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Where does one simply begin to explain the vast history of our lands, of Aranna? Never before has the history of Aranna been told, never has its great story been heard in its entirety. Wars were waged, kingdoms fell, and the world was broken. Every event that leads to where I sit today, every battle, every invasion, every hero, all happened as a result of a previous occurrence. Discovering the history of Aranna cannot be possible simply by hearing the story from the mouth alone of the Humans, or the Elves, or the Dwarves. No, each race differs in their legends and has their own deep traditions. To find the fact behind the legends requires traversing the great land of Aranna. In the darker days, such a task would be impossible, filled with danger. But in these days, peace is commonplace. For that, we are fortunate, and such a task was undertaken.
I spent months digging through old records in Castle Ehb, Aman’lu, New Agalla, and Jerikah’s Crown. I spent weeks sailing with Droog traders along the Sea of Mists. And I still bear the blisters on my feet that I became acquainted with in the Northern Reaches. Some parts of this history may seem incomplete, as many documents I found were torn or in too poor a condition to read. This is still quite a working progress, as I am continuously adding more as we discover more ancient records or unearth long-forgotten rune stones of the past.
Please note that the history begins as far back as we know. The timeline is based on what age during which an event took place. King Rathmor, I present this new history to you. It reflects months of my hard work and research on the lands of Aranna.
~Marcus Al’Ruen, Scribe of King Rathmor
“The light banishes the shadow, and reigns. But should the light ever forget why it banished the shadow, the shadow shall again return.” – Unknown Agallan Poet
Chapter I – Origins
Aranna is a vast, bountiful land. It’s green pastures, rolling hills, fetid swamps, vast deserts, and glistening snowfields encompass all that we know and live within. Such an abundant land has only become what we know through many great changes that were brought about by nature, the gods, and by the meddling of mortals.
Little is known about what Aranna was like before the Empire of Stars was formed, even by the long-lived Elves. There was very little recorded history, as most stories and events were passed down through spoken stories. However, there are some facts that multiple sources seem to agree on. Prior to the formation of the empire, most of Aranna consisted of a great, rolling plain, which was known as Wenanda, meaning the Great Prairie. Throughout Wenanda, the Elves lived in hidden forests in separate tribes.
The Humans are known to have come from what is today the Northern Reaches, once known as Lescanza. The reaches were fertile and home to shepherds and herdsman. Another name for this land is Mazal. The origins of the word Lescanza and Mazal are still unknown. Similarly to the Elves, the Humans lived in a series of tribes spread out from each other across the Northern Reaches.
The Elves tale of the first Human is based on an Elf named Elandir. Elandir was a powerful Elf, but a coward, fleeing the Elves in their time of need. As such, the he lost the characteristics that made him an Elf, and then became Human. To the Elves, Elandir is referred to as Elandir the Coward, or Elandir the Betrayer. It should be known that the Human Elandir is not the same Elandir that bears such a great importance to the Giants.
The origin of the Dwarves remains largely unknown. However, due to the similar characteristics shared by Humans such as appearance, lifespan, and language, it is believed that the Dwarves also draw their beginnings to the Northern Reaches. Dwarven interest in the earth is most likely due to the first Dwarven tribes being located in caves that still bear the markings of ancient mines in the north. All of Aranna was once vast and fertile, and the Human, Dwarven, and Elven tribes developed their own crafts and methods of living off of the land. The Elven tribe of the Edhel lived in the Vai’Lutra Forest, living with the forest creatures. They lived in a small town near the bank of magical river that could heal and provide fertile land. Two Elven warriors, Istaura and her brother, Isteru, led the town into prosperity. These two mages were pioneers in studying the magical effects that the river brought on. While Elves today are only found on mainland Aranna, there are remains of a long-dead race of Sea Elves. Their ruins, dating back to the early beginnings of the Empire of Stars, are scattered across the coasts of Aranna. Elves have the ability to experience dream-visions of events that may happen. The more Elves that are in a close proximity, the clearer the visions are. However, Elves can sometimes get stuck in these dream worlds, as their minds cannot escape. Elves are best known to be master archers and jewelers.
Several decades prior to the Empire’s formation, the Seck, a hideous and violent race came to Aranna from the lands of the east, though this race at first did little to interfere with its original denizens. It is believed the Seck were banished from their homeland.
Other sentient races that call Aranna home include the Nymph’s, which are a moody and unpredictable race of water fairies that are responsible for creating the art of Nature Magic. Nymphs can retrieve items lost in the water and end draughts, as well as call upon the spirit of one deceased near water. Another race is the Taclak, which were a strange, mischievous race of forest-folk who lived in harmony with the Elves in the forests. The two races had a deep relationship with another. The Taclak would care for Elven children and help protect the forests from intruders.
Around the same time, another race, known as the Nothrim, or the Familiars, arrived in Aranna. Familiar Surgeons are strong creatures with tentacles that would perform the mutations on creatures that they captured. They are called Familiars because of the creatures abducted and transformed are home to Aranna. Driven insane by the Familiar Surgeons, and enhanced by the “additions”, the Familiars were a deadly foe. Creatures captured and mutated by the Familiars are also known as the Bound. The Familiars lashed out at any races they came in contact with. The ill-prepared foresters of Vai’Lutra were attacked, and many were killed. The Familiars soon began attacking other Elven tribes scattered throughout Aranna. The Elves considered fleeing their home to escape their enemies. However, an elf named Lorethal formed an elite unit of Elven Warriors called the Crimson Hunters. Together with Istaura and Isteru, they fought to rid their lands of the Familiars.
In a battle, Lorethal was killed, but Istaura and Isteru managed to imprison the Familiar Surgeons in a spell that was powered by the waters of Aman’lu. The two Elves used magic to expand the Vai’Lutra Forest, which would shroud and protect the Edhel tribe from future hostile races. It is believed that these acts of great magic drained and killed Istaura.
Soon the Familiars were defeated, an Elven boy named Arinth was born. This boy was very gifted with the powers of the tribe of the Edhel. Drindan the Wise, another powerful wizard, and Isteru taught this boy, turning him into a very skilled spell caster. Upon reaching adulthood, Arinth went with Drindan to the healing waters of the Edhel. Arinth was able to use and bear more magic energy than any Elf could before, and created a staff that he infused the ability to amplify his magic even more so.
Drindan began to finish his training of Arinth, and is claimed to have sent word to Isteru through dreams about his concern over Arinth. This fact is disputable, but several other powerful sorcerers who shared this power confirmed this. An individual with this power is called a Dreamer. Eventually, Isteru stopped receiving messages from Drindan, and supposedly had a dream or vision that depicted Arinth laying waste to the Vai’Lutra Forests. Isteru then is said to have taken the most powerful sorcerers in the Edhel and went to the healing waters. Arinth had accessed too much magic, and had gone insane. This is very common among spell casters. He began laying waste to the forest. Arinth worked his way to Edhel, intent on destroying it. All of the Elven sorcerers combined their magic, and were able to subdue Arinth. Arinth was buried in a vault, to keep him there for eternity. His staff could not be destroyed, but was broken into three segments. To this day, no mother names her child Arinth, because of the scorn it will receive; Arinth is considered a wicked name.
For the several hundred years following the Elven war with the Familiars, the tribal races of Aranna made contact with each other. Particularly between the Humans and Elves, integration between the races began. However, it should be known that the Dwarves made little to no contact with the Elves, but continued with a small trading relationship with the Humans.
Chapter 2 – Imperial Formations of the Ancient World
Modern Aranna is built over the ruins of the many empires that formed in earlier times. These empires would mark the beginnings of major war, conquest, and magic use throughout Aranna.
The Empire of Stars was formed untold years ago, but an exact date of its formation is unknown. Its approximate foundation time, in accordance with other ancient empires, is unknown, though it is believed that most, if not all of the ancient empires formed around the same time.
The Empire of Stars was formed when the eleven tribes of the Humans, Elves, and Dwarves across the Plain of Tears decided to unite their small tribe-nations into a single body with one leader. The empire was named after the Stars because there was nothing higher in the sky than the stars, an obvious allusion to display the power of the empire. Emperor Almar I was elected the first emperor by the leaders of the Human, Elven, and Dwarven tribes. The elf is recorded at being extremely charismatic and dedicated to the cause of uniting Aranna.
It should be known that the Human tribes in the northern lands of Lescanza refused to join the Empire, believing such a union between races would only lead to corruption. The Lescanzans would defend their lands quite violently, and would be the source of numerous wars in the coming years. Though this nation would eventually be conquered, original Lescanzan art still survives today, found throughout wealthy estates across Aranna.
Almost immediately after formation, Emperor Almar I let out the decree Pax Imprelua, or Imperial Peace. This ironic statement called for peace across the empire, though the only way to achieve this peace was through warfare. Indeed, it was only a short time after the Empire of Stars’ creation that war began. Over the next hundred years, the Empire of Stars would expand to the far borders of Aranna, establishing towns like Glacern in Ehb, or Yesterhaven in the southern borders of Lorentia.
Located north of Lescanza was the Agallan Empire. This empire consisted solely of Agallan Giants. Little is known of the Giants’ beginnings. Their language consists of runes, few of which are understood today. The Giants are known to be master architects and builders; the capital of their empire was located on the floating city Agalla. The Giants would play a very important role in the collapse of the Empire of Stars.
Neighbors to the Agallan Giants were the Utgards. Very little is known of the Utgards other than their brutal lusts for war, and that their society was almost entirely geared towards war. Due to their close proximity to the Agallans, the two races were in a constant state of war.
Perhaps one of the most important empires to form in Aranna was the Utraean Empire. This small empire, encompassing the Utraean Isles, would eventually challenge the entire Empire of Stars.
The Utraeans themselves were the size of Humans and Elves, but had blue skin that bore strange markings. These markings are applied after birth, and are unique between different families of Utraeans. The markings tell of deeds done in a specific family, and allow Utraeans to better identify each other.
All Utraeans have a sensitivity and strength at harnessing magic. It is not hard to imagine that Utraean society is based on magic. Their lives are greatly dependent on it. Utraean building, economy, and war are based on their use of magic.
At some point in the early ages of the Utraean Empire, a structure known as the Great Clock was created. This structure had the ability to control the weather on all of the Utraean Isles. This was a major boost to the Utraean agriculture. Other creations by the Utraeans included the Displacers, which are pads that can transport beings standing on the pads from one location to another. The Utraeans established displacers across their entire empire. Studies at the central Displacer hub in Jherkal’s Crown reveal that the Utraean Empire created seventy-two Displacers. The Utraeans were also pioneers in astronomy, creating the first telescopes to view the heavens. They referred to telescope Itane’s Eye, named after the Utraean who created it. Across history, the Utraeans often employed races as slaves, subjugating them with their powers. The earliest known of such slave race were the Goblins. The Goblins were forced to aid in the construction and management of many Utraean magical machines. This would later be instrumental in the rise of the Goblin kingdoms.
Imperial rule was rising, and the power of these empires were growing with every generation. An example of this rising power was the creation of the Palace of Night. This massive palace was erected in a matter of decades, aided by foreign Agallan architects and builders. This was built in the center of the capital city of the empire, called Iliyara. Surrounding the capital was the Chalice of Stars, a great black lake that was home to the water spirit Nymphara, an ancient denizen of the lake, and the protector of the Palace of Night.
Similarly to the Empire of Stars, the Utraean Emperor Jherkal ordered the construction of the fabulous Utraean capital, named Jherkal’s Crown. Once completed, this city was known all across Aranna for its luxurious and powerful appearance. Not only was the city a center for travel and commerce, but also a great center for scientific study. The city was a first for having academic schools, meditation halls, and an amphitheater for dramatic productions. The city was vibrant and alive.
With the rise of these empires across Aranna, conflict was inevitable.
