Beta Lore is lore that was found only when Everquest was still in its Beta period, much of which was easily found on merchants via in game books. The problem with Beta lore is much of it is no longer considered canon lore, in some cases like "The Prophecy of Trakanon" SOE devs have come out directly and said the lore is no longer considered canon and should be disregarded, while in other cases current canon lore sources reference this beta lore so its canon status is unknown and debatable. As such even these parts of the following lore should be taken with a grain of salt and not neccessarily relied on. Such lore should of course be preserved so it is presented below. Also included are refined versions of lore that occured in post beta GM events like Bloody Kithicor that some players got to witness personally.
In the beginning, there was a perfect void. Empty of all; even time, and space. A vast and endless nothingness cloaked in a deep and all consuming silence. Within this void existed "The Nameless". A power so incredible and incomprehensible that in all the universe, it knew only itself to exist. Knew only itself capable of existing in the great expanse that was its realm. It knew not why it was there. Only that it was. In the quiet expanse of the void, it sent itself out. To probe this empty space. To seek it's boundaries if it had them. As it's awareness searched the void all it could think about was the discovery of something different. And there, as it willed it so, it found something different indeed. A pocket of space and within it the flow of time creeping inexorably on. Of all existence, this pocket of reality was the only thing different than itself. When it stepped into the space, something happened. Something terrible and wonderful. Something terrifying and exciting. The pocket had the elements of space and time. The Nameless knew naught of these things and when it entered the void, it could not be contained within it and a part of it lashed out in all directions to fill the space which had been empty with a force that knew no boundaries. The Nameless quickly drew back into the place it had known and looked into the space to see what had happened. But it was empty no longer. It was filled with swirling energies, light and heat. It's perfect emptiness was corrupted by the being of the Nameless. The new realm, sewn from his being, was now still part of him, but different from all he had known. The energies collided and crashed. They were born and died. They became new and different things, none of which the Nameless had seen before or could predict. The Nameless felt wonder for the first time. Through its will it began to shape the chaos that swirled within. To form new and interesting elements it was only now learning. Once the basic elements were formed it used them to form planets, both huge and small. Stars and swirling masses of light. All for it's wonder and joy. It operated on a grand scale and set it's universe in motion. Moving and pulsating with it's own kind of life. Throughout it's center it set the stars. Pinpoints of energy much like itself that it may watch over this new creation. Now the swirling ball of chaos needed shaping. He would need order in this new realm he had created. The changes that he wanted would need a fine touch. He needed a way within the sphere to manipulate this chaos material. And so he made the Gods of Power.
THE GODS OF POWER
The Nameless reached into the chaos and drew forth four equal portions of the stuff of existence. Of these he took a sampling and shaped it into the Gods that would divide the universe into form. The first of the these he named Rathe and set upon it the task of making solid the chaos, into the matter of which all things would be built. Rathe looked upon the task before it and saw the Chaos was immense. It's task was enormous and would require it to be many places throughout the cosmos to tend. It reached inside itself and divided into 13 equal parts. All to keep custodian over the multitude of mass that it would create and each of The Rathe went into the chaos and set about dividing a fourth of the material into the matter it would call Earth. It set this earth around it's Lord's eyes, the stars, that he may keep watch over all his cosmos and admire it's child's creations. The second he named Fennin Ro. And gave him the tasking of shaping the chaos. Fennin went forth and drew his portion that he named Fire, that he may set it upon the stars and shed light on his Lord's cosmos. He helped The Rathe shape the solid matter into that which would be pleasing to their Lord's eye. He gave warmth to the cold of chaos. The third element, Water, he determined would need many forms. For this element he took the portion and split it into three. Tarew Marr would be responsible for Water, the main state of the element which would give life to his worlds. E'Ci would lord over water in it's solid state, Ice, and the order and preservation it brought. Finally, Povar would lord over Steam, and that of life in motion. These three took their portion and cloaked each world with it's life giving touch. The fourth he named Xegony. Her's was the duty of drawing away the material in-between and setting each thing in it's place. Her portion of chaos she drew away and made into Air. This she used to blow the chaos away and blanket each world to cushion it from the harshness of the cold cosmos.
THE GODS OF INFLUENCE
The Nameless looked into its new creation and felt sorrow. It knew all that happened in this new place but could not experience it for it could not contain him. Only the essence that he could reach within told him anything of this new world he had formed. It left him feeling detached. He must find a way to explore this new existence. He called out to the Gods of Power and commanded them to make minions that he could share in their experience of his new worlds. The Gods of Power each reached into their elemental planes and drew forth a portion to commit to the task. They shaped it with their will into that which would be their eyes and hands and that of their lord. Beings of energy, much like the Gods of Power but able to influence the subtleties of each world. Beings of will born of the matter of the cosmos. The Gods of Power knew in their dealings with each other that their must be constant balance in the universe that it maintain it's shape and no one force threaten to destroy the others or the perfection they had strived to create under their lord's tutelage. Based on this most holy of precepts they began to create the Gods of Influence in the model of a scale. A force of darkness or destruction would be placed on one side. A force of light or creation would be place on the other. In the middle would be a neutral or balancing force upon which each side would be buffered. This would maintain the balance they sought without too much of their involvement. As needed, they combined their elements to create each God in turn:
Rodcet Nife - Life & Healing The Tribunal - Justice Bertoxxulous - Death & Decay Mithaniel Marr - Valor Bristlebane - Mischief Cazic-Thule - Fear Erollisi Marr - Love Druzzil Ro - Magic Innoruuk - Hate Quellious - Peace Rallos Zek - War Tunare - Nature Veeshan - The Heavens Solusek Ro - Flame & Conquest Karana - Rain Brell Serilis - Underfoot Prexus - The Oceans
THE AGE OF SCALE
While the Gods light and darkness began to flex their new found will and bicker among themselves and the neutrals attempted to keep the balance among them, Veeshan soared among the great new planets. There was much to be discovered and the keeper of wisdom must know it all that she would have the power of knowledge to serve her purpose. There was much to see, and many different worlds swirled within the space and passed each other seemingly oblivious to each others existence. There was nothing of particular size upon them as all life was plant-like or that of simple animals. Taking it all in, Veeshan realized that she could not keep her eyes on all it without some kind of help. Veeshan soared to what she felt was the planet closest to the center of all that was. Here she would place her progeny to grow and watch over her Lords creation. Here would be born the seeds of her watchful dominion. She named this world "Norrath", meaning foundation in the tongue of the Gods. Upon this foundation she raked her claws across the frozen continent of Vellious as a farmer would plow a field. Here she would sew her seed. She lay upon the world for many days and nights and laid her eggs within it's scars. The first Dragons walked the land and flew the skies. Powerful beings of great intellect, wisdom, and strength, they ruled the land as the first born of the Gods. Of all creatures that would come these would be the least diluted, the purest form of that which is born of the divine.
THE ELDER AGE
Brell Serilis, being the God of Underfoot, felt the claws of Veeshan dig into his domain, the spine beneath each world. Immediately he looked upon Norrath and secretly saw what Veeshan was doing. Looking upon this, he saw a potential threat to the balance that had just been formed. From his Plane of Underfoot, a dark realm of vast caves and endless tunnels, he quietly created a magical portal to a cavern deep in the belly of Norrath. Through this portal the Duke of Underfoot seeded the depths of Norrath with all manner of creatures. Brell then returned home, sealing his portal within a labyrinthine chamber of mystical Living Stone. As the other gods came to Norrath, Brell Serilis approached each of them, and after some time convinced them to meet as one to discuss the fate of the world. The Great Mother Tunare, and Prexus, The Oceanlord were in attendance, and Rallos Zek, the warlord, was also there, yet in mistrust kept his distance. Brell, carefully avoiding all queries as to the origins of his information, told of Veeshan's discovery of the new and potentially powerful world in which she had deposited her brood. Words befit of the King of Thieves poured forth from Brell's lips and he proposed that they accept an alliance of sorts, to which all save Rallos Zek agreed, ignorant of the fact that Brell had already released some of his creations into the Underfoot of this new world. The planet that would be called Norrath was divvied up between these beings of power for the purpose of keeping the Wurmqueen in check. Each would create a race of beings to watch over Norrath and keep a vigilant eye on the schemes of Dragonkind. Brell claimed the bowels of the planet and created the Dwarves, stout and strong, deep beneath the mountains of Norrath. In the abysmal depths of the oceans Prexus left his children, the Kedge, hearty aquatic beings of great mental power and stamina. And on the surface of Norrath did Tunare create the Elves, creatures of limitless grace and beauty, and Rallos Zek the Giants, fierce and formidable beings, intent upon the defense of their lands.
It was inevitable that such energies involved in seeding planets with life would attract even more of the gods, and it was the Elves who drew the unwanted attention of Innoruuk, Prince of Hate. In a decrepit tower overlooking the dark decaying alleys of the Plane over which he ruled, Innoruuk waited, stoking the fire of his Hate until it was a raging inferno. He cursed his fellow gods for not including him in their pact and vowed to make them regret such disrespect. From the halls of the Elves' fair city, Takish-Hiz, the Prince of Hate snatched away the first Elven King and Queen. In his realm of pain and anger he slowly tore them apart, physically and mentally, over the course of three hundred years. He then gathered the quivering remnants of these beings of light and rebuilt them into his own dark sadistic image, a twisted mockery of Tunare's noble children. In depositing the Teir'Dal, as Innoruuk's Dark Elven creations would come to be called, back into Norrath, the seeds for The Prince of Hate's final revenge were sewn.
Fizzlethorpe Bristlebane and Cazic-Thule came next to Norrath, and Brell met them, concocting a second pact with these latter gods, wishing another excuse to create more peoples into the world. Rallos Zek again watched from afar, determined to add to his creation as well, and this time Brell convinced the Warlord to join the pact, assuring him that it was indeed an appropriate time to fulfill his desires. Deep in the earth did Brell return to create the gnomes, resembling dwarves to some extent, yet more wiry and gnarled, consumed with tinkering with devices more so than their cousins. On the surface, away from Elves and Giants, Bristlebane made the Halflings, short and stubby folk, agile and with a propensity to meddle and even pilfer at times. Cazic-Thule, Lord of Fear, was drawn to the swamps and jungles of Norrath and there created green-skinned Trolls and the reptilian Lizard Men and Iksar. Rallos Zek returned to the surface, pleased with his sanction to create even more peoples for his army. He made then the Ogres, massive, unmovable beings of questionable intelligence, and the Orcs, bred for battle and singled-minded in their desire for conquest. By this time, those who are now known as the elder races of Norrath had begun to expand and mature. Villages became cities, and cities became kingdoms. Several of the races became bent on expansion and warfare became part of their developing cultures.
THE CHILDREN OF RALLOS
Now, Rallos Zek did create the Orcs on Faydwer, and the Giants and Ogres on Tunaria. The Giants, being one people at that time, flourished in the Northlands, vast and fertile grasslands that stretched from the ocean to great mountains both to the east and south. In seclusion they made huge cities and castles, and built a civilization rivaled at that time by very few of the other intelligent races. They were a strong nation, and worshipped their creator, the Warlord. Armies and outposts guarded the passes leading into the Northlands, and the few times their home was attacked, the invaders were utterly crushed. Far to the south, another civilization grew to great power as well. The Ogres also worshipped the Warlord, even more fervently than the Giants. And of all the races, it was the Ogres who quickly proved the most interested in battle and plunder, and their empire grew outward from their mountain home until it eventually encompassed a large portion of Tunaria, largest of the known continents. Their knowledge of magic grew as did their greed, until they became weary of only Norrath, and when they learned of other planes and dimensions, invaded the Plane of Earth itself.
