. But whether it was fate's choice to test Edril one last time or because erudites were enough "non-human" so procreation was near impossible, Edril's son was taken by disease at an early age. The event crushed the indomitable elf and at the age of 405 the warrior passed away. "No spear or sword or arrow, fang, claw, or spell could ever hope of killing the elf known as Edril," recounted Biddyn at the funeral of his friend, "but for a father, the death of an only child is the worst poison the world can give." The lord of Qeynos thought it best to send his body back to the elven empire and there gathered a very ecclectic funeral procession: Merchant friends from Freeport and Qeynos, human lords of Antonica, almost the entire gnomish population, and even troll shamans from Grobb to bear witness to the last warrior to ever lay eyes on Trakanon. Some said the dark elves were also present, spying on the funeral from the shadows just to make sure Edril had actually lost the battle with death. Dozens of elven trumpets sounded his passing and his casket was floated over the top of the Elizerain Lake to sink into it's depths forever, an honor normally reserved only for the emperors. It is written that even now, at the bottom of the lake in that same casket, the dragon pendant of Trakanon waits, grasped tightly in Edril's cold, dead fingers.

THE AGE OF TURMOIL

The beggining of the current age was filled with wonder. The elder races had begun to reclaim their former glory. The younger races had matured, and an active economy stretched across Odus, Antonica, and Faydwer. While conflict and battle is hardly rare, it had also been centuries since open war had plagued the lands. A myriad of alliances and factions were formed, friend and foe plotted and schemed, and the world of Norrath was ripe for action.

AL'KABOR AND THE KEDGE

During the Age of Enlightenment, many Erudites skilled in the magic arts had come to dominate their schools in skill and power. One such person was Al'Kabor, who over the years had proven to be the most powerful of the Wizards. Much of his research had given birth to the most powerful spells harnessed by man. Seemingly one of the chosen of Druzzil Ro, Godess of Magic, his skill had few equals and his spells had become standard training among the mystic. Much like Miragul he strove for knowledge, not to overcome, but to understand that which was the universe. To this end he spent countless hours in the Great Library at Erudin until its tomes could serve him no longer. Much to his disdain at leaving his long time home, he would have to travel Norrath to find what he sought. The young races, those of man, had very little knowledge of magic that was not documented or discovered by the Erudites and so he must seek out those of the Ancient Kingdoms and peoples. Both the Kedge and the Combine Empire held the most mystery as little was known about these two peoples. It was with the Kedge that he would start his research as they were the older of the two. Though the race was known by minor reference in some historical texts, no one had ever seen one and so it was widely believed that they had succumbed to the wrath of the Gods much as other races had during the Age of Blood. Al'Kabor began his search by first writing to the other schools of magic across Norrath asking for any information they might have locked away. He received a response from the foremost school of magic outside of Erudine, the Academy of the Arcane in Freeport on the east coast of Antonica. The letter said that they had received word from one of their roaming scholars that he had discovered an ancient scroll that contained some information about the Kedge but would need to be brought back for deciphering as it was very old. The scholar was supposed to have arrived a week ago, but they had just learned his ship had gone down in the Ocean of Tears and only one sailor had made it back to the city. They instructed Al'Kabor to find the only surviving sailor, Tillerman Janck as he might know the ships fate and where the scroll might now lie. The great wizard immediately set sail for Antonica from the Erudine port on Odus. His first stop was the human port city of Qeynos. There he acquired maps and supplies and hired a group of mercenaries, as disdainful as it was, to guard and guide him on the journey across Antonica. He hoped to glean some information about the continent as he traveled and perhaps uncover clues about lost civilizations. He and his party traveled for a week across Antonica and eventually came to the commons not far from Freeport. Here they learned from a local merchant that he had seen the sailor they were looking for and he gave them a place to start looking. They set out and eventually discovered the jittery sailor. Tillerman had traveled to the commons to settle down, as he had given up the sea. The incident with the ship had so terrified him that he was a sailor afraid of the ocean. He told of a great disaster befalling the ship. He had been on watch and the boat had suddenly been struck as if on the rocks. However, they were in the middle of the ocean with no rocks to be seen. The ship began to rock violently and many men were thrown into the water, Tillerman included. He had swam for his life and never looked back. None of his fellow sailors had survived to his knowledge. He was overcome with guilt at being the only one among his friends to make it back alive. After Al'Kabor explained what they were looking for, Tillerman told them he was pretty sure where the ship had gone down and that he would show them the way so that his friends deaths would not be in vane. In the ocean of tears, the adventurers, accompanied by Tillerman Janck found the sunken ship. The great ship was in pieces and barely visible above the water. A druid among the mercenaries enabled them all to breath the sea water and they ventured into the ship. What was unbeknownst to them and Tillerman, was that a water elemental had been responsible for dragging the ship into the deep and was still amid it's remains, guarding the the treasures it had taken. The group didn't spot the elemental within the water until it was in their midst. Great magics were thrown by the mercenaries and Tillerman cowered behind Al'Kabor. Tired of the great beast's interruption, Al'Kabor summoned a magic more powerful than any had seen outside of the inner circle of Erudine. He called forth the power of E'Ci, God of the Ice, from the realm of water and summoned a great frozen comet which formed in the water before him and rocketed toward the elemental. The warriors jumped clear just in time to watch the elemental freeze and explode into a thousand shards, a threat no longer. The party set camp on a nearby island and took shifts searching through the wreckage. A few hours into the search, one of the men reported they had found the captain's strongbox, where any important papers might have been kept. They dragged the box from the ocean's grip and onto the shore where Al'Kabor carefully examined it. Tillerman explained that a captain's strongbox was lined with oiled canvas and the seal lined with wax, that the salt air and water would not harm any important documents within. Heartened by this news, Al'Kabor summoned a minor bolt of energy and burned the lock off the chest. He carefully opened the chest and, true to the sailor's description, the papers inside were in tact and dry. He carefully sorted through the stack of documents and finally uncovered what he sought, a parchment in the ancient tongue of the kedge. It would take time to decipher, but the knowledge was now safely in his grasp. He paid each of his party for services rendered and began the incantation that would take him to his study in Erudine to ponder what answers the parchment would give about a race long dead.

