What Came Before
In the beginning, there existed nothing but the Yss; a black void in which existed the spirit of that which was called Tau. From whence Tau came into the Yss, none has offered conjecture. It is only stated that the Yss has always been, and for all time, Tau resided therein.
For the first millennia of Its existence, Tau wandered the vastness of the Yss. Tau often thought to Itself, "What is my purpose?" Long Tau thought on this for many millennia, until a new thought came to Tau. A thought that hadn't occurred before. In that thought, Tau saw the Yss as not an empty void, but as a space teeming with great vessels. As thought of this reached Tau's consciousness, the Yss became filled with all manner of celestial bodies, great and small. Some burned with a brilliance that lighted the Yss, and Tau at last was able to see the vastness of It's creation. And It was filled with great joy.
It came to pass that Tau wandered the Yss, which It now named Koh, and reveled in the complexity of It's creation. Many of the glowing orbs had about them smaller bodies which did not shed light of their own, but rather consumed the light and warmth provided by the larger shining bodies that Tau had named 'stars'. These smaller bodies, Tau had taken to calling 'planets'. To each planet and star, Tau gave a name. Tau ordered the planets and stars into patterns that pleased It's curiosity, and this kept Tau busy and happy for many millennia more.
However, the time came when Tau again wondered to Itself, "Is this all there is?"
And Tau considered this thought for hundreds of millennia more as It wandered through the heavens, ordering It's planets and stars, until at last It came to rest in a distant corner of the Koh. Here, in this corner, there existed a small young star that Tau had named Nluu. Around Nluu there circled 7 planets of modest size; Myyrh, Luth, Sai, Gul, Sund, Besh, and Kalthig. The five inner bodies were hot, barren spheres of rock and dense metals. The outermost planet, Kalthig, was a frozen, ice-covered ball. But the sixth planet, Besh, was a warm planet that contained large oceans of liquid water, and several large land-masses about the planet's equator. And witnessing the first sunrise of the first day, Tau was again filled with great gladness.
The Time of Creation and the Beginning of the First Age
(C.T. 1 through C.T. 105,030)
Tau watched the planet Besh for a thousand years, and considered what might be special about this planet, that it alone should have such a hospitable appearance, where all the others of Its creation did not. Desiring to understand more about the planet Besh which had been created through It's own pondering, Tau created something more in Its own image of Itself. This creation It called Jakkohb. Tau breathed life into Jakkohb, and gave unto Him the Gift of Making which Tau had used in Its creation of the Koh. Thus did Tau send Jakkohb down to the firmament of Besh to examine and order those things of It's creation.
Jakkohb arrived upon the face of Besh to greet the first dawning of His life, as the face of Nluu rose in the eastern sky, and Jakkohb marveled at its beauty. For many long years Jakkohb wandered the seven land masses of Besh, which He named; Oast'tam, Kargliv, Kraa, Gendarth, Vermé, Myyrhdrax, and Pav Yron (or, as a group, as He called The Seven Brothers). Jakkohb noted the growth of flowering plants, towering trees, and fragrant grasses during his long travels. But He was also saddened that nothing save himself could bear witness to the wonder and beauty that Tau, had achieved. And so it came to pass, that Jakkohb, using some of the magic instilled in him by Tau, created many animals that wandered the meadow, birds that sailed the skies, and fishes that swam in the waters. But Jakkohb also found that two of the continents — Oast'tam and Pav Yron — being in the far reaches of the northern and southern hemispheres respectively, would not sustain creations as Jakkohb envisioned them. And thus it was that these lands remained devoid of life for many long centuries, until the Later Years when other beings of divine origin turned their attentions to these regions.