While the Ogres to this day sing songs of their initial victory over these twelve mighty beings, it is also true that when one of these gods fell, soon another arose from the earth to take his place. The Ogres could do little against a foe eternal, and were eventually defeated, their armies forced to fall back through the portals that had brought them to that plane. Hoards of earth elementals and flesh-eating plants pursued them, even into Norrath, and southern Antonica fell victim to the wrath of the Twelve Gods. The empire fell, and the surviving Ogres lost both their knowledge and unity, and have dwelt ever since in small villages, warring between themselves over petty things, their former glory gone forever. Rallos Zek looked down upon the Ogres, and in seeing their defeat, grew angry. And while he was a lesser deity, he was still the god of war, and in his arrogance he too opened a portal to the Plane of Earth and led his forces to invade it. An inconceivable battle ensued, one of which history says little other than that the heavens themselves shook, and in the end even the Warlord was defeated by the Council of Rathe. He and his minions were cast back into the Planes of Influence, and the greater gods came together, creating a barrier such that no lesser god or creature could ever pass into the Planes of Power again. They also saw it fit to punish Rallos Zek for his treachery and arrogance. And so, in what some view as spite and others justice, the Gods cursed the Warlord's creations. The Ogres, being already dispersed and defeated, they chose to ignore. But the Orcs and Giants, also of the Warlord's creation, were to feel their wrath. The fate of the Orcs is almost totally unknown, for they are not a people to keep history, concerned only with the present. But the Giants remember, for the greater gods came together and in their combined might brought an age of ice to the Northlands. Their civilization fell swiftly - their cities and holds crumbled in the cold, their crops and livestock froze and died. Famine and chaos spread everywhere, and the surviving giants boarded a vast armada of ships and sailed east and then south to escape the curse. But the greater gods saw this too, and watched their escape, conferring with each other. And when the fleet reached a point between Antonica and Kunark, they summoned a hurricane of unearthly power, with gales and waves greater than any sailor had ever seen. Many ships were sunk, and over two-thirds of the armada were blown by the mighty winds to the shores of the nearby lands, to be dashed against the rocks and cliffs. One third came ashore east of the Oasis of Marr, in the Desert of Ro, while the other landed in the Burning Wood, on the west coast of Kunark. The remaining third of the Armada sailed on, praying that they had escaped. But the Warlord could do nothing in their aid and Xegony, Queen of Air, drew wind to their sails and led them to the coast of Velious, where they landed short on supplies, and unable to sail further.
Thus the greater gods brought their final curse upon the Giants, for they had fled the Northlands to escape an age of winter, only to find themselves marooned on an entire continent of eternal ice and snow. In the desolation that was the Desert of Ro, many of the Giants died from the heat and lack of water. The few who survived became a wandering band of nomads, fiercly afraid of others, attacking anyone who would wander into their ever-moving camps. They are called the Sand Giants by those who have encountered them and lived to tell the tale. Those who landed on Kunark became the Hill Giants and Mountain Giants, and were soon enslaved by the Iksar, rulers of the Sebilisin Empire. It wasn't until that empire fell that these giants became truly free again, able to begin anew. The final group of giants, those who landed on Velious, became the Frost Giants and Storm Giants. These were the mightiest in the armada, those who had survived the great hurricane, and it was their anguish and pain as they were blown south through the waters that named the Ocean of Tears. They eventually adapted to the cold, and began to rebuild a civilization in the parts of Velious, always careful to stay clear of the Ice Dragons who also dwell there. But whether Frost Giant, or Sand, or Mountain or Storm, they remember and they curse to this day the greater gods, the rulers of the Planes of Power. The goblins were also cursed, but no writings remain of their punishment as they no longer keep records of their history (which is perhaps some indication as to the severity of their curse).
THE AGE OF BLOOD
As the chaos of the Gods sweapt many of the parts of Tunaria, an occurrence stranger still was visited upon the Elves of the Eldarr forest. On a stormy night, amid the howling winds feeding the storms to the Northlands, a couple emerged from the woods, alerting the sentries on watch. The guards stared in dismay at frist and then rang the alarm summoning the captain of the watch. Captain Paetroen looked down at the disheveled pair to see their King and Queen, lost to them so many years, returned. Where they had been, no one knew, but the captain could see a wildness in their eyes. He imagined an incredible ordeal to be sure, to keep them from home these past three hundred years. The two were immediately brought to the palace of the new King, their cousin, who had taken rulership of the kingdom in their absence as was proper. The king of course began preparations of ceremony to return the kingdom to its rightful king and queen as soon as they were healthy enough to return to office. Sadly the cousin would never see this day and he and his wife died of a mysterious illness within two months of the king and queen's return. And so the new kingdom began in death. The royal family began to turn away from the ways of the forest and look beyond it to other lands and those that dwealt there. They looked on with envious eyes at their neighboors and soon spread the desires of conquest through the council. More and more friends of the forest in court began to move away, take ill, or disappear on hunting excursions all together. The ideals of the elves turned to empire. The elves built great armies and took to the primeval forests of Norrath, creating a vast empire that spanned several continents. Ruling from the city of Caerthiel , under the guidance of Innoruuk, their new elven god. The empire of the Elves was the last of the old races to begin its decline. The Elddar Forest spread across the entire southeastern quarter of Tunaria. Cities and villages were built high into the trees and marble cities stood sentinel over the forest's clearings and meadows, their white towers and spires climbing out of the forest, higher than the tallest tree. But then came the last curse of the gods, as Solusek Ro, Lord of Flame, bitter of the defeat of his son Rallos Zek and the persecution of his creations, arched the spine of the serpent mountains, bringing heat from the burning sun to the ancient forest. Where Rallos and his children failed, no other would succeed. The rivers ran dry, it rained less each year, and while the great elven druids fought long and hard, using their powerful magics to combat the change, they could only delay the inevitable. Slowly the forest gave way to desert, and eventually even great Takish-Hiz crumbled leaving those who would find it later to wonder what had befallen the once great city and the elves were forced to flee Tunaria, leaving much of their greatness behind. What had survived the great kingdom of the elves they loaded onto ships they built from the remainder of the forest, and sailed east toward the continent of Faydwer where their scouts had found suitable forests. Tunaria lost to them, they began to build anew on the continent of Faydwer and soon took hold of a large portion of the continent.
THE LOST AGE
This next period of Norrathean history as it relates to many of the races is the least known. It is surmised by the more knowledgeable historians that while the elder races regrouped and reestablished themselves, a small group of Barbarians were suddenly transformed both physically and intellectually. Most believe this to be the last major and direct act of divine intervention, and perhaps the reason so little is known about this period is that the gods wish it to be so, deciding afterwards that they would have less to do with their creations. In any case, this small and enlightened group were the fathers of the Human race, and they rapidly gained a foothold throughout the lands, studying the lost art of geomancy. The Combine Empire, as this lost race of Humans is called, spread throughout the known world, but then died even more quickly than it grew, and for reasons still unknown. And while they are the ancestors of every Human on Norrath and their relics and ruins still litter the lands from Odus to Faydwer, little history of this period remains.
THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT
After the fall of the Combine Empire, the remnants of mankind dwelled mostly in the center of Tunaria, inhabiting primarily the vast and fertile plains of Karana. Villages appeared and prospered, several reaching the size of towns, and two even became cities. To the west a strong and noble band of Humans, lead by Antonius Bayle the First, founded Qeynos under the lofty principles of law. Freeport, to the east, became an active and dangerous port of call for all who dared to venture into the Ocean of Tears. Humanity, much to the disdain of the elder races who watched from afar, remained strong, even daring to rename their home after one of their own instead of one of the gods. The great continent of Tunaria would forever more be known as Antonica. This is not to imply, however, that humanity was at peace. Competition was fierce, and when resources grew scarce for one reason or another many groups abandoned the promises and alliances of their past and fought. A few leaders spoke out against the violence, urging the masses to remember why they had fled the cold north. Others reminded them of their former glory and the might of the Combine Empire. These leaders insisted that humanity adhere once again to those principals to which all had agreed. Explorers and adventurers returned from afar with tales of elves, dwarves, and other strange creatures, as well as descriptions of ancient abandoned cities. A few even came back with limited knowledge of sorcery and the mystic arts. And when that discontent minority of leaders heard all of this, they became both jealous and determined.
ERUDITES & HERETICS
A small, fragile man of great intellect called Erud led this group, and he formed them into a council. They quickly became irritated, even disgusted, by their fellow man. Leaving a small network of spies behind, the remainder of Erud's followers fled the city of Qeynos and boarded a small fleet of ships. They sailed to the west and landed upon the barren coast of the island of Odus. The land was sparse and uninhabited and quite appealing to the council and their people. They quickly built a city of their own, dissimilar in almost every way to both Qeynos and Freeport, for it was almost entirely a towering castle. Erudin it was called, and within it the scribes and scholars, who called themselves High Men, gathered and analyzed reports, captured books and scrolls, and other artifacts brought to them by their spies. The first human mages were then born - wizards, sorcerers, and enchanters occupied the great halls of Erudin and grew immensely in both power and knowledge. One of the more adept practitioners of the arts was named Miragul. Unlike and more extreme than the others, he not only abhorred his human brothers on the mainland to the east, but he also grew to hate his fellow Erudites. To him they were both short sighted and narrow. They created schools of thought, categorizing magic into three groups and assigning themselves to three classes: Wizards, Sorcerers, and Enchanters. Miragul found this limiting and thoroughly resented the thought of being restricted to one school of thought or another. He soon found others who felt similarly. They were a small but growing group of outcasts who often studied forbidden texts and other knowledge generally kept secret from the majority of students. The council was morally and ethically opposed to much of the information gathered afar by their spies. Miragul found that these outcasts not only studied the three schools of magic, but also a fourth. It was called Necromancy and a few lucky spies had returned from a distant underground city (Neriak, it was called, home of the dark elves) with both their lives and also ancient texts describing this art. Miragul was intrigued, and, by using powerful magic, created for himself four identities, four separate countenances and names, and joined all four schools without the knowledge of the council, nor anyone else for that matter.
It came to pass some years later that the council, in its ever growing desire to know all there was to know, both in distant lands and also in its own city, discovered the group of Necromancers. They were branded heretics and great conflict arose. For the first time in several hundred years, the Erudites fought. They engaged in a civil war not entirely dissimilar to that which they had loathed and fled from back on the mainland. But there was one very significant difference - they did not use swords and bows, but rather magic, and the result was terrible. Lives by the hundreds were lost, great buildings and structures destroyed, and eventually the heretics were forced to flee Erudin, to hide and regroup in the southern regions of Odus. Miragul, being a member of all four schools, was not blind to the implications when the conflict began. He left the heretics before they fled the city, abandoning his fourth identity and siding apparently with the council. But this was only a ruse in order to buy time. He soon gathered every artifact and tome he could discreetly steal and then left Odus entirely, taking a ship back to Antonica and to the city of Qeynos. The lands of men, however, were not only to his dislike, but also filled with Erudite spies. Miragul grew afraid, even paranoid, and soon fled again. He headed far to the north and then to the east, wishing to avoid the barbarians of Halas. After many weeks he found himself near the great lake called Winter's Deep and he hid there for some time. While Miragul waited in secret his mind was not idle. He schemed and planned, and looked over every letter of every scroll and tome he had taken from Erudin. Time passed and his understanding and power grew. But he was unsatisfied and a deep hunger for even more arcane knowledge ate away at him. He soon left his hiding place and began to travel long distances in search of more ancient texts and artifacts. His power had grown and confidence overcame his fear of Erudite spies. Once again he cloaked himself in false identity and countenance and traveled the lands of men. Not far to the south of where his cache of artifacts lay, Miragul soon found another of the new races, the Halflings, and their town Rivervale. The mage feared these small people and their propensity to sneak and to steal, and as his treasures grew in both size and value, he eventually made the decision to move even farther north, and away from all intelligent life. He traveled leagues and leagues, far beyond the range of both Erudite spy and curious Halfling, and eventually came to a vast tundra. This land had no name, and was not until centuries later referred to as merely the Frigid Plain. This frosty and remote environment appealed to Miragul's heart, for it had grown cold, obsessed with only knowledge and the abstract, and filled with only hatred for others. Creatures with intelligence forced him to be discreet and slowed his acquisition of knowledge and items. He had as little to do with them as he could, only hiding amongst them when absolutely necessary. Under the icy ground of the Frigid Plains, Miragul created a large network of tunnels and rooms in which to hide and study his collection. He used no labor, but rather deep magic to remove the earth from his way. Room after room, passage after passage, he did create to house his store of artifacts. He split his years, spending one score out in the world, exploring and amassing knowledge and items, returning them to his cache, and then the next dabbling with them, experimenting in one of several laboratories he had created. Many years passed, even centuries. Miragul grew old, even though he did his best to extend his life using magical means. There was a limit to his enlightenment when it came to aging, and he soon acknowledged that one day even he would die. Only one aspect of death did he fear, and being no longer able to learn and collect wrought him with terror. As his skin grew wrinkled, and his breath short, Miragul's time was spent less exploring the world of Norrath and more studying the existential. He soon discovered the various hidden dimensions that neighbored his own, the Planes of Power and Discord. He discovered means by which he could traverse these planes, making portals that led between them. But his strength was leaving him, and his journeys into these realities were short and often unprofitable.
