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Official History of Elanthia
Revision 1.1


Page One
    The Beginning
    I. The Age of the Drakes
    II. Second Age, the Elven Empire
Page Two
    III. The Age of Chaos
    IV. The Fourth Age, Modern Era

Tomes of Elanthia
Drawn from the Collected Libraries of Illistim by
Meachreasim Illistim, First Master of Lore
 
Published: 9 Ivastaen of the year 5100
Modern Era


The Beginning

In the beginning...there was nothingness.

And then, a tiny spark of tarnished silver light lit the nothing, blinding it and eventually killing it. Nothingness had been driven to extinction in a single moment, to be remembered in the songs of bards and the hearts of melodramatic lovers sure to never love again. The light shone on, gaining in luster and argent hue, cutting through the places that the nothingness had cloaked.

Out from under the wings of oblivion drifted small particles of something-ness. These bits of pieces flowed towards the light, for while they could not remember a beginning, and could not remember the fear of not existing, they did know that the light was the catalyst for everything to come. They drifted to the light, and into the light. They came together, swirling and tumbling until they were no longer bits of pieces. They were the light. They were One.

The One looked out over the dead remains of nothing, and reached out to lift the corpse. Now free, a thousand thousand motes of something-ness drifted up, floating aimlessly in the void left by the death of the nothingness. The One shone brightly, and in the shining commanded, "Come together and Be." The motes found that they knew obedience, and they came together in six separate but not different Be-ings. They were not One. They were Many.

The Many turned to the One, unsure and curious. The One shone again, and stated in the shining, "We are One and we are Many. We are all that Is, but the nothingness left so much that Is Not. It is our responsibility to fill the empty spaces." The Many filled with the purpose of the shining, and it was what they were.

To honor the One who had freed them, they created balls of raging flames to give off colored light. To represent themselves, they created other existences to reflect that light and give it purpose and meaning. The void was no longer void.

The One observed all of existence and shone brightly in approval. But as the light flowed through the creation, the One saw a corner that the light did not reach. The One peered deeply into the lightlessness, and saw another. The Other looked back, and in that gaze the One saw a diametric opposite. "What are you?" asked the One. "I am all that you are not," replied the Other, "and together, we are All."

The Other darkened then, and called together more motes of something-ness into six separate but not different Beings, although they were different from the six called by the One. The new six joined the Many, and they too were Many. The Other reached out to the One and said, "The Many are mine and the Many are yours." And the One reached out to the Other and said, "Let us make one that is both, for without balance, All is for naught."

Using the last of the motes of something-ness, the One and the Other shone and darkened, and called together the last of the Many. The Grey was different from the rest of the Many, but did not seem bothered by this. Instead, the Grey stood with the Many, and the Many accepted the Grey into their fold.

The One pointed down to a ball of blue and green and shone brightly, and in the shining suggested, "There is a place that is beautiful and growing. It needs other Beings, ones not like us, but smaller and more limited, but possessing great capacities." As the Many nodded, the Grey spoke and said, "It needs Life."

The Many started, but nodded in agreement, for there was not anything that had been named in such a fashion. The Grey smiled. "The One and the Other are All. We are Many, and I am Grey. In these names, we state on many levels what we are, but those that we create will not be able to comprehend so deeply. They will need a way to refer to themselves." The One and the Other nodded to themselves. In the Grey, they had done well.

First sculpted were giant creatures, each different from the other. In these creatures, the Many invested great power and nearly limitless intelligence. They looked to the Grey, who said, "You have created Those Who Rule. It shall be their purpose to watch the different places in existence."

Next came other giant creatures, not one the same as another. The Many also gave them great power, and intelligence almost without end, and looked to the Grey for their purpose. "These shall be Those Who Oppose. They shall be the opposites of Those Who Rule, keeping the balance preserved."

Knowing this, the Many made a number of beings, mostly the same but with different qualities. These beings had power, and intelligence, and more than that, they had desires. The Grey nodded. "Those Who Help. In them, Those Who Rule shall find servants and assistants, and other things that their own greatness will not allow them to attain."

The Many looked down upon the teeming ball of blue and green, alive but without Life. They looked at each other, and at the One and the Other, and created tall beings, broad of shoulder and abundant of muscle. The Grey named them The Skyfinders, for they were closest to the firmament.

In balance, the Many made some of shorter stature, also broad of shoulder and filled with a stalwart strength. The Grey called them The Stoneshapers. The mountains would be their home, and the rocks would be their livelihood.

Elegant beings of sweeping form and musical voice followed. The Many endowed them with powerful minds but a serious nature to better utilize their mental acuity. They were called The Graceful, for in each aspect of their being, a profound delicacy could be found.

