4121 BE: The merfolk came into existence with Drolfo Sitnalta, god of the sea, as their patron deity.
4037 BE: Drolfo told his followers to build a city between the islands of the Maw. The merfolk named the city Drolfo’s Cove in honor of their god.
3983 BE: On the island, Rontu-Aru, the great Egg Mother, Izquitl, created Cui-Xoloc, the tallest mountain in the world, to rest upon. The sheer faced mountain rose miles high, dividing the southern continent in two. An enormous waterfall sprung off the north side of the mountain, joining the river leading to the ocean.
3837 BE: Izquitl called up Hrududu, a vast rainforest covering the eastern half of Rontu-Aru. The Egg Mother started singing the first song of the world. The many birds of Hrududu listened and when she stopped her song the birds had taken on tall forms and gained intelligence not present in their lesser cousins. The avians took flight.
3734 BE: Into the world came humankind, timid and savage, knowing not from whence they came but living ever in terror of the great fiery abyssal Najar Volcano, their own window into the beating heart of the world. The jealous Volcano inflicted the humans with crushing xenophobia. The mortals’ fear manipulated the physical world and protecting mountains grew up around the humans.
3654 BE: After the last cycle of the world ended the dwarves had buried themselves deep within the earth. Now they crawled up out of the dirt and rocks in the mountains in the west. The dwarves got out their picks and shovels to create a new home in the new world. They would venture out of the mountains once the world “ripened.” The writing in their Holy Books preserved between each generation would tell the dwarves when the world was ready.
3488 BE: The merfolk domesticated aquatic animals. The people of the sea became experts at dolphin, shark, and whale riding. The cetaceans were used to pull underwater carts along with trout and bass. Whales were used to haul larger vehicles. Rare visits above water were achieved via riding in tortoise or turtle palanquins.
3322 BE: The fertile ash from the primal volcano promoted the growth of forests in a southeasterly crescent from the igneous mountain.
3167 BE: The Metal Tiers rumbled out of the earth as the world matured and ripened.
3039 BE: A great bird was born among the avians, the immortal wing-prophet, Trebor Ydorg. He founded the cliff city of Zener’hro on the side of Cui-Xoloc and brought the avians out of their preliterate society and into the light. Trebor organized his people with rituals. Blood sacrifices were absorbed by the great sacred altar at the top of Cui-Xoloc.
2864 BE: Up from the depths of the Maw rose Selcatnet the Eight Armed. Selcatnet was a gift sent by Drolfo to his industrious children, the merfolk. Selcatnet became the guardian and protector of Drolfo’s Cove.
2777 BE: The great dwarven city of Golden Mach was founded in the west. It reigned for centuries as the greatest architectural achievement of the land.
2600 BE: Humanity grew increasingly barbaric as the forest spread around them.
2492 BE: The avians’ knowledge of blood magic grew with each passing year. Hrududu’s shade expanded west.
2330 BE: The northern forest continued to expand, now touching both the Maw and the Northern Sea.
2294 BE: The industrious merfolk along with their faithful servant, Selcatnet, began to dig a channel through the Lower Maw, allowing easy access to the Neck.
2276 BE: The Great Canal was completed.
2269 BE: The trading post, Tortuga, was established in the Fluren Bay.
2244 BE: The avians viewed the merfolk traders as only a new form of prey for their blood rituals. The merfolk soon learned not to trust the avians. Tortuga’s trading post design was abandoned in favor of that of a fortress. The city became a repository for the best avian-slaying techniques.
2131 BE: The eastern side of the Metal Tiers turned to sand.
2076 BE: The Hrududu Jungle crossed the Groshan Sea to Hearthland where a new jungle known as Turashtegal established itself.
2046 BE: Drolfo created a new race of merfolk that no longer feared the world above without water. These merfolk were referred to as Landwalkers.
1988 BE: The Landwalkers clear-cut the Fluren Peninsula.
1979 BE: Tortuga was expanded and became both a land and a sea fortification.
1872 BE: Trebor spoke to Izquitl. She told him the time for war had come! The avians founded the city of Nanatok on the northwestern edge of the Lower Maw to widen their reach and Trebor organized an avian army in Hrududu to combat the Landwalker threat.
1821 BE: After losing the fortress of Tortuga to an organized avian assault, the merfolk resorted to conscription to increase their army size. They marched on Tortuga and swiftly retook it.
1764 BE: Continuing skirmishes between the avians and merfolk taught the avians many lessons. Their flying armies developed new tactics and military organization that were the envy of all others.
1543 BE: The dwarves built the city of Silver Top and the world’s mountains continued to grow.
1317 BE: The eternal give and take war between the avians and merfolk reached a turning point when tragedy struck the avian people. Their immortal prophet, Trebor, was slain while overseeing the armies’ performance in stormy weather. A bolt of lightning sprung from the clouds and Trebor’s religious talisman attracted the blast. He fell down upon Cui-Xoloc, his body coming to rest in the market square of Zener’hro. The avians held a grand funeral in their prophet’s honor. They were convinced that the storm was sent by some dark magic of the merfolk. Their hearts hardened as they prepared for a true war, but the loss of their prophet led to fragmentation amongst the once unified race.
1296 BE: After noticing a lack of decisive action for several years on the part of the avians, the merfolk increased their offensive operations. Landwalkers chopped down a large number of trees in the Eastern Hrududu. The area turned into a marsh due to its still considerable yearly rainfall. Some Seaswimmers and Landwalkers settled in the marsh.
1165 BE: A vast swath of land in the northeast froze over. This land became known as the New Ice. The humans living in that region, the Alrador, became adapted to the cold. All humans continued their violent existence. The volcano served as the focal point of their brutality. Men, women, and children were thrown into its boiling depths and shamans of the Najar Valley drew strength from its sinister glow.
1013 BE: The southern Red Peaks sprung up. The range grew by feeding upon the human souls thrown into the Najar Volcano.
922 BE: The Cold Woods continued to grow.
765 BE: The prophecies in the Books of Dwarven Legend came true as Gurutama ripened and took shape. Now the Books demanded action. Following the sacred instructions contained within, the dwarves formed a society amongst themselves known as the Kenracktopar, the Harvesters. Each Kenracktopar carries a ring identifying his superior status among dwarvenkind and, in their opinion, the kind of all mortals.
644 BE: At Drolfo’s command the merfolk built the city of New Drolfonia at the tip of the Swordback Peninsula.
632 BE: For long centuries the avians had mourned the loss of the Wing-prophet, Trebor Ydorg, and the new merfolk city proved the final straw. Word spread throughout the whole continent and eventually the avians converged on New Drolfonia. The garrison at Tortuga could not be alerted in time as what seemed like the entire avian race fell upon the merfolk. The new city burned and the underwater caverns were buried under mountains of rocks dropped by the bird people. Accounts vary on what exactly happened in the aftermath of the sacking of New Drolfonia, but all agreed on one point, there were no survivors. Their bodies were viciously impaled upon stakes and set to line the coast between the remnants of the city and its sister, Tortuga.
629 BE: Drolfo demanded retributive action from his merfolk followers. The faithful followed his orders to attack Nanatok. They were at first held off by its defenses. Then Selcatnet entered the fray and his fifty tentacles buried Nanatok in stones. No avians were spared.
473 BE: The Kenracktopar oversaw the founding of a third dwarven city, Iron Wing, forming the Triad.
432 BE: The Books of Dwarven Legend told of dark times ahead before the world was ready to accept the wisdom of the dwarves into its heart. The dwarves fortified their cities as per the Books instructions. An army was drafted and spread through the Dwarven Lands to defend every corner of the Metal Tiers.
322 BE: The Cold Woods grew, and the New Ice fertilized the Pure Plains with water.
145 BE: The Landwalkers used their skill with water to attempt irrigation in the Maw Islands. The first three attempts failed miserably, with far too much water taking over the islands. The final attempt created a lush paradise on Crautor Island, similar to the Hrududu Jungle.