More and more, his own mortality limited his reason for living, and the specter of death haunted him daily. The mage's research into life and death was built upon a foundation he had learned from his fellow outcasts centuries before in Erudin. Necromancy, more than any other art, became Miragul's obsession. Eventually he discovered a means by which to create portals within his own plane and made them to travel great distances in mere seconds. He traveled back to Odus, to its southern regions, in search of the other Necromancers. Perhaps, he mused, they had unearthed by now a way to cheat death. The mage soon found that the heretics of Erudin had built a city into a great hole that led to unknown depths beneath the earth. This chasm was apparently the result of that huge civil war from which Miragul had fled centuries earlier. The city, called Paineel, though somewhat suspicious, allowed Miragul to enter and after a time he earned its inhabitant's trust. Many humored the old man and his claims, while a select few respected him and were willing to trade knowledge for knowledge, power for power. They revealed to him the true power of necromancy, the ability to raise the dead, creating zombies and wraiths obedient in every way to their master. Many of the heretics planned to assault Erudin with vast armies of undead, to wreak revenge upon the council that had exiled and made war upon them in centuries past. One important aspect of their necromancy interested Miragul, the fact that the undead ceased to age. Their lives appeared endless and the elderly mage knew that he must discover a way to be like them. He feigned interest in the heretic's goals, learning spells to raise the dead, helping them raise their undead army. All the while, however, he was experimenting himself, hiding much of his research in the small home he was given in Paineel. After some time he discovered that which he had sought, a way to transform a living being, as opposed to a corpse, into the undead. Unfortunately, time was scarce, for he was tired and almost dead himself, his body deteriorating with age, and the heretics were almost ready to make war once again.
Miragul then left Paineel, using a small portion of his dwindling life energies to make a portal back to his cache hundreds of leagues to the north. Upon arrival, he withdrew silently to his most secret laboratory and prepared his final spell. Dreaming all the while of endless exploration and discovery, he slowly made ready his ultimate experiment. The enchantment laced with necromancy was finally made, and Miragul hid his remaining and fragile life within the phylactery, a small device he had pilfered from the other necromancers. Clouds of mystical energy gathered and then dispersed, revealing a shell of the man Miragul once was, an undead mage, what ancient scripts and legends called a lich. In his haste, however, Miragul had made a miscalculation. The lich, while retaining all the mystical power of his formal self, lacked a spirit. Only the mage's soul, now locked within the phylactery hidden deep in the cache, retained the ambition and desire to amass knowledge and power. The spiritless lich possessed none of these human traits, and Miragul's soul screamed in silence as the undead creature began to aimlessly wander his menagerie of wisdom and enlightenment, his rooms filled with artifacts of power.
THE AGE OF TURMOIL
The beggining of the current age was filled with wonder. The elder races had begun to reclaim their former glory. The younger races had matured, and an active economy stretched across Odus, Antonica, and Faydwer. While conflict and battle is hardly rare, it had also been centuries since open war had plagued the lands. A myriad of alliances and factions were formed, friend and foe plotted and schemed, and the world of Norrath was ripe for action.
As the corruption in the empire grew, so did the unrest in many elves hearts. They did not like the direction the empire was taking. They grew suspicious of the power of Innoruuk, choosing to destroy his works, and kill his servants. At first they were small in size, and weak in power. But as the years went by the rebels grew in leaps and bounds, using treacherous methods to slander the leaders of the Elven Empire. The first sign of the growing rebellion came at the Elven outpost of Wielle, located where the city of Freeport is today. Wielle was loyal to the empire, and therefore, enemies of the rebels. One of the few remaining elvish outposts on Tunaria it was far removed from timely reinforcements and therefore a prime target. A rebel army under Captain Paetroen savagely attacked it. The citizens of the outpost were killed. That action shattered centuries of relative unity. Suddenly the Empire had to face a new enemy in its midst. The Emperor, Kel'Anthinstion, called on all of the citizens of the Empire to fight for the cause of Innoruuk. He sent his most trusted advisers, all disciples of Innoruuk, to the far reaches of the empire. They were to gather support to fight the rebels and support the unity of the empire. The rebels had sent their own recruiters using underhanded tactics to undermine the populace's faith in the God. The war droned on for countless years. The war was a stalemate. That changed with the battle of Aerignon, named after the province of the empire where it took place. The loyal forces of the empire thought to catch Paetroen and his rebels unprepared. They attacked him at his home base, just north of Elizerain Lake. Forces were massed and placed under the direct command of the Emperor himself. He was to lead the army of Innoruk to destroy the rebels once and for all. As the army encircled Peatroen's military headquarters, a victory for the forces of Innoruk seemed assured. Out maneuvered and outnumbered, the Rebels could not get enough forces to turn back the impending assault, and escape by any means, was impossible.
But the imperial victory was denied that day, as a third player in the war, the wild elves, tipped their hand. The wild elf was a term used by citizens of the empire for the primitive elves that lived beyond the borders of the empire. They had remained neutral throughout the war, but had succumbed to the rebel's promises of victory, and had joined the war on their side. What was supposed to be a day of victory for the Empire turned into its greatest defeat. The emperor himself was killed when an wild elf assassin slipped into his tent and slit his throat in the darkness. On that day the Empire was doomed. The war lasted for several years after the death of the emperor. In desperation, the remaining loyalists sent messengers to the Dwarven Kingdoms for aid against the rebels. They returned, saying the Dwarves were fighting their own war, and would send no help. With the help of new magics, the Rebels pushed the loyalists back to their capital, Caerthiel, which was in what is now known as the loping planes. Inside, the last of the loyalists huddled in their homes, holding on to the last remnants of their shattered empire.
Without a leader to rally them, they were as good as dead. Help came in the form of a priest of Innoruuk, who rose up as leader. His name changes with every telling, but the fact remains that in the dark of the night, the day before the final assault on Caerthiel, the priest led the last of the loyalists in to the earth through a chasm that was opened and closed by Innoruuk himself. When the Rebel army assaulted the city the next day, they found nothing but a ghost town, devoid of any life. As the loyalists took refuge underground, the rebels thought themselves the winners of the War of the Broken crown. They took on the moniker "High Elves", while the wild elves became more commonly known as wood elves. Without the loyalists to guide it, the Empire fell apart. The elves that remained on the surface, the high elves, could not stand the symbol of Caerthiel, and in a fit of rage they destroyed it. They created their capital of Felwithe on the very spot where the emperor was murdered, in the battle that destroyed the empire. The loyalists fled east back to Tunaria. There they established the well guarded and underground city of Neriak, where they stayed for many years trying to rebuild their once great empire and all the while plotting for revenge against the rebels who forced them from Faydwer. Having been exposed to decades of low light in their underground kingdom and to harsh conditions, the skin of those elves still loyal to Innoruk has become darker and the elves themselves had been made into warriors guided by the power of their god. They are feared by the denizens of Tunaria, who call the loyalists "dark elves."
For centuries while the elven empire grew to the east, the dwarves and the remaining tribe of ogres had thrived in the mountains to the west, surrounding the forest presently known as "Lesser Faydark." The dwarves settled into the jagged cliffs of what is known as the butcherblok mountains and there had established their golden kingdom of Kaladim, "The forge of Norrath." The ogres were able to wrestle control of nearby lands from the orcan hordes of Faedwer after a decade of warfare and established the first ogreian kingdom in the nearby Rakthokian ridge mountain range, named after the first ogre leader "Rakthok the Warlord." There in the Faydark west the dwarves and ogres lived in an uneasy peace. While the immense empire of the elves could have easily crushed either one of the kingdoms, the ogres saw the dwarves as a primary concern. Raised in a culture where only the strength in your arms and the size of your weapon mattered, the ogres of the kingdom of Rakthok considered only the dwarves to be their equal and thus a very large threat. The ogres were also greedy of the gold-rich mountain mines and the stone cutting skill of the Kaladim kingdom, and to make matters worse, the friendly disposition of the dwarves did not agree with the savage and chaotic tendencies of the Rakthokian ogres. What resulted was an intense racial hatred and many small fights between the two kingdoms. In the beginning of the fourth age, when the elven rebels against the god Innoruk began to surface, Dagnor the Butcher was chosen as the 5th warlord of the Rakthokian Kingdom. Clearly the most ambitious of all the previous Rakthokian kings, Dagnor was the first to realize that the small skurmishes between dwarves and ogres would never solve anything and that for the ogres to gain anything substantial, the dwarves would have to be completely overcome or slaughtered. He saw the mines of Kaladim as an infinite source of limitless wealth and power.
Almost immediately after he seized the throne Dagnor began to assemble the largest combined army of ogres since the orcan clans had been overthrown. Dagnor was held in check for a long time, however, because Kaladim was a chief source of gold and weapons for the elven empire and the dwarves would find the elves a strong ally if war broke out. The ogre king was smart enough to realize that his kingdom could not survive an attack from both sides and so he did not advance and the dwarves did not regard him as much of a threat. While the indomitable elven empire loomed over western Faedwer, war was not an option for either the dwarves or the ogres. Dagnor is sometimes referred to as the destroyer of two empires. When he began his campaign against the dwarven kingdom of Kaladim he began the fall of his own kingdom of Rakthok, but also he stopped the dwarves from giving aid to the elven empire against the ever increasing elven rebel armies. Many historians surmise that if the dwarves had not been pulled into war with the ogres, their help would have caused the downfall of the rebel army and the old elven empire would still be in existence. In any case, with the war of the broken crown raging to the east, Dagnor knew the elves could not afford to lend aid to the dwarves and he took the opportunity to launch his own campaign against the kingdom of Kaladim. The warlord knew that the key to beating the dwarves was through the less guarded lands of northern area Kaladim where the dwarves had primarily established trading centers and peaceful mining villages. So in the middle of the fourth age, the 5th warlord of the Rakthokian kingdom marched his army of ogres and orcan slaves west across the hills of shade directly to northern Kaladim without fear of elven intervention.
Old dwarves still tell the horrible tales of the first ogre attacks. Ill prepared to meet such an invasion force, the peaceful cities of northern Kaladim were swept over with tremendous speed. Ogre warriors burned everything they could put a torch to and killed every dwarf they saw be it man, woman, or child. In little less then a week the forces of Dagnor had surprised Kaladim and caused the deaths of hundreds of dwarves. The warlord had found the weakness in the impenetrable kingdom of Kaladim and now marched directly for the capital. It was Dagnor's unnecessary need to stop and make sure everything was dead in the wake of his army that gave the time the dwarves needed to prepare. Word reached the capital city of Kaladim days before the ogres arrived. Hearing the startling news of the advancing army, the 12th dwarven king Grimmly Fireforge, an excellent fighter and brilliant military tactician, began to assemble a defensive force. Dagnor also did not anticipate the speed by which the dwarves could gather into a force large enough to repel his own. It was the warlord's first mistake. When the army of ogres reached the Crakthorn ridge, just one mile from the capital city of Kaladim, they were met by an equally large force of dwarves lead by king Grimmly. The fighting on the ridge was savage and brutal, but being less skilled at fighting in tight tunnels and with low light then the dwarves, the ogres were forced to flee. Dagnor ordered his army into the hills of shade where the dwarves and ogres could fight on equal ground. Day and night the battle raged across the hills of shade above the lesser faydark and the grass was bleached red with the blood of the fallen. Both armies were fueled by soldiers from their respective kingdoms and soon the war had ground into a stalemate. Thinking that the war would either be won or lost on the hills of shade, Dagnor ordered his southern most forces guarding the forest of lesser Faydark to move north and add more strength to the army in the hills. He left instead a handful of ogre soldiers and mostly a host of orcan slaves. It was Dagnor's second and most fatal mistake. For the first time in history dwarves and orcs came to an agreement and entered in on an alliance. The dwarves promised the orcan slaves of the defeated orcan clans their freedom if they would not interfere in the war in favor of both sides. Completely in favor with the plan, which gave the orcs freedom but did not require them to fight, the orcan slaves retreated from lesser faydark to the east, deserting the armies of Dagnor and leaving the southern hills wide open. King Grimmly took this opportunity to assemble a second force to the south and then attacked Dagnor's army from both the front and the undefended flank. The ogre forces on the hills of shade were demolished. Dagnor fled with few others and the Rakthokian kingdom was now completely vulnerable. Grimmly gathered his remaining forces and headed straight for the ogre capital, leveling any fortresses he came to and burning Rakthok to the ground. The Rakthokian army had been broken. The last official battle took place beneath the forest of lesser Faydark as the remaining ogre forces, lead by Dagnor, attempted to flee to the south. They were met there by a small force of vengeful dwarven soldiers who were able to hold them off until the arrival of the main dwarven host. When King Grimmly and his army arrived, the forces of Dagnor fought viciously and were able to kill many, but were ultimately defeated. A story tells that Grimmly and Dagnor met eachother face to face on the shores of a lake to the south of lesser faydark during one of these fights, and that Grimmly stabbed Dagnor with a spear with such intensity and ferociousness that the weapon shattered into thousands of pieces even as it cut straight through the ogre lord's chest. The story goes on to say that the warlord fell to his death immediately in that same lake and that the evil in his blood made the water boil and turn red. Thus the dwarves mockingly renamed the lake Dagnor's Cauldron and thus the final battle of the ogre-dwarven war was called "the battle of the shattered spear."