Chapter 3 – Imperial Wars of Aranna
War first broke out soon after Emperor Almar I initiated Pax Imprelua and when an Imperial Legion invaded Lescanza, intent on claiming the land by force. Almar had grown tired of arguing with the Lescanzans over unifying. The fourteen legions of the Empire of Stars were the empire’s main tools of terror. These legions were extremely well trained and equipped, capable of annihilating most of the unorganized tribes or bandits that opposed the empire. While the legion’s elite military training granted them several key victories, the land conquered was nearly impossible to control. Entire populations of towns and cities would rise up in arms against the Legion. Lescanzans would burn down their own villages and slaughter their own animals to prevent the legion from gaining any foothold. A legionnaire commander is recorded to have said in a message to Emperor Almar I, “Never are we greeted as liberators. We must slay every man, woman, and child if we are ever to liberate this land.”
It would be several decades before the 10th Imperial Legion would be successful in conquering Lescanza.
In the far north, the Utgards continued to wage war against the Agallans. Fighting mainly occurred in the lands surrounding Agalla, known as Eshadune. This land is today known as the Broken Lands.
The Utraean Empire began warring with the Sea Elves that surrounded their island. Perhaps due to their magic prowess, the Utraeans were successful in driving the Sea Elves entirely from the shores of the Utraean Isles. Bolstered by their victories, the Utraeans soon after landed on mainland Aranna, intent on conquering this land as well.
The first encounter between the Utraean Empire and the Empire of Stars was violent. A cartography group of imperials were viciously attacked by the Utraeans near the western shores of Aranna, what is now Ehb. While most of imperials in this group were killed, several escaped to warn the empire of the coming danger. Utraeans also began landing on the island of Greilyn, and the eastern shores of Aranna that are located far above Ehb, known as Iliara.
By this point, most of the southwestern parts of Aranna had been mapped by the two explorers Fedwyrr and Klars. Their cartography was responsible for a great deal of the Empire of Stars’ expansion. In the years that followed, dozens of small towns and trading posts appeared in the new territory known as Ehb.
Imperial scouts searching Mount Frostspire found a lone statue of a Human warrior with a nameplate saying “Glacern”. It emanated magical warding that Krug and Droog would not go near, so a town was built around it. The statue remains, an object of great scrutiny and curiosity. Its origins are still unknown. After mining and trade was established, a stone tower was built as a way station for couriers and messengers. Walls were built to keep Yeti from wandering into town in search of food. Soon after, the 2nd Legion was sent into Ehb to defend its borders from the Utraeans.
The Droog are original inhabitants of Ehb, believing they are descended from the Heavens, where they were banished because of the misdeeds of their forefathers. The Droog live in villages in the Cliffs of Fire, but are now traveling to foreign lands, and living more spread out in Ehb. They traded with Humans and Goblins, often choosing to stay neutral in combat. The Droog are led by a council called the Circle of the First. In the early years of Ehb, the Droog disliked the demands made by Human traders, 2nd Legionaries, and Goblins. They orchestrated a scheme causing all sides to fight against each other for more exclusive trade. This fighting is known as the Green Range Conflict. These events also convinced the Seck corps within the 2nd Legion to rebel from the Empire and take Ehb over. The Droog constantly act to atone for their sins.
The other race that is native to Ehb are the Krug. Krug lived in Ehb before it was colonized. They were once thought to be unintelligent, not understanding simple concepts like fire. Their culture is a hodgepodge of other cultures they come in contact with. They communicate in their own language based on grunts and hand gestures. Krug were often used for labor and were easily exploited. In today’s world, they are treated much more fairly.
The Seck began building Castle Ehb as a fortress to defend from the Utraeans pushing from the Utraean Peninsula. In order to do so, they cleared several thousand Droog from their construction site and relocated them elsewhere. This was known as the Great Relocation. The Droog town was leveled. This caused much aggression from the Droog. Castle Ehb would not be complete for years, so the 2nd Legion built fortress Kroth. The Droog moved their society to the nearby Cliffs of Fire.
Castle Ehb is considered the only impregnable castle other than the Palace of Night. Designed by craftsmen brought in by the Empire, and largely built and overseen by the 2nd Legion, the castle stands on a hill of granite, once where a Droog town stood. The castle can see ahead for miles. The castle now is where the rulers of Ehb reside. It also acts as a location of the Chamber of Stars, where magical weapons the 10th Legion took from the Empire in its dying days are stored.
Several years after the creation of Fortress Kroth, the Seck soldiers engaged in a rebellion, killing all of the 2nd Legion Human and Elven soldiers stationed at the fortress, including the 2nd Legion Commander, Lord Hovart. The remainder of the 2nd Legion was stationed throughout the Utraean Peninsula.
When word of the Seck Rebellion in Ehb reached Veransk II in Iliyara, he ordered the 10th Legion to leave Lescanza and to travel to Ehb to destroy the Seck threat. The 10th Legion had just successfully defeated the enemy forces in Lescanza, finally uniting it with the Empire of Stars. Fighting would occur throughout the forests of Ehb for many weeks until the Seck were pushed back to their fortress. The 10th and 2nd Legions surrounded Fortress Kroth. In the final days of the Seck rebellion, remaining Seck hardliners made a final stand in Fortress Kroth. The Seck responded to terms of surrender by launching the heads of slain legionnaires over the walls. The 10th Legion took the fortress and executed the surviving Seck leaders for treason to the Empire of Stars.
Their task fulfilled, the 10th Legion returned to the Plain of Tears, leaving the 2nd Legion in control of Ehb once again. The Emperor deployed over three thousand more soldiers to reinforce the 2nd Legion. Ehb was designated an official military protectorate and province under the empire. Lord Hovart’s body was moved and buried in his fortress in the Utraean Peninsula.
Chapter 4 – Collapse of the Empires of Aranna
It is a strange stroke of fate that all of the empires across Aranna all collapsed within several years of one another. The first of these was the Utraean Empire.
The Utraeans had been fighting vigorously throughout the Sea of Mists against the declining Sea Elves and on the Utraean Peninsula of Ehb against the Empire of Stars. The campaign in the Utraean Peninsula was recently going badly, as the Utraean Commander in the peninsula, a female named Ashish, was found guilty of treason to the Utraean Empire. Ashish had become romantically involved with Lord Hovart, the former commander of the 2nd Legion. Ashish was imprisoned and would become subject to the Utraean’s magic experiments. While the Utraean’s main source of power in combat, economy, and society came from their powerful magic, this magic would soon become their undoing.
Early on in the rise of the Utraean Empire, the Utraeans began experimenting on wild animals on the Utraean Isles, such as cats and lizards. These animals underwent bizarre changes from the Utraean magic experiments. The experiments transformed these races, making them smarter, stronger, and better servants for the Utraeans. The feline race known as the Hassat, and the lizard race known as the Zaurask, were created. Both races worked out of obedience and ignorance for the Utraeans and were used as porters, builders, soldiers, miners, and factory-workers.
In their quest to further refine their society toward a perfect ideal, Utraean mystics explored connections with higher planes of existence. Contacts with pure elemental planes were established, resulting in the summoning of Elementals for labor and protection. The Utraean wizard-priesthood was intent on contacting and manipulating energies from the highest spiritual planes for the glory of the Utraean civilization. Using the power of the Great Clock, Utraean wizard-priests attempted direct contact with a divine power. The realm they accessed was actually the Elemental realm of Shadow. The Utraeans bargained with the powers from the Shadow Realm, and a creature known as the Shadow Jumper was unleashed into the land.
The Shadow Jumper reached havoc upon their lands, and killed many of the best Utraean wizards. After a great deal of conflict, the Shadow Jumper was subdued. Rather than destroy the Shadow Jumper, the Utraeans imprisoned the creature, and began funneling its energies to power more of their machines. In the Shadow Jumper’s wake was a path of destruction. The mountain from which the ritual had been conducted to summon him had become itself dead, infected with energies from the Shadow Realm. The Utraean wizard who performed this ritual, named Cicatrix, was attacked by another Shadow Realm denizen, known as Rax. Rax turned Cicatrix and his entire retinue into undead beings. Rax was also subdued an imprisoned.
Less than a year after this incident, the Zaurask staged an uprising. Their sheer numerical strength and basic understanding of magic allowed them to sack many Utraean cities and slaughter thousands. In an upheaval, Jherkal the XIV ordered a complete withdraw from all of his forces in the Utraean Peninsula, Greilyn, and Iliara. At this point, the Sea Elves had been all but wiped out. Utraean fortresses and experiments all over the Utraean Peninsula were abandoned. One such experiment was with the Maljin, an army of warrior monsters that the Utraeans had created. However, before the creatures were completed, the Utraeans were forced to lock them in one of their fortresses and leave them, hoping to return and finish developing them after the conflict in the Utraean Isle was resolved. The Maljin would cause havoc hundreds of years later in Ehb.
Weeks later, the Jherkal the XIV was killed when the Zaurask horde surrounded the city of Jherkal’s Crown. The entire royal family was killed, and the city destroyed. The final High Wizard of the Utraeans, Demlock, was slain while defending a tower in the Utraean Isles mainland. Before dying, Demlock summoned a great storm. The flooding from it drowned thousands of the Zaurask invaders. Despite his death, the storm continued for days. The lightning and intense rain caused the tower to sink into the earth, and a deep canyon was formed, now known as Demlock’s Cut. The remaining Utraeans went as far as hiring mercenaries from the Empire of Stars to aid them. Some were successful, as the mercenaries were able to kill the Zaurask king.
With the death of the Zaurask king, the Zaurask halted their genocide. However, significant damage had been done. All of the Utraean cities save Illicor had been reduced to rubble. The Zaurask horde had fallen into chaos before it had a chance to siege Illicor. This city remains the last beacon of Utraean society.
For the next several hundred years, the remaining Utraeans would struggle to survive. With lack of agricultural knowledge, and the constant enemy attacks, the Utraeans now turned to day-to-day survival.
The Hassat and the Zaurask formed their own societies in the Utraean jungles. These two races would war on another, but for the most part, would not expand their societies. During this time, the Goblin race would leave the battered Utraean Isles with the knowledge and technology from the Utraeans to begin developing their own magic-based empire.
The next empire to fall would be the Empire of Stars. Around the time of the Seck Rebellion in Ehb, an Utgard emerged who would change all of Aranna. Zaramoth, the leader of the Utgards, had fought for many years against the Agallans. After the Seck Rebellion, the Agallans and the Utgard Giants battled to a ceasefire. Zaramoth met with Emperor Veransk III and suggested a merge between the two nations, that the Utgards would pledge fealty to the Empire of Stars. Veransk III was eager to make peace in the Giant lands. If these lands could be taken, all of mainland Aranna would be in control of the empire. Veransk III is recorded as being a weak, unhealthy Human with no children or heir. The Human and Elven commanders of the Legions awaited Veransk III’s death, for he would name one of them as the next emperor. Veransk III had already been poisoned once, saved only when the Empress called upon Nymphara to save him.
Veransk III accepted Zaramoth’s offer, and named Zaramoth as his heir to the throne of the Empire of Stars. It is believed that Veransk III was being possessed by a spell of a Seck mage. Less than one week later, Veransk III was bitten by a poisonous asp in his bed. This time, he could not be saved.
Immediately following Veransk III’s death, the fourteen legions swore their fealty to Emperor Zaramoth. In addition to these legions, Zaramoth also had command of several Utgard armies in the north. The Agallans refused to pledge fealty to an Utgard, so Zaramoth met with their leader, Elandir. In exchange for the Agallans staying within the boundaries of their nation and remaining docile towards the Empire, Zaramoth would not unleash his vast hordes of newly acquired forces against the Agallans, which would mean certain death. Seeking peace, Elandir agreed. While Zaramoth appeared to honor this agreement, he desired to learn the location to the Agallan capital city, Agalla. Never had the Utgards found the location of this city.