Their opposite came in a tiny package with bright eyes and a happy smile. Good humor and sweet nature were their hallmarks, and thus the Grey named them The Merry. Happiness would follow in their wakes, bringing existence a much needed levity.

The Many looked at their creations and nodded, feeling that now Life was complete. The Grey called bits of Life together, sculpting beings that were neither tall nor short, thick nor thin. They were not as strong as the Skyfinders, nor were they as beautiful as the Graceful. Instead, they were some of each of the strengths of the other creations. The Grey called them The Median, for in them was the essence of balance.

Life would grow bored and stagnate without challenges, and to that end, the Many created creatures of varying shapes and sizes. Some would regenerate their flesh if wounded, others would overwhelm with massive size, others would present challenges only guessed at. The Contenders were born, and given the purpose of granting opposition that Life might flourish.

Mental challenges were not overlooked by the Many. Creatures of scale, creatures of feather, creatures of all and neither, all massive in size and intelligence came into being, there to stimulate the mind. More importantly, they would feed the dreams and imagination, for nothing else was like them. They were called The Unique.

The whole of this new intelligent Life, the Grey called Potential. The One and the Other looked upon it, and the One shone in approval. But the Other pointed into the corner of existence where the light did not reach. The One stared deeply into it, and knew that Something was there, but could not see what It might be. "What is It?" asked the One.

"It is The Mystery," said the Other. "It is that which cannot be known. From that will come things no one, not even we, will expect. It is that which will ensure that our creation will grow as it deems that it should, without our interference."

The One nodded, for the Mystery was a good thing. And when Those Who Rule sought to destroy Potential, it was to the Mystery that the One pointed when the Many sought to stop them. "Although this was not the purpose originally seen for them, we must watch and see. Just as we, All, did not stop you or step in as you spun creation into being, you must not step in as creation takes its own direction, outside of your whims."

When Those Who Help stepped in, stopping the destruction of Potential, the Many nodded, and they understood. The Mystery was indeed a good thing.

The One, the Other, the Many and the Grey stepped back and watched creation unfold.

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I. The Age of the Drakes (100,000+ years ago?)

"Of the first age, little is known, save for one thing -- the dragons ruled all Elanthia. There are no written records of this time, but paintings on the walls of caves, carvings on petrified trees and glyphs found in the Southron Wastes all convey the same desperate messages, of flight, fear, and starvation. Above all, the mighty wings and claws of dragonkind."

- Linsandrych Illistim, First Master of Lore, House Illistim

I. A. The Rule of Dragonkind
From the dawn of time, none challenged the dragons. Intelligent, savage, and with powers beyond what men now name as gods, the drakes called all of Elanthia their own. The lesser races huddled in caves, hid in the deepest forests, or wandered as nomads. The drakes did not permit civilizations other than their own. So it had always been, and so it would remain.

It was only the intervention of the drake's servants, the Arkati, that allowed the lesser races to survive at all. As old a race as the drakes themselves, the humanoid Arkati were lesser in both powers and numbers. But they aided the drakes, and in return, the drakes suffered the lesser races to live.

I. B. The Ur-Daemon War
All this ended with the coming of the Ur-Daemons. Now believed to be extra- dimensional intelligent creatures, the Ur-Daemons somehow opened a portal to Elanthia approximately 100,000 years ago. They fed on mana, both that contained in the land's natural mana foci and that bound around all life.

There are no real records of the titanic battles fought between the Ur-Daemons and the dragons. Given the nature of the antagonists, it is doubtful that any histories could convey the scale of such a war. It seems to have lasted for at least several generations, as such were counted by our own ancestors, a span of at least a thousand years. In the end, the Ur-Daemons were driven back, making a final stand before the portal leading back to their own dimension. This final battle blasted the landscape for hundreds of miles, leaving it barren and lifeless.

The drakes had won, but they had also lost. Most of their number had been slain in the conflict, and many others had been driven mad by an emotion none had known before - fear. Drake rule was shattered forever.

Though lesser in number and weaker than their ancient brethren, the few dragons that survive today have not lost their appetites, and are still the most powerful and feared creatures on Elanthia.

I. C. The Coming of the Arkati (100,000 years ago?)
The land recovered slowly from the war. The Arkati worked to heal it. Long the dragon's servants, they had themselves learned how to manipulate mana. With most of the dragons dead, insane, or hiding, certain of the Arkati began to mold the land and its lesser races into their own likenesses. They who had been servants now played the part of master. These Arkati are those whom we today call gods. It is said that, in these early days, they walked the land as teachers, leaders, and guides. Imaera took the people of the forests, and taught them to be one with the land. Eonak showed the folk of the stone how to mine riches from the mountains. Oleani adopted the smaller folk of the valleys, instilling in them a joy for life and a special gift for growing things.