THE RELIC OF BRELL SERILIS

Since The Battle of the Shattered Spear, the dwarven clerics of Brell have always had one called "The Seeker". Duskan Stonegrinder was the current chosen Seeker and he had traveled long and hard throughout the knooks and crannies of Dagnor's Cauldron trying to find a holy relic that the dwarven priests had long been searching for. Finally, believing he had found it's trail, he had been viciously attacked by a band of aqua goblins, which were common on the shores of the desolate landscape of the Cauldron. A group of adventurers in the area discovered him hiding amid some rocks, trying to recover from grave wounds. They immediately bandaged and healed him enough that he would not succumb to them. Duskan told them he must be taken to King Kazon in Kaladim on a matter of great import that could not wait. They prepared a litter and set off for Kaladim to return the dwarf to his people. One of the group went ahead to inform the city of the approaching party and the wounded dwarf. Upon hearing Duskan's name the guards rushed into the city and soon, several priests and a royal guardsmen came out to receive them. Duskan was rushed to the temple where his fellow priests expertly tended him and brought him to full health again. While he was there the king came to see him and ensure that he was well and hear what news he was told the dwarf had. Duskan whispered into the king's ear and Kazon's eyes went wide. Upon seeing this several of the priests' eyes widened in anticipation of something. The king summoned three of his best guardsmen and had supplies prepared. He offered reward to the group that had brought Duskan home if they would escort him back the cauldron and help him complete his task. The group journeyed back to the cauldron and traveled along the shoreline until they were approaching the Estate of Unrest. Many of them began to get nervous at the thought they might be going in and dealing with the unholy creatures that lie within. Duskan directed them to set camp outside and then turned his attention to the water. He spent many hours examining apparent clues with his magic that none of the others could see. Statisfied this was indeed where what he sought could be found he took off his heavy armor pieces and directed the group to do the same as what they sought was under the water. Though wary, they were getting paid and the guards were complying without question. Gauging the importance of this item, the group followed suit and beneath the waters they went. As they approaced the bottom of the cauldron they could see something moving below and swam cautiously foward. Expecting trouble, the shamans and druids in the group cast spells on the party allowing them to breath in the water. As they got closer, their fears were realized as a large group of Aqua Goblins swam up to meet them. Whatever was here, they did not want it found. The Goblin leader was imense and swam with great speed. Soon the battle was engaged and the party fought fiercely to defeat them. Just as the tide was beginning to turn, another creature appeared beneath the golbins at the gates of some ancient building carved into the rock at the base of the cauldron's side beneath the water. A virtual giant compared to the party members, a finned creature appread crying "I am Phinigel, last of the Kedge, you have come too soon" and entered into the battle on the side of the Goblins. Soon the goblins had been defeated but none seemed able to harm Phinigel. His magics were great and his skill at underwater combat unmatched. Seeing how ineffective they were, the group was sure they would meet a watery grave. Suddenly, without reason, Phinigel said "I am sorry to have had to waylay you brave ones. But secrets such as mine must be revealed only when there are ears ready to hear them". Then, just as suddenly as he had appread, he vanished in a swirl of water. Searching the bottom of the Cauldron beneath the battle site they found a large locked chest with a strange seal that Duskan and the guards seemed to recognize immediately. They motioned the group to the surface and soon made preparations to return to Kaladim with their discovery. Despite the questioning of the group, the dwarves were tight-lipped about their find and would say nothing about it's possible contents. The group headed along the shore of the Cauldron and soon, up the canyon that led to the Butcherblock mountains. As they emerged into the mountain valleys, a