Penned on July 25th, 1206
The sickly people arose from their beds and realized that their health was returning. There was a calm in the air and a moment of silence throughout the world. It was over. It was finally over. “No”, a wise man said. “ It is not over, it is only the beginning, the beginning of a new age. We have been given a second chance and while we are few we do have our health. The old world is dead to us, we are the first inhabitants of a world reborn.” Soon after, the calendar year was reset and this year was to be known as the first.
While for those who survived there was much to be thankful for, there was a great feeling of sadness and loss for those who were no longer with them. By this I do not only mean those who died in the catastrophes, but also those who were stuck across a hundred mile wide chasm, the Great Rift. The empire had lost two of its kingdoms to the Rift; as did other rulers lose their lands and people. At first, attempts to cross the Rift were made, however after years of trying they realized the impossibility of the task. The Rift was simply too wide, too deep and was as long as the continent. Even attempts to sail around had failed. The Rift had caused the sea level along the shore to drop considerably leaving large perilous cliffs. They had to cope with the fact that they would never see these people of the lost lands again. It was assumed that the living conditions on the other side would be unsuitable for living, if isolated from the rest of the world. So memorials were created to remember those who were left for the mercy of death.
The empire of Kormyre was left a shattered, broken and shrunken land. The population was less than a quarter of what it was. Kormyre was just not capable of holding the status of an empire. The Emperor, in the spirit of change, had declared himself King of the kingdom of Kormyre, and that the other Kings were to be his Barons. Kormyre was not the only one that had been maimed. Every other civilization was reduced to the same sorry state. Everyone was forced to rebuild. But rebuilding and repopulating is not an easy task. It took the world four full generations to get back on its feet, to even resemble what it once was.
Over the years the kingdom of Kormyre and the empire of Gaaldron had fluctuated in relations. The Royal family of Kormyre was always willing to have peace, but Gaaldron did not always agree. Gaaldron is ruled by the acting High Priest of Enax. As the High Priest changed so did Gaaldron's view of peace. Finally the fifth High Priest was one who believed in Kormyre's ideas of peace, and so in the year 700 a pact was signed by the two ruling parties to cease all offensive assaults no matter how minor. Over the next few generations that pact was destroyed and reinstated. At present day the treaty is stable.
In the city of Alieander the high priest of Valos was going about his everyday chores. While he was scraping some mold off of a low stone in the wall he stumbled upon a staircase leading down into a subbasement level of the church. What he found was to be known as the gnomes greatest legacy. It was discovered soon later that in all of the capital cities there were similar hidden rooms housing the same mysterious invention. These devices would become known as the Gates of Passage. For dozens of years all the worlds’ scholars could not figure out how to use the devices or what they did, however their assumption that they were all connected was correct. They discovered that it was a town portal and that it required extensive magic and components to use it. The Gates of Passage allows someone to teleport from one gate to another. The farther the destination, the harder it is to work the gates, and more effort and time is required. The high priests, who charge a hefty sum for the service, regulate the use of these artifacts. To this day only nobility and those wealthy enough to afford it use the Gates of Passage.
We know that these inventions were of gnome craft because of the gnomish writing found. We have never fully deciphered the gnome alphabet. However the written gnome language is very distinguishable. Because no other accounts of these gates have been reported, it is our assumption that the empire of Kormyre purchased these inventions from the gnomes as a means of convenient travel. There have been many other discoveries over the centuries, some useful and interesting and others not so exciting. One is a machine comprised of ropes, planks of wood and pails of water. This machine is used to strengthen the lower body muscles. Inventions of this caliber are the ones comprised of simple mechanics. Other inventions have been as complex as the gnomish war juggernaut.
Around this time in history, a tribe of great warriors arose from hiding and made themselves known to the world. They proclaimed themselves to be the dragoon, a bloodline of humans who are descendent of the legendary creatures of myth. There claim is this, before the Dragons left the world, one took the form of a human, and courted a peasant woman. Begetting human children with dragon blood, the dragoon claim this to the beginning of their existence some seven hundred years ago. They claim to reside in the Valley of the Dragon, a place of myth that none have laid eyes upon. Some of them have shared tales and stories of their life, however they have rarely spoken of their existence and any goals they might have. They are a silent people, who speak only when something of importance is to be said. Over the years, it has been observed that when a dragoon comes of a certain old age, they leave all of their belongings behind and depart on a journey, never to be seen again.
The hunt of demon spawn. So strongly were people afraid that they killed as a means of protection. This is the twisted and true tale of why to this day, the wild mages are exiled from most cities and occasionally murdered by purists. There were those that were born with innate powers over the elements. These powers were latent and did not blossom in a person until their coming of age. These people were magicians of sorts, conjuring spells that commanded the elements. But they were not conjuring at all; no use of gestures, no magic words, not even a thought. The spells just erupted when instinct kicked in. Their power over this instinct was unstable and very few managed to get a hold on their abilities. These people where looked at strangely, especially from the real mages who were almost jealous of the wild mages ability to cast spells without years of study. It was not until one horrifying incident that the uproar of the people began.