Others of the Arkati chose not individual races, but seasons, emotions, or tasks to be their own. Kai accepted warriors of all sorts, and Lumnis embodied wisdom and learning. Ronan controlled the night, the time of dreams, while Phoen's was the warm sun of summer. Imaera chose the autumn, while Lorminstra reigned over winter, the season of death. The raging seas were Charl's domain. Jastev's followers celebrated visual arts, and developed a gift of prophecy, while his twin Cholen became the god of festivals and performing arts. Tonis, remarkable for his speed and determination, became the messenger of the gods. Over all of them ruled Koar, with a firm but gentle hand.

Not all of the Arkati chose to help rebuild the land. Some had a different vision. Without the dragons controlling them, they began to strive against the others. Eorgina, Goddess of the dark, became their leader. Aligned with her were Ivas, mistress of seduction, Fash'lo'nae, master of the arcane arts, Andelas the Cat, whose joy is others' pain, and V'tull, the dark warrior. Also joined with Eorgina were Sheru, bringer of terror and nightmares, Mularos, who twists love to control and destroy, and Luukos, he who feeds on souls.

The two groups grew further apart, as it was clear each regarded the land in a different light. Koar's faction saw it as a trust which had befallen them, the lesser races as children to be taught. The others saw the land as a stage for their own desires, its inhabitants as playthings, food, or worse.

Strangely enough, the Arkati never came into open conflict. Some say that neither side trusted its strength to win the day. Others believe they simply await the appointed time.

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II. Second Age, The Elven Empire (50,000 - 20,000 years ago)

Under the Arkati's tutelage, all the lesser races developed their own civilizations. But none has ever matched the great empire of the Elves. The most magically adept of the races, they saw themselves as the natural heirs to dragonkind. The Elves quickly spread from the deep forests in which they had always lived, staking claim to much of the known world.

II. A. The Seven Noble Houses of the Elves

"The lesser races live in savagery. It is only with the guidance of our own eternal empire that they shall ever rise from barbarism to enjoy the benefits of civilization. Incapable of ruling themselves, they are rightfully grateful for our benevolence and aid."

-Yshryth Faendryl, XIV Patriarch, House Faendryl

The elven empire was centered on the Seven Cities, each built by and named for one of the seven noble houses. Each of these lines had risen to leadership of the elven peoples. Even today, most Elves swear varying degrees of allegiance to one or the other.

Ta'Faendryl, built by Korthyr Faendryl's line, was the capital city of the empire. Though all the houses were theoretically equal, most acknowledged the Faendryl as the natural leaders of the race, though some did so more grudgingly than others. No other house had mastered both spirit and elemental magic as well as had the Faendryl Elves.

Ta'Vaalor, the work of the great Aradhul Vaalor, is more a fortress than a city. The Vaalor have always produced the finest warriors of the elven race. All Vaalor, male and female, enter the military at a young age, serving for some hundred years. Perhaps because of this, they are the haughtiest of the Elves. They had little tolerance for the lesser peoples of the lands, especially mixed-breeds. They have never suffered the elven culture or bloodlines to be tainted by others. They also chafed under the leadership of the Faendryl, believing the high seat should be theirs.

The line of Zishra Nalfein founded Ta'Nalfein, which has always been a center of elven politics. The Nalfein are fairly adept at everything, but they have always been the masters of stealth, whether in the field or the council chambers. Their politics are particularly ruthless, as they let little stand between themselves and their desires. The Nalfein are also apt to take up the life of a wandering merchant, traveling the world to trade in both goods and information.

Sharyth Ardenai was the matriarch of Ta'Ardenai, and her line remained closest of the houses to their roots in the deep forests. Though they dwell in towns and cities, they retain a closeness and a love for the land exceeded only by the Sylvankind. They tend to be less haughty than members of the other houses, and have less of an imperial bent. They are typically appointed as emissaries to other races. They are, however, capable warriors at need. All Ardenai grow up to revere the hunt, and few can match their bowmasters.

Bhoreas Ashrim's line took to the sea. None could match their skill with elemental magic, especially that of wind and water. They were said to have achieved control over the weather. They used this skill to master the waves, and they used their mighty city of Ta'Ashrim as a base for trading with some and raiding others. Coastal dwellers of the other races came to fear the warships of the "Sea Elves," as they were known. Though perhaps the haughtiest of all the elven houses, the Ashrim had little to do with elven politics - they considered the sea their kingdom, and cared little for the concerns of those on land.