Tau, however, was angered that the creations of Jakkohb should become parasites, feeding off the living world of It's imagining. And in It's anger, Tau created Man to domesticate the animals of Jakkohb. After many long years, the many tribes of Man had slain the creations of Jakkohb for sport, and lived not in harmony with the creations of the Second. Thus it was that Jakkohb shared the Gift of Making with those tribes of Man who venerated the animals, birds, and fishes of His creation. But some tribes of Man, using the gifts of Jakkohb, sought to mould the environment and the animals that he shared it with to his own needs and desires.
The Sarngoch Period
(C.T. 105,031 through C.T. 225,500)
In time the Numbers of Man came to worship either Tau or Jakkohb, who had formed a delicate truce. And from both, Man received gifts both great and small. Those who followed Tau used of the Gift of Making, and sought to understand more fully the nature of Besh through careful study and science. And with their learnings, they found a part of the Gift of Making untaught and unknown even by Jakkohb. These learnings the Men of Tau scribed into great texts, so that they could gain powers greater than those of the Gift of Making. And these learned Men came to be called the Sarngoch; the wizards.
The Men who followed Jakkohb became lovers of nature, and regarded the animals that they shared the land with as equals. In these Men, the Gift of Making ran deeply and truly as they learned how to use their skills, and in so learning, worked to improve the beauty and well-being of the land about them. In time, these Men would come to be known as the Il'cris, or Elves as it is read in the common speech. And the Il'cris worshipped and paid homage to Jakkohb for many long centuries. And during this time also, the number of Man grew and multiplied. Many tribes spread across the five continents. And the Il'cris created many villages, great and small. The greatest of these was called Kahl'vaed, or First Home as it is rendered in the common tongue. Kahl'vaed was said to exist on a large peninsula of Vermé called Parad'yse. And it was that Parad'yse would undergo a tumultuous transformation during the Second Dragon War which very nearly would destroy the entire race of the Il'cris.
But one among the early Sarngoch studied the Gift of Making long years in secret. This Man was called Yyyd'emsk, and was the king of a great nation of tribes. During this long era, the life of a single Man was long, and it was not unusual that one Man would live to see the birthing of five generations from his seed. But King Yyyd'emsk fathered no offspring, so absorbed in his studies was he. Through the long years and centuries of his life, Yyyd'emsk finally accumulated sufficient power to cause Tau and Jakkohb to fear the Sarngoch king's intentions. And although King Yyyd'emsk and his people remained loyal to Tau, It nonetheless placed a curse of blindness on the King, robbing from him his sight, so that no longer would Yyyd'emsk be able to study his texts and tomes of the Gift of Making. And thus it was that Yyyd'emsk pleaded with Jakkohb to remove the curse. But He refused the stricken king. Angered, Yyyd'emsk promised revenge against both Tau and Jakkohb. And then did the Blind King retreat deep into the dark passages and caverns within the mountains. And it was many long years before Yyyd'emsk would return to vent his wrath against Tau and Jakkohb.
And then it happened that the mortal worshippers of both Tau and Jakkohb grew suspicious of the Sarngoch tribes once ruled by Yyyd'emsk. And for many long years did the Sarngoch tribes of Tau, and the Il'cris followers of Jakkohb execute persecutions against Yyyd'emsk's former subjects. And these tribes lived in pitiful conditions, where disease and pestilence often ran rampant. And no deity did these folk celebrate, for neither Tau nor Jakkohb would pay heed to their prayers. Century upon century these former Sarngoch lost all but the most rudimentary connections they once had with the Gift of Making. And many became little more than the wild animals. And these beings were called Yyrch. All tribes of the Yyrch then became fragmented, and they were dispersed by both the Sarngoch and the Il'cris. Those of smaller stature who yet held some of the Gift of Making were pitied by the Il'cris. From among these came many of the sylvan races; brownies, gnomes, sylphs, faeries, and nymphs among others. The others of the Yyrch had less or none of the Gift of Making, and they became the dwarves, gnolls, and goblins among others.
