Origin Myths & Stories
There are many creations tales and stories varying from race to creed to culture. Some say that in the long past Beory the Earth Mother gave birth to the world and the other gods scattered their progeny across it in a grand carnival of creation. Some more say that the world is old and that this form is just one of many that have grew and waned before passing. What is agreed is that Man in all his varied colours and rival cultures is the most common of races from the frigid south to the baking north. To the others races he spreads like weeds or breeds like vermin but is undeniably adaptable and enduring.
The Time of Harmony
Those of the Old Lore teach of a time in the dim past when man roamed the world and lived with nature, a peaceful time of harmony. Though primitive and unworldly man worshipped the earth Goddess and tread lightly on her beloved realm. Man was everywhere yet under the guidance of Beory and her wise Druids there were no wars as there were no cities to scar the lands. Man was primitive and yet peaceful.
The Coming of the Others
On to this idyllic paradise came the others from places unknown or simply forgotten.
The Dragons came and swept upon the world bringing their awe and presence to bear on man. Some took man as pets, some as prey and some a little of both.
The Elves with their magic and wisdom arrived and took ignorant man by the hand and raised him up from the dirt. They taught man how to build and how to live in cities and all they asked was help from man to carry out the mundane tasks they were so unsuited for.
The Dwarves came forth from their mountain holds and shared the secrets of ore and metal working. They taught man law and how to live by it. All they asked was for mutual help and assistance in matters best suited to man.
The Orcs, goblins and all manner of humanoids came forth and reaped and conquered man wherever they met. They brought terror and offered nothing but subjugation. Still man learned savagery and to despise that which makes them weak.
Numerous other races, creatures and monsters spilled forth upon the earth. Some benign and caring others cruel and brutal. By the end of this period there is no doubt that man was enslaved, whether in Elven silks or Dwarven steel to Orcish chains or Draconic magics. And so it remained for a passing of time. Man was servant to all and rare and remote was the land were he remained his own master. Still in the extremes of the compass some hid and survived.
The Higher Wars
The Higher races, as they called themselves, fell out and fought wars. It was only natural that humans joined their armies. When the Elven Senate fought the Dwarven League it enlisted human vassals and servants to fight. As the novelty of war decreased and the risk of harm was recognised, The Higher ones more and more used human pawns to prosecute their military adventures. Even the orcs bred with their slaves to produce half-orcs warriors to boost their ranks. The dragons ageing and indolent left more and more of life’s tedium to their human retainers.
One thing shone through that man was good at war. He excelled at it and was capable of pursing it with a vigour. Even the martial but slow breeding Dwarves, had to concede that humans filled their depleted ranks well enough.
Kaegor the Great
Kaegor was a half-blood bastard of Elven Senator Cal-P’arthian, an elf for whom inter race mixing was both a passion and a hobby. The senator is said to have had over one hundred half-blood offspring by close to as many women. Few could resist his charms yet he tired soon and always moved on to fresher pastures. This bastard was both bright and capable and showing promise was educated and schooled in Elven culture.
Kaegor became a Captain of Men and led them is the wars ordained by his Elven masters. To the north he went as aide to an absent Elven General to fight the highly unfashionable orcs of Bilederth in a bloody campaign. The Elven General won a spectacular victory in absentia and his force swept the field of the Orcish horde with minimal loss. Rewarded and promoted the General once forth led his men, by proxy, against the enemy till all of the Western Island was conquered.
Now accounts differ between men and even between Elves. In one Kaegor lusted for the pure blooded daughter of his prince and slew her father and forced himself upon her. He deceived his men and led them in unjust mutiny. In another he was to be slain to wipe away an inconvenient distraction from Elven glory. Whatever the truth he led an uprising of men in Elven service that swiftly spread. A whole officer class educated and steeped in Elven culture, though never allowed to be part of it, simply rebelled.
It would be a lie that all men rebelled and broke from their masters but enough did that it alarmed all the Higher Races, they who in turn sought to disarm or even wipe out their warrior men merely escalating events. After initial success Kaegor was assailed by Elven armies and each time tactically defeated but always keeping his force intact and always after inflicting heavier casualties of his enemies. For ten years he fought over Western Aeldaria and finally forced his foes to negotiate a peace treaty.
The peace never held with all sides blaming each other but within another five years he had isolated and subdued most of the West. Bypassing the great Elven city of Radiant Melthurien he marched east and within a further decade has conquered much of East Warlderia south of the Great Dwarven Range. On the first day of the 30th year of war he was crowned Emperor Kaegor I of the Empire of Man.
The Higher Races
The Elves and Dwarves that survived were generally those in remote locations or those who adapted and dealt with the new men. they withdrew or adapted. Those that fought broke like an oak tree before a storm, those that survived were likes reeds, bending but not breaking.
Orcs and other humanoids were driven to the margins of the known worlds.
The Kaegorian Empire
He ruled for another 13 years and was succeeded by his son and his son. For over a century the Empire was secure with good relationships with the other races. A reign of peace led to a period of stagnation. By the time of Kaegor IV the vitality was passed with no enemies left to fight and a degree of decadence set in.
The Old Kaegorian Empire stretched from West to across to most of East Warlderia for close to two hundred glorious years.
The last Emperor was Kaegor XIII who was better known as the Mad. Under his insane and wicked rule the Empire fractured following his conversion to the evil deity Nerull, the god of death, darkness and murder. The civil war and rebellion spread as the Old Empire shattered like a fallen pane of glass.
Much of Eastern Warlderia broke away and formed a hotchpotch of petty states commonly called the Successor States. Though aligned with each other they bickered and competed for influence and power over each other. Generally they became very mercantile and the worship of Zilchus, the god of power, prestige, money, business, and Influence, became the leading one.
The West fell in to a viscous internal conflict that ended with the victory of the good aligned forces led by the half-Celestial leader who would become the Divine Emperor Innocence. His triumph transformed the Old Kaegorian Empire in to the new Divine Empire with its approved pantheon of non-evil and, generally, non-chaotic gods. He would rule in temporal matters with the backing of the churches while they looked to the spirituality of man.
In the far South East of East Warlderia the province was detached and remote from the Mad Emperor and remained loyal if cut off from the anarchy. They kept loyal to an empire that no longer existed. They proclaimed themselves as the True Kaegorian Empire while others call them the Old Empire.
The Galsitanic Intrusion
It has often been said that music can move the world but for the famed Half-Elven bard Galsitan this was very true. He was indeed, the right person in the right place at the right time. Many stories swirl around regarding the bard Galsitan, some good some bad and many mixed in tone and reputation. That he sold the victory of the first female Knight of the Rose away for a bag of gold, yet saved the Duchy of Everwatch and mostly famously of all touched the heart of a goddess.
The Sidhe Queen is a fey deity of great power, refinement and arguably fickleness. When proud Galsitan created the performance of his life near the planal weak point his art reached the ‘oh so’ delicate ears of the Queen-Goddess. She came and brought her court with her to appreciate him or indeed destroy him for his arrogance. Luckily, for Galsitan he measured up to her desire after a mere year in her court that passed in a blink of an eye for others not blessed, he was free.
When the Fey Queen left, she carelessly, or indeed maliciously, left parts of her realm behind her. These included the newly appeared Golden Woods of Alwyn, Crystal Isle, Silver Woods of Puevon and the Ablach Isles to name but a few. These remnants have added a new level of complexity to matters in the Lands of Warlderia.