Malith, a female Agallan agreed to reveal the location of Agalla in exchange as Zaramoth’s second in command, and heir to the Empire of Stars. Zaramoth agreed. The Utgard army assaulted Agalla, destroyed its supports, and watched as the entire city sank into the Sea of Mists. Zaramoth betrayed Malith and let it known across the land that Malith betrayed the Agallans. As Zaramoth expected, Malith was hunted down and captured by the surviving Agallans. Believing Malith dead, Zaramoth had the surviving Agallans who did not perish in the city hunted down and killed. Many of the Agallans surrendered and agreed to follow Zaramoth. Elandir laid a powerful curse on these treacherous Agallans. Over time, these Agallans would shrink slightly in size, and strange markings in the Agallan language would appear on their bodies. The markings speak of how the Agallans were betrayed. The Half-Giant race was born. A note should be made that there are no Half-Giant women because no Giant women betrayed the Agallans. Like the Giants, Half-Giants can live for hundreds of years.
Little did Zaramoth know, not all of the loyal Agallans were killed. In a hidden fortress in the mountains near Agalla, the surviving Agallan lords agreed to punish the captured Malith. Malith was seated on the Throne of Agony, a throne created out of massive thorns. Immediately after sitting on the throne, the thorns grew and stabbed Malith through her entire body, wracking her with unending pain. The spell of the Throne of Agony was that the seated could never perish, and would endure pain and life as long as they were seated. The Agallans then placed the throne in the ruins of Agalla. After dealing with Malith, Elandir tasked the surviving Agallan crafters to create a powerful shield, one that would be able to defend against any sword, any magic. However, in his haste, Elandir failed to include a critical piece to the shield. This failure in Elandir’s part would bring about the end of the first age. Elandir created this shield, and would wait for a day when those in Aranna opposed Zaramoth, where such a shield could be used to defeat him forever. After doing this, Elandir and his surviving brethren went into hiding themselves in a hidden mountain fortress near Agalla.
In a final act against the races of Giants, Zaramoth executed an order that had all of the remaining Utgards killed. Zaramoth feared that another of his race would challenge his rule, so every Utgard, loyal or not, was slain.
With all of mainland Aranna now in his control, Zaramoth exposed all of his empire to his iron rule. All of Aranna was now under Zaramoth’s tyranny. Learning of the Utraean Empire’s studies into the Shadow Realm, Zaramoth himself attempted to bargain with the deities of this realm to gain more power. From the Shadow Realms, the Cinbri emerged. The Cinbri were a strange race of beings that lived off of the magic generated by the River of Souls. The River of Souls is the river that all souls travel down on their way to the underworld. The Cinbri enhanced their power by ingesting Voldane, a poison that is believed to be a link to their power and age. All experiments with Voldane have proven fatal. There is one Arch Mage and several lesser mages of the Cinbri, but any single of the lesser mages could defeat Isteru, the greatest Elven mage of all time. They claimed that their homeland was no longer habitable. Zaramoth boasted that in exchange for the Cinbri’s services and skills, he would provide them with all of the magic that they needed, as Aranna contains many springs to the River of Souls. The Cinbri agreed. Zaramoth immediately set about creating an underground fortress for the Cinbri. The Cinbri became known as Zaramoth’s Dark Wizards. Zaramoth began tapping power from Aranna’s connections to the River of Souls, called the Lay-lines, and prohibited anyone in Aranna save his Dark Wizards from using magic. Calling upon his best architects, Zaramoth construct a massive citadel that would be called Zaramoth’s Horns. Zaramoth would rein from these headquarters.
In accordance to their deal, the Cinbri created Zaramoth’s sword. This weapon of unimaginable power contained another important ingredient – Zaramoth’s soul. With his sword, Zaramoth believed himself immortal, and with the Cinbri at his side, it seemed as though that goal was possible.
Chapter 5 – The War of Legions
Around the time of the creation of Zaramoth’s sword, Azunai was born. Little is known about Azunai’s childhood or tribe, other than that Azunai was the son of the chieftain of his tribe and that Azunai discovered a spring that was connected to the River of Souls in a cave near his home. All of the other springs had been discovered and sealed by the Dark Wizards years before. He would sit in the cave and wait patiently for the spring to burst. Azunai would jump and dance through it, unaware that magic was being directly absorbed into his body.
As Azunai aged into a young man, discontent for Zaramoth grew across Aranna. His tyranny, restriction of magic, and brutal tactics caused much hatred. Several of the legion commanders, Humans and Elves who had long served the old empire, were disgusted at an Utgard taking control. Several legions plotted to kill Zaramoth and take over the Empire of Stars.
When the attack finally came, it was unsuccessful in killing Zaramoth. Attacks that would kill any mortal were ineffective against Zaramoth, as his body could not be broken; the sword contained the only means of defeating him. With his sword, he was nearly unstoppable. However, there was no going back for the legions. The time of open rebellion had begun. All across Aranna, towns and cities attempted to shake themselves of Zaramoth’s rule, while rebel legions fought against Zaramoth’s loyal legions and armies.
The 10th Legion, perhaps the most loyal legion to the old empire, directly assaulted the capital of Iliyara. After breaking into the Palace of Night, the 10th Legion Commander Karese Noanni ordered the ancient Imperial Vault to be opened. Within the vault were magic weapons, armors, and items acquired over the thousand years of the empire’s existence. As the 10th Legion fled the Palace of Night, Nymphara attacked from her lake, the Chalice of Stars. After a fierce battle, the 10th Legion escaped from Iliyara, leaving behind an entire company of fallen comrades.
The 10th Legion then returned to the lands that they knew would be free from Zaramoth’s grip – Ehb. Taking thousands of refugees with them, the 10th Legion left the chaos in the Plain of Tears behind them. Upon learning that the Imperial Vault had been raided, Zaramoth became enraged and sent his best army, commanded by a Seck general named Gom to track down and destroy the 10th Legion. This army consisted of battle-hardened Seck warriors, Zaramoth’s elite force.
Upon entering Ehb, the 10th Legion was attacked by Gom and his army. The 10th Legion set up their base at an inn called Wesrin Cross, but the Seck soon forced them out. The final confrontation came on a small, grassy plain. After hours of combat, the 10th Legion was clearly losing. Olvis, the Grand Mage and Warden of Shadows of the 10th Legion, a used a spell that had been taken from the Imperial Vault on the Seck army. The spell trapped the entire Seck army in a state of imprisonment. This spell was powered by the Staff of Stars, an immensely powerful staff that’s power would ensure the Seck remained imprisoned for eternity. Though the battle was won, many in the 10th Legion were killed. Commander Karese Noanni is recorded as saying, “From this day forth there shall be nothing accomplished that was not purchased with the blood of these valiant hearts.” The plain that the battle occurred on is now the location of the Crypt of the Sacred Blood. For the time being, Ehb had freed itself from the Empire of Stars.
The War of Legions was in full swing when Azunai became active in it. Azunai was a young man when his father, the chieftain of the tribe, was beaten to death for failing to bow to a Seck commander. Azunai and his tribe became enraged and killed the entire Seck Company. Now marked as traitors, the tribe had no choice but to leave their homes and join the resistance. Azunai was uncertain of himself as a leader, but had the ability to heal miraculously from severe battle wounds, and fought with the strength of many.
Rumors were creeping into Aranna of the shield that Elandir had created years before, the shield that could challenge Zaramoth’s sword. Azunai and a select group of companions traveled to the ruins of the Agallan nation, and Elandir, sensing the strength in Azunai, was able to locate the young Human. Elandir personally trained Azunai in the arts of combat, both physically, and mentally, educating him on fighting and healing. Elandir provided Azunai with books that revealed the lost arts of Nature and Combat magic. Most importantly, Elandir gave Azunai the shield he had created years prior, along with other weapons and armor forged by the Agallans.
Returning from the Agallan lands with these new skills and items, Azunai swiftly rose to become the face of the resistance against Zaramoth. Fighting with magic become common, and many once again learned and trained under it. Azunai himself, coupled with his training, armor, and the magic he had absorbed directly into his body became a symbol of fear to his enemies. The war would rage on for years. Other heroes would rise, such as the Rahvan brothers or Xeria.
Xeria is one of the most famous noted of figures during this point in history. The first year that Azunai began his rebellion, a maiden came from the northern hills of Lescanza to fight for Azunia. She was considered a deadly and powerful warrior. Known to many soldiers as Xeria the Valiant, she was known in many lands for turning the tide of seemingly hopeless battles, and cutting enemies down like wheat.
Xeria rose through the ranks and soon found her position in the army at Azunai’s side; together the two slaughtered Zaramoth’s armies. The Seck were ferocious fighters, but they also were brilliant in the ways of dark magic. Seck mages could use trickery and magic, the art of putting false thoughts into the minds of men. Azunai became enamored with a Lorentian woman named Vesulia. Azunai fell in love with her, and made many promises to her for when the war was over. Vesulia took Xeria’s place at Azunai’s side. This action angered Xeria. In her anger, Xeria fought even more ferociously in battle, hoping to gain Azunai’s favor. But so enamored Azunai became, he fought with less skill in battle, and began to find loss where he once found victory.
Xeria sensed that Azunai’s skill and fortitude was crumbling. As a result, Xeria led a small band of fighters into a Seck camp one night in hopes to destroy their leadership to improve Azunai’s chances on the battlefields that lay ahead. Xeria reached the tent where all of Zaramoth’s most powerful Seck mages were located. She overheard the Seck mages boasting to another of their successes. One Seck mage claimed to have enchanted Emperor Veransk III, forcing him to name Zaramoth as the heir to throne of the Empire of Stars upon his death. Another claimed to have caused the end of the Emperor’s life by having him wash in a bath of asps, while he believed it was a bath of asses’ milk. The third mage boasted that he had done even greater – that he had put a spell on his brother Tog the Assassin into a maiden that Azunai had fallen in love with.
Upon hearing this, Xeria sent her fighters back to Azunai’s army camp to warn Azunai of Tog the Assassin. That morning, Xeria entered the tent and slew all of the mages. Despite taking arrows and wounds from the mages, she slew all three. Upon the death of the third mage, the deception was revealed to Azunai, and he killed Tog the Assassin. Xeria was killed, but Azunia erected a statue in her honor. Even today, soldiers pray to Xeria for victory in battle.
As the war stretched on, there were many similar assassination attempts made on Azunai’s life. Similar attacks on Zaramoth were also met with failure. Azunai knew that the war must be ended before an assassin claimed his life, and with his death, would crumble the rebellion. Similarly, Zaramoth feared that his deteriorating empire would only attract hostile foreigners to invade Aranna. A confrontation between Zaramoth and Azunai was inevitable.
That confrontation finally came, on a nameless field near Zaramoth’s Horns. Rebel soldiers placed ancient stone tablets given to them by the Agallans in Zaramoth’s Horns. The stones emitted a field of magic that forced Zaramoth and his minions from the Horns. The Dark Mages would never be able to remove these stones, causing them to hate the Giants and their creations, as they feared their own inability to remove the magical stones. Now forced to fight without the protection of his fortress, Zaramoth and his horde met Azunai and the rebel army. As the battle raged on, it was not clear who would be the victor. When Azunai and Zaramoth finally met, the battle ended. Zaramoth’s sword came crashing down upon Azunai’s shield, splintering it. The souls of every being on the battlefield were ripped from their bodies and sent into the River of Souls. The amazing power and magic within the shield was released, causing the River to overflow. The entire battlefield and surrounding land for miles was reduced to rubble, obliterating Iliyara and many other cities of the Empire of Stars.
The stars in the sky shifted, and the Second Age began.
The Second Age – Chapter 6 – Aftermath
As the explosion of magic ripped through the Plain of Tears, the Elders of the Edhel tribe foresaw the coming doom. The sorcerers combined their powers and were able to form a powerful shield that protected much of outer Aranna from the explosion. All of central Aranna, however, was destroyed. The Elves call this event Turmanar.
Azunai and his entire rebel army were annihilated along with Zaramoth and his horde. The whereabouts of Zaramoth’s Dark Mages was unknown. They were known to have survived the cataclysm, but their presence was few and far between over the next several hundred years.