But the 'true' Yyrch became dark and of vile temperament because of the crimes committed against them. Many of these retreated into the passes beneath the mountains, in a vain effort to find once again the Blind King. These beings would disappear from the memory of the Sarngoch and Il'cris as they remained beneath the ground for century beyond century. But they would return to exact their revenge against the surface world.
Of the other Sarngoch of Yyyd'emsk, they forever turned their back on the gods. And forever after, these tribes would be called Human. Which in the old tongue of the Sarngoch—hhu'mahni—means 'the Forsaken Man'. At this time, humans became shorter lived, lessened somewhat in stature, and held less connection with the Gift of Making than did the Sarngoch and the Il'cris.
The Period of Great Expansion
(C.T. 225,501 through C.T. 315,750)
Ever was Yyyd'emsk angered by the treatment his tribes suffered at the hands of the Sarngoch and Il'cris alike, for after many long years of searching vainly in the dark under-paths of the mountains, the Yyrch tribes found the new kingdom of the Blind King. And it came that in time one among the Yyrch proved to have intelligence and wisdom far greater than that of his brethren. This creature came to the attention of the Blind King, and the king watched him grow and develop for many long years. And through the harsh life in caverns deep and dark that the Yyrch had been forced into, this unique soul (which Yyyd'emsk would name after himself, much like a father would name a son, and would come to be known as Id among the ranks of the divine) discovered the Gift of Making, much as Yyyd'emsk had when he still lived among the Sarngoch. And with the Gift of Making, Id sought to uncover the mysteries of his existence. He used methods both grievous and kind in his pursuit of knowledge, for he cared not in particular what became of his race. His only concern became that of knowledge.
Id was then guided to a huge cavern deep beneath the mortal lands. And there, he constructed a city wherein lived many thousands of creatures borne of Yyrch-kind, though not Yyrch themselves. And these creatures came to worship Id with the blessing of the Blind King. And some of these, Id sent forth to the lands of light to be the representatives of his master in the lands of the Sarngoch and Il'cris. The two chief among these were powerful beings. The first of these two was to observe the magics practiced by the Sarngoch, and guide them as Yyyd'emsk Himself would bid, for he yet held some of the strength of the Sarngoch within his mind and body. This being was called Entioch.
The second, and the twin sister of Entioch, was tasked with the researching of all things that grow upon the surface of Besh, for Yyyd'emsk missed these things greatly. And He sought to create like things in the dark places of the earth for the enjoyment of the Yyrch. This being was named Sol, and frequently would she fly among the birds during her observations of the world below.
And some among Sarngoch and humankind alike began to worship both Entioch and Sol as gods, who grew to enjoy a power and influence of their own. And where Sol was kind, Entioch became vile and wicked. Until at last The Twins became the polar opposite of one another.
Angered at the pride of Yyyd'emsk to set beings not of It's own works as gods upon Tau's own creation, It sought revenge; not to balance the existence of The Twins, but It desired to destroy them with deities of It's own.
It was during this time that Tau took forth a female Sarngoch; a woman of surpassing beauty and wisdom, and her name was Beatrice. The woman was born of a noble family from a remote city state called Bodibeve; strong was she with the Gift of Making. And raising Beatrice to his divine home, Tau sired three children—The Triplets; Avitori, Caelis, and Archiopterus. And The Triplets sought to impose law and order among all the creatures of Besh.
But it came to pass that even Jakkohb came to resent the presence of the six lesser deities created by both Yyyd'emsk and Tau, and fearing that the ultimate freedom of creatures to live as they so desired would be hindered and punished by their agents, Jakkohb called to his minions for the three most faithful among them. Those who valued freedom of will beyond all other desires. And to Him he received Orvvite, Bolc, and Zineblix; each a cleric, a druid, and a magic-user respectively. And to these he gifted part of the Gift of Making that existed within Him, such that Jakkohb's power was somewhat diminished upon the mortal planes. Even now, it is recorded that Jakkohb must be summoned by Orvvite, Bolc, and Zineblix jointly if He is to appear upon the mortal world. Sadly it is thus that Jakkohb has not returned to mortal lands since the conclusion of the Kahl'drago Karg. But those events recorded hereafter.