1 NA: On the summer solstice an earthquake shook the entire world of Gurutama. People across the world suffered terrible nightmares and saw horrifying prophetic visions. The volcanic peak at the heart of the Red Mountains came alive belching dark smoke into the heavens. The leaders of the scattered human communities gathered to pay homage to what had come. They crept through hollowed out caverns to the core of the volcano. There they watched in terrified silence as an impossible being arose from the writhing magma. These humbled men witnessed the world-birth of the Soul Drinker, Navillus the Demon God, The Black Prince of Gorgoth, the whirling realm of malice, chaos, and unkempt cruelty.
In the blackness beneath the shuddering mountain he spoke to them. He offered them dark secrets of power and control over all the mortal realm… for a price. All but one of the human chieftains swore themselves to the Black Prince. The barbarian king, Bwolark Bwolo, the sovereign of the Skull-Dog clan, turned his back on the Soul Drinker, proclaiming that the Skull-Dogs honored no being above the legacy of their fathers and their fathers’ fathers.
3 NA: The Kenracktopar sensed the demon’s entrance into the world through a slight pull on their rings. Dwarven scouts traveled out to the Human Lands. Only a few returned, reporting cruel barbarism beyond even descriptions in the Books of Legend. Something went wrong with this cycle of the world. Navillus broke into the world from the outside, so the cycle was broken. The Books held no information on how to stop this abomination. The dwarves improvised a plan. They would unite the other races of the land against the Demon Prince.
12 NA: The sacrilege of mighty King Bwolark was short lived. He rallied other lesser clans whose heroes had been unfit to bear audience to the birth of Navillus. The ensuing civil war ravaged the Valley beneath the Red Peaks. Empowered by their new patron, fanaticism swept through the rest of humankind and they broke like waves on the armies of Bwolark, driving him back from the mountains and into the sea. At last Bwolark the Unbent gathered his people and sailed out into the Maw to settle on the islands therein.
30 NA: Shattered by the civil war that purified the Valley beneath the Red Peaks, humankind reforged itself in the fires of Navillus. By his blessing the Brotherhood of the Living Immolation was formed to spread his word and lead the scattered clans into a new age. By their work and his word, humanity was recast into a unified force: the Najar, an empire destined to rule the world. The old chiefs that had witnessed the world-birth took control of the new empire and founded the Quintet, five magnificent cities, to share and balance power: the Holy City of Najar, the twin ports of Alixria and Alrdia, the fortress city of Syluk in the western mountains, and Farpoint in the shadow of Mount Solorum.
34 NA: After meticulously preparing themselves for war the finest men and women of the dwarven clans gathered at Golden Mach. There they were sent on ships to Drolfo’s Cove and then Rontu-Aru. If the avians and merfolk could unite against the Living Immolation, then hope still remained.
36 NA: Without definite proof of the demonic presence in the Upper Maw the merfolk refused to form an offensive alliance with the dwarves against the humans. The dwarves asked that a commission of merfolk be sent along with the dwarven missionaries to the lands of the Najar. There, the people of the sea would see the threat that loomed in the North.
40 NA: Now that the people of Bwolark had settled themselves on the newly christened, Bwolo Isle, the merfolk decided to intervene. The fish-men demanded tribute in rice from the humans on their island. Just as Bwolark had spat at the offer of Navillus the Black Prince, the Bwarlor rejected the random demands for foreign crops by the merfolk.
50 NA: After years of trying, shaky diplomatic relations were finally established between the dwarves and the avians. Unfortunately, the avians rejected the dwarven offer to arbitrate peace between the avians and the merfolk. Since the death of Trebor the avians lacked true central leadership. While the Prophets of Cui-Xoloc were recognized as the avian rulers, they held little real power. Generals, sages, princes and prophets seemed a dime a dozen, each vying for control of the Hrududu.
The avians were too proud to accept the humiliating terms of the merfolk. They could not let their people’s spilled blood go unpunished and yet… they lacked united leadership and the military discipline to formulate an attack. They posed little threat to the merfolk, beyond the occasional raid on Tortuga. With each passing decade their attacks became less ferocious, smaller, and more content to merely pilfer outlying farms and villages.
52 NA: The dwarven missionaries, after failure at Rontu-Aru, took the merfolk embassy to the port city of Alixria. The dwarves reminded the merfolk of the worldwide earthquake many years ago. The dwarven sages believed the quake was some sort of demonic presence entering the world and corrupting the humans. The dwarves showed as much of the human devil worship as they could manage without endangering themselves. Unfortunately, the Najar were good at hiding their villainy. The merfolk rejected the alliance offer, seeing no danger in the Najaran Empire’s existence.
The dwarves went home, defeated before any battles had even taken place. Without any allies they had no hope of winning a war against the humans.
67 NA: The wraith-like race of grez emerged in the cold reaches of Glacierstone. Who knows how long they had been there, biding their time.
78 NA: The growth of the Halusho Forest manifested itself in new, mysterious ways. A new race came walking out of the trees, the elves.
83 NA: The elves quickly organized their civilization with their natural talents. They built a city around a giant oak in the forest, Crodolan. There the elves created great works of art with wood from the Halusho and with metal mined from the Mandibles.
97 NA: Reesrevo, the god of winter and patron god of the grez, guided his people as they established themselves in the new world. The grez moved into the cold ocean between Glacierstone and the Upper Maw. They created Reesrevoton by freezing the ocean and making a giant glacial tower surrounded by a layer of ice under the command of their god. The grez turned all of Glacierstone and parts of the northwestern Maw to ice.
134 NA: The dwarves sent a missionary group to the elves.
138 NA: The elves responded positively after an elven embassy to the Metal Tiers was shown the words of the Holy Books of Dwarven Legend. However, the elves were not warriors. They would do their best to create the weapons, armor, and ships for protecting the world, but they would not fight directly. The dwarves equipped another army in the Metal Tiers.
142 NA: The dwarves sent a missionary group to the grez as well.
147 NA: The grez agreed to the alliance terms, but preferred to work separately from the other members.
151 NA: The elves built a port city, Shianosoth, to begin exporting their new products. The infancy of the elven race necessitated the building of a great deal of infrastructure before a war with Najar can begin.
172 NA: The Najar settled into prosperity. A strict hierarchy brought order and peace to their fertile lands. The ports of Alixria and Alrdia began trade with the merfolk and sent ships even as far as Hearthland to trade with the settlers in the Green River Valley. Plantations began to spring up in the Great Valley below the Red Peaks. It was a good time to be a Najaran citizen and in the interest of expansion, the empire opened its borders to other species (NOT the Bwarlor). The radiant holiness of Navillus continued to shine on his people, driving them onward in the pursuit of knowledge and power. A public education system was created for all Najaran children.
177 NA: Conflicts began to escalate amongst the Bwarlor and the fish-folk and soon the humans were forced to resort to piracy to survive. Bwarlor pirates covered the sea as they used to cover the Najar Valley before the coming of the Immolation.
194 NA: Rumors of a creeping cold began to infiltrate the Najaran Empire. Many dismissed the rumors as merely stories to frighten children and others took comfort knowing that the flames of Navillus would melt any approaching cold… Nevertheless the Brotherhood of Living Immolation, which had thoroughly infiltrated the highest ranks of the Empire, was less optimistic. They heard Navillus whispering to them in the darkness below the fiery heart of the Red Peaks and knew of the dread-ice gathering in the frozen North.
229 NA: The elves constructed a fleet at Shianosoth. After only a few decades of practicing enchantment and protection magic, the elves perfected the art.
241 NA: Decadence continued to sit well with the Najar. They traded with the islands in the Maw for exotic goods filtering up from the elven forests in the south. With a growing population, the Najaran Empire ebbed outward, adding the city of Cynelle on the point of the continent, at the southwestern end of the Red Peaks.
245 NA: In the east the Najar built the city of Hykma at the tip of the Mandibles.
250 NA: The grez have always had the most advanced civilization in ice magic. The grez froze the Cold Woods creating an icy path up to Najar. The wraiths built a new city in the center of the frosty forest, Ksilartlu. They then assembled an army in Ksilartlu.
