History - First Age

1. Calendar and the Intelligent Species
2. The Birth of Valhars
3. Upon the Shores of Lake Forloth
4. The Sacred Grove
5. The Children of Anduniel
6. The Hammer and the Forge
7. Dark Reflections
8. First Conflict
9. Avareth's Regret
10. Oculos the Spellweaver
11. In the Footsteps of Garnogs
12. Terror from the Deep
13. The War of Three
14. The Division of the Anorans
15. Abandoned Treaties
16. The War of Brothers
17. The Second Coming of Sagriel
18. The Last Alliance
18. Covenant
19. Tempest
20. Veiled in Silent Shadows

Calendar and the Intelligent Species

In the modern writings the first age is divided in two parts: The age of awakening and the actual first age, spanning millenniums. The first age, as far as humanoids were concerned, lasted approximately hundred thousand years. Practically, the only surviving record of this enormous time period is the Tome of Ages, which describes the dawn of time very vaguely. The Valhars are known for inventing the skill of writing, but nearly all of their inscriptions were lost in the turmoil of tempest. The author of the Tome of Ages is unknown, but it is suspected that Leileth, the immortal Atar of time herself, compiled it as a collection of common knowledge concerning the first age, preventing everything from drowning into the darkness of history and be forgotten. This is the first age, based on the descriptions of the Tome of Ages.

Different types of calendars were used to measure the passing of time, but because the first age had no unified system, it is nearly impossible to stay accurate with timelines. The luthani began to record time approximately 13 000BT, which was based on the observations of their wise, but also on knowledge obtained from the Valhars. One day was divided into 24 hours and seven days formed a week. One cycle of Suriel, the silvery moon, took 30 days, making it complete its cycle 12 times during full solar cycle, thus one year was 360 days long. The new calendar issued at the beginning of the second age, by the Church of Ten Flames, is fully based on the work of the luthani.

Known species and recognized races at the end of the first age:

Eldar (Valhar, Drakhar and Sardun)

Luthani (Luthan, Elvar, Cildar and Arathan)

Anoran (Huron, Medlam, Trevlin, Nosfer and Kell)

Druan (Darfin, Forgar, Trow, Jibbet and Rathlin)

Eoren (Leotar, Mirdalan and Tarn)

Garnog (Myrdin, Lurker and Reaven)

Greshar (Bolgrak and Grecidian)

Dryad - (None)

Zilthil - (Zirlok and Sharazin)

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The Birth of Valhars

For millions of years, Aradea flourished. New species appeared from the mists to challenge the existing ones, and the fate of some was to fade into extinction. The trees and plants branched into new cultivars, some of them grew stronger and more beautiful while others died away, following nature's endless cycle to improve upon herself. The ongoing experiment of the Atars was becoming a complex system of self-sustaining and ever evolving life. After countless millenniums, Avareth noted that Aradea, as it was, required very little from the Atars to keep blooming under the gentle shine of solas, the sun.

Somewhere in time, when the untouched beauty of nature was still rivaled by none, and innocence, pure and unknowing, marked the ageless age passing, Avareth imagined himself out of the fabric of space. Taking physical form for the first time, he gazed about in the middle of thriving thickets, pleased with everything he saw. An unexplainable yearning drove him to reach beyond everything that had been created so far, a desire to leave a permanent mark of himself behind, and so began the song for the first image of himself. His voice rose from the depths of the wilderness, entwining with the motes of aether, gently guiding them into new formation. A flock of songbirds joined, a howling wolf joined, a roaring lion joined, and one voice at a time the spell grew stronger, greater. In the cradle of the world, the first of the Valhars saw the dawn of day, but he was not alone, for another, similar yet different, gave him a glance and a smile. He saw her and smiled, and they were both blessed by the loving warmth of their maker.

Tall and beautiful they were, the Valhars of Aradea, living images of Avareth the Lightbearer. They were told to go and build the world as they saw fit. They were promised peace and prosperity, and unlimited power in the form of wild aether. Avareth guided them, taught them and loved them as true children of his own. The Valhars thrived like nothing before them. Blessed with a gift of speech and song, given form that was nimble yet strong. Curious, humble and bright, they multiplied. When their numbers were great enough, they began to build, and with the first construction erected, they ruled.

For thousands of years the Valhars worked on to build a society that would never be matched in glory and shine. With wild magic harnessed, they achieved miracles beyond compare, discovered secrets that would be forgotten during the times that followed. Their high towers and verdant gardens, praising their beloved Immortal, as they called Avareth, defined a golden age of unity and unparalleled wisdom. The Lightbearer stayed among the Valhars, enjoying their undivided worship as the creator and father omniscient, and for the first time in his countless years of existence, he became self-absorbed. Forgetting much of his past, he gave all his power and attention to his flawless subjects, finding tremendous pleasure in living the days with his children. Humble and gifted as they were, the Valhars continued to build great monuments and statues to honor their one and true deity. Eventually, they began to build a capital city that would rival the greatest architectural achievements of all times, the wondrous Helberoth.

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Upon the Shores of Lake Forloth

Watching, shapeless as the wind, Sagriel wavered through the grandeur her brother's followers had achieved, envious yet yearning. Wanting such stature for herself, she observed, nurturing a plan at the back of her wicked mind. Unable to structure a chant of such finesse, she studied ways to take an advantage of her strength, manipulating. Having broken out from the cage she was thrown in, turning it into her own realm of twisted dreams, she sought more subtle ways to interfere with the creations of other Atars.