group of Dark Elves led by one of the D'Vinn, ambushed them and a battle ensued. The expert warriors of the of the Dark Elves seemed to have no match and quickly dispatched most of the party with the exception of a few and only losing one or two of their own. Fenric was one of the surviving dwarves and laid perfectly still as he was too wounded to fight and wished to know what the dark elves had planned. The dark elves' wizard had been slain in the battle and they no longer had a means of gating back to Neriak and avoiding the dwarvish lands with their prize. They decided they would rendezvous with a dark elf emissary that was in Crushbone with there allies the Orcs. The emmissary was a wizard and would be able to take them back on such an important mission. They set off immediately with Fenric gathering others along the way and those that had survived the battle close behind. Meanwhile in Crushbone, Seza, the dark elf wizard, recieved a dark elf messenger that told her the dark elf warriors were coming with a prize of great import and must be taken to Neriak immediately upon arrival. Seza, upon hearing the news, asked for an emergency audience with Grak, cousin to Emperor Crush, currently responsible for fending off attacks against their great stonghold. The orcs launched an offensive to clear a path to the orcish land so the dark elves could get their with their prize unmolested. The party of dark elf warriors finally arrived at Crushbone after traveling at a maddening pace only to discover that both Grak and Seza had been slain in order to ensure their safe arrival. Seeing no means of escape the dark elves made fortifications and awaited the arrival of the dwarves and their party. A furious battle ensued and soon the dark elves were defeated by an overwhelming force Fenric had gathered while crossing the dwarvish lands and their allies the elves. The party recovered the stolen chest and made haste back to King Kazon. The king and his clerics examined the chest and determined that to open it without a special key would cause the destruction of what lie within. They received word from the king's informants that one of the dark elves had indeed escaped. He was on his way back to the coast of Antonica using a small ship they had apparently used to get to Faydwer originally and was most assuredly making his way toward Neriak and would most likely contact a Captain N'Varre of the dark elven army at their closest outpost the dwarves knew of. They were sure the key would soon be in the captain's hands and they must find him before he could make it back to Neriak and its near impenetrable defenses. Having lost two of his trusted guard, King Kazon named Grundel, the remaining dwarf, Champion of Brell and set him to the task of seeking out this Captain N'Varre in the Nektulos forest and retrieving the key. The group yet again resupplied and made haste to the port of Faydwer and set sail for Antonica. They were sure they could catch up to the dark elf as their ship was much more sure of sail and could make up some of their lost time. Upon arrival at Freeport on the east coast of Antonica, they reinforced their group with hirelings and made way to the Nektulos forest and Captain N'Varre's outpost. Sure enough, as they arrived the Captain was making ready to leave and they intercepted him and his personal escort and slayed them outright, taking the key they sought. Again, they returned to Kaladim in hopes that the great mystery of the chest would be revealed to them. Kazon ceremoniously slid the key into the lock and lifted the lid. His hands trembling, he reached inside and drew forth a great hammer. It's power washed over the group and they knew it's magic divine. The hand of Brell himself had touched it, all could be sure. The King told that long ago, when King Grummly had risen an army to fight the ogres, the High Priest of Brell prayed to their god that he give them the strength to defeat this horrible foe and protect the home of the dwarves. In answer to his prayer, Brell appeared to the priest in the temple and gave unto him the Butcherblock Hammer to wield in defense of the dwarven homeland from that day foward. The high priest fought by the king's side and was slain in defense of Grimmly from Dagnor's minions in the final battle. In memory of the hammer's purpose, as ordained by Brell, Kazon gave the Butcherblock Hammer to his new champion Grundel to wield in defense of the dwarvish kingdom and their people.