268 NA: With the grez slowly advancing towards Najar territory, the slow cogs of the great Najaran war machine began to grind into motion. Domesticated horses filled the eastern plains and soldiers became well educated in the art of cavalry. The Najar archer contingents practiced for years in the vast forests, perfecting their skills.
279 NA: The merfolk built an army in Drolfo’s Cove and Drolfo commanded them to build a trading fleet. To protect their fleets from Bwarlor pirate attacks the merfolk learned the art of naval warfare.
283 NA: The merfolk built a city off Kidney Island by the name of New Tortuga.
297 NA: Dwarven missionaries arrived on Bwolo Isle to talk with the Bwarlor. The dwarves extended the hand of peace to the Bwarlor people, hoping they would accept and unite against the Najar. The Bwarlorans preferred their pirating lifestyle to open warfare. Plus, why go to war when the merfolk weren’t?
The dwarves attempted a strong arm debate tactic by linking the Bwarlorans refusal to fight with their past kinship with the Najarans. The dwarves did not know that such a comparison was the ultimate insult in Bwarloran culture. The pirate lords shaved off the ambassadors’ beards and hair, striped them naked, and then threw them into port-town’s dirty canals. The dwarves left Bwolo Isle sputtering curses and swearing swift retribution.
At news of the event, the grez backed out of the alliance against Najar.
298 NA: The dwarven sages declared that it was time. The war had been building for a great many centuries. The oldest no longer remembered a time before Navillus and the plans to end the Black Prince’s power over this world. The dwarven machine, set in motion long ago, finally began to grind its gears and move towards a full-scale invasion. Two more tasks remained, quelling any coming opposition from the Bwarlor and the merfolk.
The dwarves attempted to pacify the merfolk with bribes purchased with gold from a new rich mine in the Metal Tiers. Lots of supplies were bought and the dwarves hoped the merfolk would be happy with their profiteering and stay out of the war.
Dwarven mages and clerics worked the special magicks of the Books to punish the Bwarlor for their sacrilege. A dark cloud descended upon Bwolo Isle. The black mist came lower and lower until the entire island was covered. Then the screaming started. Every firstborn, child or adult, was taken by an unknown force. Invisible hands snatched the people by their ankles. The Bwarlorans’ nails dragged upon the ground as their families watched in horror. The fog lifted and the people were gone, but the curse was two-fold. From then on and for many centuries after, every firstborn child of a Bwarloran woman would be a dwarf.
The dwarves formed up their massive armies and sailed forth on elven ships for the Najar Empire.
299 NA: First, the dwarves touched down at Cynelle. The city’s walls were strong, but nothing bests a dwarven catapult. The walls fell and the citizen militia defending the city surrendered.
300 NA: The elven fleet sailed on through the Maw. The elvish craftsmen built a supply center between the hills and the forest. They traded with merfolk merchants for food, water, weapons, armor, and munitions. The elves packaged the goods up and shipped them on to the dwarves. A dwarven army marched from Cynelle to guard the new elven town of Cyflenwi from attack.
301 NA: The remaining dwarven legions split. Three went to the mountain fortress of Syluk. The three other armies marched on to Alixria, Alrdia, and Farpoint, to take each town in turn.
302 NA: The dwarves took Alixria.
303 NA: The Siege of Syluk ended after two years. Many dwarves died in the assault, but eventually the Najaran army gave out and the city was occupied.
304 NA: The dwarves conquered Alrdia.
306 NA: Farpoint fell to the dwarven invasion.
308 NA: The dwarven conquerors established missionary schools in each of the occupied cities to better help the humans in their transition to rule without the vile machinations of Navillus. The invasion stalled as the dwarves struggled to manage their new empire.
315 NA: It becomes abundantly clear that the humans would not quickly accept dwarven leadership. The traditional Najaran schools were favored over the parochial dwarven schools. In response, the dwarven government outlawed the traditional school system, but that only moved education into hiding to avoid detection. The dwarves fought a constant battle to keep the subject population under control.
346 NA: For many years Bwarloran Dwarf-children were slaughtered by the Bwarlor, their deaths meant to purge the wombs of Bwarloran women. As the years passed the killings slowed and the Dwarf-children found a place within Bwarloran society. A horrifying existence, forever a second class, beaten and abused by their own parents. Hatred grew in the hearts of these dwarves, not for their abusers but for those who cursed them. Guided by the passion of the humans and tempered by towering hatred for dwarvenkind, the Bwarloran Dwarves formed an order, the Bastards of the Tattered Book. Abandoned by the Metal Dwarves that cursed them they now intend to destroy the Metal Dwarves, tear up the Books of Prophecy, and become the true DWARF.
349 NA: The merfolk took notice of the curse now that the first Bwarloran Dwarves had reached adulthood. The merfolk offered to help ship the dwarves born to the humans to the Dwarven Kingdom. The Bastards quickly rejected the notion that they wished to be reunited with their “original families.” The merfolk seers, still unsatisfied, looked to Drolfo for guidance as to why this terrible curse had befallen the Bwarlor lands. Drolfo answered, “A curse from the dwarves. You must attack the dwarves for there will be no peace with them.” The merfolk began marshalling their armies.
352 NA: The race of rana rose from the waters of Tonsil Lake. Some say that they are descended from the stars, riding gossamer strands of heavenly beauty. Amphibious and humanoid, they seem to radiate goodness. They settled in the Tonsil and frolicked, peaceful and happy, little aware of the chaos of the world.
360 NA: After many skirmishes the Landwalkers took Cynelle. The merfolk returned control of the city to the Najar. The merfolk learned from this experience and gained advanced knowledge of how to fight inside cities.
366 NA: The grez froze the Northern Sea to make one solid line of ice.
371 NA: The wraith people built a city in the middle of the New Ice, Ksilardyh.
394 NA: Nearly a century had passed since the dwarven occupation and Najaran resistance continued just as strong as before. The old aristocracy, united by the will of Navillus, committed effective sabotage. Shipments went missing. Rebels seemed too well armed and organized. Merchants manipulated the economy to thwart dwarven leaders. Dwarves quickly learned not to go out at night, especially alone, as more and more were savagely attacked, their flayed bodies hung from the roofs of dwarvish establishments. The Najaran aristocrats claimed ignorance even as they infiltrated the dwarven inner circles. Morale seeped away from the occupiers as they continuously rebuilt their missionary schools only to see them burned again.
Amongst the horrors of the occupation the dwarven lords grew fat and decadent from their new found wealth. The pious behaviors encouraged by The Books were abandoned for the decadent pleasures of Najar and The Maw. They cared less and less for saving the souls of the humans. Expanding their wealth and luxuries became the goal of the dwarves in power. In the shadows, the Demon God’s cruelty seeped into the lifeblood of dwarvenkind.
412 NA: While the merfolk were at war with the dwarves and elves in principle, many of the sea people continued their profitable trade with the invaders. Drolfo looked for zeal in his people and found it difficult to spot. A few merfolk still sought battle with the dwarves and elves after the capture of Cynelle. The god of the sea raised those people to positions of leadership and ordered them to take Cyflenwi. The merfolk sent all of their armies to Cyflenwi and handily took it. They claimed the city and its inhabitants for the Merfolk Nation.
422 NA: Reesrevo demanded the icy reach of the grez extend. The grez armies sculpted and constructed massive glaciers all over the north.
429 NA: A group of Najaran men sought to rebel against the dwarven overlords subjugating the Empire. They sent scouts into the Eastern Maw to recruit primitive humans outside of the boundaries of the Empire to assist in fighting the dwarves. While the small rebellion of these men was one among many to be squashed by the dwarven jackboots one good thing came of the Najaran scouts’ journey. They made contact with the rana.
The words of the Najarns troubled the rana and left a lasting impact. They had never heard of people who openly sought violence upon other intelligent beings. The rana set about to bring light to all those who wanted to see once again…
The rana gathered many of their beloved children, great sages, silver-tongued peace-makers, and humble friends, and sent them forth into the world. And they named them, the Monks of the Gossamer Waves, an order of peace, pacifism, and kindness.