The Valhars wandered throughout the land as the absolute top of the natural hierarchy, free of trouble and concerns, steadfast and determined with their magic. But magic meant nothing against a foe of pure aether. Easily, Sagriel captured a group of Valhars, taking them to a hideout deep beneath the mountains. There, on the shores of Lake Forloth, water so cold that death claimed the soul who dared to wade into it, she corrupted the Valhars. Turning into twisted images of their former selves, the spell she wove changed them from inside as well, wiping their past and planting a false memory of creation, one where Sagriel was the queen mother. Gravely deformed and tainted, these Drakhars, as they called themselves, howled their praise to the maker, and Sagriel listened, smiling complacently. She would build an army to slay the Valhars and take their place as the rulers of Aradea, but Drakhars required time to grow strong. In the comforting silence of the underground darkness, they would wait and develop until the day when Sagriel sounded a call to arms.

Deep in the tunnels and caves of what would eventually be known as Everdeep, the Drakhars worked to build a stronghold worthy of their queen. Over the next centuries, the fortress of Nargoth began to take shape around the dark lake, spreading all over the enormous cave like a disease. Cold and intimidating, a complete opposite of Helberoth, the glorious capital of Valhars, the Drakhars multiplied and dreamed of the day when they would take the world and enslave every surviving Valhar for all eternity.

The Drakhars were terrible to look at. Their orange eyes, bone extensions twisting their faces, spotted skin, full of pale and dark patches appearing randomly like severe genetic defects, made it impossible for them to ever travel outside of their domain. If rumors of such travelers appeared, the Valhars would surely find them, giving them the chance to slay the Drakhars before they were ready. Hiding in the dark, they adapted to their environment, becoming agile and silent. Generations passed, allowing them to perfect these traits. Very little is known about the details of Drakhar society, but it was, allegedly, violent and unforgiving, different in every possible way compared to that of Valhars.

The queen of deception sat on her throne in the palace at the center of Nargoth, her colorless eyes feasting on what she truly considered her own creation. The snakes slithering among her black hair hissed in pleasure as she ingested all the devoted praise in her everlasting thirst for more. Disappearing from the face of Aradea, Sagriel nurtured her hatred for the Lightbearer, forever remembering the humiliation she was forced through in the first pact of Atars. Delighted by dreams of vengeance, she slumbered and waited for her children to prepare for an onslaught, a war that would make her the queen of the blue world!

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The Sacred Grove

Far from Helberoth, on the other side of Aradea, Mariel wandered in the lush forests of southern hemisphere. Playing with the deers, darting from one thicket to the next, excited by every new scent and sound, she had been content for a long time. Appreciating every day of sunshine, every night of starlit skies and the mysterious glow of the two moons, she lived among the animals, staying away from the kingdom of Avareth. Happy with the serenity, yet missing something, she filled her days with studying the wonders of nature. Deeply attached to the trees around her, she thought the world was perfect as it was, but she could not escape the empty echo that bothered her consciousness. The white deer became a woman, a true nature's child, her long hair braided in thin, eloquent streams flowing down to her waist. Mistles decorating her hair, body veiled in nothing but flawless skin, she walked to a pond, clear as the teal of her eyes, and glanced at her image reflecting on the still water. There she realized the meaning of her yearning.

Like Avareth, she had an ambition growing within. Ambition to create higher, more complicated life. Life that could use the might of aether and recognize her as their sole mother and maker. She wanted all that, but she also wished them to maintain that unique bond with the nature she held so dear. Unlike her brothers and sisters, who sought their own ideals by creating these elevated beings, Mariel wanted her children bound to the beating heart and throbbing veins of the planet itself, the sap of trees, the streams that gave life. Gathering her might, harnessing the aether floating around her, she began to sing. From delicate and fragile to strong and steady, her voice carried into the woods, inviting more and more aether motes to dance around her frail figure as she stood by a sheltered lake far from the other Atars. Extending her hand, she saw the essence of magic solidifying, creating a group of seeds on her palm.

Digging into the dirt, she planted the seeds around the lake, the seeds that would grow to become the sacred heartwoods of dryads, the Hanads, some of them reaching the height of a birth tree, the Haradnons! Instead of figures there were trees, taller and denser than any other trees in the forest, each carrying one large bud, her unborn children enshrined. Roots deep in the fertile soil, the trees continued to grow, fed by the waters of Falandil, which would later be known as Lake Darkmere in common tongue. Smiling, watching the shores full of Haradnons, reaching their verdant branches over the peaceful water, she picked some of their leaves off the ground and blew life into them, creating Gwylls. These small creatures, resembling dragonflies from a distance, tended the Haradnons, making sure they remained healthy and strong at all times. Then Mariel pulled out a piece of exposed root from the brim of the lake and, similarly to the Gwylls, blew life into it as well, marking the beginning of Mandragoras, the dreadful guardians of the grove. Once the shrine of nature was perfectly shaped and ready, she sat down and waited for her children.