Barely more then three hundred ogres had survived from a host of thousands and, saying their prayers of forgiveness to their god Rallos Zek for losing the war, the survivors hastily retreated to the south-west. For two weeks the ogres fled and the forces of king Grimmly hounded them at every step, killing all those they could catch up with. The ogres plundered every small city they came to, even the shattered ruins of the elven capital of Caerthiel where they found ships and supplies they could use. Finally fleeing all the way across the Loping Plains, they set sail across the eastern oceans and away from the closing dwarves. The first Ogre-Dwarven war had officially ended. The ogres: beaten, wounded, and without a leader, reached the then barren continent of Antonica a month after setting sail from Faedwer. Day and night the forces of a once great Rakthokian Kingdom marched tirelessly through the endless desert of Ro and soon to the empty mountain range of what is now known as the serpent's spine. Wanting some time to rebuild and recuperate, the ogres found the mountain's natural geography a good advantage over any invasion force. Here they started the foundations of a new ogre capital, guarded on all sides by two rivers, a desert, a lake, jagged mountains, and a thick jungle, where they could start to assemble again and build a new army for the second ogre-dwarven war. They called their new kingdom "Oggok" which in ogreish means "Revenge."
Little more then three months after their betrayal of Dagnor and their march to the east, the newly freed orcan slaves were left stranded with no place to call home. None of the orcs had ever lived without the watchful eye of an ogre master looking over their shoulder, so now they were like children: wandering without knowing exactly what they were to do. The dwarves had made it clear in their pact that, while the kingdom of Kaladim was responsible for freeing the orcs, they were still very much enemies. It was not an option for any of the orcs to return west, so they eached began plotting for a new place to live. The decision was split three ways and the orcs began to revert back to the methods of their ancestors: splitting into three differing clans. One clan marched north, taking residence in the familiar northern peaks of Rakthok's ridge and away from the careful eyes of the dwarves. The second clan decided to make the grassy fields of the loping plains their home. Even today this clan remains there, looting and plundering any caravans who happen to pass by. The third, and the largest clan, was lead by a young orc named Gharol. He convinced the majority of the orcs that true riches lied to the fertile lands of the east. There, he said, the orcs would find their new home and the crushbone clan, as he called his followers, would grow strong. It was at this time, as the crushbone clan started making their way further east around the wayunder lake and straight for the greater Faydark, that the elven lord of Kelethin began to take notice of their advancement. The elves of Kelethin were tentative at first and the lord of Kelethin, an old elf by the name of Carandril, sent many messages to Gharol to ask what his plans were in moving his clan eastward. To this day no scholar can really be sure if Gharol was able to decipher the letters or not, as it is general knowledge that most orcs can't read a word of any written language, but it is certain the orcan lord was angry to find that another race had already taken residence in the eastern lands.
Carandril never saw any messengers he sent out again, as they were all killed by Gharol immediately as the letters were exchanged. Acting purely on his instincts, the leader of the crushbone clan told his followers of this "new" race and how they had "stolen" the east from the orcs. Gharol then started to plot a new plan which would entail the complete destruction of Kelethin and the enslavement of the elven race, as he thought kelethin was the only city of elves and the center for the entire elven empire. Both assumptions were false and the forces of Gharol were met with bitter, however surprised, resistance on the borders of the greater faydark. Most of the orcs leading this first attack were killed and the rest were turned quickly away. Angry at this new defeat and jealous of the elven strength, Gharol started to plot a new system of attack. He understood that most of his soldiers had been slaughtered from elves high in the treetops who would rain showers of arrows down on his forces. So for the second attack, Gharol put his orcs into a long line of attackers, gave each soldier his own makeshift torch, and then ordered the entire host to run into the borders of the greater Faydark and burn whatever they could touch. The Crushbone orcs set fire from everything to the tops of the trees to the grasses on the forest paths. Nothing but ash was left in their wake. The elven archers high in the trees were burned to death and the remaining elven soldiers, horrified and shocked at the tactics of their strange enemy, began to make a hasty retreat. The wood elves would later call the incident "the great burning." Gharol, seeing how effective his new methods were, gathered his clan into many small camps around the greater Faydark and ordered the construction of hundreds of torches for a second assault.
The lord of Kelethin, desperate for help, sent word of his plight to the heart of the empire: Felwithe. The first elf to take interest in Kelethin's request was a young soldier named Edril. Edril had lived his entire life in Felwithe, schooled by the best teachers and raised in a wealthy family. Around his 30th birthday, young by elven standards, he admitted himself into the imperial school of soldiery where he impressed his teachers with both his knowledge of military science and his deadly accurate fighting skills. After graduating and performing many deeds of merit in the imperial army of the elves, he was chosen as a personal guard of the emperor at the unprecedented age of 50. What brought him everlasting fame among the elves, however, was not how he excelled in schooling but what he chose to do for Kelethin. Going straight to the emperor himself, Edril asked that he be allowed to lead the attack against the orcs. When the emperor granted his wish, Edril hand picked 100 of the best elven warriors and the best horses, and rode quickly to the woodland kingdom of Kelethin. He was met at Kelethin with a large reception, but decided to ride through quickly. He was there for only one purpose: to make a name for himself by destroying the orcs. Little more then two days after arriving in the city, Edril and his men rode outside the greater Faydark and headed directly for the first orcan encampment. It was the middle of the night when Edril made his first strike, and the orcs were completely caught off guard. Edril's men rode straight over the orcs, slaughtering every clansmen they saw with little casualties of their own. Edril is said to have fought like a madman, tallying over 20 kills himself. Without even stopping to catch their breath, Edril's soldiers rode for the next camp so as to keep the element of surprise. One by one the camps of the crushbone orcs were destroyed quickly and brutally. The orcs, still preparing for their second assault on Kelethin, were always caught by surprise. Edril and his men moved from one battle to the next so quickly, the elves called them the legion of wind. The strategy worked perfectly: Gharol was never able to get word of the new attackers in time to plan a defense and so most of the orcs were slaughtered. The final battle, lasting longer then the rest, was against Gharol's own camp. Many of Edril's warriors were killed in this fight but all of the orcs, including Gharol, were driven away to the deep growth of the wild Greater Faydark.
Here they have made their makeshift kingdom. When Edril returned to his kingdom, he was proclaimed high protector of Kelethin with over 150 kills to his name alone. This would not be the last time Edril's name was written into elven history, however. It is believed that only weeks later after their retreat, Gharol was killed by his own followers. The fourth age ended in war and death with the promise of a new beginning. The petty squabbling of the elder races on the continent of Faydwer had ended tragically and none of the kingdoms would ever fully recover. The seeds for revenge had been sewn and the entire world had changed for all the elder races. With the immigration of the dark elves to Neriak on Tunaria and of the ogres to Oggok, new lands had been discovered and none of the elder races had the power anymore to stop the kingdoms of the gnomes and halflings of expanding nor did they have the strength to control the ever increasing population of the humans. The fourth age was a time of death, sadness, and change for Norrath.
Ever the since the first days of the elven rebellion, it had been decided by the emperor of Felwithe that the gnomes would be a free race allied with the elven empire and able to live on elven lands, much unlike the almost slave-like persecution the little tinkers suffered under the rule of the dark elves. The gnomes had been granted lands surrounding the fertile Elizerain Lake and there existed for a century or more in peace with their elven neighbors. However, being on elven lands also meant the gnomes would have to follow elvish customs, and increasingly the gnomes began to feel out of place. The gnomes were builders, not artists, and they could not sing or dance or play musical instruments. Elves prided themselves on their use of the bow and their long, graceful blades but gnomish arms couldn't support the lengthy elven weaponry. And while the elven language was meant to be spoken in long, descriptive, and fluid verse, the gnomes were always prone to speak in jittery and incredibly fast sentences. Slowly, a general concensus began to form among the gnomes that someday a separate gnomish kingdom would have to be formed. The gnome most responsible to bring about this change was named Biddyn. Biddyn was born the fourth son to a poor farmer on the east of the Elizerain Lake, the gnomish territories closest to the heart of the empire. Almost immediately he recognized how much he, and even his brothers and father, hated farm work. The most joyous times in his life, as he later wrote, were the monthly festivals the gnomes held where they would gather and build all manner of fascinating machines. This, he thought, is what gnomes should be doing and he bestowed upon himself the responsibility to make sure this came to pass. Studying elven mannerisms and rhetoric on his market voyages to Felwithe with his father, Biddyn soon became a speaker the likes of which no gnome has ever equaled. His very charisma charmed everyone around him into the idea of a separate gnomish kingdom, and he soon was ready to bring his demands before the emperor.
The emperor at this time was none other then Carandril, past lord of Kelethin, who had appointed the warrior Edril as his first soldier long ago and also as the head of the imperial army. Edril had served loyally and skillfully as Carandril's guard for more then a hundred years, the warrior elf being only a little more then middle-aged for his race. Charmed by his determination and skillful speaking, Edril supported Biddyn for a separate gnomish kingdom. Even the emperor was attracted to the proposition, as a new allied kingdom would open new opportunities for trade while the gnomish loss would not be a big drain on the imperial economy. After only six days of deliberation, Carandril granted Biddyn's request and plans were immediately formed for the creation of a new gnomish homeland. The emperor severed the southern part of his empire, mostly unused and barren fields beyond the steamfont mountains, and gave it to the gnomes. The land was renamed "Akanon" which is elven for "Gift" and ten gnomish settlers as well as five elven guards were prepared to make a journey into Akanon and chart the lands. The fifteen settlers rode out surrounded by the cheers of elves and gnomes alike, but were not heard from for many months. Finally after the fifth month of their disappearance, only one elven soldier, his clothes torn to pieces and his weapons shattered, rode solemnly through the gates of the empire. He was the last of the settlers who remained alive, and recounted his tale before an astonished imperial council. A plague dragon, with scales of an oozing black, had attacked the party soon after they had crossed into the southern lands and had claimed that the lands of Akanon were his own. For months the plague dragon chased them and hunted the gnomes and elves down. The soldier had watched each man die a slow and horrible death, and believed the dragon only let him go to give this message to the elves. The gnomes were instantly furious that Carandril had given them cursed lands to settle, and the emperor immediately ordered the death of the dragon. Frightened by the terrible story of the soldier, most of his warriors were reluctant to volunteer, as Carandril would not force anyone to fight such a terrible beast. Edril, however, immediately offered his services as a personal favor to the gnomes. When Biddyn himself volunteered five more gnomes joined the hunt, and together with his gnomish friends, Edril rode to the steamfont mountains to meet the terrible beast.