Though the Edhel tribe was saved, the sacred waters of their river that had always nurtured their homes within the Vai’Lutra forest became tainted. The Elves were forced to relocate their town to the source of the river, where modern Aman’lu is located now, ensuring that the river remain untainted.
When the Elves left the forests to live in houses, the Taclak became malevolent, damaging Elven shrines and attacking Elves who ventured through the forests. The Taclak are considered a small threat, as they are unintelligent and have weak weapons, and often kill cattle and destroy crops, but they warn of a large issue that may be brewing, as the Elves are losing their influence with the nature that they hold in such high esteem with their society. Their way of life has changed to that of Humans – living in stone houses and growing their food in the ground, a fact that they are greatly ashamed of for losing their old way of life.
In the months following Turmanar, many in the Plain of Tears died of starvation. The parts of Aranna that experienced the explosion were complete wastelands, void of life and desert-like. Most took shelter in the lands that the Elves were able to protect, but food was short even here. This forced most to flee Aranna to the territories that the Empire of Stars once ruled. The Humans who did not flee built kingdoms in the desert that had formed and the northlands. The Lescanzan nation had been destroyed by the Empire, and had fallen into further chaos from the war. Despite the hardships that Humans faced in the deserts and in the snows, they established their own strong nations, largely credit to their strong will to survive and prosper and because of the determination of their leaders.
The first nation established in the new desert of Aranna was that of Kalrathia. Refugees traveling through the desert located a source of ruins from a destroyed imperial city. From the material and partial structures from the old city, a town was soon built, with strong enough defenses to defend from any attack, and located near a precious water source. The town was named after Kalrath, the soldier who led the settlers from the anarchy and violence sparked after the cataclysm. In his later years, Kalrath went mad, claiming he was Azunai in disguise. Many believed him. His descendants were the bloodline that ruled Kalrathia. The Windstone Fortress was soon established as well to defend the land from marauders.
In the Azunite Deserts, a race of felines known as the Skath appeared. They are believed to be relatives to the Hassat race of the Utraean Isles. They believe they were created by the Azunites to protect their treasures. As such, the Skath are greatly defensive against any and all who try to infringe on Azunite ruins. The Skath are able to parrot the common tongue and domesticate other animals, such as the Skath Cat. They create their own tools and clothes, are capable of rudimentary magic, and dislike using tools from other races. They are generally peaceful if left alone. The Skath are not known to leave their deserts, but there is one record of a Skath traveling to the Greilyn Isle to study the Azunite artifacts there.
In the Northern Reaches, a powerful Human empire was established, built in many of the abandoned or destroyed Lescanzan fortresses and cities. The castle of Snowbrook Haven and various towns were quickly inhabited, and soon thriving. The Humans did not consider themselves part of a unified race like the Elves. Rather, the Northern Reaches and the Azunite Desert nations were separate from each other.
With the great loss of life occurring in the aftermath of the cataclysm, the Guild of Death was established. The Guild was a collection of wizards who excelled in the resurrection of the newly deceased. This Guild would prosper and continue for the next several hundred years.
When the shockwave reached lands of the far east, it had many effects on the future of Aranna. At the eastern border of Aranna are the massive forests of Almon. Something strange is recorded to have happened. Supposedly, seeds began to appear in the skies above the forest, falling to the ground. For months the seeds lay dormant in the forest, which was now completely destroyed and of ash and dust. One year after Turmanar, the Dryads emerged from the remnants of the forest. It is not known what connection the seeds had with the Dryads, but it is the only reference available.
For years, the Dryads searched Aranna for the forest of which birthed them in vain. For reasons unknown, the Dryads refused to live in the Vai’lutra forest. Finally, the Dryads reached the Western Sea of Aranna, filled with hopelessness. For thirty days and thirty nights, the Dryads stood on the cliffs on the Western Sea and sang strange songs of shadows and loss. One the thirty-first day, a storm arrived. The fierce winds and rains blew the Dryads off the cliffs into the ocean. The winds then blew the Dryads to the Greilyn Isles. The effects of Turmanar had not reached Greilyn. The Dryads settled in the jungles, and have lived there ever since.
Before that time, Greilyn had only been home to the long extinct Sea Elves, whom had been wiped out in decades before by the Utraeans. Only ruins remained.
There are no known male Dryads, and it is unknown how Dryads reproduce. The Dryads have the appearance of Elven women, but they have sap running through their veins and leaves for hair, and do not express many feminine characteristics. Dryads are attracted to water, the more violent the better, and sing hymns to their trees. Thunderstorms cause great attraction. The Dryads attract other races with their popular weaves and carvings. They have begun to dabble in smithing as well, combining metal with more natural materials.
The only other race living on Greilyn was the Hak’u. The Hak’u at first sheltered the newcomers. While the Hak’u lived in caves throughout the island, the Dryads lived in the Sea Elf ruins along the coast. The two races formed a fast bond, hunting and working together as partners.
One of the most important things to happen in the aftermath of the cataclysm was the discovery of the fragments of Azunai’s shield. The fragments were termed the Aegis. There were four different Aegis, each one given a name based on the tribes of Azunai. The Aegis included the Aegis of Life, the Aegis of Death, the Aegis of Sight, and the Aegis of Blindness. The Aegis of Blindness was discovered by soldiers in the Northern Reaches, and placed for safekeeping in the Snowbrook Haven capital of the Northern Reaches. The Aegis of Sight was found in the Azunite Deserts and was kept in Kalrathia. The Dark Wizards found and moved the final two Aegis one year after the cataclysm.
Why the Dark Wizards did not move the other two Aegis, and why they did not simply keep all of the Aegis for themselves is unknown. However, the leader of the Dark Wizards, in the guise of an aged, wandering scholar placed the Aegis of Death in the hands of the Elves in the fledgling town of Aman’lu. The Aegis of Life was placed by the Dark Wizards in an ancient Sea Elven temple on Greilyn. At the time, it was not known that the Dark Wizards were moving the Aegis throughout Aranna to suit their own devices.
The Arch Mage, still in the form of the scholar, conveyed the importance of the Aegis to the Edhel. Before leaving, the wizard sold an amulet to the Head Elder of Aman’lu, Drevisil, stating that the amulet should never touch the Aegis. This amulet was the last piece of the shield that Elandir had failed to piece together, which had rendered the shield less powerful than Zaramoth’s sword. Upon learning of the Aegis that was located in Greilyn, the Edhel decided to aid the Dryads in developing their own society.
The Elves came to Greilyn and instructed the Dryads on the ways of building and smithing, so that the Dryads could better defend the Temple of the Coast, where the Aegis was kept. The Hak’u wanted to nothing to do with the Elves, and left their Dryad sisters. The Dryads trust few races except for the Elves, believing the Elves alone have good intentions for their race. The Dryad’s first attempt at building Eirulan failed, so Elves aided in building the town. The location of the town was chosen largely by the Elves, as it had a close proximity to a sacred water shrine and the Greilyn shore, where the Temple of the Coast was.
The Hak’u slowly changed their attitudes to the Dryads, eventually becoming hostile with them. Feeling abandoned by their sister race, the Hak’u never again worked with the Dryads.
When the Aegis of Death was brought to Aman’lu, the Elves immediately began to study it. They marveled at its immense power, even in its broken form. The Vai’kesh were Elves that studied the Aegis of Death. These wizards depended upon the Aegis for much of their power and developed many new spells and craft with it. Using powers from the Aegis of Death, Elves from Aman’lu formed a guild that studied and drew power from the Aegis. The sect was called the “Manu Ostar.”
At first, certain spells required two linked sorcerers, then three, and soon the entire guild was used to power spells. In an attempt to create a spell known as “Nuuruhuine,” which would allow the Manu Ostar to control death itself, the spell backfired, killing half of the guild, and turning the others into a living dead, creatures that decayed, but would not die. Nothing could be done to stop this process. As a result, the Elders of Aman’lu banished the Manu Ostar into the Vai’lutra Forest. The Vai’kesh still refer to themselves as the Manu Ostar, and consider themselves superior to all races. However, the Elves now refer to them as the Vai’kesh – the evil spirits. Since the departure of the Vai’kesh, a significant part of the Vai’lutra Forest became corrupted. The Edhel believe this to be tied in with the Aegis of Death, which was still in the hands of the Elders at Aman’lu. The section of the forest that has been corrupted is now known as the Vai’kesh Forest.
Over the next several hundred years, there was not a great deal of progress made in mainland Aranna. Much of it was now in ruins, and the remnants of the Empire of Stars would slowly rebuild itself. For certain, however, Aranna was not the same as it once had been.
Chapter 7 – Ehb’s Rise to Power
Ehb never experienced the effects of the cataclysm that so shook central Aranna. Ehb was fortunate enough to have shaken itself loose from Zaramoth, and since its creation it expanded quickly. With the Utraean Empire and Empire of Stars destroyed, there was little opposition to the nation of Ehb. The early development of Ehb reminds many scholars of the Empire of Star’s early development.
Castle Ehb, the fortification that the Empire had funded in order to defend itself from the Utraeans had been completed. However, with little use of it militarily, the rulers of Ehb eventually resided there. The magical weapons and items that had been taken from the Imperial Vault in the Palace of Night were placed in a similar chamber beneath Castle Ehb, known as the Chamber of Stars. Accessible only by very few, the items were only used in times of peril. The first king of Ehb was the 10th Legion Commander Karese Noanni. After rejecting the offer several times, Noanni finally agreed. Noanni was ever watchful to the road from which they came, aware that danger could one day return from the Plain of Tears. Isben Yamas took over command of the 10th Legion.
It should be known that few Elves lived in Ehb, due to many of them staying behind in their own lands in the Plain of Tears, or dying in the battle against Gom. Ehb’s population consisted of Dwarves and Humans. Until now, the two races had never worked so well together.
A massive mine was established in the town of Glacern, called the Glitterdelve. Glitterdelve Mine was recorded in journals of famed Agallan cartographers Fedwyrr and Klars. Aided by a legendary and talented mule named Mags, the Dwarves labored to extract rare ores and metals from the mountain’s bosom. Elevators and conveyors drawn on belts and winches allowed miners and materials to move between levels with astonishing rapidity. Sluices running melted ice and snow down from Glacern provided fresh drinking water for the miners, and a medium in which gold could be separated from the rocky silts. In the shaft known as Wyrm’s Hole, miners excavated the spine of a creature three quarters of a mile long, and the skull the size of three hay wagons. Elsewhere, an underground waterfall can be heard in the lowest chambers, but it has never been found. The power of Ehb dramatically increased from the wealth gained from the Glitterdelve.
Entrepreneurs like Etan Stonebridge established many sprawling, successful towns. Etan built Stonebridge at its location for its proximity to the Bay of Ehb, Wesrin Cross, and an Azunite Shrine of Passion. The shrine was a popular resting ground for traders, and Etan believed if he could secure the surrounding land, then it would attract settlers. Etan hired men to begin building town walls and sent gold to influence the 10th Legion. Two years later, the village population of twenty marveled as the 10th Legion pulled two catapults, Gravemaker and Godhammer to town. These were famous weapons that fought for the Empire and provided protection for the town. He was also given well-bred mules by the 10th Legion, which were in short supply. The town soared in prominence.
Fiola Wesrin made Wesrin Cross as an inn. This was once a fortified base of the 2nd and 10th Legions. The Seck briefly occupied it during the War of Legions, housing their spiders there. Even after the Seck were pushed out, their spell still attracted arachnids of all sizes to it.
Ehb was much like mainland Aranna had once been, vast, fertile, and untouched. Thousands of refugees who managed to escape from the Plain of Tears set up towns and villages throughout Ehb and its southern neighbor, the Utraean Peninsula. For the time being, the Utraean Peninsula was protected by Ehb, but wasn’t yet considered part of it. Utraean and imperial ruins were scattered throughout all the land.