And it passed that the mortal lands would come to be ruled not by Tau, and Jakkohb, and Yyyd'emsk, but rather by the divine creations of those three; Archiopterus, Avitori, Bolc, Caelis, Entioch, Id, Orvvite, Sol, and Zineblix. And the struggles between these nine were many, and would greatly influence the course of mortal history through war, treachery, and disaster.
The Coming of the Dragons and the Kahl'drago Karg
(C.T. 315,751 through C.T. 457,517)
Once a great magician, Zineblix was a man from a great tribe of Sarngoch that resided upon the slopes of the great mountains now known as the Arse of Gehenna. But the powerful wizard became intoxicated with the new-found powers blessed upon him by Jakkohb, and he sought to make his own creations to send forth to do his bidding. And thus did Zineblix create the fire drakes; red dragons of terrific size, and terrible demeanor to destroy the works of those who did not follow the teachings of Jakkohb.
In response, it was Avitori who captured several of the dragons of Zineblix, and taking them, he changed them, and turned them to judgmental goodness; righteous beings to do Tau's bidding. And these dragons were of bright golden color, and rode the currents of the bright day in shimmering sunlight. And thus it was that ever after the red dragons of Zineblix, and the gold dragons of Avitori were the bitterest of enemies.
Seeing the works of both Zineblix and of Avitori, Archiopterus grew envious, and stealing the Gift of Making held by Zineblix, created her own dragons. And these were green, and terrible, and viciously devoted to the goddess. The poisonous gases of the green dragons slew many of the red drakes of Zineblix, and no few of Avitori's golds.
To Zineblix's aid came Orvvite — for this was at a time before the Lord of Corruption became irredeemably evil. For the gold and green dragons imposed unacceptable law upon the peoples of Vermé, and demanded unyielding order and obedience. And she took the strongest of the golds, and the mightiest of the green, and with them, created the brass dragons. But these creatures became unpredictable, and often selfish creatures that Orvvite found at times difficult to control. And Orvvite banished the brass dragons to inhabit hot, dry climates, away from the populations of the humans, whom she loved.
But Orvvite was not satisfied, and she took the mightiest of the brass dragons, and mated it with a sympathetic gold, and thus was born the first bronze dragon. A conversational and friendly creature, but nonetheless still selfish. And these the goddess sent to the aid of Zineblix.
Thus in the year C.T. 295,734 did begin that which was called the Kahl'drago Karg in the First Language, or the First Dragon War in the common tongue. And therein did the red dragons of Zineblix and the brass dragons of Orvvite do battle against the gold dragons of Avitori and the green dragons of Archiopterus. The brass dragons kept to their deep caverns in the hot deserts, and did not emerge until the ending of the War. The Kahl'drago Karg struggles lasted for hundreds of millennia, and during that time entire civilizations were destroyed, and many others were born and thrived on the foundations of those that came before. And long before the end came, even the memories of the gods obscured the original reason for the struggles. And more dragon species were created in vain efforts to bring forth a victory on either side; blacks, blues, bronzes, silvers, and whites.
In vain attempts at placating the Dragon Flights, humans began to worship the great beasts as gods themselves. And many false religions were born during this time dedicated to the prideful dragons, who set themselves up as kings and queens, claiming great swaths of land as their own. One such religion was established near the summit of the Arse of Gehenna. The subject of this temple was a red dragon of the largest and most ancient type. The beast was known as Tuhlikhan. And Tuhlikhan was a fierce and independent creature, full of hate and malice. The great red dragon devised a medallion of terrible magic, and poured into it the Gift of Making. And using the medallion, she birthed a force of arms that would cover all the lands about the mountain. And these hordes were known as dragon hordlings, and they were a terrible, deformed, and tormented race; a horrific merging of human or elf and dragon. And their minds were eaten away by hatred and malice until they despised everything that walked under the vision of the gods, and they wrecked a terrible havoc among Sarngoch, Il'cris, human, and yyrch.