When the buds finally bloomed, Mariel watched as the first dryad entered the world. Her large amber-colored eyes leered dazedly about, pointy ears drawn back as a sign of fear, the pale skin with a mysterious green and blue undertone shimmered in the soft moonlight as she carefully studied herself and her surroundings. Her short and delicate body moved gracefully as she walked to the shore where Mariel was waiting for her. Made from the leaves of her own birth tree, her creator gave her a gown of same hues of greens and blues as her complexion. She named her first child Nizzreth, a child of moon, and she would rule Melendar for as long as her birth tree was to stand, for the life of every dryad was bound to their Haradnon, a source of great power, but also a great weakness.

Gently guiding, teaching, Mariel introduced Nizzreth to the Gwylls and Mandragoras, showing every shadow and glade of her sacred, hidden land. Feeling the presence of her mighty forest, hearing the soothing song of the rippling water, she shook off her fear and took her place as the firstborn. Mariel never left. She waited together with Nizzreth for the still sleeping dryads to become ripe, helping them into the world like she had helped the firstborn.

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The Children of Anduniel

Abandoned by Avareth, who now dwelled in grand halls among the Valhars, Anduniel wandered the wastes of Aradea alone. Looking for a way, a reason to continue existing on this planet as the natural balance seemed to sustain itself. The stars above were calling her, inviting her to leave Aradea and search for something new, but she was not ready to let go yet. Then, finally, she came to a shore. The infinite ocean opened before her, and as she closed her eyes, she heard the song of the waves as they crushed upon the sand, a song that soothed her troubled mind. Standing there, her blue gown fluttering in the brisk air together with her yellow hair, her body quivered slightly as she leaped. Throwing herself into the ocean, seeking solace from the creatures she had created, she drifted away.

Floating for days, weeks, months, it did not make a difference. Wallowing in the cooling waters, diving through the darkest depths, her mind remained in a state of restless sorrow, until something unexpected happened. Crawling to the shore in a part of the world she did not remember, she glanced around and saw strange creatures dancing among the tallest trees she had ever seen. Recognizing her sister's work, she observed with sudden interest. The peace and harmony she witnessed left her in awe. Dwelling among the forest, harnessing the power of nature to grow stronger, the dryads seemed happy and free.

Inspired, Anduniel left the shores of Melendar and headed into the unknown wilds. There she created life that, like Dryads, was in complete harmony with their surroundings, but at the same time giving them ambition and curiosity like Valhars possessed. The result was a taller than dryad, but shorter than Valhar, agile and sharp-visioned species that had an ability to stay underwater for lengthy periods of time, which was her nod toward the deep love she felt for the ocean. Little did she knew that these luthani, as she called them, the children of the sea, would become better swimmers than any other intelligent life form on Aradea, for they embraced this gift with great enthusiasm. Water would always be a beloved element among them.

Unlike dryads, whose life easily spanned over thousands of years, luthani followed the example of Valhars, which was still considerable compared to the ones that followed. Embracing their environment, the luthani built their houses around and on top of the trees, leaving the trunks mostly untouched. In many ways the luthani were a perfected species of those who came before, albeit much weaker in their ability to control magic, which, in Anduniel's great wisdom, was what saved them in the end.

It took another thousand years before the luthani made first contact with the Valhars, gaining their undivided attention, including Avareth himself. Smiling contently, he recognized Anduniel in each and every one of the new arrivals, thus he instructed his children to open the gates of Helberoth, welcoming them to the heart of the old world. Built on a mountain side, creating a semicircle around the Lake Zula, the white cobblestone streets and squares, ornate fountains, majestic statues, and towers reaching for the skies certainly impressed the luthani emerging from the deep forests. But at the same time, deep within their hearts, they all whispered a prayer of appreciation to their Atar for not settling in such artificial and unnatural place. A trade treaty was quickly forged, for the luthani gathered a lot of materials that Valhars used in their crafts. In exchange, the Valhars taught their newly discovered neighbors many secrets of Awen, as Avareth had told them to call the gift of magic, which helped luthani to grow stronger and solidify their kingdom in the woods.

Although the Valhars appeared friendly, and their loose alliance with the luthani was fruitful to a degree, it soon became obvious that their will was to stay immersed in their studies, thus another nation was completely indifferent to them. Luthani were a necessary evil they could not just banish away because of their deity's wish, which they would never ignore, although some Valhars were beginning to doubt their need for such paragon. They believed their knowledge had reached a level where it rivaled with the wisdom of an Atar.

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The Hammer and the Forge

Seemingly out of nowhere came the druans, appearing at the gates of Gildrim, the forest city of the luthani. Sprawling from the mountains and hills, the druans came with silver, gold and precious gems, glittering metals and jewels that were pleasing to the luthani eye. Trading for woodwork and excessive surplus of grain, the druans began as a welcome friend. A road was soon built between Gildrim and Ristwar, the great underground origin of druans, and trade and friendship flourished plenty.

Worshipping Tharos, the great Atar who forged the bedrock in the beginning of times, the druans spawned from the solid rock and cool streams of crystal clarity. With their bulky build and extensive bone armor protecting them from falling debris, druans were naturally built for digging into the stone, so good that they chose to build their cities into mined caves under the mountains. Breaking into the hidden hollows of Aradea's foundations, it was the druans that initially revealed the vast depths of Everdeep. At first they cherished the riches discovered, thick veins of brimidian and duralite, previously unknown ores that would eventually be appreciated in weapons and armor, but also astonishing amount of silver, gold and gemstones. But like was the nature of their maker, druans were greedy, and before long they mined their way too far and paid a price for their insolence. While Drakhars were one of the very first inhabitants of Everdeep, the druans are given credit for its horrible discovery.