441 NA: With each year the ranks of the Bastards of the Tattered Book grew to match their fury. Many spoke of purging the Metal Tiers and of making the women and children of Hearthland suffer as their men made the Bwarlor suffer. Still more wanted to storm the Najaran coast and join forces with the Najarns against the Empire Dwarves.
But a cruel streak coming from their primitive ancestors inspired another course of action. The Bastards unfurled their black sails and set out, not west to the Hearthland nor north to join the numerous rebellions against the Empire Dwarves. No, the Bastards went south to the ripe forests beneath the indomitable Mandibles.
442 NA: It is said that history is doomed to repeat itself, and just as the Dwarves of Hearthland imposed their sons on the Bwarlor, so did these new dwarves rape the city of Shianosoth and sow their children amongst the innocent elven people. A new breed coalesced in the flickering shadows of the city, a savage combination of its three father races: the swiftness and stature of the good elves, the greed and steadfast determination of dwarvenkind, and the madness of their grandfather, humanity. The first hobgoblins were born into the world…
453 NA: Full-fledged rebellion broke out in the twin cities of Alixria and Alrdia, enough to clear the way for advancing troops from Najar to reclaim their cities.
454 NA: The Najaran forces marched towards the mighty fortress of Syluk but stopped in the foothills. No mortal man ordered the halt. Only one whisper from Navillus and the army stopped. He would deal with Syluk himself. With no unifying purpose, the armies dispersed. A few Najaran commanders demanded obedience, but a higher power controlled affairs in the Upper Maw.
Morale sank in occupied Syluk. News of the retaking of the twin cities of Alixria and Alrdia had reached the dwarven commanders from their post in the mountains and with the fall of Cynelle and the elves on the coast they were surrounded. They were safe at least, they told themselves. No foe could storm the mountain under the fire of dwarven siege machines and the old city was rich and well supplied for a siege. They had the military might to keep the native population under control and while sabotage continued, it was petty in its nature. And then, soon after the other cities fell, the nights began to grow longer. Restlessness settled in amongst the dwarves as incessant nightmares plagued their sleep. Animals were born hideously deformed. Crops seemed to whither and turn to ash. And the Najaran sabotage grew at supernatural speeds.
They were dwarves of hard metal but as nights grew longer and the pressure grew… they began to break. Madness, paranoia, and strange illnesses plagued the Syluki Dwarves. New military tribunals were formed with harsher punishments. Loyal dwarf soldiers began to be executed by their own officers for trifling offenses. Suspicions ran rampant. To those in charge it seemed that all of their men were traitors. The few remaining pure souls wept for the fate of Syluk, the city of terror…
467 NA: The Bastards’ invasion horrified the elves. They had never seen such brutality. The hobgoblin race terrified the sylvan people as well. The elves begin setting traps within the forest, both mundane and magical. The elves set a great ward around Crodolan to prevent any outsiders from entering the city.
475 NA: The darkness in Syluk began to lift. After twenty years of endless sabotage, military tribunals, and sickness, a semblance of order returned to the mountain city. The Empire Dwarves took stock of themselves cut off as they were from the Dwarves on Hearthland. The whispers of Navillus had turned them away from the Holy Books that they used to know. The priesthood corrupted. Human sacrifice began to take place to ward off the evil. Little did the dwarves know that the souls they sacrificed went to feed the Dark God. Farpoint, the other dwarven controlled city in the Upper Maw, was too far away to lend aid or even effectively communicate with the Syluki Dwarves. The Empire Dwarves knew that the crusade must be completed or their failure would be remembered in history for eternity. They recruited among the humans in the city who finally accepted their new masters. Soon, they planned to march to Najar and face the evil master of the Maw as they should’ve done in the first place.
479 NA: The Metal Dwarves only heard of the later events on the Maw through rumors told by traders and merchants. The crusade failed. The Books made it clear. The dwarves must excise the Black Prince from this world, but they were not strong enough to overcome the Beast from outside the cycle. The cycle of worlds could forever be altered, but what could they do? The last truces were signed between the Metal Dwarves and their old foes, the Najar and the merfolk.
494 NA: After nearly two centuries of occupation the humans in Syluk and Farpoint began to accept their new masters. The only real rebels were religious fanatics or those who snuck into the cities from the outside. The commoners, most of whom did not knowingly follow Navillus, built a new society within the dwarven-human cities.
512 NA: The grez expanded their army’s size even further. The rest of the world noticed and ominous feelings were felt in the hearts of every mortal during the winter’s storms.
523 NA: An uneasy peace fell over the Maw. The merfolk commemorated their victories on the Northern Continent with monuments and the Metal Dwarves returned to their Tiers. Small conflicts still plagued the competitive Najaran cities and Syluk still sent token attacks against Najar itself, but nothing on the scale of the rebellions or the original conquest of the dwarves. The Bwarlor set out to know the world in an age of great exploration. Soon, the first complete world maps were published by Bwarloran captains, with patronage for these explorative voyages provided by merfolk aristocrats.
525 NA: The hobgoblins descended into reckless barbarism. A few escaped from their horrid dwarven fathers and reproduced amongst themselves in the Halusho Forest. They soon learned to stay away from the woods surrounding Crodolan due to the traps and elven arrows that seemed to shoot from the trees themselves.
539 NA: The Metal Dwarves accustomed to consulting the Books for advice, could find no solution to Navillus’ corruption. The dwarves made entries into the Books to guide future cycles before the stocky race descended into isolationism. They interacted only with the gnomes and halflings of Hearthland. The dwarves still traded through the little people with the merfolk, but few Metal Dwarves left the seclusion of their mountain homes. Fearful of the outside world, the dwarves formed armies to defend themselves from the retribution they feared would come.
541 NA: The elves, seeing that their forest was no longer safe, enacted a plan to evacuate. The elves lived long and thus could plan for many generations ahead of time. They constructed a road through the forest to the east. The Freedom Road was defended by magical traps that similar to those that surrounded Crodolan. The Road stretched all the way from Crodolan to the Great Canal. Bridges spanned the various rivers and streams along the way. The elves planned to construct a huge bridge over the Great Canal, so high that the mightiest ship could still pass underneath.
553 NA: The rana, able servants of the world, began to expand their perspective as their Monks traveled the world. They learned the necessity of might even as they taught compassion and the peaceful way. The rana lived to serve and so with somber hearts they began to make tools for the righteous to instigate change when faced with the violent oppression. Practice and perfection came simply to the rana, and soon rana-forged swords became legendary. Rarely used and rarely gifted, the blades are an art form.
562 NA: The Empire Dwarves saw the corruption in their society, but only a rare pure soul could rise to a position of power within the Empire Dwarf society without being tempted and corrupted by bribes and luxuries. The cycle ended with Lord Cormak, not a pure soul, but an exceedingly dark one. Cormak gathered the Syluki Dwarf forces and marched to Najar. They brought along all their luxurious attendants, followers, silks, fine wines, and sweet desserts. After all, what is a conquest without a victory banquet afterwards? They planned to delve into the caverns of the volcano and smoke out Navillus.
563 NA: The dwarven host issued forth from Syluk and crashed upon the walls of the Holy City of Najar in the largest battle in history. The dwarves suffered under the arrows of the Najar and their strategies seemed to be constantly given over to the enemy. The dwarven army attempted to storm the city, but they were repelled. The retreat to Syluk, at first organized, turned into a rout due to constant guerilla attacks in the night. The army scattered into the mountains. Many Dwarves were captured and enslaved. Others escaped and small dwarven communities sprouted up within the Red Peaks.
564 NA: From the carnage a Hero was born. His initial years were sculpted by Najaran passion and the growing philosophy of dwarven mechanization that had seeped into the Empire during the dwarven occupation and integration. He drifted for decades throughout the continents of the known world. From the mighty Tiers of Golden Mach to the heights of Cui-Xoloc, the young man studied under sages and common men, learning mastery over all. And from his travels he gained incredible insight on the true plight of the Najar under the rule of their Black Emperor.