Callisto Loenthra's house is one of craftsman, artists, poets and bards. Ta'Loenthra is generally acknowledged as the center of elven culture, especially by the Loenthra. Though some do leave the elven lands to ply their trades as merchants or wandering bards, most Loenthra consider the lesser races too barbaric for their company. An old Loenthra saying describes performing to an unappreciative audience as "casting pearls before Dwarves."

Ta'Illistim was founded by Linsandrych Illistim, the greatest scholar in elven history. Her house has continued that tradition, and none can match the knowledge of the Illistim Masters of Lore. They are also extremely adept at the working of magical rituals, and the greatest artifacts produced by the Elves came from the House of Illistim's laboratories. Though many Illistim choose a life of seclusion and study, some others travel the world in search of knowledge, both old and new.

II. B. The Sylvankind
Sylvankind spring from the same roots as the Elves, but they chose a different path. As the Elves moved from their forests to build the Seven Cities, some stayed behind. These are the Sylvankind.

The Sylvankind care little for the world outside their forests. For them, the forests are the world. They retain a closeness to the land which approaches unity. A keen-eyed traveler can always tell when he approaches a forest of the Sylvankind, for the plants and trees appear both more lush and more dangerous. Few enter such a forest without the permission of its masters, and fewer still escape.

Within these forests, the Sylvankind have built great hanging tree-cities. Some of their dwellings have hundreds of rooms, as they have grown over thousands of years. The race is ruled by a council of Hierophants, each of whom serves for his or her entire adult life. There is little for them to rule on, however, as the Sylvankind are generally of like mind.

Few Sylvankind leave their forest homes. There is simply little to interest most sylvankind "out there". Of course, there are some who feel the call to travel, whether out of curiosity, ambition, or an understanding that events outside the forests can threaten what lies within.

II. C. The Dwarves
The Dwarves also founded an empire, though one more limited in scope. They did not challenge elven control of the land, for the Dwarves were more interested in what was underneath it. They made their home in the mountains. There, they found gold, silver, mithril and other materials. The vast underground cities of the Dwarves were, however, little known to other races, for the Dwarves allowed few to enter and see their riches.

The Dwarves were split into many clans, each dwelling in a range of hills or mountains. Ruling over all was the line of Khazi Khazar, who founded the greatest of the dwarven holdings, the city of Kalaza. His line served as the dwarven Overking for thousands of years. Little is known of most of these years, as the Dwarves do not offer their history freely. Most of this history, however, involves their never-ending war with the other mountain-dwellers, the orcs. The Dwarves have been battling orcs, and their larger thralls, the trolls, for generations.

Though most Dwarves remain in their clans, a fair number do travel the world. Dwarves are, by necessity, accomplished traders, bartering the riches of their underground kingdoms for food, cloth, and the like. They are also the world's best weapon and armorsmiths, surpassing even the skills of the Illistim Elves.

II. D. The Humans
The lot of the Humans was a treacherous one in this age. The Elves ruled the land, and they would permit no others to settle its more fertile areas. The Vaalor, in particular, have always gone out of their way to make life difficult for Humans. Most Humans lived a nomadic life, barely sustaining themselves in the barren lands they were permitted. Others served as slaves, beggars or thieves within the shadows of the great elven cities.

Not all Humans accepted their lot as thralls. Some rebelled. Many so-called rebels were little more than outlaws, more brigands than freedom fighters. Some few, however, actually achieved minor victories. The Black Wolves were one such group. Led by the wizard Aramur Forean, once a student of the Illistim himself, they actually drove the Elves out of the area around what is now called Wehnimer's Landing. After one of their raids killed a young Vaalor prince, however, the Elves hunted the Black Wolves down. The Humans vanished into a series of caverns near the sea, and they were never heard from again.

II. E. The Giantmen
The Giantmen developed a tribal society in the northern lands. These semi-nomadic tribes followed their herds' migrations, spending all but the winter season in warfare with each other. For there is nothing a Giantman likes more than battle. These were, fortunately, limited wars. The tribes sought to best each other, seeking glory and joy, not to destroy other tribes. For while two tribes might be at war this season, they might be allies in the next.

Some Giantmen have always traveled the world, generally in search of a good fight. Many have made a life as a mercenary, and they can be found wherever there is the clash of steel and the cry of the battle-horn.

II. D. Halflings
Halfling society has changed little since the third age. By then, they had developed a peaceful, agrarian society. The Elves did not consider them a threat, and therefore left them to their own devices. This was fine with the Halflings, who neither share nor understand the other races' ambitions to plunder the land. After all, soldiering is the sort of nonsense which could make one late for supper.

Halfling villages are each governed by a democratically elected mayor. Each village is independent, as there is no need for any higher form of government. Halflings themselves tend to stay in their villages, for few can bear to leave their families. However, they are also an extremely inquisitive people, so some do travel the world in search of adventure.

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