Ristwar grew, and over time the druans began trading with Helberoth as well, gaining the trust of both their neighbors. Druan architecture soon became famous, for their great underground halls were a manifestation of skill unmatched, completed without using magic. Serious and dedicated, the druans created a strong contrast against the luthani, who were easy to break into song and dance, yet the alehouses of Ristwar earned a legendary status. When working, nothing could distract the precious followers of Tharos, but once the work was finished, the achievements were celebrated loudly.

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Dark Reflections

While Aradea was being populated by the new species, all admiring the shining city of Helberoth and trying to achieve the height of their sophisticated society, the dark Atars watched. Sagriel's example sparked inspiration in many, and so as the luthani and druan nations were quickly growing in strength, Neferlyn and Calmor felt an urge to meddle. The concept of warfare, at this point in time, was still unknown.

Sagriel captured a group of luthani and spoiled them; Neferlyn took a bundle of druans and ridiculed them; Calmor took the dead and reanimated them, creating the first revenants to bring horrors unthought-of. In the distant forests garnogs began to appear, representing the first of what would later be recognized as a Myrdin race, and in the darkest nooks of Everdeep, behind the great iron gates of Ristwar, Jibbets emerged. A twisted reflection of their true image, these corrupted races began to multiply and prepare for the first conflict that would change the world forever. Over the next few centuries, some of the Jibbets wandered deeper, slowly turning into maddened animals known as Rathlins. Eventually, the original druans would be called Darfins, a mere race among the species. It took considerably longer before Myrdins branched off into Reavens and Lurkers, the former eventually evolving into a race with more sophisticated culture while the latter suffered the fate of being largely enslaved by the Myrdins.

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First Conflict

The garnogs marched from the north, driven by their unending urge to expand, conquer and enslave. These perverted images of luthani were the first to build crude weapons. While the druans had already unveiled the secrets of iron, the blades they made were not meant for killing, but merely to be tools of various trades. The clubs, hammers and spears, carried by garnogs, were made to end lives. Luthani never expected an attack, for the entire concept was strange to them. On top of the complete surprise, they also had no means to defend themselves when the dreadful groups of yellow-eyed monsters began to appear in the outskirts of their land, hacking, slashing and burning. The nightmare of warfare, the madness of violence, was introduced to the world, killing, raping and pillaging.

These assaults continued for decades. In their despair, the luthani requested help from Valhars, but were ignored, for such crude display of power, as well as the weakness of luthani, were far beneath them. In their fear of this sudden threat, druans fortified their entrance to the halls of Ristwar, but they took note of the weapons garnogs were carrying. The famous blacksmiths, unmatched in skill, mimicking the design of the garnog weaponry, began to forge blades in secret. First swords, battle-axes, sabers and other bladed weapons saw daylight, but ignoring the desperate pleas of their suffering neighbor, it would take a while still before these tools of death saw the battlefield.

Betrayal, deceit and hatred were planted deep into the world, and the lament of Anduniel for her dying children echoed over the seas. It was an age of great sorrow, for even if Valhars themselves would have come to help, they lacked the kind of tools now only garnogs and druans had at their disposal.

It was not until Tharos, the forger of the world, scolded his sons for hiding behind their stone barricades like cowards and ordered them to take their weapons and march out to help the luthani before the battle took a crucial turn. With the intrusion of druans, the luthani were able to crush the now scattered garnogs, who blindly believed there was no one to stand against them. Garnogs trusted greatly in the power of swarm, simply overwhelming their enemy by sheer numbers, but as they got bolder and formed a less unified wave, it was a fairly simple task for the druans and luthani, now wielding proper weapons, to drive them off.

Peace was restored, but the principles of warfare and armed conflict were now familiar, and war there would be, more than generations could record in their annals of history. Angered by the involvement of druans, Sagriel turned her glare to Tharos and his followers. New beasts spawned in the depths of Everdeep, emerging to haunt the glorious underground city of Ristwar. Arachs, gigantic spider-like creatures, and terragons, centipedes with bodies the size of a tree trunk, began to move in the shadows, hunting druan excavators, who now were known as Darfins.

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Avareth's Regret

Hearing his sister's wailing, Avareth woke from his dream, momentarily coming out of the blissful shine of worship and went to speak with her. He heard her weeping voice and felt the depth of her sorrow, and he was ashamed for letting garnogs destroy the beautiful woodland where Anduniel's children had dwelled in peace and harmony for ages. Now the recovery had finally begun, but Gildrim in ruins, it would take decades before a new golden dawn caressed this devastated nation.

Using the garnogs as inspiration and influence, Avareth began to plan a new species that would not excel in miracles of Awen or seek higher spiritual development of oneself, but a fierce warrior nation with a shorter life span than that of Valhars. Unlike garnogs, this new image of Avareth was to be courageous, honorable and intelligent in ability to invent new tools and mechanisms, as if luthani and Darfins were melted together and given a fiery disposition to react fast against threats in vicinity. They were to find their place close to luthani, to be guided by their wisdom, to be the strong defensive arm of their alliance.