603 NA: On the misty shores of the Tonsil, the rana forged a legendary sword for the young Hero, and at last he returned to his home, the Holy City and the seat of the Demon-God.
No one is certain what happened in the crypts below the fiery mountain, or if The Hero vanquished Navillus or died in the attempt. But silence sunk into the place in his wake, and the doors to the holy crypts were sealed. If The Hero returned, he did so without his sword, and he refused to speak of what transpired in the caverns. Regardless, all felt the Dark God’s influence shrinking away. The city of Najar nervously breathed in the freshness of the world…
The Dwarves of Syluk rejoiced at the victory of the Hero over the Prince of Gorgoth.
619 NA: The grez learned the ways of siege warfare. They prepared ice catapults, glacier towers, and icicle rams in the frozen north for an invasion that had long been brewing. The polar ice extended over the land connecting Ksilartlu to the Red Peaks and Najar. The Great Volcano of Najar fell dormant and blizzards and ice covered the ancient crater. The grez sent all their strength to take over the city and kill all the inhabitants. Many died in the battle, including, some say, the Hero. Those who were not slain froze into terrible ice sculptures made by grez magic. The world cowered in fear. None knew what to do in response.
620 NA: While the rest of the world feared the grez, the Syluki Dwarves reveled in the destruction of the Demon’s city after so many crusades. The Great Alliance, created so long ago, finally paid off. Not caring that the Hero died in the carnage, the Syluki Dwarf nobility sent a congratulatory embassy to the grez. The grez thanked the dwarves and said they were happy to do their part to remove the Navillus threat.
622 NA: The Syluki Dwarves began to gather their forces once again. They planned to retake the Najaran cities, crush the Bwarlor, and punish the merfolk for their betrayal. Secretly the Brotherhood was in control and a new crusade would begin.
625 NA: The Farpoint Dwarves officially split off from the Syluki Dwarves. They no longer wished war with their human neighbors. The Dwarves of Syluk vowed to subjugate the Farpoint Dwarves as well.
630 NA: The mighty Najaran Empire faded into ashes and the cities gave up their last false pretenses of supposed unity. Cynelle, the youngest daughter of Old Najar, was the first to proclaim herself a free city. Emissaries were sent to the nations of the world, suing for peace and offering prosperous trade agreements.
637 NA: The elves enacted their long thought out plan. The Homestone Bridge was built at great expense over the Great Canal. All but the most stubborn elves waved their corrupted forest home goodbye. They traveled into the east and set up a new city in the Eastern Maw called Rotandean. The elves struck up a positive relationship with their new neighbors, the Hykmans and the rana. The Bridge of the sylvan folk was covered by a great ward. Only non-hobgoblins may pass across the Homestone Bridge.
652 NA: The Twins, Alixria and Alrdia, the wiliest of the old Najaran Quintet, saw their chance for prosperity alongside Cynelle. In the days of old Najar they had been shining jewels reduced to a dull glean by long centuries of toil, war, and occupation. Now, they too renounced Navillus and declared themselves free of the old ways.
664 NA: The flame of Najar had been extinguished but many of her people yearned for the days of comfort beneath an imperial banner. An exodus from the great valley and the cities of Old Najar began, traveling east, then south down the Eastern Maw towards the majestic city of Hykma, untouched by war and turmoil. With her help, refugees settled in the fork north of the Tonsil and built a new city, The Hearth, to house the culture and history of old Najar.
666 NA: The rana, almost overwhelmed by the influx of battered and tired refugees into their region, rose to the occasion. First, they constructed a place to house their great sages and the great spawning pools from whence all rana come. On their great lake they built Pulchrito, an amphibious city of immense beauty, peace, and serenity. With their own affairs in order and under the guidance of the Monks of the Gossamer Waves, the rana built another city, Domicilius, to the northeast, where the river splits. It was a good place, a bastion for all folk fleeing the horrors of the north and the monsters of the southern wilds.
679 NA: The city of Hykma, a refuge for the princes of old Najar and those that could sail to her shore, swollen by an influx of wealth, history, knowledge, and culture, expanded in extravagant majesty. Long friends with the rana and happy to welcome their neighbors, both elven and Najaran, she became a radiant gem on the coast of the Eastern Maw, and in time, the capital of a new alliance between her, The Hearth, Pulchrito, and Domicilius. The new alliance was bestowed with the name, The Hykman League. Invitations were extended to Rotandean and Farpoint as well.
691 NA: The Dwarven Curse upon the Bwarlor finally ended. The Bwarlor rejoiced. With trade revived on the Maw and an end to much of the turmoil of the previous wars, the Bwarlor looked to their own isle. New wealth began to congeal and soon a new city grew up from the towns. Balkus was born, a mighty port and a safe haven for those crossing the treacherous Maw.
699 NA: Trade relations expanded over the new human world. Allies and enemies were quickly made and lost as every city and organization vied for control of pieces of the old Empire. A new organization splintered off from the shadowy Brotherhood of the Living Immolation. This new organization, the Frugal Profiteers, sought to control all wealth within the Maw. They no longer cared about the resurrection of Navillus or the Najar Empire. All that mattered to the Profiteers was power. The Profiteers secretly bought up many of the mercenary companies used in the wars between the human cities. They installed Profiteer members as the leaders of the mercenaries and awaited the right time to strike.
The merfolk and Bwarlor dominated the sea trade network that established itself across the Maw while the Hykmans controlled the Eastern Maw’s land trade and slowly worked their way into the sea trade.
700 NA: The Metal Dwarves sensed that the Shadow Lord had been shut away in his tomb. They read through the Books once more, searching for what they must do. Perhaps now the world was ripe for civilization. The dwarves edited portions of the Book to recognize threats from outside the normal cycle. They would have to do things differently this time and they hoped for better luck in the next cycle.
The Metal Dwarves set up an outpost to teach the world the dwarven way. Using their vast ingenuity, they built a stone island paradise in the mouth of the Maw, south of Cyflenwi. The Kenracktopar resurfaced from their ancient isolation and built schools, roads, and aqueducts aplenty upon the new land. The island and the city of great learning built upon it were known as Proaxium.
The merfolk, upset by this brazen annexation of their land in the Maw, sent delegates to the dwarves to resolve the matter peacefully. The dwarves stalled the delegates with regulation, fanciful tours of Proaxium, and, if all else failed, bribes.
In the Upper Maw, the wars between the cities continued with Syluk often gaining the upper hand.
701 NA: The hobgoblin population constantly grew. There was no real organization, only constant pressure outwards. Ancient magic protected Crodolan, The Homestone Bridge was warded, and the sea and the mountains surrounded the hobgoblin tribes. The only open place to destroy was Shianosoth. More and more hobgoblins began congregating around the city and eventually they came smashing down upon it. The Bwarloran Dwarves attempted to placate the hobgoblins with pleas of fraternity and alliance against the Metal Dwarves, but their cries went unheeded. The city was burned and looted. Few Bwarloran Dwarves escaped the destruction.
703 NA: After seeing the mercantile benefits of the Hykman League firsthand, the Elves of Rotandean joined the League. They built a beautiful forest garden paradise within Hykma to celebrate their new allies. The Elven Gardens became the center of commerce and politics within Hykma and by extension for all the Eastern Maw. However, this was only for the upper class. The lower class cultural center remained in Domicilius. Class tensions heightened after the building of the Gardens. The poor saw the picturesque trees and waterfalls as a symbol of wealthy oppression.
Despite repeated requests from Hykma to join the League, Farpoint continued to remain independent of the Hykman League, maintaining their own laws, culture, and army.
704 NA: The grez animated the frozen corpses of the humans in the north. To lead their new undead army, the grez reanimated the Hero. The world shuddered at the still foreboding presence in the arctic.