At this time did enter the beneficial goddess Sol, who—with Bolc and Caelis—remained uninvolved in the struggles of the Kahl'drago Karg. And seeing the torment brought into the world, called rank upon rank of heroic human-kind. And to these mortals she gifted immortality. Against the dragon hordling forces of Tuhlikhan did the angelic forces of Sol battle. For as the hordling creatures flew in the sky, so did the beings of Sol bear great eagle's wings. And for many days and nights battle waged among the skies over all of Vermé. And in final triumph did the forces of Sol destroy or drive into secret hiding places the hordes of Tuhlikhan. But because the hordling medallion of Tuhlikhan was not destroyed, the hordlings remained in thrall to the red dragon queen. And though they remained hidden in secret places, they thrived, and grew again in numbers large enough to once again threaten the lands. Tuhlikhan herself retreated deep in her caverns, and was not heard from again. Even now, her reputed hiding place is the subject of treasure hunters, and adventurers.
With the end of the Kahl'drago Karg came a period of uneasy peace, and the end of the First Age of known history.
The Drago'nith Karg, and the Coming of the Dragon Gods
(D.K. 1 through D.K. 8,869)
A great center of hhu'mahni learning did rise under the guidance of a wise and gracious host upon the Plains of Parad'yse. Under the watchful eye of its king, the host of the Omanthrid del Rhin did amass a vast store of knowledge, for they prized the written word beyond all other treasures. Scribes did search each caravan into the Golden Kingdom for all manner of tome and parchment. And each that was discovered was painstakingly copied by an army of monks. And once copied, the original was graciously returned to its rightful owner.
But hubris is being ever the companion of learning, where wisdom does not prevail. As so it was that the kings of Omanthrid del Rhin did fall into the ways of the miser. But these kings did not horde gold and treasure, for ever did the thirst for greater knowledge gnaw at their ego. And to ever greater risk did these kings of men go to acquire knowledge. Until at last their pursuits upon mortal lands would no longer slack their thirst. And a last king of the Omanthrid de Rhin did amass a great host. And before this host he placed a man of the greatest learning, and he held much magic, and power. And this magician, for he was not of the Sarngoch peoples, did in fact open a portal into another place and time. And his task it was to return to Omanthrid del Rhin with learnings beyond this world.
And the young king, whose name is remembered only as Jervais the Black, did wait for many long years for the magician and his host to return.
Upon a moonless night in the depths of winter did the magician return. And he came alone, and as an ancient being beyond the counting of mortal years, wild eyed and insane he seemed. And into the hands of Jervais did he place a large volume. The book, though none bore witness to the exchange, is recalled by the following description;
Upon delivering the book unto Jervais, the old magician did at last succumb, for he wailed as if struck by some unimaginable horror, and ran from the chamber into the night. Though never seen again by mortal eyes, ever after did folk tell tales of the magician's cries of terror upon a moonless midnight.
It was many long days before Jervais dared to open the book, for even to lay his hand upon the leather-bound volume caused a shiver of fear to race through the old king's blood. But upon a full moon did Jervais the Black at last dismiss his caution, as he opened the lock upon the book. But the knowledge within did burn the king wickedly, and the writings upon its pages did burst forth with violence and evil. And before the next rising of the sun was the kingdom, and all the lands about, laid waste. And the Plains of Parad'yse were shattered. And the Peninsula of Parad'yse was at that time sundered, and a great island was thus created, and was named Parad'yse Isle. And the Isle was separated forever more from Vermé by the great ocean. And upon that great island, the ancient elven kingdom of Kahl'vaed was lost to mortal history, and its fate is not here recorded. And the lands of the Plains of Parad'yse became naught but a thousand fold of broken desert islands. And these came to be called the Omanthrid Archipelago.