Thus came the anorans, later known as Hurons before branching off to a multitude of races and spreading practically to every corner of the known world. In his infinite wisdom, Avareth assumed that the short life span would greatly diminish their ability to conquer and control, not realizing it would do the exact opposite. Aggressively passionate about their endeavours, the anorans were contradicting Avareth's original thought, leaving it impossible to say whether they were a solution to a problem or a problem of their own waiting to emerge.

The world, however, would have to wait for the true nature of anorans to be revealed. At first, the close alliance they wove with the luthani was a brilliant effort to build something great together. Quickly, the Darfins joined in, and for a long time peace and prosperity prevailed in the lands now forgotten.

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Oculos the Spellweaver

Oculos was one of the Valhar mystics, who, once Avareth expressed his discontent toward his firstborn, began to design a spell that would be engraved on a group of metal bowls, commonly made of copper or silver. This enchantment allowed their users to delve into deep trance, connecting their minds in a unique way where they would indeed meet in person without traveling great distances. Crafted as a gift for the greatest nations of Aradea, ten bowls were made, named as pools of Oculos. One was given to Darfins, two were handed to luthani, two more were sent to dryads and five Valhars kept to themselves.

The pools served as a mean to communicate across distances that would not have been otherwise possible until the tempest wiped most of them off the face of Aradea. However, they did their part in history, finally bringing Valhars closer to the others, allowing them to share their wisdom without leaving the proximity of their beloved city. Now, with new alliances and the strength of anorans clad in steel, life on Aradea reached yet a higher level. Darfins and anorans as torchbearers, every small civilization began to expand, including Valhars as they built new expansions to their mesmerizing settlement. Watching this progress, Sagriel grew wary.

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In the Footsteps of Myrdins

Enraged, Sagriel turned to her old ally, Calmor, wishing to seek ways to answer the harmony that was becoming a shining pinnacle of all Avareth's creations. The ages old envy toward her brother was turning into an obsession that would accelerate her stride on the path to madness. Calmor, chained to his own realm of the dead, refused to help Sagriel any further. It is unclear whether he was genuinely afraid of the wrath of his brothers and sisters or if he simply saw the growing madness in her.

From the mountains came the greshars, later identified as the dreadful Bolgraks, giants driven by the rage of Sagriel. From the endless marshes of the west came the zilthils, a strange species that combined features of man and lizard, equally dangerous with the mountain giants. Together with the ever spreading garnogs, the now prepared free nations faced many challenges. While life was becoming harder as the outer threats grew in strength, they also tied the new alliance tighter, causing trade to bloom and wealth to flow into the great cities growing ever larger.

Although the luthani recovered from the garnog onslaught, their nation was deeply scarred. The woodland folks never looked at the sky or marvel the waters in the same way. An internal darkness crept into their souls, twisting the once cheerful hearts and turning them grim. It would take thousands of years before the separation divides this proud nation, but the first attack of garnogs planted the seed for further tragedy.

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Terror from the Deep

While the luthani were suffering the dire consequences of their devastation, struggling with their national identity and attempting to find a new way to call their own, Darfins were facing a threat from the endless tunnels and caves of the Everdeep. In the time before Arathans settled into the Everdeep, the middle caverns between Darfin outposts and the great, boiling lava realm of the ancient wyrms was vastly inhabited by iridals, a strange hybrid of a humanoid and a beetle, carrying a natural bone shield upon their back. These fierce warriors had two pairs of arms and they carried a weapon in each one. Another creation of the dark Immortals to mimic and mock the work of Avareth, Anduniel and Tharos, iridals came with steel hammers and glaives, weapons that would be later used by Darfins quite extensively. It is possible that the future generations were indeed inspired by the brute display of power as the iridals billowed against the underground bulwarks of Ristwar.

War raged under the mountains as the defenders of Ristwar bashed upon the waves of iridals, grinding the attackers down with their hammers and axes, but the enemy was resilient. It soon became clear that the iridals would beat their industrious neighbors with sheer numbers. As a desperate cry for help, Thane Erianor sent ambassadors to Gildrim, which was the closest capital, the only one close enough to be able to send an army to push back the wicked monsters threatening the very existence of Ristwar. Diviner Belearon listened to the pleas of the Darfins and rejected them all. In his somber mind, the luthani owed nothing to anybody. Despite hearing many jarring arguements from his own counsil, his stance remained inexorable.

Returning empty-handed, the Darfins found their beloved city overrun and burning, their fellow men and women dying, crying in despair. That day Ristwar was lost to iridals. Thousands of Darfins died defending their homes, but it was not enough against the crushing strength of the enemy. Some managed to escape north to a smaller settlement called Barathur, which would become their new capital city to stand even the test of tempest hundreds of years later.

The fall of Ristwar marked the moment when time began to flow faster, bringing a great amount of tension between the existing nations. Barathur grew quickly into massive city under the rocks and stone. Under the firm leadership of Thane Erianor, who eventually passed at the age of 163, which was quite exceptional for a Darfin, the new capital become a thriving community. Succeeded by Thane Ereghar, Darfins, concentrating more and more to building and shaping the stone, pulled away from trade treaties and focused on themselves. They would never forget how luthani abandoned them in the hour of despair.