705 NA: The splendor and draw of the glowing city of Hykma continued – incredible wealth resided in the city and the Elven Gardens were hailed as one of the great wonders of the modern world. The government began to solidify as the old blood princes and their merchant counterparts established themselves as proper lords. A new order was formed and a new constitution written. The Revered Administration now ruled over the Hykman League.
Meanwhile, the poor and disenfranchised in Hykma were slowly forced out through zoning and vagrancy restrictions. The elves sheepishly closed the gates of Rotandean, apologizing yet refusing to accept the flow of refugees. The masses turned east, heading down the river toward Pulchrito, Domicilius, and The Hearth. The rana were gracious hosts, but unable to care for the numbers in either of their own cities. With the help of the Monks of the Gossamer Waves and the “gracious charity” of the Hykman Administration, shanty towns popped up all along the rivers, spreading from the base of the mountains at Hykma to the Tonsil Lake, and then more stretching from Domicilius to The Hearth. Impoverished at first, soon wealth began to trickle down from Hykma and The Hearth as merchants saw consumers and laborers in the Shanties. Festivals were common along the rivers and colored lanterns and lights adorned the long stretches of water and cobblestone roads.
709 NA: Profits in the Maw soared. Peace bred wealth, new power, and an influx of new blood into the old aristocracies of Najar, the Hykman League, and the pirate princes of Balkus. Tensions rose. The seas were not as safe as they once were and piracy was rampant. Merchants begged their governments for protection and demanded action. The cities of Hykma, Cynelle, Alixria, Alrdia, and Balkus each raised a “defensive” fleet and begin to patrol their waters.
710 NA: Reesrevo used his godly power to freeze the area connecting Glacierstone, the Upper Maw, and Hearthland. The world was shocked and horrified, but no one would take action against the grez. Commanders feared that while their army was away fighting the grez, another city-state in the Upper Maw would attack their home city.
711 NA: The merfolk, frustrated by the latest threat to their naval supremacy, unveiled new advances in the craft of shipbuilding and naval patrolling. New fleets were constructed in Drolfo’s Cove, New Tortuga, and Cyflenwi. The merfolk flexed their new naval muscles by setting up a blockade across the Mouth of the Maw from the ruins of Nanatok to Cynelle. The people of Drolfo demanded reasonable tariffs for passage in and out of the Maw. This blockade was in response to the raising of Proaxium by the dwarves. The Great Blockade would end only if Proaxium was returned to merfolk custody. The Great Blockade sent chaotic ripples through the human trade networks. Dwarven goods were in high demand and prices soared.
712 NA: The Maw was shocked by the new tariff imposed by the merfolk. Reasonable as the tax was, people will always balk at a tax that was never present before. Many merchants accepted the tax and continued to trade with the dwarves. A few others, with help from private investors or governments, refused. Plans were enacted to bypass the Blockade. One particular man named Engrenildo had crazy dreams filling his head of the world being round. Few believed his ridiculous story, but enough did that he assembled enough men to crew a small flotilla of ships.
The Metal Dwarves accepted the Blockade. They would survive with the reduced amount of trade. However, they could not accept taxes on supplies and passengers sent to Proaxium. A dwarven transport ship filled with supplies, books, and scholars for Proaxium, met with a mersian captain at the Blockade and explained the dwarven situation. If taxes were lifted solely on ships traveling to Proaxium with supplies for the island, then all was well and good. If they were not, then the dwarves would appeal to the human cities for help, the cities which were already irritated by the Blockade and just needed an excuse to end it.
713 NA: The merfolk refused the Metal Dwarf delegation. The Blockade would only be lifted if Proaxium was given over to the merfolk people. The Metal Dwarves paid the tariff and passed into the Maw. The dwarves sent boats out to the Sisters, Balkus, and the Hykman League asking for assistance in breaking the Blockade. The pleas for assistance were denied. No human city was willing to risk naval war with the merfolk.
Engrenildo secured funding for his expedition. He left in the middle of summer.
The Frugal Profiteers attempted to circumvent the blockade by organizing the humans to the west of the Red Peaks. A new port city was built on the western coast, Tylaniria. Fearing a grez attack, the Profiteers enticed many different clerics to set up temples in the city. An army of priests was formed should the grez move against the city. The Profiteers planned to build a road across the Red Peaks, but the warfare between Syluk and Cynelle prevented construction.
The Hykman League decided to circumvent the blockade by utilizing the already existing Freedom Road. With human funding, the elves began construction on a Western Freedom Road.
714 NA: King Hrotomak of the Syluki Dwarves finally marshaled enough strength to siege Cynelle. He marched on the city with his forces, but received an unexpected welcome. The Princes of Cynelle accepted the conquerors and showed them the splendors of the port. Surprised, but pleased, King Hrotomak accepted the surrender. None knew why Cynelle gave up so easily save for members of the Brotherhood of the Living Immolation.
715 NA: King Hrotomak forced Tylaniria to swear fealty to Syluk as well. He declared himself King of the Western Red Peaks. The Princes of Cynelle raised Syluki captains up into magnificent wealth and they showered King Hrotomak with resplendent gifts. Notable amongst these was the gift of Hrah-Sulesh, whose blood was that of the Holy City of Najar, who gave to King Hrotomak a suit of dark adamantine plate inlaid with glistening rubies that shown like a thousand, fiery eyes – terrifying, radiant, and volcanic…
716 NA: The elves completed the Western Freedom Road in record time with human funds and architectural ingenuity. Magical traps were placed upon it to keep the hobgoblins out just as on the Eastern Freedom Road.
717 NA: The elves cleared a site for the new League city on the edge of the Lower Maw. The elves named the city Prestounasi and the Hykmans assisted with its construction. The Hykmans began construction on a new city at the eastern edge of the Homestone Bridge as well.
718 NA: The hobgoblins were infuriated that their precious woods were cut in half. The Southern Hobgoblins could not reach their brethren in the mountains, the Northern Hobgoblins. They attempted to breach both Freedom Roads and Crodolan, but the magical traps turned them back. The hobgoblin shamans sat and thought. An answer would come in time.
724 NA: Construction on Prestounasi was completed. At the end of the Freedom Road the Hykmans raised the resplendent city of Prestounasi and built a fleet to protect her. They also built The Bastion at the eastern side of the Homestone Bridge along the new trade route.
725 NA: The redirection of dwarven trade into the heart of the Hykman League brought even more fabulous wealth to Hykma and the Revered Administration. The city continued to grow in size, splendor, and wealth.
The Rana of Pulchrito fell in love with the thriving shanty communities that continued to grow along the western river, between Pulchrito and Hykma. Wealth from Hykma enriched the Shanties, but the poor could only see the widening gap between themselves and the rich. All the new advances meant nothing if those at the top continued to discriminate against the poor.
726 NA: King Hrotomak planned another invasion within the ruins of the Najar Empire. He formed up a new army and set off for Alixria. The city and her twin yielded quickly. King Hrotomak toured his Empire on a victory parade and the gems on his armor shimmered like rolling lava.
727 NA: The hobgoblins in the north allied with giants and trolls. Another army formed. Communicating across the Freedom Road through the mystic power of their shamans, the Northern and Southern Hobgoblins planned an invasion of the only place unprotected by the elves’ magical defenses in the Lower Maw, the city of Prestounasi. The armies formed up and attacked. The elves hurriedly placed a few defenses around the city before the hordes arrived. Traps flared up destroying some of the hobgoblin forces, but the rest got through and raided the city. The people fled and the hobgoblins set up camp on the ruins of the city.
728 NA: The Frugal Profiteers, gleeful that the Hykman League’s route was interrupted, finished construction on their own land route around the Blockade. Roads were built to connect the cities of the west, Tylaniria, Syluk, and Cynelle. With a bit of prodding from other secret Profiteer members, the dwarves built a port to receive the ships coming out of Tylaniria. The port was named Bronze Port.