What happened next is best summed up by Biddyn's own "The History of the Gnomes": I admit as much, that even my legs were shaking when we approached the mouth of the demon's great cave. From our previous encounters, and from the memories of our lost friend Dolyn, we were all terrified of the beast. All of us, that is, except for Edril, but I don't think Innoruk himself could scare that elf. He thrives from fear as much as I do the tobacco in my pipe, it is to him as some sweet nectar that clears his thoughts and hones his blade. So while we trembled before the plague dragon's domain, Edril simply lifted his sword to his shoulder, looked back at me, and said "wait here." With a proud determination he marched toward the black cave entrance, a portal to the lower planes if ever there was one. He marched to his death, or so we thought. But when we saw him next in two days time he pulled behind him the head of the evil beast, which left thick trails of a green poison behind it. He breathed heavily, and painful scars covered his body. I laughed, thinking that while Edril was obviously hurt, the dragon must have felt much worse before his death. Anything that inflicts that much pain to the elf must be prepared to receive the same thrashing tenfold. The skull of the dragon sits still on the entrance to the gnome's own Fortress Mechanus. Edril and his band of gnomes would be written into gnomish lore forever as for the next weeks they rode tirelessly through the lands of Akanon, fighting back fierce creatures and charting the perfect hillside location for the first ever kingdom of gnomes. Edril spent much more time in Akanon then originially expected, personally overseeing the kingdom's construction. When the first houses were made and the first gnomish settlers came pouring in, Biddyn was selected as the first king of the gnomes and he in turn erected a statue in honor of Edril. The statue depicts Edril's battle with the great plague dragon, and gnomish craftsmanship made it enormous and actually useful: it sits in the heart of Akanon even today, acting as the central part to Akanon's extensive irrigation system. When Edril returned home to Felwithe he was greeted by hundreds of proud soldiers and again proclaimed a hero.
The present day kingdom of Grobb has always been fairly secretive about it's heritage, but common trollish lore tells us that the kingdom has it's roots in the blasted continent of Kunark, a land of venomous rivers, gray wastes, and seething deadwood forests. It is written that here, nestled on the banks of the Murkdweller river, Cazic-Thule chose to taint the bodies of man with cruel magics in his attempt at further having a hold on the prophecied surge of human power in the third age. But with the advent of the war of the broken crown, sages tell that Cazic-Thule eventually forgot about his trollish abominations and left them to die on Kunark. What followed for the trolls was decades of brutal combat as they struggled for the scarce natural resources of their dead continent. It was at this time that the ancient dragon Trakanon took notice of the slowly dying race.
To call the ancient one a dragon is purely speculative, as no one has ever seen the terrible beast many think is reponsible for the present condition of Kunark, but the garbled texts of the trolls describe him as one. The dragon is said to have gathered the entire population of Kunark onto one island in the broken teeth chain and there offer the trolls a pact: Trakanon would supply the forgotten children of Cazic-Thule with food and water from his personal jungle lands if they would become his servants. The trolls agreed, regarding Trakanon as a powerful savior, king, and god. Trakanon organized the trolls into separate tribes each to occupy a certain part of eastern Kunark so he could control them better. It was at this time his servants adopted the name "troll" which is a shortened form of the phrase "troll quel'dom gik Trakanon" which meant "the green children of Trakanon" in dragonish. It has never been in the power of either man or troll to determine the great dragon's reason for his abandonement, but we can't hope to understand the ways of the immortals. Every text simply states that Trakanon may have just changed his mind. Nevertheless, after centuries of relative peace and harsh rule under their godlike king, the twenty-five tribes of Trakanon entered the second age with their food supply dwindling and shipments coming in less and less frequently. At first there was no panic, the tribal leaders sent messengers to their king to ask forgiveness for whatever they had done wrong, but the messengers started to come back with word that they had been denied an audience with the great dragon. Trollish caravans by the hundreds started to crowd the dark hills of disdain, waiting for the gates to open into Trakanon's hidden kingdom, but that day never came.
When word of Trakanon's seclusion started spreading throughout Kunark, each tribe began to move closer and closer to the east where food had once come through. They arrived next to Trakanon's kingdom only to learn that the great dragon king had not been seen for more then 50 years and just recently had closed his gates to all messengers and caravans. The trolls were confused, distraught, and starving, and so they waited in the Kunark east for some word to come from their god. When that word never came, the tribes of Trakanon started to grow restless. Battles started to erupt haphazardly and tribal villages were attacked and plundered. In the shadows of the mountain range "Trakanon's teeth" a new trollish war erupted. The 25 tribes of Trakanon attacked eachother viciously for food and water, and for ten years they battled nonstop until only 7 tribes were left. These 7 tribes retreated to every corner around what is now called the field of bone, named for the countless trollish skeletons which cover the ground. For centuries more the surviving trolls would fight what has been called the war of the seven tribes in their attempts at stealing whatever they could for food and drink, even the flesh and blood of other tribal members. Trollish shamans say that every day while the war raged beneath him, Trakanon sat perched high above his jungle throne, watching his trolls die with a grin on his face. The war would almost cause the complete destruction of the troll race.
In the middle of the third age, the tribes of Trakanon were all but completely destroyed. The wars had continued for a century or more and when the seven tribes began to finally die out, mostly from starvation and disease, the trolls moved completely to the north of the field of bone and away from the swamp of no hope, the spot of their creation, forever. There the starving tribe of chief Kateera and the desperate followers of chief Nalikor squared off in one final confrontation. Across the northern shores of Kunark raged a battle so terrible elven bards dare sing of it only in the dark hours of the night. Troll was pitted against troll in the end of a war that would prove what tribe would rule Kunark, and each tribe fought with the single goal of completely destroying the other. Slowly, the two tribes began to die. Trolls began to consume the flesh of slain enemies, as was the accepted custom of the tribe wars, but also the flesh of fallen comrades. In fits of madness, trollish warriors would attack their own tribesmen and then commit suicide. The fights degenerated into scenes of utter insanity as trollish warriors started attacking anyone around them, friend or foe, to eat whatever they killed and to steal whatever they could grab.
The two most unaffected by the insanity around them, being veterans of the tribe wars themselves, were the two chiefs: Kateera and Nalikor. Realizing that the battle they had begun would be the beginning of the end of the troll race, both leaders met face to face with a host of their most trusted warriors on what is named Nalikor's Mound by the ancient trollish texts with the simple intent of ending the war once and for all. Every text says Kateera was the one who issued the challenge, and some troll shamans describe Kateera as a foolish, rash young leader who could have never stood a chance against the older Nalikor. Others, however, say that Nalikor and Kateera entered in on an understanding that in order for the trolls to stop the war the young leader had to die. Either way, while the rest of the trollish camps settled down from the war if only for a brief rest under a new moon, the young chief Kateera was run through and beheaded by the old Nalikor. Rather then carry out trollish customs and consume the bodies of his enemies, Nalikor only took Kateera's head as proof of his victory, then buried the young chief and his fallen guards on top of the highest hill in the field of bone, the one most stained with blood. Here the old chief stacked the weapons of warriors that had been dead for centuries and the place was called Nalikor's Mound, a monument to the old tribes of Trakanon and the mark of a new age for the troll race. No one has reportedly seen the mound, but the texts speak of it as a horrible site: a small red mountain with spears and swords thrust through it, surrounded on all sides by the endless troll-skeletons which cover the field of bone. At it's top Nalikor set Kateera's severed head, grinning as it hung from a metal pike.
The tribe of the now defeated Kateera surprisingly did not put up much of a resistance when they were told about the death of their leader and their loss in the war. For a week, the survivors of both tribes rejoiced in the end of centuries of warfare, feasting and dancing over the corpses of the dead, but many questions still remained unanswered and many problems were left unsolved. For decades troll shamans had prophecied that the tribe to win the wars would be given unimaginable riches and power by their dragon lord, but Trakanon never revealed himself to the last tribe even after the war was over.
Kunark was now completely a blasted land and a graveyard. All the creatures were dead and the undrinkable rivers were red with blood. The tribe of Nalikor thought themselves the sole rulers of their continent, but their continent was left with nothing they could use to survive. When tensions started to rise again among members of the same tribe, Nalikor realized that his followers were ready once more to destroy themselves. Powerless and desperate, the old chief then decided to commit an act of trollish blasphemy: he would cross Trakanon's Teeth, steal his way into the jungle kingdom of the great dragon, and speak to the king of the trolls personally. Many different stories are written about the month-long journey of Nalikor into the forbidden territory of his once-god Trakanon, but all have these few things in common: It is said that the old chief did actually meet the great dragon and that he told Trakanon all but one of the tribes had been killed. The ancient beast obviously admired the chief, as he awarded Nalikor with a magic blade and a key into his eternal kingdom, but the dragon also told Nalikor bluntly that he would give no aid to the trolls. It was then that Trakanon told Nalikor of the other continents and the other races, and that the chief could either lead his people away from Kunark or watch the last tribe die. Nalikor was especially outraged at the mention of more fruitful continents and the elder races, and it is speculated that the hostility trolls have towards all other Norrathians is spawned from this scorned jealousy, like a grown man emerging from a troubled childhood.
When Nalikor returned to his tribe he found it in chaos, split among five different leaders each with different plans for Kunark. The old chief killed each would-be-leader quickly, his flaming sword easily cutting them down, and when word of Nalikor's new-found power spread the trolls once more united behind him and gave him the title "Trakanon's chosen." The old chief told all four hundred of his remaining followers what Trakanon had told him, and quickly began to lay out the plan for an escape off their island-continent. With a very limited supply of natural resources, Nalikor and his men built a fleet of five massive ships entirely out of wood, steel, and the bones of dead trolls. With nothing left on Kunark, the trolls gladly boarded the fleet of bone, leaving behind them their entire culture of war and death, and sailed aimlessly for many weeks until coming to the broken skull rock off Antonica, in the middle of the gulf of Gunthak. Even before they had landed, the ogres of Oggok knew of the formidable and ivory ships sailing for their borders. Thinking they had something to fear from the mysterious troll fleet, which was landing next to the weakest part in the natural defense of Oggok, the ogres immediately gathered a large force of warriors to stop the trolls from advancing. To their complete surprise, the ogres found the strange trolls to almost be their exact equals in combat and the warriors were turned back by the massive tribe of Nalikor. Over the next few days, the ogres would continue their attacks on Nalikor's tribe. The fierce troll warriors, still homeless and starving, were able to fight off the ogres many more times but were only barely keeping Oggok at bay.
The Greenblood river is named for the many trolls who died in it's waters as a result of ogre raids. Nalikor, not fully understanding the ogre race or these recent skurmishes, sent word of a treaty to Oggok. To the surprise of all the other races, king Gharn, the eighth warlord of the ogres, whole-heartedly agreed. The ogres and trolls shared a mutual respect, as much a respect as members of those two races can possibly produce. The ogres saw the trolls as merciless warriors with strange powers, but with a harsh and warlike attitude the ogres found pleasing. The trolls, also, respected the strength and kill-or-be-killed ways of the ogre kingdom. Soon the two races found themselves fast allies. On the very place where Nalikor and his followers first landed, broken skull rock, the ogres and trolls signed an agreement that neither force would attack the other. Instead, the ogres would help the trolls establish a kingdom and routes of supplies on Tunaria in exchange for troll military support and magical aid. To seal the kinship between ogre and troll, Nalikor gave his own magical blade as part of the arrangement. The sword is still kept on broken skull rock in that same secret meeting place, encased in a magical field of crystal. On it's surface is etched "Here the great alliance was formed between king Gharn the slayer and Trakanon's chosen. May death come to those who seek to disrupt it." Thus the alliance was called the treaty of the burning blade. With the aid of the ogres, out of the ashes of the last tribe of Trakanon sprang forth a new kingdom for the trolls.
Nalikor chose the edges of the Innothule Swamp for the trolls to live, which most closely resembled the place of their creation: the swamp of no hope on Kunark. The ogres taught the trolls how to hunt in their new land and how to build fortifications. Nalikor himself was deeply involved in creating the new hierarchy of the troll kingdom and ending the old tribal system of Trakanon, but he died before he could completely achieve his goal. His death resulted in many days of troll mourning, and the burial site of Trakanon's chosen was made the foundation of the new troll city of Grobb- named for Nalikor's successor and the first official king of the trolls. It is said that somewhere deep inside the temple depths of Grobb the trollish shamans still keep watch over Nalikor's key: the only remaining link between the trolls and the ancient kingdom of the dragon Trakanon.
(Not Considered Canon)
At the age of 450, Carandril of the elves became deathly ill. The emperor fought death for more then a year before his passing into the next realm. High elves and wood elves crowded the busy streets of Felwithe for a full day to witness the funeral procession, and Edril was saddened greatly by the loss of his mentor and friend. As per elven tradition, when Carandril passed away a new emperor was chosen by the council and the new emperor, after being crowned, chose a new head for the imperial army. Edril was awarded estates in the surrounding imperial lands, a hero's send off, and a large amount of gold coins for his retirement wealth. Nobody, however, expected Edril ever to lay his sword to rest. "He has the blood of a hero," emperor Carandril used to say, "try as you might, you could never keep Edril from the adventure."