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The War of Three

It was after the passing of Thane Ereghar when Darfins were reaching the height of their glory, and because of the long-lived internal political tensions, they found the need to display that newly achieved strength. The time had come for revenge. In fear of having his people dividing into violent clans, Thane Oldref decided to channel that heated rage toward a common enemy, thus uniting the clans tightly under one banner. Preparations began for a conquest, and the target was Gildrim, the cradle of luthani civilization.

Marching southwest from their new northern home, Darfins were thousands upon thousands. Their army filled the horizon as they approached the woodland borders. The swift luthani scouts spotted them weeks before they were anywhere close to Gildrim. Messengers were dispatched to Helberoth and Calador, the first Huron city, which was barely a village at this point due to their extremely nomadic nature.

Valhars, still reluctant to take part in an armed conflict, promised to help with equipment, but spared no men to fight alongside luthani despite Avareth's scolding earlier. However, the weapons they provided, finest in the known world, rivaling with the craft of Darfins as equal, gave the luthani a sharp edge against their enemy. Anorans, while scattered, had mastered the art of horseback riding, creating small heavily armed cavalry units and instantly answered the call of their allies. Before the Darfins reached the gates of Gildrim, they were greeted by the luthani archers and anoran riders. From this deep collaboration the luthani soon developed their own unique way to take an advantage of this magnificent animal.

The War of Three was a massacre, and it effectively ended the existing alliances, slowing down all progression and creating opportunities for garnog warbands to re-establish their way of ravaging the less guarded hamlets and villages. The Darfins were forced to retreat, but not before thousands lied dead in the battered mud of the battlefield. Both sides suffered horrendous casualties. But as with garnogs, the anorans proved their worth once again by shedding blood together with their allies. Their reputation as sanguinary savages grew, and that reputation would haunt them through ages to come, even when completely without merit. It also helped them to grow in peace, for any nation willing to challenge their neighbor, whether it was a garnog chief or one of the more civilized realms, had to think carefully if there was a chance that they would face the anorans.

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The Division of the Anorans

Before properly settling down in one place, the anorans began to arrange large expeditions in every direction possible. The other nations observed this, amused by their ant-like tenacity to find new lands and dig for riches in places no soul had entered before. It was risky and dangerous, but it laid down the incredibly persistent network of towns and cities, securing their stand for the future. This nomadic nature also began the division of the species, which resulted in many races, perfectly adapted to their chosen environment. Those settling in the south saw their skin darken to protect them from the blazing sun; those settling in the north saw their bodies adjusting to the freezing temperatures. Anorans showed amazing resilience against the elements of nature, thriving everywhere. As an outcome of this massive migration; Hurons, Trevlins, Nosfers and Kells rooted themselves to different parts of the world. Later, soon after the world-shattering tempest, Hurons and Trevlins began to mingle as their lands were located relatively close, eventually creating a fifth anoran race called Midlams.

The capital city of Calador, located in a protected vale by a clear river, overshadowed by the tallest mountains, grew slowly. The remaining anorans, now recognized as Hurons, fortified the city, improved many of the traditional defensive measures and quickly adapted the Valhar way of storing knowledge in writing. The short life span they were given was not enough to pass everything from generation to generation, so the clever and fiery people invented other ways. There were tomes, scrolls, songs, poems and even prayers, all holding the very essence of a Huron spirit. This way knowledge was preserved for later generations to learn.

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Abandoned Treaties

After suffering a bitter loss in their attempt of sacking Gildrim, the Darfins retreated back to their halls of stone where they chose isolation as their new form to thrive. Some of them, disappointed and broken by the humiliation, left Barathur and headed further north where a part of them went on to found what would be Othrond one day, and the rest sailed across the sea and were lost for millenniums before they would emerge as Forgars.

Darfins were not the only nation to take distance from their once close neighbors. luthani and Hurons experienced the same phenomenon, which effectively dismantled Avareth's plan for his younger children to forever protect Anduniel's own. Nobody could foresee the passion, the brightness of fire their limited life ignited, not even Avareth himself. This fire kept driving Hurons to achieve more than any other nation in Aradea and eventually make anorans the most dominant species on the planet.

Luthani withdrew deeper into their forest kingdom despite multiple vocal minorities resisting this change, causing great tension within the kingdom. Diviners rose to power and faded, helpless to steer away from the path to civil war that now seemed inevitable.

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The War of Brothers

Eventually, the different luthani groups separated, retreating to their strongholds within the forest kingdom. Unable to solve their pressing conflicts peacefully, the battlefield awaited for the grim folk. Anduniel saw this and cried, but even she was unable to resolve the crisis without bloodshed, for the opposite groups were too stubborn to yield. The War of the Brothers was a long chain of conflicts across the land. Instead of focusing on large battles, there were smaller skirmishes over a period of time that spanned decades. The strife saw no end despite continuous pleas from their deity, but she remained in Gildrim, so attached, so weak she was after spending millenniums among her children. In that regard, she was no different from all the other Immortals who lingered in Aradea, slowly being shackled to their physical form so that they forgot what had been before.