After the cataclysm, refugees from the Plain of Tears who knew of Azunai came preaching of his deeds. Azunai was adapted as a god of war and protection, becoming the primarily worshipped god in Ehb. Sorcerers were had free reign over magic usage, something that had never been tolerated in the Plain of Tears.
An uneasy peace had worked out with the Droog and the Krug, but a new foe was emerging to threaten Ehb. Since the destruction of the Utraean Empire, the Goblins who had fled the Utraean Isles had established their own fortresses, where they created their own devices based on the Utraean technology and magic. While powerful, the Goblin groups never united, always competing with each other and with the denizens of Ehb. On several occasions, these competitions turned into combat, as the Goblins were often after rare resources that the Droog had access to. On other occasions, the Goblins attempted to seize control of Glacern, and from there, the Glitterdelve mine. On many occasions, the Goblins had been foiled by Ibsen Yamas, who often made a mockery of the Goblins. All of the Goblins loathed Yamas for humiliating them time and time again.
Though these had just been small skirmishes, larger combat would follow. The son of King Noanni, Prince Edvard, resided in the decaying Wesrin Cross. After using a great deal of resources in an effort to restore the Inn, Edvard devised a plan to spark a war between the Kingdom and the Goblins. Edvard grew impatient waiting for his father’s death, and wished to create a war, and emerge as a hero to Ehb. Edvard had hired soldiers attack and burn several villages, and leave traces that these attacks were done by the Goblins. Immediately, Goblin trading posts were attacked by the 10th Legion. After a great deal of fighting, Edvard attempted to trap the Goblins and wipe out their forces. A Goblin lord determined Edvard’s motives, and met with King Noanni. Noanni agreed with the Goblin lord to make peace. Edvard was enraged at his failure, and the denizens of Ehb had labeled him the “Goblin Pretender”. Edvard decided to renounce his claim to the throne, and hired Goblins to aid in restoring the Wesrin Cross. However, Edvard was killed when the insane Grand Mage Olvis attacked Wesrin Cross and killed Edvard. Olvis was himself killed by the Legion, but the Wesrin Cross was never repaired.
Despite the small scrapes with the Droog, the Krug, and the Goblins, Ehb enjoyed a peaceful progression over the three hundred years after the cataclysm. On one instance, a horde of raiders and bandits from the Plain of Tears attempted to enter Ehb, but was devastated by the vigilant 10th Legion.
Major conflict would reach Ehb exactly three centuries after its formation.
Chapter 8 – Imperial Resurgences
Three hundred years after Ehb’s independence, the Goblin king Gonsiir had taken command of the Goblin dwellings in Ehb and the Utraean Peninsula. Until now, the Goblins in these lands had never before been united. Under Gonsiir’s rule, he planned to take Ehb from the people of Ehb.
A force of Goblins ambushed and captured the Grand Mage Merik. Merik is also the Warden of Shadows of the 10th Legion. As such, he carried the Staff of Stars with him at all times. The Goblins began using the staff to advance their research into techno-magic and to power their creations.
As a result of the staff’s over-usage, the powers binding the Seck began to significantly lessen. Unbeknownst to all, the spell was soon broken, and Gom and his Seck minions awoke. Gom immediately ordered his soldiers to start digging out of the pit in which they were imprisoned, right under the unsuspecting Castle Ehb, which housed the entire ruling family of Ehb along with a garrison of the 10th Legion.
At the same time, the Goblin King, housed in his swamp fortress in Ehb, knew that the 10th Legion would soon begin searching in his lands for Merik and his Staff. As a result, the king stirred up the Krug, convincing them to fight against their oppressors and providing them with rudimentary magic spells to fight the Humans and Dwarves in Ehb. Within days, every Krug was raiding towns and settlements across Ehb and the Utraean Peninsula. The 10th Legion was stretched to the limit to defend these towns. Not only that, but a horde of Human bandits entered Ehb through its northern boundaries from the Plain of Tears, unopposed by the 10th Legion.
Gom and his minions escaped from his pit, and quickly killed or captured the unsuspecting dwellers in Castle Ehb, and took King Konreid captive. Gom sent his second in command, Gresh, to assault the nearby Fortress Kroth, where the closest 10th Legion base was located. Gresh was skilled in summoning undead warriors, and soon had the fortress under siege. At the same time, the Seck reached the Droog village in the Cliffs of Fire. The Droog had long been oppressed by the Humans, and were eager to join the Seck.
Eventually, a resistance movement of soldiers and commoners was able to clear the farmlands, Crypt of the Sacred Blood, and secure the town of Stonebridge. Moving on, the spider-infested Wesrin Cross was soon secured.
The growing movement secured the Glitterdelve mines and the Northern Mountains of Ehb, gaining the aid of the Dwarves. In the Northern Mountains, Merik was finally freed. The resistance also encountered the raider horde, which was swiftly destroyed. At Merik’s heeding, the 10th Legion and resistance assaulted the Goblin fortress, slaying every Goblin and destroying every machine. The Goblin king attacked the force with his newly developed technologies, but he was defeated. Gonsiir alone escaped. The Staff of Stars was recovered here.
A battered unit of the 10th Legion met the growing force of resistance and indicated the situation at Fortress Kroth. The 10th Legion converged on the base, and was able to trap Gresh and slay him. Moving forward, the resistance fought the Droog through the Cliffs of Fire until arriving at the Droog village, where the Droog promptly surrendered. The Droog rulers informed the resistance of the resurging Seck threat.
The Seck awoke an ancient, slumbering dragon named Scorch, which was poised to destroy the Droog village for their failure to defeat the legion. The 10th Legion was able to slay the Dragon Scorch. This act won the alliance of the Droog.
The resistance army marched on Castle Ehb, where the Seck did not expect to encounter such a well-equipped force. The resistance stormed the castle, slaying every Seck warrior, at the cost of much life. There were rumors that King Konreid still lived. The resistance entered the dungeons of the castle, where Konreid was rescued. Konreid stated that the only way of defeating the Seck leader Gom was with the magical weapons of the Empire of Stars, stored in the Chamber of Stars. This chamber was in the dungeons. The Seck had been unable to enter it. With a key from the king, the Chamber of Stars was opened. Bearing the powerful magic weapons, the resistance cut through the Seck, through the dungeons, into their lair in the pits. Finally, Gom was encountered. In a fierce battle, Gom was slain, ending the Seck threat in Ehb forever.
Following this, Ehb’s races were united and its borders secured. King Konreid his crown to his son, King Almar, who decreed Ehb expand its borders further. Through his experiences with the Seck, the Grand Mage Merik was able to successfully remove the arachnid spell that the Seck had placed on Wesrin Cross, allowing it to be restored once again to its former glory.
The booming Kingdom of Ehb now turned its direction to securing the southern Utraean Peninsula, and forming it into the kingdom. The Utraean Peninsula’s terrain is much like Ehb’s, though it is vastly larger than Ehb, and is scattered with imperial and Utraean ruins from the imperial Wars.
In the Utraean Peninsula, the first Utraean Displacers had been located. It is believed that these were used when the Utraeans still had loose control over the peninsula to move their military forces around at great speed. While some of the Displacers could work, they would allow the pads to travel to other displacer pads only on the Utraean Peninsula, as many of the pads in the Utraean Isles had been destroyed. There were eight towns – Crystwind, Elddim, Fallraen, Grescal, Hiroth, Lang, Meren, and Quillrabe, all spread throughout the Peninsula. These towns were built at the sites of where Displacers and the Townstones were found. Townstones were ornately carved stones created by the Utraeans, which activated and powered the Displacers.
Lord Hovart, the former commander of the 2nd Legion, and only lord of the lands of the Utraean Peninsula, had died during the Seck Rebellion hundreds of years prior, yet still endured as an undead. In the years before he died, he was known for heavily taxing the settlers of the towns surrounding his fortress. Hovart is also known to have had a relationship with an Utraean sorceress known as Ashish. Hovart dabbled with Ashish’s magic long after she left the peninsula. During the Seck Rebellion in Kroth, Hovart was killed. His body was moved to his fortress in Hiroth, but it was soon discovered that he still endured as an undead, brought about by his tinkering with magic. After he was supposedly laid to burial with his guard, Human and Dwarven settlers began disappearing – taken by Hovart’s undead soldiers for unknown purposes. Hovart left Hiroth and moved to his fortress that he had built for Ashish known as Hovart’s Folly, and occupied it with his minions. Utraean arachnids, descendants of the spiders that Ashish bred, still lived by the thousands in Hovart’s Folly.
The first task to the 10th Legion was to wipe out Lord Hovart and his undead minions. Hostile Krug and other beasts had taken refuge in the Utraean Peninsula, after being forced out of Ehb through conflict. After a great deal of fighting, Lord Hovart and his minions were destroyed. A 10th Legion garrison now occupies Hovart’s Folly.
A society dedicated to the study of the Townstones and the Utraeans, called the Utraean Society, determined that the Townstones were actually keys to an Utraean Vault that was near the town of Hiroth. The vault had holes in the shape of each Townstone, and it was believed this vault accessed vastly powerful weapons that could be used to rid the Utraean Peninsula of Gonsiir, the Krug, and other beasts harassing Ehb’s denizens. The Utraean Society called for the 10th Legion to locate the Townstones and unite them at the Utraean Vault in Hiroth. It served a military importance as well as a historical one, so the 10th Legion embarked to do so.
Along the way, a Goblin fortress was discovered. At the cost of many lives, the fortress was wiped out, with every Goblin within was killed by the 10th Legion. The 10th Legion searched for the Goblin King, responsible for stealing the Staff of Stars earlier, but he was not located. Nonetheless, the Goblins had been completely wiped out in Ehb and the Utraean Peninsula.
After many battles and fighting surrounding the towns, the 10th Legion eventually amassed the town stones. Among these battles, the mate of Scorch the Dragon was killed, ensuring the fall of the dragons in Ehb. Hiroth itself was equipped with a castle, known as Hiroth Castle. However, undead remnants of the 2nd Legion occupied it. After fierce battling, the 10th Legion took the castle, where they still occupy it today.
The Townstones were assembled in their respected places, and the vault opened. However, the vault burst with hundreds of ferocious monsters, known as the Maljin. These creatures that had been locked by the Utraeans on their retreat from the peninsula were now free. Though the Utraeans had never the opportunity to return and free them, the Maljin now bore a deep hatred for all land dwellers.
While the 10th Legion fought a losing battle against the Maljin, a Tenstone was found in the Hiroth Castle. This stone was guarded closely by the 2nd Legion, having discovered it near the vault. It was determined that the Tenstone had Utraean markings, so the 2nd Legion guarded it, unaware of its purpose. In a desperate push, the 10th Legion fought their way into the inner sanctum of the vault. There was found a marker for the Tenstone to be placed. The Tenstone was placed into the marker, and the Maljin immediately died. The Utraeans had enchanted the Maljin and the Tenstone to react that way if the Maljin experiment ever grew uncontrollable.
Little more information on the Utraeans was learned from the vault, and the 10th Legion had lost many soldiers. In the following months, the 10th Legion expanded its attacks from the towns, and eventually cleared all of the Utraean Peninsula of hostile aggressors.
With this, Ehb now was fast becoming a larger and more powerful nation.
Several tribes of Krug remain, spread throughout Ehb and the Utraean Peninsula. They have a strong relationship with the people of Ehb, as many hire the Krug for manual labor, or as caretakers of children. The Krug are developing their own economy and governmental system, aided by the people of Ehb. Because of the availability of food, the Krug rely on agriculture more so than hunting. Indeed, the violent nature of the Krug has completely reversed. Nonetheless, Krug are masters of the forests and nature, often aiding travelers of the forests. Some Krug are even members of the 10th Legion. They have a bright future in Ehb.
The Droog have also established a flourishing town in the Utraean Peninsula, along with having many of its warriors in the 10th Legion. The Droog are most well known today for their sea expertise. For unknown reasons, many Droog fell into a lust to wander the seas, and now are the some of the best sea traders and merchants in Aranna.