Thinking there was nothing left for him in the empire of the elves, Edril gathered what wealth was given to him and set sail for the far-off human lands of Antonica. Arriving in the city of Freeport, Edril was recognized as a wealthy elf only. His name was unknown to these western lands, but that quickly changed. Edril became almost instantly renowned in the Freeport area for his fighting prowess, as he helped many of the villages along Lake Neriuss against the raider Zellain and his band of dark elves. His real fame, however, came as a desert fighter. Edril held a chief role in defending an outpost in the Kithicor woods against a large goblin attack, and it was during this battle that Edril became infatuated by the deserts of Antonica. Whether it was because they were so foreign to him or whether he loved the danger, Edril spent most of his remaining time on Antonica wandering it's deserts, from the eastern desert of Ro all the way to the dead hills in the west and the plains of Karana. His most noteworthy exploits in these areas included capturing Ragoth the sand giant and his "dust marauders" in the desert of Ro as well as flushing out an entire nest of frogloks around lake Rathetear. He soon was recognized back in Felwithe as a remarkable cataloguer of strange creatures, as he would write notes about all his adversaries and send them to the imperial library.
As he made his way to Qeynos, he even fell in love with an erudite female mage named Almaril and they were wed. For a time in Qeynos Edril forgot about adventure or Carandril or his home back with the elves. He loved Almaril deeply and she took him back and forth from Erudin to Antonica, teaching him everything he wished to know. He was as much interested in her crude but powerful magic as she was his graceful fighting styles. For the first time in a long time Edril was satisfied and happy, and to the astonishment of all it seemed that the elven warrior would actually settle down in Qeynos with his wife forever. But fate moves unpredictably and Edril was called into service once more. An old merchant noble from Freeport, a long time friend of Edril, sent him a letter detailing the problems he was having with a band of local trollish thieves. The thieves, however, were not everyday thugs. Goods from merchant caravans had increasingly been stolen to fund for a splinter trollish army somewhere in the desert of Ro. The army, whom the kingdom of Grobb wanted destroyed very much, was lead by an obnoxious would-be-preacher troll named Zisstrik the insane, who lead his band of trolls on what he called a "religious crusade." Edril agreed to help with the problem. The troll bandits were easily found and easily dispensed with, but more important was what Edril learned during the hunt. Zisstrik spoke at length, before he was killed, about the troll dragon-god Trakanon and how the dragon told Zisstrik in his dreams to steal and kill the local human merchants who "pollute the desert and the swamps with their presence." Edril dismissed most of what the troll said as crazy dribble, but he became increasingly interested in the tale of Trakanon. In return for the destruction of the splinter army, Edril only wished in payment that he be allowed to speak with the shamans of Grobb about the great dragon. The trolls, however bitter and tentative, agreed. The elven warrior was immediately in love with the story of the troll heritage. He was fascinated by the idea of dozens of glorious armies dessimating eachother because of hunger and confusion, fascinated by the imagery of the far off and blasted land of Kunark, but even more fascinated by the character of Trakanon, a powerful being once a god to the trolls and only seen by a single chief. He immediately thought Trakanon was evil both for what he did to the trolls and because of what Edril knew about all dragons. The elf silently vowed to make the hunt for Trakanon his final and most glorious quest.
Utilizing ancient trollish texts and learning what he could, Edril soon had plotted a course to and over Kunark. Almaril protested greatly and called Edril crazy for trying to carry out such a silly fantasy, but the elf couldn't resist the pull of perhaps the greatest adventure he would ever have. Leaving his wife sobbing behind him on the docksides of Freeport, Edril set sail for several weeks before arriving at what he hoped was the lost continent of Kunark. Frightened by the horrible site of the field of bone before them, the crew of Edril's ship told the warrior they would remain on the coastline until his safe return. Packing what he needed for a long and arduous journey, Edril made his way alone across the dead fields of the ancient trollish homeland until he arrived.at the jagged cliffs of Trakanon's Teeth. What happened next no one knows for sure, as Edril was careful not even to divulge it to his wife before his death, but it is rumored Edril had to escape many clever traps and fight through several horrendous challenges before reaching the throne of the great beast. Even then, he did not kill Trakanon because what the dragon had to tell him was of far greater importance then any quest.
Herein lies the complete text of Trakanon's prophecy, as Edril himself never forgot the words of the great beast and later told his wife in order that the whole of Norrath may read the message. From "The Book of Edril" by Edril's late wife Almaril: The great dragon looked on Edril as a father on his son and smiled widely. "So," Trakanon spoke in a voice that shook the very ground, "at last you have come." Edril, great among the elves, felt himself begin to tremble as he stared deep into the dragon's fiery eyes. "You have no reason to fear me, warrior, even though you have come here to kill me. But I doubt that even you could perform such a task. You see, child, I was born before the stars were made, before the foundation of this world was ripped by Veeshan's claw, and before the gods gave birth to the elder races. I have been and always will be the eternal mystery between life and death and gods and man." With that said, Edril bowed his head in awe and somehow knew the great beast spoke the truth. "And yet," the dragon continued, "I am but a watcher. For while I claim this world as my own I am forbidden by laws forged millenia ago to change it's course. It is the curse of all my kind: to love a world so much and to have to watch it die. Take heed, warrior, because Norrath's death is fast approaching." Edril lifted his head, his eyes wide in a look of shock and fear. The dragon simply nodded. "Yes, Edril, Norrath's fate was decided long ago, or so the gods think. But the visions of your gods are often warped by their own vanity and selfishness, the future is never set, and the elder races may yet prove them wrong. The gods made you all as a means to an end in their struggle and as the wars of the elder races escalate, so shall the gods descend from their planes of existence and make the whole of Norrath suffer. But there are those among the races untouched by the taint of immortals whom I have chosen as the saviors of man." Trakanon then stabbed deep into the ground with his left claw and ripped the bottom of his cave dwelling asunder with one powerful stroke of his arm. Edril looked over the sides of the newly formed chasms and noticed the walls glowing a bright red. A face began to form from the blackness deep within the cracks, and Edril could clearly make out the aging face of an old man. The face had sad eyes, gaunt cheeks, and long silvery hair. "His name is Miragul," said the dragon, "a human mage, gifted in all talents of magic and able to bend the laws of life and death to his will. He exists now as an empty shell, wandering his tombs filled with powerful magics." The next face that formed was that of a troll, but surprisingly it was a noble and proud visage. Scars ran from both eyes down to the troll's mouth, and the troll's eyes were strong and unwavering. "He was called Nalikor. He was the troll first to enter my kingdom and find me. He ended centuries of brutal war, was greatest among his soldiers, and was able to lead his people from death and starvation to a powerful kingdom." The dragon then turned his eyes to Edril. "You, elf, are my third chosen. You are Edril the warrior, a brilliant soldier and great hero. Death haunts you at every turn but you are always able to overcome your obstacles. You are a deadly fighter, a wanderer of Norrath, and a lord among elves. And now I award you with a much bigger destiny." Trakanon spoke deep in a language Edril couldn't understand, and suddenly a small pendant flashed into existence around Edril's neck. "To Miragul I revealed the existence of artifacts that would enhance his powers in the arcane arts. To Nalikor I awarded a flaming sword to enhance his warrior prowess. To you I give this: a small pendant that will allow you to talk with me always. But it does much more. My strength is finite, Edril, and already my powers begin to weaken. Soon either the gods or the elder races will find the means to my destruction, and when that happens then the final war for Norrath shall be waged. But when I die, before I leave for the afterlife, I will impart my power to the bearer of this pendant, and he shall have all the wisdom and the strength of the most ancient of creatures."
Trakanon then laid his serpent-like head on the floor of his cave. "That time is fast approaching. Here is my prophecy, young one. Everything I say now shall soon come to pass. When the wars of the elder races begin to come to fruition, the gods shall take notice and plan for their coming into the world. Then, on the third day of the third season, in the dark of the night on all the continents of the elder races, shall be reborn my chosen in the bodies of other men, representing all of the three virtues: good, evil, and the gray neutral between them both. They will arise to the call of a fourth chosen, great among them, who will collect my gifts unto himself: the magic enhancements of Miragul, the flaming sword of Nalikor, and your dragon pendant. The peoples of Norrath will revere this one as Trakanon's chosen, and he will watch the whole world burn."
When he returned home he was changed forever. With his greatest achievment completed, Edril the warrior, feared of the orcan clans, slayer of the plague dragon of Akanon, first soldier of the empire, and desert wanderer of Norrath, hung his sword to rest forever. He lived many happy years in the arms of Almaril, his wife, and they even gave birth to a son, something no one thought possible between a erudite and elf. But whether it was fate's choice to test Edril one last time or because erudites were enough "non-human" so procreation was near impossible, Edril's son was taken by disease at an early age. The event crushed the indomitable elf and at the age of 405 the warrior passed away. "No spear or sword or arrow, fang, claw, or spell could ever hope of killing the elf known as Edril," recounted Biddyn at the funeral of his friend, "but for a father, the death of an only child is the worst poison the world can give." The lord of Qeynos thought it best to send his body back to the elven empire and there gathered a very ecclectic funeral procession: Merchant friends from Freeport and Qeynos, human lords of Antonica, almost the entire gnomish population, and even troll shamans from Grobb to bear witness to the last warrior to ever lay eyes on Trakanon. Some said the dark elves were also present, spying on the funeral from the shadows just to make sure Edril had actually lost the battle with death. Dozens of elven trumpets sounded his passing and his casket was floated over the top of the Elizerain Lake to sink into it's depths forever, an honor normally reserved only for the emperors. It is written that even now, at the bottom of the lake in that same casket, the dragon pendant of Trakanon waits, grasped tightly in Edril's cold, dead fingers.
During the Age of Enlightenment, many Erudites skilled in the magic arts had come to dominate their schools in skill and power. One such person was Al'Kabor, who over the years had proven to be the most powerful of the Wizards. Much of his research had given birth to the most powerful spells harnessed by man. Seemingly one of the chosen of Druzzil Ro, Godess of Magic, his skill had few equals and his spells had become standard training among the mystic. Much like Miragul he strove for knowledge, not to overcome, but to understand that which was the universe. To this end he spent countless hours in the Great Library at Erudin until its tomes could serve him no longer. Much to his disdain at leaving his long time home, he would have to travel Norrath to find what he sought. The young races, those of man, had very little knowledge of magic that was not documented or discovered by the Erudites and so he must seek out those of the Ancient Kingdoms and peoples.
Both the Kedge and the Combine Empire held the most mystery as little was known about these two peoples. It was with the Kedge that he would start his research as they were the older of the two. Though the race was known by minor reference in some historical texts, no one had ever seen one and so it was widely believed that they had succumbed to the wrath of the Gods much as other races had during the Age of Blood. Al'Kabor began his search by first writing to the other schools of magic across Norrath asking for any information they might have locked away. He received a response from the foremost school of magic outside of Erudin, the Academy of the Arcane in Freeport on the east coast of Antonica. The letter said that they had received word from one of their roaming scholars that he had discovered an ancient scroll that contained some information about the Kedge but would need to be brought back for deciphering as it was very old. The scholar was supposed to have arrived a week ago, but they had just learned his ship had gone down in the Ocean of Tears and only one sailor had made it back to the city. They instructed Al'Kabor to find the only surviving sailor, Tillerman Janck as he might know the ships fate and where the scroll might now lie.
The great wizard immediately set sail for Antonica from the Erudine port on Odus. His first stop was the human port city of Qeynos. There he acquired maps and supplies and hired a group of mercenaries, as disdainful as it was, to guard and guide him on the journey across Antonica. He hoped to glean some information about the continent as he traveled and perhaps uncover clues about lost civilizations. He and his party traveled for a week across Antonica and eventually came to the commons not far from Freeport. Here they learned from a local merchant that he had seen the sailor they were looking for and he gave them a place to start looking. They set out and eventually discovered the jittery sailor. Tillerman had traveled to the commons to settle down, as he had given up the sea. The incident with the ship had so terrified him that he was a sailor afraid of the ocean. He told of a great disaster befalling the ship. He had been on watch and the boat had suddenly been struck as if on the rocks. However, they were in the middle of the ocean with no rocks to be seen. The ship began to rock violently and many men were thrown into the water, Tillerman included. He had swam for his life and never looked back. None of his fellow sailors had survived to his knowledge. He was overcome with guilt at being the only one among his friends to make it back alive. After Al'Kabor explained what they were looking for, Tillerman told them he was pretty sure where the ship had gone down and that he would show them the way so that his friends deaths would not be in vane.