THE CHILD OF HATE

Long had the Prince of Hate waited to visit his revenge upon the elves for destroying his plans for them. Long had he dreamt from his twisted city on the plan of hate how the would fall to his power for their betrayal. Hid devoted priestess, that had spirited his dark creations to safety during the rebellion, had been the foundation of his will to destroy them. It was her that gave birth to his unholy child that would one day embody his power on the physical plane. The time had come to introduce his daughter to the world. To complete the tasks what would bring her to power. Innoruuk called upon one of his faithful, Laarthik, one of his old guard, to find those who would rally to the banner of hate and bring his daughter to power. In a vision he spoke to him and bid him complete this taks or suffer his dark God's anger. Laarthik immediately jumped out of bed and donned his armor. He took to the streets shouting the day of the dark elves had come and that Innoruuk was sending his daughter to lead his people to victory over the light races. Many of his dark brothers and sisters gathered to hear what must be done. The bitter medicine of being cast out had never let it taste escape their lips. Lanys T'Vyl, Mistress of Envy, and daughter of hate appeared before them and Laarthik swore fealty to her and her father, that they may lead the dark elves to their rightful place in Norrath. Lanys explained to the gathering that for her to come into her full powers, they must retrieve for her the sacred armor of her father, the Armor of Darkness, log ago entrusted to the keeping of the Crimson Teir'dal, his near fanatical warriors. Long ago when the dark elves had been cast out, he had selected them to keep his dark secrets on Norrath and made them near immortal to guard them into the centuries. Lanys must vanquish each keeper of the pieces that she may prove her worth and accept the mantle her father had prepared. Lanys left the city with Laarthik what followers they had gathered to Befallen, lost capital of the ancient elves, where she knew the first of the Crimson Teir'dal guarded his prize. The followers spread out through the ruins to seek out the warrior and eventually he was found by Lanys herself. No words were spoken, only a nodded understanding, and the two engaged in furious combat. Lanys's rage showed no bounds and she struck him down and licked his blood from her blade. From his arms she took what she had come for, the bracers. She returned to the city with Laarthik and her followers and spent many days in prayer and sacrifice to her father for their success. After this small respite, Laarthik again came to the people and bid them to heed his call. The next of the pieces must be found. This day they would journey to Najena, another fallen city, and face the next of the Crimson Teir'dal. Once the crowd had gathered, Lanys again appeared to them and they made the journey. Upon arriving, once again the spread into the dungeon to find the elusive foe. Soon, he was discovered but this one seemed much more powerful than the first and had harnessed some power dark magics. On each side flew an imp companion that taunted those foolish enough to harm their master. The battled ensued and it seemed that this Crimson Teir'dal could not be defeated. In a fit of anger and frustration at the seeming stalemate, Lanys called down her father's power with a dark prayer and comsumed the area with his powerful hatred. The imps railed against the assault and now she knew she had one. While her minions kept the dark one busy, she unleashed her power on the imps. As the last of the two fell, the Crimson Teir'dal visibly drooped and the weapons of her followers made contact and drew blood. She renewed her assault upon him and soon he was slain. She kicked the dark boots from his feet and stole them away, soon disappearing again to pay homage to her father. Once again Laarthik appeared in the commons of Neriak and began to call those faithful of hate to his side. Laarthik and Lanys were well known in the dark city now and the dark elves had seen Lanys grow in power with the donning of each piece and gathered in hopes that she would fulfil their destiny as rulers of Norrath. Lanys appread to them for a third time and this time the group made journey to Solusek's Eye, where Lanys said the final of the Crimson Teir'dal awaited. As they entered the lands of lavastorm a high elf assassin leaped from the canyon rocks and attacked Lanys. The high elf had learned of her and feared that she might be a real threat. Lanys and her near fanatical followers made short work of the assassin who couldn't hope to capture the element of surprise with so many who were expert in it's use. Lanys and her brood traveled deep into the bowls of Solusek's eye and followed the pull toward her final foe. They came upon a gateway guarded by four clockwork sentries that had apparently been comandeered by the Crimson Teir'dal and the battle was engaged. Many of Lanys's followers were slain as the fight progressed, soon the Crimson Teir'dal appeared, only this time he wasn't alone. This time he had a fellow guard with him and they joined the battle with such fierceness that many of Lany's followers ran in fear, but those who were true stayed and fought on. Those the casualties were heavy, they defeated the clockworks, leaving only the two Crimson Teir'dal. The armor that Lanys had already recovered had made her much stronger and her dark magics and fierce attacks brought the two to there knees with the aid of Laarthik and her followers. As she put on the final pieces of the Armor of Darkness, a seething darkness poured from her and across those in her pressence. It was barely standable. Hatred, anger, rage, envy, jealousy, and revenge overcame them all and they were caught in a hateful haze. Now, none could deny. Innoruuk would be denied no longer. His flesh was among us!