Legend of evil book's demise — in later years, the book came to be named dar Kuaz de Omanthrid — did reach across the years and across all the lands. And ever did the forces of good try to recover it to destroy it, and ever did the forces of evil attempt to find it, to unleash its horrible power.
And into such a quest did a young paladin by the name of Jonas the Lawful cross the lands from north to south, and east to west. The paladin's travels carried him through many trials, and won him great renown throughout all the lands. And in many places, his feats and legend still exist as great accounts and high acclaim.
Upon a day, it came that Jonas happened across a large cavern, and a sense of evil and forboding overcame the paladin, and into the dark cavern he entered. And therein the paladin happened across a sleeping dragon, and she was a fiery red drake and daughter of Zineblix. The drake's name was Khurigheeri the Ruby, and she was a favored child of her god for all her strength and majesty.
But it was the evil and chaotic nature of the dragon that drew Jonas to the deepest chambers of the dragon's lair. And therein, Jonas encountered the slumbering drake. And with a prayer to Avitori, Jonas drew his weapon — a great bastard sword named Ravankaval — and Jonas plunged the blade deep into Khurigheeri's skull. The dragon died without even the knowledge of the paladin's presence.
The slaying of Khurigheeri awoke the dragon's sisters and brothers across all the continent. And they arose to wreck vengeance upon the hhu'mahni lands. And these new struggles came to be called the Drago'nith Karg, or, the Second Dragon War. This period of war and strife cursed the lands for a thousand years, and many tribes hhu'mahni and yyrch alike were destroyed or driven from the lands completely.
Some of these latter tribes are thought to have plied the wide expanses of oceans to the large continent of Gendarth. There it is said that the hhu'mahni constructed a large and powerful city of many towers. But the true fact of these tales have never been proved.
During the long bloody history of the Second Dragon War, the numbers of the Sarngoch peoples began to diminish, and their power to wane. Eventually, the once powerful Sarngoch tribes retreated to secret hidden cities and palaces until at last they were encountered but rarely upon the continent.
With the absence of the Sarngoch mages, the tide of battle turned violently against the hhu'mahni, the il'cris, and the yyrch. And for many decades war ravaged the lands, and all seemed bleak for the future of all Mankind.
And into this setting arose a new power; the majesty of music, song, and poem.
The legions of hhu'mahni, il'cris, and yyrch armies throughout the War began employing the talents of troubadours, poets, and bards to bolster the strength and morale of the fighting men and women on both sides. These Verméan bards discovered the secret of the Gift of Making through their music and poetry, and they became a powerful force unto themselves, and remain so to this day.
Late in the War, the copper and brass hordlings petitioned with their goddess Orvvite to create hordlings of their own to supplement and support the legions of hhu'mahni in an effort to turn the tide of fate before it was too late. But Orvvite refused their request. And so in secret did the copper and brass lords create the copper and brass hordlings. And in a decisive battle upon the Bodibeve Plateau these metallic hordlings made their first military appearance. And so shocked at their ferocity were the chromatic forces, that they were forced into in an unordered retreat. And though the War would last for many hundreds more years, the decline of the evil chromatic armies was ever weakening the forces of their dragon lords.
At the end, a peace was negotiated between the force of the metallic dragons and the forces of the chromatic dragons. The agreement lead to a long period of peace across the continent, and allowed the dragons to remain on the continent. But the chief of the dragon lords on both sides — Jasal'aran and Zzemal — agreed to remove themselves from mortal lands. In exchange, these two dragons would become the gods of dragon-kind.
The ending of the Drago'nith Karg would usher in the period of mortal strength and power.