The year was 1098, and the news had spread across Kormyre faster than the plague. A single wild mage had caused the death of over one thousand innocent men, women and children. As the story goes, this wild mage had felt an uneasiness for over a week. He would tell many people about it until he finally could not hold back what was inside. There was nothing left of the city of Dravendale save piles upon piles of burning corpses and stone rubbish. The wild mage suddenly became the focus of everybody’s attention. They were chased out of the cities and into the wilds of the land. Everyone feared that this event would repeat itself, and thus avoided wild mages at every cost. Here is where the story takes a turn for the strange. The real mages, who were both afraid and jealous of the wild mages talent searched desperately to understand the force behind this odd enigma. They searched and researched with scholars to find an answer. Although it was never proven, they claimed to have stumbled upon a horrific discovery. This was their story.
Long ago, demons arose from the world and bred with humans. The prodigy that was formed by this abomination appeared, in all aspects, to be human. These humans however had a strong flow of demon blood in their veins, and with it were enhanced speed, enhanced strength, and the power to control the elemental magics. When that generation bred, their children had also been passed the blood of demons, but this time weaker than the first. This continued for an unknown amount of time, and currently the bloodline has grown so thin that the only power that remains is the power to control the elemental magics. And even now that they have this power, it is growing harder for them to control. Cries of demon spawn erupted from the supposed history of the wild mage and if people were not truly terrified to begin with, they were now. What was to happen now was a history that I shudder to think about; the genocide of a people. “They are demons!” shouted the voices. “They will eat our children, they will destroy our cities, and they are in league with the devil himself!” For these poor people, their lives were never the same. They where not content with exile, no they needed blood. Hunting parties scoured the lands and ruthlessly killed any they believed to be a wild mage. It was a senseless slaughter, committed without even a thought. If you had demon blood, you were to be annihilated. They severed heads and burned bodies for fear that they would rise in death to strike back. These witch hunts went on for almost fifty years, the rage burning down slowly until people began to become unconcerned with them. To this day wild mages are still exiled from most major cities, and on some nights real mages have been known to go out and hunt.
The Nine Realms
One popular myth is the idea that there are different realms overlapping ours. There are Nine realms according to this myth. These realms are, Light, Darkness, Earth, Fire, Ice, Magic, Valor, Chaos, and The Realm of the Dead. It is said that these other realms are like giant invisible plates, constantly rotating and shifting over Arawyn. They affect the land that they currently overlap. For example, if the summer were especially hot the people would say that the realm of fire currently overlapped their land. If the winter were especially cold, they would believe the realm of Ice currently overlapped them. Those who believe strongly in these myths think that it was a collision of the realms of chaos, darkness, and death that caused the end of the world.
The Warrior of Legend
There was a once a warlord of such supreme skill and valor that he was deemed the greatest warrior in all the realms. He was named the Warrior of Legend and truly was an undefeatable force. The stories say that this man wielded the Blade of Ragnorok, a sword so powerful it had slain enemies before the wielder had even struck its target. With this weapon, the Warrior of Legend had fought entire battles alone, with no allies by his side. The most famous tale speaks of him battling his way down an entire mountain full of Goblin warriors. They say each swipe of his blade killed two score Goblins, and that the entire army was slain by the next sunrise.
The Knight of Dreams
It is said that long ago, the lord of nightmares broke the barrier from the dream world into ours, and his army of hellish creatures poured forth onto the land. Perception and reality warped from this intrusion, and all the world’s worst dreams were given embodiment. The stress on reality was too great and the world was beginning to buckle.
There existed a small child, a special child, whose mind was rumored to have uncommon and wondrous powers. This child had subconsciously given life to an imaginary friend that he had dreamt up. This living dream was a powerful warrior and could sense right away the wrongful presence of his evil brethren. He fought the nightmares back through the rift of two realms and sealed it from the outside world; unfortunately this meant that he could never return to the realm of dreams. Saddened by his destiny to forever guard the sealed portal, he sits and waits eternally.
The Breath Of Uelrog
As mothers tell stories to their children at bedtime, those stories are the birth of this tale. When mists roll over the mountains in the north to the southern baronies, a feeling of dread encompasses the land. Mothers tell their children to behave during the daylight, because at night, the Breath of Uelrog travels through the towns to collect evil and nasty children. It turns them into mist as well and takes them down into the great rift to feed the enormous appetite of Uelrog. Scholars have, of course, come up with a logical theory for the mists. The intense heat from inside the rift has turned the waters that flow into it, into steam, which travels the winds southwards.