From the depths of her realm, Sagriel watched and knew her time was coming. On the shore of Lake Forloth, the city of Nargoth had grown over the millenniums. It was nothing like Helberoth, the shining beacon of knowledge, but a cold and dark pit that allowed no light to escape. In that darkness, the Drakhars had multiplied and grown strong, stronger than any other nation.

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The Second Coming of Sagriel

The deceiver realized that she finally had a perfect opportunity to strike against the world that struggled, scattered and leaderless, weak. Helberoth still stood united, but the Valhars had delved deeper into their studies and barely noticed what was going on around them. When the Drakhars emerged from the tunnels and caves that were later named as Everdeep, there were no scouts to shout a warning, for all nations were too focused on their own affairs. This blindness would cost lives of too many to count.

The army of Drakhars was dreadful to watch as they poured out from beneath the mountains in thousands, Sagriel herself marching at the front, her eyes flaming the eternal hate toward the creations of her kin. Avoiding all the capital cities, the Drakhars destroyed, burned and killed all lesser hamlets along the way to the gates of Helberoth, which was her one and only goal. Sagriel wanted to see the children of Avareth fall and never to rise again. The Drakhars were to take over Aradea and make it their own.

Gildrim, as well as Calador, received reports from the outskirts of their land, claiming that terrible deeds were being done to the local population. The leaders, if they listened, heeded no word, read no briefing. Too deeply concentrated on their petty internal bickerings to see where the true danger lied. For the last time it was an Immortal, who realized that something was wrong and looked. It was none other than Anduniel, who possibly saved the world by instantly taking the matter to her brother, Avareth. With a roar and a cry, Avareth rallied his Valhars to prepare for battle before all would be lost. So stern was his voice, so strong was his will that even the most stubborn ones, reluctant to abandon their fascinating studies, followed the piercing order. Equally large army of Valhars, dressed in shining armor and wielding flawless steel, marched out of Helberoth and encountered their unknown enemy in the battlefield, led by Avareth the Lightbearer himself.

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The Last Alliance

Anduniel was on the move. Rushing back to Gildrim, she commanded the luthani to unite and follow her to the battlefield. Her children listened and obeyed, for they were given no choice in the matter. At the same time, Tharos appeared to his Darfins, also aware of the new threat that was unforgiving to all delay, and ordered them to help the Valhars. Joining together, the Valhar army now matched the once overwhelming number of Drakhars.

Hurons, always watchful, saw what was brewing in the forests and mountains, and they came in great hordes to pay homage to Avareth, singing songs of battle and mayhem. The great last alliance assembled and marched to meet their ultimate enemy that had so unexpectedly emerged from the darkness of Everdeep. The deities, the immortal Atars, leading them in person elevated morale to new heights as they approached the meadow of orchids, a field later known as Faerdor, a word taken from the high language of the Valhars meaning field of death.

Drakhars did not come alone. They came with Myrdins, Reavens, Bolgraks, Zilthils and those who were before, the dead. Like Anduniel and Tharos stood beside their brother, Calmor and Neferlyn took their places next to their sister.

The air itself was electrified from the sheer might gathered to that one tiny spot in the universe. It is said that even the great father of all, Aras, turned his gaze toward Faerdor that day, watching how the first and last armed conflict between his children would play out.

The ground shook from the force of thousand hooves as the war steeds charged across the blooming flowers, the sky cried blood as the blades and spears tore flesh, and wind carried the wails of the dying. The drums, screams and the song of steel filled their ears as the two armies clashed together in a violent roar. The Atars, heated by the passion of their children, struck against each other with such force that the air crackled from the power of unleashed Awen. Three days they fought, feeding the bloodlust that had been building for too long to remember, and the gale around them grew into a storm. The ground trembled in pain, the mountains cracked like bones under iron hammer, and the conflict that had raised even Aras's attention was quickly becoming a threat for the very existence of Aradea.

Covenant

Leileth and Galadin, the Immortals of time and balance, descended from their celestial realms and walked on Aradea. It was the only time in history of the world when these Atars were seen by mortal eyes. They came in the middle of chaos and death. Survivors of the battle attempted to write about them, describe their visage, but they were unable to remember. Knowing they would recognize either one if they ever saw them again, but completely failing to recall a single feature of their divine faces left many confused and frustrated.

Calling their brothers and sisters, Leileth and Galadin forced an armistice, pointing out what was happening around them. Aradea would not withstand another day of battle. Now wildly flaring Awen had taken the form of raging vortexes, destroying trees, animals, rivers, hills and fields, leaving only ashes behind, but in the heat of the battle, the Immortals had ignored these warnings. As much as Sagriel hated her brother, even she agreed that the battle could not continue. Telling her warriors to stand back, she followed the others to Galadin's celestial realm, Baradhir, a grand manor house that served as his otherworldly court. Standing on the edge of starlit sky, the house seemed to slither beyond the horizon, disappearing in the distant mist. Here the Immortals gathered for a debate that would decide the fate of the blue world.