The elves offered their assistance to a Hykman expedition to reclaim Prestounasi. The response of the Hykman League was swift. The League raised a great host among her cities: soldiers were sent from Crodolan, The Bastion, and Hykma to deal with the troublesome hobgoblins. The force was impressive – an army gilded in gold with a magnificent caravan behind it. When they arrived in the ruins of Prestounasi and confronted the hobgoblin tribes, the Princes of Hykma named themselves gods. They were convincing, their show of wealth and power was well beyond anything the hobgoblins, trolls, and giants had ever imagined.
After a little skirmishing, the hobgoblins were subdued by what appeared to them to be divine beings. Not only was Hykman technology superior, but the temptations of Hykma were overwhelming – succulent meats that seemed to melt in the mouth, fine wines and beer from around the world, honey, spices, and of course gold. Proper swords, shields, and spears. And greatest of all… A home. Coaxed from the city, the hobgoblin tribes and their allies were taken to the mountainside below the ruins of Nanatok. On that site the skilled masons of the Hykman League built a new city and gifted it to the hobgoblins for oaths of fealty, loyalty, and fervent fanaticism to the revered gods of the Administration and the Hykman League.
729 NA: In the ruins of Prestounasi the Leaguers rebuilt. From the ruins of the old the city was reborn, New Prestounasi. As Prestounasi was rebuilt more Hykman workers completed construction on the hobgoblin city of Vassal at the site of Nanatok as well. Meanwhile, more forces were conscripted in Hykma, fueling the growing militocracy. The rana continued to expand the Shanties, having reached Domicilius, they continued to grow between there and The Hearth.
731 NA: In Balkus, the Bastards of the Tattered Book eyed Proaxium hungrily. They raised a fleet and sailed to the island, raiding the city. Knowing the cost of slaying the humans on the island to be immense, the Bastards left them mostly alone (aside from plundering their belongings). But the Metal Dwarves… some were certainly killed, but the majority were sold into slavery and scattered about the world. The raid a success, the Bastards sailed away.
The merfolk horrified at what the Blockade caused, apologized profusely to the dwarves. The merfolk lifted the Blockade. They took over management and protection of Proaxium with dwarven blessings and the great institution was restored to its former state. With the new knowledge available at their fingertips the merfolk researched military submarines. Submarine fleets were constructed in Drolfo’s Cove and Cyflenwi with a regular fleet to match in New Tortuga.
The grez ice expanded onto the Hearthland continent.
732 NA: The grez froze the northern area of Hearthland including Bronze Port and Tylraniria. Then they sent all their armies at Bronze Port. The Hero and the skeletons joined the attack. The city fell to the onslaught of undead. The grez sent a short message to the Metal Dwarves, “Your decadence is your undoing.”
733 NA: The Metal Dwarves called for help from their brothers on the Upper Maw, but the call went unanswered. King Hrotomak had other concerns on his mind. Najar was undefended and ripe for the taking. Seeking the Imperial throne King Hrotomak took his armies from Cynelle and Syluk and marched on Najar. As the core of defenders were at Bronze Port, Hrotomak captured the city easily. The men went through the city finding vast treasures that the grez left untouched. They city was devoid of any living being. All the humans, frozen so long ago, had either decayed or animated to join the invasion of Bronze Port.
King Hrotomak came upon the old throne room. He sat upon the chair and found it to his liking. Behind the royal chair was a curtain that covered a thin volcanic shaft. The shaft went down, down, down, to the heart of the dead mountain. When Hrotomak thought he was alone in the room he heard soft whispers coming from behind him, welcoming him.
734 NA: Hrotomak’s victory was short lived. Reinforcements arrived from the cities of Cynelle, Alixria, and Alrdia, singing the praises of the King of the Red Peaks. These praises became damnations as the reinforcements turned upon the celebrating dwarven armies. The ensuing battle was ruthless; the Najarns stormed the throne room and cut down King Hrotomak the Conqueror. His “unified” nation separated and devoured itself. The Night of a Thousand Kings descended on Najar, as lords and laymen, both human and dwarf, laid claim to the seat at Navillus’ feet and were in turn cut down by friend and foe alike. A terrible laughter seemed to echo through the city, up out of the deep crypts.
The heart of the fiery mountain in Najar began to beat once more. Throughout the world the children of Old Najar, whose blood ran thick with ancient oaths sworn by their ancestors at the feet of the Black Prince, felt that ominous beating beneath their skin and in their very souls. The Dark Lord had returned.
The Night of a Thousand Kings ended with Mercenary Captain Jierzo sitting upon the Red Throne. King Hrotomak’s son, Tenzomak, escaped to Syluk. The old city-states of Najar devolved to fighting amongst themselves as they did when Najar fell to the Hero and the grez.
Although the Metal Dwarves’ call for aid to the Empire Dwarves went unanswered, there was a different power that cared very much about the trade route that the grez interrupted. The Frugal Profiteers sent out messengers and their mercenary armies assembled at Tylaniria.
The isolationist dwarves, when threatened, reacted quickly. A massive force was assembled in the depths of the Tiers and then poured out across the icy desert, to Bronze Port. The Profiteers, communicating with magic, moved at the same time across the ice between the cities. The dwarves slammed their hammers upon their shields outside the cold gates of Bronze Port, proclaiming the land as still theirs. The dwarves and mercenaries sustained many losses, but the grez were defeated and forced to flee from the city, back to Reesrevoton.
737 NA: The hobgoblins, enthusiastic at the new found technology of the humans, built cities to gather their people in the forest. Cities were built at the head of each of the rivers in Halusho: Drukana, Nazarak, and Tentomrozan in order from west to east.
A faction of elves was outraged that the hobgoblins were allowed by the Hykman League to settle in the Halusho and the Mandibles. The faction split from the League and went into the forest “back to its roots.” The faction named itself the True Arrows. The True Arrows formed an elite soldier corps to hunt hobgoblins and any who associated with them.
738 NA: The return of Navillus and the actions of the True Arrows put too much stress upon the Hykman League. The Brotherhood of the Living Immolation revived and clashed with the Revered Administration in the streets of Hykma and the Hearth. The frustrated poor enacted their revenge fantasies on the rich. The streets were stained with blood and both cities descended into chaos. A bloody civil war wracked the Hykman League.
The hobgoblins broke off regular relations with the Hykman League having learned enough to maintain a civilization of their own. The hobgoblins created schools with a sort of hobgoblin agoge (Spartan training). The hobgoblin militocracy conscripted armies in the three new cities.
The Hykman armies in the Halusho Forest struggled to maintain peace in the cities, defend against hobgoblin raids, and contend with the True Arrows. The armies were called to return to Hykma – by both sides. The generals refused to return, staying in the forest, fearful of aiding the wrong side.
739 NA: The grez researched improved ice magic and architecture. They used their improved skill with cold magic to create ice golem creatures. The grez formed armies out of these ice golems in Reesrevoton.
The son of King Hrotomak, Tenzomak, conscripted a new army to defend his beautiful city of Syluk.
740 NA: The True Arrows kicked the hobgoblins out of Shianosoth and reestablished the ancient elven city. Many of the old buildings were left as ruins, reminders of what happens if hobgoblins are allowed free reign.
741 NA: The Elves of Rotandean and Crodolan feared that the civil war might spill over into their territories. Rotandean created an army to defend itself. Crodolan’s mages used their enchantment magic to charm the commanders of the Hykman army to stay in the forested city. True Arrow leaders convinced the people of Crodolan to mercilessly execute the humans within the army. A new elven army was formed at Crodolan to defend from reprisals.
In Hearthland, the Metal Dwarves realized that their military was ill-suited for fighting the undead abominations of the grez. A new military organization was created, vastly superior to that of any other nation. Promotions were now based on intellectual merits instead of connections or prowess in battle.
742 NA: The Hykman Civil War ended, leaving a wake of carnage and a strong military presence in both Hykma and the Hearth. The Brotherhood of Living Immolation took control of both cities, though the proxy of the Revered Administration still remained, now many of the Administrators were themselves members of the Brotherhood. The Revered Administration had too many things working against them, the infiltration of their order, the burning fanaticism of the Brotherhood of Living Immolation, and the corruptible greed of Revered Administrators.