I realize now that I have left out the paladins in much of my tales, and have failed to mention them or their story to you, until now. Well let me hold back no longer. Paladins are in tune with a higher power and can control the force of life. They are the protectors of the innocent, and the guardians of light. About three hundred years ago, the paladins were an openly influential part of the kingdom and held power equal to all but the King. They were housed in a high tower, and could help the royal family in ruling over the land. There was however, a shameful time in history that the people would rather forget about. It has become known as the ruling of The Evil King Mardux. King Graham III had just been assassinated at a tournament to celebrate the coming of spring. His eldest son, who had become his immediate replacement, would be known as Kormyre’s cruelest tyrant. King Mardux had gradually brought drastic change and dark times to the kingdom. He had rewritten the law to include such things as slavery, and prima noctus.
The paladins disagreed with King Mardux’s changes and strongly suggested that he rethink his actions. The King however would not relent and his new laws would continue regardless of the paladins disliking of them. A paladin of course would not stand by and watch such things as slavery and rape, so a conflict of massive proportions lurked just around the corner.
Not even a week after the new laws were put into effect the conflict happened. The paladins made their stand on all accounts in what was to be one long day. As that day began, the paladins patrolled the grounds stopping any who tried to sell a human as a belonging. This was easy enough, for no common man would question a paladin. That night, two common folk were to be married in the town square. The paladins would be there to gauge their opinion of the King’s prima noctus law. The wedding was about as beautiful as a common wedding could be; a clear starry night, the smell of flower petals blowing in the cool nights breeze and two very happy united people. When the King rode down the path upon his horse, escorted by his personal guard, a silence washed over the happy folk. They had tried their best to avoid the ruthless new King, and had heard rumors of his new law pertaining to marriage. They thought it to be a joke of some kind, but now as they stood there, in the night air, they were not so sure. The King dismounted from his horse and slithered over to the bride. He grabbed her hand as she started to turn away, and stated. “It is my right as your ruler, to bed this woman on this, her first night of marriage.” Gasps of bewilderment traveled throughout the crowd and the woman was trembling uncontrollably. The groom had cried out in protest, only to be subdued by a guard. The woman’s face now drenched with tears, the paladins had seen enough! Ramier Stonewall, who held the highest rank amongst the Order of the Paladins, broke through the crowed and headed straight for the King. He grabbed the Kings wrist with such crushing force that the King had no choice but to relinquish his hold on the woman. With his other hand, he grabbed the Kings neck, and pulled the Kings face up to his own. “Listen, you are still the same child that I scolded many years ago when you did wrong. What you attempt to do this night is evil! My kind and me will not sit by and allow this to happen. Go back to your castle and rethink your actions!” and with that, he tossed the boy King onto the cobblestones. King Mardux propped himself up on his elbows and wheezed, “You who are supposed to uphold the law, have just broken the law. You and your kind, no longer hold any power in this land! I sentence you and all of your kind to be imprisoned.” He waved his guards over to fulfill the task. The paladins, while outnumbered, had divine power on their side and could easily defeat the guards who were about. Although they had won the battle for that evening they knew that tomorrow they would be easily outnumbered. That very night the tower of the paladins went up in flames and burned well into the morning. They were declared outlaws by the King, and had to work underground and out of sight for many, many years.
It was not until twenty-five years later that the rule of tyranny ended. When it did, King Graham IV changed back the laws, and tried his very best to restore happiness and morale throughout the kingdom. The King apologized profoundly for his evil brothers actions, and begged the paladins to return by his side. The paladins declined the offer. Not because they were bitter. They had discovered that they are more effective when out of public view. They had their own set of laws for the land, and did not want to see history repeat itself and thus have remained this way, up unto present day.
A few months ago, the most amazing news had swept across the land. After all these centuries, a way across the rift has been discovered! In fact the news stated that a ruined city was already found on the other side and that the King was sending an emissary over to claim it in the name of Kormyre. Furthermore the King has announced that anyone was welcome to travel there with the caravan and begin rebuilding and foraging. Here is a copy of the notice that was passed all along the realms.
Here Ye! Here Ye!
Let it be announced that the Kingdom hath acquired a new Barony to the East, and across the great Rift! The Baron Jonathan Travance will lead the expedition and caravan across the great rift in 200 days, April 17th 1198. The journey is expected to span two weeks travel in treacherous caves. The caravan will consist of over one hundred and fifty armed guards, over two dozen farmers, miners and various merchants. All who are interested in exploring the new land are welcome to join the Baron Travance in his endeavors to expand the kingdom of Kormyre. The caravan will depart from the village of Altrion in Talenthal on the above date. All those wishing more information may seek it in the capital of Alieander.
~Proclamation of King Leoric Nostrove