For the most part, mainland Aranna was stabilizing itself for the first time in several hundred years following the fall of the Empire of Stars. However, conflict would turn to the shreds of the Utraean Empire, as it attempted to repair itself.
Chapter 9 – Wars of the Utraean Isles
The Utraean Isles were once home to beautiful villas and magnificent cities, a perfect land in which to live. The temperature was always perfect, regulated by the Great Clock. The land was peaceful, and the Utraeans spent their daily activities relaxing and enjoying their culture. Unfortunately, over three hundred years of war had devastated the land.
With much of the Utraean magic dying, their spells slowly died with them. One such spell held the Shadow Jumper in captivity. Meanwhile, in Ehb, the Grand Mage Merik had died of old age. The Staff of Stars was sent with a heavily armed caravan to Arhok, whilst the new Grand Mage was chosen. Such was a tradition to move the staff away from the prospecting mages until a Grand Mage was chosen. The giving of the Staff of Stars to the mage was a symbol of that mage ascending to the rank of Grand Mage and Warden of Shadows. Arhok was a small trade post established in the Northern Mountains. It was a key location in the Northern Mountain pass, as it was the few routes that connected Ehb to the Plain of Tears and Iliara. Not only that, but the town’s location was selected for its proximity to a number of Utraean Displacers, though the displacers were never made functional. Arhok had been built several decades prior to Gom’s escape from his dungeon. The town was established in the matter of a year, with a small population, a 10th Legion garrison, and heavy defenses to defend from raiders who often tried to enter Ehb. Trade quickly picked up when Ehb’s prosperity was learned of in Iliara and the Plain of Tears, and Arhok prospered.
Somehow, the Shadow Jumper could sense the immense power of the Staff of Stars. Attracted by it, he attacked the caravan, and used an ability of the Shadow Realm to drive wild animals insane. The Shadow Jumper killed most in the heavily armed caravan and obtained the Staff of Stars. Survivors of this attack limped to Arhok, which promptly sent out soldiers to locate the staff. The soldiers followed the Shadow Jumper’s path of destruction through the Northern Mountains, slaying wild animals and beasts driven insane by the Shadow Jumper. The trail finally led to a strange underground dungeon.
Upon entering, the soldiers encountered horribly mutated and disfigured spiders, along with evidence that the dungeon had once been an Utraean research and experimentation base for evolution projects. Eventually, the soldiers encountered a “Queen” of these spiders, who was identified to be Ashish, the Utraean warrior woman who hailed from the Utraean Empire, and who was the lover of Lord Hovart. When the Utraeans discovered that Ashish fell in love with Lord Hovart, they called her back to the Utraean Isles, where they tortured her and used her in their experiments.
The Utraeans conducted such experiments on Ashish and many other races in an attempt to learn how to evolve creatures into more advanced forms, to better serve them. Many Utraeans disliked the treatment of these races and the experiments, but they understood its potential.
From the experiments, Ashish had been turned into a massive, horrific looking spider. The Shadow Jumper had awakened this creature in hope she would stop any followers. However, the Legionnaires prevailed and slew Ashish.
Today, this old Utraean dungeon now is the 10th Legion garrison in the Northern Mountains. Within the final rooms of this dungeon, an Utraean Displacer was discovered. The Legionnaires traveled on the displacer, emerging on the Utraean Isle. The island was vastly changed, with sprawling cities now covered in jungle and inhabited by wild, hostile animals.
The Legionnaires fought their way through the jungles to the last remaining Utraean city of Illicor, which had been currently been under siege by the Zaurask. When Illicor was secured, the Utraeans asked if the Legionnaires could lend them protection in traversing the jungles. The last surviving Utraeans of the isle were converging on a fountain where they believed that they could atone for their sins. The Utraeans knew their race was dying out, and they wished to make a pilgrimage so that their race would at least make amends for the crimes it had done. The fountain was along the path that the Legionnaires planned to take in tracking the Shadow Jumper, so they took the Utraeans along. However, many of the ill-equipped Utraeans would perish along the journey.
The Hassat and the Zaurask hunted the Utraeans with a vengeance, and fought each other in the process. The Legionnaires hoped to find the Shadow Jumper and stay out of the wars engulfing the isle. Unfortunately, it was learned that the Zaurask were working with the Shadow Jumper, as they shared similar views on the Utraeans. The Legionnaires tracked the Shadow Jumper to the ancient capital of the Utraean Empire, Jerikah’s Crown. After fighting through Zaurask forces that occupied the city, the Legionnaires were able to enter the lower dungeons, finding Dark Generators, which the Shadow Jumper was using to regain his energy. These were destroyed.
The Legionnaires continued along the way, taking some casualties, but their military training kept them ahead of the tribal Hassat and Zaurask. The Hassat leader, Kajj, was slain in an attack through his lands and the Zaurask were slain by the thousands.
The Legionnaires met a group of Half-Giants, whose ship had wrecked on the island. They had planned on leaving, but had been chased to the base of a mountain by the Zaurask. This was the same mountain where the Shadow Jumper had been summoned centuries before. Cicatrix, the Utraean wizard responsible for the summoning, still dwelled in the mountain in the form of an undead centaur. Cicatrix was harboring the Shadow Jumper, so the Legionnaires fought up the mountain, where they met a band of soldiers in an unknown order that dedicated itself to destroying the undead. With these reinforcements, the Legionnaires destroyed Cicatrix, and his undead. The Half-Giants promptly left the island, returning to the Plain of Tears.
After a great deal of fighting, the Legionnaires were able to secure the Utraean fountain. The Utraeans completed their pilgrimage and began building a small defensive town around it, planning to restart their civilization. This town is now the city of Calentur. Several Utraeans joined the Legionnaires in their quest, as well. It was then determined that the new Zaurask king, Nosirrom, was in league with the Shadow Jumper, as well as the Goblin king Gonsiir. The Goblins had attempted to establish a presence on the isles when the Utraean Empire collapsed, but the violence that engulfed the island made it difficult for the Goblins to make much accomplishment. After Gonsiir’s forces were pushed out of Ehb, he fled to his last remaining fortress in the Utraean Isles.
Nosirrom, an unusually smart and ambitious Zaurask, had used the Staff of Stars on himself. The technology greatly increased his size, strength, and reflexes, but drove him insane. Nosirrom began using the technology on every living creature he could capture in an attempt to breed his own evolved army. His inability to produce anything better than the Droc was a source of great personal anguish. The Droc were slow, stupid lizard-like creatures that appeared to be more of a step-down in evolution than a step-up. Nosirrom spoke against the Utraeans and wondered why they made him, “nearly perfect, but cruelly imperfect. Wise enough to see my own flaws but too stupid to fix them in myself or in others.”
The Legionnaires converged on Nosirrom’s fortress, the ancient Utraean Castle Emarard. The Legionnaires fought through the Zaurask defenders and cut down Nosirrom. Information from Nosirrom’s personal writings suggested that the Shadow Jumper was attempting to repair the Great Clock, with the help of the Goblins. Nosirrom had planned on betraying the Shadow Jumper and taking control of the Great Clock himself once the Goblins repaired it. The Shadow Jumper planned to use it to cause massive starvation and to destroy the landscapes all across Aranna, turning the lands into deserts.
The Legionnaires trekked through the jungles, beginning to notice the effects of the Great Clock. The land become unbearably hot, the sky became red. It was soon found out that the Goblins had been betrayed by the Shadow Jumper upon repairing the Great Clock, as the Goblins all appeared disfigured and mutated, a sign of the Shadow Jumper’s work with the Staff of Stars. The Legionnaires fought their way to the Great Clock, where the Shadow Jumper administered the devastation. Gonsiir lay dead before the Shadow Jumper. The Legionnaires cut through the defenses, the Shadow Jumper’s personal elemental guard, and destroyed the several Dark Generators that fed the Shadow Jumper energy. With his power taken, not even the Shadow Jumper could defend against the Legion’s onslaught. In the end, he was slain, and the Great Clock was destroyed to prevent it from harming Aranna again. With that, the Legionnaires left the Utraean Isles. War between the Hassat, Utraeans, and Zaurask still engulfed it in war, but stability would eventually reach it.
Several years after this conflict, a Human known as Rowan appeared at Arhok, claiming to be from the Utraean Isles. He told of great tales and fortune, and only bolstered the mindset of Mayor Hardison Dohn, whom wanted to form an alliance with the Hassat for trade and general purposes. He took a small party into the Isles, and left Rowan as the new mayor.
Unbeknownst to all, the Utraeans had experimented on another creature, known as Rax. This creature had the powers to make the dead rise back into an undead form. Rax had also come from the Shadow Realms with the Shadow Jumper, and was the creator of Cicatrix’s undead powers. After the Great Clock was destroyed, Rax broke free of the destroyed Utraean fortress, and created an army of undead Zaurask from the bodies left during the recent war on the Isles. These undead Zaurask immediately attacked the Hassat, the living Zaurask, and the small human party from Arhok. The undead Zaurask also managed to capture the new Hassat king. The Hassat were tracking Rowan back to Arhok when they were attacked. A band of humans left Arhok and fought off the Hassat near the town. However, these Hassat explained the situation about Rax to the Humans, and beckoned the Humans to aid them in the Utraean Isles. They returned to the Isles, where they fought undead Zaurask with aid from the Utraeans, Hassat, and Zaurask. Finally reaching the underground lair of Rax, the Humans were able to kill him. With Rax dead, the Zaurask undead fell to a final grave. The Hassat king was freed and with the new Zaurask king, agreed to establish a strong brotherhood with the Humans. Returning to Arhok, it was revealed that Rowan was another creature that was locked in with Rax under a spell making him appear as a Human. Rowan was also slain.
Over the next two centuries, Ehb would continue to expand itself as a nation. Unlike the kingdoms of the past, Ehb wouldn’t expand into other lands. Ehb’s borders would stay within the Utraean Peninsula and mainland Ehb. The Utraean city of Calentur would survive, and the Hassat and the Zaurask would eventually meet a peace. Today, the Utraean Isles are much safer, but there is still tension between the various races.
Chapter 10 – Valdis’ Rise and Fall
Even five hundred years after the cataclysm, the Plain of Tears was still in the process of rebuilding itself. While many of its forests and towns had repaired themselves, deserts and splintered landscapes still covered the land. For the most part, however, its people and society remained whole. The Human nations in the Northern Reaches and the Kalrathian Desert were prosperous, as were the Elven and Dryad societies.
However, conflict would again come to the Plain of Tears. The Cinbri, or Dark Mages, began to resurface. The long-dormant Dark Mages were again in need of energy from the River of Souls. They also wished to again control all of the magic in Aranna. In order to do this, they needed to create a new warlord. This warlord was Prince Valdis.
Prince Valdis was the son of Utor, the Minister of Arms and Armaments, heir to the throne of the Northern Reaches. Valdis was the uncle of Princess Evangeline, the immediate heir to the throne. As a boy, Valdis had debilitating fevers, and was not expected to survive boyhood. However, Valdis did survive, though was recorded as quiet, troubled, and with a haunted appearance. These fevers returned when Valdis became a young man, though this time they included strange visions depicting Zaramoth’s Horns.
Valdis traveled across the Plain of Tears until he reached the abandoned fortress. Within however, Valdis encountered all of the Dark Mages surrounding a massive rock with Zaramoth’s sword stuck in it. The mages explained that it was Valdis’ destiny to take up Zaramoth’s sword and to unite all of Aranna under his rule. In his lust for power, Valdis readily agreed. The Dark Mages used their power and broke the stone. Valdis took possession over the sword, and the powers of Zaramoth rushed through his veins. Valdis grew to a size rivaling a Giant, was equipped Zaramoth’s own armor, and became more powerful than any other being on Aranna, save the Dark Wizards.
The Dark Wizards then summoned the Morden, a massive horde of creatures from the east. The Morden were offered power and wealth, and readily accepted. The Morden have multiple casts of military form. Different breeds of Morden are used for different purposes in their mercenary army. The Morden are larger and more ferocious than the Seck ever were, making them a deadly ally to Valdis.