In the ocean of tears, the adventurers, accompanied by Tillerman Janck found the sunken ship. The great ship was in pieces and barely visible above the water. A druid among the mercenaries enabled them all to breath the sea water and they ventured into the ship. What was unbeknownst to them and Tillerman, was that a water elemental had been responsible for dragging the ship into the deep and was still amid it's remains, guarding the the treasures it had taken. The group didn't spot the elemental within the water until it was in their midst. Great magics were thrown by the mercenaries and Tillerman cowered behind Al'Kabor. Tired of the great beast's interruption, Al'Kabor summoned a magic more powerful than any had seen outside of the inner circle of Erudine. He called forth the power of E'Ci, God of the Ice, from the realm of water and summoned a great frozen comet which formed in the water before him and rocketed toward the elemental. The warriors jumped clear just in time to watch the elemental freeze and explode into a thousand shards, a threat no longer. The party set camp on a nearby island and took shifts searching through the wreckage. A few hours into the search, one of the men reported they had found the captain's strongbox, where any important papers might have been kept. They dragged the box from the ocean's grip and onto the shore where Al'Kabor carefully examined it. Tillerman explained that a captain's strongbox was lined with oiled canvas and the seal lined with wax, that the salt air and water would not harm any important documents within. Heartened by this news, Al'Kabor summoned a minor bolt of energy and burned the lock off the chest. He carefully opened the chest and, true to the sailor's description, the papers inside were in tact and dry. He carefully sorted through the stack of documents and finally uncovered what he sought, a parchment in the ancient tongue of the kedge. It would take time to decipher, but the knowledge was now safely in his grasp. He paid each of his party for services rendered and began the incantation that would take him to his study in Erudine to ponder what answers the parchment would give about a race long dead.
Since The Battle of the Shattered Spear, the dwarven clerics of Brell have always had one called "The Seeker". Duskan Stonegrinder was the current chosen Seeker and he had traveled long and hard throughout the knooks and crannies of Dagnor's Cauldron trying to find a holy relic that the dwarven priests had long been searching for. Finally, believing he had found it's trail, he had been viciously attacked by a band of aqua goblins, which were common on the shores of the desolate landscape of the Cauldron.
A group of adventurers in the area discovered him hiding amid some rocks, trying to recover from grave wounds. They immediately bandaged and healed him enough that he would not succumb to them. Duskan told them he must be taken to King Kazon in Kaladim on a matter of great import that could not wait. They prepared a litter and set off for Kaladim to return the dwarf to his people. One of the group went ahead to inform the city of the approaching party and the wounded dwarf. Upon hearing Duskan's name the guards rushed into the city and soon, several priests and a royal guardsmen came out to receive them. Duskan was rushed to the temple where his fellow priests expertly tended him and brought him to full health again. While he was there the king came to see him and ensure that he was well and hear what news he was told the dwarf had. Duskan whispered into the king's ear and Kazon's eyes went wide. Upon seeing this several of the priests' eyes widened in anticipation of something. The king summoned three of his best guardsmen and had supplies prepared. He offered reward to the group that had brought Duskan home if they would escort him back the cauldron and help him complete his task. The group journeyed back to the cauldron and traveled along the shoreline until they were approaching the Estate of Unrest. Many of them began to get nervous at the thought they might be going in and dealing with the unholy creatures that lie within. Duskan directed them to set camp outside and then turned his attention to the water. He spent many hours examining apparent clues with his magic that none of the others could see. Statisfied this was indeed where what he sought could be found he took off his heavy armor pieces and directed the group to do the same as what they sought was under the water. Though wary, they were getting paid and the guards were complying without question.
Gauging the importance of this item, the group followed suit and beneath the waters they went. As they approaced the bottom of the cauldron they could see something moving below and swam cautiously foward. Expecting trouble, the shamans and druids in the group cast spells on the party allowing them to breath in the water. As they got closer, their fears were realized as a large group of Aqua Goblins swam up to meet them. Whatever was here, they did not want it found. The Goblin leader was imense and swam with great speed. Soon the battle was engaged and the party fought fiercely to defeat them. Just as the tide was beginning to turn, another creature appeared beneath the golbins at the gates of some ancient building carved into the rock at the base of the cauldron's side beneath the water. A virtual giant compared to the party members, a finned creature appread crying "I am Phinigel, last of the Kedge, you have come too soon" and entered into the battle on the side of the Goblins. Soon the goblins had been defeated but none seemed able to harm Phinigel. His magics were great and his skill at underwater combat unmatched. Seeing how ineffective they were, the group was sure they would meet a watery grave.
Suddenly, without reason, Phinigel said "I am sorry to have had to waylay you brave ones. But secrets such as mine must be revealed only when there are ears ready to hear them". Then, just as suddenly as he had appread, he vanished in a swirl of water. Searching the bottom of the Cauldron beneath the battle site they found a large locked chest with a strange seal that Duskan and the guards seemed to recognize immediately. They motioned the group to the surface and soon made preparations to return to Kaladim with their discovery. Despite the questioning of the group, the dwarves were tight-lipped about their find and would say nothing about it's possible contents. The group headed along the shore of the Cauldron and soon, up the canyon that led to the Butcherblock mountains. As they emerged into the mountain valleys, a group of Dark Elves led by one of the D'Vinn, ambushed them and a battle ensued. The expert warriors of the of the Dark Elves seemed to have no match and quickly dispatched most of the party with the exception of a few and only losing one or two of their own. Fenric was one of the surviving dwarves and laid perfectly still as he was too wounded to fight and wished to know what the dark elves had planned.
The dark elves' wizard had been slain in the battle and they no longer had a means of gating back to Neriak and avoiding the dwarvish lands with their prize. They decided they would rendezvous with a dark elf emissary that was in Crushbone with there allies the Orcs. The emmissary was a wizard and would be able to take them back on such an important mission. They set off immediately with Fenric gathering others along the way and those that had survived the battle close behind. Meanwhile in Crushbone, Seza, the dark elf wizard, recieved a dark elf messenger that told her the dark elf warriors were coming with a prize of great import and must be taken to Neriak immediately upon arrival. Seza, upon hearing the news, asked for an emergency audience with Grak, cousin to Emperor Crush, currently responsible for fending off attacks against their great stonghold. The orcs launched an offensive to clear a path to the orcish land so the dark elves could get their with their prize unmolested. The party of dark elf warriors finally arrived at Crushbone after traveling at a maddening pace only to discover that both Grak and Seza had been slain in order to ensure their safe arrival. Seeing no means of escape the dark elves made fortifications and awaited the arrival of the dwarves and their party. A furious battle ensued and soon the dark elves were defeated by an overwhelming force Fenric had gathered while crossing the dwarvish lands and their allies the elves.
The party recovered the stolen chest and made haste back to King Kazon. The king and his clerics examined the chest and determined that to open it without a special key would cause the destruction of what lie within. They received word from the king's informants that one of the dark elves had indeed escaped. He was on his way back to the coast of Antonica using a small ship they had apparently used to get to Faydwer originally and was most assuredly making his way toward Neriak and would most likely contact a Captain N'Varre of the dark elven army at their closest outpost the dwarves knew of. They were sure the key would soon be in the captain's hands and they must find him before he could make it back to Neriak and its near impenetrable defenses. Having lost two of his trusted guard, King Kazon named Grundel, the remaining dwarf, Champion of Brell and set him to the task of seeking out this Captain N'Varre in the Nektulos forest and retrieving the key. The group yet again resupplied and made haste to the port of Faydwer and set sail for Antonica. They were sure they could catch up to the dark elf as their ship was much more sure of sail and could make up some of their lost time. Upon arrival at Freeport on the east coast of Antonica, they reinforced their group with hirelings and made way to the Nektulos forest and Captain N'Varre's outpost. Sure enough, as they arrived the Captain was making ready to leave and they intercepted him and his personal escort and slayed them outright, taking the key they sought.
Again, they returned to Kaladim in hopes that the great mystery of the chest would be revealed to them. Kazon ceremoniously slid the key into the lock and lifted the lid. His hands trembling, he reached inside and drew forth a great hammer. It's power washed over the group and they knew it's magic divine. The hand of Brell himself had touched it, all could be sure. The King told that long ago, when King Grummly had risen an army to fight the ogres, the High Priest of Brell prayed to their god that he give them the strength to defeat this horrible foe and protect the home of the dwarves. In answer to his prayer, Brell appeared to the priest in the temple and gave unto him the Butcherblock Hammer to wield in defense of the dwarven homeland from that day foward. The high priest fought by the king's side and was slain in defense of Grimmly from Dagnor's minions in the final battle. In memory of the hammer's purpose, as ordained by Brell, Kazon gave the Butcherblock Hammer to his new champion Grundel to wield in defense of the dwarvish kingdom and their people.
Long had the Prince of Hate waited to visit his revenge upon the elves for destroying his plans for them. Long had he dreamt from his twisted city on the plan of hate how the would fall to his power for their betrayal. His devoted priestess, that had spirited his dark creations to safety during the rebellion, had been the foundation of his will to destroy them. It was her that gave birth to his unholy child that would one day embody his power on the physical plane. The time had come to introduce his daughter to the world. To complete the tasks what would bring her to power. Innoruuk called upon one of his faithful, Laarthik, one of his old guard, to find those who would rally to the banner of hate and bring his daughter to power. In a vision he spoke to him and bid him complete this task or suffer his dark God's anger. Laarthik immediately jumped out of bed and donned his armor. He took to the streets shouting the day of the dark elves had come and that Innoruuk was sending his daughter to lead his people to victory over the light races. Many of his dark brothers and sisters gathered to hear what must be done. The bitter medicine of being cast out had never let it taste escape their lips.
Lanys T'Vyl, Mistress of Envy, and daughter of hate appeared before them and Laarthik swore fealty to her and her father, that they may lead the dark elves to their rightful place in Norrath. Lanys explained to the gathering that for her to come into her full powers, they must retrieve for her the sacred armor of her father, the Armor of Darkness, long ago entrusted to the keeping of the Crimson Teir'dal, his near fanatical warriors. Long ago when the dark elves had been cast out, he had selected them to keep his dark secrets on Norrath and made them near immortal to guard them into the centuries. Lanys must vanquish each keeper of the pieces that she may prove her worth and accept the mantle her father had prepared. Lanys left the city with Laarthik what followers they had gathered to Befallen, lost capital of the ancient elves, where she knew the first of the Crimson Teir'dal guarded his prize. The followers spread out through the ruins to seek out the warrior and eventually he was found by Lanys herself. No words were spoken, only a nodded understanding, and the two engaged in furious combat. Lanys's rage showed no bounds and she struck him down and licked his blood from her blade. From his arms she took what she had come for, the bracers. She returned to the city with Laarthik and her followers and spent many days in prayer and sacrifice to her father for their success. After this small respite, Laarthik again came to the people and bid them to heed his call. The next of the pieces must be found. This day they would journey to Najena, another fallen city, and face the next of the Crimson Teir'dal.