The To'Drago Karg and the Ending of the Second Age
(D.K. 8,870 through D.K. 47,903)
Hhu'mahni kings, now in control of the continent following the Drago'nith Karg, prove the weakness of their character as many become corrupted in their continued pursuit of wealth and power. And many of the hhu'mahni rulers to turn to ways of evil and dark studies to these ends. And across the breadth of the continent, the il'cris and many yyrch remove themselves from the company of hhu'mahni. For the hhu'mahni with the shortness of their life span work feverishly to further their own desires and ambitions.
And now at this time of many changes in the course of mortal history did many nations of the il'cris depart the Verméan lands in search of long lost Kahl'vaed; ancient kingdom of the elven peoples, now lost to time upon the vanished island of Parad'yse. Only very few of the il'cris remained behind, and these folk came rarely into human lands.
And in the great city of Bodibeve, where the wide-spread corruption of human-kind did not yet poison the minds of the folk there, the populace did turn to the gods ever more fervently for guidance and salvation. And it came to pass, that this city would become the center-point of Avitorian worship. And here it would fall to the clerics and paladins to maintain order, law, goodliness.
But their quest for salvation did lead the peoples of this land to forsake old friendships with the il'cris and the yyrch. Prejudice would alienate the humans of Bodibeve from those would be their allies. But through their worship of Avitori would the kingdom over which the city ruled become strong, and convinced of its own superiority over others.
And from Bodibeve did emerge a paladin of humblest origin; Perciful. During a period of self-illumination, the young paladin received a visitation by Loe the elder. And Loe said unto the young paladin, "Perciful, you will travel to Simeraun. And thence, you will set sail across the Sea of Elysian upon a ship named the Sea Zephyr. After 28 days upon the ocean, you will see the land called Parad'yse, but there upon you shall not land. You will follow the land to the north and the west for a score more days. Upon the 63rd day from this day, you will come to a large bay with a narrow mouth. There, you shall wait."
A unto to the Sea Zephyr did Perciful travel, and he found the ship to be deserted. Yet, upon his arrival did the ship set sail. And upon the 63rd day, the ship arrived upon a far pristine bay. And he named the bay Far Seldear. And upon the shores of the bay Perciful witnessed a wondrous city of tall spires, artfully designed until the spires appeared as one with the surrounding forest. And into the bay Perciful witnessed score upon score of small row boats and canoes. It seemed to the paladin that the entire city population was plying the water way towards the Sea Zephyr.
Perciful lowered a net to the fast approaching refugees, and as they came into view, Perciful saw they were of the il'cris race. And as the last of the boats approached the Sea Zephyr, Perciful looked back to the shoreline and saw it was lined with thousands of dark-skinned, white haired warriors. They did not pursue the elves, for they had not boats themselves. Before long, they melted back into the wooded lands about the shoreline.
A great smoke began to rise from the city of spires as the Sea Zephyr raised anchor. And shortly, the tallest of the towers, that which was named the Tower of Eith Saran, fell, and crumbled to the forest floor.
And so it was that the lost il'cris tribes were returned to the Verméan continent by the paladin Perciful two millennia following their departure.
But Perciful's fate was to be realized upon the return voyage, for the paladin leapt from the deck of the Sea Zephyr onto the back of an enormous dragon turtle named Zzebrax the Deep, when the beast threatened to overturn the ship. The paladin rode the turtle's back beneath the waves as he stabbed repeatedly at the creature's neck.
And to the western coast of Vermé the Sea Zephyr sailed through storm-tossed waters to return the il'cris tribes. And upon making landfall, the tribes scattered, each going their separate way, avoiding contact with the other peoples of the continent where such was possible. But word of the il'cris' return did travel far and wide.
And whilst Perciful sacrificed his life for the sake of the il'cris, far away in the land of the Sarngoch fathers, a great kingdom was being raised. It is said, but not recorded, that refugees of the lost Sarngoch tribes founded the land now know as the Imperium Vallis. And this became a great center of learning, and many practitioners of necromantic feats did travel from far and wide to this place. And to rule over this great city, a Council of Mages was established. But this body also fell into corruption over many lives of men. And this corruption allowed powerful men who practiced dark magiks to seek ever greater powers.