Valdis acted courteously, sending out a greeting to leaders of towns and cities all across Aranna, stating that he was in search of artifacts for his people, and that he meant no aggression. He also included an offer for all soldiers, saying those who worked under his banner would be paid large sums of gold. Elves, Humans, Dwarves, and Half-Giants took up this call from all ends of Aranna. It is believed that Valdis discovered a vault beneath Zaramoth’s Horns where Zaramoth kept all of the treasure that was amassed during his campaigns.
With his mercenary army of Morden and soldiers of Aranna, Valdis set about conquering the Plain of Tears, and finding the lost Aegis to the Shield of Azunai. Valdis believed that if he had possession over both the Shield of Azunai and the Sword of Zaramoth, he would be invincible. Valdis also set about harvesting Dark Shards from the Mines of Kaderak. Souls that were lost during the cataclysm were imprisoned in shards, which the Dark Mages would drain the magic from to live off of.
Valdis first conquered the Human nation in the Kalrathian Deserts, and built a fortress for the Morden called Darthrul in the ruins of an ancient imperial city. The Kalrathians hid the Aegis of Sight before Valdis learned of its location. Valdis then learned the location of the Aegis of Life, located in the ancient Sea Elven shrine on the Greilyn Isle. Valdis set about an immediate invasion of the Isle.
Morden dragons dropped hundreds soldiers on the island while the Dryads struggled to defend the Shrine with their nature magic and with help from the creatures of the island. The Dryads gave a heavy resistance to Valdis’ forces, but were unable to prevent Valdis from taking the Aegis. Valdis betrayed his Elven and Human mercenaries and left them to be taken prisoner or be killed. One of these mercenaries was Drevin, an Elf from Aman’lu, and the descendant of Drevisil, the Elf who was given the Amulet that was the missing piece to Azunai’s Shield. The amulet was collected by the Dryads, who also took the surviving mercenaries prisoner. The mercenaries were thrown into a prison at Eirulan, the Dryad city in the forest treetops. While Valdis had taken control of the Aegis of Life, he had the Morden continue to lay siege to Greilyn so that he could take control of this island. The Hak’u, the former allies of the Dryads, now engaged in war with the Dryads and the Morden. One of the Dark Mages placed a Dark Shard on Greilyn. The Mages had engineered several of the Dark Shards to release spirits carrying the plague. If the spirit entered a creature’s body, the plague would transform the infected into mindless, rabid creatures that could further spread the plague. The plague moved like wildfire through the jungle.
The betrayed mercenaries realized that Valdis had used them, and decided to join the resistance against Valdis’ forces. After fierce fighting throughout the jungles, many of the Morden on the island were killed. However, this progress would mean little if the plague was not stopped. The Dryads knew of an ancient Sea Elven shrine in the jungle that contained a fountain that could heal wounds and cure diseases.
The resistance fought past the Hak’u, Morden, and infected to find the shrine. By the time the group had reached the shrine, many were infected. However, the fountain was able to permanently cure them from the plague. They then carried a vial of the fountain-water to the exile colony where the other infected were. However, upon reaching it, the entire exile colony had been destroyed by the too far-gone infected. A peace was reached with the Hak’u when it was determined that a Hak’u warrior had usurped the previously peaceful Hak’u leader. The resistance was able to kill the usurper and the old Hak’u leader returned to power, ending the war between the Hak’u and the Dryads.
With the help of a wandering Azunite Scholar, who was really the Arch Mage of the Dark Wizards, the resistance also located and destroyed the Dark Shard on the shores of Greilyn. With the help of the Hak’u, the Dryads were able to acquire more water from the Sea Elven fountain, and began removing the plague from Greilyn.
Meanwhile, resistance forces in the Azunite Desert were able to discover an ancient Azunite artifact that had been lost for a thousand years. The artifact could amplify the effects of a spell, and it was hoped that the artifact could be used to cure the plague on a large scale. Resistance forces returned too late to find that Windstone Fortress, one of the strongholds of those resisting Valdis, had been hit with a shard. Most of the garrison at the fortress had been infected. The surviving resistance was able to use the Azunite artifact to destroy the plague-infected. The shard at Windstone Fortress was destroyed. At Windstone, Valdis learned that the Elves in Aman’lu had possession of the Aegis of Death.
Valdis quickly went to the Elven town of Aman’lu and demanded the Aegis of Death, which the Elves had been housing for centuries. However, in the wake of Valdis’ recent attacks, the Elves called for Princess Evangeline of the Northern Reaches to take the Aegis back with her to her kingdom. Evangeline left with the Aegis before Valdis reached Aman’lu. Valdis was angered by the Elves’ action, and had his Arch Mage summoning a meteor to bombard the town. Aman’lu was not completely destroyed, but suffered major death and damage. Magical fires from the Arch Mage could not be put out, and many feared that they would have to abandon Aman’lu. However, the Elves were able to activated The Prism of the Elves, an ancient device in the Elen’lu Isles that extinguished the magical flames.
The legendary staff of Arinth was placed together by the resistance to use against Valdis. However, Arinth was able to break out of his prison when this occurred. Fighting ensued, and Arinth was slain at a temple of Isteru and Istaura. Arinth’s staff lost its magical powers upon his death and shattered.
The caravan to the Northern Reaches never made it to the Northern Reaches. Evangeline stayed behind in a rear guard force and was captured by Valdis’ Mages. The Vai’kesh, who were drawn to the Aegis of Death, overtook the caravan. Resistance forces followed the Vai’kesh into the Vai’lutra Forest, eventually slaying the Vai’kesh Prophet and regaining control of the Aegis of Death.
The resistance continued into the Northern Reaches, where Valdis was preparing a massive assault on Snowbrook Haven, the fortress of the Northern Reaches nation, presumably where the Aegis of Blindness was located. The resistance was able to locate Princess Evangeline in a series of Azunite Catacombs in the Northern Reaches, and killed the Dark Wizard who was guarding her.
The resistance quickly moved to save Snowbrook Haven, but not before Valdis’ Morden army began its assault. The resistance moved through the camp of Valdis’ army, slaughtering hundreds, and finally entering the fortress. The battle was fierce. Valdis sent one of his Dragons in hopes it would tip the balance of the battle in his favor. However, Snowbrook Haven’s rampart defenders killed the Dragon. The battle went awry for the Snowbrook Haven defenders when a shard was placed in the fortress. The shard was destroyed, but not before it caused great chaos throughout the fortress. The resistance forces were able to secure the Aegis of Blindness and abandon Snowbrook Haven while it was finally overrun. While the fortress was lost, this was viewed as a military success, as much of Valdis’ army was defeated, his camp was destroyed, his best dragon was slain, and he had failed to get the Aegis of Blindness. The resistance now possessed half of the Aegis, the Aegis of Death and the Aegis of Blindness. Bolstered by their victories, and by Valdis’ obvious faltering, hundreds joined the growing resistance.
It was believed that the Aegis of Sight was located in the city of Kalrathia. Valdis had ruled this city since his war began, keeping order with his Morden guards and by allowing very little water to its denizens. However, the resistance attacked the water wells that fed Kalrathia and secured them. Losing his bargaining chip over the city, the Kalrathians rebelled. With the aid of the resistance, the Morden occupation was pushed out of Kalrathia. A traitor under Valdis’ command poisoned Lord Kalrathia, the child who had inherited rule of Kalrathia and who had orchestrated the rebellion. The Aegis of Sight was given to the resistance.
Picking up momentum, the resistance quickly assaulted the Morden city of Darthrul, wiping out all of the Morden within. Many viewed this as the beginning of the end for Valdis. With little opposition, the resistance entered the Mines of Kaderak, where the shards were harvested. The miner beasts were slain and the shards were destroyed. Above the mine was the lair of the Dark Wizards, who held the Aegis of Life. In a fierce battle, four of the lesser Dark Wizards were killed and the Aegis of Life was recovered. A fierce blow had been struck to Valdis.
Kalrathia had a carefully guarded secret. Beneath the city laid a portal to the Agallan Giants. It had never been used, but was discovered when the foundations were being dug for the city. Several resistance leaders entered the portal, finding within the portal the lost mountaintop fortress of the surviving Agallans. The resistance emerged with the Shield of Azunai – reforged and stronger than the original, as it now contained the medallion piece that Elandir had originally not included.
The resistance embarked to Zaramoth’s Horns, the fortress of Valdis, to strike the final blow, ending the war. In a massive battle and through much loss of life, the resistance cleaved their way through the fortress defenders. Even Valdis’ elite soldiers could not stand up to the fury of the resistance fighters with the aide of Azunai’s impervious shield. Finally, Valdis was reached on the top of the fortress.
Valdis easily slaughtered many of the resistance fighters. Sensing defeat of the resistance, the Arch Mage appeared, telling Valdis that he had led Valdis to Zaramoth’s Horns, and the Arch Mage had orchestrated the entire war so he could obtain the Shield of Azunai. In a rage, Valdis attempted to break the Shield of Azunai, but Zaramoth’s Sword instead broke over the shield. The mage took the Shield of Azunai and the fragments of Zaramoth’s sword and disappeared. On the top of the fortress was a strange object, known as the Eye of Zaramoth, which emitted an intense beam of power. Following the sword of Zaramoth’s breaking, the Eye of Zaramoth was activated and blowing a gaping hole through Valdis, and then incinerating him. Immediately following the sword’s breaking, the skies grew red, and the fortress began collapsing. The resistance forces fled through portals returning them to various locations all over the Plain of Tears. Zaramoth’s Horns collapsed and was completely destroyed.
The Elves had been watching the climatic battle between the resistance and Valdis. During the Second Cataclysm, all of the Elven Elders save Celeb’hel perished when attempting to shield Aman’lu from the blast. These Elders had been controlling the chains of vision that all of the Elves were using to witness the battle. When the Elders died, the foresight of every Elf in Aranna was burned out.
However, the chaos did not end. The Second Age ended the same way as the First had. Earthquakes and fire ravaged central Aranna, burning and breaking it. The stars shifted, marking the beginning of the Third Age.
Chapter 11 – The Third Age
The Third Age was ushered in by chaos. The Isle of Greilyn sank under the Sea of Mists. The Elves, in anguish at the loss of their foresight and their Elders, offered no help to the Dryads. The Dryads and Hak’u made rafts and crossed the Kelaril Strait together. Neither side trusted each other, and the peace was short lived. The Dryads soon turned on the Hak’u and after slaying many, chased the survivors into the forests.
The city of Kalrathia was destroyed, sinking into the ground. None are believed to have survived. Queen Evangeline returned to the Northern Reaches to find the Human nation there completely scattered. She learned that the Humans in Kalrathia were destroyed, and the path to Windstone fortress was impossible to get to. She decided to keep her people in the north.
After the second cataclysm, the Morden quickly wasted away. They were concentrated in the Desert of Kelvera. There were two surviving groups of Morden.
Because the Morden had bound themselves to Zaramoth’s sword, upon its breaking the Morden began dying out. Those who allied themselves with the Arch Mage were able to stave off this disease. These Morden were known as the Ravagers. Kikrak the Mage led the Ravagers. The skin of the Ravagers was white and bore markings of the Arch Mage on them.
Those of the second group were known as the Refugees. They bore a sickly appearance, and were extremely weak and helpless. These Morden were dying from the effects of Zaramoth’s sword being broken. These Morden were completely broken, in body and mind. Upon the second cataclysm, the Morden fell unconscious, and when awoke, were sick and weak. While survivors of the second cataclysm attempted to help the Refugees by feeding them and providing medical aid, as they were not dangerous, these Morden quickly perished.
Resistance soon tangled with the Ravagers in the Azunite deserts, and after fierce fighting, Kikrak the Mage was slain, along with many of his soldiers.