THE GOBLIN'S STONE

Long had the mines of High Keep produced usable ore, but nothing too valuable other than common minerals and iron. Nurgal, a Pickclaw goblin that worked in the mines beneath the keep found a strange stone while he was digging. Knowing that the dark elf ambassador to the keep paid the best for such things, he brought the stone to her hoping to a gain a high payment for his toil. The dark elf ambassador had never seen such a stone and immediately realized through her arcane training that it had magical properties. In an attempt to test the stone's power she nearly wrecked her room and barely escaped death. Realizing that the stone was something entirely unique she saw her opportunity. She had waited a long time to find a way out of her post and the keep and away from the ignorant stinking humans that infested it. This would be her ticket out of a backwater assignment and back into the circles of power in Neriak. She set out immediately for Neriak to deliver the stone personally in hopes that she would gain enough favor with her superiors to get posted back home. Realizing the value of the stone and the possibility that more such stones existed, the ambassador took Nargul with her and hired orc bodyguards to help her in the journey to Neriak. Along the way she enlisted the aid of other dark elves she could find and avoided contact with those of the "light" races who might try to take the stone from her and deprive her of this opportunity. Upon arrival in the Nektulos forest the ambassador made contact with Laarthink thinking that Lanys T'Vyl, Daughter of Hate, would be the best person to unleash it's power and wanting to curry her favor. Laarthik, upon seeing the stone, knew that is was a major artifact. To the Ambassador's dismay, he ordered her and her party back to the keep immediately to seek out more of the powerful stones. Little did they know that a high elf lurked in the bushes and rocks listening to their exchange. Upon hearing the knews that the Ambassador would be returning to High Keep he left for pass immediately to set a trap for her. Upon arrival, he quietly gathered those travelers he could find that were opposed to the dark ones and set his plan in motion to stop her from ever reaching High Keep again. The Ambassador headed back toward the keep. This time, in the company of dark elf warriors as her new task was of great import. As they entered the Kithicor woods on the slopes of the Serpent's Spine, they high elf and his men attacked. The high elf, knowing the woods far better than the under-dwelling dark elves caught them completely off-guard and the Ambassador and her escort were slain. The high elf check her body for any information she might be carrying and discovered a letter. He insisted that the letter be brought immediately to Lord Tethys in High Keep and so the men escorted him safely to it. Upon arrival at the keep, he turned the letter over to the high elf Ambassador, Lord Tethys. Upon reading the letter he seemed very distressed and informed all that it was the most dire news. He hurried away to make plans, leaving the group to wonder what could cause him such distress.

Ronson

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