In honor of their victory, the Brotherhood of Living Immolation built a massive and wonderful temple to Navillus in the Elven Gardens of Hykma. While the true nature of the Brotherhood of Living Immolation was still concealed under infinite veils of secrecy, the temple was a rallying point for common men.
743 NA: With battle hardened soldiers at Hykma and the Hearth, the new Hykman League exploded outward. Troops from the Hearth were sent northward to conquer Farpoint and integrate it into the empire.
And with word of the elven betrayal ruminating in Hykma, the city struck south at Rotandean. Despite being unaffiliated with the True Arrows, the elven soldiers of Rotandean were mercilessly slaughtered by the followers of Navillus.
Finally, rather than brave the Freedom Road and the fighting between the hobgoblins and the elves, the Hykman Empire sealed the Homestone Bridge. The Bastion was fortified to defend the bridge and more soldiers quartered there in preparation for future conflicts.
744 NA: Strife, chaos, and unchecked emotion ravaged the lands of the Hykman League, and yet the rana were able to channel the horrors. An artistic renaissance permeated from Pulchrito and Domicilius: painting, poetry, literature, sculpture, and theater. For the first time, creativity and expression began to overcome the blunt wealth and splendor that previously dominated the minds and hearts of the Hykman people.
745 NA: With the world at war, mercenaries were in high demand. On Balkus, Captain Lucrais DeBaal of the Zephyr formed a fleet of sails for hire. He was quickly contracted by the Bastion to defend their channel. A fleet was formed to defend the Canal from elven small boats and to prevent passage across the Canal by any means other than the Homestone Bridge.
746 NA: Farpoint fell to the Hykman siege and became a subject province to the League.
748 NA: Shrieking noises could be heard day and night in the southern jungles. Old fears awoke in the hearts of the merfolk. The avian menace had returned at the same time that passage through the Great Canal was disrupted. Izquitl sent forth her feathered warriors. The city of Tortuga was taken and renamed. The place became Hubru-Peche to the avians, or New Roost in the human tongue.
The merfolk, not wanting to start a war with Hykma, began fervent negotiations to move an army through the Great Canal. The Hykmans delayed and blocked negotiations.
749 NA: A merfolk fleet was sent to Rontu-Aru via the Groshan Sea. The fleet sustained heavy losses to avian aerial raids on the way and failed to retake Tortuga.
750 NA: The avians, now firmly in control of Hubru-Peche, started flying across the ocean to harass the elves of the southern forest as well as any ships that sailed in The Neck or the Groshan Sea.
The volcano at the heart of the Red Peaks continued to pulsate and radiate heat. The ice, both in the mountains and in the city of Najar, melted. The heat remained. The sun always seemed to shine bright and strong on the city and the place was always warm. The days could be sweltering, but the nights were simply heavenly. Cool breezes gently flowed throughout the city and from his throne, the Mercenary King Jizero smiled. The ruins themselves seemed to melt away and be reshaped. Soon enough, one could hardly see signs of the terrible plight so many years ago. Najar, the Holy City, the City of Endless Summer, was reborn.
751 NA: Hykma and the Hearth, both wounded by the civil war and the battles afterwards, began to rebuild. This process incorporated much of the artistic movement the rana initiated, and so the cities reveled in the new beauty.
After negotiating the terms for passage through the Great Canal with new reps from the Revered Administration, the merfolk organized more and more armies in Proaxium, Drolfo’s Cove, and Cyflenwi. The new recruits were sent to retake Tortuga along with a massive fleet. The avians were cast out, but separate roosts had already been established on the northern side of the ocean, creeping ever north towards the high cliffs of the Mandibles.
The city of Balkus, already a fine port city, continued to grow in size and wealth. While the merfolk occupied themselves with the avians, a new settlement, named Mershe, appeared on Crautor Island. A new Bwarlor nation came onto the global scene.
752 NA: The True Arrows infiltrated Rotandean. They found allies there among all those who resisted the Brotherhood of Living Immolation. The common man may not have known of the Brotherhood, but the Arrows knew. Frugal Profiteers who went into hiding after the end of the civil war also joined up with the True Arrows. Sabotage and trickery were rampant in the city. Rumors of rebellion spread.
753 NA: Engrenildo’s grandson, Engrenildo the Third, finally docked on the western side of Hearthland with grand stories of land beyond the four known continents. He established a colony at the edge of the river named Victoria, after his mother.
754 NA: The Metal Dwarves formed up more armies and then went marching out against the grez. Machines were made to assist in crossing the ice and breaching the fortress of the wraiths. A few soldiers were lost in the trek to Reesrevoton to eliminate the grez threat, but discipline kept the men in line. Upon arriving, the monstrous creations of the grez shocked the dwarven armies. They fought and fought, before realizing that their only chance laid in retreat. The dwarves pulled out, but only a few survived to tell the tale of the ice golems of the grez.
755 NA: King Tenzomak sat in the throne room of Syluk. His father’s armor stood in a trophy case against the wall. The King stared at the armor and felt it calling to him. He walked over to it in silence and slowly donned the armor. He felt vast strength flowing in his veins. He had to use the strength quick! Before it consumed him! He lashed out at the grand columns supporting the ceiling of the throne room. His kicks and punches, powered by the ruby plate, brought the walls down around him. Servants fled the royal castle and a few were crushed in the ruins. The King dug himself out of the collapsed keep with his bare hands. He addressed the gathered crowd around his former palace, “For too long we have sat in luxury, enjoying the splendors the world has given us! It has weakened our resolve! Made us like the little people who think of nothing but their pipe-weed and mushrooms! NO LONGER! We shall forge our bodies into a new army and reclaim the glory of the dwarves! NO MORE MERCY FOR THE EMPIRE!” A cry goes out among the dwarves and humans of the city.
Immediately the city prepared for war. Old metal was melted down for new. Fine heirloom luxury goods were sold off to incoming merchants to finance the growing army. Thousands of men reported for the draft. Those that did not were found and punished. Bards were sent out to spread tall tales of Tenzomak’s Ten Hundred Thousand.
756 NA: The first graduates of the agoge assembled outside of Crodolan. They marched forward without fear, thousands dying to the ancient magical defenses around the city. The hobgoblins had been told from a young age; a hobgoblin never gives up, never surrenders, and never retreats. That is for the lesser races. Hobgoblins are strong, brave, and as hard as steel. They marched forward, unfazed as their brothers were blown to pieces by fire and lightning. The defenses around Crodolan were used up except for an odd one here and there.
The humanoids and giants reached the city walls. Grand General Krak-Sho-Khan ordered the rams brought out. The elves tried to defend their city, but for every goblin they shot, two more took its place. Giants and trolls helped with the siege of the walls. The elves ran out of arrows, and then they fell. Crodolan was taken. Krak-Sho-Khan named himself King of the Halusho Forest, with his generals as the official council.
757 NA: The Humans of New Prestounasi grew wary of the war between the elves and the hobgoblins spreading to their city. The ships were made ready to cast off if the hobgoblins turned their way. The generals of the Bastion felt secure behind their walls, but awaited an order from Hykma to cross the Bridge and engage the filthy Bwarlor spawn.
The rana kept the influence of Navillus out of the Shanties with many spells, wards, baptisms, and exorcisms. This earned them many friends among the commoners, but few among the faithful in the Brotherhood. It was no longer a rare incident for a Gossamer Monk to be attacked on his way home from a house call. The Brotherhood’s spies are everywhere and their thugs are ready to pounce.
The grez learned of artificial intelligence for their golems. An unthinking automaton is a foe worthy of the greatest heroes, but a thinking one? Only the immortal gods could slay such a beast. The grez rejuvenated their golem armies in Reesrevoton and sent the golems at the Bronze Port. The dwarves and Profiteers evacuated the city, but many did not make it out in time.
758 NA: The grez attacked Bronze Port last winter. It is spring and a new year dawns upon the world. What quests lie in wait for those who seek adventure? Only the gods know.