And into the council appeared one who sought to control all the lands of Vermé and beyond for his own selfish purposes. And this man came to be known variously as Xerksis the Corruptible, Neriax the Elder, He Who Denies Death, and the Black Councilor. And Xerksis sought the power of the gods themselves. And ever it was his goal to become like the gods.
And through the efforts of Xerksis to become god-like, he sought the power of the dragons, for they were the stuff of the Gift of Making. And He recalled many of the chromatic beasts back from their centuries-long sleep. And to these he promised the wealth and power denied them by the truce made at the end of the Second Dragon War. And the evil creatures were easily swayed at the promise of revenge against those who denied them the victory they felt they so richly deserved.
And so the To'drago Karg was begun by Xerksis the Corruptible. And this war ravaged all the lands, and it was the bloodiest and most violent of conflicts since the Monith Quin. And during the many long centuries of this new war, many of dragon-kind died, and very few were birthed. And the numbers of the dragons —both chromatic and metallic — were reduced until only a hand-full were left. And these few retreated into secret hiding places to rest and recover.
And during this war were created many new species of beast, great and small. Among these came the six species of the mineral dragon. And these creatures were brought to Vermé by Ruakkslyth Ruaakgaan, deity of creatures of the earth, at the behest of Yyyd'emsk to shorten the war. And these creatures remained behind after the dragons departed, so that they may be called upon again, should the need arise.
At this time also did lesser creatures arise. Among them, the race of Man known as the halflings. It is said that these beings came about as those of hhu'mahni blood recoiled from the corruption that had permeated the human bloodlines. And these hhu'mahni grew short in stature to teach them the humbleness of their position with respect to the gods. And they were denied the Gift of Making that had become a powerful intoxicant in the hhu'mahni peoples. And the halfling folk returned to simple rural lives, and they prized the soil, and growing things above all other riches. And the halflings lead peaceful lives, and remained apart from the cities and villages of their human brothers and sisters, and never engaged in war and battle. And they came to be what the hhu'mahni should have been.
Carbonati Yinacoor; the Third Age of Known History
(C.Y. 1 through present day—approximately C.Y. 2,000)
Though the dragons withdrew from open war, the To'drago Karg was not resolved, and remains now a continuing threat to all peoples. The dragons now are encountered only rarely. And those who are ancient remember the days of their youth with no small bitterness. And these are deadly to behold; even those of gentle and goodly demeanor.
And the threat of the evil of Xerksis has never completely left the land, for the tyrant's fate is not truly known.
During the peaceful days which followed, the houses of the hhu'mahni arose again. And these tended to be somewhat less ambitious than during the previous age. And herein there arose the Five Kingdoms; the Conetoci Catvrvgi, dar Conuonuc rok'Gurcenou, the Kingdom of Maphan, the Mundilfari Kingdom, and the Rastschian Kingdom...
The Prophecies of Edric Mabilia
Edric Mabilia of a now extinct bardic following of Id, set down visions he had experienced over a lifetime of poetic composing. These portents of future events were set down in dozens of large volumes penned by the lorist priest between the years D.K. 8,751 and D.K. 8,839 near the end of the Second Dragon war. Individually, each of the bard's visions is referred to as a 'verse'. In all, there are well over 10,000 verses. The accuracy and legitimacy of the bard's verses is in doubt by some scholars, for the writings can be interpreted many ways, and often, the truth of the verses are not decipherable until after the events have occurred. The location of the original tomes themselves is not known. Their hiding place remains the stuff of legend and conjecture, and many false copies have appeared over the years.
The Usherwood Adventure, The Manuscripts of Edric Mabilia, introduces these prophecies as a corner stone of that adventure, as well as the importance of the Tower of Mysteries, and the bard PC classes within the campaign setting.
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