The result of their gathering was the end of the world. It was determined that Valhars and Drakhars could not exist in the world together. As archenemies, their power presented a threat too great to remain. Unanimously, the decision was made to hand the reins of the world to the mortals, granting them absolute free will where the Atars had no part. No Immortal could take on a physical form and walk among their children; the world would begin anew, free from the shackles of its makers. These were matters that everyone agreed upon to create the holy covenant, but the last subject caused some discord among the great spirits, the matter of tempest, the end of the world. But regardless of how many speeches were made in order to prevent it, Avareth remained adamant. Now free from the adoration of his followers, his blindness gone, he forced his will upon the rest, and they found his will impossible to resist. Tempest would shatter Aradea and grant rebirth, and while some seemed utterly terrified by the looming destruction, they knew that it was Avareth himself who paid the greatest price, made the tremendous sacrifice, for part of the pact was that Valhars and Drakhars would go to sleep eternal. As Drakhars were Sagriel's tool to achieve this, losing her most magnificent creation did not upset her. She had won.

Valhars retreated behind the walls of Helberoth. Following their deity, who now walked on Aradea for the very last time, they gathered in the vast halls prepared underneath the city where the chambers of sleep awaited their residents. In comfortable silence, the Valhars would dream until Aras begins his inhale, marking the day when everything that had been created since the very beginning were to be unmade. Elsewhere, the Drakhars marched back to their dark city of Nargoth, and like their brothers, they would sleep until the last day would call them back to fight once more before the final dusk descended and the Tome of Ages would be finished.

The spell was woven in perfect harmony, releasing the destructive force of Awen to break the world, allowing the new age to begin.

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Tempest

The sky turned dark; the winds grew angry. The ground crumbled and roared as the storm gradually covered the entire planet. Helberoth and Nargoth stood silent, their dwellers sleeping in the chambers of eternal peace. The peoples of Aradea cried in despair as their Immortal mothers and fathers abandoned them with heavy hearts and ascended back to their spirit realms.

The continent of Ara broke into pieces and drifted apart as the fundamental change shook the world to its core, tearing and shredding the familiar landscape and molding it into new. The mountains cracked and gave way for water, the shores moved and formed new continents, and in the turmoil of the tempest, Aradea saw a mass extinction of multiple species. Millions of people died in the series of natural catastrophies that occurred within the first twenty-four hours. Helberoth was swallowed by the rising ocean; Nargoth was hidden deep in the secret pockets of Everdeep as large parts of it collapsed during this shift of ages.

The tempest lasted for a week and a day, and when the winds finally calmed and the lashing rain ceased, no living soul recognized the land any longer. Only a handful from each nation survived, finding themselves in small groups around the newly born world, alone and afraid. Without aim or knowledge of one another, the remnants began the battle for survival. The few mystics, who lived to see the dawning of a new age, found their magic defunct. Similarly, the hallows lost the power of their prayers. Confusion and fear drove many mad, and death followed in their wake as, in their bottomless despair, countless mystics and hallows chose eternal night.

In the aftermath of the tempest, silence was deafening. Thunder faded; the first sunrise of the second age came, and the world would never be the same again. Gone were the noble Valhars, gone were the vile Drakhars, the wisdom of all ten deities. The future loomed dreadful and uncertain. Then the prophets came in their ragged cloaks and robes, bringing solace among those who were allowed to live, pouring courage into their shaken hearts. There are no surviving descriptions of these ancient figures, but many tales mention them as the spirits of Atars, who came back one last time to help their children past the prevailing chaos. In their hands, the prophets carried copies of the Tome of Ages, and from within those pages, the survivors found the seeds for a new heyday. The second age would be the age of mortals, a time when fates would not be decided but forged by each individual for themselves.

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Veiled in Silent Shadows

Far from the shores where the events leading to tempest took place, dwelled other species that the Tome of Ages mentions very briefly. One of the largest and widespread were the eorens, a mysterious nation that spawned in the southern rainforests. It has been nearly impossible to determine which Atar created this species as their religion consists a plethora of spirits unknown to most people. There is, however, one Atar that comes up rather regularly in their written records, and that is Sardius the Navigator, the one who is never closely associated with taking part in the creation of Aradea. As the Atar of secret knowledge, he certainly had a reason, but whatever that reason might have been it has drowned and lost in the misty past.

From eorens came the races of Leotars, Mirdalans and Tarns. Mirdalans and Tarns founded thriving yet modest civilizations in the deep jungles, but Leotars became a force to be reckoned. A warrior race that quickly became the dominant power in the south, and has retained that position to this day, was easily recognized by their hair, which greatly resembled that of a lion's mane.

Tworks and Dahlons were found in the east, populating the great eastern continent of Esselon, but it is safe to classify them as a branch of anorans. Anorans wandered everywhere during their great expeditions, thus spreading to every single corner of Aradea. There are other remote locations ruled by the descendants of Hurons as well, namely the Kells of Amnar and Nosfers of Solanar.

The Forgars of Halfar grew in size as they settled on the icy island, and they partially abandoned the tradition of building their towns in caves. Instead they are a compromise between cave dwelling and outdoor settlement, strangely going against the practical solution of having a natural or mined cavern protecting them from the harsh elements of the frozen tundra. It did not stop the Forgars, for these former Darfins evolved and thrived in the snowy plains of Halfar, becoming one of the fiercest warriors in the entire world. Leotars dominated the far south and Forgars claimed the northernmost land.

All these forgotten nations endured the tempest and survived, holding on to their homelands, learning new ways to build their strength and adapting to the changes. Some of these are still nothing more than a myth and popular subject of scary tales, but some, like Leotars, truly stepped up and built a kingdom to rival with the rest of them.

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