Dwarves came from Ehb searching for mine wealth. After nothing was found in the Kaderak Mines, the Dwarves prepared to leave. However, the Arch Mage appeared to them in the form of a Dwarf and led them to the Glorydeep Mine, where the exit was blocked off, and the Dwarves were forced to excavate the Cinbri city for the Arch Mage, in preparation for his plans.
A year following the Second Cataclysm, the resistance movement, for the most part fell to pieces. However, a remnant force of the resistance continued to hunt the Arch Mage without success across Aranna. The Arch Mage, in the disguise of the Azunite Scholar, was last seen instructing a young wizard named Kanred. The Arch Mage had the young wizard attempt to use more magic than he could hold. The reaction resulted in Kanred going insane. It is believed that the Arch Mage was doing this to remove any wizards who may have been strong enough to pose a threat to him.
Dryad fighters soon hunted down and slew Kanred. The Dryads became the leaders of the new resistance movement in the wake of the Second Cataclysm. The Dryads’ actions can be attributed to the presence of a “Great Leader,” whom they would not reveal much information about to other races. The Great Leader was actually the Arch Mage in yet another disguise. The Dryads acted much differently than they had prior to the Second Cataclysm. They acted warlike and intolerant of other races. Humans and Dwarves were viewed as excess weight, but the Dryads protected them. The Dryads set up a series of outposts throughout the Plain of Tears. The Dryads believed themselves to be the only race strong enough to lead Aranna. They called their task of ruling Aranna the Great Work. They became the only race that was working towards a positive goal of rebuilding.
New hostiles that were monsters pieced together by two or more beings began appearing. These were the creations of the Familiars. The second cataclysm had destroyed their prison, and the Familiar Surgeons went freely throughout the Plain of Tears, abducting and changing anything they came across into their minions. These minions were known as the Bound.
While enroute to Aman’lu, Resistance encountered and killed Celeb’hel the Elder, whom was the ruler of Aman’lu. The Arch Mage had driven him insane. When resistance forces reached the Elf town of Aman’lu, it was almost entirely overrun by the Bound. A guarded wall split through Aman’lu, protecting the few remaining populace. The town was now split in half, known as Old Aman’lu and New Aman’lu.
The resistance learned of the Familiars from the Elves in Aman’lu. The Elves did not wish to aid the resistance, having given up entirely on surviving, feeling futile now that their foresight was gone. The resistance headed through the destroyed remains of the Vai’lutra forest. Along the way, a small alliance was formed with the Vai’kesh, though the Vai’kesh later betrayed the resistance. In the ensuing battle at the Vai’kesh stronghold, all of the Vai’kesh were slain.
The resistance raided the Familiar prison, known as Calennor Stronghold, where the Familiars’ dark processes were discovered. The Familiars ripped their victims apart and built new creatures from the parts of different races and animals, and infused metal and other materials to make them more lethal. A Familiar Surgeon was found at this base, and after a fierce battle, was killed.
During this time, Celeb’hel was discovered to be alive. He had created four bodies for himself, called Simulacrum, and sent them out to acquire knowledge for him to do a spell. One Simulacrum was sent to the Arch Mage, another to the Vai’kesh, and the third to Calennor Stronghold. The Simulacrum were not expected to return. Rather, when they died, they left behind a stone called a Soul Stone, which contained all of the knowledge that individual had learned. The spell Celeb’hel wanted to use had only been done twice in history, and required information learned from various regions of Aranna that the Simulacrum had gained. In theory, it would allow the caster to force his will upon the world, and change whatever he saw fit. However, it is said that a specter of an ancient Azunite appeared and warned Celeb’hel that this spell was a spell that was built on chaos, and that it never gave its desired effect. Celeb’hel blamed himself for the loss of the foresight, and attempted the spell. The spell failed to work, and Celeb’hel was killed in the process.
The resistance raided a second Familiar stronghold in the Vai’lutra forests. The resistance was brutal, and slaughtered every individual within the stronghold, including a second Familiar Surgeon. The Elves sent their mages to the two Familiar strongholds and performed many purification methods to purge any traces of the Familiars; the Elves would take no chances with the Familiars again.
Word spread quickly through Aranna that the Dryads had completed their own city, where their leader, a male Dryad, ruled from. This city was called Solanum. The Elves managed to piece together that the Arch Mage was the Great Leader of the Dryads. The Elves opened a portal that led to Solanum. When the resistance entered the city, they forced their way to the Great Leader’s throne room to find the Arch Mage in the disguise as a Dryad male. The Arch Mage led the Dryad leaders through a portal to ‘their new homeland’. The Arch Mage left a Familiar war-beast to face the resistance while he escaped through the portal. The resistance overwhelmed and killed the creature, and followed through the weakening portal. However, the portal did not take them to the desired location.
The resistance was sent into the Glorydeep Mine, the Dwarves were discovered excavating the Cinbri city. The resistance killed the Dwarves’ overseers and Familiar guards. Together, with the Dwarves, the resistance stormed Cinbri City and cut through the Familiars protecting it. The resistance reached the Gateway Chamber, where the Arch Mage was attempting to work a spell that would transfer the soul of Zaramoth from the sword to the Arch Mage’s body in an effort to become Zaramoth Reborn. Only a creature as powerful as Zaramoth would be able to open the portal to the Cinbri home world, the Shadow Realms. It had been closed in the First Cataclysm, and the Arch Mage wanted it opened again.
The spell was completed, and the Arch Mage took on the form of Zaramoth. The Arch Mage opened the portal to the Shadow Realms, only to find it completely destroyed and deserted. The resistance engaged him. The Dryads realized that they had been tricked and aided the resistance. While he easily fought off the aggressors, the Arch Mage was slain when a spike in the ceiling of the portal room fell and impaled him. The Sword of Zaramoth, having undergone so much damage, disintegrated. The ensued fighting caused the Cinbri city to begin collapsing. The resistance evacuated their forces and the Dwarves from the mine through the portal they had come by as the entire city was destroyed as it collapsed on itself along with Solanum. Zaramoth, the Familiars, and the Arch Mage were finally defeated. With the sword of Zaramoth gone, the remaining Morden Ravagers perished, ending the reign of these invaders.
The Dryads felt betrayed, but were able to continue on just as strongly as before. They now had more respect and tolerance for other races, for it had only been the Arch Mage who had told them to be intolerant of others. Finala the Elf became the new leader of Aman’lu. With the waters of Aman’lu purified, the Vai’lutra forest began growing itself once again without any issue, now that the Vai’kesh were gone. The Dwarves who were forced to mine and excavate the Cinbri city returned to Ehb, promising to return with help. Princess Evangeline became the Queen of the Northern Reaches, and the Dryad Taar became her advisor. The Dryads began aiding the other races in the rebuilding process.
Chapter 12 – Atonement
One year after the Arch Mage was defeated, a renewed interest grew in the Agallan lands. This began with the explorer Joseph Verland mapping out the islands and noting that the land was fertile and full of life and promise. While Ehb was aiding the land of the Plain of Tears rebuilding itself, many became attracted to the idea of starting over. Hundreds of traders and explorers flocked to these lands, which were named the Broken Lands. However, several others traveled there for reasons more than just starting over.
Serin, an Elf who somehow never lost her ability of foresight, saw apocalyptic images coming from the Agallan lands. She traveled there for answers. Mogrim Frosthammer, a Half Giant, believed that salvation for the Half-Giants was in the Broken Lands. Queen Evangeline came to the Broken Lands in search of the Shield of Azunai. Taar the Dryad mage, also traveled to the Broken Lands after learning of a corrupt forest on one of its islands. The last surviving Hak’u traveled to the Broken Lands for a new beginning, to create their own society again. Droog traders and explorers, the new sea power of Aranna, began exploring the islands throughout the Broken Lands.
Many of these individuals were traveling on the ship Dorian Hawk, when it sank. The survivors washed ashore on several different islands. Many made their way to the town of Seahaven. In Seahaven, the two legendary explorers Fedwyrr and Klars were found, very much alive. Apparently, through their travels, the two had found the source of immortality, and now lived a quiet live in Seahaven.
Taar noticed that the magical Lay-lines of the River of Souls had been shifted during the cataclysm, tainting magic, and would cause many who attempted to use magic to go insane if the Lay-lines were not changed back.
Human wizards in black cloaks were raiding farms surrounding Seahaven, preying upon the denizens there. These Humans were in a cult known as the Cult of the Beast, which was located within a massive corrupted tree. This tree had become corrupted after the cataclysm when the Lay-lines shifted. If the tree was not destroyed or purified, the surrounding forests would become corrupted. The explorers managed to destroy the Cult of the Beast, and Taar was able to purify the great tree and the parts of the forest that had been corrupted, saving it.
Traveling to a different part of the island, Serin and Mogrim found a fortress built by the 10th Legion. The Legion had also traveled to the Broken Lands to help the settlers establish their lands safely. However, their base, the Citadel of Drahn, was under siege by a race of druid lizards known as the Vagar. The Vagar had lived on the islands since the Agallans had. Since the Agallan’s disappearance, the Vagar had worshipped them. The Vagar get their language and spells from the Agallan tomes and writings. The Vagar felt that the 10th Legion were invaders. Upon meeting with the 10th Legion leaders at the citadel, Captains Aenadin and Gorelin, it was determined that there was a group of Vagar who did not wish to fight. Since no one at the citadel could speak the Vagar language, Vagar’isal, Serin and Mogrim traveled to find the pacifist Vagar sect.
After finding the sect, the Vagar pacifists were able to cease the fighting between the 10th Legion and the Vagar. The Vagar explained that they were wary of intruders since the Agallan city had begun to rise. The Vagar then showed the location of the long-destroyed city of Agalla, which was rising from the seas. The Vagar then led Serin and Mogrim to the mountaintop citadel where the last Agallans dwelled.
Meeting with Elandir, Mogrim learned about how Malith had betrayed the Giants, and had been placed on the Throne of Agony. If the Half Giants were ever to atone for their sins, a Half Giant would have to slay Malith. Malith herself was able to leave the throne for short times, and was using her powers to corrupt other beings in the city ruins, twisting them to her plots. To Serin, the Agallans explained that the Elven foresight could be restored with a spell that was located within Agalla.
The two entered Agalla, and slew Malith’s forces. The two then reached Malith. She ripped herself from the throne and fought the two. However, Mogrim was able to slay her. However, he sensed no difference, but then understood what he had to do. Mogrim sat in the Throne of Agony. He was impaled with its massive thorns, dying immediately. However, this act of repentance was what atoned the Half Giants for their betrayal.
From that day on, no more Half Giants would be born with the markings that all Half Giants previously had, a symbol that they had atoned. Serin recovered the spell, and was able to restore foresight to the Elves across all of Aranna. Taar was able to restore the Lay-lines to their original setting, removing the taint from magic, and saving more forests from becoming corrupted. She then returned to the Northern Reaches as Evangeline’s attendant. Evangeline located the Shield of Azunai, and returned it to Elandir, where she had Elandir unmake it. An item of that power had destroyed Aranna twice before, and she wanted to ensure that it could never happen again.
With the aide of the forces from Ehb, all of Aranna was able to slowly rebuild itself. At one point, several decades after the Half Giants’ atonement, the corrupt King Easar II of Ehb attempted to seize control of Aranna, but the league of the Blood Assassins assassinated him, and order was restored. The class of warriors known as the Blood Assassins would become well known for preying upon the corrupt and evil rulers. While the Third Age began with chaos, it now offers hope for the future.
In these days, it is important to remember our past, especially when our future is unknown. I hope that this document has been useful to the all who read it, now that light has been shed on our history.
All who have lived in our land of Aranna should know that they step on the grounds where many heroes fought for us. They fought for the peace that we now live in. They sacrificed all they could to make the Aranna we live in today a place where we can raise our children, use magic, or make our lives whatever we wish it to be.
But alas, enough from me. My pen hand is tired, I can write no more.
Always there to serve and enlighten,
~Scribe of King Rathmor
~Year 147, Third Age
~Kingdom of Ehb
Written by Connor “Lone Knight” Norman