Once the crowd had gathered, Lanys again appeared to them and they made the journey. Upon arriving, once again the spread into the dungeon to find the elusive foe. Soon, he was discovered but this one seemed much more powerful than the first and had harnessed some power dark magics. On each side flew an imp companion that taunted those foolish enough to harm their master. The battled ensued and it seemed that this Crimson Teir'dal could not be defeated. In a fit of anger and frustration at the seeming stalemate, Lanys called down her father's power with a dark prayer and comsumed the area with his powerful hatred. The imps railed against the assault and now she knew she had one. While her minions kept the dark one busy, she unleashed her power on the imps. As the last of the two fell, the Crimson Teir'dal visibly drooped and the weapons of her followers made contact and drew blood. She renewed her assault upon him and soon he was slain. She kicked the dark boots from his feet and stole them away, soon disappearing again to pay homage to her father. Once again Laarthik appeared in the commons of Neriak and began to call those faithful of hate to his side. Laarthik and Lanys were well known in the dark city now and the dark elves had seen Lanys grow in power with the donning of each piece and gathered in hopes that she would fulfil their destiny as rulers of Norrath. Lanys appread to them for a third time and this time the group made journey to Solusek's Eye, where Lanys said the final of the Crimson Teir'dal awaited. As they entered the lands of lavastorm a high elf assassin leaped from the canyon rocks and attacked Lanys. The high elf had learned of her and feared that she might be a real threat. Lanys and her near fanatical followers made short work of the assassin who couldn't hope to capture the element of surprise with so many who were expert in it's use. Lanys and her brood traveled deep into the bowls of Solusek's eye and followed the pull toward her final foe. They came upon a gateway guarded by four clockwork sentries that had apparently been comandeered by the Crimson Teir'dal and the battle was engaged. Many of Lanys's followers were slain as the fight progressed, soon the Crimson Teir'dal appeared, only this time he wasn't alone. This time he had a fellow guard with him and they joined the battle with such fierceness that many of Lany's followers ran in fear, but those who were true stayed and fought on. Those the casualties were heavy, they defeated the clockworks, leaving only the two Crimson Teir'dal. The armor that Lanys had already recovered had made her much stronger and her dark magics and fierce attacks brought the two to there knees with the aid of Laarthik and her followers. As she put on the final pieces of the Armor of Darkness, a seething darkness poured from her and across those in her pressence. It was barely standable. Hatred, anger, rage, envy, jealousy, and revenge overcame them all and they were caught in a hateful haze. Now, none could deny. Innoruuk would be denied no longer. His flesh was among us!
Long had the mines of High Keep produced usable ore, but nothing too valuable other than common minerals and iron. Nurgal, a Pickclaw goblin that worked in the mines beneath the keep found a strange stone while he was digging. Knowing that the dark elf ambassador to the keep paid the best for such things, he brought the stone to her hoping to a gain a high payment for his toil. The dark elf ambassador had never seen such a stone and immediately realized through her arcane training that it had magical properties. In an attempt to test the stone's power she nearly wrecked her room and barely escaped death. Realizing that the stone was something entirely unique she saw her opportunity. She had waited a long time to find a way out of her post and the keep and away from the ignorant stinking humans that infested it. This would be her ticket out of a backwater assignment and back into the circles of power in Neriak. She set out immediately for Neriak to deliver the stone personally in hopes that she would gain enough favor with her superiors to get posted back home.
Realizing the value of the stone and the possibility that more such stones existed, the ambassador took Nargul with her and hired orc bodyguards to help her in the journey to Neriak. Along the way she enlisted the aid of other dark elves she could find and avoided contact with those of the "light" races who might try to take the stone from her and deprive her of this opportunity. Upon arrival in the Nektulos forest the ambassador made contact with Laarthink thinking that Lanys T'Vyl, Daughter of Hate, would be the best person to unleash it's power and wanting to curry her favor. Laarthik, upon seeing the stone, knew that is was a major artifact. To the Ambassador's dismay, he ordered her and her party back to the keep immediately to seek out more of the powerful stones. Little did they know that a high elf lurked in the bushes and rocks listening to their exchange. Upon hearing the knews that the Ambassador would be returning to High Keep he left for pass immediately to set a trap for her. Upon arrival, he quietly gathered those travelers he could find that were opposed to the dark ones and set his plan in motion to stop her from ever reaching High Keep again. The Ambassador headed back toward the keep. This time, in the company of dark elf warriors as her new task was of great import. As they entered the Kithicor woods on the slopes of the Serpent's Spine, they high elf and his men attacked. The high elf, knowing the woods far better than the under-dwelling dark elves caught them completely off-guard and the Ambassador and her escort were slain. The high elf check her body for any information she might be carrying and discovered a letter. He insisted that the letter be brought immediately to Lord Tethys in High Keep and so the men escorted him safely to it. Upon arrival at the keep, he turned the letter over to the high elf Ambassador, Lord Tethys. Upon reading the letter he seemed very distressed and informed all that it was the most dire news. He hurried away to make plans, leaving the group to wonder what could cause him such distress.
An elven child was seen playing in the woods of Kelethin. She sang an old song concerning a strange maiden and an wonderous beast. A local drunk well known in the area wandered past the child as she played. When he heard the song she was singing, he showed obvious discomfort and left very quickly for the nearest tavern mumbling that he needed a drink badly. A stranger appeared in Kelethin. She was a warrior maiden who seemed unfamiliar with the town or area even though she was a high elf whose home would normally be in nearby Felwithe. As she passed through the town she was seemingly amazed by all she saw; she in turn amazed others as she was accompanied by serveral of the normally shy and reclusive fairies of the Faydark. Eventually finding herself in the same tavern as the drunk who had earlier come across the elven child, the maiden heard the drunk mumbling the song the child had been singing. As she listened a strange feeling overcame the maiden. Though she could not say why, the song seemed to be about her and when the drunk mumbled about the beast of silver, she knew without knowing why that she must find this beast. Unfortunately before she could get much information out of the drunk he passed out and it was apparent that it would be some time before he recovered enough to answer further questions. The maiden was compelled by a force she did not understand to seek out the beast, so she asked all she could find if they knew of such a beast and its whereabouts. The maidens questions uncovered that the beast sounded like a unicorn and several adventureres reported having seen a unicorn in the forests of lesser Faydark. The maiden pleaded wth those adventurers so earnestly and so intensely that they agreed to take her to the forest and help her find the unicorn so that she could see if this was the beast she sought. After much searching in the forests of lesser Faydark the maiden and those with her found the unicorn, but it would not let the party approach. Finally the maiden alone stepped forward and approached the unicorn. To the surprise of all, the unicorn let the maiden approach it. As the maiden put out her hand to gently touch the unicorn there was an immense flash of light that passed between beast and man. Throughout the world the word "Yesss" was heard by all and a bond was formed between unicorn and maiden as the tears of Tunare rained upon the world.
Carson Macabe and Lord Tethys called together all the ambassadors of the good races in Highkeep. It was revealed that the letter taken from the body of the dark elf ambassador revealed a plan for a dark elf army to attack Highkeep, capturing that fortress and cutting Antonica in half. Once this was accomplished, the elves would have an easy time of overcoming Rivervale and Freeport. The lords met and tried to make plans for countering the dark elf plan. However due to internal concerns there would be no help from Qeynos, Erudin or even Freeport. The dwarven ambassador indicated that help from the dwarves was also unlikely. Galeth Verdeth of the paladins of Tunare appeared, accompanied by his pupil Firiona Vie. Galeth indicated that the king of Felwithe had authorized the paladins to assist in the defense of Highkeep but the rest of the Felwithe forces had to stay at home in order to keep the orcs of Crushbone in check.
Firiona Vie accompanied by Equestrielle, her unicorn companion, received word from Galeth Verdeth her teacher that he would like her to meet him in Felwithe. Galeth gave no reason but would not take "no" for an answer. Firiona and Equestrielle head to Felwithe but upon arrival the unicorn refused to enter the city. Firiona reluctantly agreed to leave her companion behind, but as if by magic, other creatures appeared and accompanied her in the unicorn's stead. Firiona entered the town accompanied by a wolf and several fairies and other animals. As she made her way through the city, several merchants came out of the stores complaining about the smell and pressence of the animals near their place of business. Galeth appeared and calmed the merchants, inviting them and Firiona to accompany him to the King who was throwing a city-wide celebration. Firiona and Galeth arrived at the party being thrown by the king. Firiona felt a bit awkward in a large crowded city and kept to herself and out of the center of things while Galeth went to join the King. A bard, hired by Galeth, asked permission to sing a song for the gathering. Upon being given permission, the bard sang a song of a child, who had been abandoned as a baby, who was raised by another upon the death of her mother. During the song the King became more and more agitated, as the bard sang of the child being the chosen of Tunare, the King could stand no more. He struck the bard and ordered her to be silent, that he would hear no more of these prophecies of "the child". A chill wind passed through the party. Silence fell and a spectral form appeared. Galeth immediately recognized the form as that of the dead queen. The spectral shape approached the King. It spoke to him of their daughter and his betrayal. The spectre of the dead queen told the King that their child lived and that he could no longer fail to recognize her, that Tunare herself demanded that he find and recognize his lost daugher, with that the ghost departed as mysteriously as it had arrived. The shaken King shouted that his lost daughter must be found. At this point Galeth called forth Firiona Vie and revealed to the King that she was his lost daughter who had been spirited away from his wrath at the death of his queen. Galeth had raised and trained Firiona and now the King's daughter stood before him. The repentant King welcomed Firiona and proclaimed to all that she was indeed his daughter and a princess of Felwithe. The gathering and the world itself were astounded when a voice seemed to fill the world stating "Know that Firiona Vie is the chosen one of Tunare". The King brought Firiona to the throne and father and daughter were reconciled once more.
= = =
The forces of good led by Carson MaCabe and Lord Tethys sent out recruiters to find whatever assistance they could to help defend Highkeep from the coming dark elf attack. Carson sent a party of adventurers to meet renowned champions in Freeport and escort them back to Highkeep to prepare for the fortresses defense. Both good and evil sent provisioners throughout the world buying the items they would need to equip an army. The dark elves sent emissarys to the trolls and to the orcs of Crushbone to ask assistance in their coming attack on Highkeep. The dark elf ambassador to the Splitpaw clan was called home to act as one of the dark elf generals in the coming battle. Many small skirmishes erupted as forces from both sides came into conflict with each other and tried to find as much information of the other side's plans as they could. Both sides sought as many allies as they could find and the armies of good and the armies of dark swelled as adventurers were found to aid in the coming conflict. The dark elves were finally prepared for their war. Lanys T`vyl, Laarthik and the dark elf army set out from Nektulos on the march for Highkeep. Hearing that the dark elf army was on the march, Carson MaCabe and his allies formed their army. Carson stayed in Highkeep to lead the forces that would defend the keep itself while Galeth Verdeth, Firiona Vie, and Lord Tethys along with the dwarf Tubr Broadaxe set forth with the army of good and entered the Kithicor Woods to hold off the dark army and keep them in the low lands. As they marched to Highkeep the dark elves left portions of their army behind them to guard the path back to Neriak should the battle go badly. The dark elf army entered the Kithicor woods and as they marched on Highkeep the army of the defenders came forth to meet them. As the two armies met in a clash of steel and fury the cries of the dying could be heard for miles. At the peak of the battle Lanys T`Vyl and Lord Tethys met in battle. After a long and fierce combat, the valiant Lord Tethys fell to Lanys's sword. Seeing Lord Tethys fall, the army of good renewed their attack with vicious fervor. Galeth Verdeth engaged Laarthik and his pupil Firiona Vie engaged Lanys. As these four fought, the armies themselves engaged around the combatants in a chaotic ballet of singing steel and magic. The battle raged on with neither side able to turn the tide. But as the battle raged, Lanys slowly began to fail, Firiona Vie pressed her attack, enraged at the death of the gentle Lord Tethys. Lanys faltered and fell wounded. Laarthik seeing Lanys fall made a furious attack on Galeth and the beat the paladin of Tunare back. Laarthik then took out the powerful goblin stone. He held it high, and channeling the power of the stone called upon Innoruuk, Prince of Hate and father of the dark elves. Laarthik was consumed in flame as the energies of the stone cascaded around him and his screams of agony and rage became loud enough for the God of Hate to hear in his far away plane. The ground began to tremble and the clouds gathered in angry darkness over the woodds. A portal of swirling darkness appeared and plunged the woods into an inky blackness. Innoruuk, stepped out of the portal and set foot on Norrath. He found the body of his only daughter sorely wounded and crippled. He was so enraged that mortals would dare to harm his only child that he called down a curse on the woods that had seen Lanys's defeat. Innoruuk took up the limp form of Lanys and called forth his servant Hate. Hate, abeast of pure, unadulterated anger and vile purpose stepped from the shadowy portal and bowed before it's master. Innoruuk ordered it to kill all he could find. Innoruuk, with Lanys in his arms, returned to his plane of hate with his daughter's crippled body, but the energies of the stone that had called him forth had opened the door to that plane forever. The shadows of hate would fill the Kithicor woods and curse it for eternity. The undead of Innoruuk's plane would wander the woods at darkness when the portal was strongest as the door to the plane of Hate would stand open allowing passage between the plane of hate and the world of Norrath forever.